If you are an owner and landlord to an apartment complex, you have a lot that you worry about. You worry about people paying rent on time, about people sticking to a pet policy or a visitor policy or maybe even a noise ordinance that you have in place for the complex. You also likely worry about the safety of the complex itself. This is arguably the most important thing to worry about. You need to make sure that the building stays safe. You need to make sure it's up to code, that the wiring is fine, that the sidewalks are even, and any stair railings are securely fastened. If your complex has a pool, you need to worry about those who may be swimming, about hiring a lifeguard if your township requires it, about keeping the water clean, and about dealing with any "accidents" kids may have quickly. It can get exhausting and if you focus on worrying about all of this, it can drive you slowly insane. Unfortunately, the list never seems to get smaller but really that's a good place to start. Make a list of things you need to keep an eye on. Start with the obvious things, like the sidewalks, railings, parking lots, etc. As you think of things, add them in. How are the lights around the complex? Do you have a laundry room, and if so is it clean, bright, and safe? Do you have a plan for winter with the snow and ice? Continue like this until you cannot think of any more. If you have a board for your complex, maybe create a Google Doc so others can add their concerns as well. If you aren't living in the complex, it may be difficult for you to notice the little things that the residents do like a dead tree or a beehive that has started to develop in a back corner. You never know what may pop up, but having a couple of people who are observant help you can go a long way. If you have a complex, you already have enough to worry about. Times like these are when Talley can help you the most. We take care of maintenance calls and many safety concerns. Focus on what you need to and leave the rest to us.
As I'm sure you know by now, there are terrible people in the world. This is simply a sad fact of life. Sometimes these people are horrible on a large scale, while others are content to simply be nasty to a few people for no known reason. While we may never know why people are like this, there are some ways to help you catch those who may be trying to rent from you under false terms. People who claim a rental under false circumstances end up being the downfall to many wonderful landlords. Even the most intelligent can be sucked in by someone who is a good con artist. People who are acting in a criminal nature can be very charming and manipulate others without anyone catching on. While not everyone who acts this way automatically becomes a criminal, there are a few things that should send up a red flag or two. Here are some tips to look out for. 1. Bringing Their Own Credit Report. In today's world, anyone can use a program that edits documents to the point that you may not be able to recognize it as fake. While some people who bring their report in are just trying to be nice and save a little money, it is always good to double check what the companies actually say about them. It's very possible they don't have a good credit history and are trying to hide that.
2. Cash Up Front. While having some cash up front isn't odd, you need to exercise caution and common sense. If your client is offering you six months' rent up front and is ready to move in immediately, you're going to want to check up on them. Most people don't carry that much money around and just because someone has a large lump sum doesn't mean they have a steady cash flow, which is what you should be looking for. Dig deeper into their work if someone gives you an offer like this, no matter how tempting it may be. We want to make sure that you are protected, especially at this time of the year. Always check up on people and make sure that they are who they say they are because you unfortunately just never know what someone is trying to do.
Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, many of us are going to start expecting packages to show up at our doors. The end of November is a common time to buy presents for the coming holidays and many people opt for either online shopping or have to have their items shipped to them due to the high demand of certain things in stores. Personally I am waiting for a total of five packages right now and believe me, I probably look like a kid pressing their face to the candy store window every time the UPS truck goes by. Even though only one of these packages is for me, I want to make sure that I get all of them. The unfortunate thing is that people have a horrible habit of being atrocious humans to each other. This includes stealing packages that are left on doorsteps which is a common practice at this time of the year. While some companies make you sign for boxes that won't fit in your mailbox, others will just leave them outside without even ringing your bell or knocking on your door. It doesn't matter how safe your neighborhood normally is, either. Criminals know that this time of the year is ripe for easy takings and will travel farther to check doorsteps and porches to grab those unattended boxes. If possible, we always suggest that you ask a neighbor who is home during the day to keep an eye on anything that may be delivered. They may even want to bring the package into their home until you arrive and can retrieve it. I know that my upstairs neighbor and I have an agreement that we bring any packages left on the stoop inside the front door to prevent theft. These simple things can help prevent you losing any presents that you meant to give. It is always difficult to make sure that your packages are safe during this time of the year, but keeping an eye on the tracking of your package can help cut down on the possibility of theft. Talk to your neighbors and see if you can help each other out as well. After all, that's what this time of the year is supposed to be all about.
