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How To Attract Quality Tenants To Your Rental Properties

By Mat Piche, Real Estate Expert and Author 

The key to being a successful real estate investor is to have great tenant’s living in your properties. Without customers (tenants) paying you rent – you don’t have a business! But we don’t want just any tenant. We want quality tenants!

I’m sure you’ve heard the many horror stories of bad tenants trashing homes and not paying rent for months on end. We don’t want these stories happening to us! As landlords, we only really have one shot to pick the right tenants. So how do we attract quality and responsible tenants the first time?

Great Area = Great Tenants

It sounds obvious but you’ll be surprised how many ‘investors’ are buying in the wrong areas! A big ‘rookie’ mistake that I often see is focusing solely on the purchase price of a property. For example, cheap properties are usually in bad areas. Bad areas tend to attract bad tenants. It’s not rocket science, but you may have to increase your budget if you want to sleep at night. So where should we be looking?

Quiet and mature areas near amenities, for starters. Quality tenants want to be living in quiet and safe areas where their kids can happily play outside. A neighborhood lined with big mature trees is really going to set your property apart. They also want to be close to amenities and grocery stores, but not too close! The rule of thumb I try and follow is within a three to five-minute drive to a plaza or shopping mall.

quality tenants

The third component of a great area is being close to highway access – but again, not too close. Our tenants don’t want to be listening to speeding cars all day. Being within 10-15 minutes of a major route or highway between other cities is key. Remember, we want hardworking and responsible tenants living in our properties – and these tenants may work out of town. Giving them the option of living in your property is the goal.

Paint the entire unit with ONE light color

You want your property to feel bright, spacious, and inviting. A great way to achieve this is by painting your entire unit in ONE light color. When you leave the bedrooms one color, the kitchen another and the living room another, you are not only making the space feel smaller by making the home feel choppy, but you are also personalizing the unit.

And while some prospective tenants will certainly appreciate your design choices, most will not! The whole idea is to attract AS MANY prospective tenants to fill out the application. From there, you can choose the best applicant. Everyone will appreciate a bright space that has flow. Investor tip: The color I use on ALL of my properties is called “Burnished Clay” by Behr.

quality tenantsCurb appeal

Curb appeal is the single most important tip that I can recommend to investors. If your property looks bad from the street, your prospective tenants will drive up for the appointment and keep driving!

When looking for new tenants, maintain your lawn and keep sidewalks and driveways clear during the winters. Make sure the exterior of your property is in good shape as well i.e. Roof, siding, windows, and doors etc. First impressions are everything and we want to ‘wow’ them as soon as they pull up.

quality tenantsConclusion for Attracting Quality Tenants

If you’re investing in real estate the right way, your business should be boring! It’s not supposed to be ‘exciting’ and ‘wacky’ like the T.V shows – sorry! The reason why we invest in real estate in the first place is to fund our lives so we can do the fun and ‘wacky’ things that make us happy. We don’t need to be chasing tenants for missed rent payments!

Implement these three tips into your business and start attracting QUALITY tenants in your rental properties!

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9 Tips For Taking The Most Stunning Home Photography Shots

home photography

By David Duncan Livingston, Houzz

Composition is key to creating beautiful photographs. While photography is certainly subjective, some views are usually more pleasing than others. Study other photos to see what views you like; your perspective will vary depending on your audience and interests. I often vary my compositions: diagonal, straight on and even asymmetrical to highlight certain details. Taking the time to compose a shot meaningfully will make a huge difference for the end result.

Use your frame to compose the mass of the building and show a room’s layers. The best photos explore the way spaces — and their materials — interact.

home photography

Heydt Designs, original photo on Houzz

Only frame what you want the viewer to pay attention to. Good composition makes a room look spacious and inviting and leads the eye around the entire space.

Tip: A wide-angle lens will create a certain amount of distortion. To lessen the “fishbowl” effect, make sure your camera isn’t too close to any furniture. It also can help to look straight onto your subject, like this photo.

