One of the most common issues that we hear about in property ownership and rentals is noise. When you have a large group of people all living together, there are bound to be problems between residents. Unfortunately, some of the most difficult things to resolve are also the most common. Different people have different ideas of what “excessive noise” really is, and most of us have experience with this as well. Driving down the road you can see a perfect example of what we mean. If you are stopped at a light and can hear the music clearly from another car, you will probably also see someone else giving that car a dirty look. The difference between acceptable noise levels and excessive ones can be thin, but it is always noticeable. Many towns have laws which explain what it means to have excessive noise. For example, my hometown had a regulation which stated that if you could hear the noise from twenty five feet away you could be cited on that infraction if it was at a residential property. While it was rare for the police to write someone a ticket for that, it did happen every now and then. If you are unsure how to regulate noise such as music or television program volume, this may be a good place for you to start. Having a large building with multiple people living in it may cause some complications with this issue. It is always more difficult when people are living in close quarters to keep quiet to everyone else’s preference. Not only do different people have different ideas of what volume is acceptable, but the discussion of white noise versus silence is always one that causes problems. Handling noise complaints is always a touchy problem as a landlord. The fact is that you normally don’t live in the area where the issue is occurring so you can’t always provide an acceptable answer. Sometimes the best you can do is suggest some carpets and earplugs. However it is always important, as with any complaint, to listen to both sides of the issue. At times it is better if you can provide an unbiased opinion and this may just be one of them. Ask other people in the area to see if it really is a widespread problem as well. You never know if others just didn’t want to lodge a complaint.
People always ask us what we think the best time of year to move is. This is always a difficult question for us to answer, as there is no one correct answer. After all, there are so many different circumstances for each person and each season that what works best for one person may not work at all for the next. However, since we have started the season of fall, let’s talk about how moving around this time of the year can be beneficial. After all, there are a lot of reasons why the fall is the best time of the year! One of the first things that we always like to mention in regards to moving is how common it is during each season. Most people move during the summer. This is due to things like kids changing schools and the weather being much nicer for moving. Moving days often require quite a bit of time outside and I’m not sure anyone enjoys having a wet mattress to sleep in for their first night in their new home, so the balance of nice days versus wet ones in the summer often seems to be relatively safe. However, that also means that there are more people competing for the rental units that are open during the summer. Landlords will have more choices and it therefore may be more difficult to get something locked down during those warm months. Once the weather cools off a bit, things tend to slow down so you might have a better chance starting in October. Speaking of the weather, the cooler temperatures can be beneficial when you are moving. Let’s face it, moving around heavy furniture is hard work. You sweat a lot when you’re moving stuff like that and if it’s in the heat of summer you may need to be careful of dehydration and heat related illnesses. While you still need to be careful in regards to overworking yourself and anyone helping you, it is normally a bit better when the ambient temperatures are lower. While each season has some benefits in regards to moving, each one also has their own drawbacks. It is important to weigh your options when you are able to and make an informed decision about moving. Give us a call and see how much of a difference relying on Talley can make when you’re getting ready for a change.
One of the least enjoyable parts about being a landlord is dealing with the complaints that are bound to happen from your tenants. While sometimes these complaints are completely understandable, others are a bit ridiculous, especially if you have an apartment building or complex where people can talk and spread false stories. The complex in which I live is currently experiencing this very thing. There are a couple of things that you can do to help relax people when they begin to complain about inconsequential or untrue things. Here are some of the things that you may want to try. 1. Call A Meeting. If there are enough complaints about a certain thing, you may want to have a meeting in which your residents can explain their issues with how things are going. While this normally is not a pleasant experience for you, often times it will help because your residents will feel like their voices have been heard and they can go back to what they normally do. Very often, people complain in groups not because there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, but because when humans start talking false accusations start to fly. While this is not meant to belittle any true problems that your residents may have, sometimes a meeting is all that you need to help them move on from whatever is bothering them at the current time. 2. Explain The Truth. Depending on the complaint, there may be people who get farther and farther away from the truth. Whether they mean to cause drama or are simply misinformed is something that must be addressed on a case by case basis, but the end result always needs to be the same. Your residents need to know the truth. Sometimes the truth is not what you would want to hear, but it is always better to be open with the people who are living in your rental space than hiding things from them or letting them continue to think certain things are true when they aren’t. These are two simple things that you can do when a renter complains. While they may seem obvious, it can be overwhelming when a bunch of people are complaining about something that you may have no control over. Stay tuned for some other ways to deal with people who complain in these situations.
