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Pool Maintenance—What You Need to Know

Offering amenities is a great way to attract great clients to your property, and amenities don’t get any better than having a pool on your property. However, having a pool can be a real challenge for property owners because pool maintenance is absolutely essential to the health and well-being of everyone who uses it.

Here’s what you need to know about keeping that pool safe and clean.

Invest in pool safety training

Bacteria in pools and hot tubs is a big deal. Your tenants can fall ill, or worse, if you don’t properly filter and clean the water on a regular basis. The problem is, even if you use chlorine to disinfect, you don’t let pets in the pool, and you require toddlers to wear swimming diapers, bacteria can still collect in the water and filters.

Hiring an outside vendor for cleaning and maintenance can ensure the pool is clean, but you should also invest in pool safety training for at least one member of your staff. They will be able to test the water and spot trouble before maintenance is scheduled to come back.

Establish a pool committee

Establishing a pool committee can be very helpful too, especially if you allow tenants to get involved. It forces you to make time for pool safety, and a wide variety of topics can be discussed including:

  • Learning local laws and regulations in regards to the areas in and around the pool
  • Arranging for periodic inspections and testing of the pool water
  • Monitoring chemical storage and pool furniture
  • Ensuring any restrooms, lockers, or showers are clean
  • Fielding pool complaints and issues
  • Discussing what to do about fecal matter or animal carcasses in the filter

Make sure rules are posted and updated regularly

Because safety is such an important consideration in regards to pools and hot tubs, it is absolutely vital that you post clear, easy-to-read rules that are updated regularly. Make sure they are posted in a visible location, and consider posting the rules in multiple areas around the pool. You may also want to post the rules at the beginning of the season on every tenant’s door.

Some common rules include:

  • Proper swim attire required, and all toddlers and infants should wear swim diapers
  • Only tenants and up to 4 guests are allowed at the pool
  • Children under the age of 16 should be accompanied by an adult
  • Only service animals are allowed in the pool area
  • No running
  • Glass containers are not allowed in the pool area

You will want to customize the list for your unique situation. Some of these items may or may not make it on your list. For example, if your tenants aren’t allowed to have pets, you may not need to post a rule concerning dogs unless it becomes a problem.

Consider hiring a lifeguard

Most residential pools don’t have lifeguards, but if your pool is a busy place during the summer months, you may want to consider hiring one. You may even be able to find a couple of students on your property who can help, as long as they have the right training, of course.

If you don’t want to hire a lifeguard to watch the pool all the time, hire one to watch the pool during the busiest hours on the weekends.

Having a pool can be a lot of fun for you and your tenants. Just make sure you follow these pool maintenance tips to make swimming safe for everyone.

Home Safety Tips for Renters

Did you know that around 2 million burglaries are reported each year in the United States, and renters are just as likely to be the victims of property crime as homeowners?

Now, the question is, “What are you doing to keep your home safe as a renter?” Unfortunately, most renters probably answer by saying they lock the door at night. Although your landlord is responsible for providing a certain level of safety, things can happen that are out of everyone’s control, and locking the door won’t be enough.

Here are a few home safety tips that are perfect for renters.

Consider a home security system

A home security system is still the best way to protect your home, whether you’re in an apartment or a rental home. Because most systems are wireless, they are extremely easy to install, and a competitive home security market means there are many affordable options.

Don’t want to invest in an entire system? Simply purchase a camera or two and place them in areas that can easily be seen from outside. Just seeing a camera is often enough for a potential burglar to look elsewhere for an easier target.

Don’t have enough money for a camera either? Place a security decal in your window! If a thief thinks your rental is protected with a security system, he won’t try to break in.

Hide valuables away from windows

Whether you choose to install a home security system or not, you need to take special care to hide valuables away from the windows. Hang expensive prints and paintings in interior hallways and try not to place TVs and electronic equipment directly across from a window. If you really want to keep your rental safe, keep the blinds closed. If natural lighting is important to you, consider buying sheers that allow light in, but keep prying eyes out.

Get tricky when hiding valuables in your home

Where do you think a burglar looks first? Think jewelry boxes and underneath the bed. If you want to keep your valuables safe, you have to get tricky about where you hide them.

Clean out an old sunscreen bottle and place it in the medicine cabinet. It’s a great place to hide cash. Tuck money into the pocket of a ragged coat in the back of the closet. Small valuables can be hidden in the toes of boots. You can even purchase a special vent that gets installed in the wall and stores all your valuables!

Don’t leave your home unattended

Okay, so you can’t be in your home all the time, but leaving your rental unattended for a long period of time is never a good idea. If you plan on being away for any more than 24 hours, ask a friend or family member to stop in periodically.

