Ellen Corbett's Blog
- Rain gutters on your house can help divert water away from your foundation, which is one factor in preventing basement leaks and excess moisture. When rain gutters are not working properly, it's usually the result of one or two things: 1) clogs caused by leaves and other debris, and 2) downspouts which fail to direct water far enough from the house. Diverting water away from your home can also help protect your foundation from premature cracking of crumbling. Although rain gutters need to be cleaned once or twice a year, there are low maintenance products available which let the rain water in, but keep the leaves out.
- Sump pumps: An essential device for wet basements is a sump pump -- preferably the kind that work during extreme weather conditions and power outages. Those are the conditions under which homeowners need a working sump pump the most!
- Basement waterproofing solutions: Depending on the extent of your water seepage problem, you may want to consult a basement waterproofing service. Since prices, warranties, and services may vary quite a bit from one company to the next, it would be wise to get a few estimates. Basement waterproofing companies may recommend several options, such as exterior excavation, the installation of new drainage tiles and French drains, and the application of a waterproof membrane on the outside of foundation walls. Interior work may involve the creation of a drainage trench around the perimeter of the basement and the installation of drainage tiles or piping to channel excess water to a sump pump. So as you can imagine, basement waterproofing can be quite expensive. That's why the best strategy is usually a preventative one.
- Damage control: One way to help prevent or minimize damage to your home from leaking water pipes or malfunctioning appliances is to have an automatic shutoff mechanism installed in your plumbing system. By detecting and responding to reductions in water pressure, it can turn off water flow at specific locations to keep flooding and property damage to an absolute minimum.
Many property owners at some point consider renting out their house. Whether it’s a property they inherited, a summer home they rarely use, or they're just trying their hand at property management.
It's a common misconception that renting out a house is passive income. You'll have to do a lot of work if you plan on keeping your tenants around and paying their rent.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the things you should consider if you're planning on renting out a house or property you own.
The rental process
Some landlords take shortcuts during the rental process to save time or money. However, doing so could cost you big time in the long run. If you don't utilize a real estate agent, draw up the proper contracts and agreements, or fail to do due diligence with walkthroughs, you could easily end up losing money on your investment.
The safest approach to finding reliable tenants and renting your property securely is to use a property manager who knows the practical and legal aspects of renting so you don't have to worry about making any beginner mistakes.
DIY property management
If you decide you want to save money and manage the property yourself, there are a few things you should keep in mind when looking for tenants.
First, use background checks and credit checks to ensure your future tenants are in good financial standing.
Next, ask for references on your application, preferably from former landlords. Most landlords will happily let you know if their tenants were good about making on-time payments or were difficult in other ways.
When it comes to your lease, don't try to write it from scratch. There are several templates available online. Try to find one that covers most applicable laws in your area, then hire a lawyer to read over your lease and make any pertinent changes.
Finally, be sure to collect a security deposit or first and last month’s rent. This will give you some protection if your tenant stops paying or causes costly damages in the building.
Know your legal limits
If you've ever rented before, odds are there were a few things you wish your landlord did differently. Before beginning this endeavor of becoming a landlord, make sure you're doing it by the book.
Find the laws for your state and city regarding landlord/tenant requirements. Know when you can enter the apartment and how long of an advanced notice is required to do any work in the apartment.
Before sending any complaints or notices to your tenant, make sure you are in the right, legally speaking and can back up your claims with evidence. To do so, you'll need to practice rigorous bookkeeping. Document and keep copies of each payment you receive and all of the money you spend on repairs and maintenance. These records can help you should you ever need to prove yourself in a court of law.
Finally, be respectful and courteous with your tenants. Going out of your way to be helpful will often save you headaches in the long run. However, know when your leniency is being taken advantage of by tenants who are avoiding paying rent or abusing your property.
There's one thing all successful real estate agents, advertising executives, and marketing professionals know about human behavior: Many people make buying decisions for emotional reasons, and then justify those decisions with facts. In other words, they might say they bought a particular house because of all the updates and stainless steel appliances, but the real reason was that they could imagine themselves living there, being happy, entertaining friends and family, raising their children, and even growing old together there.
For some home buyers, the deciding factor is that it reminds them of fond childhood memories or perhaps the house they grew up in. Whenever a home for sale stirs up good feelings, happy memories, or positive thoughts in the mind of prospective buyers, it increases the chances they'll make an offer on the house.
Home Staging Tips
If your house is now on the market or you're considering putting it up for sale, there are a lot of steps you can take to make it more attractive to buyers. Obvious improvements like doing a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning of the house can make a big difference, but there are literally dozens of other things you can do to attract more offers and get the highest possible price for your property. Sometimes it's something as simple as a creating a pleasing scent, like cinnamon, lavender, hot coffee, of freshly baked bread, cookies, or muffins, that can create a comforting and enticing ambiance for potential buyers.
Although your real estate agent should already be well versed in the nuances of home staging, it would be to your benefit to do some research on it and participate in the process. Some home owners hire a professional home staging consultant to make sure no details are overlooked.
Avoiding Home Staging Pitfalls
Attractively decorating your home can be one aspect of making a good impression on potential buyers, but it's necessary to cast the widest possible net, so to speak, when making decorating choices. In other words, you would want the appearance, style, and color choices in your home to appeal to a wide variety of different tastes, rather than just a select few. That's why it's beneficial to get an objective opinion from an experienced real estate agent, a professional decorator, or a home staging consultant. Since you've been living in your home for umpteen years, you're probably going to be "too close to the trees to see the forest."
Some things that homeowners often tend to overlook just before prospective buyers arrive to tour their house include the following:
- Furniture that's arranged in a haphazard, disjointed, or cluttered way
- 'Welcome' mats that are dirty, faded, and anything but welcoming
- Overflowing or grungy-looking trash baskets
- Overgrown shrubbery
- Smudged or cobweb-laden windows
- Kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas of the house that are disorganized and visibly unclean
124 Neck St, Weymouth, MA 02191
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