Being A Good Landlord

For many individuals who have ventured into investment real estate, the potential rewards can be great. However, there are considerable risks and a lot of responsibility that comes with being responsible for real estate property and tenants.

Everything that’s worth having is worth working for, so don’t let additional responsibility take you out of the running if this type of investment is feasible for you.

Follow these 5 tips, and be the best landlord your tenants ever had!

1) Remain Business Professional

If you own rental properties, then you have a business. Treating your property as such is a must in order to maintain order and professionalism. Like with any business, if the boss isn’t taking his/her job seriously, then the business will be hard pressed to be successful and profitable.

2) Screen Your Potential Tenants

This needs to be done in a professional, legal manner in order to avoid discrimination. The typical requirements you should look for when screening are stable income, felonies on criminal records, recent evictions and positive references.

3) Respect is a Must

Finding a good tenant is important, but being a good landlord to a tenant is equally important; since this is your business, a tenant is your customer. Make sure to treat everyone with the proper respect and dignity they deserve.

4) Don’t Be Taken Advantage of

Respect is key on your end as well as your tenants. They must respect the rules and regulations you put in place when they signed their lease. There’s nothing wrong with being understanding and compassionate, but once you allow your tenants to break rules, it will become an expectation.

5) Stay On Top of Maintenance

Unless previously specified, if there is a repair needed, it is your responsibility as the landlord to make sure arrangements are made to fix the issue in a timely manner. This is especially if it puts your tenants at risk.

At the end of the day, having a successful business and happy tenants depends on you being a great landlord. Make sure to follow these steps and always be open to learning new things and listening to feedback!

Halloween Tips For A Safe Evening

No matter your age, Halloween is a festive time of year. Decorating your home with spooky jack-o-lanterns and haunted displays add to the fun.

October 31st gives individuals many great excuses to dress up as their favorite characters, and eat as many sweet treats as they’d like, so you wouldn’t want your evening tainted by a Halloween mishap.

This is why it’s important for homeowners to take precautions on All Hallows’ Eve to ensure that their home, and all of their little trick-or-treaters, have a safe evening.

1) Before heading out of the house on your trick-or-treating adventures, make sure to go over a safety game plan with your kids. Inform them to stay in well-lit driveways and pay attention to street traffic.

2) Candles are notorious Halloween staples as homeowners often use them to create a spooky glow on their homes by lining them along their walkways.  This same effect can be achieved with LED lights. Candles pose a risk as lots of little feet will be walking around your home, and they can be knocked over and cause harm to your property or to an individual.

3) If you have a loose porch step or railing you’ve been meaning to fix, now is the perfect time. Your front door will be inhabited by tiny ballerinas and ghouls for the evening, so making sure all dangerous or hazardous conditions are repaired will be important to ensure safety.

4) Don’t forget your pets. Unfortunately, a fun spooky Halloween for you can be an actual terror for many pets. Create a safe environment for your pets as the constant doorbell ringing and stream of visitors can spook them right out of the front door. A confined space like a crate or small room they feel they can guard and protect may be more comfortable for your pet.

5) Halloween is also an optimal time to look over your home’s insurance coverage. As visitors come to and from your home, you are opening yourself up to potential lawsuits, so making sure you are sufficiently covered is important.

Now that you’ve taken the proper measures to safeguard your home from any catastrophes, you’re ready to enjoy a fun family filled evening!

6 Things That Can Drive Up Your Mortgage Rate

When applying for a mortgage loan, every borrower hopes to receive the best rate possible. However, many may not be certain what factors actually determine the rate they receive.

Check out our list below of the top 5 things that could be driving your mortgage rates through the roof!

1) Credit Score

This is a given and many are aware that in order to receive the best rate possible, your credit score must meet your lender’s credit threshold.

If your score is under that threshold, you could end up paying more interest as opposed to someone whose credit score is higher.

Check out our blog post on the 5 steps you should take to get your credit, mortgage ready!

2) Occupancy

If you are mortgaging a property that isn’t your primary residence, you could pay significantly more in interest.

Because second homes are riskier investments, interest rates reflect those risks lenders must take into account for negative possibilities.

3) Loan Amount

If your loan amount is really high or really low, you could pay more in interest. Loans over or under the conforming loan limit could possibly see raised interest rates due to lenders having to make up costs.

4) Location

Depending on the state you live in, your interest rate could end up being higher or lower.

5) Down Payment

Generally speaking, putting down a higher down payment could make your interest rate lower. This is because the more stake you put into your future property, the less of a risk you become.

6) Type of Interest Rate

There are two types of interest rates: fixed and adjustable. A fixed interest rate stays the same whereas an adjustable rate changes based on the market.

You typically can get a lower adjustable rate; however, over time that rate could go up or down.

Finance 101: Cutting The Cord On Cable

Are you one of the many individuals who pay a $100+ cable bill every month and only watch a handful of the channels that you’re paying for? Well, if that’s the case, maybe it’s time to cut the cord on your cable and opt in for some less expensive options.

No, I’m not saying you have to throw out your television set, or purchase an outdated antenna to catch a fuzzy picture of your cities local channels. There’s actually a handful of alternative options available so that you can significantly cut down your monthly payments, and still catch many of your favorite shows!

The World of Streaming

Many things that sound too good to be true often are, but that’s not the case when it comes to streaming all of your favorite shows at a fraction of the cost for cable. Right now there are a number of streaming services available with high quality popular shows.

Sling Television ($20 per month)

If you’re a heavy TV watcher, then this is the streaming service for you. With their $20 basic package, you receive many of the popular channels you would get with your cable subscription. Sling TV offers real time streaming from ESPN, ESPN 2, AMC, Food Network, Disney Channel, TNT, Travel Channel, TBS, Adult Swim, CNN, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, and more. They also offer On Demand options for TV and videos.

Amazon Prime ($99 per year)

Having an Amazon Prime account offers you many perks for the full Amazon service such as free shipping on products. However, its movie offerings are top notch, and it also offers many popular network shows including HBO.

Hulu Plus ($7.99 per month)

This streaming service is for individuals who are more into watching TV than movie watching. With Hulu plus you can stream the latest shows that are currently running; whereas with Netflix or Amazon, there is usually an extended window of time before the network shows are available.

Netflix ($8.99 per month)

This may be the most well-known and familiar service to many streaming users. Netflix is the mecca for movie and TV streaming. Offering its own award winning content as well as popular titles, Netflix has the biggest library of any streaming service.