The Renshaw Blog

  • 12/09/2015

    Watch Where You Sign

    The No. 1 rule when renting a home or apartment is to read the lease agreement provided before moving in. Even though they are often long and boring, leases are set in place to protect you and your landlord in case things don’t go as planned. If you don’t know what is included in your lease, you may be breaking rules that you didn’t even know existed.

    For example, what’s your landlord’s pet policy? What maintenance aspects are each of you responsible for? All of these answers should be outlined in your lease, and you are required to sign it to show that you understand the terms.

    But let’s be honest, leases can be confusing, and as a resident, you may not know what to look for. Here are a few guidelines on what to pay attention to when you are signing a lease.
    • Make sure everything is in writing. If it’s not in your lease, your landlord cannot force you into it. Make sure details of the house, such as maintenance, deposit repayment and pet policies, are all included in writing when you first sign the lease. Also, following state laws is important, as well, so make sure that the lease is up-to-date.
    • All payment processes should be outlined, including utilities. Are you in charge of your own electricity, water and trash bills? Your lease should state that. Your lease should also state how much your deposit is, if it’s refundable and if there’s an extra pet deposit to go along with any animals you bring along with you. How you pay your rent, the due date and any penalties or fees associated with the process should also be stated.
    • Look for early move-out penalties. The majority of landlords will require a fee if you have to break your lease early. Make sure you are aware of any fees that come along with moving out early, and also, be conscious of the length of term for the lease that you are signing.
    • Be aware of the guidelines for hanging decorative items on the wall, such as drapes and pictures.Some landlords will allow you to completely customize your new home with paint, decorations and window treatments, but some won’t. Make sure you ask about the policy and any extra work you may need to do before moving out, and make sure it’s in writing.
    • Pay attention to clauses about roommates and sublets. If you have roommates, they will also need to sign a copy of the lease. If your roommate breaches lease terms but hasn’t signed a copy of the lease, the liability falls on your shoulders. Also, the rent will fall solely on you. Most apartments and houses have a maximum resident requirement. It’s important to understand your landlord’s terms on visitors and houseguests when you move in. Also, find out if subletting is allowed in the event that you need to break your lease. Again, this depends upon the landlord, so explicitly ask before letting anyone sublet your property.
    If you think something is missing from your lease, ask your landlord and get it added. It is better to be safe than sorry!

  • 11/30/2015

    4 key characteristics of a landlord

    When renting a home, you give up some ability to manage upkeep, perform maintenance and make aesthetic decisions for a house. Instead, those responsibilities are in the hands of your landlord. Your landlord is in charge of making sure you are happy with your home and that all of your needs are met whether big or small. But, there are a few characteristics to look for in a landlord that will enhance your experience as a renter. 
    • Communication:Communication between you and your landlord is vital to a healthy renting relationship. While many landlords own multiple properties, they have the responsibility to fix any problems, answer questions and handle rent and monetary needs for each individual tenant. Not only should they have good person-to-person communication, but they should also be responsive and able to accurately provide information about the property before you move in.
    • Professionalism:The relationship between a renter and the landlord should be a professional one. Your landlord should treat you with respect in all verbal communication and actions taken.
    • Attention:Since you do hand over a lot of responsibilities when you enter a rental agreement, such as the majority of maintenance and vital upkeep, it is up to your landlord to attend to any needs that come up. Being attentive to all properties and doing check-ins can be a proactive way to meet tenant needs. If something is wrong with your home, such as a bug infestation, let your landlord know as soon as you can so it can be quickly.
    • Loyalty:Your landlord should always follow the rental contract that was agreed upon, handle repairs in a timely manner, and charge the amount of rent that you were quoted. As a tenant, you have the right to this mutually beneficial relationship.
    If you are not receiving these things from your landlord, bring it up to try to fix the issues. If the problems get overwhelming, seeking legal help may be necessary.

  • 11/18/2015

    How to decide what to spend on your rental budget

    While renting a house may cost less than buying a house (in most situations), budgeting your income is still important to guarantee you can pay your rent and utilities on time and aren’t stressed for the entire month about finances. Here are a few things to consider when you are deciding which house to rent:

    What are your needs?
    Your needs are very different than your wants. Your needs are requirements that you cannot live without. For example, if you have a six-person family, a one-bedroom house is not the ideal living situation for you. A want is something that isn’t a necessity but is nice to have. If you have a six-person family, eight bedrooms may sound enticing but isn’t necessary for you to survive.

    Don’t forget to factor your utilities into the equation.
    Most of the time, we think about if we can afford the monthly rent and not the other costs of renting a home. Utilities can be expensive and a factor you should estimate into what you are willing to pay each month. Electricity, water, gas, trash, homeowners association fees and cable should all play a part in your decision of whether a home’s rent is feasible.

    How far are you traveling to and from work or other common places you visit?
    Think about travel time. Not only will a long commute pull you away from time with family and friends, it is also an extra expense with the increased amount of gas money you will need to get to and from these destinations. Find a specific neighborhood to target that is close to your workplace, as well as to the places that you frequently visit.

    There are always other rental costs.
    Some properties may charge a rental fee for pets. Other expenses may include laundry, parking facilities and gym fees that can also eat into a budget pretty quickly, so choose your amenities wisely. 

    If you’re in love with a property but the rent is too high, consider getting a roommate.
    Roommates are a great way to save money. Not only do they pay half of the rent, they also contribute to the utilities. While sharing your home may not be your favorite decision, it will definitely cut down on financial stress and maybe even allow you to get a bigger place.

    It is important to stay on budget each month, not only for your financial well-being but also for your stress level and happiness. Your budget may need to change each month depending on the fluctuation of your expenses and any big, unexpected event that you may not expect, such as work on your car. Don’t spend so much on your rent that it takes away from the rest of your life. Most experts consider an “affordable” rent to make up 30 percent or less of your monthly income. Your home should bring you peace and serenity, not stress and anxiety. 

  • 10/28/2015

    Renter insurance 101

    Did you know that only 31 percent of renters in the United States have renters insurance? Those of us in the real estate industry consider that startlingly low. But why should you consider renters insurance? Read on to find out.

    What is renters insurance?
    This type of insurance offers many benefits and protections that tenants are often not privy to. For example, tenants may not be aware that a landlord is only responsible for insuring the actual property against damages, not the contents inside the building. That means that while replacing the roof after a storm may be covered, the damage to your expensive TV resulting from the leaky roof won’t be. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make sure that everything inside of your rental house or apartment is protected.

    How much does it cost?
    The average cost per month for renters insurance is usually around $15. This, of course, can vary depending on the company you go with, the amount of coverage you have and the area where you live. So, it is in your best interest to invest the small amount per month to insure the thousands of dollars that your possessions are worth.

