Heat and You

Charlotte Property Rental
One of the biggest concerns that many of us have once it begins to get a bit cooler is our heat. Whether or not you pay for your tenant’s heat, you should always do a quick check on whether or not everything is working. This is especially true if you have elderly or chronically ill people living in your residences. For those who are vulnerable, heat is something that simply cannot be overlooked or left to the last minute like many of the rest of us do. After all, the cold aggravates many medical issues.
If your residence is heated through oil or gas, it is always a good idea to get the supplier out around this time of the year, as they will be swamped later on in the season. If your rental property is heated through wood burning stoves or a fireplace, it is always nice of you to call and check in on your resident to make sure they have enough wood at least for now. Whether you are responsible for getting it or not, it is always nice to look in. This way they not only know that you care about them, but it may help to serve as a reminder for them if they have not purchased any yet. Prices will still be fairly low as it is early in the season and not too chilly yet in most places.
If you have a relationship with your tenant that allows you to talk often, then there is no harm in mentioning the cooling weather. If your rental property has baseboard heaters, it may be worth a moment to remind your tenants to clear things away from them in order to correctly circulate the heat and not ruin anything, including their own items.
Now is also a great time to replace the windows in your rental space to thermal ones which will provide insulation. This will cut down on heating costs, no matter who they go to. While they may cost a little more up front, they certainly save you in the long run. The difference is extremely noticeable not just for the resident, but also for the bill payer.
With the weather cooling down, there are a few things that you may want to do or check up on. Heat is certainly up near the top of that list for your rental space. After all, we never know exactly how cold it will get over the winter.

Dealing With a Disaster

Charlotte Property Rental
Now that hurricane season is really letting us know it’s here, you have even more to think and worry about. Although hurricanes aren’t normally quite as severe in our area as they are in other places, we do still see the occasional strong storm system come up our way. While most buildings are meant to survive these storms, not everything is as sturdy as the foundation which we have built upon. Here are some things to keep in mind when making sure that your rental property is storm proof.
1. Windows. Glass is one of the most delicate substances that we use in a home. Although they do allow for the potentially beautiful views that so many people seek out, they can also present a danger if high winds and trees or other debris join together. The same thing that allows us to see out and lets light in may become a dangerous shattered projectile if a storm is severe enough. Storm windows are made especially to try and combat this possibility, and are a good addition to any rental property you may own. Even windows that are more than a single pane thick are a good idea, and this will also help keep heat and cool air in during the extremes of the temperatures of the year.
2. Drains. Drainage is a very important feature to have near your rental property. While most of the drains that will be used are installed by the town, you can normally request an added drainage system from your township. Even if you have a good and solid drainage area near the building, depending upon how the property is set up, there may be areas that are more likely to flood in the event of heavy rain. This is true of any ground floor or underground apartments. If there are steps that lead lower than the lawn, you may want to try and install a drain at the bottom of these stairs to lessen the possibility of severe water damage to the apartment.
These are only a couple of ideas of what to watch for in a building that you may be renting out, but they can save you quite a bit of money and a lot of headaches along the way. Hopefully you will never have something severe happen to your buildings, but just in case, these are things that may be able to help you along the way.

Handicap Accessibility Part II

Charlotte Property Rental
In a previous article, we began talking about the different things to be kept in mind if you are remodeling your building to accommodate those who may be handicapped. While those points are a good starting platform, they were all about the outside of the building. Naturally, someone doesn’t stop being disabled by walking into their home. This means you will need to modify the interior as well. Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about how to make your rental property more accessible.
Stairs are a pain, even to those of us who are able bodied. Once there is a disability in play, even if the person who may be renting the property is not wheelchair bound, stairs become an almost impossible hurdle. If you have a potential resident with a nerve, joint, or muscle disorder, stairs may be painful for them to climb and if the resident is elderly, they become increasingly dangerous. If the building has multiple floors, see if there is a way to install a service lift or elevator. If it is a two story house, perhaps looking into those stair climbers would be a good method to follow. Although they may be expensive, remember that it may help to keep a resident safe and give both them and you some peace of mind about their welfare.
One of the largest problems people in wheelchairs or with walkers face, even in public, is a lack of room. Going through many stores, it is common to see someone trying to squeeze into an aisle or making a tight turn. Although stores are supposed to make sure there is enough room in the aisles for a wheelchair to fit through, they often make the area as tight as possible and then those with a disability struggle trying to get through the area while accommodating others in the store. After a full day of grocery shopping and dealing with this in public, the last thing anyone wants to do is come home and have difficulty navigating around there too. Try large open floor plans with little furniture and wide door frames when they are necessary. The added space will be greatly appreciated and will help the rooms to feel bigger in general.
Again, these are only a couple of ideas to help you get thinking about what you can do to make your property more accessible. Stick around if you’re interesting in reading more!

