Len and Leslie Marma's Blog
Finding an apartment or a house that you can afford to rent can take a lot of stress off of you. If the actual apartment or house that you move into looks as beautiful as the model that the landlord or leasing agent showed you,count yourself as fortunate.
The fact is, unless you’re renting a place that has been fully upgraded or newly built, the actual space that you live in probably won’t look half as attractive as the model you were shown, the seemingly perfect unit that you based your decision on where to rent on. That happens with many rental units.
Protect yourself from renting from a rogue landlord
Instead of getting a unit that mirrors the model, you could step into areal estate nightmare. Notice two or more of the below signs where you rent, and it might be time to move.
Structural damages like cracked ceilings, water stains on the walls and discolored carpeting are signs that you’ll likely notice immediately if you move into a rental unit that has been properly maintained. Report these conditions immediately, as they could indicate that there is further damage to the property. Even if you don’t move out, you don’t want the landlord to hold you responsible for the damages. Other signs that you could be dealing with a rogue landlord include:
- Poor to no heat in the apartment or house that you’re renting – And it’s not just that there is no heat or poor heating. When you alert the landlord, she does nothing to repair or replace the heating system.
- Inadequate air conditioning – If you’re paying for central air conditioning or a window air conditioner that the landlord owns, those systems should function properly. A good landlord will make sure that all systems are operating adequately before you move in.
- Unsafe drinking and bathing water – Brown water could indicate that the water is contaminated with a chemical or rust. A rogue landlord may keep telling you that the water will eventually clear on its own.He may also indicate that you have to just deal with the unclean water.
- Mold – Mold can cause you and your family to become ill. Spot mold at your rental unit and you’ll know that the landlord has not been ensuring that the unit is cleaned between leases or as one tenant moves out and another tenant moves in.
- Pests – Cock roaches should not be your co-tenants. Neither should ants, rats, mice or termites.
- Lack of exterior building lights – Poor exterior lighting can attract people who choose to commit crimes. A rogue landlord won’t care enough about your safety to install good lighting, security cameras or an alarm system.
- No interior safety lights in stairwells – If you rent an apartment that has an exterior stairway, this area should be lit when it gets dark.
- Rising rents that are too high to be competitive with area markets – A rogue landlord might raise your rent with short notice. They also might raise rents until the rent is no longer competitive with the market or the type of apartment or house you’re renting.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from a rogue landlord is to thoroughly review a lease agreement. There are several details to include in a rental lease. To protect yourself, in general, you’ll want to make sure that the lease agreement is in writing, and that the agreement indicates who is responsible for repairs. Also, make sure that the written lease agreement states when rents could increase and how much notice must be given before the landlord raises the rent. And ensure that the written agreement states how much the security deposit is, under what conditions the deposit can be withheld and how many days after you move out the security deposit will be refunded to you.
The bad news about selling your home is that there are dozens of mistakes you might make that could result in a lost sale, unnecessary price reductions, and delays in finding a buyer.
The good news is that the vast majority of seller mistakes are completely avoidable -- especially when you have an experienced real estate agent guiding you through the process and providing you with ongoing advice and marketing assistance.
Pricing and Perception
Setting too high of a price for your home is a common mistake -- one that's often difficult to recover from. Since "the clock is ticking" from the moment your home officially goes on the market, it's important to make the most of those first few weeks.
House hunters are often strongly attracted to homes that are advertised as being "just on the market." Those words can be very compelling because they imply newness, a limited opportunity, and scarcity. As the advertising industry has known for generations, consumers are drawn to products and services that are new, fresh, and in demand. However, just like yesterday's news or day-old bread, the longer a house is on the market, the less appealing it becomes.
According to a Zillow study, homes for sale priced around or slightly below market value are almost 50 percent more likely to sell within 60 days than those priced 12 percent or more above market value.
Working with a knowledgeable real estate professional can help make sure you don't lose that initial out-of-the-gate momentum by pricing yourself out of the market. They'll base their recommendations on a number of factors, including a comparative analysis of recently sold homes in your neighborhood .
Here's a house-selling mistake that most people probably don't know about: You might be losing potential buyers because you've chosen an "odd selling price." The National Association of Realtors points out that listings may sometimes be excluded from Internet search results if the asking price is just a few thousand dollars above a typical pricing range. "Buyers search real estate websites for price ranges, such as 'homes between $250,000- $300,000.' If you set an odd price to make your listing stand out, say $302,499, you may miss some of your best potential customers."
If you realize after a few weeks that you've incorrectly priced your house, it not only becomes necessary to lower the price, but you also have to contend with a lower perceived value among prospective buyers.
A few other words and phrases that tend to whet the appetites of prospects searching for their next home include "move-in condition," "landscaped," and "updated." Many people also like the sound of granite countertops, maple hardwood floors, and gourmet kitchens.
