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Lesser known Hurricane Prep Tips

With the passing of this Hurricane we have had tenants reach out about how they are should prepare. There are common preparedness tips that can be found online but I would like to give a few tips that might be easily over looked.

1. Fill you gas tank up FULLY the night before the storm.
2. Take out cash to use in case the power is out and card machines are not working. Cash rules and you should plan at minimum to withdraw two weeks worth to live off of.
3. Video all your belongings with a date stamp. Send to your email for safe holding. This will be great documentation for insurance needs.
4. Make a list of emergency numbers, (local police, insurance company, shelters, FEMA etc). If your like me I really on the internet for everything but if it is not working you will have your back up list.
5. Make a plan if you have pets. Do NOT leave them outside or tied up. Check with local programs that can help you give them a safe place to ride out a storm.
6. Talk with your loved ones about where they are riding out the storm and make a plan on how to check their safety after the storm. There maybe downed trees, power etc that my prevent traditional ways to contact them. Riding out the storm all together can sometimes be the answer.
7. For your home, take rolled up towels and place them at the bottoms of windows and sliding glass doors. Even if you windows dont leak during normal rains, the wind gust and heavier rains can seep into the home this way.

Things to keep in mind when MOVING INTO a home:

Now that you have your lease signed, deposits paid and start to begin the journey of packing up your belongings for the anticipated move, a great tip is to create MOVE check list.  That is not a typo (not move in, just MOVE) Everyone can fall victim to the excitement of it all and forgetting the simplest detail of a move without visually having a back up to pop up in your face.   Here are a few items to get your list started.

  1. MOST Important!!! Leave behind your forwarding address and contact information for your previous landlord. This is how they will send you any deposit claim information and refunds.
  2. Very close 2nd MOST important!!! Double check your utility turn on date.  Always set this date 4 days in advance with the utility company.  The day it is supposed to be switched over call the company to confirm that it was and the day after.  This way you won’t run into now power or water on move in day.
  3. The tip beforehand also works for your cable and internet service providers. Many times, these vendors book up a week in advance.  Having them there on move in day can help you settle in faster and have all your comforts that you are accustomed to.
  4. Put in a change of address a week before your move. This way you forwarded mail doesn’t get to the home to early and risk the chance of getting tossed away.
  5. Make a point to check up on when your new home’s trash service days. If possible picking a moving date close to a pick-up day will help get your home box & clutter free from move in leftovers.
  6. Change your addresses to your credit cards online and with the credit card company. Prevent declined activity can help you save yourself from an embarrassing moment.
  7. Five-days before moving in day check the weather. Sounds simple enough but I forget to do it every time I move and of course I’ve loaded up a truck full only to have the clouds above christen my furniture.  A five-day weather check and 24-hour weather check with a side of back up plan, can help you keep your cool and furniture safe.

Every list will be different.  What sort of items have you all come up with?  While your at it, share those funny move in stories too 😊

http://www.pmrentalsolutions.com

http://weather.com

http://www.usps.com

 

GOOGLE REVIEWS

PMRS is taking a quick break from our normal blog to showcase a section that can be used to see google reviews about our company.

At Property Management Rental Solutions, the voices of our owners and tenants matter immensely to us.  Below is a link to you can click to both see reviews and leave a review.  We would love to hear about your experience with PMRS and we appreciate the time you take to leave a review. 

http://bit.ly/PMRSgooglereview

Things to keep in mind when APPLYING for a home.  Part 2

Things to keep in mind when APPLYING for a home.  Part 2

Understanding your lease paper work is extremely important.  Review every word and ask questions if you are not 100% sure of the meaning of a phrase.  Leases use a lot a legal terms and wording which can leave you assuming the wrong idea about what is or is not covered in your lease.   Here are a few key sections to focus on to make sure your crystal clear of their meaning before signing your lease:

