Tag Archives: Property Owners

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

Fall Ball

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and property managers. It’s that time of year again, the time when the leaves begin to change colors on the trees, when dusk gets a little longer each day the grocery stores fill up with displays of gourds and big bags of assorted candies. Autumn is upon us, and that means things to do to keep your house, apartment, condo or duplex clean and cozy for the coming fall.

As a landlord, property owner or property manager, if you haven’t already, around now might be a good time to see if any of the properties you are responsible for need work done since it’ll only get more difficult and more important as the weather gets colder. Ask your tenants if there’s anything you can do for them, and remember–you’re legally obliged to give them notice before you send anyone over to work on the place.

Tenants: especially if your rental property is located in a neighborhood with a lot of trees, you’ll probably have to do some raking to take care of the leaves. Now might also be a good time to clean your gutters of the summer’s debris before the weather gets worse. Depending on what type of property you rent, your landlord may or may not have some sort of lawn service hired to do this sort of thing. If so, great, but if not, you might just have to bust out the work gloves and the ladder. Trust us though, it’ll make your life that much easier when it does rain. All the information about who is responsible for yard work and upkeep should be in your lease. If not, contact your landlord to find out.

Now may also be a good time to start re-organizing, putting your summer toys in storage and getting your fall and winter gear down from the attic. It’s definitely sweater weather already, and in a few more weeks you’ll probably want a coat too. You’ll thank yourself the first morning you step outside and immediately retreat back in to add another layer before venturing forth once again.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Holla at us: 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

Resolution Solutions

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. It’s December 31st, we’re on the cusp of a new year, and everyone is hoping, we’d imagine, that next year will be even better than this year. New years in America is a holiday without a huge litany of traditions, but one of the central ideas is the resolution–the commitment to oneself in setting goals for the coming months. It’s also one of the traditions least-often followed through on, which is sad since other new years traditions include dropping a ball of a skyscraper and drinking too much. Luckily, the Hometown Rant has your guide to making good resolutions related to your house, property, apartment, duplex or condo, and sticking to them.

Landlords, property owners and property managers might want to think business when making resolutions. These are what we like to call top-down resolutions–big goals that requrie little steps to complete, things like I want to own and be renting out another property by the end of the year, or I want to complete a much needed-remodel after the current tenant’s lease is up. Top-down resolutions require a lot of work, so instead of just saying that you want to do something, make the goal and then look at what you can do to move toward that goal. For that type of planning you should be thinking about week-to-week and even day-to-day things you can do to get closer to accomplishing what you set out to do.

Tenants might want to think about bottom-up resolutions–things you can do every day to improve your life in a noticeable way. These could range from something as small as I want to do my dishes after every meal, or I want to spend more time every day gardening to something with a bigger scope like I want to set aside money each paycheck to buy my own house. All of these goals are legitimate and achievable if you work them into your routine every day or every week.

Whether you’re going top-down or bottom-up, or you have a strange third category of resolution (which by the way we’d love to hear about,) the real challenge is staying with it. That’s why we recommend the day-by-day approach, where every day you have at least one thing you want to accomplish towards your end goal. Not only will you be getting closer, but you’ll go to sleep each night with a sense of accomplishment, having done something you set out to do. And if you’re going out tonight, watch out for droves of drunk people and balls falling from skyscrapers.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We resolve to answer it all:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Snow Fa-sho

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and managers. December is almost over and we’re quickly advancing into the thick of winter. This mean, among other things, snow might be on the horizon. According to the forecast right now, most of the country is yet uncovered, but for a good deal of you, that won’t be the case all winter. Luckily, Hometown Rant has the guide for you when it comes to houses, apartments, condos, duplexes, and snow.

Like we just said, there are marked regional differences in terms of both the probability of snowfall and the preparedness of the citizens in the region to handle the snow. Geographically, people North of the 40th parallel or so tend to be more acquainted with the stuff than their friends on the South side of the line, though there are certainly exceptions. One general rule that does hold true, however, is that the more snow a place gets, the more equipped they are to deal with it. This equipped-ness can manifest itself in many ways.

One of the main ways snow affects cities is in the flow of traffic and ease of getting around town. Renters looking to live and drive in places where it snows often should make sure that their vehicles are equipped to handle the weather, especially if looking at rental properties in hilly neighborhoods. If it does snow and you don’t think your car can take it, that’s fine, just don’t try to drive anyways. You don’t want to be like these people. Stay inside and get your camera. You could make youtube history.

Another way preparedness for snow manifests itself is in the construction of the buildings themselves. Places with lots of precipitation tend to have homes and buildings with pitched roofs, so accumulation doesn’t damage the structure. This guy argues that you can indeed have a flat roof in a snowy place, but there are a lot of things to take into consideration when doing so. Property owners looking to build or remodel should make sure they’re confident in their architects and contractors to design and implement a solution that’ll withstand the weather. Otherwise you or your tenants could have a metrodome-type situation on your hands, though it’ll probably be less spectacular and more immediately frigid.

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast you’re probably doing strange dances and praying to your pagan snow-gods for it, and if not then you’re probably doing the opposite, but Winter means snow and snow means at least a hundred different things in inuit. Or something.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Get at us:  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

 

The Rental’s Underground

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. This week on the Hometown Rant, we’re talking about the foundations that this great nation was built on. No, it’s not freedom and justice for all. It’s basements. Basements come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they’re fortified to withstand a nuclear blast and sometimes don’t even exist at all, but whatever type of basement your house, duplex, cabin, condo or apartment has (or doesn’t have) we’ve got you covered.

Seeing as how they often add a whole extra floor’s worth of space to a rental property, basements are often a great selling point for landlords and property owners looking to advertize. Finished basements are even better, since they potentially allow renters to fit another person in the house, but if you’re advertising it as such, make sure you’re not overcrowding the house, and that the living space is up to local fire safety codes. Otherwise you could be legally and morally responsible for people getting injured and/or killed. Nobody wants that.

Unfinished basements are also a good selling point, either for storage space or as a potential area for tenants to work out or make space for a hobby studio or workshop of some sort. Tenants who want to do something along these lines with a basement space should absolutely consider it, though as always you should get the landlord or property manager’s consent to make permanent modifications to the space.

Unfortunately, sometimes basements can be a liability. Especially in wetter areas of the country, basements are prone to flooding. This is always a problem, but severity can range from inconvenient to potentially life threatening. Tenants should let landlords know if a flood has occurred, and landlords or property managers should have some sort of plan in place for if and when it happens. Usually it’ll involve some fans and de-humidifiers, but bad floods can ruin carpet, and really bad floods left unchecked can rot out beams that hold your rental property up. Don’t let that happen. Get it dried up ASAP.

Then there are the properties without basements–the single stories, ranch-style houses, the condos and apartments for rent. As always, it’s important to tailor your living situation to the type of lifestyle that you lead.  Properties without basements are probably good for those individuals that enjoy a certain degree of minimalism–the people who don’t have boxes upon boxes of sentimental objects and outdoor equipment to store somewhere. If you’re the type who could live out of a single bag if you had to, consider looking for a rental property without a basement–it’ll probably be cheaper, and you won’t miss the space. On the other hand, If you’re the type who owns a massive collection of model trains or comic book and pulp fiction or sports memorabilia, steer clear of rental properties that don’t have the underground vault you need to store your tacky pile of treasures.

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