What Should I Pay?

What Should I Pay?

When it comes to renting an apartment, there is one thing that is more important than any other question: can I afford this? While you may look at a rent number and know that your monthly check would cover it, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is not budgeting correctly. How can you know if you’re paying the right amount? While rent can be complicated to figure out, there is a general rule of thumb that you can follow to make sure that you are paying a good price for your rent while still leaving enough money in the bank for everything else you need from day to day.

Most financial experts say that you should spend about 30% of your monthly income before taxes on rent. Some landlords will require you to make three to four times the amount of rent in a month, but these numbers are often fairly close, so you can understand the approximate ratio between intake and rent payments. This is because you still need to afford things like utilities, food, entertainment, and still hopefully have enough to put away a little each month in case of emergencies or to fill up your savings account.

When it comes to making sure you make enough to pay rent and still have money left for other things, it is important to write out a budget. Many people find it beneficial to work backwards from amounts that they know they already have to pay to find how much rent they can afford. This means that if you track how much you spend on food, entertainment, and other things in a month and add that to approximate utility costs and see what is left over from your monthly budget, you may have an easier time. If this matches the 25-30% figure, then that’s perfect!

Here at Talley, we know how important having a place to live is. There isn’t much that can compare with the feeling of having a space that is your own, even if you are renting it from another person. We know that everyone’s financial situation is different which is why we have listings that hit multiple price points. We want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to have their own place, so take a look at what we have to offer and see if any of them will work for you!

Things to Check

Things to Check

When you move into a new apartment, there are some things that you just don't expect to have to check. While there are also things that you really can't check, there are certainly a few quick glances that you can give something when you are viewing the place for the first time or right after you move in. It may seem silly to check some of these, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Here are some of our main check points:

1. Water Pressure/Temperature Regulation. This is often difficult to check when viewing an apartment, but checking the water pressure and temperature can tell you a lot about what it will be like living there. Everything from doing the dishes to showering can be made easy or miserable by these two factors. Even things like quickly flushing the toilet or making sure the sink drains is a good idea when first looking at an apartment. It can be frustrating dealing with plumbing issues, but it's always better to get it out of the way early.

2. Mold. This one seems obvious, but it can be sneaky. After all, you don't really expect there to be mold in a place when you're first moving in! However, mold can be sneaky and hide in all kinds of places. Bathrooms and basements are common culprits, but don't forget to check in air conditioner filters and under the kitchen sink as well. You definitely don't want to get a face full of mold spores the first time you turn the air conditioner on in the summer!

3. Floors. While there isn't much you can do in the event of this issue, checking to make sure that you don't have severely creaky floors is always a good idea. This is especially true if you are on an upper level and have someone living under you. We know that you can't really replace the floors so that they don't creak, it can at least inform you about how heavily you may be able to walk without possibly disturbing someone living under you. If you're someone who doesn't like loud floorboards, it may be best to test high traffic areas and see if you can deal with the noise.

Moving into a new apartment can be exciting, but there are always things that you should keep in mind. Check out Talley's available listings and see what property we have up for rent will be perfect for you!

Tenant Turnover

Tenant Turnover

Getting someone new to move into your rental property is always stressful. This is especially true if there are multiple months between your residents. You often rely on your tenants to help you pay things like association fees or taxes, so the longer no one is living there and paying rent, the more money is coming out of your own pocket. Having a fast turnover between one resident and the next is extremely important if you are trying to make money on your extra property, so here are a couple of ideas for a short turnover period.

1. Ask Your Current Resident. One method that some landlords use is to ask their current tenant if they know anyone who is looking for a place to live. Generally, a person who is renting will know other people who are in similar situations with housing. This means that they might know someone looking to move into the area, a location closer to their job, lower rent payments, etc. You might even want to offer an incentive for your tenant to find someone to replace them, such as a discount on the last month of rent or some free boxes to help them move. While you still have to screen the new person, you won’t have to find them yourself, which can save a lot of time.

2. Start Advertising Early. If you know that your resident is going to move out by a certain date, start advertising as soon as you can. While this may be difficult when you have to get people into the apartment to see it, it is always best to start looking early. You might want to show pictures or walk-through videos from before your current tenant moved in to give the new person an idea of what it looks like. You can also ask your tenants if they are okay with someone coming in and looking at the apartment while they are getting ready to move out.

