How To Prepare Your Home to Limit Your Liability for Rental and Investment Properties

Rental and Investment Properties
As an owner of rental and investment properties, knowing how to limit your liability is important.

Protecting yourself as a property owner doesn’t have to be complicated. But, many owners fail to take basic steps that could put them at risk for serious exposure down the road.

Fortunately, learning how to prepare your home for renting while limiting liability is pretty straightforward. Here’s how we recommend you go about it.

Get a Home Inspection

Limiting liability in your home starts with a home inspection, which gives you peace of mind that the structure and interior of your home are safe to live in.

It’s also a good way to assess the current state of your rental property. You may discover basic upgrades that you can advertise in your marketing campaign, enabling you to increase rent.

Get Renters Insurance

Renters insurance protects you (and your tenants) from bearing financial responsibility for minor and even catastrophic events.

There are different types of renters insurance—homeowners and landlord insurance are two popular options—that you should weigh the pros and cons with your specific property.

Have a Renter’s Checklist Available

As part of your rental and investment liability strategy, make sure both you and your tenants have skin in the game. You can achieve this by putting together a renter’s checklist that you and they walk through during move-in.

Have both parties sign off on the agreed condition of the home. That way, down the road, you’ll have proof that the home was that way if something happens.

Put Together a Home Inventory List

If you’re still wondering how to reduce landlord liability, make a list of every item in the home. By creating an inventory list, you can organize and plan out your rental and investment property duties.

An inventory list is also a good way to ensure things don’t go missing or get damaged without being noticed. Treat the large and expensive items the same as the smaller and less valuable—everything in your home that holds value should be on your inventory list.

Check Appliances and Make Necessary Repairs

Accidents and injuries caused by appliances result in about 1,000 injuries per year.

Compared to other issues, this number is relatively small. But keeping up to date on your appliance repairs is a great way to protect yourself and limit liability.

Do some research on how often appliances need to be checked and/or upgraded. Keep these on a spreadsheet and perform routine check-ins every 6, 12, or 24 months (or once a season, like spring) based on need. This will also save you money in the long run!

Make Sure You Have All the Permits

Permits are valuable documents that can prevent you from being held liable when an incident happens.

Acquire all the necessary permits—building, zoning, and any others needed for your area—to ensure you are protected in this way, too.

Get Your Unit on the Market With Us!

Thinking about putting your rental and investment properties on the market? Let us help you!

We can put your unit on the market and help educate you with additional resources that limit liability on your part as a landlord or tenant.

Contact us today to see how we can help you!

The Spring Home Maintenance Checklist You Need Today

Don’t just spring clean… Get going on your spring home maintenance today!

Spring is in the air and that means that you’re probably thinking about spring cleaning.  Hold on though! You also need to be thinking about some key spring home maintenance items as well! Doing these 8 things at least once a year will save you time, money, and a big headache down the road.  The goal is to prevent things from going wrong or catching little problems early BEFORE they become major problems.

We created a handy check list of 8 spring maintenance items you should be checking every year.  As a matter of fact, you can probably get these done in one weekend and then you don’t have to worry!

 

1.  Check your gutters and down spouts

Gutters and down spouts get all clogged up over the winter with leaves and debris.  Get up on a ladder every spring and clear that gunk out.  It will save you leaks, breaks, pools of stagnant water and a big repair bill.

2.  Inspect your roof

Most roofs will last around 12-25+ years (depending on the material) IF, and only if they are inspected regularly and repaired.  While you’re up on the ladder cleaning your gutters and drain spouts, take a moment and climb up on your roof.  Look for loose roofing, pooled water, or curling shingles.

It can be very affordable to repair your roof regularly.  If your roof ends up leaking during those springtime showers, it can cost you thousands in damages PLUS the money to repair or get a new roof.

It’s a good idea to check your roof both in the spring and the fall. Just to be safe.

3.  Check seals on windows and doors

Check and repair any seals on window sills, door sills, and thresholds.  Look for damaged or peeling caulk, splinters, loose panes and gaps.  While you are at it, check and repair any screens – you’ll be glad to be able to open those windows and air out your home without bugs getting in!  Here is a handy guide for how to caulk your windows.

 

4. Give some love to your deck

Already planning the first BBQ of the season?  Better get that deck ready.  Just like your roof, you want to inspect it every spring.  Look for cracks, greying wood, loose joints and water seeping in.  Every 3-5 years you’ll want to stain and seal your deck to keep it from weathering.  A final step?  Give it a good pressure wash to get it ready for that backyard party!

