Protect Your Rental: Tips to Keep Your Rental Property Safe

A rental landlord’s obligations don’t end with providing a home for your tenants and picking up the rent each month. Their welfare, as well as the safety of their belongings, is partly your responsibility, not to mention your rental’s security. 

You need to make sure you put into effect all necessary measurements against burglary and break-ins. Providing a space where your tenants feel safe will probably result in them settling there for a longer period. Here are a few tips on how to keep the burglars at bay and your tenants satisfied.

Fix what needs to be fixed

Take a turn around the house and analyze the potential risks – are there any places that can give burglars easy access? If you know that the window latch in your bedroom is faulty, don’t wait another minute to replace it. Are there any bushes which can provide good cover for an uninvited guest? There are things we know that ought to be dealt with but somehow, we get used to them and forget that the particular state is not common. However, ignoring the possible risks is careless, so it is vital to do all that we can to ensure the safety of your rental and your tenants as well. 


Add more light

Common sense tells us that a well-lit house is not an eligible target for a thief. Without the cover of darkness to hide their criminal activity, they will not be able to sneak up on your tenants. So, investing in additional outdoor lighting is probably one of the most practical ideas to provide a clear view of what is going on around your house. Motion-sensor lights are bound to scare off any unwanted visitors, and if the tenants aren’t fast asleep, it will also be a type of an alarm for them that allows them to know that someone is prowling around the house.

Take out an insurance policy

If you want to be completely certain that everything will be taken care of in the case of some event, you can opt for an insurance policy. However, mind you, you need to read the small print to know for sure what the policy covers. To be safe, always choose more comprehensive policies, such as Youi home cover landlord insurance, which encompasses natural disasters as well as damage caused by people. It even covers the content of the property, so you can be at peace even if your keys get stolen or any furniture or furnishings are damaged due to the insured event.

Secure doors and windows

For better security, equip your door with a double-cylinder deadbolt, especially if your doors have glass panels or windows that are close by. This kind of deadbolt cannot be opened from the inside, so it won’t be easy for a burglar to break the glass and reach inside. As for the windows, you can go with locks, which will probably make the perpetrator re-think whether to attempt to get in by breaking the window. Naturally, if you had an unpleasant situation and you had to evict the tenants, don’t forget to change the locks, just in case. 


Keep private

Curtains and blinds are not there just to protect you from the sunlight. They also serve as protection from unwanted attention, so advise your tenants to keep the curtains drawn, especially when they are not at home. When the property is not being rented, it is advisable you keep the blinds down. Shielding your privacy in this manner will prevent the burglars from spotting any valuable items that you or your tenants might keep in the house. Also, don’t disregard gossip: if you have any valuables in your rental property, don’t inform the neighbors since you never know who that information may reach.

Renting your real estate can be quite a profitable scheme but it is also a responsible one. Every landlord wishes to have a long-term relationship with their tenants – nobody wants to have shady people marching through the house every month or so. 

In order to achieve this rapport, you need to communicate openly but also to ensure their safety. This includes securing doors and windows, installing external motion-sensor lights, and also taking out an insurance policy. By protecting your rental property, you are protecting your tenants and your relationship with them.

5 Fun and Simple Ways to Save Money for the Family

Saving your family money is nowhere near as difficult as many people think, which means you can lower your family’s bills and save a little money in more than one place. Saving is the easy part. It’s figuring out how to do it in your own family’s budget that makes the concept a little more difficult. With these five money saving tips, you’ll be on your way to more savings and a more fulfilling life in no time.  

Get Quotes

The first thing you need to do is go over the budget and see where you can save money on your expenses. You can get free insurance quotes for your car as well as your home, you can ask your credit card companies to lower your interest rates, and you can call the cable company and tell them you’re paying too much. Most are happy to lower your bills for you if they suspect you might leave for another company.  

Make a Meal Plan

You don’t have to sit down and plan every single meal for every single day of the week, but you should have enough meals on the menu for the entire week. You can eat them any night you want, but pick seven meals you’re going to eat this week and make a list. Now you can go to the store once and buy everything you need rather than a dozen times to pick up that one extra thing you forgot. You’ll end up spending far less the fewer times you go to the store.  

Take Some Time

Impulse buys are difficult, but you don’t have to live with regret each time you make a purchase. Is there something you love more than anything, and you really want it? Put it in your online cart and leave it there for 24-hours. If you still can’t stop thinking about it at the end of your 24-hours, it’s for you. If you still aren’t sure you want it or not, don’t buy it. The key here is to really decide you want it. If you do want it, you’ll know at the end of the day. If you don’t, you just saved yourself a lot of money and regret. If you’re worried about regret after making the decision to buy something, perhaps the decision isn’t the right one for you and your family.


