Off To College? Things To Look For When Searching For Rentals

39337284_sSeptember is back-to-school season for many families throughout the Country. Not only does this mean school-aged children going back to school but, also recent high school graduates going off to college. Part of the process of going to college is finding a place to live. While some students choose to live on campus, others decide to rent a place off campus with friends or, same-aged family members.

Whether you are a home owner with rentals or, you are a college student or parent of a college student looking for a rental, here are some areas of the home to check when doing a walk through:

  • Do all of the toilets in the home flush easily? As you are walking through a rental, flush each of the toilets to make sure that the handle is in good condition and works properly. Look around the floor of the toilet to make sure there isn’t any leaking or, standing water. Check the fan in the bathroom to make sure that it works and the bathroom is properly ventilated.
  • Do all of the plumbing fixtures in the home turn on and off? Check each of the plumbing fixtures to make sure that the water pressure is strong. Also, check the hot water to see how long it takes to heat up, and make sure that when the fixtures are turned off nothing leaks. Check the shower heads to make sure the water pressure is strong. If there is a garbage disposal or a dishwasher, check to make sure they both run and turn on/off easily.
  • Do any of the rooms in the home have an odor? This is true especially for the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry rooms. These rooms all have running water in them and the smell could be coming from the plumbing or, a leak. When you walk through the house, be mindful of how it smells and if the smell is worse in any one area than others.

Starting a college journey can be very exciting. If you plan on renting off campus, make sure to follow these tips to ensure that the rental you live in will serve you well through your college career.

How To Keep The Swimming Pool On Your Property Safe

25007490_sSummer is a busy time of the year for buying and selling homes, or moving from one rental to another. Whether you are moving because you’ve bought a new home or, because you have outgrown your rental and need something bigger, the summer is the perfect time of year to do it.

Homes with additional features like sunrooms or swimming pools are especially interesting to home buyers and renters because of the additional recreation they offer the family. But, sometimes the home has been sitting unoccupied for a period of time, and it is important to be cautious about the electrical safety of the swimming pool. In fact, it is important to be cautious about electrical safety around a swimming pool in general.

Here are some tips that you can follow if you land in a home this summer that has a swimming pool:

  • Make sure to have a professional electrician inspect the wiring for the swimming pool lighting and other components. If the home has been unoccupied for any length of time, it is possible that critters may have nested and chewed the wiring.
  • Also, have an electrician check the outdoor electrical outlets before you use them to plug in a radio, small refrigerator, or any other electrical item you might like to have near the pool. Outdoor outlets can get corroded with dirt and debris and should be checked before use.
  • Only use extension cords for the length of time that you absolutely need them. Extension cords should not be used as permanent electricity for an appliance or item that does not reach the closets outlet. Extension cords can get tripped on or, accidently dragged if they are laid out across the patio or deck of the pool.
  • Anytime it is possible, make sure to use battery-operated items outside around the swimming pool. This significantly reduces the chances of major injury by removing electricity from the picture all together. This is especially true if you have children, who may not always understand the dangers.

Having a swimming pool at a new home can be a great way to spend time together, get some exercise, and enjoy the outdoors. But, it is important to be safe around the pool, not only from water accidents but, also electrical accidents. Follow these tips for keeping your backyard pool time safe.

Biggest Bang for your Remodeling Buck!

Biggest Bang for your Remodeling Buck!


Our houses are also our homes, so we believe it’s important to be comfortable in your home and have it reflect your personality and your life style. Remodeling your home to your personal likes and dislikes is important; but having said that, it’s also important to look at what remodeling projects yield the best resale value and which yield the worst resale value. Every year the National Association of Realtors commissions a report on resale value of remodeling projects. These values vary throughout the country so the data below just represents results from Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii.


Year after year, the most cost effective remodels have to do with “Curb Appeal” and replacing your front door, garage, or adding stone facing gives you the largest return on investment. You will get the lowest return on your investment by adding a home office, sunroom or putting in that doomsday backup generator, so you may want to think twice if you’re about to embark on any of those projects.


