Ice Cream Socials

Charlotte Properties
While for me ice cream socials bring up memories of school and a lot of bullying, I still enjoy the idea of them. If you own an apartment building or complex, then you probably have a lot of residents that don't know each other. While this may be the way some people want it, I know that personally I try to get to know all of my neighbors. I always feel awkward about knocking on their door or ringing their doorbell, though. This is when an activity such as an ice cream social comes into play.
Getting your apartment building to have an ice cream social is something that can benefit your residents in so many different ways. The main objective for me is to get a group of people who live close to one another together in the same spot for a good reason. It isn't something negative like a meeting to resolve an issue which will have high negative emotions, so people will generally be in a better mood to get to know their neighbors. This is always a good thing, since neighbors that know each other are more likely to look out for those who live close to them.
Let's look at another good point in support of an ice cream social: who doesn't like ice cream? Especially now with the appearance of lactose free ice cream, almost anyone can enjoy the glorious substance that children and elderly people alike seek out on hot days for a bit of refreshment. Even if you don't want to buy a bunch of ice cream, Italian ice is a wonderful alternative that almost everyone can enjoy. You can grab large amounts from a specialty store like Rita's, or single servings from your local grocery store for those who would rather not consume the ice cream for whatever their personal reason is.
In the summer, having something that gets your residents together may be difficult to organize but it is almost always worth it. Getting people to know each other is something that can really only be beneficial and again, almost everyone loves a cool flavored treat during the heat of the summer. In fact, I think I'm going to go get a popsicle. It's a great way to cool off and I still enjoy when my tongue turns different colors from them.

Filling a Temporary Vacancy

Talley Properties
Sometimes you find out about the perfect tenant. They are quiet, respectful, clean, and are looking for a new place to live that is exactly what you have to offer while still being in their price point. You want them to move in desperately. There's only one problem: their current lease isn't up for a few months and you need money from your rental property now. So what do you do? Should you take the loss and wait for them, or do you take your chances with finding another tenant and hope that you get someone as good as them? Thankfully, there is another option.
While most of the time we will suggest a minimum of one year for a lease, there are certain circumstances in which we will suggest a shorter one. This may very well be one of them. If the difference is only a month or so, then you may not want to bother, but if their lease is not up until October and it is only May or June, you may want to look into finding a temporary resident for the time being. This is perfectly fine if you do need the money from your rental property but really really want that other resident.
The only thing that we suggest is that you make it very clear from the beginning that this is strictly a temporary arrangement. Let your temporary resident know that they will not be able to renew the lease past a certain date and that you will need time between when they leave and when you rent to the other people. Make sure that your preferred tenants know this as well so they aren't surprised if they find small marks on the wall or smell fresh paint even though you said you had done it a few months before.
Having a temporary vacancy can be a bit of a headache for landlords, but there are ways to make the best out of it. You may even want to give a discounted rate to those who are filling the rental for the time since they will have to find another place so quickly. Whatever you decide, just remember to be open with your tenants. You certainly don't want any miscommunication between yourself and people that will be living in a building that you own.

Grills and Safety During the Summer

Charlotte Properties
Summer brings up thoughts of barbeques and ice pops in the backyard while you sit around with friends and have a great time. There's something magical about the taste of a burger that has been made on a grill, and I'm not sure what it is but I am sure that I enjoy it. In fact, most of us do. While having a backyard barbeque with a bunch of buddies can be a great day, there is a reason to be concerned about it. This is especially true if you are renting to someone.
While it may not be quite so concerning if you are renting out an entire house with the yard to people, you do still need to give some thought to a grill and the possibility of them doing this at your rental property. Often, these gatherings mean alcohol. While we always like to think those we rent to will be responsible with our property, alcohol can make people do some pretty crazy things. You always want to make sure that, if nothing else, there is good renter's insurance on your property just in case something goes wrong while you are not living there.
This is especially true if you are only renting an apartment out. For example, the apartment that I rent has a small balcony outside on the second floor. The downstairs neighbors have a grill and they say that a few years ago we would have been allowed to have one as well. We are not, however, due to fire restrictions. There is a very strict ban on any second floor residents grilling something over an open flame, even on the outside balcony. While it would be nice to be able to set up a small campground grill, we are not allowed and must respect that.
Something to think about when you are writing up your lease is what your residents are and are not allowed to do. This is a perfect example of something that you may not think of until after the lease is signed and closed. It is, however, a large safety concern for many different people. It may be better to suggest your residents go to a friend's house if they want to have a backyard cookout over the summer months.