    What do plans look like?
    When it comes to the average renters insurance plan, there are a few different options you can choose from. You will choose the amount of coverage and the deductible based upon the value of the possessions you want to protect. Then, each month, you will pay a monthly premium based on the different factors going into your plan.

    There are three parts to renters insurance: personal property coverage, liability coverage and additional living expenses.

    1. Personal property coverage – This covers the theft, loss or destruction of your personal belongings if you experience damage from a fire, storm or other covered hazard. This protection replaces the items that you use on a daily basis, such as your clothes, appliances and furniture.

    2. Liability coverage – Liability coverage is part of a standard renters insurance policy and protects you if one of your guests sues you for injuries they incurred while at your home or from damages that are your fault and that affect your neighbors. This coverage can help pay legal expenses, medical bills and any other damages,

    3. Additional living expenses – This coverage will help you pay for temporary living expenses, hotel bills and restaurants if you are forced out of your home due to unforeseen perils, such as a fire.

    Is there anything renters insurance doesn’t cover?
    You should also remember that flooding and earthquakes are not included in renters insurance policies. You need to get specific policies to cover those damages. Also, if you have a lot of jewelry or antiques, you should consider getting extra coverage for these items that a normal policy may not cover.

    What should I know before purchasing a policy?
    Renters insurance is different for every person. It depends upon your age, location and what you are looking to protect. There are two important things to make sure you understand when purchasing renters insurance: what the policy covers and whether that coverage is actual cash value or the total replacement cost.

    An actual cash value policy would cover your belongings for what they are presently worth. For example, if you bought a $900 TV five years ago, you will get back what it is worth today, rather than its value from five years ago.

    Total replacement cost coverage pays you the dollar amount that it costs to replace a renter’s property today. The premium is slightly higher, but many insurance providers suggest this coverage as it has a better payout if damages occur.

    If you have any questions on renters insurance, feel free to comment below and we will get back with you!

  • 10/05/2015

    Ways to Protect Your Home During the Winter

    Luckily, the Mid-South’s winter is mild compared to a lot of other regions of the country. However, sometimes we run into bad luck and have a frigid, ice-filled winter, as we did in the 2014 to 2015 season. While we may be used to generally mild winters in the Mid-South, it’s important to know what to do in order to prep your home for a bad winter. Here are a few tips to keep your house safe when the elements turn stormy.

    • Protect your pipes. Unfortunately, pipes do not withstand freezing temperatures very well. When pipes are cold, they tend to freeze over before they burst, resulting in a plethora of problems. In order to keep your pipes warm, keep your cabinets cracked, run a small drip out of all of your faucets and cover exposed pipes with insulation sleeves (available at any hardware store). These precautions should prevent your pipes from bursting and all of the havoc that comes along with it.
    • Clear your storm drains. Although this may seem like it isn’t your responsibility, clearing the debris from the drains around your home is a must. When ice and snow begin to melt, the water needs somewhere to go, and if the drains are covered, it can lead to flooding, which can make its way into the home and cause water damage.
    • Trim long tree branches. Branches that extend over or around your home are a potential hazard during the winter months. When ice or snow forms on these branches, they are often unable to withstand the added weight. This leads to breakage, which can cause damage to your home or the utility lines that serve it. Trimming these branches is an easy way to escape this preventable damage.
    • Ensure proper attic ventilation. Ventilation in your attic is very important. Keeping the attic closed to the outside temperature can prevent ice dams from forming. Ice dams, when they melt, can create moisture and flooding inside your walls and upstairs areas. Safely and carefully clearing snow and ice off your roof can also prevent ice dams from forming and causing flooding.
    • Keep an emergency kit on hand. Winter weather can cause the electricity to go out. Depending on how quickly crews can restore the power, you could be stuck in the cold and dark for a few days. Pull together a kit that has flashlights, batteries, cash, food, water and a first aid kit in case your power is out longer than you anticipated.
    • Invest in a carbon monoxide detector. Winter is the most common time for carbon monoxide poisoning. This is due to improper ventilation of furnaces, propane burners and wood-burning stoves. Carbon monoxide is unscented and deadly when inhaled over a period of time, so a detector can save your family’s life if carbon monoxide is present in your home.
    Take these precautions now, as you never know when winter disturbances may strike. It is better to be prepared for these conditions than to be left wondering what you should do as the winter emergency is occurring. 

    What other ways do you protect your house during winter? Comment below!

  • 09/30/2015

    How to Hide Your Unsightly Power Cords

    While power strips are unsightly, they are necessary in most households, with so many home and personal devices requiring an electrical connection. Lighting, TV, phone, computer and personal device charging cables can lie around the house and create a tripping hazard, become an attractive chew toy for a pet or result in a cluttered mess along the walls. But, there are tips and tricks for hiding these cords to make your space look neat and clean.  
    Buy a decorative box and cut holes out of the back of it. Plug the cord in, wrap up the excess and place it inside the box. Put the lid on the box, and you now have a compact, attractive way to hold your cords without leaving them lying across your floor. This is also a great place to put a wireless router to save space, as well as to stay organized. 
    Put an extension cord with an outlet box attached on the inside of a drawer. Drape the cord out the back leading to an outlet. Then your cords can stay inside of a drawer and out of view of everyone else in your home.  





    Use cord management strips or clips made specially to organize cords down the back or under a desk. These are usually Velcro-based to mount and hold strips in place. 

    Try zip ties. Similar to cord management clips, zip ties, also known as cable ties, are inexpensive and effective tools for organizing cords and cables, particularly if you just need to bundle them behind a desk or shelf. Zip tie your cords to the legs of tables, chairs, a desk, etc. This is a convenient way to manage your cords while ensuring they remain easily accessible. 


    If cords are close to a decorative rug, run the cords under the rug so that they stay out of sight. Also, this is a great way to 
    keep your visitors and family from tripping over long cords.

    Rather than hide your cords in boxes or under furniture, use them to accessorize your walls. Create art on your walls with ribbons or small hooks.




    Organize cords you aren’t plugging in using toilet paper rolls.
    Place individually bundled cords inside single toilet paper rolls and store the rolls together inside a decorative box. You can label each roll for quicker access when needed.


    Loosely knot long extension cords. While holding one end of the cord, begin wrapping the cord under your elbow and back through your hand until you have wrapped all but a foot of the cord. While keeping your grip on the cords in your hand, slide the cords off of your elbow and use the remaining length to wrap around the middle of the loop, securing it with a knot. Place them in storage until you need them again.



    Use plastic pull-out drawer systems 
    to organize your cords. 
    This is an efficient way to organize 
    them by type, length and use.


    How do you store your cords? Let us know below! 

