Tag Archives: Advice

Cool it down!

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. This time we’ll talk about how to keep our houses, apartment or duplexes cool.

If you have enough money you can hire a slave who is fanning you while you eat grapes, however if you are a mortal more like us, you can follow some of the following tips.

Stop modeling for your neighbor: All windows must be covered, put thin fabrics in the windows facing north and south, and for the rest use heavy fabrics that cover sunlight. So you have all the light without all the heat.

Do not be stingy and turn on the air: Fans are great because they help with moisture and cool the house, however, if the temperature is higher than 77 ° F, better turn them off, because they’ll only be moving hot air. Fans will work better after sunset.

Shake it off!: If you use air conditioning make sure it’s clean. If dust accumulates in the filters, the machine has to work harder, therefore it will use much more electricity. Besides that, you can prevent several diseases caused by bacteria accumulated in dust.

Go for a walk and close your house: Throughout the hours of extreme heat close your house. Close any place where hot air can enter. Once the temperature drops you can open everything and turn on the fans.

Don’t turn it off!: When you have the air conditioning on and the room is cooled, it may seem like the most reasonable thing to turn it off, however, you’ll only be spending more electricity. It’s better to mantain a steady temperature so the machines are not working overtime.

Read a book: The appliances radically increase the temperature of your house or apartment. You may not feel it, but television radiates heat. Unplug all appliances you are not using and go read a book.

With these simple steps, we guarantee that you’ll keep your house cooler. If not, at least you will entertain yourself closing windows and turning on fans.

Go green!

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. Today at Home Town Rent we will talk about plants. They are, without any doubt, beautiful and allow us to decorate the living room, kitchen or bedroom. Their scent is also very good for the house environment to be much more enjoyable. However, the most important thing about them is that they generate oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, just like trees. When plants are placed indoor they help purify the air by absorbing contaminants and gases.

In 1989, NASA conducted a study to determine the most appropriate plants to achieve this mission in an enclosed space. Here we present the top 5 plants according to Bill Wolverton, principal author of the research.

  1. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  2. Spath or Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum)
  3. The Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
  4.  Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)
  5.  Rubber bush (Ficus robusta)

How can Pothos help at home?

This plant has the capacity to clean and maintain the air of the place where it is completely renovated. Pothos remove, for example, substances found in furniture made of wood. Another benefit that Pothos offers is that it helps eliminate odors.

How can Peace Lilies help at home?

This species is capable of absorbing electromagnetic waves that can be generated by various appliances like TV, our mobile or the microwave. In addition, the Spathiphyllum is one of the best air filters.

How can The Lady Palm help at home?

This palm can be inside and outside, however inside the house or condo, it can eliminate harmful gases in the air such as ammonia and other volatile organic compounds that are harmful to our health.

How can Mother-in-law’s tongue help at home?

The mother-in-law’s tongue has a wonderful function inside our house, condominium or duplex; while you sleep, the Sansevieria trifasciata is responsible for converting carbon dioxide into oxygen and you use its medicinal properties in tea.

How can Rubber bush help at home?

It is effective in removing formaldehyde from the air that can come from the tailpipe emissions from cars, and prevent us from burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat; cough; nausea and skin irritation.

These plants apart from making your home look fresher and more radiant, they have an immense benefit to your health so do not hesitate to get one, and if you have a small house, an apartment or duplex, you have no excuse because these plants are small and perfect for interiors.

Go Green!

Silent enemy

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. You should know that an enemy lurks in your house and is not your mother in law… its corrosion. Let’s learn how to fight it.

Living near the sea has its charms, but there are also invisible enemies to face. For example, corrosion taking hold of chairs, rods, artifacts and everything that is made of metal. This can happen at any place if you leave furniture outside.

So if you own or decided to rent a house, apartment, condominium or duplex near the beach to enjoy its delights, and your house has a bunch of furniture made of metal (for example, umbrellas, beach chairs, games terrace, appliances, etc.) pay attention because at Home Town Rent we’ll tell you how to protect them and deal with corrosion.

Corrosion can be caused by a reaction produced by the natural environment. This reaction is called oxidation and is what causes the metal to weaken and acquire that texture and color, until it’s destroyed.

The oxidation of metals in a house can certainly be considered a disease, since there is no way to reverse it, although you can stop it. Corrosion is metal cancer. As cancer metastasis begins to expand, it’s unstoppable “contaminating” the rest of the metal surface.

