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The State of Affordable Housing in Utah

Low-income housing has been a hot topic in the state of Utah for about a decade now. This is due in large part to a “housing first” initiative that was implemented in the state of Utah a little over 10 years ago, back in 2005. The initiative was part of a larger 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness, with the reasoning that the state spends more money incarcerating and hospitalizing the homeless rather than actually housing them. According to the 2015 statewide point-in-time homeless count, the 10-year plan has been largely successful. As of 2015, there were 178 chronically homeless people living in the state―down from almost 2,000 in 2005. This means that chronic homelessness in Utah has been reduced by just over 91 percent over the last decade. (more…)

What Kind of Property Are You Looking For?

When searching for a new home, some of us have a hard time even knowing where to get started. Most listing sites will make you start with choosing what kind of property you’re looking for, whether that’s an apartment in a high rise, a unit in a multi-family home, a single family home, a condo, or townhouse.

Remember that each kind of property can come in a wide variety of styles. For example, a unit in a multi-family house could be anything from your own detached guest house to a couple rooms in the basement. Take a good look at each property’s listing, and don’t assume that just because it’s a single-family house, it will have all of the advantages that you’re expecting. However, this rough guide could give you a starting point, and some ideas for considerations you’ll need to think about with each kind of property. (more…)

Setting the Right Price for Your Rental

Deciding what to charge for your rental unit is a tricky decision. There are many factors that affect price, from the current state of the economy to what amenities your unit offers.  Read below to learn what you need to consider when deciding the price for your rental unit.   (more…)

Four Unique Tips for Savvy Apartment Hunters

looking for a new home
With one quick visit, it can be hard to tell how a new place will work out. However, there are some creative solutions that can give you a better idea of what you’re looking for. Try out these tips while you’re hunting for a new rental property.

1. Go to the Bathroom

When you do your apartment visit, take some time to be a little nosy and explore the bathroom by yourself. For one thing, this gives you a moment away from the pressure of the realtor, manager, or landlord. Alone, you can get a real feel for the place, and gather yourself. For another, the bathroom is one place where the real workings of a home are exposed.

Take time to check the function of the toilet, the sounds of the pipes, and even the water pressure. That’s right, go ahead and turn on the shower and see how it feels. There’s nothing worse than locking yourself into a lease for a year of terrible showers. (more…)

6 Ways to Make a Rental Feel Like Home

Woman sitting on cozy couch sipping teaSo your living situation is temporary. That doesn’t mean that it can’t feel like home! One of the most common dilemmas of renters is that they are unable to make changes to suit their personal aesthetic.

It’s true that you don’t want to make changes that will take a chunk out of your deposit. A lot of remodel details alter the property and are a huge problem for your landlord to deal with as soon as you move out. However, if you get creative, there are plenty of ways to make your place feel like home quickly, and without impacting the property.

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How Increasing Renters are Raising Prices

Blocks that say leasingOver the past several years, we have seen a dramatic rise in rental prices across the country, as people are paying more and more to rent property, rather than utilize other housing options. Indeed, this current pricing structure is the highest level of rent-to-income proportions since the 1950’s. Nearly half of all renters are currently paying more of their income than what was traditionally considered affordable (below 30%). Like most rising prices, there is an array of factors that could be contributing to this latest spike, as well as a few that might actually drive it back down. Here is some information about renters and rising prices… (more…)

The Benefits of Hosting Property Events

Skewers of meat and a grill.Many properties will have a space that is the perfect venue for hosting events. Whether this is a community barbecue during the summer, or a property Christmas party, there are many benefits that are inherent to hosting property events. While it may be a little more of an expense, it’s often a small price to pay for the bridges that this can build between landlords and tenants. Here are some of the benefits of hosting tenant events on your property…

Build community on your property

We live in an age where we are less and less connected with the people who live around us, despite being well-connected with the rest of the world. This makes for a less enjoyable living experience for tenants. However, nothing brings people together like a summer barbecue where tenants and their kids can enjoy each other’s company. This community building experience helps create a safer environment, and one where tenants begin to trust each other. It also makes your property a much nicer environment to live in, which means you are providing a better service.

Establish trust with your tenants

One of the most important elements to managing a property is being able to create an open line of communication with tenants. If a landlord and their tenants can communicate with each other without a level of distrust, then it creates a better experience for everyone. Oftentimes, just having this line of communication open will help people manage their problems much, much better, and at less cost to you. Having these community events is a way to open this line of communication and establish trust with tenants by getting them all together and getting to know them.

