Buying a Home Using Owner-Financing

3 Tips For Recognizing An Infestation Before You Rent

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips For Recognizing An Infestation Before You Rent

There are so many things to think about when you’re looking for a new apartment or townhome for rent in your area. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the lease terms, the affordability of the rent, the school district, the potential new neighbors – all of these things and more will be on your mind when you start touring rental homes. It can be easy to miss something important when there are so many different things to keep in mind. But the one thing that you don’t want to miss is the signs that the rental home you’re looking at has a pest infestation. Unfortunately, an infestation can be easily missed, especially if you’re in a hurry to sign a lease and get moved in. Here are a few tips that can help you avoid moving into a rental home that’s already occupied by pests. Schedule a Late Viewing Many of the pests that commonly infest rental homes are nocturnal. That’s why it’s sometimes difficult to see an infestation during a regular rental home tour that’s scheduled during daylight hours. While it’s unlikely that you’re going to get a landlord to agree to show you a rental home late at night, scheduling a viewing of the home for dusk may give you a clearer idea of the pest situation in the rental unit – especially if you take your time poking around in the nooks and crannies of the townhouse or apartment while the sun goes down. Take a flashlight with you so that you can get a good look at places that are hard to see at any time of the day, like the space underneath the kitchen sink or behind the hot water heater. You should also be on the lookout for any sense of something scurrying away just as you turn the light switch on. You may not actually see a quick rodent, but you should trust your ears and your other senses as much as your eyes. Follow Your Nose No matter what time of day you visit your prospective rental home, you may be able to use your nose to determine whether or not the home has a pest infestation. Different types of pests give off their own distinctive odors, and if you can make out those odors when you walk into a rental home that you’re considering, it can be a pretty big red flag that it’s not the home for you. Roaches have a somewhat oily, musky odor that’s usually only detectable when there are many of them in one place, although German cockroaches can have a strong odor individually. Bed bugs, on the other hand, give off a scent that resembles the spice coriander (in fact, “coriander bug” is an old name for bed bugs). However, when there are many bed bugs together in one place, the smell more closely resembles the scent given off by a stink bug. Furry pests like mice and rats produce an ammonia-like smell, because they tend to spray in an attempt to mark their territory. Look for this scent in closed locations, like cupboards and closets. Any of these scents should warn you off of a potential rental home. Talk to Other Tenants If the previous tenant of the rental home that you’re considering is...

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How To Make Your Apartment More Accommodating For Your Blind Friend

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Make Your Apartment More Accommodating For Your Blind Friend

When your friends come to visit you in one of Wynn residential Toronto apartments, you want them to be comfortable in your home. This can be challenging, though, if you have a friend who is visually impaired. There are a few things you can do, however, that will make it easier for your blind friend to navigate around and feel at home in your space. Label Everything A good place to start would be to label everything your friend might come in contact with. For instance, put labels on kitchen cabinets detailing what they contain (e.g. cups, plates). It might also be beneficial to label the shelves as well so he or she doesn’t waste time trying to figure out where things are inside the cabinet. If your friend understands Braille, then constructing labels in that code would be ideal. Otherwise, you can use a label maker to create the tags. Just be certain the letters are large enough that your friend can trace them to determine what the word is. If you’re concerned about permanently marking doors, walls, and cabinets, you can place the labels onto ordinary cardboard or construction paper and use removable tape to adhere them to the surface. Get Talking Products Products that talk or make sounds are immensely helpful for people with low or no vision. Unless your visually impaired friend will be spending a lot of time over at your place, though, you’ll generally only need a few products to help him or her manage in your living space. One good product to get is a talking microwave oven. This product works exactly like a regular microwave, except a voice describes what each button does on the machine. Typically, there is a volume control, so you can turn it down or off when your friend is not around. This is a great way to provide autonomy and independence to your friend in the kitchen. Another nice product to have on hand is a step-hear device. This is an information system designed to provide visually impaired people with information about their environments. There are two parts: a base that houses a pre-recorded message and a wearable activator that vibrates when the person comes within a few feet of the base. You can use this product to warn your friend about potential hazards in your apartment or to help direct him or her to different parts of the space (e.g. guide to the bathroom). Switch Up Your Lighting If your friend has low vision, investing in a few high-intensity lights can make it easier for the person to see. These lights are typically brighter than regular ones and are available as desk and floor lamps. You can even purchase high-intensity bulbs and switch them out for your regular bulbs for the time period your friend is in your home. Some desk lamps have large magnifiers attached that the person can use for reading books or looking at pictures. Many times the magnifiers can be tucked out of the way, letting you use the lamp for other things when your friend is not around. If you don’t want to buy this special type of lamp, keeping handheld magnifiers around also works. Keep Pathways Clear It’s easy to accumulate clutter in an apartment, especially if you live...