  1.  The date your rent is due. Most leases will show the 1st of the month as the rent due date.  Some leases will give you a grace period before they charge a late fee for not paying.  Please understand that the grace period is not a change on the due date.  Rent would be due on the 1st consider late on the 2nd but no late fee will be charged until after end of said grace period.   NOT ALL LEASES have a GRACE PERIOD.   Read the lease fully to make sure there is not a specific time frame the grace period ends. Example- Late fees start after 5:00pm on the third.  Many might take this as “ok, I can still drop it in the drop box” that night since the office is closed.  I worked for a company where I would have to check incoming rent by 6:00pm every day and stay late to post rent.  This means people would have late fees charged to the account since I would have the rent collected by the grace period listed on the lease.
  2. Double check the move in date. Is this date on a weekday or weekend?  What will the office hours for this day be and can you make it to the office during these hours to pay rent, sign any final paper work and pick up your keys?  It is the tenant’s responsibility to plan this out ahead of time.  It can not be expected for a business to change the course of their daily routine for these situations.   Planning for this can save a lot of frustrations.
  3. Double check your lease END date. Not all leases end of the last day of the month.  Make sure it is not during a time frame where you may be out of town, gone on vacation, in the middle of school exams, during the craziest time frame for your workplace, the rainy season, etc.
  4. After checking your lease end date, make sure to find the section that talks about lease renewal or notice to vacate. This section will let you know how many days before your lease end date that YOU MUST give your landlord notification if you are planning on staying or leaving.  Remember if you wait till the last day to tell the landlord you want to renew, and the landlord expects a rental increase, this doesn’t relieve you of being expected to give a notice.  You should be reaching out to your landlord an extra 30 days before your notice is due to see what rental rate is offered.
  5. Check to see if your required to get renters insurance or not. Even if you are not, it is always strongly suggested and for a range of $15-$25 a month you can get same great plans that cover numerous types of incidents.  You can normally save by bundling your renter’s insurance with your car insurance.  I always love to give my personal example of my upstairs neighbor catching their unit on fire.  Luckily, I was home and called the fire department, but when they had to hose down the unit, all my belongings were destroyed.  To recoup my cost, I used my renter’s insurance.  This saved me from having to sue the upstairs tenants.  If I would have had to sue them I might not have seen any reimbursement and if I did get money back, it could take over 6 months or more.
  6. Read to see what/ if any HOA rules you must adhere to. These regulations can range from certain days the yard can be mowed, certain moving days, approved parking areas (some might not allow street parking), what trash days you can have your garbage cans out, etc.   There are many small rules that can result in fines and even eviction if not followed.
  7. SUBMITTING MAINTENANCE REQUEST. Most leases will note that any request must be put in writing.  Some companies have an online poral for you to submit request.  Make sure to know the rules and procedure since if not followed your request can be delayed.

*****If the company has a 24-hour emergency number, STOP and PLUG IT IN your phone immediately. Also send the number to your email and link it to a folder label Emergency Maintenance. ******

It sounds like a simple idea, but it is a life saver when your trying to balance getting a hold of the office while handling an emergency.  Knowing exactly were this number is and what number it is will make all the difference.

  1. Move-in Inspection Form. Most leases will note that you have seen the home/unit and know that it is in habitable condition.  It is assumed that the appliances, a/c and structure of the home is all in good condition.  (Good does not mean NEW or Prefect).  This is where I would have the management notate that I have seen the unit but have yet to perform a move in condition form.  This is simple and normally not a problem to add as a lease addendum.  If the landlord does not give you an inspection sheet, then you still need to perform a move in inspection that covers each room of the home.  Even better is to take clear photos to go along with your inspection.  The more photos the better.  Take shots of the entire home and not just items that are wear and tear.  You should highlight these areas in photos so that come move out time if you are charged for these items you have the proof to show they were preexisting.  You must submit this form to the landlord.  Normally there is a time frame listed on the form.  If a form was not given I would complete the inspection within 48 hours.  Send it via email to the owner so that there is evidence of them receiving it.   Having a paper trail is everything.  This helps settles any I said verse landlord said arguments.  If any dispute goes to judgment, what is in writing with have the most clout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things to keep in mind when APPLYING for a home.  Part 1

Now that you have seen the home with your desired traits, its time to APPLY.   It is easy to boil the process down to filling out the paper work and giving a copy of you photo ID, but please remember there is much more then just that basic step.

