Rent vs. Buy

In some cities, it is absurd to even think about owning your own home. Property values in places like San Francisco or New York City are sky high, and only going up. In San Francisco, the median price of a home is just over $1.1 million, and in New York it’s $1.2 million. Unless you pick the winning lottery numbers in an upcoming drawing, it’s likely you won’t be putting a down payment on a condo in either of these cities anytime soon. Buffalo, however, is a totally different story. Historically, we’ve had a pretty good reputation as having a relatively low cost of living. Included in cost of living is monthly rent or mortgage. In 2012, Buffalo made CNN’s list of most affordable cities to bu

Landlord 101: Rookie Mistakes

It takes several years to become a smart, vetted landlord. Chances are, you will make a few mistakes with your first property. Here are some rookie mistakes most first-time landlords make and what you can do to avoid them. 1. Screen Applicants Prior to Showing When listing a property for rent, often landlords get excited with the number of responses they get in the first few days and go crazy booking appointments for viewings. This may not seem like a problem, but in the long run this can waste a LOT of time - both for the landlord and for the potential renters. A simple phone conversation, email exchange, or application submission can save you a lot of trouble. You can confirm their interes

Moving Away? Rent or Sell?

As a homeowner, making the decision to move can be a difficult and stressful one. Whether it’s by choice or by necessity, relocating is not easy. Here is a common situation: You own a house or apartment in your current location, but now that you know you’re moving, what do you do with the property: rent or sell? There are benefits and disadvantages to both choices, and ultimately the decision comes down to not only what feels right to you, but how much of your financial future you are ready to seize. While the personal aspect is subjective, here are some tips and questions to ask yourself in order to help with the financial and strategic sides of your options. Before making any decisions, si

Traits of a Profitable Landlord

If you’re looking to improve your profitability as a landlord, but you aren’t sure where to start – begin by assessing your “landlord personality traits” listed below. Level- headedness. Landlords and their tenants tend to have a lot of tension in their relationships. Both the tenant(s) and the landlord may feel that the home or apartment is “theirs,” and rightfully so. While the landlord legally owns the property, ownership rights are essentially forfeited when they lease out the unit and collect rent from the tenant. So no, you cannot barge in whenever you feel you must “check the pipes.” Even though they are leasing a space from you, borrowing it from you, you should always respect the pr

What makes a good property manager?

It can be hard to relinquish partial control of your investment property, especially if it is your first time. Using a property management company shouldn’t have to be scary, though. It is a good way of maintaining return on your investment without having to deal with the everyday hassles and headaches of the property. You just have to find the right fit for you, and remember that ultimately you as the property owner will always have the final say. Here are some tips on what to look for in a good property manager, to ensure you and your property are in good hands: Location - It may sound obvious, but you need to make sure you hire a local company to manage your property/properties. Whether y

What to look for when buying an investment property

Investing in a rental property can seem like a quick and easy way to make additional income, but there are a lot of factors to consider before diving into the world of landlords and tenants. If you choose wisely and are careful with the management of your property, it can certainly be a great investment both short-term and long-term. Here are a few things to consider in your search for the perfect purchase: Cost Before all else, consider the listing price of the home. Can you afford it? There is no sense investing in a more expensive property if it will take you twice as long to start making a profit on it. Conversely, if you find a ridiculously inexpensive fixer-upper, you need to consider

How to Find an Investment Property

Lots of people are interested in investing in real estate, but once you decide you want to commit to buying a property (or several), actually finding houses - and reasonably priced ones - can be the most difficult part of the process. Here are some tips on where to start your search and where you will find your most valuable leads. Own Advertising By advertising yourself as a buyer, you may hear from sellers who you would not normally come across. You can put ads online or in a newspaper, or hang signs around the city. Putting yourself out there, whether by placing ads online or hanging signs around your city, can be a good way to find lesser known property deals and probably the lowest pric

How to Add Value to your Rental Property

Times are changing in the ol’ property world, and most of us want to make sure we stay ahead of the game. There are plenty of little (and big!) things you can do to ensure your rental property stands out in a sea of options. If you are looking to add value to your rental property, there are a few key renovations you will not want to miss. Most Important Rooms: The bathroom and the kitchen are the rooms you will want to focus on the most. Having a nice and new bathroom and a modern kitchen will help your rental property seem even more appealing. In the bathroom, focus on repainting the walls a basic or neutral color -- not necessarily a color that is trendy right now, but rather a color that

Energy Conservation Tips for Renters

You can bring down your energy expenses by making a few simple lifestyle changes. Surprisingly, some of these changes do not cost you a thing, but do require some form of discipline. Below are some of the best energy saving tips for tenants. Get Insulated There is a chance that small gaps in windows and doors could be allowing heat to escape from the house, thus driving up your energy costs. One solution to this problem is to seal the gaps to better insulate the inside of your unit. This will help the space retain heat, and your furnace won’t be working on overdrive to maintain your desired temperature. There is some limit on what you can do to the house yourself, as some changes must be app

Dealing with Neighbors

Good neighbors look after each other. They lend a helping hand when an unexpected crisis or emergency happens. A good neighbor is like family. They care about you, and they have your back when it is up against the wall. But not all of us are lucky enough to have good neighbors. Whether you live in an apartment complex or a single family home, there is always the risk of disturbances and conflicts with neighbors. When such problems arise, what can you do to restore peace in your neighborhood? Problems between neighbors can arise from anything like property boundaries or noise disturbances, problems with children or pets, yard neglect, odor, etc. Strategies for solving these problems include:

Avoid Rental Scams

How to Avoid Rental Scams The last thing anyone wants to happen in their search for a new apartment is to fall victim to a rental scam. Renting an apartment is one of a person’s biggest upfront expenses, and thieves looking for an easy source of cash are well aware of that. Scam artists try to take advantage of people who are searching for an apartment because the emotions involved in the apartment-hunting process can make renters more vulnerable and trusting. Also, scam artists prey on people who are in time sensitive situations and need to find a new place to live as soon as possible (ie. due to job relocation or a personal issue). Fortunately, it is easy enough to spot a scam and lower th

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