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3 Tips To Get A Head-Start On The Property Market

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

When it comes to property investment, it’s easy to become excited and jump right in. However, this can often lead to poor investments that lose money rather than providing you with a source of steady income. As such, consider the three steps below to give you a head start on the property market: Spend Time Doing Research Before making any investment, it’s important that you carry out thorough research. However, with property development it is absolutely critical that you fully understand the market and where your property plans fit in. The most important thing to understand is the amount of risk involved. Many budding investors make the mistake of assuming that property is a sure-fire way to make a substantial profit. However, while this may have been true in previous years, the current economic climate means that you aren’t guaranteed a huge return on your capital. Property development remains to be a great way to add assets to your portfolio; however, you are essentially tying up tens of thousands of dollars to a house and hoping that your profit outweighs any tax and interest paid. As such, knowledge is key before you commit to tying up substantial amounts of money in a property. If you know someone who currently has an active portfolio, find out about their experiences and any challenges they have faced. This will give you the first-hand knowledge that will help you to avoid the potential pitfalls of the property market. Consider How Much Effort the Property Requires Before committing to a property, it’s important to consider how hands-on you want to be in renovating and managing the property. Many investors see property as a way to purchase assets and sell them at a higher price down the line. While this is possible, many developers find the true value in property lies in renovating unloved homes and turning them into something great.  As such, you have to make a concrete decision on how active you wish to be in the property’s development. This doesn’t stop once the home is fit for the market; rather, you have a number of options to consider when it comes to managing the property also. Your first major decision is whether you wish to act as a private landlord or have an agent rent the property on your behalf. Evidently, registering as a private landlord means you don’t have to pay any agent fees. However, this can also be a risky option as you don’t have the safety net of a letting agent to fall back on should anything go wrong. Scheduling maintenance and repairs is left entirely to you, which has the potential to become a major headache as your portfolio grows. If you want to look into the benefits of hiring a real estate agent, then read more here. Decide on Your Target Tenant With property development, you have to imagine what the home will be like in the mind of your target tenant. Students will require a completely different living space than a young family, so make sure you renovate your property with a specific demographic in mind. Once you’ve decided on your target demographic, consider how much free reign they will have in the property. Many landlords don’t like the idea of smokers or pets living in...

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2 Important Things To Look For As You Shop For A Luxury Condo

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By the time you retire, you might not want to spend all of your free time taking care of a big house and an expansive yard. To kick back, relax, and enjoy your golden years, you might be thinking about purchasing a luxury condo on the outskirts of town. But which features will really matter down the road? Here are two important things to look for as you shop for a luxury condo, so that you don’t regret your decision: 1: Natural Building Materials When you start touring new condos, your real estate agent might talk up those brand new space-age building materials. However, since there are trends in construction just like any other industry, those wood-pattern-printed tile floors might look dated before you know it—leading to expensive renovation projects. To fend off depreciation and hassle, look for natural building materials that have a proven track record. Here are a few tips for how to spot less expensive products: Wood: That wainscoting might look like real wood paneling, but underneath the paint, it might be a common building product called MDF, or medium-density fiberboard—which is essentially pressed cardboard. Inspect painted wood surfaces to look for signs of existing damage. If you find chips or scratches, try to determine if the underlying material is real wood, or an imposter. Also, knock on doors to see if they are hollow. Expensive, solid doors will dampen sound, while cheaper versions will echo slightly. Stone: As your real estate agent discusses the countertop and flooring materials, listen for the words “engineered” or “artificial.” Those laminate counters might look like real granite, but over time, they might peel or chip, making your apartment look cheap and unkempt. Metal: When you walk through different condos, pay attention to the door hardware, plumbing fixtures, chandeliers, and stair balusters. Is that faucet a trusted, name-brand design, or it is a standard builder’s-grade variety? Is that metal real forged iron, or is it painted aluminum? If your real estate agent doesn’t have the answers, ask him or her to contact the builder. Rock-solid hardware will stay strong until you decide to change it, while cheap copies might be the source of constant frustration. As you discuss listings with your real estate agent, don’t feel silly being picky. Choosing an upscale home with high-end finishes might help you to spend your time doing what you want, instead of focusing on apartment updates.  2: A Comfortable Environment What good is an upscale condo if you don’t enjoy your surroundings? As you visit potential condos, try to pay attention to how the environment feels. Do the surroundings blend with your lifestyle? Here are a few things that you should look out for, so that you aren’t surprised after you move in: Your Neighbors: Ask condo managers if the complex has age restrictions, and how those regulations are enforced. For example, if you move into an active adult community, Federal HUD regulations state that 80% of the tenants have to be over the age of 55. But what will you do if your next-door neighbors are part of the 20% that have noisy kids? Try to find out as much as you can about your potential neighbors, so that you can relax in your new home. Location: Your condo’s remote location might...