People tend to like symmetry. The space should be balanced — not too many objects on one side or the other. Sometimes good composition is about what you don’t include.

Tip: Crop your photo after you shoot it to give you more options. Cropping can tighten up a composition and remove distractions.

home photography

Studio William Hefner, original photo on Houzz

Shoot from a low angle and make a path for the viewer to walk into the room. This low camera angle makes the planes of the counter and table smaller and puts the furniture in scale to the total room and scene. The composition invites the viewer to either sit at the table or walk outside; it has a nice, subtle dynamic.

home photography

D&D Interiors / Mikhali Dantes, original photo on Houzz

A strong, centered and weighted composition works well on small screens. In this photo, we see the detail of the table legs and the fullness of the chandelier without too much extra ceiling area. The invitation to the room beyond is a bonus that informs the viewer about how the fireplace floats within two rooms.

home photography

SchappacherWhite Architecture DPC, original photo on Houzz

A one-point perspective photo like this shows off the room’s graphic design and the elevation of the fireplace wall and demonstrates how the window grid subtly repeats outside. The photographer kept the height of the camera low.

Tip: Keep the styling simple and think about the placement of the styling elements. This shot looks clean and architectural but still inviting. An interior designer may have wanted to dress the sofas with pillows and throws.

home photography

Holly Marder, original photo on Houzz

Framing a view is a great way to add interest. In this photo, there’s a richer experience of the room knowing that a steel-framed doorway contrasts all of the wood.

Tip: For architectural shots, make sure the walls and doors are straight up and down; it makes the photo look more graphic and professional.

home photography

Neuhaus Design Architecture PC, original photo on Houzz

Dealing with big, dark pieces of furniture isn’t easy. In this photo, the piano, firebox and tall wardrobe balance each other in scale and placement in the composition to ground the photo. The photo is almost bookended by the dark objects on the left and right.

Tip: All of the lights are off in this room, so the viewer focuses on the natural light streaming in from the bay window. This is a trend in today’s interior and architectural photos.

The balanced use of negative space can work well to highlight the volume and architecture of a more modern space.

Tip: Repeating color throughout a room can have a nice effect.

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Be The Best Neighbor by Doing These 8 Things

best neighbor

By Laura Gaskill, Houzz 

Seeing people bringing a tall ladder or power tool from a neighbor’s house to theirs is a common sight on my block. In the evenings many of us sit outside on the front porch relaxing, and catch up with others who walk by with their dogs or are just out for an evening stroll. When our chickens escaped into a neighbor’s yard, not only were they not angry, but they helped me round up the hens and toss them back over the fence.

Getting along (or not getting along) with neighbors can make a huge impact on our daily lives and how we feel about our home and neighborhood. Whether you live in the city, the country or somewhere in between, learning the art of being neighborly is something that can benefit us all. Here are eight ways to navigate the etiquette of being a good neighbor. When you’re done reading, go pour yourself something tasty to drink and sit on the porch for a spell.

best neighbor

Adrianna Beech, original photo on Houzz

Be friendly.

If you are new to the neighborhood, a friendly smile and hello can go a long way toward establishing rapport with neighbors. Introduce yourself when you run into a neighbor you haven’t met yet. And if you’ve been there awhile and someone new has just moved in, a small gift, like home-baked goods (or a treat from a favorite local shop), is a thoughtful way to welcome him or her.

best neighbor

Mindful Designs Inc, original photo on Houzz

Be considerate about noise.

As a rule, keep music and loud outdoor conversations down after 9 p.m., and try not to start up the power tools or leaf blower before 8 or 9 a.m. If you are planning a party, try to let your neighbors know in advance — and if you enjoy throwing frequent parties, it’s not a bad idea to invite your neighbors to one!

