When filling out a rental application, you’re expected to provide the landlord with all kinds of personal information, including references, pay stubs and a credit check. In most cases, however, renters sign a lease without knowing much about the person they’re entering into a contract with.
Before committing to a lease, you should find out everything you can about your future landlord. Otherwise, you could end up with someone who doesn’t respond to urgent maintenance requests or who doesn’t treat tenants with fairness and respect.
Here are some precautions to take:
• Look for information online. Search the landlord’s name and the property address with words like “complaints,” “review,” “bedbugs” and “eviction.” With notorious landlords, you’ll often find numerous complaints about similar issues.
• Check public records. Public records of property ownership and court proceedings will reveal if a landlord has been linked to code violations, evictions, foreclosures or small claims court settlements. Most public registries can be accessed online.
• Talk to the neighbors. Ask other tenants about their experiences living in the area and whether they’ve had problems with the landlord. They may be willing to tell you things about the property the landlord doesn’t want you to know.
Above all, trust your instincts. If the price seems far too low or the landlord tries to rush you through the rental application process, it’s a good idea to keep looking.
Granny pods: the newest trend in senior living
There’s a new trend emerging in senior housing: granny pods. Also known as tiny homes for seniors, granny pods are compact, prefabricated houses that can be assembled in the backyard of a caregiver’s home.
Although the idea of granny annexes or granny flats has been around for decades in the U.K. and in Australia, the first senior-friendly tiny homes in North America were called MEDCottages and launched by a small Virginia company in 2010. Since then, the idea has gained popularity and been adopted by other companies across the U.S. and Canada.
In general, granny pods include an open space containing a bed, living area, kitchenette and bathroom. They’re completely accessible to elderly people with health and mobility problems as they’re equipped with hand railings, defibrillators, first aid supplies, cushioned floors, good lighting, wheelchair-accessible doorways and a monitoring system (so that caregivers can keep an eye on the resident).
Many seniors and their loved ones see granny pods as an excellent way to downsize after retirement and a welcome alternative to nursing homes. These tiny homes allow seniors to continue living independently while receiving the care they need. It also lets families stay together without having to sacrifice space and privacy by living under one roof.
Why overpricing your home could be a costly mistake
Listing your house for a price that’s above its market value is rarely a good idea. Here are three ways overpricing your home can backfire.
1. It scares off potential buyers.
Many buyers will never see your home if your price is too high. Real estate agents won’t bother bringing clients to see your house if they think they have no chance of selling it, and your property won’t show up in online searches if the price is outside the desired range of most buyers.
2. The listing stays up for too long.
3. Buyers may have trouble financing the purchase.
Even if you do find interested buyers, they may not get the loan they need for the mortgage if the appraisal shows your home is worth less than the selling price. Under these circumstances, the buyers may not be able to go through with the sale.
Before putting your house on the market, have your agent do a comparative market analysis of your property and use the results as a basis for your asking price.
Warren County Market Report – April 2019
Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for April 2019. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!
In general summary:
- Closed sales are UP by 18% compared to this time last year
- Average Median Sold $250,000.
- Average Days on Market 84.
*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to Jennifer@nexthomerealtyselect.com.
Resource: 2019 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated May 2019
Jennifer Avery, Realtor for NextHome Realty Select
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
email@example.com | 540-683-0790
210 E Main Street, Front Royal VA
Interior designer vs. interior decorator: what’s the difference?
You’ve probably heard the terms interior designer and interior decorator used interchangeably. However, they actually describe two different but similar professions.
Interior designers complete two- or four-year degree programs that involve studying subjects like color theory, architecture, computer-aided design and spatial planning.
They work with architects and contractors to plan and renovate spaces and can be involved in every step of the remodeling process, from drawing up floor plans to adding the final touches.
Interior decorators focus on esthetics. They help transform spaces that are already built by making recommendations about paint colors, furniture styles, lighting and accessories. They’re not required to complete professional training (though many decorators do), and they usually work directly with businesses and homeowners.
Should I hire a designer or a decorator?
If you need help with designs during a renovation, it’s best to go with an interior designer. They’ll help you create a space that serves your specific needs and aligns with your particular tastes. However, if you’re mainly looking to update the appearance of a space, a decorator can help you achieve a whole new look by rearranging and redecorating.
In the end, what matters most is not the job title, but the skills of the designer or decorator in question. Choose a company or professional with a reputation for high-quality designs and expertise in the type of work you’re looking for.
Common new homeowner mistakes to avoid
Now that the papers are signed and you’ve finally moved into your new home, it’s time to think about the responsibilities that come with owning property. Here are three mistakes to avoid when you first become a homeowner.
1. Ignoring maintenance and repairs. When you’ve rented for a long time, you may not realize all the work that goes into property upkeep. Be sure to stay on top of routine maintenance tasks — checking smoke alarms, changing furnace filters, inspecting the roof, etc. — from the moment you move in.
2. Making changes too quickly. Give yourself time to get used to your new home before making major renovations or even smaller alterations like painting the walls or redoing the floors. Living in the space will help you figure out what changes need to happen to make it feel more like a home.
3. Taking on repairs yourself. Don’t DIY repairs and renovations that you don’t have professional experience with. Trying to do major repairs on your own — especially ones that involve pipes or wires — can have disastrous results.
Avoiding these pitfalls will help you get the most out of your new house and prevent many headaches down the road.
Ask the Expert: Buying bank-owned house
Q: I want to buy a bank-owned house but it needs major work. Do I really have to buy it as-is?
Typically, when you purchase a bank-owned home and the listing says “as-is,” the bank means it. From their perspective, you’re getting a great deal and should expect to have to spruce the place up or make repairs.
But what if the septic system has failed or you find some other major issue?
Rule of thumb: you can ask, but don’t expect much.
If you discover an issue that the bank was previously unaware of, you’ve got a better chance of them either fixing it or giving you a price reduction. In those cases, the bank understands that it’ll have to disclose the issue to other potential buyers and that the bids will likely come in lower as a result.
If everything was disclosed prior to you seeing the property and you simply want to haggle, know that you may be gambling a bit. The bank’s willingness to negotiate will depend on how long the property has been on the market and its location. You won’t find much give for desirable locations that haven’t been listed long.
The good news is that you can truly find some deals. And if you are the owner occupant, meaning that you intend to live in the property, you often get first dibs. Banks often offer properties to owners first and make investors wait about 15 days before they can jump into the bidding.
So don’t be afraid of as-is properties. Consult with your Realtor and contractor to determine the type of work it might need, and if you factor the cost into your purchase price — you might even be able to finance certain repairs in your mortgage — you can find a gem.