 Having a short turnover time is so important when you are a rental property owner. While you may need to take a couple of days to clean everything to your liking or paint the apartment, it is always best to have someone already lined up to move in as soon as possible. If you need help getting someone, call Talley so we can help you list your apartment and find you the perfect tenant!

Roommates

Roommates

Taking in roommates is a common practice for people who are looking for housing that they might not be able to afford by themselves. Although the dream is normally to have your own apartment without someone else unless you’re romantically involved, this isn’t always an option when you take into account where you live and work. We often see friends moving in together and splitting the costs of housing in order to make ends meet. This is a perfectly viable option and if you haven’t thought of it before, here are some reasons why you might want to.

1. Reduced Costs. Although a two bedroom obviously costs more than a one bedroom, the difference is often much less than the difference in price between two individual apartments. For example, a quick search in the Charlotte area can find apartment buildings where a one bedroom unit costs $1,060 while a two bedroom costs $1,360. While that $300 difference may be too steep for one person to make up on their own, two people can likely pay for that with ease if they have similar incomes. It also means that instead of paying $1,060 on their own, they can have their shared apartment for $680 per person. That means that they both are saving $380 a month if you compare it to them each having their own apartment. The concept is similar to bundling insurance policies to get a reduced rate, just with housing instead.

2. Safety In Numbers. Even if both people work the same hours, they likely won’t do everything together. This means that it is more likely that someone will be home even if one person is gone. If something goes wrong, the chances that someone will catch it early are much higher than if someone is living alone, especially if that person works a lot.

3. Friendship. Having a friend with you most of the time can be extremely helpful if you have a bad day or even just need a favor. Humans generally like to have someone else near them that they can count on, and having a roommate almost assures that. There's nothing wrong with needing someone around, and this is one way for that to happen.

While getting a roommate isn’t for everyone, it certainly has its benefits. You may want to consider asking some friends if they are looking for new places to live if you are thinking of moving and see just how much of a difference it can make in the places you can move to!

Maintenance Calls

Maintenance Calls

No one wants to get a call from their tenant saying there’s an emergency, such as a leak in the bathroom. This is just a fact of life. I can guarantee you that no one wants to have to make that call either. Unfortunately, issues like these don’t like to plan themselves for a time that is convenient for you. I'm sure anyone can tell you from personal experience that the only time something seems to break is right before you need to use it for something that simply cannot wait or when no one will be able to come out to fix it quickly. Maintenance issues are, at their best, inconvenient and at the worst, completely impossible to work around or through.

Just this morning, I noticed that there was water behind the toilet in my apartment. I made a note of this and went to take a shower so I could start my day. However, upon attempting to shower, I discovered that the tub was not draining at all. This hadn't been a problem last night, so I quickly finished my morning routine and went online. I filled out a maintenance order and within 20 minutes, a couple of the workers were there to check it out. Over five hours later, they were finally able to leave after discovering that the main water line to the building had become clogged and backed everything up. This was definitely not how I expected to spend my day, but things like this are why maintenance need to be available quickly.

As a property owner, you obviously want to do everything you can to mitigate any possible damage done to your building. This means that you always need to be able to be reached if something like a clogged pipe happens. However, life does happen and you can’t be available 24/7. That is why you need a little bit of help.

Talley knows how difficult it can be to balance being on call for your rental property and being able to enjoy your life and family. That is why we offer emergency maintenance monitoring all day every day for everyone who lives in one of the properties that we manage. When you work with Talley, we do everything we can to make your life easier when it comes to your rental properties. Give us a call today and see what else we can help you with. You can rest easy when you have Talley helping you out!

Amenities

Amenities

When it comes to someone who wants to rent a new apartment, it's all about the location and the amenities. While you can’t do much to change the location of your rental property, you do have some freedom when it comes to what amenities you can offer. You may not be able to do much to change the availability of a pool or offer extra parking, but you can almost certainly be flexible on small and large appliances. Amenities are one of the biggest things that will get your rental property noticed, so it is always important to see what people are currentlly looking for in their homes.

