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.

Keeping Your Property Secure Part V

Charlotte Properties
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.

Keeping Your Property Secure Part IV

Charlotte Properties
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.

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