Due to the success of our previous articles on this subject, we are continuing our tips and helpful hints on how to keep your rental property or home safe from criminals this summer. We know that they are smart, but we aim to help you be one step ahead and will do all we can to make sure that no one breaks into your house while you are away, or even worse, while you are home! Here are a couple of ideas that you can use to keep the criminal classes away. 1. Motion Sensor Monitor. While these can be a bit expensive, they are certainly worth it. Much like home security systems, they need to be installed and activated, however some do not cost nearly as much as other systems. For example, after a quick web search I was able to find one monitor that was $199, the price of installation for most home security systems, and no monthly fee. This monitor can be placed over your door or other access point and can be controlled through your smart phone. This specific one also has a camera so that you can watch what is going on. If wanted you can turn it off or if you notice someone there that shouldn't be, a loud alarm can be issued from the device. If you ask me, that's a pretty good deal! 2. Strengthen Door Jams. If you have an older home, then you may be concerned about how much protection your locks will give you. If you head into your local hardware store, then the chances are that you can purchase and easily install something that will reinforce those door jams to give you some extra peace of mind when it comes to just how useful your locks are. Even if you can't find something you like, there are some heavy duty locks that you may be interested in installing that work much better than a standard deadbolt. If you have a rental property and cannot use either of these, you may be able to find a stick-on alarm system that emits a shrill sound if the door is opened. While these two tips will cost you money, the sense of security that you will get from the purchase is priceless. Never cheap out on your own safety.
By now, you have probably seen at least one of the other articles we have posted about how to keep your property safe during the summer. This is not legal advice, but is simply meant to help combat the rise of crime that you may see in your area. The summer is a common time to have a break in and we want to help you do all you can to prevent it from happening to you. Here are a couple of things you can do to keep your home safe. 1. Wood Is Wonderful. If you have windows or sliding glass doors, you have an easy entry point. Burglars will look for these kinds of things to see if they can find a way into your home and wreak havoc on you to find. Unfortunately it doesn't matter if you keep them locked or not, as many criminals know how to unlock them from the outside. If they are always unlocked (as often happens in the heat of summer) this is even better. If you are away from home, try putting pieces of wood along the tracks of the windows or sliding doors so that even if someone can get them unlocked, they cannot get them open. You can purchase wood in almost any hardware store and even some craft stores and it is not expensive. 2. Hide Your Valuables. While this tip seems obvious, many of us don't think twice about leaving our computer out or our televisions up. While we aren't saying that you should hide these items every time you leave your house, we do want you to start thinking about some of the other things that you leave in view. This might include a tablet, a camera, some jewelry, etc. There are dozens of ways to hide anything of real value and even small things like puzzle boxes may be useful. Look online for some easy DIY tips and products to hide what matters to you. We have had quite a few requests for more of these articles, so keep your eyes out for some more tips on how to effectively protect your property during the warmer months. Just remember that sometimes criminals are craftier than we give them credit for.
During the summer, we always see news pieces on how to protect your home from criminals. While no method is foolproof, there are some things that you can do to protect your property that you may not have thought of before. I don't know about you, but when I think of a secure home I generally think of firearms and large dogs. Depending on your location however, both may not be options. Here are some things that almost always will be an option to keep yourself safe. 1. Timers. Timers are some of the best things that you can buy yourself if you want to stay safe during the summer. Often times, burglars will look to see if there are any lights on in a house or if a television is on. This is because generally if no one is home, these won't be on. This is exactly why timers are important. If you purchase timers, you can set them to go on at a certain time each night so it looks like someone is always home. You may even want to attach one to a television so that it gives an extra sense of truth. There are timers that work through your cell phone as well so you can turn them on at a different time every night, as you generally would if you were home. 2. Be Sneaky. If you are going on a trip, it is always best not to broadcast it. While some people say that you shouldn't post anything online about being on vacation, this is only one option. One thing I always do if I am traveling is wait until night to pack my car. This means that anyone driving by generally won't see that I am getting ready to leave. I also either ask a neighbor to bring in my mail or put a hold on it at the post office. By reducing signs that you are getting ready to leave or are gone, you also reduce the chances of having a break in. These are two simple and cheap ways to help combat the burglar in your area. While they won't always work, it is always better to do as many things as possible to help keep your house safe.
Since the spring is now slowly slipping into summer, we wanted to send a few ideas your way about how to keep your property safe. Statistically, the summer and the holidays are the two most popular times of the year for burglaries, and these often leave you with bills and a broken sense of security. This is especially true if you have properties that you rent out. Not only do you want to keep your investment safe, but your tenants as well. Here are a couple of ideas about how you can keep both of these without having to worry. 1. Security Systems. Of course installing a security system is going to be one of the best ways to keep everyone and everything in your home safe. However, sometimes this isn't always a possibility. This may be due to location, money, or a number of other factors. However, if you are able to install a security system, we highly recommend it. Ones that automatically call emergency response are more expensive, but they are often the best ones to have in the event of a break in. 2. Fake Security Systems. A trick that many people use is to pretend that you have a security system. This can be achieved by putting a security system sticker in your window or a small box on the wall that is within view of a window which looks like an alarm center. Often, this will deter criminals from trying to break into your home and it doesn't cost anything. While we do not suggest this as a permanent solution, it is always something you can consider as a temporary or last minute deterrent. Just don't be too surprised if someone doesn't fall for it and does end up breaking in. It is unfortunate, but the real thing is always better. These are two super easy ways that you can help to keep your property safer than doing nothing. As we said, a security system will always be your best bet, however we do understand that these aren't always an option. Check back soon to see other things that you can do to secure your home during the summer while you are relaxing on a beach far away.
