Quite often, signing a new lease requires the payment of the first month’s rent and an additional security deposit. This deposit is intended to be kept by the landlord until you move out of your apartment. Should you leave the apartment in the condition it was when you moved in, the security deposit is returned. Should you have left any major damages, any or all of the security deposit can be kept by the landlord to cover the required repairs.
Moving out of an apartment can be stressful, but getting your security deposit returned shouldn’t be. Quite a lot can happen between your move-in and move-out date of your new apartment, especially if you live there for a few years. Below are a few tips to ensure you get your security deposit back when your lease is over.
When you first move into a new apartment, the first thing you’ll need to do is inspect the living spaces. Your landlord may give you a move in inspection document to fill out ensuring that everything is recorded before you start living there.. Take note of any concerns you may have, and take pictures for evidence. These photos will help show anything that was out of order or otherwise blemished before you got there.
Keep these documents for the duration of your lease, in case any problems come about when it’s time for you to move out. Having these documents will help solve any issues that come up later and help you avoid unwanted fees.
Many issues can be avoided when you communicate with your landlord and have a mutual understanding. Know who is responsible for what. Typically, landlords are responsible for maintenance, while you may be responsible for damage repairs.
If the walls need a new paint job, you can expect the landlord to fix that when you move out. However, if you’ve snapped a kitchen cabinet off its hinges or damaged the floors, you can expect those costs to come out of your wallet (or your deposit).
Having a positive and professional relationship with your landlord will be of benefit to you, as it’s less likely they’ll heavily charge against your security deposit if you have a good and respectful relationship. Landlords are likely to be more forgiving of tenants who have helped keep an eye on their property in the past, as opposed to the tenants who only have contacted the landlord when there’s a problem.
Keep all relationships professional and file documentation of everything you have in case of any problems.
Establish a cleaning day, whether it’s weekly or bi-weekly, to help you always keep your apartment in good shape. This will minimize the amount of work you have to do when you are preparing to move out.
It’s likely you will have at least one maintenance issue during your stay in your apartment. Addressing all problems immediately can help to keep issues from escalating, which can cost your landlord more money and leave you inconvenienced. While maintenance is your landlord’s responsibility, lack of attention and urgency on your part can make the landlord feel less obligated in returning your full security deposit at the end of your lease.
If you aren’t getting your security deposit back, there must be good reason given. In most states, landlords are required to provide an explanation as to why you may not be getting your security deposit back. Familiarize yourself with how long your landlord has to return your security deposit.
And of course, make sure to fully understand the terms of your lease agreement. At Paragon Residential Management our property managers work with you to ensure that you get the most back from your security deposit. We have a move-in and move-out inspection with you to document any damage to the unit before and after you’ve lived there. This ensures that there is no question on how much of your security deposit you will get back when it is time to leave.
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If you’re looking to rent an apartment, you first need to determine what you can afford. Your income will help you dictate the factors that go into finding the right apartment for you. Location, apartment type and size are all contributing factors. Here are a few tips for deciding how much rent you can afford when searching for a new apartment.
The most important part of determining how much rent you can afford is establishing a budget.
Many important questions need to be answered to do this correctly.
● What is your income?
● What are your outstanding debts?
● Do you anticipate a raise or bonus any time throughout the coming year?
● Will you have roommates to split the costs?
All of these questions will help you come up with a rent that is right for you. Your landlord may also ask some of these questions, as they may have requirements on how much you must make to sign a lease for an apartment.
Your rent may be your biggest expense but you will have to factor in other costs that may come along, both related to your home and otherwise.
Consider home-related costs such as:
● Cable & internet
● Rental insurance
● Parking fees
● Security deposit
● Pet fee, if applicable.
Your potential landlord can sometimes offer you guidance with regard to average utility costs.
Also consider your other monthly expenses, such as:
● Car payments
● Auto and health insurance
● Memberships and subscriptions
When looking for the right apartment, you also have to determine how much space you will need.
● Too much space, and you’ll find yourself buying more decor and furniture to fill it.
● Too little space, and you’ll have to sell your furniture or pay a monthly fee for storage.
Consider how you will use your apartment – will you entertain guests frequently? Will a good kitchen help you save money on take-out? Knowing your lifestyle will help you identify your apartment priorities.
The location of your new apartment is going to play a significant part in its price.
If you are looking to live in a larger, busier city, expect the cost of living to be higher as well.