If you are renting or living close to the beach or in coastal areas you should be especially alert and protect your furniture from corrosion. You can take the following measures:

Choosing the right metal: for example stainless steel or aluminum. They are metals that hardly corrode.

To remove corrosion in early stages from your furniture you can use a rust remover, it is available at any hardware store. With steel wool, apply deoxidizer in the areas of rusted metal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use hand and eye protection.

Another trick to remove oxidation is to apply white vinegar with a cloth, leave half an hour and then rinse. Employ it especially in appliances.

Baking soda is another excellent metal antioxidant, make a paste with water and apply it on the rusted areas.

Once you have removed corrosion apply a protective layer, which may be a brightener, or a layer of anti-corrosive paint.

With these tips you will prevent oxidation and destruction of metal furniture in your home and you won’t ever have to worry on your days at the beach.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Ring it in: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

The Rant’s Guide to Audiophilia

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. Bob Marley once said that one good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain, but sometimes when you’re a fan of metal and your neighbor is an old lady who likes swing and big band, Bob might be wrong. This week we’re talking music and renting, how to be a responsible audiophile.

As a landlord, property owner or manager, be familiar with the sonic qualities of the property in question. The main factors here are thickness of walls, and proximity of neighbors. If you’re renting out a little cabin in the middle of the woods, you probably don’t have to worry about your tenants disturbing anybody. If you’re renting out an apartment in the city, you might want to notify the applicant who lists his occupation as EDM DJ that it might be a problem if he’s practicing his dubstep drops late into the night.

As a tenant, you want to weigh your options when deciding on a property. If you’re a vinyl collector who likes to stay up late, you might not be able to fit you and all your records in a tiny studio apartment next to people who have to work early in the morning. If you’re a college kid that likes to throw parties on the weekends, you probably shouldn’t rent a house for you and your friends in a neighborhood with a lot of families, or if you do, know that you might be getting visits from the boys in blue, and noise complaint tickets add up quick. Obviously, you won’t always be able to make your choice based on its convenience for listening to the music you like, but it should absolutely be a factor in your decision.

If you’re already in a house, apartment, condo or duplex, there are certain measures you can take to ensure that you’re able to play your music at the volume you so desire, without making your neighbors hate you. The easiest way is probably just to go talk to them. You should be on good enough terms with the people next door that they won’t hesitate to call you and ask you nicely to turn it down if they find it too loud. That being said, if your neighbor asks you to turn it down, do it. They could have just as easily called the cops, and they didn’t out of respect for you. Return that respect, or you probably won’t be shown it in the future.

If you know you’re the kind of person who is going to make a lot of noise, don’t worry! There are steps you can take to minimize your natural tendencies. Wikihow has a good guide that includes a range of steps you can take, some of them more permanent than others. Once you’ve got that set up, check out Crutchfield’s guide to creating a proper listening environment in whatever space you have. Happy Listening!

 

Installations That Will Outlast Even the Worst Renter

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. This week we’ve got a special guest for you! Our friend and contributer Amanda has recently had her own experience getting a property ready for rent, and she’s back with more solid advice for any owners, property owners or property managers in a similar situation. Peep game:

 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. These are words that I live by,  and words which every landlord should too. Preventing damage from occurring in the first place will always be cheaper than attempting to repair it after the fact. Of course, this doesn’t hold true for every item in a rental, so you need to know where to spend your money to get the most value for your investment.

Install the Right Electrical Fixtures

Electrical fixtures, from lights to wall plates, are easily damaged by careless renters. This is not the place to go with upscale, delicate items if you’re renting out. Consider instead tamper-resistant fixtures and materials that can hold up to both intentional and unintentional impact, and can save you from any electrical accidents in the future. Everything from lights to wall plates can be purchased with a “tamper-proof” security device. Go with lights that have metal reinforcement, wall plates that require special tools to remove and install, and switches made out of something other than brittle plastic. Though these items may cost a little more, they are likely to pay for themselves in terms of material and time spent on fixing damaged electrical items.

Windows

Good windows will save money in two ways. First, they lower utility bills. If you include utilities in the cost of your rental, which can make the property all the more appealing, then you want to save every penny you can and go with energy efficient styles. More important than utilities, however, is durability. While some windows will crack if you look at them wrong, others are tested to withstand the direct impact of a 2×4 traveling at 30 miles per hour. It would be hard for all but the most determined tenant to break the latter window. Given that a single window can cost upwards of $400, before installation, you want to avoid having to replace them at all costs. According to Nationwide Window, invest in and take proper care of vinyl windows for durability, low maintenance, and efficiency so that you don’t have to think about them again… ever.