Even if you’re not home, you can make it look like you’re home! There are many home automation systems that will turn lights on and off throughout the day. The BeOn Home light bulb is one really cool product that actually learns your family’s habits.

Another quick tip? Keep your car keys on your nightstand when you sleep. If someone tries to break into your rental, the car alarm may be all it takes to scare them away!

Keeping your rental safe doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and it doesn’t have to be hard. Even following just one of these tips will allow you to enjoy a safer home.

Creating Rentals That Appeal to Millennials

If you haven’t heard about millennials, then you must be living under a rock because they’re kind of a big deal. They are the largest generation in U.S. history. They are also more likely to rent than any other generation, so you could greatly benefit from creating rentals that appeal to millennials.

Décor with more bang for your buck

Older demographics appreciate expensive décor options, like granite countertops and hardwood floors, but not the millennials! Unfortunately, they just don’t have the money to spend on these kinds of features, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t affordable features that they don’t appreciate.

Give your space a retro feel with laminate countertops and vinyl flooring, or give it an industrial feel with corrugated metal accents. The key is to create a unique, affordable space with interesting details.

Unique places to hang out

Millennials spend a lot of time hanging out with other people, so make sure there’s a space on your rental property where they can get together.

You can definitely knock down some walls inside the unit itself, but many millennials are attracted to unique outdoor spaces. Rooftop patios, tent-like structures, and decks with built-in fire pits will all attract a younger crowd.

Utilize the internet

If you want millennials to notice your rental, make sure you utilize the internet. Use social media and pour your efforts into online marketing.

The internet is important to this demographic, so make sure that your units are upgraded to include broadband internet hookups. If you really want to attract millennials to your space, offer free internet in common areas or take care of their internet bill altogether!

Contrary to what you may have heard, millennials are hardworking, they just see the world a little differently. Market to this demographic and your units will get snatched up in no time!

3 Features to Look for When Purchasing a Rental Property

Owning a rental property can be a great investment because it can provide you with passive income. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you’ll have to make sure that the property is well maintained, which may mean hiring a property maintenance company to help.

However, there’s a lot more to making sure your rental property is lucrative than just keeping it well-maintained. It starts before you even make a purchase. Here are the 3 features to look for when you’re ready to purchase a rental property.

  1. Look for a property in a great neighborhood

The first thing on your list should be a great neighborhood. There are quite a few reasons why this is so important to consider when purchasing a rental property.

It’s hard to find and keep tenants in an area where crime is high. In addition, rental prices are always quite low in these areas, so you aren’t likely to make much of a profit on the property.

Just because you don’t want to be on the bad side of town doesn’t mean you have to be on the ritziest side of town either. Many property owners have the best luck in working class neighborhoods that are surrounded by businesses, houses, and other rental properties.

There are other things to keep in mind when looking for a good neighborhood. Great schools and amenities, like nearby parks, malls, pools, and bus stops are appealing to renters.

  1. Consider your budget, even after the property is purchased

Of course you need to consider your budget. You should look for a property that offers a great value in the neighborhood that you’re interested in. However, you also have to think about your budget even after the property is purchased.

That rental might be a great deal, but if it needs to be fixed up, you may end up dumping more money into it before it’s ready. This can be a problem if you’re not equipped with the skills or the money to flip the property.

Do a little digging and figure out what the property taxes are like in the area. Good neighborhoods often have higher property taxes, but this isn’t always the case. The higher the taxes, the more they will eat into your profits, so it’s important to keep this point in mind.

You should also see if vacancies are the norm at other rental properties in the area. The more people that move in and out of a neighborhood, the more likely your units are to sit empty, which means you lose money. College campuses are notorious for this.

  1. How easy will maintenance be?

The easier things are to fix when problems do come up, the better. That’s why you should take a close look at how easy maintenance will be once you’ve purchased the property and it’s up and running.

A fancy Victorian may make for a beautiful rental, but you won’t be able to find an easy, affordable replacement for a stained glass window. Look for a simple building constructed out of basic materials. It will save you time and money.

You also need to consider how easily you can access plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. Houses built on cement slabs are notoriously difficult because many of the systems that need to be repaired are extremely difficult to access.

Although you may be excited to purchase a rental property, take your time and ensure that you find the right one. It will save you from painful headaches in the future.

What Kind of Roof Is Right for Your Rental Property?

Time to replace the roof on your rental property? It can be a lot more confusing than you think! Here are a few different roof options.

Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice. Not only do they look good, they are also extremely affordable. As a matter of fact, you can spend $50 or less per 100 square feet, depending on which shingles you choose.

