The home buying process is an extremely rewarding process, and we want to help you feel like you did it right.
- Find a real estate agent. Finding a real estate agent is going to be the most helpful thing to do when it comes to finding your dream home. Don’t be afraid to talk to and interview several agents to find one that you think has your best interests in mind.
- Figure out what kind of monthly payment your budget allows. Before you start your home search, it’s a really good idea to take the time to sit down to see what your monthly budget looks like now, and what it will look like once you buy a home. You don’t want your monthly housing payments to exceed 25% of your take home pay. Be sure to include property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, etc.
- Buy in a good school district. Homes in a good school district are more likely to go up in property value, as well as sell faster. Even if you don’t have kids, and you never plan on having kids, check out homes in good school districts.
- Know what you are not willing to negotiate on. Buying a home comes with a lot of compromise, but what are those things that you’re not willing to compromise? Maybe you want a walk-in closet, or you want a big open kitchen. Find those things that are important to you and make a list. This process is about you and your future home, so if you know you’ll be devastated if your new home doesn’t come with a formal dining room, don’t settle.
- Don’t rush and be nosey. When you’re looking at homes, don’t be afraid to really look. Obviously if the home is occupied, respect their privacy and their belongings. However, turn on the water, check out the water pressure. Open cabinets and closets, see how much space is in there. Are the yards in the neighborhood kept up with? Purchasing a home is a big decision, and you want to make sure you know what you’re getting.
- Bring in an outsider. Sometimes you don’t realize you’re wearing rose colored glasses, and you think you’ve found the perfect home. Bringing along a friend or family member, who knows what you’re looking for in a home, might help you see the not-so-perfect aspects about the home. It’s easier to stay grounded when you have someone you trust around to help decide if it’s what you’ve been searching for.
- You might get a better deal in the colder months. When school begins for kids, most people have settled into their new homes. By September, the number of homes on the market is still fairly high, and as it gets colder, the market cools down as well. You may not have a full view of available homes, but the prices will be lower!
We want your home buying process to be as smooth as possible, and we want you to get the most out of it. Find your budget and take your time.
Maybe they stopped paying rent and were facing eviction. Maybe you have not seen them in while. There is plenty of reasons why someone would leave their home in the middle of a lease, but now what do you do?
The first step is to determine if they really did abandon the property. Tenants may be out of their home for business trips, vacations, hospitalizations, or even something a bit more sinister, like a kidnapping. The first thing you will want to check is to see if they are behind on rent; someone planning on coming back will most likely continue paying rent. Some more questions to ask yourself include:
- Is any personal property or valuable items left behind? Typically, if someone does not have plans to return to the residence, you will not see many valuable or personal items, such jewelry, clothes, and pictures. If you see a lot of trash or rotten food, it is more than likely that they will not be returning.
- Do the neighbors know anything? Everyone has nosey neighbors that love to peak through their blinds. Ask around, see if they saw anyone leaving or moving out in the middle of the night; they may know more than you think.
- Are utilities shut off? If the tenant has truly abandoned, they would have turned off electricity and water. A quick call to the company who handles that for your area should answer that question.
- Has a change of address happened? Tenants who have abandoned may have changed their address. Your local post office should be able to help you determine if they changed it.
- Have you contacted their emergency contact? If you believe the tenant has abandoned, or may be in trouble, calling their emergency contacts is beneficial. They may know where they are or be able to tell you if something happened.
Once you have determined that the tenant has abandoned, the next thing to do is to notify them that you believe they have abandoned the property. Even if they have not responded to your inquiries about their whereabouts, you will still need to give them an official notice with a set amount of time to come reconcile any fees, gather personal items, or prove they did not abandon. The best way to give the official notice is to go through certified mail, so that way, you can prove that it was sent and delivered.
As far as personal property is concerned, create a list and take photos of everything left behind in the apartment. As a landlord, most states require you to store a tenant’s property that was left behind for a specific amount of time, so they have time to come retrieve it. You can pack it all up, place it in a storage unit, and then go ahead and change the locks on the property. Once the deadline has passed for the tenant to come pick up their things, check with your local or state laws to what you, as a landlord, can do to dispose of or get rid of the property that was never claimed.
Document everything during this process! Take photos of why you believe the property has been abandoned, such as overgrown yards or mail that is piling up in the mailbox. Document their rent record; know when they last paid, how much they owe, and how many times you reached out regarding their unpaid bill. Record conversations with their emergency contacts. Anything that might be helpful in proving why you feel they abandoned would be beneficial.