Beginner’s Guide to Being a Landlord

Taking on the role of landlord is a huge undertaking. You have renters to find (and trustworthy ones at that), a property to look after, and being the go-between for the many different people involved in this process. Follow these tips to ensure that being a landlord is rewarding, rather than being a headache-inducing responsibility.

Screen tenants properly

Too often, landlords don’t screen potential tenants as thoroughly as they should, often causing mishaps further down the line. Don’t get so bogged down by other responsibilities that you forget to screen the people who will be living in your property. Look at credit scores, references, and if they have adequate employment before moving forward with an application.

Don’t short yourself

Your profit is coming from the rent, so make sure you’re charging the right amount to maximize your revenue. Look at the comps in the area, as well as accounting for any renovations you made to the space, and set the amount accordingly. You don’t want to short-change yourself, especially after the contract is signed and rent is locked into place.

Be as organized as possible

When it comes to managing a property and the tenants who live there, spreadsheets are your best friend. Keep track of important documents, make copies of everything, and stay on track with the various transactions and events that pop up throughout this process. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute if anything were to come up.

Make your guidelines clear

All of your rules and regulations should be outlined in the lease, but remember to reiterate in person. This is especially important concerning any pet restrictions, what day of the month rent is due, and what (or if) interior changes can be made to the space. Having these guidelines in writing is important, but it’s even more crucial to emphasize in person before the lease is signed.

Being a landlord can be a breeze if you follow these simple tips!

Homebuying 101: Gen-Z and Millennial Edition


Financial Considerations



Preparing for a 2022 Home Purchase

Planning for your upcoming move

4 Tips to Help You Hire the Right Movers

Once you’ve purchased a home, you’ll need to hire a moving company to transport your belongings into your new house. However, hiring movers involves more than finding someone to get your belongings from point A to point B. Use these tips to help you find a reliable company that will move your possessions safely and efficiently.

Determine your moving needs

Everyone’s move will be different, and it is crucial to understand the costs involved in the process. A reputable moving company will determine the scope of your move through an in-person appointment. The estimator should do a thorough walk-through to understand all the items you’re moving, which should include checking all your storage areas, including your attic and your basement. Make sure you understand the estimate you receive and that it is as accurate as possible. It can be helpful to get quotes from multiple companies to make sure you are getting the most value for your move.

You will receive one of three types of estimates:

  • A binding estimate is an exact amount for the entire move based on the weight of your belongings, and you will only be responsible for paying that price. This type of estimate can be a good choice as there are no surprise costs. However, binding estimates may be higher than the other options, and you will pay the estimated amount even if your items weigh less than expected.
  • A non-binding estimate is also based on weight. However, despite the estimate being as accurate as possible, the final price you pay can vary from the original quote. If your move costs more than expected, you will be required to pay this additional amount. However, in this situation, you will only need to pay the original estimate and an additional 10 percent at the time of delivery, with the remaining balance being billed to you after thirty days.
  • A not-to-exceed estimate is an agreement on the maximum amount you will have to pay. You will not need to cover any additional expenses or overages beyond the quote you receive, and the price you pay can only go lower if your items weigh less than expected. This is a popular option for long-distance moves.

Don’t hire on price alone

Everyone wants to save money, but your move may be a time when the lowest price may not be the best. Make use of online reviews or ask friends and family about their experiences if they’ve recently moved. You can ask the moving company for references from people they’ve helped move in recent months. Additionally, you can check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to learn more about the company.

Be aware of extra fees

Moving companies charge several extra fees that you should understand before moving day arrives, so ask your moving company if any of these fees apply. If you live in an apartment or a multistory home, you may receive additional charges if movers need to maneuver up and down stairs and on elevators. Additionally, if you live on a narrow street with limited parking space, you may need to pay a surcharge to move your items from a smaller truck into a moving van. Some companies will charge a fee for disassembling furniture or handling bulky items, such as pool tables or pianos. Finally, if you hire a company to pack all your items into boxes, you will need to pay for time, labor, and packing materials. However, if you plan to pack your items on your own, a moving company cannot cover possible damages unless they have completed the packing.

Consider moving insurance

All moving companies have a requirement to assume liability for the items they transport. However, there are different levels of liability. It is essential to understand what each type of insurance covers before deciding which is suitable for your move.

  • Released value coverage is the standard protection your items will receive during a move. However, it only guarantees to cover up to 60 cents per pound of a damaged item regardless of its value. This may be good for a piece of furniture but not for a laptop or tablet.
  • Full value protection comes at an additional cost, but it will fully cover your items. You will be able to receive the current market replacement value, a replacement with a similar item, or the item’s repair cost.
  • Separate liability insurance is offered by some movers and regulated by state law. This type of insurance pays for the amount purchased minus the basic carrier liability coverage, which is up to 60 cents per pound. It is important to get a copy of your policy and understand how much it covers.

Packing up all your possessions into a truck is only part of the moving day battle.

5 Smart Upgrades that Increase Your Home’s Appeal

From kitchen renovations to a new roof, there are several upgrades you can complete to help make your home more appealing to potential buyers. However, if you’re looking to give your home a technological improvement, smart home upgrades can be a brilliant option. While these upgrades can improve the livability of your space, they can also increase its appeal, as 81 percent of homebuyers said they would prefer to buy a home with some smart home products already installed. So consider adding a few of these enhancements to your home before listing it for sale.

Smart thermostat
A smart thermostat helps regulate the temperature of your home while reducing your heating and cooling costs. Installing a smart thermostat can help you save up to 10 percent on monthly heating costs and up to 15 percent on cooling costs. These savings depend on your preferred temperature and the location and size of your home. You can control your smart thermostat from your phone or set it to a schedule so it turns on as you arrive home from work. A new smart thermostat will cost anywhere from $100 to $300 or more and set up is typically easy, making it an excellent DIY project.

Smart blinds
You can add privacy and reduce energy loss by installing smart blinds you can control with a remote, an app, or voice command. You can even automate these blinds to open or close depending on the time of day or if someone is home. During the summer and winter, smart blinds help block outdoor temperatures from affecting your home. The cost of smart blinds will vary depending on the size, number of windows in your home, and if you go with battery, plug-in, or hard-wired blinds. However, most models start at around $100.

Smart smoke detector
A smoke detector is a must-have safety feature in any home. However, a smart smoke detector can provide even more safety because it can sound an alarm while you’re at home and send an alert to your phone if it detects danger, giving you peace of mind while you’re away. Some smart smoke detectors will send a message to your phone when the batteries become low. Installing these upgraded smoke detectors could even get you a discount on your homeowners insurance depending on your company. Best of all, they only cost between $50 to $100.

Video doorbell
Add a sense of security to your home with a video doorbell. By placing a video doorbell at your front door, you’ll receive a message on your smartphone alerting you of deliveries or someone standing outside, and you’ll have a saved video clip of any activity. Depending on the type you choose, you may be able to speak with visitors at your door. Some video doorbells will need to be hard-wired into your home’s electrical system, while others will be battery-powered. Most video doorbells cost $100 or less.

Smart lock
Another way to increase the security of your home is by installing smart locks on your exterior doors. Forgetting your keys will never be a worry again with a smart lock. These devices allow you to unlock your doors through an app on your phone, scanning your fingerprint, or entering a numerical code. Additionally, you can let guests in remotely or give guests like babysitters an access code that you can turn on and off. The cost of a smart lock depends on the device you choose, but many will typically run between $100 up to $300.