The trouble with asphalt shingles is that they don’t last as long as other options. You should plan on replacing them every 7 to 15 years.

Architectural shingles

Want your rental property to stand apart, but don’t want to spend tons of money on specialty roofing products? Consider architectural shingles.

They are affordable, like asphalt shingles, but they can be made to mimic the look of more high-end products.

Metal

Metal roofs are gaining in popularity because they are extremely durable and require very little maintenance. They are more expensive than shingle products, but they last nearly twice as long. You can lower energy consumption and less building materials are needed during installation, which makes it an eco-friendly option as well.

Slate

Don’t ever want to think about replacing the roof ever again? Consider slate. Although it’s among the most expensive roofing options, it can last for up to 175 years!

Want to learn more? Check out this cool infographic created by Severe Weather Roofing and Restoration that includes other roofing types, ventilation, and more.

What Makes Central Oregon Property Management Different from Other Areas?

There are many things that all property management companies have in common. However, there are a few things that make managing a property in Central Oregon a bit different than other areas of the U.S.

An eye on heating and cooling

The temperatures vary greatly throughout the year. From highs in the 80s in the summer to lows in the 20s in the winter, a central Oregon property management company has to keep a close eye on heating and cooling units.

Most property managers will come out as soon as you identify a problem. Many property managers throughout Central Oregon will also perform routine maintenance on units in order to ensure that you don’t go without heat in the middle of the winter.

With the cold comes pests

Colder temperatures mean pests move indoors. Central Oregon property management companies take the time to provide adequate pest control, which means preventing the problem from occurring in the first place. This includes spraying for bugs when the weather warms up.

Friendly service

Unlike large cities that are just looking to fill units quickly, you’ll find landlords and property management companies are more friendly in Central Oregon. For example, here at Mountain View Property Management, we have a guest list. If you can’t find a rental you like, we’ll call you when something that meets your needs becomes available!

The area of Central Oregon makes for some unique challenges, but the very best property managers have what it takes to make sure that your rental is safe and comfortable.

Tips for Packing a Moving Truck the Right Way

Moving is hard work, which is why you might opt for a professional moving truck, but having the truck is only half the battle. If you really want to move quickly and efficiently, it’s all about packing a moving truck the right way.

Load the heaviest, longest items first

Loading a truck is a bit like playing Tetris, and it all starts with the heaviest, longest items first. Place them at the back and the sides of the truck.

Fill in the holes with smaller items

Once you’ve gotten all the largest items in the truck, you can then fill in the holes with smaller bags and boxes. Just make sure the heaviest boxes are placed on the bottom, while lighter boxes and bags are placed on top.

Pack a first night kit

Don’t forget to pack a first night kit! That way, you aren’t scrambling to find your toothbrush or the cat food! Items you should pack include:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush and hair styling tools
  • Clothes
  • Towel
  • Toilet paper
  • Coffee maker
  • Sheets
  • Pet food and accessories
  • Snacks
  • Medication

If you pack your truck the right way, you’ll save time because you won’t have to pack up the truck more than once. With these tips, you’ll get moved in and unpacked in no time!

Do You Really Need Renters Insurance?

Do You Really Need Renters Insurance?

Insurance is everywhere. Some insurance you’re required to have, like car insurance. Health insurance is a now a must in the United States. House insurance is included in many mortgage payments, but what about renters insurance? Since you don’t own the property, is it something you really need?

It’s definitely worth your time to look into a renters insurance policy. Here’s why.

Your landlord won’t cover damages

It makes sense to think that if there’s any damage to your apartment or the things inside it that your landlord would be responsible. Especially if the damages aren’t your fault! However, this isn’t the case. Landlords are covered for their property, which includes the structure and appliances inside it. Other items in the apartment aren’t included.

If there’s a fire in the next unit that damages property in your unit, if the refrigerator breaks down and spoils hundreds of dollars’ worth of food, or if there’s a leak or flood that damages your furniture, you’re responsible for taking care of the damages. That is, unless you have renters insurance.

Your belongings are worth more than you think

It’s easy to believe that you simply don’t have enough stuff to warrant an insurance policy. After all, that kind of coverage is for people with expensive jewelry, artwork, and fancy furniture, right?

The fact is, your stuff is worth a lot more than you think. Just imagine if there’s a fire in your apartment. Just in the living room alone you would have to look into replacing the couch, television, any gaming consoles, rugs, tables, and more. All that stuff adds up to thousands of dollars that you may not have lying around in case of an emergency.