While it pays to know a little about pricing, home staging, and buyer psychology, getting advice and guidance from a seasoned real estate agent is usually your best bet for producing the fastest and most satisfying results in selling your house.
Your dishwasher is one of the best appliances that you own. It saves you tons of time and aggravation from hand-washing all of the dishes each and every night after dinner. It’s not an appliance that we replace often, so you need to make sure that we maintain it correctly in order to get a good lifespan out of your investment. Taking good care of your appliances can also help to keep up the value of your home when you go to sell it. Homebuyers prefer to have appliances that are updated and well maintained. Below, you’ll find some tips for extending the life of your dishwasher. You may not think that an item that cleans needs to be cleaned itself, but there’s plenty of things that you can do to keep your dishwasher clean and working well in order to have sparkling dishes.
Load It And Use It
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to actually use your dishwasher. Running cycles regularly can help you to keep the machine running smoothly and keep away debris and food particles. If you don’t have a full load, try and run the dishwasher at least every other day. You’ll save money and energy if you wait to run the washer on a full load, so don’t overdo it. You just don’t want to go a week or more without running the dishwasher, as it will allow a lot of buildup to occur, making the dishwasher work harder to clean the dishes that are loaded in it.
To keep the washer running effectively, you’ll want to always load it correctly according to the guidelines for your particular dishwasher. For a thorough clean, use a commercial dishwasher cleaner from time to time when you run the washer on its own without any dishes in it. This will keep a stench from building up and allow your dishes to clean more thoroughly.
Scrape Food Debris
Although your dishwasher and the detergent are equipped to get rid of food debris, scraping food off of plates prior to loading them into the dishwasher can help to prevent damage and maintain proper drainage from the washer itself. The dishes will also come out of the cycle a bit cleaner than if you have left a ton of food and sauce debris on your plates. Scraping the food rather than pre-rinsing the dishes also is a good way to conserve water. While pre-rinsing your dishes may seem like a good idea, over the life of your dishwasher, you can save tens of thousands of gallons of water.
To relax,you could pay to go to a spa or a retreat. You could also create a peaceful haven at home. Bedrooms are relaxing spaces. But, you want a place where,simply by entering the room, you feel stresses of the day flow down and away from your shoulders and back.
A Peaceful Haven is a Step Away
Pick a room that’s close to a beautiful, open outdoor area. Paint walls soft colors like light blues, light greens or a light peach color. Soft neutral colors work well too. If the room is furnished, that’s fine. If not, consider only adding a small sofa and several of the below items:
- Plants – Plants that bud at the onset of spring could help you to remain calm and balanced as you experience change in your life. Green plants that require minimal care to grow can illustrate to you how consistent care pays off.
- Mildly scented candles – Candles offer a relaxing vibe whether they are lit or unlit. Go for milder scents rather than scents that take over the entire room.
- Incense – Similar to candles, incense offers a relaxing aroma. Choose decorative, wood incense trays to capture ash.
- Open space – Focus on creating as much open space in your peaceful haven as possible. Two to four pieces of furniture is plenty. Lack of clutter can create an open feeling inside your being.
- Lots of natural light – Hang light colored window treatments. Keep the window treatments open during the day. If your peaceful haven at home leads out onto a porch, enjoy sitting on the porch one or more days a week.
- Beautiful, natural views – You could paint nature scenes on the wall, hang pictures of you enjoying being outdoors in nature or you could choose a room at your home that faces beautiful, open natural views. What you see impacts how you feel, so gift yourself with beautiful sights.
- Hang wind chimes outside the room - Enjoy the sound of the chimes as cool breezes push across your front or back porch,whichever is closest to your peaceful haven.
- Small bookcase – A single small, three to four shelf bookcase adds décor to your peaceful haven at home. Intersperse colorful book ends, family portraits and knick knacks with positive quotes on them between your favorite motivational and uplifting books on the shelves.
- Hardwood floors – Choose a room that has hardwood floors as your peaceful haven at home. It could help you to feel more centered than a carpeted floor. Bring a mat into the room for yoga and meditation.
- Soft music – Play your favorite soft music to bring out your creative side. Turn the music down low and free yourself up to explore ideas you felt too busy to contemplate earlier in the day.
- Wall designs – Hang one to three motivational quotes on the walls. Choose motivational quotes that resonate with you. These could be motivational sayings that have moved you emotionally since you were a kid, since you graduated from high school or college or since you became a parent.
Keep floors and furniture clean. Similar to open space, a clean room inspires positive feelings.
Visit your peaceful haven at home one or more days a week. For example, you could enjoy reading a book or doing yoga or meditating in the room for thirty minutes to an hour three to four days a week.