Drywall

Drywall is probably the most frequently damaged item in any apartment. Sometimes it is damaged by accident and sometimes it gets damaged on purpose by a disgruntled renter. You can use the cheapest drywall on the market if you think that drywall will be damaged no matter how much you invest, so you might as well spend as little as possible and expect to do extensive repairs. This means that drywall repair is perennially on your to-do list, which can sap energy from other projects. Or you can go with the drywall philosophy that argues that wall materials can be made to withstand more than most people think if invested in properly. For instance, 5/8″ drywall will hold up a whole lot better than ½” or ¼” drywall. If you really want a durable covering, go with plaster, which is as hard as a rock when done right and easier to patch if it does get damaged. It also has more finished appeal, that could attract a better clientele. At the very least, plaster should stand up to dozens of tenants for decades, with little more than a fresh coat of paint now and again.

The Nitty-Gritty

When renting a unit, the first thing you need to think about is protecting your investment. Remember that not all damage is the result of intentional acts. In fact, most damage results from simple daily use. Floors, for instance, are a high-traffic item that can wear out quickly. Remember, there are two types of homes – shoes on or shoes off. Obviously carpeting shouldn’t be avoided if at all possible. Consider that solid products are much more durable than laminates and the cheaper items almost never hold up. Laminates may be cheap to install and look good for a few years, but they will quickly deteriorate, especially if your tenant doesn’t keep them clean. Cheap floor coverings generally won’t last through one tenant, let alone dozens. You don’t have to install the most expensive items on the market, but you should be willing to pay more for durability when it can mean a difference to your bottom line over the years. Simply put, rentals may seem like a place where going cheap makes sense, but going cheap means putting in a lot more ongoing maintenance rather than sitting back and letting your investment pay for itself. Spend upfront to avoid spending more down the line. Don’t forget that the cost of materials and maintenance goes up over time as well, so doing things right the first time around is almost always your best bet.

 

Thanks Amanda! Solid advice! Good luck with your rental remodel, though it sounds like you’re making sure you won’t need it. Let us know how everything goes!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Hit us up: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

 

Security in the Digital Age: A Hometown Rant Guide

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers! We’re back! Did you miss us? For the past month or so we’ve been down due to an ongoing brute force attempt to crack our WordPress page, but we remain unintimidated in the face of such aggression, defiant in the face of the digital terrorists.

Since we’ve been the target of malicious internet activity, this week we’re talking about online security to help you keep the network in your house, apartment, condo, duplex or other rental property secure, which will help keep your information safe from all those who would seek to steal it.

As a landlord or property owner, chances are you won’t be the one who actually sets up the network, unless you manage an entire apartment complex or other type of property that provides communal WiFi. If you do have such an arrangement, you’ll definitely want to secure the network with a password, and if your building is large enough, you may even want to consider hiring somebody tech savvy to set up a system that allows each unit to have its own password.

As a tenant, chances are it’ll be up to you to get your house, condo, apartment or duplex online, which will entail calling one of the service providers in your area. Some work better in certain places than others, so you might consider doing some research as to who is the most popular/best functioning provider in your area. Service providers usually offer a variety of plans as well, which is something else to consider once you’ve decided who you want to go with. Things to keep in mind when making your choice include the number of people who are going to be living in your house, apartment, condo or duplex, how many of those people you expect to be online at once, and what you all are going to be doing once you get here. If you mostly read articles and look at pictures, you probably don’t need the pro-gamer all-star package that usually costs quite a bit more.

Most providers make it pretty easy to put a password on your network–routers these days often have a setup function that will prompt you to take at least the most basic precautions towards protecting your network, or at least keeping the neighbors from freeloading off your signal.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many online criminals rely less on breaking into systems to acquire information, and more by convincing a legitimate user to give out access information, a practice commonly known as phishing. Never give sensitive information to anybody online unless you’re absolutely sure they are who they say they are, and remember, if a website tells you that you’ve won something, it’s probably a lie.

Seriously though, congratulations! You’re our millionth reader! Send us your rental questions, comments, concerns, love letters and hate mail to claim your free prize!