Here is a quick recap of the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report:


Highest Return

#1 Project: Entry Door Replacement – Job Cost: $1,366 Resale Value: $1,683 Cost Recouped: 123%
#2 Project: Garage Door Replacement– Job Cost: $1,756 Resale Value: $1,929 Cost Recouped: 110%
#3 Stone Veneer– Job Cost: $7,258 Resale Value: $7,808 Cost Recouped: 107.6%
#4 Minor Kitchen Remodel– Job Cost: $21,497 Resale Value: $21,987 Cost Recouped: 102.3%
#5 Deck Addition– Job Cost: $11,685 Resale Value: $11,828 Cost Recouped: 101.2%
#6 Window Replacement– Job Cost: $12,489 Resale Value: $11,911 Cost Recouped: 95.4%

Lowest Return

#1 Home Office Remodel– Job Cost: $32,652 Resale Value: $18,364 Cost Recouped: 56.2%
#2 Sunroom Addition-Job Cost: $83,694 Resale Value: $47,488 Cost Recouped: 56.7%
#3 Backup Power Generator– Job Cost: $13,226 Resale Value: $8,985 Cost Recouped: 67.9%
#4 Bathroom Remodel– Job Cost: $45,635 Resale Value: $33,715 Cost Recouped: 73.9%


If you’re thinking of remodeling to get your home ready for resale, remember that the best thing you can do outside of expensive remodels is to make your home uncluttered, depersonalized, clean and inviting. So take those pictures of you and your family off the walls, pack half your belongings, replace worn carpet, give your home a fresh paint job, spread fresh tan bark on flowerbeds, and add bright colored flowers in the entry!


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3 Tips For Roof Maintenance

37737821_sAs a homeowner, keeping your house well-maintained and in top condition is a major priority. This is never truer than if you are a landlord renting out your investment property. As a landlord, it is important to stay in touch with your rental properties. A property management company can help to make this easier and less stressful, but there are still certain maintenance projects that you need to be thinking about throughout the year.

This time of year the number one thing to consider about your rental home is the roof. Late summer and early fall are the perfect times of year for roof maintenance, before any serious weather arrives and your roof tells you that it needs maintenance by way of a leak.

Here are some things to discuss when scheduling your rental property for roof maintenance:

  • Cleaning the gutters. The gutters of a home are basically a protective measure to fight against flooding. When it rains, the gutters route the water away from the foundation of the home so that the foundation, basement, and crawlspace are not flooded. You’ve seen the water run down the downspout and the shoot out the lip on the bottom. If the downspout was not there, the water would come down the downspout and puddle, eventually cause a flood. Keeping the gutters clear of leaves, sticks, and other debris is essential to the gutter system being able to effectively route the water.
  • Walk the roof. It is difficult to truly see any damage or problem areas without actually getting up on top of the roof. Shingles can curl up and buckle, a clear sign of needing replacement, but that is difficult to see from the ground. Maintenance must include actually getting up on top of the roof and walking the lines to check for damage or areas that need repair.
  • Chimney, skylights, and vents. Any areas on your roof, where the roof has been cut out to make room, need to be checked thoroughly. There are measures take to seal off the area around these additions, and it is important to maintain that. For instance, flashing, sealants, and covers must be checked regularly to make sure they are not damaged. Even the smallest leak will cause significant damage if left long enough without repair.

Keeping in touch with your rental properties and providing regular maintenance is the best way to protect your investment. Use this time of year to schedule roof maintenance on your home, and avoid significant problems this fall.

Summertime Property Maintenance

40300682_sWhether you are a home owner or, a renter the summer months are a great time for maintenance tasks around the house. Not only does maintenance of your home and landscaping help to keep things looking good, it also help to prevent major disasters from happening. When you take the time to perform maintenance tasks, often times you will find small issues that can be repaired before they escalate.

Here are some common summer time maintenance tasks that you can do:

  • Make sure that your ceiling fans are spinning in the right direction for optimal cooling of your home. This helps to leverage the cold air that is coming from your air conditioner and gives your HVAC system a bit of a break. Don’t forget to dust the blades of your ceiling fans as well to avoid drag which can cause the motor to work harder than necessary.
  • Clean the vent in your dryer after every load. The US Fire Administration estimates that 16,000 house fires occur annually due to dirty dryer vents. The lint in the dryer vent actually works like kindling for fires and can catch fire very easily. The vent and the trap that it sits in should be thoroughly cleaned after every load of clothes that you dry.
  • After the kids play in the backyard or, any family barbeques are over, make sure to clean up all articles, toys, tools, and laundry from the backyard. These items can cause serious injury if run over by the lawn mower on accident, or damage to your sprinkler system if they get caught on a sprinkler head.
  • The summer months is the perfect time to have the gutters around your home cleaned out. During the fall leaves and debris accumulate in your rain gutters and once the debris dries out it is important to get it cleaned out so that it doesn’t blow around your property or, clog your rain gutters when the winter months arrive.
  • Spending time relaxing on the deck is a favorite activity during the summer months. However, it is important to keep your deck looking good and well-maintained to make sure that no injuries occur while you and your friends or family are on the deck. Repair damaged boards, make sure all nails are flush, and apply sealant on a regular basis to avoid any splintering

Use this simple maintenance checklist to keep your home or property looking good and problem-free this summer so that you can enjoy the rest of the warm days, without worry!