  • 09/14/2015

    Personal Touches to Your Home that Won't Cost Your Your Security Deposit

    Renting a home can be convenient and easy on the budget. Renting can also save you a headache if you have to move frequently. When you rent, however, you don’t own the home and therefore may be limited to what you can do to personalize it. There are ways to add a stylish flare to your home without forfeiting the security deposit. Below are just a few examples.
    • Invest in nice furniture.Furniture is something you can pick up and take with you. It doesn’t matter what kind of home you are living in, you’ll always need furniture. Instead of finding the cheapest couch you can get, invest in one that has good value, looks nicer and will most likely last you a little bit longer, as well. Your furniture tells your guests what you like and reflects your attitude, so make sure you portray that effectively! 
    • Temporarily change lighting fixtures.This is an easy thing that will not only add a personal touch but will also boost the overall look of your home. But make sure to save the original lighting fixtures and put them back up in the same shape in which you took them down to make sure you’ll get your deposit back.
    • Paint, paint, paint!Most property management companies or landlords allow tenants to paint the walls any color, as long as they are restored to their original color at the end of the lease. Being able to bring some of your personality into the home is worth a relatively inexpensive can of paint. However, make sure this is okay in advance, and if you can’t paint, find decals that are simple to install and easy to peel off.
    • Hang up pictures and decorations.
      Most landlords won’t charge you for a few holes from hanging pictures or decorations throughout your home. If they do, consider a temporary hanging solution, like this one from Command. Ask about that ahead of time.
    • Invest in an area rug.
      You can’t do much about the color of your carpet, but you can add a brightly colored accent rug to introduce a fun pop or to protect the carpet if you are concerned about staining the floor from spills or pets.
    • Drapery can be your best friend.Not only can drapery add a hint of color to an otherwise dull space, it can also make your space look larger. Long drapes can help ‘raise’ the ceiling, making your home look more spacious than it may actually be.
    • Add lighting where it means something.
      Lighting is one of the most important parts of any space. Let the sunlight in through your windows and place lamps around your rooms. The more light there is, the larger and more open your space will feel.
    • Use open shelving.
      Again, a few holes from hanging pictures and shelving most likely won’t cost you much (if any) of your security deposit. Install a few shelves and display objects that give your home life and show your personality and interests. If your landlord won’t permit hanging your own shelves or if it may cost you a portion of your security deposit, consider a bookshelf or other piece of furniture that you can take with you when you leave.
       

    Before doing anything, always be sure to thoroughly review your lease agreement, as it should spell out any stipulations on decorating or other issues that may affect your security deposit. Have questions about your Renshaw lease? Contact us at 901-820-4367. 

  • 08/27/2015

    Get your deposit back, America!

    Remember that $500 deposit you put down when you moved into your new place? Do you want to get that money back now that you’re moving out? You aren’t always guaranteed to get your deposit back when you vacate a rented home or apartment, so here are a few things you can do to increase the chance of getting your deposit back (or at least most of it) when you move out.

    Don’t break the lease.
    Most leases stipulate that moving out early for any reason results in automatic forfeiture of the deposit. In fact, it’s the No. 1 reason renters lose their deposits. While sometimes breaking the lease is unavoidable, if you anticipate needing to move out early, consider a month-to-month or a six-month lease if either option is available. 

    Read and understand the terms of your lease.
    Unfortunately, too many renters don’t read their entire lease. While there are standard provisions in most leases, understanding what is expected of you will make your move out much easier. Your lease should outline the requirements for cleaning and other move-out activities to make sure you recoup as much of your deposit as possible.

    Take photos.
    While most landlords will do a walk-through and document any existing damages to the property, it’s important that you do so, as well, to make sure everything is covered. Take photos that are date-stamped with a digital camera and email them to your landlord or leasing company when you move in. This ensures that there is no question about whether certain damages should come from your deposit later.

    Give your floors a facelift.
    You’ve walked all over them for months or even years, so now they need a little TLC.
    1. Steam-clean your carpets to remove stains and odors. This is not a job for the everyday carpet or vacuum cleaner, so consider hiring a professional crew to come in and remove food and drink stains that may have settled under the surface or even pet dander that your vacuum can’t catch. 
    2. Mop your kitchen and bathroom floors. This may seem unnecessary and can be a lengthy task, but the less work the property managers have to do to clean the place up, the more of your deposit you will get back later.
    3. The hustle and bustle of moving out can leave behind small nails, paper clips and other things you may not even notice. Before you leave, run a vacuum across the floors and make it look nice before the landlord sees it.
    Clean the appliances.
    Taking the extra step to make the place look presentable could mean the difference between $100 and $500.
    1. Use a little elbow grease to get rid of food splatters crusted on the turn table and on the sides of the microwave.
    2. Wipe down the stove top, refrigerator and countertops to eliminate any smudges or marks.
    3. Run a washcloth across the washer to remove any detergent stains and clean out the lint catcher in the dryer.
    4. It is never a bad idea to wipe down the countertops in the bathroom or scrub the toilet or bathtub one last time.
    The final countdown: Don’t forget to...
    1. Empty the refrigerator and take out the trash. The last thing the property manager wants is the smell of old food and stale trash when a new tenant takes over, so remove everything and take it to a dumpster if you don’t want to keep it.
    2. Spackle all of the holes in the walls. Some holes may be considered normal wear-and-tear, but if you have more than a few on each wall from where you hung pictures, clocks, curtains or hooks, patching those holes in for them to paint over later means less work for them and more money for you. Click here for tips and tricks on all things spackling.
    3. Check to make sure everything is how it was when you moved in. Remember the specific move-out protocols specified in your lease, and make sure that windows are closed, lights are turned off and doors are locked. Do a quick walk-through to make sure everything is exactly as it was when you arrived and that you’ve done everything you can to make it presentable and clean.
    Taking a little extra time to ensure you’ve covered your bases is the perfect way to ensure the return of your rental deposit fee. Though some of the proper precautions take a little time and effort, the payoff is well worth it the end.

    Did we miss anything? Tell us about it in the comments below!