If it’s your neighbors who are being too noisy, your first step should be a polite knock on the door. Tell them, without sounding angry, that you understand they are having a great time, have friends visiting etc., but it’s getting too loud for you, and could they please turn the music down or take the party indoors after a time you feel is appropriate? Be sure to thank them when they do what you’ve asked.

Deal with problems in person.

Just as when your neighbors are being too noisy, any other problem should be addressed promptly and in person. It may seem easier to write a note or dash off an email, but written complaints can seem more mean spirited than you intended, and may shut down communication with that neighbor in the future. Give your neighbor a chance to hear what you have to say in a face-to-face chat, and then listen to his or her side as well.

Remember, your neighbor is likely not going anywhere, so even if you do not particularly like him or her, it is in your interest to find a way to get through it together.

On a related note, don’t gossip about other neighbors! It may feel like bonding to complain about shared problems, but gossiping generally only deteriorates relationships.

best neighbor

Virginia Countryside Cottage, original photo on Houzz

Be reasonable about pets.

This can be a big point of contention among neighbors, so try to tread lightly whether you are the pet owner or the one being bothered by a neighbor’s pets. If something happens once or twice — loud barking, poop on your lawn etc. — take a deep breath (well, maybe step away from the poop first …) and let it go. If there is an ongoing problem, discuss it directly with your neighbor. Even if you are upset, try to think of something kind to say about your neighbor’s pet before launching into the complaint section of your talk.

For pet owners, if a neighbor approaches you with a complaint about your animals, do your best to listen and acknowledge their feelings. Assure them you will do what you can to remedy the situation — scoop the poop, keep your dog on a leash, repair the fence and pay for training if needed.

If you have more unusual pets, such as chickens, it is wise to contact neighbors early on to inform and educate them about their new animal neighbors, and assure them you are taking steps to care for the animals properly so they won’t be a problem — that would also probably be a good time to hand over a basket of fresh eggs! And always, always let neighbors know they can come to you if your pets are being a nuisance.

best neighbor

Hamilton Snowber Architects, original photo on Houzz

Respect common spaces and shared walls.

Keep shared hallways, entrances, and common rooms in your apartment or condo clear of personal belongings. Even though space may be tight inside your unit, it’s important to find another place for that stroller or bicycle — crowded common areas can become a fire hazard, or at least a tripping hazard.

If you share walls (or a floor or ceiling) with neighbors, try to keep noise down to a reasonable level all the time, not just late in the evening. If you live upstairs, consider using area rugs over hard flooring to muffle the noise of footsteps — a common complaint among downstairs neighbors.

Outdoor spaces in apartment buildings and condos are often quite close together, so be aware of your drifting barbecue smoke — gas grills may be best in tight quarters. If you smoke, be respectful by not smoking where others may get secondhand smoke.

best neighbor

Westover Landscape Design, original photo on Houzz

There is no need to get into a competition with neighbors over who has the greenest lawn, but keeping up a basic level of tidiness will be appreciated by all. Put your garbage and recycling cans back promptly after they have been collected, keep grass mowed and weeds pulled, and try to avoid storing too many belongings on your porch or in the driveway.

Follow parking etiquette.

Always try to park in front of your own house if possible, and never block neighbors’ driveways. In some neighborhoods with narrow streets, it is the custom for everyone to park on only one side — even if it’s not an official rule, it is best to follow suit.

Build community.

Building good relationships with neighbors often comes down to the little things. If your garden produces a bumper crop of tomatoes, bring a basket next door to share. Trade tools and skills. Be generous with smiles and be willing to lend a hand if it’s needed. And you don’t need to be part of a neighborhood watch to help keep your neighborhood feeling a bit safer — simply knowing your neighbors and occasionally chatting with them can go a long way. Let your immediate neighbors know if you will be out of town, and whether you will be having anyone stay at your home while you are gone.

If your neighborhood doesn’t already have any events, consider organizing one. Annual events like a block party, an open house or a neighborhood yard sale are a great way to build a sense of community and get to know your neighbors.

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