Tips on Being a Landlord

Let’s say you have a property that you are considering to rent out, either you are going to buy a new property or you are looking for somewhere else to live. Renting your property out is a great way to have some cash flowing your way but it is important to take a step back and understand the responsibilities of a landlord before jumping in. I have put together some tips for you to avoid some common mistakes and to be a step ahead of the game.

20160715042410-shutterstock-129797951First things first, it is crucial that you live near your rental property. If you are looking for a new rental property to buy, it would be helpful to do some research into the best investment areas around you. If you already have a property you want to rent out, make sure that your new living area is close by. Here are some reasons why: it allows you to be able to go over quickly when repairs are needed, it allows you to be able to check up on the property but not before giving your tenants notice, and you will be able to show the rental property often when it is time to list for rent again.

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Another piece of sound advice is to know your tenant-landlord laws, as these may vary from state to state. An easy was to do research now is online. Look up the area you will be renting in and familiarize yourself with the laws. Some of the primary areas to look into in regards to tenant landlord laws are: landlord disclosures, security deposit limits and returns, late feel rules, termination and eviction rules, and landlord access to rental property. There are obviously more to just those and I would recommend spending a good amount of time researching and reading about the laws of rental properties. The last thing that you would want is a lawsuit because you didn’t take a little extra time to read through the laws.

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Have a respectful but firm relationship with your tenants. This is not the time to be “too nice.” And trust me, people might try to take advantage by turning in the rent a few days late or not following certain rules you set in the lease. Be sure to be firm but on the other hand, manners and respect cost nothing. A friendly but disciplined relationship can truly make the difference in avoiding uncomfortable situations down the road.

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Make sure to include regular inspections in the lease and do them! Again, you would have to give the tenants proper notice (in California it is 24 hours notice of entry) but there is nothing unusual about inspections, this is your property in the end! I would suggest taking pictures before and saving them in your records to have proof of what the property looked like previous the tenants.

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Lastly, understand it takes money to make money. This simply won’t be a process in which you will be merely sitting on a couch receiving checks in the mail. While the check will definitely be a part of it, there is also a lot of work and money that go into being a landlord as well. You might need to invest in spending money on remodels before looking for tenants. You will have to purchase landlord insurance and be making payments on property taxes. You should also have some money saved up for unexpected repairs and maintenance.

Hopefully these tips have shed some light on the realities of being a landlord and what is to come with this endeavor. Good luck!

 

 

Better Understanding the World of Refinancing

I’m sure you’ve seen commercials about refinancing or have even heard from people at work discussing refinancing their home. But what is it exactly? And how can you get started?

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First, let’s break refinance down. There are two types of refinancing:

  1. Rate and Term Refinancing, and
  2. Cash Out Refinancing

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Rate and term refinancing is usually done in order to save some money. It is the renegotiation of the rate and/or the term (number of years it will take to repay the loan) of your mortgage with no actual change to the mortgage.  You might want to consider this type of refinance if your current mortgage is an adjustable rate mortgage and the fixed period is about to expire. Or if mortgage rates have significantly dropped since you’ve taken out your original loan.

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The second type of refinancing is cash out refinancing. This option is not as common as rate and term refinancing because it can be a bit riskier. Cash out refinancing is refinancing your mortgage for more than you owe, then being able to keep the difference. A cash out refinance is basically a replacement of your first mortgage and the interest rates on cash-out refinancing are usually (but not always) lower that the interest rates on a home equity loan. Many people turn to this type of refinancing when they need some quick cash but I would recommend looking into a personal loan instead of a cash out refinance, as the risk might be too high for some.

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For both of these types of refinancing there will be closing costs. These closing costs can go anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. However, the monthly savings from refinancing will usually end up covering these costs over time. You might also come across “No Cost Refinancing.” Which is basically a way to refinance that you won’t have to pay any money up front but you might end up paying more over time in the form of a higher mortgage rate. A no cost refinancing might be an acceptable option if you are only planning to be in a home for a short period of time but does not really make sense if you plan on living in your home for over five years. It’s all about doing the math and making sure that your method of refinancing is right for you and fits your budget.

Bay Area Brew Fest

This weekend, I had the opportunity to join some of my best friends in the beautiful city of San Francisco and to attend Bay Area Brew Festival. My friends who live in the city attended the year before and invited me to join the festivities this year. This past Saturday we started the day at Fort Mason Park which offered lovely views of the Golden Gate Bridge. We brought cheese, crackers, and champagne to start the day off. A friend of mine brought her portable speaker and we all were relaxing and enjoying cool tunes. I’m going to admit that Saturday morning in San Francisco was gloomy and I worried that the day might take a turn since half of what we wanted to do was outdoors, but low and behold, around 1 PM the clouds opened up the sun shone through.

 

From the park we made our way to Pier 35, were the festival was to be held. Upon arriving, we noticed a massive line outside of the warehouse but a line, to our great surprise, that moved incredibly quick. My friends had shared what the experience was like the previous year but I really only knew very little about the event. Right after the scanned my phone with my electronic ticket, there were tables passing out the cutest little beer mugs and a red wristband. The warehouse space was MASSIVE! Tents lined both sides of the warehouse which offered unlimited samples of different beers from local brewery’s. As we walked along the warehouse we spotted a DJ in the middle of the space bumping funky 90s music (which we obviously loved) and then as we made our way to the back, we found food trucks! Score! My favorite cider that I tried that day (yes they had ciders too) was a Goldenstate’s Gingergrass Cider. It was crisp and refreshing, a perfect summertime cider. The music was great, the energy was positive, and the drinks were flowing. After leaving this event, it made me want to explore the fests that are down in Los Angeles. The ticket prices were reasonable for the Bay Area Brew Fest ($48) and the time spent with friends was well worth it. Here are some of the beer fests that are coming up in Los Angeles. Just in time for the warm weather! IMG_5457

In five days, on March 25, Orange County will be hosting its 4th annual Beer and Music Festival. Tickets range from $35-$50 and will be offering local and regional beers to attendees. Unlike the Bay Area Brew Fest that was all held in one massive warehouse, this festival will be a “walk around” festival and there will be parts of Downtown Santa Ana shut down for the festivities.

On April 29, you can attend the Brew Lagoon Craft Beer and Music Festival in Redondo Beach. It will be taking place from 2 PM to 7 PM and advance sale tickets are $40 whereas if you are to buy them the same day, they are $50. This festival will be offering unlimited tastings from various brewery’s and there will be five live bands performing as well.

And on May 6th and 7th, The BBQ and Craft Brews Festival will be making its debut in downtown Los Angeles in Pershing Square. Here’s the kicker, entrance is free! They will be selling beer, beer samples, and food once inside and also will be offering live music to fill the air. This one is also open for all ages so it can be a great event to take the entire family to while you relax and sip on some brewskies.

And in the words of my mug from the weekend, Drink, Eat, Play!