  • 08/14/2015

    Ways to increase the value of your home

    Are you planning on moving in the near future? Are you looking for potential buyers or renters to move into your house? Is your house ready to be put on the market immediately for the price you believe it is worth? There are a few things you can do to inexpensively and efficiently increase the value of your home.
    • Paint.Fresh paint can give a room a brand new feel, and painting is a very cost-effective strategy to update your home. Stick with neutral colors, because they are appealing to a variety of potential buyers.
    • Add Landscape.Increase your curb appeal. While many landscaping options can be expensive, planting flowers for a pop of color can be inexpensive and effective. Also, if you have time, plant a tree. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, a full-grown tree can also cut down on cooling costs and is beneficial for the environment.
    • Get rid of the popcorn ceiling.Popcorn ceilings are not attractive to everyone and are a design of the past that can easily date your home. The best part is this will be that it’s an easy job you can likely do yourself.
    • Update your bathroom.Whether it’s a fully updated remodel or just a few small changes, fixing up the bathroom is always a bonus for buyers. Replace dated wallpaper with paint or a more neutral wallpaper. Update the faucets. Replace worn caulking. Install an eco-friendly, low-flow toilet and add decorations that are subtle and pleasing to the eye.
    • Replace worn carpet. You want to give your buyer or renter a home that is move-in ready. Make sure that you replace any carpet that is stained, torn or may have been affected by pets. Many buyers also may be looking for a home that doesn’t have carpet, so consider putting in tile, laminate or wood. This is attractive to renters or buyers with allergies and can be more convenient for keeping the house clean as well. 
    • If you’re showing your home, keep it CLEAN.Nothing is more unattractive than a cramped, dirty home. Stay up-to-date on any maintenance needs, vacuum your floors and make sure that extra items aren’t sitting around the house in corners cluttering an otherwise open, clean home.
    • If you’re doing major home renovations, start with one room at a time.You don’t have to fix every room at one time. Make a plan and a budget and decide when you’re going to tackle each project. Achieve each timeline goal and try to stay within your budget. That way, you can stay on schedule and make changes to your home that will increase its value substantially. Also, before you start, do your research. Make sure that whatever you’re putting into your home is something that will pay off on the increase rental or resale value. You don’t want to have more in your house than you could ever recoup.
    • Create an open floor plan.Open floor plans are all the rage these days. By taking down a non-weight-bearing wall or opening up an entryway, you can create a home that feels open and larger, even though you aren’t necessarily adding square footage.
    • Let the light in.Whether you add windows (which will be a more costly option) or you add in lights throughout your house, make sure that it is bright. The brighter a space is, the more open it will feel and the more pleased buyers will be with the home.

  • 07/23/2015

    Need to Find a Safe, Affordable Rental Home? Here’s Where to Start.

    Did you just land your dream job in a city you’ve never been to? If so, chances are you are on the hunt for safe, yet affordable, housing. Especially in an unfamiliar area, renting is often a great option. But even if the living situation will be short-term, figuring out which sites are trustworthy and determining which neighborhoods are secure can be difficult.

    Finding the right site
    The Web is full of sites that are not credible. Before diving in to every link your search engine pulls up, consider these websites as suggested by The Huffington Post.
    • Apartments.com: This site is straight to the point. Simply enter your maximum rent and number of bedrooms you need, and you’re on your way! Find the apartment, condo or house that’s perfect for you. 
    • ForRent.com: You can select any amenity you can imagine on this site, making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.
    • RentJungle.com: On a budget? Compare prices to get the best deal. Are hardwood floors a must have? This site can narrow your searches to specific amenities, too! 

    While the above sites can be useful, they may not offer the variety of options you seek. Sites like these tend to gravitate toward multi-family housing units rather than single-family homes. If you want to review all your options, consider a reputable local property management company. Companies like Renshaw will often have a variety of properties and dedicated leasing agents to guide renters through available homes and offer local expertise.

    Safety first
    When moving to a city you are unfamiliar with, finding the safest areas to live can be a challenge. But reliable information is out there.

    Visit neighborhoodscout.com, on which you can enter the address of your prospective rentals and see crime data. It will give the area you entered a grade based on how safe it is, but it will cost $15.99 a month for a one-year subscription.

    For a free version with similar, albeit less detailed, results try trulia.com. It rates crime based on a color scale. Green and yellow areas of a city are considered safe, while orange and red represent the areas that may be dangerous.

    Getting the most bang for your buck
    If you are looking to save money wherever possible, it’s important to pay attention to detail. Before signing the dotted line, be sure to ask:
    • Is there a parking fee?
    • What is the average price of utilities per month?
    • Are Wi-Fi, cable, water or other amenities included in the rent?
    • Is there a fee for having a pet?
    • Does the rent vary if the lease is month-to-month or a six- or 12-month term?
    • What is the penalty for breaking the lease?
    • How much is the security deposit?
    • What type of maintenance work is included?

    As we always recommend, the single most important thing to do once you’ve chosen a property is to read the lease. It will lay out everything from penalties to fees to what is considered “wear and tear” versus damage.

    Have any more questions or ideas from past experiences? Let us know in the comment section below!

  • 07/09/2015

    Maximizing Your Small Closet Space

    Is your closet too small, unorganized or just plain messy? At Renshaw, we’ve got a few tips to help you maximize your closet space without doing any sort of renovation.
    1. Two-thirds of your closet should be dedicated to hanging rods. Double up on the rods for maximum hanging space. Hang one rod higher up for longer garments, and another lower for short or foldable items. By doubling up, you’re getting the most out of your space.
    2. Keep a container in your closet to store any loose items that may hide in your pockets, such as loose change and receipts. This will avoid clutter if they fall out of your pockets during folding or hanging, and it will keep you from having to dig them out of the washing machine later!
    3. Tension rods make great shoe holders. Install a few tension rods to hold your shoes so that they aren’t in an unorganized mess on the floor. It’ll keep your floor clean so you can vacuum, as well as keeping your shoes organized so you can find them more easily.
    4. Don’t store things on the floor. The only items that should be stored on your floor are items that are easily moveable, such as suitcases. Everything else, such as shoes, should sit at least one inch off the floor.
    5. If you need more storage, use something that is multi-functional. A trunk can store extra items and double as a decorative piece as well as something to sit on, or you can use your empty suitcases to store items while the suitcases aren’t being used.
    6. Anything you stack shouldn’t exceed 10 inches in height. Stacks tend to fall over and become unorganized when they exceed 10 inches in height. Also, partition them off so they are sure to stay stacked in neat piles.
    7. Add guiding lights to the undersides of shelves. Lighting is one of the most important parts of a closet. If your closet lacks substantial light sources, use battery-powered stick-on lights under shelves to help you better find items.
    8. Use your door as a storage area. Install rods on your door to hang small items, such as scarves and gloves so that they don’t clutter your shelves or other hanging rods. Or, buy a liner that has multiple pockets to hold your small items, such as jewelry or undergarments. Over-the-door shoe racks also work well to maximize door space.
    9. Utilize your high shelves. Store items you don’t use often on higher shelves so you won’t have to climb up and down as often. When you do need to reach the higher places though, keep a step stool handy so you can easily access those items. Foldable step-stools are great for this purpose. Don’t have a shelf in your closet? They’re easy to build, and they’re great for maximizing space lost near the top of your closet.
    10. Similar to pots and pans in the kitchen, hang awkward, underutilized items from the ceiling to keep them up and out of the way.

      Got any tips that work for you? Tell us in the comments!