Find Local Deals

Did you know you can take your kids out without blowing the budget? It’s easy to spend $100 at the movie theater on just tickets and popcorn for the average family, but you can find a better way to do it. Most movie theaters offer $1 movies for families all summer. Bowling alleys have $1 bowling night, and even skating rinks offer family packages to save money and encourage people to visit. Take advantage of those when they are offered.  

Lower Your Utility Bill

One of the biggest wastes of money in most all households is the energy bill. Start shutting the blinds during the hottest part of the day to keep it cool inside and the air from running over-time. Cook outside during the summer to prevent heating up the house. Light a fire instead of turning up the heat. Turn off lights, set timers, and invest in a smart thermostat. The more you save on utilities, the more your family can save elsewhere There are hundreds of ways you can save your money, and it all starts at home. Start paying your credit card balances in full each month to avoid paying interest charges. Start filling up your gas tank rather than putting a little in here and there. Eat at home more often, and be sure to only buy things you need. You can negotiate with just about anyone, and that’s what makes it easier to save on things you need the most for you and your family.

What Every First-Time Home Buyer Needs to Look for in Insurance

When buying a new home, you will also need to purchase home insurance. This coverage is always required by your mortgage company, and there are minimum amounts of coverage that your lender may require you to buy. Even if you do not have a mortgage on your new home, property insurance is necessary in order to protect your financial investment in the asset. After all, you stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars or more if your home is damaged or destroyed. When you are shopping for a new home insurance policy, look for these factors to get the best deal possible on your coverage.   Suitable Coverage One of the first things to consider when comparing policies relates to which events are covered and which are not covered. Coverage can vary substantially, so it is important to know what type of coverage you need and prefer. For example, earthquake coverage may not be necessary when buying a home in Florida, but flood and windstorm coverage is. Fire and theft coverage are common, but you may need to purchase mold coverage separately. Flood coverage is not required in all areas, but it may still be useful for most homeowners because flooding can happen from a variety of events.   Reasonable Replacement Value Some first-time home buyers assume that a home insurance policy will pay to completely replace their home if it is destroyed, but this is not always the case. These policies are written in different ways, and they have different coverage limits. For example, some policies only pay for the replacement cost of the home up to a pre-determined limit. You do not need to insure the land because the land will never be destroyed. Therefore, your sales price will not equal your replacement value. However, the replacement value should be reasonable to build a new home of similar square footage and quality in your area.   Protection for Your Personal Property Home insurance also usually provides coverage for your personal contents or assets inside the home. After all, if your home is destroyed by a tornado, earthquake or other similar event, there is a good chance that you will need to buy new clothes, furniture, electronics, appliances and more. It can be difficult to place a value on the contents in your home. A smart idea is to itemize as many items in your home as possible. Estimate their value in a list, and take photos of the belongings. Provide these items to your insurance agent so that they are on file in the event you need to file a claim.   Great Rates and Discounts The cost for home insurance can vary substantially, and you understandably want to get a great rate on your policy. Many insurance companies offer cheap auto insurance to homeowners who bundle their auto and home coverage together. You may also get a lower rate overall if you buy a life insurance policy from the same insurer. While you should compare the basic rates for home coverage, focus on the net costs for all types of insurance you plan to purchase through the insurer in a bundled package.   Steps to Reduce Rates Further Many insurance companies also provide homeowners with additional methods for reducing coverage rates over time. For example, you may obtain a list of improvements you can make to the home for discounts, and you can slowly work your way down the list over the course of the next few months. Many insurers, for example, offer lower rates if you have a monitored security system installed.   Home insurance coverage will likely be one of the more expensive aspects of home ownership, but it also can prevent you from experiencing considerable financial loss in a worst-case scenario. If you are preparing to buy home insurance soon, keep these concepts in mind to get the best coverage possible at a competitive rate.

3 Big Expenses New Home Buyers Are Often Unprepared For

There is no doubt that buying a home is an expensive venture, but like so many other purchases, there are also a number of “hidden” costs that home buyers may not be prepared for. While they may have saved up 20% of the projected cost of the home they want to purchase, the additional costs may quickly eat up their savings or increase their loan amount to well beyond 80% of the cost of the home. They may also be unprepared for the much higher costs of maintaining a home in relationship to an apartment or townhouse. Here is a list of 3 expenses new home buyers regularly do not expect.

  1. Fees

There are a wide range of fees associated with buying a house that range from inspection fees to closing costs. In many cases, it’s important to get a survey so you know exactly where your property ends and your neighbor’s begins. If your lender wants a credit report, you have to cover the costs. You may have figured taxes into the monthly amount you will need to pay, but may be unaware that you actually have to pay those costs at closing. Probably the heftiest fee, however is the loan origination fee, which can run in the thousands of dollars, particularly if you are buying points on the loan. There are also a wide range of smaller fees you will have to pay, but can cumulatively add up to several hundred dollars. Some of these smaller fees include recording fees for deed, loan and mortgage documents, tax service fees to ensure previous taxed are up to date, title services and title insurance.