However, you may have a little more room in your budget if you’re looking in a less populated area. Do take note of the convenience of living in a city. You may be paying a few extra dollars in rent, but you also have access to public transportation, and may be able to avoid the expenses of owning and maintaining a car.
Make sure to review the cost of living in and around the area you intend to move. Sites such as BestPlaces allow you to compare the cost of living in different cities.
What you want to achieve will certainly dictate your budget. Are you looking to travel extensively, or do you prefer to spend your weekends in and around your home? Are you paying off your debts, or looking to live somewhere nice and carefree? Thinking about these questions will certainly help you decide what you want to spend on rent!
Not sure what you should spend? Find a financial planner or a trusted friend to help you look at your options and give you advice. It’s ultimately your home, so make sure whatever apartment you choose is one you can afford and enjoy!
Photo credit: LendingMemo.com
The Internet is the greatest resource of the modern era, and it’s your best friend if you’re a property owner seeking tenants.
With a market full of properties trying to appeal to individuals looking to move, it’s imperative to stand out and let your property shine.
But a website isn’t as simple to create as a flyer you hand out to people. How do you know if your website is working for your property? Ask yourself the following questions to start identifying what’s working – and what you can work on still.
When potential tenants visit your site and start to explore, are they seeing your property in its best light?
Maybe you’ve invested time and money into upgrades and maintenance care, but your photos are out of date. Or maybe you have great photos, but not enough text to clearly explain everything that comes included with your property.
Make sure your website clearly showcases your property’s exterior, interior rooms, and grounds. Even as you start to explain the tiny details that may not be as appealing as the hot tub in the backyard, your website should be designed and written in such a way that visitors are continuously excited to see what you have to offer – and to know immediately what the highlights of your property are.
Taking care to attractively show off your property online will go a long way in convincing a tenant to visit your property in-person, and, if you share enough information online, you’ll drastically reduce the amount of questions the potential tenant has about your available spaces.
Potential tenants aren’t just appraising your property – they’re looking at you, too. Make sure your website is a reflection of who you are and what you have to bring to the table. Your website should be well designed and easy to navigate, with a layout that conveys your responsible and professional nature. Contact information must also be readily available so you can transfer this conversation from screen-to-screen to face-to-face. Consider this website an inadvertent personal profile for both your property and yourself. Your future tenant is looking closely to make sure that you are a good fit for them, as well as the property you own.
Your website is expected to offer potential tenants a visual preview as to what they will experience once they actually go to see the property in person. With the limitations that accompany the two-dimensional nature of the Internet, it is ideal to consider displaying your property online as it is in-person. People visiting your website will enjoy being offered a detailed, all-inclusive virtual tour of what your property offers. They don’t want to waste their time when they go to see the property in-person – they want to know what to expect with a click. If your website doesn’t provide this experience yet, it’s certainly not too late! You may want to seriously consider adding this feature in the future.
It’s human nature to want the best but to expect the worst. So naturally, potential tenants surfing your website are going to have questions and concerns. As the property manager, you will need to have the answers to those questions and concerns readily available.
Consider questions pertaining to topics such as:
– Square footage
Proactively providing information about the types of things you know tenants are most interested in knowing is one of the best ways to show your professionalism, experience and willingness to help your tenants.
We won’t get too detailed here, but there are a number of steps you must take to properly optimize your website to make it great for all visitors. Consider questions such as:
Is it mobile-friendly? If people looking up your website on their smartphone can’t explore your website when they pull it up, they’ll leave and quickly search for a competitor website, instead. Things to look out for: buttons too small to click; photos too big to load; pages too slow to open.
Is it optimized for search? If people are looking for “luxury apartments” in your area, you have to make sure your website shows up in Google’s search results. Having the right content online and the proper optimization of your site is critical when trying to attract tenants who have not heard of your property’s brand name before.
Property management is a demanding job, but with the right website you will see a huge difference in the quality of leads that you receive from the web. When you work with Paragon Residential Management, we take time to analyze your online presence and can offer various options according to your budget. You can rest assured that with Paragon on your team, your property will get the best representation possible online and in-person.
Photo via: http://bit.ly/1Y6oZhw
No matter which rental community you’re living in, you’re bound to have noise issues at some point. Whether your neighbors are throwing a party, moving furniture or just tend to stomp above your head as they walk, neighbor-caused noises can be distracting and problematic.
Luckily, there are many solutions that can help solve these situations, whether they’re temporary or ongoing. Here are some recommended steps you can take when dealing with a loud neighbor.