  • 06/26/2015

    Tips for Optimizing Kitchen Space

    Photo Courtesy to Flickr User Anna Day

    Too few cabinets, lack of counter space and cramped walking space are just a few things that may give you issues in your kitchen. But you’re in luck! There are several ways to maximize the space in your existing kitchen without paying an arm and a leg to renovate. Below, we’ve listed 10 ways to maximize the space in your tiny kitchen. And as an added bonus, almost all of these are rental-friendly for most leases!

    1.    Invest in a rolling cart.
    A rolling cart is perfect to use when you need extra counter or storage space. The best part about the cart is that you can store it in a corner and utilize it as needed, or if you don’t like the way it looks or it is in your way, it is easy to shift into a closet or a separate area until you need it.

    2.    Install rolling shelves.
    Along with a rolling cart, consider installing rolling shelves in your cabinets. This will help keep things organized and help you utilize the hard-to-reach places in the back of the cabinet.

    3.    Utilize the wall space.
    Walls can be your best friend. When you run out of storage space in your cabinets and drawers, use hooks on the walls for pots and pans, as well as small shelves around your counters for frequently used items.

    4.    Eliminate your kitchen table.
    Unless you have a separate dining area, a kitchen table can be a huge space sucker. Instead, utilize a long counter or island with high stools or chairs.

    5.     Take advantage of empty spaces.
    Use the top of your refrigerator or other appliances as storage for oversized items or for cooking instruments you don’t need every day, like a crock pot.

    6.    Use your “unopenable” drawers.
    Are you up for a DIY project? These “drawers” are often found under the sink. Install hinges so it pulls out and create a small storage space for small items, such as sponges.

    7.    Install cork boards, magnetic strips or hooks on the inside of your cabinet doors.
    This is a great area to store knives with no drawer or measuring cups. It’s also a great place for a grocery store list.

    8.    Mount shelves or install a lazy Susan to fill corners.
    Using a lazy Susan is a great way to store spices, Keurig coffee filters or spare packages of things you don’t have a place for.

    9.    Use a folder filer for your baking pans and cutting boards.
    A stand up folder filer will keep your baking pans, cutting boards and muffin tins organized and standing up without them falling out of the cabinet every time you open it.

    10.Make sure your cabinets are as organized as possible.
    Stack, stack, stack! Stack bowls inside each other, small plates on top of large plates and cups inside of each other. It will save you space and help you fit more inside each cabinet. Also, put similar things in drawers and cabinets. For example, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, plastic baggies and storage containers can all be stored in the same spot. 

    What tips do you know of that we haven’t shared here?

  • 06/09/2015

    To lease or to sublease? That is the question.

    Photo Courtesy to Flickr User Finance Blue
    If you are in search of a new roommate to help lower the costs of your living expenses, have you considered all of your options? Do you know the difference between leasing and subleasing? Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right option for your situation.

    What is the difference between a lease and a sublease?
    Lease agreements are made between a landlord and a renter. Generally, in the terms of a lease, the renter agrees to pay the landlord a certain amount of money to live on the property for a specific amount of time. On the other hand, sublease agreements are between an existing renter and a new renter who lives within the existing renter’s property. On rare occasions, there are subleasing agreements where you have your own lease corresponding to your part of a house or an apartment. The only situation that this is often applicable in is in some apartments around college campuses when multiple tenants are sharing a rental house or apartment.

    It is important to check with your landlord or property management company before considering a subleasing agreement with a potential tenant. Not all management companies allow subleasing agreements, and if this is the case, you may (at worst) run in to legal trouble and (at best) still be responsible for payment and damage caused by the other person. Discussion with management ahead of time will clear up any discrepancies and will define the relationship between you, management and the person who is subleasing from you. 


    When should you choose to lease with a roommate?
    • If you know you are going to be there for at least a year, but you don’t want to pay the rent by yourself, leasing with someone else may be a good idea.
    • If you cannot afford to pay the rent alone, a roommate can ease the cost burden.
      When should you choose to sublease to a tenant?
      1. If you go on extended vacation stays, like summer-long trips, subleasing allows you to have income during those times when you aren’t living in the home or apartment.
      2. If you want to bank a little extra cash by giving up a little space, you can sublease a room to another tenant.
      Keep in mind that some landlords explicitly prohibit subleasing to someone else. Always check on the terms of your lease to determine whether this is an option for you.

      So, now that you’ve decided on which route to take, you should nail down the logistics of roommates and agreements. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

      1. Sign a written contract.
      If you decide to lease a place with one or more roommates, make sure every roommate’s name is on the rental agreement. This way, if someone decides to leave before the lease is up, no one else is responsible for paying that part of the lease except the roommate who is leaving.

      If you choose to sublease your apartment to a renter, make sure you establish a contract with full details about the length of the sublease, the amount that will be paid in rent each month by the renter, when the rent is due and the rights and obligations of each party (for example, can the renter use the ping pong table?). The original renter should also determine if their contract with their landlord allows or prohibits subleasing to a new tenant before searching for someone.

      2. Choose the right tenant.
      There are several questions you should ask when looking for a roommate to lease with or a tenant to sublease to. You should consider if they have pets and whether you can live with said pet. For instance, you might be fine with a cat or a dog, but maybe a potential tenant has a pet snake. This may also be determined by whether your landlord allows animals, which you should find out before accepting a tenant with an animal.

      It’s important to choose a tenant who is responsible. Although this can be tricky to find out, asking the tenant for references from recent places they’ve rented allows you to find out for yourself how well they did in other agreements.

      Make sure you get a deposit upfront, in case they don’t make their rental payment one month. This keeps you from having to figure out how to come up with the money if this were to happen and also buys the new renter a little more time if they are in a bind.

      The most important part of choosing to lease or sublease is fully understanding what you can and can’t do as both the renter of a property and the landlord of a property (if you sublease to someone). Ask your landlord what you are allowed to do and what you are prohibited to do before moving someone in. Both options are viable, they just depend on your specific needs.

      Did we miss anything? Tell us about it in the comments below!