  1. Insurance

While renters may have had renter’s insurance and be used to paying that insurance, they may not be prepared for the significantly higher coverage they will need to carry as home owners, at a significantly higher price. Renter’s insurance only needs to cover your personal belongings, since the property owner carries the coverage on the building itself. Home owner’s insurance, however, covers not only your possessions, but the building itself and even the lot it sits on. Your rate will be determined by a number of factors such as the age of the home and the quality of the materials that were used to build it with. In addition, if you are putting less than 20% down on a mortgage, you will most likely also be required by your lender to carry mortgage insurance. You can of course shop for the cheapest insurance rates, but ultimately insurance will eat a much larger chunk of your monthly budget.

  1. Bills and maintenance expenses

When you rent a home or apartment, there are generally a number of expenses folded into your rent, which you will now be responsible for paying. These include water, sewage and trash collection, but can also include homeowner’s fees and even expenses related to the care, upkeep and maintenance of your home that you hadn’t counted on. In an apartment or rental, if the toilet breaks, you call your landlord. Now, if the toilet breaks, you call a plumber and you get to pay for it. And it might surprise you just how much a single service call will run you. You now also get to keep your own lawn watered and mow it once a week in the summer, or more often depending on where you live. Of course you can always pay someone to mow it, but that’s also one more expensive fee new homeowners actually factor into the cost of owning a home.

While few, if any, of the costs of owning a home are actually hidden, they are also not generally factored in by many new home buyers. This is why it’s important to be sure when buying a home that you don’t overextend yourself just on the house payment itself. Make sure you work out a mortgage payment you can comfortably afford and don’t blow your entire savings on your down payment. With a little careful research, planning and budgeting, you can have the house of your dreams and not a financial nightmare.

5 Details to Think About When Moving to a New Home

Moving into a new home can be exciting, but it also can be stressful in many ways. In addition to the stress associated with physically relocating all of your belongings into a new home, your life may be affected in various other ways by your move. In fact, it may take several weeks or longer to fully get accustomed to life in your new home. These are some of the more significant details of your life that may change when you move, and by learning about them, you may be able to prepare for them ahead of time.


The Cost of Home Insurance

Home insurance is typically required by your lender, and it offers numerous benefits. For example, it may pay to repair or replace your home if it is damaged by severe weather. Home insurance rates vary based on the size and location of your home as well as several other factors. Many homeowners pay approximately $1,000 or more per year on home insurance. While this premium is typically paid in monthly installments, it nonetheless can take time to get accustomed to this extra expense in your budget. Consider looking at companies that will provide a bundle that may include car insurance and other coverage. Getting cheap insurance quotes before you move is a great way to save money on this expense.


The Length of Your Commute

The average commute time workers must deal with varies substantially based on where you live, but most workers commute at least 20 to 30 minutes each way, and some have a commute length that exceeds one hour each way. A smart idea is to travel along your new commute path to your workplace before you move. This will help you to avoid being unpleasantly surprised by a much longer commute length than you planned for.


The Cost of Your Utilities

Utilities expenses can increase when you move into a new home, and you should prepare for this possibility in your budget. Keep in mind that the size of the home is not the only factor that affects utilities costs. New utilities rates for a specific location, how energy efficient the home is and more will also affect your utilities expenses. You can usually obtain historical utilities costs for a specific property from the provider to get a better idea about what your own utilities costs will be.


Repairs and Maintenance Needs for the Property

If you are purchasing a new home, you will assume the condition of the property from the previous owner. Reviewing the property inspection is a great way to learn more about repairs and maintenance tasks that need to be addressed. Some items may require your urgent attention as soon as you move in, and others may be placed on your to-do list to complete within the next few months. You should, however, budget for these expenses as soon as possible.


The Need for Additional Storage Space

When you move into a new home, your storage needs can change dramatically. First, you may have less storage space in closets and attics, and you may need to find an additional area to store some of your belongings. In addition, the size, number and layout of your rooms may change. This means that you may not have a space for all of your furnishings. You could choose to get rid of some unnecessary items by selling or donating them. However, others prefer to hang onto their items. You could consider renting a storage unit to tackle your current storage issue.


As you can see, many of your current life factors can change when you move into a new home. These various factors can affect your budget, your daily routine and your general home life experience. If you are preparing to relocate to a new home, it is important that you review some of these various factors up-front so that you can properly prepare for them. By doing so, you can more easily transition into life in your new home.