Most people expect to have a quick answer when applying.  It is smart to keep in mind that most applications can take 3-4 BUSINESS days.  Having all your required materials at arm’s length is a good way to prepare for applying ANYWHERE.  Below is a checklist to help prepare you:

  1. Copy of photo ID (Government issued) for all person applying over the age of 18.
  2. Names of management companies, apartments and addresses that you have lived at for the last 5 years.
  3. Make sure if you are currently renting that you have put in your required notice to vacate with your landlord. If you have not then this can delay the approval of your application. Most companies do not want to risk you skipping out on a lease since you might be inclined to do that same thing to them.   WE DO CALL FOR VERIFICATION!!!  If your rental history can’t be verified, you could be subjected to denial or extra fees/deposits.
  4. It is smart to give your current landlord a heads up about some one calling to verify rental history. If not calls get ignored and some landlords might not realize how time sensitive this is.  While your application is waiting for a call back you could lose the home you want to some one whose landlord gave a quick response.  Having your landlords updated email and phone number is best.
  5. Remember most companies accept multiple applications on a home. It is not the age old first come first serve.  Now it is first to be approvable gets brought to the owner for evaluation.  It can be a great idea to have a back up home in mind (with the same company).  That way if your application isn’t approved in time for the 1st home you want normally you have a great shot at your second choice.
  6. If you have ever been evicted, sent to collections or have a criminal record you might as well disclose that before applying. Most companies have VERY strict guidelines they must follow concerning these items.  Due to Fair Housing Act making exception for one person and not everyone is out of the question, so companies really don’t have any wiggle room when it comes to these top qualifying items.   The truth will come out during the application process and that only leaves you spending money on application fees and your application is denied.
  7. Knowing your credit score can also save you some pain when it comes to figuring out if you may be approved. Most bank or credit card companies have tools that give you a ball park figure of your credit score.   Many companies have a base line that must be met for an application to be approved.  If there are multiple people over the age of 18 applying, then ask how the credit score will be calculated.  Sometimes it is an average score of multiple people.  This means your credit might be amazing where as your roommates credit score my drag your opportunity down to be approved.
  8. Check and see if the company has an online application. Most do, and this provides a quick way to get your application in fast and pay your application fees.  Make sure to always follow the company’s directions for applying and send a follow up email after applying.  The email can simply state you wanted to confirm your application (sent at this date/time) was received.   Leave your best contact information that way if there is an issue the agent can reach out to you for any extra documents.
  9. Before you have applied make sure to check all fees for signing a lease with that company. Some might have an administrative fee, deposit, first or last month’s rent required to sign lease paper work.  Ask how these payments can be paid (most first-time payments are done in certified funs such a cashier check or money order).  While you wait for the verification process to be completed you can either have this money pulled out of your bank account a head of time.  I have seen this issue happen tons of time where the application is approved, and the applicant has 24 hours to get the money to the office but their bank card won’t let them withdraw that much money in one day.  Having these funds set to the side already can save you a big headache and rushing around.  I would NOT get the cashier check or money order until you are OFFICIALLY approved.  Most cities have 24-hour places like AMSCOT that can provide money orders when provided the cash.
  10. Be prepared to send funds by overnight mail, if you are not living close by to drop the funds off to the management company. Yes, it can be expensive, but this burden is on the applicant.  The management company is not required to wait for you to get your money in to them.
  11. Once the application is approved and required funds are turned in, then the lease signing begins. In our next segment I will touch on items to pay attention to in your lease verbiage.  The main point I leave with you now is to READ YOUR LEASE. READ IT, READ IT, READ IT.  Don’t skim it and sign but read every word. DO NOT be afraid to ask questions.  The agent is there to help explain and we don’t mind questions.  I suggest asking for a sample copy of the lease before applying for a home, so you know what is expected of you as tenants.  The lease is non-negotiable so if you do not like the terms it is best to find another company to lease with.

