Category Archives: Home Improvement

Pitfalls of Poor Tenant Screening Part 1

One thing to keep in mind while screening applicants is the federal Fair Housing Act, which:

“prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and disability.”

1Does this mean you can turn a prospect down because they don’t dress well?  Absolutely.  How about if they show up reeking of smoke?  Sure.  What if they just give you a bad feeling?  Yes.  None of these reasons are provided for in the FHA.  But here’s the rub.  What will stop a prospect from suing you for discrimination because you did not rent to them because they were minorities, and not due to the fact that they showed up to view in a car with trash falling out of it.  You felt that represented how they may keep up your property.  The problem is convincing the court this was your reason for not qualifying them.  Whether it’s true or not, you can run in to a lot of liability issues if you deny applicants who otherwise meet your screening criteria.

You should also be familiar with your state and local laws to make sure you are not violating any laws or statutes.  Please consult an attorney if you have any concerns.  I am an advocate of one of the prepaid legal programs.  I pay $25 per month and can ask them for legal advice when anything comes up. They will also review legal documents you have, such as leases, addenda, etc. to ensure it is legal.  Or have a professional Charlotte property management handle things for you.

Just to reinforce the need to properly qualify prospects, here is another video showing the result of a Landlord who did not property qualify their tenant who moved in to a brand new town home:

One valuable trick is, while processing the application, if an applicant lives locally, visit them unannounced.  Tell them you were in the area and wanted to stop by for them to sign their application in person, or for some other reason.  This will give you a chance to see how they maintain their current unit.

Investing some additional time and effort into the qualification process can pay big dividends in the future.  What you save now could cost you more down the road.  Best of luck.

 

Build House – Do not Do It! Okay, maybe not do it, however!

Getting started is the hard part. It might be said that, in life, there is no time to do anything. There is urgency that makes something so you can wait for it to go home

I want to take a different track in this article. In my years of working with people who build or remodel their own homes I spoke with hundreds and hundreds of people and assisted them in making the decision to build … or NOT.

To Build or Not to Build – The Question of the Day

The fact is, I advised more people *not* to build than I did to build. This was for many reasons. Some people were not qualified to manage a project such as this. Others could not make decisions easily enough and it was obvious that they just didn’t know what they wanted. There were also those for whom the timing just wasn’t right. I never advised anyone to build until these and other considerations lined up in such a way that the majority of the stop lights turned green.

In the current market conditions, there are more reasons why building a home might not be for you at this time. To find out, I ask you to consider your objectives.

WHAT IS IT YOU REALLY WANT?

Take stock of your priorities. Home building might be a longer-term objective and not an immediate goal. Here are some things to think about.

  • How soon do you want to be in a home?
  • Are you looking mainly to create equity?
  • Is this a long-held dream for a land parcel you now own?
  • Are you extremely particular about where you live and how the home looks and feels?

You can learn more at sites like Dream Home Creation, but depending upon your answers to these and similar questions, building may be something that can wait. On the other hand, if you own a piece of land and you’re eager to build on it, it’s probably a good time. When you answer these questions, if you find you are just looking for the best deal you can get, building may not be a good option. And if you’re in need of a place soon, building is not for you.

This Just Isn’t the Best Time to Build, if …

There’s one big reason why this may not be the time to build if you’re looking for a the best deal on a home. Home prices are down almost everywhere. Deals can be had. One caution: While a rebound in prices will eventually happen, don’t expect it right away.

Foreclosures, motivated sellers, and bank repossessions have flooded many markets with houses that can be purchased for well under their values of two to three years ago. So, if you primarily want a low price and you’re not particular about what you want, I would advise you to pursue these options rather than building a home at this time.

CONSIDER HOME IMPROVEMENT

If you find a really good deal to buy a home, you might think that remodeling would be a good choice. Try to look at the options you have at home with attention to changes you can make to improve your value and comfort.

Also, you may want to have a builder or home building coach looking at the house you are considering buying before you close the deal. This is not to replace the house inspection, only if you are planning a major home improvement. Builders or trainers will be able to assess the feasibility of home improvement ideas you have. Happy hunting!

Home Fixing and Home Renovation

Whether you have just bought a new home or want to upgrade your old family home, home improvements and renovations can be a daunting thing. Since every renovation project takes a lot of time and money, it’s important to have a clear plan before you start.

Keep reading for great ideas about simple home-to-home renovations. The first is a simple fix. This is an easy solution with a big “wow” factor that can be done in less than a week, but can continue to improve your home.

1. Tile and Bathtub Resurfacing

Getting your bathroom tiles and showers resurfaced or redone can make a huge difference and really update your bathroom, giving it a contemporary and modern look.

 2. Upgrade Your Fixtures

Upgrading your sink faucets, light fixtures, door knobs and cabinet handles is a quick and easy way to spruce up a home. Start this simple home improvement project by taking down those decades-old frosted glass light fixtures and throwing up some hip and modern spotlights. Next, update your shower heads and sink faucets to make the bathroom shine.

Upgrading fixtures is also a great way to add value to a home that you’re planning to sell. Not only do they modernize the look of a house, but they also give buyers a sense of value.

3. Paint

Painting can be done in a day. It may not be fun – although some people enjoy it – but this quick and easy fix will brighten a room right away, taking it from dull and lackluster to shiny and new. For a professional looking finish, be sure to spackle over and sand any holes in the walls.

4. New Carpet

Sometimes replacing that dingy, old carpet can be all you need to make a house feel new again. For a clean and modern finish, try wood laminate or hardwood floors.

Next are two major home improvement ideas that will take a few weeks to a few months for completion. These are significant undertakings that you’ll want to seriously plan and budget for, but can have a major impact on the value and appeal of your home.

 1. Make Your Home Energy Efficient

Give your home a complete energy overhaul by upgrading the windows, redoing the insulation (especially in the attic), revamping your venting and heating systems, installing water recycling systems and putting solar panels on your roof. Though these home upgrades can cost a lot up front, they’ll save you tens of thousands in the long run.

2. Adding Space

Whenever you build your home, you will take on a big project. You need an architect, an eligible contractor and all the licenses and permits your city requires. Be careful if you add additional stories, as most countries allow certain time periods for complaints of neighbors.