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Bridget Alves                of Valencia

Blog - Full Service Real Estate Group, Inc

Help! My tenant moved out and left a bunch of stuff behind!

Bridget Alves - Monday, June 27, 2016


Renting out a home you own will likely result in a wide range of experiences unique to you and the tenants you have. One experience that’s pretty common, though, is the one that involves a tenant vacating the property but leaving “stuff” behind. This “stuff” can range from bookshelves, lamps and furniture to stereo equipment, televisions, and even their pet (yes, it’s happened). When a tenant leaves things behind, it can put a landlord in an awkward spot. What do you do with it? Can you throw it out? Sell it? How do you even know these items actually belonged to the tenant?


Luckily for those living in California, the state has published some guidelines governing what a landlord should do when they find themselves in this situation.


Provide the tenant with written notice informing them about the property left on the premises. The notice can be delivered in-person, mailed, or emailed. If you’re unable to locate the tenant, you must be able to provide proof you made a good-faith effort to notify them. The notice should include a good description of the property (pictures, while not necessary, can be beneficial), the location where the property can be reclaimed, a statement notifying the owner that they can incur reasonable storage costs if the property is not reclaimed after two-days, the date by which they must claim their property, and finally, what will happen if the property isn’t reclaimed.

If the property appears to belong to someone else, you must also make a good-faith effort to reach out to that person and provide them with the notice as well.

If the property appears to be worth more than $700, it must be sold at public auction. If it appears to be worth less than $700, the property can be kept, sold or destroyed by you. Either way, the notice must reflect either of these two possible scenarios.

The above is by no-means an inclusive list of what’s expected of a landlord who finds themselves in the possession of their tenant’s items. It’s just a bit of information regarding what route one needs to take in order to avoid any legal entanglements.

Money-making tips for that extra room

Bridget Alves - Monday, June 20, 2016


The cold, hard truth is that life is getting more expensive for all of us, and wages aren’t necessarily increasing at the right rate to meet that demand. For many, this cost/wage disparity leads them to ask for raises, promotions, and sometimes even a second job. Homeowners who want to increase their monthly income have it a bit easier, as they don’t necessarily have to look to external sources to do so. Here are a few creative ways you can utilize your home to increase your monthly income:


  • Rent a room (okay, so this first one isn’t so creative). If you have a bedroom, or something that can be converted into one like an attic or basement, why not rent it out? Depending on your home’s location and the size of the room you have available, you can generate a very nice supplemental income by renting the space out.
  • If you have space for someone else in your home and aren’t looking for long-term commitment, host a foreign-exchange student instead. There are websites where you can sign up as a host family and will be paid for providing accommodations to foreign students. This route also gives you the added benefit of being exposed to a culture outside our own.
  • So, you have extra room but don’t want a stranger hanging around all the time? Start a business instead. A second bedroom, or even a space solely dedicated to work in your own bedroom will count. As long as you have that space dedicated to business, you can deduct a certain amount from your yearly taxes for having a home office. If you’re thinking you don’t have time for a second job – think again! The ability to make deductions for having a home office isn’t predicated upon how much money your business is making, so much as it’s having a dedicated space in your home for the operation of that business. The key here is the word “dedicated.” The time you spend in your home office must be used exclusively for business. Spending five- minutes on eBay followed by five-hours of World of Warcraft isn’t going to cut it.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things you can do to make money with the extra space in your home; it’s simply a few things to get your creative juices flowing.

Investing in a home to rent? Here's how to keep tenants

Bridget Alves - Monday, May 02, 2016


One of the worst things that can happen if you own a home that you intend to rent out is to have long periods in which the home is uninhabited. During these times your investment is effectively a liability. You're the one stuck with the mortgage, you're the one paying the utilities, and you're the one who's going to be wondering if the whole thing was even worth it. If you're thinking of buying a home with the intention to rent it out, or you're already the owner of one or more rental properties, here are some tips to help you get, and keep, your tenants for as long as possible.


Take a good look at prospective renters' backgrounds
The obvious things you'll want to look for will be anything having to do with paying their rent on time and whether or not they've had any evictions. What may not be so obvious, though, will be to look at the length of time they stayed at any one residence. Sometimes, a person looking to rent a home will tell you straight-away that they plan to be in the area or home for only a year or two. Other times they won't. If their rental history indicates that they typically move every 2 to 3-years, it will be reasonable for you to assume that's what's going to happen if you rent to them, too.

Ask them why they're moving to the area
If the person is from out of town, asking what brought them to town can provide valuable insight into whether or not they plan to stick around. For example, a family moving to the area with a young child because they like the school system indicates that they plan to remain. Additionally, moving to be closer to family and friends can also indicate a desire to remain in the area.

Don't buy a home you wouldn't live in
When you buy a home you don't plan to live in, there can be an element of “disconnectedness” in the purchase. This “disconnect” can lead investors to buy homes in less than great neighborhoods simply because they're inexpensive. While there's nothing inherently wrong with buying or renting a home in a lower income neighborhood, it can lead to complications in finding (and retaining) tenants later; and the neighborhood itself can greatly limit the home's appreciation as years go on.

When you buy an investment property, that property is your product, and you want to make sure the product you're showing to the people is the best one possible. Treat it like you live there. If you think it could use some improvements regarding curb-appeal, make them. If the place could use some upgrades on the interior, then make those too. Homes are supposed to be warm and inviting, ensuring that the home(s) you're renting out feel that way will surely help you keep your tenants.

Helpful tips & hints

 

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