    • 05/27/2015

      How to Handle Summer Pests

      As the weather begins to warm up, it is a signal for bugs to come out and play, and your house unfortunately isn’t off limits to them. Having pest problems? Here are a few ways to keep unwanted insects out of your house. While these are a good first step, remember that if the problem is too bad, call a professional to exterminate.
      Photo Courtesy to Flickr User melissa
      1. Seal your doors and windows: Check the entryway of your door. The gaps you see are areas where unwanted house guests can enter. To prevent this, apply an aluminum or steel threshold or a sweep to the door. A sweep is designed to cover the gap between the threshold and the bottom of the door. Nylon sweeps are the best to use for bug prevention. Weather stripping can also keep insects from entering along the sides or the top of the door. Making sure your door closes properly and is shut quickly after you enter.
      2. Installscreens: This seems like an obvious way to prevent bugs from getting into your home, but small holes in the screens on your windows can be an invitation for them. The best type of screen to prevent bugs from getting in is 20-mesh or finer, and installation is easy. Also, if you have a single small hole in a screen and it’s not time to replace it, use clear nail polish to keep bugs on the outside.
      3. Repair cracks: Examine the exterior of your home. Any area that contains a loose foundation, crumbling brick or rotted wood is an all-clear for bugs to enter. Mortar or cement can patch your foundation. The roofline is also an important area to pay close attention to, since it’s a common place for bees and wasps to build their nests. Caulk is a great product to use in repairing small cracks on both the interior and exterior. Add caulk around your window frames, on small cracks in your foundation or to seal where the roof and housing meet.
      4. Keep it clean: It is nearly impossible to keep all unwanted pests out of your home, but cluttered homes are a bug’s paradise. Bugs can reproduce in clutter before you even know they are there, and removing them becomes an even bigger problem. Make sure your cabinets and closets stay clean and organized. Don’t leave piles of clothing or papers sitting around in corners of rooms. Keep everything tidy, and bugs will have a harder time hiding from you when they get into your home. It’s also important not to leave standing water in or around your home, as it attracts mosquitoes.
      5. Keep your food sealed and put away: You buy food to feed your family. Keep it away from hungry pests by storing it in sealed containers and in areas such as a cupboard or in the refrigerator. When your food isn’t sealed, it is an invitation for insects to come dine in your dining room as well.
      6. Find their nests: Nests outside of a home can make the easy access more inviting. Insects like to build their homes in covered areas, such as under a decorative rock or the electric meter as well as in other inviting places in your yard, such as in large plants. Bugs also like to nest in areas on the physical exterior of your house, such as in foundation cracks. Find these nests and get rid of them. Call an exterminator for bigger jobs or if you are having trouble identifying the nest locations.
      7. Rid your home of unwanted water: Bugs love a moist area, such as a basement or attic. They also creep in when pipes are leaking under your sink or in your bathroom. Make sure unwanted water isn’t coming into your home, and if there is leak, call a plumber to fix the problem. Also, dirty dishes sitting in your sink are calling insects’ names. Wash them by hand or put them in the dishwasher instead of allowing them to sit in the sink.

    • 05/11/2015

      Should I Buy, or Should I Rent?

      Photo Courtesy to Flickr user thinkpanama

      Renting vs. Buying
      Adulthood comes with a lot of responsibilities, like deciding where you’re going to live and how you’re going to afford it. Then you ask yourself, “Should I buy or rent?” There are pros and cons to both options, so be sure to know the facts before making such a big life decision. Here are a few things to consider.

      Buying
      When you’re thinking about whether to buy a home, consider:

      The length of your stay
      If you are looking in a location where you plan to stay for a longer period of time, buying a house may be the best choice for you. Perhaps one of the best things about owning your home is the equity you put into it that you could benefit from later.

      Fixer-uppers
      Any “face-lift” you give your home could bring more value down the road. For instance, if you replace the linoleum floor in your bathroom with tile or the put granite countertops in the kitchen, those upgrades could be a selling point later.

      You can’t rely on a landlord or maintenance department.
      The downside to buying a home is that when something breaks, like your water heater or air conditioner, you are responsible for fixing it. Sometimes, that means spending big bucks you may not have if the repair isn’t something you can do on your own. Don’t consider buying a home unless you have the necessary funds to account for these extra costs in maintenance and repairs.

      Make sure you have a down payment.
      While it is possible to buy a home without a 20 percent down payment, most experts do not recommend it. Usually, banks require a payment of 20 percent down before they will give you a home loan. If you don’t have it, they may still give you a loan that requires you to buy mortgage insurance, which could increase the cost of your home in the long run. But, that doesn’t mean if you have $30,000 in the bank and your 20 percent down payment is $30,000 that you should go buy that house. You’re going to need food, clothes, gas and other things after you move into your house, so don’t completely drain your bank account.

      Renting
      Could renting a home be good for you? Consider:

      The length of your stay
      Renting is a better option if you don’t plan to stay in a certain area for very long. When you rent, whether it is a house or an apartment, you have more freedom to relocate if you need to. While you may have signed a lease, they can vary in length from month-to-month to six months to a year and longer, leaving you the ability to leave after that lease is up without wondering what to do with the house or apartment. Additionally, while you may forfeit a deposit or incur a fee, it is often possible to break a lease if necessary.

      No toolbox is required.
      The upside to renting is that your landlord is typically responsible for fixing most things when they break. For instance, say you have a water leak because your pipes freeze during a harsh winter or your air conditioner b b  gbreaks, as long as you are keeping up the regular maintenance – such as replacing HVAC filters – you do not have to pay out of pocket to have those things fixed when you are renting.

      No unexpected fees
      Another great advantage to renting is the avoidance of property taxes and mortgage-interest costs that you have when you own a home instead of renting one. While the landlord’s property taxes may be built into your rent, you won’t have to deal with unexpected payments if the home is re-evaluated at a higher value. You also can avoid the expensive closing costs that are required when you buy a home, like home inspection costs.

      Can you get everything you want out of your lease?
      When you rent, there is a possibility of more restrictions on your living situation. What does this mean? For example, if you have a dog that is 60 pounds but your landlord only allows dogs that are 30 pounds or less, you’ll have to either find a new place to live or figure out what to do with your dog. Other common restrictions relate to noise or certain types of equipment (i.e. barbecue pits), among others.

      Choosing whether to buy or rent is based on individual needs and abilities, so make sure you choose based on your budget and what you can afford. Not sure what you should do? Check out this handy calculator to help with your decision. If buying isn’t a possibility right now, it doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future. Get all of the information about each option and understand what you are getting yourself into before you sign on the dotted line.

    • 04/15/2015

      Ways to Increase Your Energy Efficiency During the Summer Months

      Photo Courtesy to Flickr User Jan Tik
      Save energy, save money
      Summertime is the season of swimsuits, sundaes and sweat. We all know that the summer heat can be brutal, but staying cool can also put a strain on your budget. Here are a few tricks to keep cool during the summer months and help increase your home’s energy efficiency.

      Why should you care when you aren’t home?
      Setting your thermostat to a higher-than-normal temperature can help save you money in the long run by keeping your unit from running cool air you really don’t need. If you aren’t home during the day, you won’t notice if it’s hot inside, so turn it up before you leave for work and back down when you get home in the afternoon. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it to kick on automatically at a certain time, like a half hour before you usually get home to give it time to cool off before you arrive.