Pool Safety

Charlotte Properties
If you have a rental property with a pool, you certainly have a great investment. While it may sound like a great idea to put a pool in for your residents, once you start looking you will likely notice how incredibly expensive it can be. This is not just to have one put in, but the upkeep as well. There are also many safety features you may want to include in your pool, especially if it is for a full building or complex. Here are a couple of them.
1. Phones. Have a landline phone at the pool that when picked up immediately connects to 911. While nearly everyone has cell phones today, the time it may take for someone to fish it out of a bag and dial could make quite a bit of difference.
2. First Aid Kit. This one is obvious, but keeping a fully stocked first aid kit is extremely important. Make sure that you have a CPR mask and any materials you may need to bandage or splint a bone. You may also want to include a backboard near the pool in case someone gets hurt and cannot be moved much.
3. No Diving Signs. It doesn't much matter where you are, you should probably have at least a couple of no diving signs around your pool. Even if you have diving boards at one end of the pool, you should always mark where it is and is not safe to dive.
4. Pool Rules. Always post a list of the pool rules in a visible area. You should also include emergency numbers and the phone number of the person or company that takes care of the pool for quick reference in case something happens.
5. Clean The Filter/Skimmer. Again, this seems logical, but it is always good to double check. My apartment complex had a professional company come in and when we checked the filter had not been cleaned and there were dead birds in the skimmer after they left. Always be sure everything is clean and safe.
Having a pool is a great luxury but also a large responsibility. Always be sure to keep on top of any maintenance the pool and water may need so that everyone can enjoy such a great way to keep cool during the summer months. Here at Talley Properties, we hope you get to enjoy your pool too!

Preventing Fires

Charlotte Properties
Fires are one of the most common reasons that people lose their housing. It is terrifying and often life changing when your place of residence catches fire. Many people lose everything and need to start over. This is why doing all you can to prevent this is important, even if you are not living in the house you own. Here are some tips to ask your renters to adhere to if you have a rental property.
1. Renters Insurance. It is always a good idea to make your tenants have renters insurance no matter what, but this is especially true in case of a fire. When a fire occurs, you both will likely lose a lot. Renters insurance can help to compensate your tenant for what they lost in the fire so that they don't try and get money from you and your insurance settlement. You will both need financial help. Make sure you are both in a position to get it.
2. Fire Detectors. I cannot stress this enough. You absolutely need to put fire detectors up in your rental property if you want people to live there. You should have them up no matter what, but it is generally the law to have them up if someone is residing in the building. These are incredibly important and should always be checked when someone moves out and before your next resident moves in. It also doesn't hurt to send your resident a regular reminder to change out their batteries twice a year. Many people do this when they change their clocks for Daylight Savings Time.
3. Escape Route. While this won't help to prevent a fire, making sure that your resident knows how to get out of their apartment or home in case of a fire is extremely important. This may just help save their life.
Helping your resident to prevent a fire is something that you should always do. While this may include going over basic fire safety rules or making sure their fire detectors work, it doesn't have to end there. There are dozens of things you can do to work with your tenant to make sure that every precaution is taken. After all, neither of you want to lose your home to something that is normally preventable.