 

Shoes On, Shoes Off

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and managers. If you’re like us, you know that there’s two different types of dwellings in this world. That’s right–all houses, apartments, condos, duplexes, lofts and other rental properties fall into one of two categories: shoes on or shoes off. The funny thing is, the category depends not upon the property itself, but on the people who live there. So really there are two types of people in this world. Your in-house footwear regulations say a lot about you and stand for, so this week the Hometown Rant is dedicated to breaking down the difference between the shoe-onners and the shoe-offers.

Landlords and property owners take a bit of a backseat on this one, since it’s nigh-impossible to force tenants, uh, feet, when it comes to what they wear in their own rented home. Still though, you have your own preference, and we’d imagine that most of you fall on the side of the shoes-offers, especially when it comes to preserving the floors in your apartment, house, condo, duplex or loft.

One thing Landlords and Property owners can do to encourage shoes-offers is to put in what’s called a mud-room–basically a dedicated area for donning and shedding shoes and outerwear. Obviously this is only an option if you’re doing remodeling, or if you happen to have a rental property that was built with one in the first place. Still, mud rooms are a great selling point, and also a means of ensuring that it’s easy for tenants to remove their shoes before entering the house. It doesn’t have to be crazy though–the Japanese have a simple, elegant solution to the problem in the Genkan, a recessed area that isn’t a full room but serves as a dirt-trap to keep your home clean.

Tenants, the onus is really on you with this one. You’re going to be living in the house, apartment, condo, duplex or loft, so you’re the ones who have to set the standards for your own domicile. Here at the Rant, we’re shoes-offers, and we’ll recommend it to anyone who wants to retain as much of their security deposit as possible. If your rental property has carpeting, you definitely want to be strict about your no-shoes policiy, since after a certain point no amount of rug-doctoring is going to save your poor trampled floor.

If your house has wood or tile floors, you’re a little safer being a shoes-onner, although you’ll definitely have to clean more. If your shoes-on ideology stems from laziness though, you should weigh the time it takes to remove your footwear against the time you spend cleaning your floors–we’re pretty sure it’s actually more work to not take your shoes off in the long run, so bear that in mind when making your decision. There are upsides to being a shoes-onner–namely not stepping in potential messes and keeping your socks dry, but if you run a clean household, those shouldn’t be problems. The real issue is when you and your roommates fall on different sides of the lines in a battle that has ranged since people started building things to eat and sleep inside. Now you have are take–it’s up to you to search deep within your soul and figure out what it is you stand for.

 Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Come Kick It: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Keys to the Kingdom

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. This week on the Rant, we’re talking about what gets you in the door, that unique little piece of metal that grants the bearer access to what lies within the walls of the house, apartment, condo or duplex in question, that overtly symbolic image representing ownership, access and freedom: we’re talking, of course, about the key.

After signing a lease, the handing over of the key is usually the final piece of the rental transaction, signifying the assumption of rentership on the part of the tenant, and the temporary relinquishing of the property by the landlord, property owner or manager. Not only is a symbol though, the key is literally the thing that allows you to come and go from the property at will. As such, it deserves care and responsibility.

As a landlord or property owner renting out a property, it’s important to know how many tenants are going to be living there, so you know how many keys to give them when they sign the lease, and how many keys to expect back upon its completion. As you can probably guess, the quantity should stay the same during that time. You don’t really want tenants making a bunch of copies and giving them out to people, nor do you want some of your keys still floating around after the rental period is up.

Depending on how laid back you are and how much you trust your tenants, you might consider getting keys that can’t be copied, so only you as the master keyholder have that power. You’ll have to be more responsible, both in keeping track of the master key and in providing tenants with copies if they lose theirs, but it’ll increase the overall security of your rental property.

As a tenant, your main job regarding the key is to use it but don’t lose it. It’s a pretty easy job, one that you should have on lock. Ok, but seriously, lock your doors people. Even if you think you live in a safe neighborhood, you could be unpleasantly surprised when you come home to find that your house, apartment, condo or duplex has been cleaned out by someone who found the door open. In a situation like that, it’s always better safe than sorry. Not only could you lose your valuables, but their could be damage to the property in the break in that you could be responsible for.