One of the things that drives me crazy about apartment listings is a lack of pictures. Now that most listings are online, there is no reason for you to not at least attempt to snap a couple of pictures with your cell phone and upload them onto the website. Many of us use these pictures to decide if we want to go and see the apartment in person or not. In fact, many websites now have an option on the side where people can filter what they want in an apartment to only show ones that have pictures. If you have a lovely apartment, why would you not want to show it off? One of the most important things to remember about taking pictures of your apartment is to make it look like the apartment actually does. When I was looking for my first apartment, I had found a listing online that looked wonderful so I went to see it. It turns out that the pictures were from a different building and the apartment was a disaster with exposed wiring and holes in the floor. This is actually false advertising and may be considered illegal. Always be sure to only post pictures of the actual apartment that you are renting out. Lighting is everything in photography. Even if you know nothing about taking a good picture, letting in natural light will only ever help you. If the apartment does not have a large amount of natural light, then be sure to take pictures with plenty of lamps to help make that difference. People want to be able to see what their place will look like and that just can’t happen if there is no light. Do your best to make sure that your hands aren’t shaking when you take the photo as well. Blurry pictures are sometimes worse than no pictures simply because it can be aggravating knowing that the poster could not take the time to take a good picture. If your hands shake, there is nothing wrong with asking someone else to help you. You may also want to use something else to brace yourself against something to prevent excessive movement. Posting pictures will only ever help you in the search for your perfect tenant. Take a day or so to make up some great images to post online to go with your lovely property.
One of the most difficult things that you need to do as a rental property owner is get people to fill that rental property. It can take ages to find just the right person to get into your empty apartment and that just is not any good. You want to be able to move seamlessly from one tenant to the next, but this is something that almost never happens. There are a couple of things that you can do to make it a little easier on yourself, though. Here are some of the ideas that we have used to make sure that you are always receiving income from the rental area. 1. Month to Month Renting. Although this is not as reliable as a full lease, renting to someone from month to month is something that has its benefits. Recently while looking at apartment listings I saw one which was designed as an apartment that you could only stay in for a month or two. It requested that you be ready to move out again at the end of the month and is meant to be used as a temporary location until you find more permanent lodgings. This is something that you may be interested in doing at least for a month or two while you look for a good and solid tenant. 2. Cut A Friend A Break. Some people offer their empty apartments to a friend while they are looking for someone to stay there long term. This is mutually beneficial as it means the apartment is not empty and you may be getting at least some rent while your friend has a place to live. Sometimes this is used for those who have just gotten out of school or need a place to stay during the summer. I have also seen it done for new parents that sometimes need some time away while someone else babysits. It is less expensive than a hotel if you let them use it a couple of days out of the month and again at least you know the place isn’t always empty. There are many ways that you can get someone into your empty apartment even if it is only very short term. Let us know some of the methods that you have used before and maybe we will pass them onto others so we can all learn!