You could be held responsible for the damages you accidentally cause

Your landlord has ensured that he is covered when it comes to his property, but what if you’re the cause of the damage and other tenants are involved? Unfortunately, you’ll likely be held responsible.

For example, if you accidentally leave the bathtub running and the water seeps into the floor and damages items in the apartment below, you may have to replace those items.

What if someone enters your apartment and becomes injured due to an accident? This situation is more common than you may think, especially if you have regular get-togethers and friends bring friends that you don’t know that well. You may be responsible for their medical bills.

Renters insurance is more affordable than you think

According to the Insurance Information Institute, only 40 percent of renters carried renters insurance in 2015. This statistic is especially staggering considering the fact that 95 percent of homeowners have house insurance.

There are many myths surrounding renters insurance, and a few of them have already been addressed, but the biggest myth is that renters insurance is expensive. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On average, you can expect to pay less than $200 each year. That leaves you with a monthly payment of less than $20. That’s a small price to pay in order to ensure that all of your belongings are protected.

If you’re ready to take renters insurance seriously, make sure you shop around. There are many companies that offer very little coverage for that amount, while others provide much more. In addition, you could save by bundling your policies.

You may also want to talk to your landlord. In some cases, you may learn that your lease requires you to have a renters policy.

4 Ways to Eliminate Allergies in Your Apartment

Allergies are more than a nuisance. Not only do they affect 50 million Americans each year, allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to eliminate the allergies in your apartment.

  1. Dust

Dust is a huge problem for allergy suffers, but it’s a fairly easy problem to solve—dust, and dust often.

Using a simple duster works okay, but if you really want to banish dust, you should use a damp rag. Make sure you dust your house from top to bottom. The dust lurking underneath the bed and on the blinds is often overlooked.

  1. Vacuum

This one is obvious, but the type of vacuum you choose can make a big difference. Low-quality vacuums can end up blowing allergens back into the air, exacerbating your symptoms.

Choose a high-quality vacuum and opt for a HEPA filter. Plan to vacuum your home one day a week for every human and animal in your house.

  1. Keep your pet well groomed

It’s important to keep your dog or cat groomed for their health, but grooming your pet on a regular basis can also be good for your health.

Brush your pet often to get rid of loose hair. Baths are a must for dogs, while a pet-friendly wipe can help keep your kitty dander-free.

  1. Replace filters

It’s easy to forget about your air filters, but they should be changed frequently. The frequency at which people change their air filters varies, but changing them out at the start of each new season is a good rule of thumb.

Don’t let allergies in your apartment get you down! Follow these tips and you’ll breathe easier in no time.

How to Find the Right Rental

Whether you’re new to renting or rethinking your current living situation, the process of searching for a rental home can be time-consuming. Roughly one-third of all Americans rent, and while many of them are in early adulthood, many are also families, empty nesters and seniors. Fortunately, there are rentals for all household types and budgets. But to make your search smarter and more efficient, work through the process following these steps:

STEP 1: Determine what you can pay.

Generally speaking, it’s recommended that most people spend no more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. Does that seem doable to you, factoring in debt, commuting and grocery costs, savings and other expenditures? Regardless how you feel about the 30 percent recommendation, many landlords specify income limits — like that your annual income be a specific multiple of monthly rent, or that your rent shouldn’t exceed a specific percentage of your monthly income (say, 28 percent).

Keep in mind that in addition to rent, you’ll need to budget for utilities (unless your landlord covers some or all of them), cable and Internet, and other potential extras available to renters such as parking, storage and coin-op laundry. And that’s in addition to your fees for moving and furnishing your home — which, in some cases, could require special furniture (say, long curtains and room dividers in a loft with tall ceilings, patio furniture for a balcony or house with a deck, storage accessories, etc.) to make the place livable.

STEP 2: Brainstorm the features you’re seeking.

Beyond a basic bedroom and bathroom count, ask if there are other “nice-to-have” versus essential features:

  • Do you want a patio or deck, or access to a backyard or shared outdoor space?
  • Do you want a fireplace?
  • Do you need a full bathroom, or would a shower do?
  • If you’re a foodie, do you want a gas stove in the kitchen?
  • Will you be setting up a home office, and do you need electrical outlets or a nook within one of your home’s rooms where you can place your workstation?
  • Would you be willing to live on a ground floor, use stairs or take your chances on street parking?

And consider your compromises:

  • Would you give up some space and a yard in the suburbs in exchange for a smaller, close-in place that had a park across the street?
  • Would you live with a roommate in order to tap a pricey but trendy neighborhood, or would you rather fly solo somewhere quieter?

STEP 3: Map your day.

