Tag Archives: Property Managers

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

Stairway to (Rental) Heaven

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers! This week we’re taking you through the ups and downs of rental properties everywhere, literally. That’s right. This week we’re talking steps and stairs and maybe even listening to the Five Stairsteps while we do it.

Stairs are weird. Are they a room? Are they a hall? Are they some combination of the two, or something else entirely? Philosophical speculations abound, but the answer probably lies in the specific staircase, in the specific house, apartment, loft, condo or duplex. Some are outside, some inside, some communal and some personal, and they all have their ups and downs.

As a landlord or property owner, one of the main stair-related things you should keep in mind when preparing a property for rent is the flooring on the stairs. They’re a high-traffic area, and one that’s often forgotten when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Especially if the stairs in your house or duplex are close to a door, you might want to consider wood as opposed to carpeting, since people will more often than not leave their shoes on. If you’re property or properties are in an apartment complex or other space with a communal stairway, make sure those stairs are kept clean and in good repair. Stairs can be dangerous, especially for older people and rowdy children, and the last thing you want is a preventable accident happening in your building.

As a renter, you should know that there are two types of people in this world: vertical and horizontal, city and country, high-rise and ranch-style. You may know which one you are already. If not, you might need to find out. Here’s a quick test: hamburger or hotdog? Hamburgers are vertical, hotdogs are horizontal. Your living space should ideally reflect your preference in the matter, and the distinction here is stairs, or lack thereof.

If you’re more of a sedentary person, if you’re getting older or have a disability that limits your mobility, you’ll obviously want to look for rental properties that are accommodating of that fact, preferably single-stories. Remember too that elevators will sometimes be shut down in case of a fire or another emergency, and if you aren’t capable of making it down the stairs quickly, renting an apartment on an upper floor may even become a safety hazard. But who knows, maybe the view is worth it…

 Is there a bustle in your hedgerow? Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Don’t be alarmed now:  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

 

If These Walls Could Talk

Hey there all you renters, landlords property owners and property managers. This week on the rant, we’re taking a look around us, at the very things that, along with a roof, define a house, apartment, condo, or duplex. If these walls could talk, they’d tell you that this is an awesome song. Also, they’d tell you that they want to be decorated, and to make it classy.

Landlords, property owners and managers, you guys don’t have a whole lot to do here, although the one job you are in charge of is an important one. You’ll almost certainly be in charge of painting/wallpaper, and unless you really trust your tenants, you probably don’t want them re-doing the place. For sanity’s sake though, pick nice colors and/or simple designs, and if in doubt, go off-white. Cream, one might call it. It’s the classic for a reason–it goes with just about any design style, and is pretty much guaranteed not to be off-putting or garish.

Renters, you’re the ones who are going to be living in the space, so it’s your job to figure out what’ll fit the aesthetic of your home and your lifestyle. The one constant rule we’ll always suggest is to keep it simple, although it’s really more of a guideline than a rule. Still, one nice, well placed image generally looks a lot classier than the collage of random images you know you cut out of your favorite magazines and tacked all across the walls in high school.

If you really wanna elevate your game, get some frames for your posters and hang them like a real person instead of using this stuff and watching them slump down the wall over time. A nice tapestry can also be a good way to fill a lot of space, especially if you don’t mind the heady hippy look. Get some prayer flags while you’re at it and go all out. Whatever you do though, don’t decorate in a way that’ll be a pain to take down, since you’re eventually going to have to do just that.

Above all though, have fun with it. It’s the space you’re paying to inhabit, so you might as well make it look the way you want it to. A dwelling that reflects the personality of the inhabitant is the American dream, after all. Make that dream a reality.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Throw it up on the wall: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Bath Math, Shower Power

Hey there all you tenants, landlords and ladies, property managers and owners. We’ve tackled bathrooms once before, but this week we’re taking it specific, getting down and, uh, clean in the showers and baths of all the homes, apartments, condos, duplexes and townhouses out there. Do you want to be cleansed? Hometown Rant has the guide for you.

Everybody knows that there are two types of people in this world–the bathers and the shower-ers, and though it’s really more of a gradient scale than a binary one, everybody has their type. Each has its benefits–the shower is quick, efficient and steamy whereas the bath is long, luxurious and bubbly. As you’re reading this, you’ll probably know which one you are. If you don’t, think about it for a minute. It’ll probably answer a lot of questions for you.

Landlords and property owners should already know this, but both the number and the quality of bathtubs and showers will be a big selling point on any rental property, which if made or maintained improperly can cause major damage. Tenants will appreciate and even pay extra for a good shower or bath that doesn’t leak when they use it.  Water pressure is also important, and a lack of it could be cause by a variety of things. Here’s a good wikihow for tenants or owners on troubleshooting water pressure issues.

