Frozen Pipes

Frozen Pipes

Although frozen pipes don’t seem to be as common an issue anymore, it is still worth bringing it up at least once a year. If you have ever lived in an older house or in a place with dangerously low temperatures, you will probably remember worrying about your pipes freezing and therefore bursting. If you never had that experience, you should definitely count yourself lucky, as many of us can tell you from experience that it is an extremely unpleasant thing to deal with.

When you have rapid changes in temperature, certain things are bound to happen. Older buildings and houses will often “settle”, which results in sounds that make it seem as if the building is cracking and groaning. It’s one of the things that often makes sleeping in an unfamiliar house so scary when you're a kid, since you aren’t used to the noises that the expansion and contraction makes anywhere other than your own home. This is especially true when it’s an older building that still uses a water-based heating and cooling system.

While North Carolina doesn’t generally have long periods of time where the temperature stays low enough to be concerned about freezing pipes, it has been known to happen on rare occasion. Thankfully, there are some ways that you can help prevent your pipes from bursting even if record lows do hit. It is always better to have the information on the off chance that you ever find yourself in need of it. Keeping any cabinet and closet doors open helps to improve air flow and can keep the pipes at a steadier temperature. It is also a good idea to keep your thermostat set to the same temperature all day and night if possible. Although it might be annoying or seem counter-intuitive, having a small drip of cold water coming from your faucets can help to keep your pipes from freezing.

Emergencies such as frozen pipes are a great reason to have Talley Property Services on your side. We have a 24 hour number for your tenants to call in case of something like this happening, and we can get someone dispatched quickly in case repairs are needed. It is always a stressful time when something goes wrong, and if it happens around the holidays it is even worse. Let Talley take some of that concern off of your shoulders so that you can enjoy your time without being on call.

Recycling

Recycling

There is a lot of discussion when it comes to apartment complexes and other large buildings that have a lot of people working and living there regarding garbage pickup. Although most places understand that they need to have a place that their residents can dump their trash, many people wonder if they should provide recycling services as well. While this is something that someone who knows the location must decide, we want to help you out when it comes to keeping things out of landfills that could be better used, or reused, in other places.

One of the main reasons that most rental property owners do not want to offer a recycling option is the price. While it is a bit more expensive than just having the garbage, many companies that offer both will give you a bundle deal so that you can get them at a reduced rate. You can also normally reduce the cost by having fewer recycling pickups than garbage pickups, which works for most places. For example, most apartment complexes can get their garbage picked up twice a week while the recycling is only picked up twice a month. While this may cause a bit of an issue around holidays when lots of large boxes are being tossed into the bins, it should be more than sufficient for most times of the year to have less frequent pickup dates.

Another issue that many owners find is that people don’t seem to know (or care) about how recycling works. It is important that everyone understands which bins are meant for garbage and which ones are meant for recycling. Most plants that recycle will either turn away trucks that are full of garbage or charge extra fines for having to separate the contents. This is expensive for the property managers and owners, which can discourage a lot of places from continuing a recycling program. Make sure to post literature about what can and cannot be recycled and take extra action such as video monitoring if needed.

Recycling is something that can really help out the environment and apartment complexes if used correctly. Although there may be people who don't care one way or another, it can be something that is implemented on your property to great success. Ask around and see if there is any interest in getting a recycling bin for your residents. It certainly couldn’t hurt for you to make a difference in the community and the environment!

Making Changes

Making Changes

You can't realistically expect someone to move into a new space and have it perfectly suit them from day one. Every person has different needs and styles that need to be accommodated when they move. Sometimes these are small changes, like hanging a picture or two, or maybe adding a bookcase. Other times, however, there are major alterations that need to be made. These can include adding a stair lift or changing out a bathroom tub or toilet to make it more accessible to someone with additional medical requirements. No matter the scope of these changes, you should always talk to your landlord.

While most landlords don’t have a problem with you putting up pictures or hanging new curtains, some don’t like holes in their walls. It is important to make sure you ask before you do anything that may bother your landlord. For example, if you put up shelves on the wall your landlord may get angry, but simply putting a nail in the wall to hang a painting is okay. If you want to change out a light fixture, you should ask the landlord if they are okay with you leaving the new one when you move or if you should keep the original to put it back. Every landlord is different, so never assume that the preferences are the same from one to another.