Most places above a certain point in this country will experience at least one snow day during the winter. Where I grew up, we would be lucky if we only saw five or six. Often we would be in school for an extra half month due to the snow preventing the buses from running in our area. Although most work places won't close down as easily as schools do, every now and then you will get those storms which shut almost everything down. Those are the days that most kids dream about but most adults dread. If you have an apartment building or complex, you may be able to help the adults reconnect to their childhoods and enjoy their snow day just as much as the kids do. If you have a snow removal protocol that allows for people to stay on the property, then it is always a good idea to have a few activities planned in a common area so that either the kids in the complex can be taken care of while the adults move their cars or where everyone can have a good time while the snow continues to fall. A crowd favorite is always going to be hot chocolate and marshmallows. Getting these things doesn't have to be expensive and now you can even get hot chocolate with the marshmallows already included. Having a projector screen and a family friendly holiday movie such as The Polar Express or Santa Claus is Coming to Town is also a great idea. This will keep the children occupied and give everyone some time off of worrying about what they can do while snowed in. After all, isn't this starting to sound like a pretty good idea to do by yourself for a day or two? The great thing about this is it doesn't even have to be during an actual snow day. If you want, you can plan this to happen one of the weekends of this month as a community event. Having a place where everyone can get together and have a good time is always something that can be appreciated by your residents. It certainly doesn't hurt to save the idea for a rainy, or snowy, day though.
Every building has a limit to the amount of people that it can hold. This is normally set by a fire marshal, but if you own the building you can set that limit lower if you want. For example, most apartments that have one bedroom have a two person limit. During this time of year, many apartments will see more than two people in an apartment during the day or even for a couple of nights. I don't know a single landlord that would have an issue with this, especially when it comes to people visiting for the holidays. However, how long is too long to be over that set limit? During the holidays, most people travel to see their friends and family. This can involve going thousands of miles to see someone for a few days before going back home. Sometimes, however, they may stay for an extended period of time. This is common if someone is coming from overseas or if there are multiple events that are spread over a comparatively short amount of time. For example, a friend of mine is flying from Scotland where she now lives to Texas so that she can spend Christmas with her daughter. She will then stay with her for another almost two months until her daughter's child is born. Staying that long in a hotel is not only uncomfortable for most, but also extremely expensive. However, is it okay to have a resident of yours have a guest for that long? We cannot answer this question for you as we do not have the special circumstances that are keeping your resident's guest there for an extended period of time. We don't even know if you would necessarily know if this was happening depending on how often you go over to check on your residents. However, it is something to think about. Just how long is too long to have someone staying in your rental property when they aren't on the lease? With the new year starting, it may be something you start to consider if you have a resident with a guest who is "only there until they get on their feet". Each situation is different, but sometimes changes do need to be made.