For all the tenants reading, you’re the ones who really need to look inside yourself and figure out if you’re a bath or a shower person, since you’re the ones who’ll need to make the decision about where you want to eat, sleep and perhaps most importantly, bathe. It’s what separates us from the animals, people.

Besides your personal preferences, you’ll also have to take into account the number of people you’ll be sharing the space with, and what their likes and habits are. If you all work early and like to take long morning showers, you might want to be looking for a place with a couple bathrooms and a big enough hot water heater to accommodate you all. If you have a dog, particularly a larger one, you want to make sure that you could see yourself washing him or her in the tub or shower, and if you’ve never washed your dog, you probably should get on that.

After you get the practical details hashed out, it pretty much comes down to aesthetic preference. Do you like a tub with lots of room and some natural window light for afternoon baths, or do you like a little sauna-box of a shower with a nice wide showerhead. Head over to our listings and start finding the baths and showers you deserve! Afterwards, you’ll feel like Outkast, we promise.

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

 

 

Ascetic Aesthetics

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. With black Friday just past and cyber Monday just coming up, followed by the next month of gift-giving holidays, we’re at the zenith of yearly consumerism in America. Your TV and your computer and pretty much everything else you’ve looked at recently has been telling you to Buy! Buy! Buy!, but here at the Hometown Rant, we’re providing a counterpoint to the voices that want you to fill up your house, apartment or condo with useless junk.

Don’t get us wrong, now could be the perfect time to get that flatscreen or new mattress or really whatever you need or want. All types of places and websites are having great deals on just about anything you need, so if you’re in the market for something in particular, now might be the time. Landlords or property owners could take advantage of sales on appliances or other things that need to be updated in rental properties being renovated. Likewise, tenants looking to take their living space to the next level can do so without breaking the bank.

Here’s what you don’t want to do: buy a bunch of crap that you don’t need just because it’s cheaper than normal. Don’t fall for that classic fallacy that you’re saving $59.95, or however much the ad says. You’re only ‘saving’ money if it was something you were definitely going to buy regardless. Not only is buying useless stuff a great way to rack up debilitating credit card debt, it’s also a good way to crowd your rental property while never seeming to fill up that empty feeling inside. For that you need meaningful human interaction and artistic expression. Not night vision goggles and party shirts for your dog. Ok, the night vision would be cool, but do you really need that? Unless you’re in a Tom Clancy novel, probably not.

If you really want to flip the script on ‘em, you could even try selling things. This might be a particularly good idea for those tenants who buy, say, a new TV, and then need something to do with the old one. It’ll help offset the cost of the new one, and it’ll help keep your house, condo, apartment or duplex free of clutter and looking good. Nothing is worse than moving and remembering that you have a bunch of stuff to deal with that you don’t even use. Now is also a good time to sell stuff, if only because people are buying stuff. Get out on the market and be a good capitalist! It could even pay your rent!

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

 

Feng Shui: Is it Feng Shuinal?

Hey there all you renters, landlords and property owners out there! If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered now and again about feng shui. What is it? Where does it come from? Can it improve your house, apartment, condo, duplex or tree dwelling? Lucky for you, the Hometown Rant has sifted through the clutter to find the inner qi, and with it are the answers you’ve been searching for this whole time. They lie within.

Let’s start with the basics. A quick trip to wikipedia will tell you that feng shui is a philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. Sounds like a noble goal right? We think so. But how can you harness your renter or landlord qi and channel it through your rental property for maximum benefits.

Originally, feng shui was all about orienting human dwellings according to astronomical observations, and later it also came to include compass directions, aligning structures in relation to the earth’s magnetic field. In 1951, professor Max Knoll suggested that qi, the central life force according to feng-shui, is actually solar radiation, and that the levels of qi fluctuate according to space weather. Whoa.

If you’re not sure how all that relates to you and your rental property, don’t worry. We don’t know either. Feng shui’s transformation from ancient chinese art to headey pseudo-scientific discipline to kitschey hipster home decorating mantra is one that could only have taken place across centuries, like a metaphysical game of telephone. If it’s stuck around this long though, it must be that some of the principles have some merit to them. Most human structures are oriented loosely based on the magnetic compass–in most cities, terrain permitted, roads run north-south and east-west.

You may have noticed this already, but if not, figure out which side of your rental property faces east. The sun will shine in the eastern-facing windows in the morning, so that might be a good room for an early riser. If you’re a property owner or landlord looking to add a porch to your house or cottage, you might consider putting it on the western side so your tenants can watch the sunset.

Fengshui.com has a whole list of further reading about how to make your home positionally feng shuisionally sensational for you to peruse, but again, some principles are more useful than others.