      While it’s a good idea not to have your unit cooling the house while you aren’t there, it’s not a good idea to turn the unit completely off, especially if you live in an area where summer days regularly reach 90 degrees or higher. This is because it can get so hot in your house that when you turn your unit back on, it may not be able to catch up as quickly. Experts say the ideal temperature is about 78 degrees for most homes in order to be most energy efficient.

      How are you eliminating heat intrusion?
      As nice as a warm summer day may look, the reality is that when you open your blinds and curtains, you are allowing sunlight to get trapped inside your home with no way to escape. This capturing of sunlight can make your home extremely hot over the course of the day. Consider closing your blinds during the day or pulling the curtain over your window to keep the sun’s heat from blazing in.

      Heat can also intrude under door frames and window sills if they aren’t properly sealed. Ensure your weather stripping is installed correctly and isn’t damaged to keep heat from entering as well.

      Are you making good use of your air conditioning?
      Your home’s air conditioning registers are a great source for pet dander and dust collection. You should regularly clean your registers out and replace your air filters to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth out of running your air conditioner. You should also make sure that your registers are unblocked by furniture, rugs or anything that can cause blockage in the air flow throughout your home.

      Enjoy this summer without the worry of high energy bills to compensate for the heat index outside. Use these tips to help maximize every dollar spent on air conditioning and live comfortably.

      Got any ideas we missed? Tell us about them in the comments below!

    • 03/18/2015

      Preventable Problems

      1. Air systems

      The Problem: It’s the middle of August and it’s 105 degrees outside. That’s usually the time your air conditioner goes out. The same goes for the heater when it’s February and 13 degrees outside.

      The Solution: You could spend thousands of dollars to replace these air systems, or you could spend just a few dollars every few months to replace the filter.   

      Filters serve a very important purpose in any home. A good filter catches all the bad things in the air – pet hair, debris, dirt, pollen or even cigarette smoke. Typically, air filters should be changed every three months. If there is a pet, a smoker or someone with very sensitive allergies in the home, though, most manufacturers recommend changing the filter every month.

      If you don’t change the filter regularly, it can cost you. Aside from potentially replacing or repairing the entire unit, a dirty filter can also result in higher energy bills.

      2. Foundation

      The Problem: A home foundation has moved, cracked or become unstable. You may notice that doors or windows won’t close properly, the floor is uneven or “sloping” or the floor appears to be cracking.

      The Solution: Foundation repair is possible – and costly. Typically, this is an issue in areas that are prone to major natural weather events like hurricanes. If your home is unlikely to be exposed to such an event, you can avoid this scenario.

      First, clean the gutters! While this task can be unpleasant, your bank account will thank you later. Gutters control the water around your home, and can keep excess water from putting too much pressure on the foundation.

      3. Mold

      The Problem: Your child got sick, something started to smell funny or you saw a strange substance that seemed to be growing in some nook or cranny. You’ve got mold.

      The Solution: Unless the mold is in a small, contained area of less than about 10 square feet, removing it will require a professional. The cost will vary depending on the severity of the problem.

      The other option is to prevent the mold. Regularly inspect the roof for leaks, which can cause mold in attic spaces, at minimum, and major water damage if not fixed in a timely manner. Also check any openings in the home, including windows and doors, as well as spaces around running water. Make sure bathtubs, showers and sinks are properly caulked to protect your home.

      4. Exterior paint

      The Problem: Peeling exterior paint is a pain. It’s one of the first things people notice and can seriously devalue the rental or re-sale potential for any home.

      The Solution: Spend thousands of dollars to patch and re-paint the exterior of your home.

      Or make sure to trim back bushes, branches and flowerbeds to increase airflow to the area near the house. This can prevent mildew and other problems that cause chipping and peeling to exterior paint jobs. If you do find issues with the paint job, they’ll likely be smaller and easier to deal with on your own, rather than having to hire a professional to fix the entire exterior.

      If you do need to perform a small patch job, make sure to prepare the surface correctly. Make sure you scrape off all loose paint, not just the parts that are obviously peeling. Also make sure to use the correct paint and tools to make the repair.

      5. Hard water

      The Problem: You just had to replace the glass in your shower, the drinking glasses you’ve used for years or a faucet or showerhead. If it’s really bad, you may have had to replace pipes or other expensive plumbing. The culprit was the unavoidable hard water and the buildup that you just can’t live with any longer.

      The Solution: Continue to replace things affected by the hard water. Or invest in a water softener.

      The softener will run a homeowner anywhere from $400 to $2,700, plus the possible expense of hiring a plumber to install it. That’s a small price to pay when considering the potential cost of totally clogged pipes.

      Without getting too involved in the science of the water softener, it works by adding a minimal amount of sodium to counteract the calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water. The result is softer water that will not create soap scum in the shower or buildup in your home’s pipes.

      6. Termites or other insect infestations

      The Problem: You’ve got hundreds of thousands of termites eating you out of house and home. You may have fire ants or carpenter ants. You may even have bed bugs. Whatever it is, your house is infested.

      The Solution: Spend your vacation money on hiring an exterminator to tent your home.

      Or engage in regular preventive maintenance. Termites and other critters are attracted to standing water; so make sure to get rid of any such thing around your home. Clean the gutters, get rid of pools of water, trim the plants near your home and don’t use mulch that can create a constant source of food and water.

      Make sure to regularly inspect any openings to your home. Seal up cracks and repair leaks, as all openings are an invitation for insects.

      7. Fires

      The Problem: You’ve just experienced a serious fire. Maybe your neighbor’s home burned down and was a total loss. Maybe your kitchen caught fire and you’re filing an insurance claim to replace and repair the whole room.

      The Solution: The above scenarios discuss things insurance can fix, but there is always the possibility of losing a life, which can never be replaced. That makes it even more important to consider the possibility of fire and how to prevent major problems.

      Everyone knows how important it is to turn off the oven, turn off the stove or blow out candles. You’re probably also familiar with smoke detectors. Landlords must outfit all properties with working smoke detectors. Should a landlord opt not to provide his or her property with a working detector, he or she is subject to legal action if the property is affected by fire.

      It’s also important to test smoke detectors at least once per month. The majority of detectors have a test button that will help you ensure that it works properly.

      Have any questions we didn’t address in this post? Leave them in the comments and we’ll be glad to answer them there.

    • 02/25/2015

      Pet Deposits

      Photo Courtesy to Flickr user Laura D'Alessandro
      Just about everyone will experience it. That wonderful feeling when your family grows. He may lose a little more hair than you’re used to, he may eat sporadically and he may use the bathroom in a very inopportune place. But he’s all yours.

      Of course we’re talking about your new pet.

      If you don’t own your home, adding a pet to your family can be tricky. Just about every rental property – if the landlord allows pets – will require some sort of pet deposit. Some landlords even require a monthly pet rent to cover the cost of damage caused by the pet or increased maintenance costs such as replacing an air filter more often. We’ve outlined some things to consider when getting a pet, including whether your pet deposit is refundable.

