Rent Control, Managing Rentals and the GRM

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-house-keychain-image16075682Renting out your apartment can be a cost-effective way to earn a few extra dollars. So, if you have an extra room, feel free to find someone to live there. However, as you become a landlord, there is one thing you will need to learn to live – rent control and the gross rent mulitiplier.

What is rent control?

Rent control is more or less like price control. Typically, the government (federal or state) will impose a special law that limits how much you can raise rents on “existing” landlords. The program is common in densely populated cities where it may be difficult for these tenants to find affordable housing. It could also be necessitated by a calamity or a terrorist attack in the city that destroys a large number of housing units. Read more

4 Tips to Renting with a Criminal Record

renting-with-a-criminal-recordRenting with a criminal record can make things complicated. Once you have a criminal record it sticks with you and can make many aspects of your life difficult, especially finding a home to rent and a job. Landlords and property management companies use background checks to screen for good and bad tenants; when a criminal record is present it is often used a reason for denial. The type of crime committed, however, can weigh in your favor.

Unfortunately, in many cases the only rental property owners that will agree to rent to a person with a criminal record are those with property in shady neighborhoods with others who have criminal records. It can be very difficult to find a job that pays enough to get you out of a bad rental situation when you live in an area that lacks good jobs. Read more

13 Cheap Ways to Decorate your Small Apartment

small-apartmentEven if you’re renting a small apartment, it should still be a warm and inviting space to call home. You may be limited on a complete remodel but there are many things you can do to decorate and organize your apartment that won’t break your bank account. Decorating your small apartment cheaply is a great way to feel good when you entertain and enjoy the space on a daily basis. Don’t forget to look for items second-hand at yard/garage sales, thrift stores, discount stores and on craigslist. Read more

Can I Grow Marijuana in my Apartment?

grow-marijuana-in-my-apartmentTen years ago it seemed impossible but in 2013, Washington State voters approved initiative I-502 and approved the use of recreational marijuana. This is in addition to the legalization of medical marijuana that came several years ago. I-502 decriminalizes recreational marijuana possession and use in Washington State for those aged 21 and older. It also authorizes the sale of marijuana in Washington State by retailers licensed through the Liquor Control Board. A person may now legally possess one ounce of marijuana; 16 ounces of marijuana in solid form or 72 ounces in liquid form. Although the rules are different for Medical marijuana, home grown weed for recreational use or sale will remain illegal. Read more

15 Tips to Organize your Small Apartment

Organize-small-apartmentSo you have found a place to live but its small; you need help to organize your small apartment. There are some tips and tricks that can be used to make your space attractive and functional. Start by clearing out unnecessary clutter by creating piles to throw away, sell, give away or donate. Once that is done, assess your space needs/wants and keep an open mind about the actual furniture, corners, walls and closets that you have.

15 Tips to Organize your Small Apartment

1. Use walls to create more rooms. Painting an accent wall can add style to your rooms but color can also be used to divide a room into an extra space such as a defined living room and sleeping area. Read more

Vacancy Rates in Bellingham, WA

Upgrading-Rental-PropertyLast March, the Bellingham Herald published an article discussing the very low vacancy rates of rental properties in Bellingham, WA. The story was based on a study completed by the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington which found that Whatcom County’s vacancy rate was down to 1.7 percent in October 2012, falling from 2.2 percent the previous year. The housing crash stopped some of the natural development that would have occurred and with an ever growing student population, the demand for rentals is high. Although vacancy rates are dropping all over the country, the national vacancy rate in October, 2013 was 4.2 percent. Typically the apartment rental market is considered normal when the vacancy rate is about 5 percent.

Vacancy Rates in Bellingham, WA

The average monthly rent in Bellingham is $801 which is $19 higher than the year before. In general, however, rental rates have not kept pace with the low vacancy rates as stagnant wages and a weak job market have dampened renters’ ability to pay a higher rate.
Read more

Renting a Condo vs Apartment

renting-a-condo-vs-renting-an-apartmentOn the most basic level, renting a condo vs apartment is different because a condo is individually owned and an apartment is one of many units owned within a building. There are other differences of course and renters should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages before signing a lease. Read more

Top 7 things you should know before renting a house or apartment

things-you-should-know-before-renting-a-house-or-aptSo you’re a renter or looking for somewhere to rent; you are sharing the experience with over 95 million Americans according to the American Tenants Association. There are many reasons to rent instead of own and there are things you can do to protect yourself before signing a lease. Read more