Some landlords are okay with you painting the walls as long as you return them to their original color while others don’t want to deal with covering other colors when you leave. Although you may paint a lovely mural on the wall, it might make it more difficult to rent to the next tenant if they don’t have the same taste in art as you. Even if you don’t think you’ll “get caught”, you should remember that it isn’t your home, and does still need to be treated with respect. If you wouldn’t want someone to do it to you, then definitely think twice before you do it to your landlord.

Any change that you may want to make to an apartment should always go through the property owner. Although you don’t really need to ask permission every time you hang a new picture, it is a good idea to ask what is and is not okay when you move in. As long as you have communication, you should be in the clear!

How Much Should I Pay?

How Much Should I Pay?

In the world of rentals, there are so many different questions we have to ask ourselves. One of those questions, and arguably the biggest one, is how much we can and want to pay for an apartment. You never want to stretch your financial limits and be in trouble if you end up losing your job or taking a surprise pay cut, but you also probably don’t want to go for the cheapest possible rent due to standard of living. Extra cheap locations are often too small or are barely habitable for a variety of reasons, which can be downright dangerous for those living there.

Most financial experts will agree that your rent payments should make up about 30 percent of your income. This is seen as a safe balance between your housing costs and other expenses. While this isn’t always going to work out due to a number of possible factors, it is at least a solid place to start for your budget. It also gives you a good amount of perspective on whether or not a certain price is too good to be true as well. For example, if an apartment would only cost you 20 percent of your budget while the rest of the places in the area would cost you the full 30 and there isn’t an obvious reason as to why, then you may want to reconsider instead of just jumping at the cheapest option.

It is also always a good idea to check around at other local apartments and see how much they are renting for. You never know if there is one specific area that costs more than the others around it, and depending on your financial situation you either want to gravitate there or avoid it. It also gives you a good idea whether or not you're actually getting a good deal on your rent payments.

At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide how much you should be paying for rent. Some landlords require a minimum income to prove that you can afford the apartment, so that is something you need to keep in mind when you look for a new place to live. If you are ever curious about how much you should pay, give Talley a call and see what we have to offer. You never know, you might just find the perfect place within your income level!

Amenities

Amenities

When you move, you want your new place to feel as much like a home as it can. This means that you will often search out certain things that are normally seen as a bonus, or amenity, in your apartment. This also means, however, that you most likely have to pay more for the amenities that are included in the apartment. These amenities may be considered a necessity to you, but everyone has different things they need in place before they move in. Here are a few examples that can help you decide what you need before you move into a new apartment.

1. Laundry. This is the biggest one. Most people want a washing machine and dryer at least nearby when they move. While some people prefer to have it in their apartment, others are okay with a community wash room. Many of the community ones are either coin operated or use a pre-paid card, so that is another thing to consider when you are moving. It can take a while to find the exact setup you are looking for, but if it isn’t a deal breaker for you, you can always just look for a location near a laundromat.

2. Pool. This is another common amenity that is looked for with apartment buildings. Pools can drive up the price of a rental, but they are well worth the difference to some people. Being able to cool off and socialize during the summer can be a great trade for the money, so if you are someone who really enjoys taking a dip, try to find a place with a pool.

3. Off Street Parking/Multi-Car Parking. Parking is always a hassle when you live in an apartment. Having a private parking lot or driveway can be helpful, but even then you generally only get one spot per apartment. This is great until you have two or more drivers living in the same unit. Being able to find an apartment that can accommodate more than one car can seem impossible depending on where you live, so be sure to keep an eye on those parking arrangements if there are multiple people moving in.

These are only three amenities that you may want to consider when planning on moving, but they are three of the biggest ones. If you know what you’re looking for, let Talley know and we will do all we can to find you the rental property of your dreams!

Snow Plowing

Snow Plowing

One of the biggest complaints that we hear from apartment residents during the winter is the poor plow jobs in the parking lots. If you only rent out houses as a property owner, this normally isn’t much of an issue, but owning an apartment building or complex can mean the need for a lot more resources when winter rolls around. Although most places seem to have had a relatively mild winter so far, you never know when a storm is going to roll in and take everyone by surprise. It is always important to be prepared no matter how silly it may feel. Even if you don't get a lot of snow in your area, the threat of ice is always something to consider. You should be sure to keep things like rock salt on hand just in case you need to take care of some sudden winter weather.

