Monthly Archives: August 2013

10 Common Rights Tenants Should Know About!

Before you start looking for a place to rent, or at least before you sign the agreement, make an effort and know your rights. The laws may vary from state to state. Here are a few common rights you should know about.

  1. Discrimination is illegal. Landlord cannot deny renting house on the basis of color, race or religion.
  2. The property to be rented should fulfill the housing and health codes.
  3. In some states, law limits the security deposit amount charged by the property owner.
  4. Landlord should get the repairs made in time. If not, the tenants should be allowed to get it fixed themselves and deduct the cost from the rent.
  5. Rental agreement is not above the law. Provisions against the law cannot be enforced in court.
  6. The tenant has the right to break the lease if terms are being violated by the owner.
  7. The landlord cannot deduct from the security deposit for normal wear and tear.
  8. In some states, the law states that the security deposit needs to be refunded in 14 to 30 days, after the premises are vacated.
  9. Landlords can’t change the locks or shut off the tenant’s utilities or force the tenant to leave.
  10.  If the landlord purposely forces tenant to leave the property by making life difficult, the tenant has the right to take legal action.

Things to Check Before Moving into an Apartment

Before you seal the deal, here are a few things you should check thoroughly in the presence of the landlord.


Make sure the shower, faucets and the toilet are in working condition and there aren’t any leaks. See if there are any molds on tiles and/or scratched or chipped enamel.


Check for broken shelves or broken hanger poles. Also check for any awkward smells in the closet.


Ascertain all the switches and burners are in working condition. Inspect the refrigerator, heater, air conditioner and the dishwasher.


Check the doors and the windows. Find out if they can be locked properly. Make sure there aren’t any obvious leaks that cause air to flow in or out. Ensure that all the lightings are working.

Around the House

Check for cracked plaster on the walls and ceilings. Check the condition of the blinds and the carpets. Make sure to point out if any of the electrical fixtures are broken or if they are not in a working condition. Ensure there are no roach or mouse droppings in the house.

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Tips for Renting an Apartment

Your negotiation skills determine the rent you pay for your apartment. But before that, you need to know what you are looking for and what the appropriate rent of the area is. The following tips can help you find the perfect apartment at suitable rates.

Do Your Homework!

If you don’t know what options are available to you, explore things online. Search for apartments according to your needs. Find out which neighborhoods offer what features and the standard rent of that area.

Shop According to Your Needs

Do not choose an apartment based on its perceived value. Instead, your decision should be based on your needs. Don’t just go for the looks. Make sure the neighborhood and the house has features you are looking for rather than renting it because it seems like a good deal.

Call Before Visiting

Over the phone, you can get a quote. So before you go visit, get a quote. Compare the numbers you receive with the numbers you found online.

Visit the Properties

Before you seal the deal, visit the place. Do not trust virtual tours. They can give you an overview but there is no substitute for visiting the apartment and neighborhood in person.

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Greener Homes in Greenest Cities

Are you looking for a home that lives up to your eco-friendly standards? Greener house are everywhere these days – or at least that is what they claim. However, nothing you do with your home can make a bigger greener difference unless the whole city works for it. Well, here is good news! There are a number of cities in the US where the government and citizens are all willing to bring about a greener change.

Let’s find out if one of them can be your next green move.

  • Austin Texas – Doesn’t sound green enough? Well, Austin is on the list of cities going ahead the green road. It currently has more than 800 utility programs to promote and support green energy.
  • Portland – Portland is often dubbed as one of the most bike-able cities in the US.
  • San Francisco – We are all waiting for the time they will change its name to the Green Silicon Valley.
  • Boston – Boston is striving hard to become the most sustainable city by 2015.
  • Oakland – It is perhaps the only city in the nation where you can drink tap water without fearing chemicals and bacteria.

The good news – there are more.

How Much Of A New Home Can You Afford?

This may seem like the right time to buy a new house and move in to a different area but just not the right time for you to buy your dream house. So before you decide to move, do consider how much of a new home you can afford? You can easily figure that out by considering the following points:

  • Calculate your savings and make sure you have enough saved to make the down payment and still save up for emergencies.
  • Calculate your total monthly debts. Consider your loans and credit card payments.
  • Make sure you have a stable job. Because if you don’t, paying your mortgage will become really difficult. Also, consider your monthly income. If you work on a commission basis, consider both high payment and low payment months.
  • Compute your monthly expenditure, which includes your bills, food, clothes etc. Your debts are not included in your expenses.
  • Consider the time you will be living in the new house for. Make sure you stay long enough to break even.