Also, don’t put your address or house or apartment number on your key. If you do lose it, that’ll tell anybody who finds it where you live, and give them unrestricted access to your stuff.  A key is only useful if you know what it unlocks. If you do lose your key and you’re sure it’s not in the couch, contact your landlord or property owner to go about getting a replacement. They may say it’s ok for one of your roommates to make a copy, or they might want to make the copy themselves. If they’re really paranoid, they might even want to change the locks, which you might have to pay for, so don’t lose your key, and if you do, make sure it’s really lost before you do anything.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We’ve got the key: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Bookin’ It

Hey there all you renters and tenants, landlords and property owners. This week on The Rant we’re taking it back to a bygone age, a time before such silly things as blogs and tweets, a time when people used to read things printed on paper, which is this weird thin stuff made out of mashed up trees. Crazy, right? This week, we’re speaking in hushed voices of that oft-forgotten legend: Books. Books, and how they relate to your rental house, apartment, condo, loft or duplex.

You may be wondering, why books? I already have multiple devices that are able to display way more text, change what text they’re displaying, and take up way less space. Plus they have games. And you’d be right. But most of the text displayed on those devices is drivel leaking out of the cultural cesspool that is the internet. We’re looking at you, twitter. A book is a specifically crafted object meant to display a particular text in the best way possible. Even if you have a dedicated e-reader device loaded with the classics, there’s still something different about reading from the printed page, something nostalgic, something, dare we say, good?

Also, having a bunch of books makes you look educated and well-rounded and smart. And that’s what you really want, isn’t it? Books take up space, and once upon a time they were stored on things called bookshelves that were usually located in offices, dens, living rooms and bedrooms. Most if not all rental properties are going to have at least a few of these types of rooms, and depending on the place, it might even have some built-in bookshelves, ready to be filled.

As a landlord or property owner, you should know whether or not your rental properties have places to store books, and if you don’t already, you should advertise them in your postings. Not only will this make your property look classier, it’ll attract classier tenants, the kind of people who are looking for a space to store their leather-bound first editions. These are the kind of people that still care about physical objects, about preserving things for the future, and that should bode well for how they care for your rental house, apartment, condo, loft or duplex.

Likewise, if you’re a tenant who owns a lot of books, you already know that they take up a lot of space, so when searching for a house, apartment, condo, loft or duplex, you’ll probably be in the market for one that has enough space to hold your collection, ideally in a location that displays your books for all your house-guests, so they know how intelligent and well read you are. Keep these things in mind when searching for a property. Picture where you’d put your comfy reading chair, how the afternoon sun might shine through the window, splaying a golden light across the rainbow of spines and the embossed titles on dust jackets, as dust motes drift lazily through the air. Pretty nice, huh. We think so.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We’ll read it: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Floorin’ It

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and managers. We all love lil Jon, but here at the Hometown rant, we feel as though he’s got things a little backwards when he says to the window, to the wall, to the sweat drops down on the floor! We also hope he mops up the sweat drops before they stain the finish. This week we’re covering floors and coverings for floors of all types, in all types of houses, condos, lofts and duplexes.

If you’re a property owner, property manager, or landlord, one of the things you should absolutely pay attention to is the condition of the floors in your rental properties. It’s one of the first things savvy renters will look at when deciding whether or not to rent your house, apartment, duplex or condo. Not only that, but replacing the flooring or even the carpeting is an expensive endeavor.

Different types of floors obviously have different properties and different means and ease of maintenance, so choose wisely, both as a property owner putting in a floor, and as a tenant looking to rent a property. Tile is easy to clean and looks nice but can be expensive to put in or repair. Hardwood is always nice, but it can get scratched by furniture or pets and needs to be re-finished every now and then to prevent stains and such. Carpet is nice on the bare feet, but it soaks up all the dirt that comes into the house, and can get so bad that it has to be ripped up and replaced. Figure out which types of floor are right for you.

Tenants, you’re the ones who are going to be living, walking, sitting, jumping, squatting and/or breakdancing on the floor, so it’s mostly your job to keep them clean and in good condition. This means being careful about shoes on carpet, about dragging furniture across wood, and about cleaning up spills promptly and thoroughly. Invest in a decent vacuum and a mop, especially if you have pets who you’re going to be cleaning up after. The cost for both is probably only a fraction of the security deposit you put down on the place, so think of it like insurance.

Also, while you’re at it, pick up some of this stuff. When I was in college, my roommate came back from a shopping trip with a bottle and I asked him what he was thinking since we didn’t have any pets. His logic was infallible: if it’ll take out piss, he said, it’ll take out anything. He was right. Later that night we used it to get half a glass of red wine out of the carpet.

 Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We can get down:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com