Keeping Your Property Secure Part VIII

Charlotte Properties
Wow, we are so glad that these articles have been so successful! Many of you have written to us or let us know how much you have appreciated these little tips and we couldn't be happier! We want you to feel safe in your own home, and if we were able to help you achieve that feeling then we can truly feel that we have done our job. Here are a couple of parting ideas on how to keep your home or rental property secure during the summer months.
1. Install Security Cameras. One of the tips that many of you have noticed to be missing was this. Installing security cameras can make a world of difference to a criminal. If they think that they will have their face or likeness captured on camera, they will generally move onto the next house and leave yours alone. Although you can spend thousands of dollars on a system of security cameras, there is really no need. Going to a video store with these cameras or even ordering them offline can be remarkably cheap and will almost always be more than worth it. Even if you cannot currently afford a camera or are waiting for one to arrive, then you may be able to fashion a convincing false one until you can get a real one. You never know, it might just work.
2. Get A House Sitter. I cannot tell you how much money I used to make as a teenager house sitting during the summer for families of friends that went on vacation. I was always happy to go, as it meant that I had a house to myself to relax and could normally use anything they had, like a pool or other fun device. While you naturally want to find someone reliable, most teenagers will be more than happy to take some time away from their parents and have a house to themselves. This is especially good if you have pets so that you don't need to put them in a kennel. Just be sure to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on the place as well.
We are so pleased that you enjoyed these tips! If you have any that you have used and didn't see, please let us know so we can add them to any future articles and have a fun and safe summer!

Keeping Your Property Secure Part VII

Talley Properties
While criminals have become more high tech along with the rest of us, there are some things that we can do which require no technology at all. Some of these may even be able to protect us from becoming a hit for a burglar. These next couple of tips are completely technology free, but they do still help to deter criminals and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, why should we worry about how to use all of this new technology if we can just do a couple of easy things and get similar results?
1. Say Goodbye. One tip that many of us have used in the past is one that can still be used to help keep our homes safe. You can say goodbye to your house. Literally, wave at it and smile when you are leaving. This will give the illusion that you are waving to someone in the home and will generally make criminals less likely to try and break in. Naturally, if they can see that you aren't waving to anyone it may make them question you, but that may be useful as well. I can remember when I was younger that my father would always do this and we never had a problem. It's always worth a try.
2. Break Down Your Boxes. If you get new electronics or a new appliance and you normally put out your recycling, something you should always do first is to break down the cardboard from the boxes. By breaking them down and tearing them up, you are less likely to attract the attention of a criminal. After all, we are probably all a little guilty of watching a neighbor as they bring something bulky in out of curiosity to see what they got. Now imagine if a burglar does the exact same thing. Breaking these boxes down will help prevent people from knowing that you have a brand new, expensive device in your home.
While these tips may be older, there is a reason they have been used for so long. There is nothing wrong with a tried and true method like either of these. After all, if something isn't broken then why should you try to fix it?

Keeping Your Property Secure Part VI

Charlotte Properties
Keeping your home safe during the summer can be a lot of work. While we wish that we didn't have to write these articles, the unfortunate fact is that many people will do all they can to take advantage of others. This is true whether you know that you are being taken advantage of or not. Here are a couple of simple things that you can do to help deter criminals during the warmer months from breaking into your home and profiting off of your hard work.
1. Mow The Lawn. If you are in charge of the landscaping at your rental property, then mowing the lawn at regular intervals can help to reduce the risk of a break in. Often, criminals will look for signs that a house is not currently in use. One of the main signs of this is an unkempt lawn. An unmowed lawn, a garden full of weeds, wildflowers sprouting randomly, all of these things are like magnets to people with criminal intentions. Think of the local "party house" in your town. Most areas have a couple of buildings that are covered in graffiti and have most of the windows broken out of them. Look at the land around this building. Now do everything you can to make yours look like the exact opposite.
2. Take Out (Or In) The "Trash". If you are in the habit of leaving things outside, you may want to reconsider. Leaving things like ladders outside means that not only do you have something to take, but you're basically inviting a burglar in! Not only does it normally look less tasteful to leave a bunch of stuff outside that you normally see in a basement or garage, but they may turn into tools for someone to use to break into your home. Even if that doesn't happen, you still run the risk of having these things stolen since they are outside.
These are two simple things that you can do to help keep your home or rental property safe. Doing these costs little to no money and while they may be tiring, they are more than worth the safety that you get in return for the actions. Remember to check outside and try to see your home through the eyes of a criminal.

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