So just because you are approved for a certain amount of money, it doesn’t mean you get carried away and spend that much. So, realistically estimate how much of a home you can actually afford. For more information, visit

Identifying Real Estate Market Trends

Keeping an eye on the trends of the real estate market can be very tricky. If we put it in simple words, the real estate market is influenced by interest rates, the economy of the country and government policies. The three go hand in hand, influencing each other at different points and levels. So it is important to stay updated to be able to predict the future of the real estate market. Real estate also depends on demographics; however this influence can only be noticed after decades.

The changes in trends can be predicted by closely observing the current year’s and previous year’s total sales volume. Investors should keep comparing the number of listings, and the average sales price of the two years. They should be aware of the percentage increase or decrease in the average sales price that has occurred.

These are just a few factors that can help you identify the trends of the market. In practice, the results may differ. For details, please refer to

To Buy or Not To Buy?

HTR031213Buying and renting have their own pros and cons. Buying a house gives you more freedom and peace of mind. But financially, buying a house may not always be the best bet. In some states, you can end up spending more on maintenance, taxes, and mortgage annually then renting a similar place. It is only wise to buy a house if you are willing to stay there for a couple of years, so that when you are ready to sell it, you can break even. But before you make that decision of whether to rent or buy a house or an apartment, make sure to calculate your price to rent ratio.

The price to rent ratio gives you a rough idea of whether the prices are fair or not. To figure out the price to rent ratio, find two similar houses; one for sale and one for rent. Then, divide the sale price of one with the annual rent for the other. If the rent ratio is below 20, it means that the monthly costs of ownership will not exceed the cost of renting.

How to Detach Before You Sell

Home is where the heart is. Your house is a part of you. But if you are moving out, it is better to start detaching yourself from the place to save yourself from becoming an emotional wreck.

Here are few tips that can help:

  • Start by removing pictures, frames, candles, vases and other things that make your house look homey.
  • While packing, ask friends and family to help. Some things are just too painful to do alone.
  • You can get help from a home stager. They will give an honest opinion but in a way to help you out.
  • Take pictures of your home and write down the memories. Put them in a box and take them to your new home. Think of it as a pleasant chapter of your life and look forward to a new one. Tell yourself that the memories of the past will not negate your future experiences.

Now, focus on what you will get after selling the house. That is your goal. And that is what will make the next phase of your life beautiful. Break a leg!

Improving the Market Value of Your House

The best way to sell anything is to look at what the buyer wants and what his point of view is. So before putting up the “for sale” sign, take a look at your house from the same perspective.

Visit your house like a buyer. Take notes on big and small things you need to fix. Start from the outside; remember that the first impression is the last impression. Your yard is the first thing to be noticed. A rotted fence could take a few hundred bucks off the deal. See if the hedges need trimming or if you could add a few flowers. Painting your house may also make a big, positive difference.

Inside, get the big things fixed first, like the electrical, plumbing and cooling/heating systems. They can shave off a major portion of your asking price. Once you enter your own house, note if any thing seems unwelcoming. Use all your senses. Nothing should look or smell unpleasant. Things should be neatly kept in their correct places. Make sure the windows are shut so that there isn’t a lot of noise.

Two important places that buyers consider are the kitchen and the bathrooms. The kitchen should be clean, and make sure that before the buyer visits, your kitchen doesn’t smell of the lasagna you cooked last night. Light a vanilla scented candle to make the whole house seem more homey. Bathrooms are supposed to be spotless and seem hygienic. An abused bathroom can be a major deal breaker.

There are more easy fixes that can improve the value of your house. Just go to

Easy Steps for Buying a New House

Are you thinking of starting a family? Or are your kids moving out and the place seems too big for you and your spouse? If you are looking to buy a new home, you need some planning!

Start with the basics. Check your credit score. This is the first thing the lender checks to assess whether you are credit worthy or not. You can build your credit score by paying your bills and debts on time.

Calculate how much savings you have and the amount of mortgage you can qualify for. Get a preapproval before you start shopping, so you are ready when you find your ideal dwelling.

List your needs. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garage space etc. And contact a full time real estate agent who can respond quickly.

When you find that perfect place, get it inspected. Check out the neighborhood; find out how the schools are rated. Also, think about the house resale value. Don’t buy the house if it exceeds your budget.

Since it is a big step, take your time till you find the best deal. Because there is a house out there just for you.

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