Things like reducing clutter in your home or apartment are great suggestions–embrace your inner ascetic and throw out all that old junk mail and that weird painting you got at the thrift store. Other things, like placing wooden feng shui elements in the eastern area of your house to improve your health, may not be as useful as actually going to the doctor and getting that rash checked out. In fact, yeah, you should go do that.

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

The Water Closet Chronicles

Hey all you renters, landlords and property owners. This week on the Hometown Rant, we’re talking bathrooms. You know, the head, the john, the sh*tter, the ol’ W.C. There’s a reason it’s the room with the most nicknames–it’s the most important part of the house that nobody wants to talk about. Here at the Rant though, we’re rolling up our sleeves, plugging our noses, and going in.

From a landlord’s perspective, the bathroom should be the room in the house, apartment or condo that gets the most attention after the kitchen, which if you think about it is pretty appropriate. This is because like the kitchen, the bathroom contains plumbing, which is pretty much the dividing line between man and nature. If the plumbing is out, people might as well rent a yurt or wigwam with a scenic view. You’ll want to make sure that everything in the bathroom is working properly before renting out the house, and if tenants have any problems, get them fixed asap. If you thought regular water damage was bad, you should smell sewer water damage. Ugh.

On the flipside, potential renters looking at properties should make sure to inspect the bathroom before making a decision. Sit on the toilet awhile, and see if you can picture yourself living there long-term. Stand in the shower and check out the acoustics. We recommend James Brown or Luciano Pavarotti. Or how about both?

There’s also a reason that rental properties are listed by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Even if you’re cool with your buddy Steve renting the crawlspace, do you really want to share a bathroom with him and 4 other dudes every morning? Number of bathrooms is a seriously limiting factor in the number of people that can occupy a house, apartment or condo, so plan accordingly.

On another note, the bathroom is one of the places where there may be evidence of past tenants who didn’t take very good care of the property. Take an extra good look around the bath and under the toilet and make sure that you’re not being held responsible for the last people’s disgusting bathroom mess before signing anything.

It works both ways too. As a tenant, make sure your bathroom is kept clean and tidy, because it gets gross fast. People showering and shaving and doing their business naturally creates bodily messes that need to be cleaned quickly or they’ll start festering. And nobody wants a festering bathroom. Your roommates will detest you for making them clean up after your messes, and your guests will judge you mercilessly if they have to stare at hair bits and pee dribbles all over the sink and toilet, hopefully respectively. Don’t be those tenants. Respect your water closet and it will respect you!

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

Civil Unrest and You: A Renter’s Guide

Hey Renters, Ranters, Landlords and Property Owners. These are turbulent times we live in. One has to look no further than the front page of any newspaper to see that all across the globe, conflicts are raging and people are leaving their houses, apartments, condos and duplexes, and taking to the streets. Some of these protests and demonstrations are peaceful, while others can turn into full-scale riots. Luckily, the Hometown Rant has the guide to helping you protect yourself and your rental property during all demonstrations, riots and uprisings.

The first question you should ask yourself when facing potential cases of civil unrest is, what is the cause that’s being supported or protested? If you’re appropriately for or against said cause, you may want to consider joining the movement. Civil disobedience is one of the most powerful aspects of the democratic system, and exercising your rights is your obligation as a good citizen. There’s a difference between peacefully protesting police shootings, and trying to loot yourself a new pair of running shoes during the confusion. Don’t be the latter. Those people are the reason the cops carry guns in the first place.

As a renter, If you do plan on taking to the streets in a peaceful and organized manner, you’re going to want to make sure that your house, apartment or condo is locked and the lights are off, so as not to attract any unwanted attention. If your rental property is situated within the area of unrest, you may want to leave a note on your door or a sign in your yard so that fellow protesters know that you’re one of them. Don’t leave any valuables in your car, and if your local team has just won the world series, don’t park your car on the street at all.

If you don’t agree with the cause, or things are getting too crazy, you probably don’t want to leave the house, apartment or condo at all, but you still should probably lock your doors and turn your lights off anyways. Or you could make sandwiches and offer them to anyone who breaks in, simultaneously catching them completely off guard and hopefully restoring their faith in basic human morality. If that doesn’t work, you might have to give up your flatscreen.

As a landlord or property owner, keep your eye on the news for any mentions of civil unrest near a rental property that you own or manage, and let your tenants know if any marches or demonstrations are being held in the vicinity of the property, though they will probably already be aware. If things turn nasty though, be prepared for possible damage to your rental property inflicted by unruly civilians, over which the tenants may have no control. While unfortunate in the short-term as property costs take a dip, if you can invest prudently you might be able to snatch up a few more rental properties while the market price is low. It may seem a bit shrewd, but trust us, it’s the American way.

Whoever you are and whatever you decide to do when civil unrest comes knocking at the door of your rental property, make sure that you stay safe and compassionate in protecting yourself and others, your property, and the values that you hold true.

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