If there’s a problem, address it personally with them. There’s no need to call your landlord right away. You can simply knock on your neighbor’s door and ask them if they are able to be quieter. If you do so in a polite manner, they will be more likely to show empathy and lower their volume. Quite often, neighbors don’t even realize that they are being disruptive until they’re told.
The most important thing in this first initiative is to be polite, as being rude about the situation will only lead to bigger problems. You can even suggest a solution to your neighbor. Rather than saying “You’re being too loud!” you could say, “I don’t mind when you play your music but would you mind turning it down a little?”
Of course, we certainly hope you’ll consider whether this is a first-time issue or a recurring event. If it’s your otherwise always-peaceful neighbor’s 40th birthday party, it may be better for your long-term relationship to allow them to have their fun. There is certainly room for give and take, and allowing a one-time celebration to continue for a few hours may be a tremendous favor they’ll thank you for later.
Maybe you’ve knocked on your neighbor’s door once or twice but the loud noises continue. Now it’s time to take the next step. Make a detailed log of what time you hear the noises, whether loud music, shouting, dog barking or otherwise. If you feel it’s necessary, you can even record them on your phone or audio device. Notes such as these will allow you to present clear records of the issue when speaking to your landlord about the issue, which will help to more quickly discuss potential solutions.
Don’t feel like every issue you have in your apartment is all on you to fix. Your landlord is there for a reason. If you’ve tried to verbally speak with the neighbor multiple times and they have not taken your complaints into consideration, call your landlord. Check to see if any of your other neighbors are experiencing the same problem. Multiple residents complaining about the same issue will further encourage your landlord to handle the situation in a timely manner.
The neighbors might be bothering you, but are you aware of your own actions that could potentially be bothering them?
Make sure you don’t become a loud neighbor and disregard other residents’ peacefulness. Play your music at respectable levels and at a reasonable time. Wearing high heels today? Make them the last thing you put on before you leave the house. Pay attention to the volume of your guests, your children and your pets.
By being respectful to your neighbors and respectfully asking them to consider your noise concerns, you’ll be able to more quickly resolve issues that are keeping you from sleeping, getting work done or otherwise enjoying your home. Remember, if there’s ever an issue you can’t solve on your own, your landlord and property manager are there to assist you at all times.
If you are a property manager or landlord, one of the biggest concerns is tenant retention. A high turnover rate of residents can be costly and inefficient. Although some circumstances are out of your control, there are many measures that can be taken to increase retention. Below are a few of the many strategies to keep tenants long-term.
If you have tenants leaving, your biggest concern should be why they left. Asking for feedback can really help you pinpoint retention issues, and better cater to the needs of your tenants. Create a short survey for them to fill out before they leave, evaluate the results and make adjustments so issues you can control don’t happen again. Be mindful that sometimes people leave for reasons out of your control, like space needs or homeownership, but pay attention to signs of problems with your property or other tenants, such as “It’s too noisy,” “I don’t feel safe,” or “my apartment had too many maintenance issues.”
When issues arise, fix them and fix them quickly. The longer your tenants are waiting to have an issue resolved, the more frustrated they will get. Maintenance problems are stressful for everyone involved, but being on top of these issues will make your tenants happy and more likely to stay because they know they have a responsible landlord.
When tenants are looking for apartments, one of the most important factors is that the apartment looks clean and safe. Don’t wait until something breaks to upgrade it. Residents will be more likely to stay when necessary renovations are done. Upgrading flooring, appliances or faulty windows could be the make or break factor when getting a resident to renew their lease. Make the apartment complex an inviting place by planting flowers in the front of the facility, keeping the grass trimmed and keeping the parking lot clean and well-lit.
Communication is always key. If you feel a resident is violating any regulations, be upfront with them and say something. Avoiding communication until the problem progresses helps no one. You should be regularly checking in to make sure everything is going smoothly, and show your residents that you care about them. In addition, when your residents call about issues or questions, show genuine concern and show efforts to resolve their inquiry. Communicating with your residents and providing exceptional customer service is essential in resident retention.
Establish a relationship with your tenants. Send emails every once in awhile to check in, and make sure everything is going well. You may not always get a response but it’s the thought that counts. Ask your tenants if they have any suggestions and give them a chance to voice their ideas. You never know – the smallest change could make the biggest difference. Ideas from one tenant could go on to benefit everyone living in the apartment complex. Feel free to even send holiday cards or apartment anniversary cards.
Showing your appreciation for residents will go a long way in making them feel at home, and therefore, staying in your properties.
Photo by nenetus.