While there are certain “freak” storms that hit harder than expected, or even when there were no storms expected at all, it is important that you are always prepared for these situations. While it can get a bit hectic, it is always a good idea to start purchasing things like rock salt as early in the year as possible. If you cannot find salt, easily sourced materials such as cat litter can help to provide the traction that people need in order to drive around with that snow or ice on the ground. Shovels are also a good thing to have in the event that there are areas that need to be cleared that plows can’t get to or in case others break while they are being used.

Making sure that you are prepared for any amount of snow that might fall is one of the most involved yet important tasks that you can complete as the owner of a rental property. It is often a frustrating situation, but your residents will certainly appreciate the quick manner in which everything is cleared out so that they can come and go as needed. It is also important in case of an emergency occurring that requires the response of a group like the police or paramedics. If emergency responders cannot get in due to unsafe conditions, you may be held responsible for any damage or health issues that may result. Regardless of your reasoning, it is always better to make sure that you are on top of any plowing than to leave it to chance.

Noise Complaints

Noise Complaints

One of the most common complaints that rental property owners hear is a noise complaint. For the most part these complaints will only rarely occur, but every now and again you get that one resident that either refuses to quiet down and be respectful or you get a resident who seems to think that any sound that another person creates no matter how quiet requires a complaint. These can really break neighbors and may drive people away from your property, no matter how perfect the location. Let's face it, if you're trying to sleep and another person is blasting music in the middle of the night or if you are constantly getting yelled at for sneezing because your neighbor thinks it's “too loud”, it can take a toll on you.

As a landlord, it can be extremely difficult to be fair when two of your residents are in an argument. While many people will sort things out themselves, others prefer to pass the issue off to someone who is seen as an authority figure in the situation. Generally speaking, this is you. In some certain severe situations the police may end up involved, but for the sake of this article, let's focus on what you can do to help resolve these noise complaints before it reaches that point.

If there are two people that are constantly complaining about one another, you may want to try and figure out if the cause is deeper than a simple noise issue. Often, a complaint may seem to be about one thing when in reality it was started by another issue entirely. It may be that the two people simply don’t get along and want to “get each other in trouble”, but there may be a more severe issue beneath the surface. While it isn’t your job to solve their problems, it may might it easier for everyone involved if you try to help.

While no one wants to deal with noise complaints, they are almost inevitable when a large group of people are living in the same building or complex. Although it is tough, sometimes you need to remember that you can’t make anyone do something they don’t want to do, and that includes being quiet and respectful. However, it is also important to remember that the well-being of all your residents is more important than the convenience of one. No one ever said being a landlord would be easy, but hopefully you can make it quiet.

Allowing Pets

Allowing Pets

One of the biggest arguments that we hear between landlords and tenants, and even from one landlord to another, is whether or not you should allow pets in your apartment. Both sides of the issue make valid points, so we want to touch on some of the main aspects of both arguments. It is important to remember that here at Talley, we respect your decision either way, as it is your property. We simply like to help our clients make the most informed decision.

On the one hand, pets can be messy. Dogs and cats both have a possibility to undo a lot of the work that you have put into the unit. This could be from them soiling the floor or chewing up and scratching at the walls and doors. Often, smells from animals like these can linger even after they no longer live there, especially if there are carpets that were dirtied. While a large amount of this comes down to whether or not the owner stayed on top of cleaning, there is always a possibility of your next tenant being extremely allergic and even a professional cleaning of the apartment may not be enough to make it habitable for them. Even tanked animals can cause problems depending on how they were kept and cleaned.

On the other hand, pets can also be helpful for you in some ways. Many landlords require a pet deposit or even additional rent each month for someone to have a pet. You can often charge more as a base line if you allow pets, regardless of whether or not someone brings them in. You also open your apartment to a wider range of people by allowing pets, as many people will not even entertain a unit if they can’t bring their animals along. Others are medically dependent upon their pet for one reason or another. Although the law does state that a support or service animal is often exempt from the law, many will still look only where pets are already welcomed.

If you are trying to decide whether or not to allow pets in your rental property, it is always best to think about both sides of the argument. You may also settle somewhere in the middle, allowing only animals that are under a certain weight or that can be kept in a tank. No matter what your solution is, Talley will make sure to find your perfect tenant!

Page 5 of 66