No, really — do it. Cross-reference your geographic locations and schedule, and take a look at where you spend your time. Then check out what’s available in those locations using tools like PadMapper (which uses mapping technology to plot listings from sites like Craigslist onto maps); HotPads, which offers “heat maps” that let you compare rental and for-sale home inventory across neighborhoods; or MyApartmentMap. What’s your schedule like? What neighborhoods do you travel to and from daily or weekly? Do you drive to work, bike to work or use public transit — or would that vary depending on your choice of neighborhood? What do you do on the weekends, and do you want to live near those places and activities or is it OK to live elsewhere? If you work late, or if you rise early, are there grocery stores and drugstores open during the hours you need to shop?

  • Hang out: Spend a weekend day, an after-work evening or a pre-work coffee and early-morning commute in any neighborhood you’re considering as part of your search. Do you like the vibe, the drive, the mix of friends in the area, the school choices for your kids? Is the commute doable at the hours you’d be making it? If you work from home, are there services convenient for you, like copy shops, co-working spaces (try Loosecubes to find out) and delis?
  • Investigate services: Will you be close to the services that matter to you? WalkScore lets you run searches for a given address or neighborhood so you can see its proximity to coffee shops, restaurants, grocers, public transit and schools. Aside from grocers, drugstores and coffee shops, consider how near you are to public transportation (not just for you, but for friends who rely on it), schools for your children, gift and apparel stores and services particular to you including churches, veterinary or medical offices, package/mailing centers, a fitness center, etc.
  • Research crime: Regardless of whether you choose a downtown or suburban place to live, get a read on where and what types of crime are happening in your area. In an area with a lot of car break-ins, maybe you’ll want to garage your car. If home invasion is common or late-night muggings occasionally take place, maybe look for a building with a doorperson or 24-hour security. Perhaps residents who can walk to restaurants and nightlife feel the downside in terms of noise complaints or the occasional closing-time episode. Check sites like Neighborhood ScoutSpot CrimeCrime MappingCrime Reports and Nixle, as well as neighborhood blogs.
  • Education: If choosing a rental in a specific school district is important, or if you want to evaluate school districts to narrow down your list of potential neighborhoods, check out School Digger or GreatSchools.

STEP 4: Choose your rental type.

This step will depend on how long of a lease term you’re after and how big of a place you need. Depending on your market and your needs, you can rent a wide variety of home types from a variety of types of landlords. If you’re looking for a short-term rental (six months or less), you may want to investigate a sublet (taking over someone else’s lease or renting direct from an owner) or corporate housing, which is more expensive but convenient for someone new to an area. For longer-term rentals (typically 12 or more months), you’ll find a wide variety of options on listings portals.

As for unit types, here’s a look at the pros and cons of each:

Apartment in a high-rise apartment building
Pros: You’ll live among lots of neighbors, maintenance is typically via a professional management company and your building may be centrally located in a walkable, urban area. You can probably also research large buildings more easily on blogs or apartment commentary sites.
Cons: Your unit may be smaller than options in suburbs, townhouses or single-family homes. It may be too small for a family. You will likely pay extra for parking in the building or a nearby lot. Management companies may be less flexible about credit scores or lease negotiation than small-fry landlords.

Townhouse
Pros: You’ll have more privacy, with only one or two units on either side of you. You may have a yard, and the home’s layout may be on two or more floors, meaning that despite the square footage residents can spread out and enjoy privacy within the home. You may have a patio or yard.
Cons: If you’re subletting a townhouse directly from its owner, maintenance may not be predictable. You may be trading space for location, as some townhouses are in more suburban areas. Utilities may run slightly higher.

Accessory unit in a single-family home
Pros: These units are relatively private, likely situated in a cozy neighborhood and may be one-of-a-kind spaces. Renters may feel safer since landlord-owners live upstairs or next door. Laundry is often nearby or in a room shared with the landlord, and yard access is often included.
Cons: These units may be even smaller than the average apartment, and some landlord-homeowners create accessory units illegally — meaning they haven’t registered them with the city or may have used unlicensed or under-the-radar contracting work to renovate them. If utilities aren’t separately metered, it may be hard to sort out bills with owners.

Single-family home
Pros: If you have a larger household, children, noisy habits (like playing music loud late at night) or pets who could benefit from a yard, a single-family home may make more sense than other rental options. You’ll get a higher bedroom and bathroom count, as well as privacy.
Cons: Single-family homes can cost more to rent, and they may also carry expensive utility bills, especially if they are older and non-energy efficient. If owned and managed by individuals (versus a management company), it may take longer to get maintenance concerns addressed.

 

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