Laundry is the amenity that people focus on the most. Let’s face it, no one wants to pay even more for their laundry per load when they're already renting an apartment. Lugging all of your dirty clothes halfway across town to a laundromat when you could be doing other chores is inconvenient at best and nearly impossible at worst. Even dealing with communal laundry rooms can be frustrating, as these are often coin operated and it may not always be easy for your tenants to find the coins to do their wash.. If you have the option to have the washer and dryer hookups in your unit, you will probably have a better shot at renting out your apartment, even if you don't provide the appliances yourself.

Other amenities that you likely have control over generally include things in the kitchen. An updated refrigerator, stove, and microwave can really help your unit get rented quickly. Even something that isn't necessary like a dishwasher can tip the scales for someone who either doesn't like doing the dishes or is unable to do them for any number of reasons. Never underestimate the difference that something that seems frivolous or optional to you can make to people who are looking to move. It may just be a mandatory thing on their checklist.

While it can be a pleasant surprise to view an apartment and see some of these amenities included, it is always good to actually list everything that can be seen as a benefit in your unit. It is also important that they are clean and working. There are few things more frustrating than moving into a new place and having to get major appliances replaced, especially if they were a main factor in your choosing that location. Let Talley find you the perfect tenant while you see what amenities you can offer!

Virtual Meetings

Virtual Meetings

Right now, almost every facet of our lives has been thrown into flux. Nothing is quite what we had ever expected it to be and things are definitely confusing. Regardless of your stance on things, the fact remains that some people are doing what they can to take extra precautions to help prevent any sort of illness. This even includes the standard sicknesses we see every year as flu season begins to show up again. However, with all of this happening there are a few good things that have come out of it all that can really help you and any possible future tenants you may be interested in.

One of the things that we have seen explode lately is the use of online meeting places. Programs that allow for video conferences are booming and it isn't difficult to see why. In fact, it may seem odd that we never used these things before! People are using them for everything from school to family meetings to game nights with friends, and there's nothing saying that you can't use them too. As a person who owns at least one rental property, you need to find someone to rent it out. It may be much easier to find the time to have a virtual meeting with someone that is interested in your unit than it would be to have a traditional, in person meeting.

When it comes to different kinds of meetings, it can't hurt you to be flexible. Sometimes people are moving from far away or they have other reasons why travel may be difficult. Requiring an in person meeting may be the reason that you lose out on an otherwise wonderful tenant. This often happens when people are made to move for work and need to go several states away. Although we understand how important it is to get things like signatures and such, even that can be done electronically now. Technology has progressed to a point where this is an option, so there's no reason to not explore it!

If you are a rental property owner, we suggest giving some thought to the possibility of allowing virtual meetings. You never know when you're going to find a great tenant who simply can't meet with you in person for a completely viable reason. If you allow a virtual meeting to take the place of an in person one, you may just find the best tenant you have ever had, so give it a try today!

Utilities

Utilities

One of the most tiring and exhausting things about moving into a new apartment is switching the utilities over to your name. If you live alone and work in an office, or if everyone who lives with you works out of the home, it can be even worse. You are required to be home when the technician comes to set up your internet or if someone needs to do a fire inspection. Often times, things like fire inspections are difficult because they will give you a span of time (which can cover multiple days depending on the size of your apartment complex) and tell you that you must be home for it. Most people cannot afford to take time off of work like this, but we also have to try and be in both places at once. There are some ways you can get a bunch of stuff done with minimal impact to your job. Here are some of our suggestions.

It is important that all of your utilities get transferred as soon as possible. We always suggest calling the internet and cable/satellite company a couple of days before your move so you can set up an appointment for a day right after you move in for them to come and do everything. It is often too hectic to do it on the actual moving day, but depending on your situation you may be able to get them in ahead of everything else so you don't have to spend time without your connections or take time off of work so they can get everything up and running. If you need to take a day off of work, you can deal with most of the transfers at once. Spend that day putting your name on the electric, talk to the main office, and do whatever else it is that you need to do. Then reward yourself with a treat and some relaxation before going back to work the next day.

Moving is never easy, but even once your boxes are in your new home, your work isn’t done. While it may not be physically exhausting to make a bunch of phone calls, it can be just as tiring to listen to a full day of automated menus trying to get control of your own lights. While we know that it doesn't make it easier, it is always better to get it done quickly. Always make a plan for your utilities!

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