Many people looking to rent believe that it is easier to find a rental during the winter months. The thought is that fewer people are going to be moving around the end of the year, which means that any apartments that have been left from the summer and fall will not be picked up around the holidays.. While this seems logical, is there actually any truth to it? Actually, according to a study done by RentHop.com, there most certainly is. The study followed the average rent of a one bedroom apartment in ten different large areas. The results showed that from November through to April, there was a significant decrease in the amount of rent paid in every single city they checked. Even New York City, which is widely regarded as the most rented out city in the country had a difference of around $140 a month. When you take into consideration the fact that rent in New York City is some of the highest in the country no matter when or where in the city you look, this is an incredible piece of information. Each of the other cities followed suit to varying degrees. There were few exceptions in this study, however Charlotte, NC was one of them. Interestingly enough, the rentals in your area don't follow this pattern. While the rent was calculated at the highest in August, the second highest month was January. November was actually the cheapest month on average to move to Charlotte, followed by December. There is actually a two and a half percent increase in rental prices between December and January. Unfortunately we don't really have any reason why this occurred in North Carolina. As property owners in this state, you may have noticed the trend yourself. This may be due to the milder weather seen in your area as opposed to other locations, but even Miami, FL and Atlanta, GA followed this pattern. Knowing this, however, you can adjust your rent appropriately. You may also just want to wait a month or so for someone to come to check out your apartment. Ask around and see if anyone else has noticed this and what they do about it. Sometimes things are just different in some places and there's nothing we can do about it.
This year more than most, we have seen some horrible natural disasters. We have also seen some pretty terrible man made ones as well, however it is often scarier to think about what nature can do to us if it does so choose. Hurricanes like those we have seen this season are supposedly rare, however we had two or three back to back with the season still not technically over. What can you, as a property owner, do to help your tenants prepare for situations like these? Here are a few ideas for you to think about in regards to being well prepared. 1. Have An Escape Plan. Whether you are talking about a state evacuation plan or simply how to easily get out of the apartment, you should always encourage your tenant to have an escape plan. Things like fires can happen in the blink of an eye and it can be difficult to think in the moment if you have not prepared for it. Although in an emergency like a fire there is nothing you can do to help your tenant, it certainly doesn't hurt to have them think about what they can do if these things were to occur. 2. Have an Emergency Kit. One of my friends who has a few rental properties always includes an emergency kit when a new tenant moves in. This consists of extra batteries, a hand powered radio, a first aid kit, emergency numbers, and a few other things. While none of them have ever been needed, thankfully, most tenants take them along when they move due to how important having these things on hand is. Many landlords like to give their tenants moving in a small gift, but something like this is often far more appreciated than anything else due to its practical nature. Having these kits also may help the tenant to think of what they will need to purchase if they leave it when they move. We never want to think about what we would do in an emergency, but it is something that really does need to be considered. Having a plan is half of the battle when it comes to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. These are only two ideas to help you prepare for these disasters, but they are a good place to start.
Now that the holidays are upon us, there are a few very serious points we want to touch on. According to the Red Cross, almost 47,000 fires occur during the holiday season and claim around 500 lives each year. There are also around 2,200 injuries from these fires and they end up costing around $554 million in damages. This is something that happens every year and we all need to do our best to ensure that these numbers go down. Some of you may have heard about the large fire in Cambridge, MA that occurred only a little while ago. Unfortunately, around this time of year that is not an uncommon headline. The Red Cross states that candle fires are four times more likely to happen during the winter holiday season. Always be sure to keep an eye on any candles that may be burning and never leave them unattended, even for a second. If you are leaving the room, be sure to blow them out and the second you start to feel drowsy from all the food or eggnog, make sure they are all extinguished. Also, never let kids play with fire, matches, lighters, or candles. An average of 40 house fires a day are caused by children playing unsupervised. The Red Cross suggests making sure that any decorations are placed at least three feet away from any open flame or radiator. If you have a real tree, be sure to keep good care of it, as on average, one out of every 22 fires that start because of a tree result in at least one death. Make sure they are kept watered and the needles are nice and green. Make sure that any lights you use are in good condition and that the wires are properly insulated. Never use live candles to decorate a tree, as again they are very flammable. Make sure that your tree, real or fake, is kept in a solid stand that will prevent it from tipping over. Keep children and pets away from the tree to help reduce the risk of damage and fire. Always turn off or unplug all lights before you leave home or go to bed as well. Most importantly, make sure your smoke detectors are working correctly! They can reduce your risk of fire related death by half. The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, however they can also be dangerous. Please keep these safety tips in mind to keep your season from turning into something you'd rather forget.