5.  Filter out those dirty filters

Guys. HVAC filters get D.I.R.T.Y.  They collect dust, pollen, pet hair and dirt.  And then recirculate all those things back through your house if you don’t clean or replace them regularly.  This is something you’ll want to check several times a year.

 

6.  Don’t forget about your dryer and refrigerator

When doing spring home maintenance, don’t forget to check your dryer vent.  It gets clogged up and makes your dryer work that much harder.  Which makes your electricity bill go up.

And while you’re at it, check your refrigerator coils.  Chances are they need a good vacuum.  Not only are they really gross when they are covered in dust, they also make your fridge less efficient.

 

7.  Drain that water heater

Your water heater should be 100% drained a couple of times a year.  The reason?  All kinds of minerals and sediment build up in the bottom.  Which equals corrosion and water that doesn’t heat as fast as you’d like.

 

8.  Test your smoke detectors

This spring home maintenance item can literally save your life.  Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and put fresh batteries in.  While you’re at it why not make sure that your family knows what to do when an alarm goes off.  A household fire drill goes a long way.

Need a hand?

Check out our list of trusted vendors, contractors, supplier and all around handy types who can help you if you run into problems (or they can just take care of this stuff for you).  They’ll give you a hand with the whole spring home maintenance thing!

The Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist You Need Today

Buying a home in the winter.

Winter may not seem like the ideal time to make a move, but there are some benefits of doing so.

The main plus with buying a home in the winter is there are fewer buyers in the market to buy homes so you don’t have to compete as much.

Also, this could mean you might get a little better price on a home.

 That said, there are several cons to buying a home in the winter months, such as:

  • It is very hard to inspect roofing when there is snow on the roof.

  • It can be hard to inspect the condition of exterior faucets, siding, etc.

  • If there is snow covering the ground it can be hard to see the condition of landscaping.

  • AC units cannot be tested due to low temperatures.

  • There is usually less inventory to choose from on the market.

Need a hand?

Check out our list of trusted vendors, contractors, supplier and all around handy types who can help you if you run into problems (or they can just take care of this stuff for you).  They’ll give you a hand with the whole spring home maintenance thing!

Home Buyer Checklist

Our mission is to guide home buyers and sellers through one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. We strive to make buying and selling homes a smooth process where our clients feel empowered with information and shielded from complications.

We hope this checklist helps you through the process of buying a home.

 

1. Get Pre-approved for a mortgage loan and establish a budget. This important step will illuminate any disappointments by avoiding looking at homes outside of your budget or what you qualify for.

 

2. Identify what type of property you would like to buy (condo, townhouse, single-family home, duplex, etc.)

3. Identify what locations are acceptable for your new home. Consider public transit, schools, grocery stores, shopping, etc.

4. See prospective homes with your agent. This can be daunting but so much fun!

5. Write an offer on a home and get it accepted! Keep in mind that sometimes negotiations will need to take place.

6. Once you have an accepted offer, follow your agent’s instructions for providing earnest money, ordering a home inspection, and starting the loan origination process with your lender.

7. After inspections are complete and the appraisal is completed, usually the transaction will go through so it is time to start packing and planning your move.

8. Contact movers 1-2 weeks ahead of time as a minimum to be sure your timeline can bet met. And start packing!

 

9. Less than one week before closing you will need to set up utilities to be in your name, homeowner’s insurance to start. We will provide you with the contact info for your utility providers.

 

10. On the day of closing or day prior to closing, you will need to wire your down payment and closing costs to the title company for closing. After your loan funds and the deed records, you are the new owner of your home! Your agent will arrange to get keys to you so you can take possession.

Behind the Scenes, A Photo Tour

 

Come with us behind the scenes on a photo tour! We love exploring old houses and neighborhoods, some of the treasures we discover can transport you to a different time. From vintage stoves, carpets, wallpaper and even thermostats, to creative outdoor living spaces that are both functional and welcoming. Take a look at some of our fun discoveries.

Properties with carpet that takes you back in time is always fun to explore. Vintage elements may not appeal to all buyers, but can’t you just see yourself dressed up in disco attire and enjoying this space? We sure can.
Creative, yet functional outdoor spaces can actual gain you more living space, an outdoor room is great for entertaining or for just having an outdoor retreat. Here are some of the fun designs we have come across.

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