Your Home – How to Get Your Home Ready for Renters

How to Get Your Home Ready for Renters

Owning a rental property can be a great investment, but do you know how to properly prepare a space for tenants? Check out these tips for getting your home ready for renters.

Give Your Home a Deep Cleaning

It’s essential that you clean your house prior to renting. Ideally, you want to do this before you even start looking for renters, but you should absolutely do this before anyone moves in. This should go beyond your regular cleaning routine. Perform a deep cleaning to get to things that are easily neglected or put off, such as cleaning carpets, changing air filters, and scrubbing baseboards. You can do it yourself or hire a cleaning company. The only thing that matters is that the job gets done well and from top to bottom.

Perform an Inspection of the Home

This is another task you can do yourself or leave to a professional so long as it’s done correctly and thoroughly. Inspect your home and everything in it to be sure everything functions properly and is move-in ready. Make sure the structure of your home is in good shape; check out all your ceilings, windows, roofing, floors, doors, walls, systems (plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc.), and other structural components.

Keep an eye out for mold, cracks, and water damage. If your rental comes furnished, make sure there aren’t any issues with furniture. Also be certain to check that all of the appliances are working properly. If you uncover any problems, be sure to have them repaired or replaced ASAP before your renter moves in.

Fix Things That Need Touch Up or Updating

Even if everything works fine, you may find there are still improvements to be made. For instance, you might need to put a fresh coat of paint on all your walls, fix or update some landscaping outside, or change/update lighting fixtures. Make any necessary changes to refresh your home. You might even consider upgrading countertops, cabinetry, and appliances if they are dated and haven’t been updated in a long time. While improvements and renovations can get expensive, they can also increase the amount of rent you can charge, so generally, it’s money well spent.

Remember: Safety First

A potential renter wants to know they’re living in a safe and secure home. Be sure to change the locks, make sure all smoke detectors are in working order, and equip the kitchen with a full fire extinguisher. If you don’t already have one, consider installing a security system. Installing motion sensor lights outside is an easy way to give your tenants more peace of mind when they walk outside at night.

Check With Your Mortgage Broker About Potential Necessary Changes to Your Mortgage

Lastly, depending on your lender and mortgage type, you may be required to notify your mortgage company before renting out your home. These requirements should be listed in your loan contract, but it’s always a good idea to consult your loan officer if you have any questions. You may need to follow up with information about the tenant or provide proof of additional insurance if it is required in your contract. Remember, when in doubt, contact your lender.

Finances – Four Mortgage Myths Debunked

Finances - Four Mortgage Myths Debunked

We’re all spending more time at home these days, so it’s natural if you’ve started thinking about a new space to make your own. For those who think that owning a home is out-of-reach, here are four common home buying misconceptions and ways to think differently about the process.

Myth #1: My Credit Has to Be Excellent to Get a Mortgage

Your credit score is a number between 300-850 that lenders use to determine the risk involved with lending you money to purchase a home. Not only does this number determine if a lender will let you borrow money, but also the amount, terms, and flexibility the lender will offer you.
A credit score of at least 620-640 is generally required for traditional mortgages. The same is currently true for government-insured mortgage programs, like FHA, and VA.
Find out your credit score by requesting a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies at

Myth #2: I Need 20% Saved for My Down Payment

Many people think you need to have a down payment of 20% when home buying. But the truth is a 5 percent down payment is typical for many first-time buyers. Putting less down can let you save for other priorities like building your emergency fund or paying off debt. Keep in mind that the more you put down upfront, the lower your monthly payment will be. With a larger down payment, you can also avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

Myth #3: There Aren’t Any Programs to Help First-Time Buyers With Down Payments

Did you know that there are down payment assistance programs offered by state and local housing authorities? They can help cover down payments, closing costs, and other fees associated with the purchase of a home. These programs are generally for first-time buyers, but if you have owned a home in the past, you may still qualify. These programs typically define a first-time buyer as someone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years. Talk to a loan officer in your area who can provide a sense of which program might be best for your particular circumstances.

Myth #4: The Down Payment and Monthly Mortgage Amounts Are the Only Things I Need to Worry About

The truth is there are more expenses you are going to be looking at when owning a home. For instance, Property Taxes and Homeowners Insurance. Online calculators come in very handy to get a full view of what your true monthly expenses will be. They’ll help you gauge how much home you may be able to afford. While they are a great estimate, remember that they are not as valuable as a professional analysis. Your mortgage lender can help you estimate your true monthly budget needs, based on your particular situation.

This article is for information, illustrative and entertainment purposes only and does not purport to show actual results. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular investment action.

Personal Interest – Create the Perfect Virtual Learning Setup for Your Child

Personal Interest - Create the Perfect Virtual Learning Setup for Your Child

With many children around the U.S. learning virtually this school year, many parents are wondering how they can facilitate the best possible experience for their kids when they’re learning through a Zoom meeting from home. A lot of that has to do with creating a good environment that’s distraction-free and as conducive to learning as possible.

Choose an Area Separate From Regular Living Areas

One of the most important things to keep in mind when creating a learning space is that it needs to be quiet and separate from the main living and traffic areas of the home. You want your kids to not only be able to focus but also to be able to separate the time they’re learning from the time they’re doing other things.

For instance, transforming a guest room can be a great option. If you don’t have a guest room, you may have to get a little more creative with your learning space setup. For instance, you could design a learning space in your garage, in a nook under a set of stairs, or even in a large closet.
You could also think about designing a learning space in a separate shed or building if you have one. You want a separate space not only so it’s quiet, but also so that kids know when they go to that space, it’s time to get in the mindset of learning.

Organization Is Key

Clutter is not conducive to learning, and it can be confusing and distracting for kids.
Start brainstorming about the different things you’ll have to organize throughout the semester and give everything its own space with a label.
This might include items like pencils and markers in one area, homework papers in another, and books that can be organized on a shelf.
Provide a checklist your child can follow when the school day is done to make sure everything gets back to its designated area and stays clean and tidy.

Keep it Simple

Remember, you don’t want distractions, so keep things simple. You don’t want the space to be too distracting. The focus needs to be primarily on learning.
It’s easy to get carried away with the aesthetics when you’re carving out a learning area, but the real focus should be on what your child needs and its utilitarian purpose.
When you’re choosing colors, bright colors tend to work well for younger kids. Bright colors are stimulating. For older kids, you might want cooler colors that are calming and can help boost focus.

Lighting Is Important

A learning area needs to be well lit. If the lighting is too dim, it can impact sleep cycles and your child’s attention. Natural light is the best type of light. It will improve achievement and at the same time the overall health of your child.
One great tip to maximize natural light is to add a mirror across from the windows to reflect more natural light into the room or space where your child is set up with their learning area.

Remember: This Is Your Child’s Space

Every child is different and learns in their own way. If your child is old enough, ask for their input and what they prefer and would like to see in their learning space.

Thank you and have a great month!

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Paul Stella