Creates a better image for you

The stereotype of a property manager is a faceless entity that controls the lives of their tenants. However, this image doesn’t have to be the one that persists. By hosting community events, a landlord is opening themselves up to the community experience that they are trying to create, which builds a new image as an actual human being that tenants can interact with. It is much easier to communicate issues and problems with tenants if they can see you like how they see their peers; as just people.

Sustainable Property Management Tips

A sustainable property vector image.Becoming a green company is almost like a passage of rite in the business world of the 21st century. Even Wal-Mart has had their own green revolution, which saved millions of dollars and created a new face for a company who has frequently struggled with its public image. The property management industry is no exception, as there are several benefits of going green with your property. Being environmentally friendly is a great PR move, and is actually able to help businesses save on energy costs and taxes. Here are some tips on how to be sustainable and green in property management… (more…)

How Much Should I Spend on Housing?

Money and HousingHousing is one of the largest expenses that people fork out a month.  Whether you rent or own, your mortgage or rent can leave you strapped for cash.  You should always determine how much you can afford before you decide where you are going to live.  But how much should you be spending on housing a month?  Below are 5 things to consider when determining how much you should and can be spending on housing each month.

The 30% Rule

A general rule of thumb is to spend no more than 30% of your income on rent.  So if you are making $2,000/month you should be paying about $600 for rent.  Of course, if you only need one bedroom and you don’t mind sharing with roommates, you can spend less than that a month.  If you have a small family and you need a couple of bedrooms, you might be paying more.

Remember Other Expenses

Depending on your other debts and bills, the amount that you can afford might be less than 30% of your income.  Make sure that you factor in all of your monthly costs as you determine how much you can spend on housing each month.

Decide What is Important

Housing prices differ drastically based on factors such as space, amount of bathrooms, neighborhood, distance from the freeway, surrounding shopping centers, how close public transportation is, quality of apartment, etc.  Decide which of these factors is most important to you and which ones you are willing to sacrifice on.  For example, apartments that are a little bit further away from freeways and public transportation can be as much as $50 less than their next-to-the-freeway counterparts.  Also, ask yourself how much quality are you willing to sacrifice for cost?

Factor In Cost of Living

When you are deciding where to live based on your budget, make sure that you factor in cost of living.  Groceries and fuel will be more expensive closer to city hubs than it will be in suburban areas.  If you work downtown, is the extra 30 minute commute worth paying less on necessities every month?

Think About Utilities

When you are calculating how much you can afford on housing, make sure that you think about utilities as well.  The more space you have, the more you will have to pay to heat or cool the area.  Of course you can save on utilities by turning down the thermostat and making sure that you keep the lights off, not paying for premium cable, or internet, etc.

 

Apartment Cleaning Tips

Cleaning If you are about to move out of your apartment, it is important to make it clean to maximize the amount that you will get back from your deposit. Read on for six tips and tricks to make your apartment look spotless.

Plan Time

Doing a deep clean on your apartment will take more time than you think it will, so make sure that you give yourself plenty of time. Plan on spending 2-3 hours per room.  Yes, it will take that long.

Clean The Walls

After you move your furniture, the walls of your apartment will look dirty and like they will need a paint job.  Some landlords charge you to do that, so instead of forking out hundreds on new paint, clean the walls.  Use a trisodium phosphate substitute (a substance used to prep walls for new paint) like a magic eraser to get rid of the scuffs and dirt.  If you need to, patch any holes and paint over them.

Get Down

Baseboards collect a lot of dirt and dust, making a room look infinitely dirtier than it is.  Wipe down all of the baseboards in your apartment with a wet rag.  To get the hard to reach spots, use a credit card covered by a wet rag.  Magic erasers work well for this too.  As you are cleaning the floor, get down to look for spots.  You will see them better if you are closer, making sure that you scrub them before your landlord notices them.

Look Up

Ceiling fans and other light fixtures are often overlooked by tenants but are always noticed by landlords.  Dust them off with a gentle cloth, and remove light covers to clean out any dirt and bugs that might have been trapped inside.  Also make sure that you get rid of any cobwebs or dust on ledges.

Go To Your Move Out Inspection

If you have time, walk through the apartment with your landlord and ask what he is marking off on his checklist.  Ask if there is anything that you missed that you could fix or clean quick so that you won’t be docked.  Keep a copy of the inspection checklist for your records.

Move Furniture

If you have any furniture or appliances that were provided as part of the apartment (fridges, couches, microwaves,etc.) move them away from the wall so that you can properly clean under and around them.  Make sure that you properly clean the inside of the appliances or furniture as well.