 

Things to consider when looking for your perfect rental.  Part 5.

Things to consider when looking for your perfect rental.  Part 5.

Sometimes it is the small stuff that counts the most.  Here are a few questions I like to ask myself before getting my heart set on a location.

  1. Noise level. I love being downtown, but do I really want to deal with the constant noise from events, people, traffic, construction etc.
  2. Do I have a bike path for my late evening rides I enjoy so much (insert your fav activity here)
  3. How many outlets does the home have? I have a lot of plug in gadgets
  4. How much natural light does the home have? I love keeping the blinds open.
  5. Does the home have a lot of parking? I love to entrain guest and have frequent cook outs.
  6. I don’t consider myself a loud neighbor but since I love entertaining, music and chatters will be a part of the deal, is the home in a lively neighborhood that will be use to this type of activity.
  7. How far is my favorite take out place for those nights when cooking is just not in the cards?
  8. What direction does the bedroom window face? I am not a morning person, I repeat NO WAKEY WAKEY before 8:00am.  I need to make sure that sun is not raising up gloriously in my window at 6:30am.

 

The point im trying to make by the above list is that find out what makes your daily life livable and see how your new home will fit into your needs and wants.  These small yet important items are often overlooked because of the excitement of rental hunting.  Once you settle in though reality can hit leaving you feeling like your missing out.

 

Things to consider when looking for your perfect rental.  Part 4.

This may come to a shocker for some but generally speaking, rental prices go up each year.  Due to the general cost of living, market rates tend to increase yearly.  It is an unfortunate but steady fact.  Even with being perfect tenants by paying rent on time and not having a ton of work orders, this does not save the home from being tangled up in more costly things such as increased taxes or HOA fees.  Most the times the owners are barely making out even when renting their homes when you factor in all these things (taxes, insurance, mortgage, yearly repairs).    When looking for your perfect rental and making a budget for living in an area keep in mind if you plan to stick around the same area/ home for multiple years, it is very smart to plan on a rental increase of at east $50.00 per year.  This way you know now if you should shoot for something in a lower cost bracket.  Moving ends up costing way more then a $50 yearly increase but still not realizing the reasons why or the possibility of an increase can lead to disappointment and sometimes resentment toward the owner.

 

#4- Things to consider when looking for your prefect rental. Part 3

This tip sounds like a no brain-er but even I have lost the moving battle and uttered “UH OH, My FURNITURE ISN’T FITTING!!!!!”

I stress to all, make sure to get measurements of your current furniture (esp. big pieces or important pieces).  When you find a home you love, let the agent know you will need a little extra time at the showing to check out the measurements.  I absolutely love it when I hear some one asks me if that is ok.  I normally will take along a measuring tape to these showing to help with the measuring.   This is the best way to gauge space.  An empty home is notorious for not giving a realistic view of how things will fit.  Even the best Tetris player can land in this downfall.

This one simple tip can affect your moving day greatly.

  • It can save you from buying furniture that won’t fit (waste Money)
  • It can save you the energy of loading furniture that might not fit (man/lady power)
  • It can help you earn some extra cash by selling items that you realize you won’t be bringing along with you during the move.

Things to consider when looking for your prefect rental. Part 2

Things to consider when looking for your prefect rental.  Part 2

 

  • Remember to check these routes during the times of day when you would travel them. This will give you the most accurate information.
  • Consider if there is a school bus route on your way to and from work? Is there road construction going on?
  • Is there a bike path to your desired location? This can always be a useful mode of transportation.
  • Are you naturally and early raiser or is rushing out the door to avoid being late apart of your routine?
  • If there is a home, you like but the rent is higher than you budgeted. Looking at the gas you may save if the home is closures could just offset the higher rent. You can always weigh the pros and cons and come up with outside the box thinking to really look at your best options for moving.

Being honest with yourself on what exactly your looking for can really help how your view your options and the results can land you your perfect rental.

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