Handicap Accessible Bathroom Ideas

Charlotte Property Rental

This week, we have explored a couple of ideas to help make your rental property more handicap accessible. Although there have been some thoughts put forth, they have so far been the more obvious of the bunch. This article is meant to help you begin thinking critically about options you can choose and modifications you can make that you may not have thought about if you are not or haven’t taken care of someone who has a physical disability.

            The bathroom. It is, in any home, one of the most dangerous rooms in the house. According to a 2011 study done by the CDC, about 81 percent of injuries that occurred in the bathroom were from falls alone. Two-thirds of injuries occurred in the shower or tub and almost the entirety of the rest of the injuries were using the toilet. While many people simply get in and out of the bathroom, it may not be that easy for someone who is handicapped. Getting into and out of a bath or a shower may be almost impossible if the proper modifications haven’t been put in place and the toilet can be just as dangerous.

            One option you may have is replacing a tub/shower combo with an extra-long shower. If done correctly, these are often beautiful and much more versatile than their previous incarnation. If you would prefer to keep a tub in your building, however, they do make locking tub sides that can open and close for easier entry and exit. Often these come with a seat, which helps to eliminate falls caused by dizzy spells or disorientation.

            Another good idea is to install grab bars around the bathing area. You can also put them by the toilet to allow the resident to have something stable to lower themselves with or to help them stand back up. Grab bars in a shower or tub also allow security in case the bottom is slippery. Speaking of slippery, putting down non-skid stickers is a wonderful idea for almost any apartment, as slips can happen to anyone.

            One other option you have to make the bathroom more accessible is a handicap toilet. It is about two inches higher than a normal toilet, but it really does make a huge difference to those who may have trouble with their knees. You can check them out in any hardware store that sells regular toilets.

            There is a lot you can do in the bathroom to help a disabled resident, these are only a few of the ideas. It is always a good idea to ask people you may know with disabilities what they think is most important in a home to keep them safe.

How to Attract Residents Cheaply

Charlotte Property Rental
Sometimes, attracting your residents to your rental property is the most difficult thing you will need to deal with. This is an ideal situation since it means that your resident is a wonderful fit for you and there are few to no problems while they live out their lease. Of course we always hope that this will be the outcome of you renting to someone, and sometimes even this process can be simple and painless. Here are a few ways that you can be sure to catch the attention of a future tenant.
1. Write Details. Gone are the days of having to place an advertisement in your local newspaper and being charged by the word or even the letter. If you are advertising online, you can be as liberal with your word count as you want. This means that you can explain every amenity that is available with the rental, your pet policy, and still chat about the view that they can have from each different room. If you are advertising your apartment online, there really isn’t any reason for you to leave information about the place out. The great thing is that if you forget something, you can go back and edit the page as well. That’s certainly something that couldn’t have been done when everything had to be printed. This also helps people who may be looking in your area before having to move when they don’t have direct access to the property.
2. Take Good Pictures. I cannot stress this one enough! Make sure that the pictures that you post are clear, well lit, and clean. Having clutter or dirt in a picture is an automatic turn off and it is extremely difficult to get a feel for a place when the picture is dark or fuzzy. Ask a friend who is good at taking pictures to do it for you if you don’t think you can do it justice. Good pictures can go a very long way.
These are both simple tips that don’t need to take you a long time, but can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to someone looking at your apartment. Try these tips and see how much of a difference it makes in your response level.