Now that the weather is warming up, many of us are thinking and planning our vacations. Going to the beach, visiting family, or even just taking a couple of days away is something that we all look forward to after the winter each year. Hopefully you are in a position to take a nice, well deserved trip and are currently making plans or looking forward to something that has already been decided upon. Unfortunately, there is another thing that many of us need to think about over the summer. Thieves. Late spring and summer is the time that most burglaries occur. This is because criminals know that you are looking forward to leaving and may even be watching your home to see when you are gone. It often happens that burglars will even break into an area while you are at work, as rarely they will choose a location at random. While not every break in is preventable, there are some things that you can do to help combat any criminal activity that may occur at your home. One of the best things that you can do is let your neighbors know that you are leaving for a couple of days. This way they can keep an eye on your home while you are away and report any unusual activity to either you or the police. If someone notices that there is movement in your house and they know you are away, then they know the chances are that it isn't you. This means that they may be able to thwart a burglary and it may actually protect your belongings. Even if all they do is bring in your mail, it can help to keep a target off of your home from the prying eyes of criminals. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be explaining a few ways that you can protect your property from people that have negative ideas. These articles will help you get ideas about how you can keep your possessions and home safe, even during this time of the year. It may also be a good idea to pass these along to your tenants, as you want to keep them and your rental properties safe as well.
Previously, we gave you a couple of tips on how to attract good residents for your rental property. Not every tip works for every landlord or location, however, and so we want to give you a couple more pointers on how to get the exact type of resident you are looking for into your apartment. Hopefully at least one of these will find you the perfect tenant. Be Professional Yet Excited. When you are showing off your apartment to a prospective tenant, you need to remember that you are selling something. You wouldn't work at a department store or a used car lot and be completely uninterested whether or not someone buys something. The same applies with your rental property. You are trying to sell your space above all others that this person has seen or will see. While we don't suggest jumping around like you've just won the lottery, you should at least appear to be excited about renting out the apartment. People will specifically look at whether or not you seem happy when you walk into the area and will base much of their feeling about the apartment upon your reactions to it. Be sure to keep their interest up with your energy. Upkeep and Maintenance. I recently went searching for a new apartment and can tell you that this certainly needs to be mentioned. Keeping your building looking good and being structurally sound is something that should be common sense but sadly is not always. For example, one apartment I looked at was on the fourth floor of a building and had a hole in the floor of the bedroom. Things like this are not acceptable to most tenants, especially if you are trying to charge the same amount as other apartments. Having good curb appeal can go a long way as well, so make sure to keep the grass cut and maybe plant some flowers. You should certainly make sure that there are no holes or exposed wiring in your apartment. These are two very simple ways to get someone interested in your rental property. While they may seem basic, you would be amazed at how many times we hear experiences that speak to the opposite of these ideals. Always exercise common sense when looking for a new tenant.
Smoking can be a very touchy subject to some people. This is especially true when it comes to the right to smoke in their own homes. While some states have introduced laws which restrict the places people can smoke based upon the presence of children, there are no such laws that I am aware of which restrict the ability to smoke within your own home. What happens when it isn't your home, though? This is where the case of smoking tenants versus landlords can come into play, and it often isn't pretty. While many smokers are considerate about their usage, there are unfortunately some that do not understand why others want nothing to do with it. While I won't go into some of the frankly horrible interactions I have had with these types of smokers, I will say that when it comes to having them in a rental property or apartment building it really can be a messy situation. At the root of the situation, the decision is yours. It is your property and if you state that you do not want your resident smoking in it, then that's that. However, sometimes people will smoke anyway. What do you do in this situation? Well, one thing that we always suggest is to have a clause in the lease similar to a hotel room that is non-smoking. State that if someone is found smoking or there is probable cause to believe that smoking has gone on in the apartment, a fine will be charged to the resident(s). This is something that will hopefully discourage anyone from going behind your back and filling the area with smoke. While allowing smoking in your building may allow a wider range of people to rent from you, you will need to think long term. Smoke can seep into wood and walls and can cause a smell to reappear years down the line, especially when the temperature warms up quickly. I periodically have to open all of my cabinets and air them out because the last resident in my apartment smoked heavily and the smell was trapped. There is more to allowing smoking than just what is happening in the moment. While it is your choice, make sure that you have thought of the outcome of each decision before settling on whether you allow smoking or not.
Cash for keys is a concept which is hotly debated around landlord and property investment circles, however we wanted to educate you on this idea. The whole point of cash for keys is to avoid the process of an eviction. This is because the process is expensive and time consuming. Not only are you losing money by having to pay an attorney to evict your tenant, but you are not able to move anyone else into the apartment until they have left which means you are likely losing out on money hand over fist. This is how it works. The first thing you would do in a cash for keys situation is explain to your tenant what is happening. Explain that you want them to move out and if they do not, you will evict them. Let them know how an eviction can harm them in the future and explain that it will likely be expensive for both of you. This is why you will pay them a certain amount to move out now. This amount can be whatever you decide, however it is often suggested that somewhere around $400 or $500 will do the trick. Next, explain that you want the apartment cleaned and any repairs done or paid for by the time they are ready to leave. Let them know what date you want them gone by. Make sure that you give them enough time to get everything out, but not too much so that they could do more damage. Always give them a notice, as this would be the first step in an eviction as well. Keep a copy for yourself. Once they have moved their things out and cleaned, go in to inspect the property with them to make sure it is in the condition you asked. Take pictures of how it looks. Now all you need to do is have them sign paperwork that states that they are officially moved out and you can hand over whatever amount of money you agreed to pay them. While this may seem odd to pay someone to leave your own property, it is often much cheaper than going through the full eviction process and helps your tenant out as well. Let us know what you think about this concept and if you have ever used it.