Very often, we find that people are wondering about renting out their apartment or rental property to apps like AirBNB. While we are not going to tell you not to do this, there are a couple of things we want you to think of first. Here are some of the pros and cons to renting out your area for shorter periods of time. Pros: 1. Quick Turnover. If you happen to get a tenant in your property that you don’t really like, then you know they are never going to stay there long. This means that you will be able to wash your hands of those people and move on to a better resident for the next time. 2. Reviews. Situations like these rental apps allow you to review tenants as well as get reviewed as a landlord. This is true whether you stay in the building while your visitors are there or not. As a landlord that has a long term lease, you may have people review you but it won’t reach as many people and may not help others to find out who the bad tenants are. Cons: 1. No Lease. While it may at first seem like this would be a good thing, as leases are expensive and tedious, this also means that there is little recourse in the event that something ends up happening. If you have a long term renter, you get to keep their security deposit. However, if something happens and you are only renting through an app like this, you won’t have the same protections that a lease provides. 2. Not Consistent. Having a rental through an app like this, while great for vacation areas during the travel months, is not a consistent source of income like a long term lease is. If you have someone renting for a full year, you know that you likely have income for the full year. If you are only renting a few days at a time, there is no assurance that you will have someone stay there the whole time. While temporary renting may be good in between other tenants, you really do need to take into account all of the possible outcomes. We only hope that you figure out what will work best for you.
No matter what you do, there will always be something that someone complains about. This may be something small like not being allowed to make more copies of the apartment keys, or it may be something completely unavoidable like a busted pipe behind the wall. This is especially true of older buildings or homes, as they do tend to have more issues with things like the plumbing and electrical. This will happen no matter how much renovation you do, as even brand new things can break down. What really matters is how you handle these complaints when they are presented to you. One of the first things that needs to be mentioned is that you should not get annoyed at your tenant for a legitimate complaint. For example, if it is the summer time and the air conditioner that you supplied does not work, that is something that your tenant may complain about. They will likely mention it to you and if this occurs, there is probably going to be annoyance from them as it is hot and finding out there is no refuge would get anyone angry. Firing back with more anger will not get much of anything done. Another thing that needs to be said is that you should always get back to these complaints as quickly as possible. Nothing is quite as aggravating as having a legitimate issue and not getting a response from someone as this is happening. While you may not think one of these complaints is really a problem, it most likely is if your tenant is mentioning it to you. While it is true that some people will complain just to complain, this is less common than most people will try to make you believe. While dealing with someone else’s complaint is not pleasant, it is something that you need to expect when you become a landlord. Hopefully there won’t be too many of them but you never know what is going to happen when a new tenant moves in, just like they won’t know what is going to happen when they move into a new place. Until things settle, the best thing that we can recommend is patience. Hopefully the complaints will calm down once your tenants settle into their new lives.
Summer is hot. While we all know this, it can sometimes seem like we forget just how hot it can get until it rolls around again. This week for example is going to see a heat wave for much of the northeast and there are advisories for a lot of locations. Given that this is the weekend before the Fourth of July, there is even more concern among those in the medical community in regards to heat related illnesses. One of the things that we recommend the most is to make sure that you can get into an area with air conditioning. If you own property, it is fairly necessary for you to have an air conditioner in the North Carolina summers. This holds true whether you own or rent your current residence. While there is no way for you to force your resident to use the air conditioner in your rental property, it is extremely important that you give them the option of it. Safe and clean air conditioners are imperative to the physical health of people given this area of the world during this time of the year. In fact, in 2016, 94 people died in America due to health related illnesses and Maryland has already recorded one for this year. It is certainly not something to put off. If your resident raises concerns about their air conditioner, you may need to fix or replace it yourself depending upon your lease. Remember that sometimes an air conditioner will still blow air out, but that doesn’t always mean that it cools. Listen to your resident when they talk about something like this, as it may be dangerous if they don’t have access to cooler air. This is true even if the air conditioner works well but there is something in it like mold. High levels of mold in the air can make a location uninhabitable and may cost you far more than the expense of a new air conditioner if it isn’t taken care of. Air conditioners are a necessity for many people, especially those at risk like the elderly or the very young. If you have a resident who doesn’t think that their air conditioner is working, listen to them and work together to get the issue resolved. After all, you would only need to deal with it the next year if you didn’t do so now.