Furnishing An Apartment Cheaply

Charlotte Property Rental
We have spoken previously about offering a furnished apartment, especially depending upon the life situation of the tenant that you are preparing to rent to. Many landlords automatically say no to this option, however there are a few ways that you can do this for little to no money on your part. Here are a couple of different things that you can do to get some nice furniture with no money and sometimes no effort.
1. Craigslist. Although you may not think so, you can get some wonderful stuff off of websites like Craigslist. Many of the people that I know have gotten most of their starting furniture off of this site and others like it. While some things are being sold for money, others are being given away for any number of reasons. You can filter things through and only look for free items. Many of these are free if you pick them up or a small amount of money if you want them delivered. This means that you can find something and have it delivered to wherever you are for a much lower amount than you could buy it in any store.
2. Thrift Stores. Although these require you to transport the items, you can always find some incredible things at your local thrift store. If I’m being honest, it is where quite a bit of my furniture came from when I first moved out on my own. You can also find appliances and other electronics and you can normally test them before you purchase, which is always a good thing.
3. Yard/Estate/Moving Sales. If you are looking for furniture for an apartment that you want to furnish, these are going to be your best friends. Many yard sales and moving sales will have items that you can just walk away with and you can also haggle with many of these numbers so you get some wonderful deals with these. Most of the people selling just want to get rid of their items, so they will do what they can to make that happen.
If you are looking to furnish an apartment before you rent it out, these are some of the best ways to get some cheap items that still work great. Even if you don’t want to purchase these things yourself, letting your tenant know can definitely help them out as well.

Apartment Safety During Travel

Charlotte Property Rental
Most people take their vacations during the summer, especially in August. Whether this is a short day trip down to the local water spot or a longer trip to a big destination, some things are the same. One of these things is the need for safety in the apartment while there is no one there. There are many ways that your tenant can ensure the safety of your rental property even while they are away. Here are a couple of things that you can ask your tenants to do if they are leaving on vacation.
1. Neighborhood Watch. It never hurts to ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity while someone is away. This is great since it can be for something as short as a few hours or for a couple of weeks. It also may help to improve the relationships between your tenants if you have an apartment complex or their neighbors if you rent out a house. It never hurts to have an extra set of eyes keeping a watch for anything unsavory going on.
2. Mail Issues. If your resident is going to be gone for a couple of days, it is always a good idea to have them ask someone to hold onto their mail while they are gone. More than a day or two of mail is something that burglars look for to let them know that no one is home, so doing all you can to prevent that from being noticed is worth a shot.
3. Light Timers. If a criminal has been watching a house to rob it, they likely know the habits of those who live there. If they suddenly are not turning on lights at night, that may be a big tipoff that there is no one home. Supplying a cheap light timer or two for your tenant may make a world of difference in helping prevent your rental property from being a target of a burglary.
These are some of the most simple ways to help your tenant keep themselves, their possessions, and your investment safe. While some of your tenants may do these things automatically, it is never a bad idea to ask them even if just as a reminder. After all, once vacation time comes up, we are normally far away from home in our minds.

Cheaply Attracting Residents

Charlotte Property Rental
As someone who is currently looking for a new apartment, let me tell you now that we don’t really care how much money you spend getting your listing up in different locations. All we care about is finding that perfect fit for ourselves. This is something that you can use to your advantage. It means that you don’t have to shell out anything but some of your time to get that one wonderful resident that you have been searching high and low for. Here are a few places that you can post your listing for no more than a couple of dollars and some time.
1. Your Apartment/Home Itself. This is one of those tried and true methods that have been used time and time again. It may be hard to remember just how well we all got along without technology, but people were able to find apartments without computers just by driving around where they wanted to move. Getting a yard sign and putting your number, the bedroom numbers, and how much the rent is will always get at least a few calls and may just lead to that one perfect resident.
2. Craigslist. This is one that I have been looking at myself over the past few days. Although some people will be hesitant due to the dark past some Craigslist articles have, it really is a great resource for you to use when you are trying to find someone to get into your rental property. What’s really great about this is people can filter out what they don’t want so you know that almost every inquiry can lead to a potential client.
3. Social Media. Sites like Facebook and Instagram are made for more than just cats and pictures of food. More and more people have begun to post their listings for rentals and such on these websites for their friends and followers to see. Although it is a newer idea, it has shown wonderful results for some of those who have taken that leap.
Two out of these three options are completely free and the other is only as expensive as the materials that you use. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure that you can get much cheaper than this. What low cost ways have you used to get your clients? Let us know!

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