      1.    Don’t get a pet if your landlord says you can’t have one!

      Many landlords do not allow pets. If the no pet policy is specifically addressed in your lease, it’s probably not worth asking for a special consideration. If pets are accepted on a case-by-case basis or with specific rules – i.e. no pets larger than 50 pounds – you also want to make sure your friend is acceptable under the terms of your lease.

      It’s likely that you or someone you know has kept a pet illegally, as in against the terms of his or her lease. We never recommend this for a few reasons, the most important of which is the possibility of eviction. Violating your lease is often grounds for immediate eviction without any refund on deposits or other financial obligations.

      2.    Is there a pet deposit, pet rent or any other financial obligation on your part?

      The majority of landlords who allow pets require, at minimum, a pet deposit. Most pet deposits are at least partly non-refundable. This protects the landlord from that day you left Fido for longer than he was used to and he got out anyway…through the huge hole he made in the door. You know…if Fido does that sort of thing.

      Some landlords also require a pet rent. This may vary depending on the size and type of the pet or the type of property. This is like regular rent in that it is non-refundable.

      3.    Can I get my pet deposit back?

      This totally depends on the terms of your lease. If any part of your pet deposit is refundable, we suggest the following to make sure you recoup as much of it as possible:

      ·    Rent a carpet cleaner and use it – TWICE. Consider something like a Rug Doctor that will steam the carpet in addition to vacuuming it. Seriously. You may be used to living with your dog or cat, but your landlord will know as soon as he walks through the door if there is any lingering pet smell or hair in the carpets.
      ·    Invest in a can of paint that is the color of your baseboards, doors and walls. Do this right when you move in and stay on top of any damages caused by your pet. Cats with claws sure do enjoy scraping their paws under doors, and dogs tend to think that if they scratch hard enough they will eventually get through that door you shut them behind one night. The $30 you’ll spend on the paint will make a big difference when your landlord is determining whether to refund all or part of your pet deposit.
      ·    Clean as you go – make sure to keep carpet and floor cleaning products on hand. Should your pet have an accident, make sure to take care of it immediately.

      Have questions we didn’t address here? Leave them in the comments and we’ll answer them there. 

    • 02/10/2015

      Living with Roommates: Issues and Legalities

      So you just moved in with a new roommate. Hopefully he or she doesn’t dabble in illicit substances, get arrested and stick you with the lease or just never wash a dish. Sounds crazy, but all of the above are true stories!

      Living with roommates can be a delicate balance. From splitting the cleaning to determining quiet times, it takes compromise. But sometimes, it takes understanding legal processes. Consider this a quick guide on how to live with (and without) roommates.

      1.    What type of lease do you have?
      The vast majority of rentals use a standard lease, generally with a few provisions related to what the landlord requires. This may include requiring tenants not to smoke, allowing or not allowing pets, specifying rental payments, due dates and late fees and what could happen should the tenant prematurely break the lease.

      Occasionally, usually in college areas or very specific circumstances, landlords will offer subleases. A sublease allows each roommate to have his or her own lease, protecting them from transgressions by the other like not paying rent in full. These are rare.

      2.    Pick your number.
      While it can be beneficial to have all roommates listed on the lease, it is not unlike a divorce should they decide not to live together anymore. If two roommates are both listed on the lease, they have equal rights to continue living on the property until the lease runs out. If you can’t fathom living with the person anymore after just a few months, you may find yourself running tape down the center of the home and arguing out the remainder of your lease like Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn “Break-Up” style.

      3.    If your number is one, create a roommate agreement.
      This is not like living in a college dorm, when a roommate agreement was something you filled out for the housing office because you were living with some random person from another state. Legitimate roommate agreements are recognized as legally binding in most areas, as long as they are clearly marked with a date, terms and signatures of all roommates.

      You’ll have to check with your local housing office to determine if the roommate agreement is a good option for you.

      4.    Know your terms.
      There is no law preventing any tenant from breaking a lease, but it is possible for a tenant to be responsible for financial losses to the landlord. This may include forfeiting a deposit or paying rent until a new tenant can move in and assume responsibility.
      If your name is on a lease and you count on a roommate to pay half the rent, be aware of how this will affect you should that roommate decide to move out. If you have a roommate agreement, it may require the person to pay rent, but consider what happens if your roommate gets arrested and has no way to make payments anymore!

      It’s important to know the laws in your area. If you need to brush up on your state laws, check out the database at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website.

      5.    Live with strangers. You’re less likely to hate them later.
      You’ve probably heard that if you want to stay friends with someone, you shouldn’t live with them. It’s true. Living with an acquaintance or a friend of a friend will likely be easier because you won’t worry about stepping on their toes in the home. You’ll know each other as roommates, and that’s it.


      Have stories, questions or something to share? Leave them in the comments and we can discuss them there!

    • 01/20/2015

      Welcome to The Renshaw Blog!

      Welcome to our blog! We look forward to sharing industry trends, rental tips and information about our company with you. Make sure to check back every once in a while to see what’s new with
      Photo by BizJournals
      Renshaw.

      Let me start by telling you a little about us. Renshaw Property Management was formed in 2007 with the intent of creating the best residential property management company in Memphis by providing outstanding service and complete transparency to our clients. Our job comes down to a very basic mission: providing quality turnkey residential leasing and management for homeowners and investors.

      The most important thing we do is create an atmosphere of trust with our clients. We strive to provide the best customer service and experience possible when we interact with our clients, because we know that building mutual trust is the foundation for growing a successful business.

      We also take great pride in what we do, especially in transforming properties into homes. With our real estate renovation services, we’re able to help prepare properties for the families who will live there. Taking homes that are “sick” and making them well is unbelievably fulfilling.

      So why did we start a blog?
      We decided to create this blog to show that there is, indeed, a company out there that values client relationships and outstanding service over the bottom line. We encourage our owners and tenants to reach out to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because we truly care about them. We plan to use this outlet as another way of reaching out to both our clients and the public regarding company news, industry stories and practical tips and tricks for renters and owners.

      We want to hear from you. We want your feedback. Let us know what we do that works, and advise us about what might not be working. We acknowledge and learn from our mistakes, which only brings us closer to our clients. Knowing that we are the best of the best is not measured by numbers or profits. It is a feeling that comes from within when we know that we are doing right by our clients and our internal team. Helping someone that truly needs our assistance is what drives me and my employees to be the best we can be.

      Thank you for taking the time to read about what we have to offer. We hope you will continue to follow our blog and contact us if you have any property management or rental needs.

      Best regards,

      Bob Renshaw
      Owner and Founder

      Renshaw Property Management