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Renting Your First Apartment? Tips For Maximizing Your Space

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Renting your first apartment is an exciting time, but apartment living has gotten a reputation for having to sacrifice space in exchange for cost savings and convenience. Luckily, this doesn’t always have to be the case. Even if you take an apartment for rent with a smaller floor plan than you would have liked, knowing how to capitalize on that space can help you make it feel like home. Here are some tips to help you make the most of any apartment space, giving you more flexibility in the square footage that you look for when you start shopping around. Organization Is Essential When you’re optimizing limited space, it’s important to put focus on your organizational skills. As you’re packing, be attentive to the things you are taking with you. Look at each item objectively. If you don’t use it, have no need of it and it has no sentimental value, there may not be any need to bring it with you. Donate, sell or dispose of the things you’re not bringing with you. Sort your clothes by season. That way, you can pack away the clothes that you won’t be wearing right away. Packing them in vacuum-sealed storage bags will keep them flat, protected and out of the way through the season. In fact, these bags seal flat enough that you could stack them on a closet shelf. If you prefer, invest in a plastic tote for your seasonal clothes and swap them out as the weather changes. Think Vertical Maximizing your floor space is important, and the best way to do that is to work upward. Make your wall space work for you by installing shelving and attaching other storage cubes and racks. For example, place shelving over your sink so that you can keep dish soap and small items off the counter. When you’re setting up your bedroom, use your space wisely. Place risers under the legs of your bed to give you some open space. If you’ve decided to store your seasonal clothes in a tote, this makes a great place to store the container. You may even decide to replace your old headboard with a storage headboard that has shelves and small cube-shaped storage spaces that you can use. This may eliminate the requirement for bedside tables, which can save you floor space in the bedroom. In your bathroom, adding shelving over your toilet will give you storage space where you can place towels, toiletries and other items. Your living room can benefit from vertical storage, too. Invest in a flat-screen television that has a wall mount so that you don’t need to take up valuable floor space in the living room with an entertainment center. Then, install a shelf on the wall to keep the DVD player and DVR unit. Just make sure that the landlord or rental company have approved of the wall-mount and be prepared to patch the holes when you take it down to move. Use Multi-Purpose Items Another great way to maximize space in an apartment is by investing in items that will serve several purposes. Instead of taking up floor space with a traditional coffee table and then adding more shelving in the corner, consider buying a coffee table that has integrated drawers or shelving. You can also...

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7 Creative Storage Solutions For Apartment-Sized Bathrooms

Posted by on Apr 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are you moving into an apartment for rent soon and are concerned that an apartment-sized bathroom won’t have adequate storage space? Putting up extra shelves may be an option, but many landlords won’t allow tenants to install anything that involves drilling holes in the wall. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t despair — there are other solutions to small-space conundrums. Following are seven creative ways that you can provide extra storage in an apartment-sized bathroom. Lazy Susans Placing a three-tiered lazy Susan in the cabinet under the bathroom sink is an excellent way to store grooming products — all it takes is a gentle turn to access whatever product you need at the time! If you don’t have a cabinet under your sink, slip a sink skirt in a colorful pattern on it, and you’ll have instant storage and a decorative accent. Shoe Organizers Hanging a shoe-storage rack on the back of your bathroom door will provide you with a place to put just about anything. Get the kind with small squares instead of pouches so you’ll be able to easily see their contents. These are great for storing small hand towels, wash cloths, personal sanitary supplies, grooming products, hair accessories, and even shoes! They slip right over the tops of doors, and a couple of sturdy bent wires hold them in place. Stand-Alone Shelving You can buy stand-alone shelving that you can place directly against a wall that will give you plenty of storage space. These are versatile items that come in a variety of widths and sizes from up to the ceiling to just three or four feet. You can paint them in vibrant colors and patterns to give your bathroom a unique, artistic ambiance. To add a bit of practical whimsy to your bathroom, consider stand-alone shelving’s first cousin, the storage ladder. Keep in mind that even if your landlord were to allow you to install permanent shelving, stand-alone shelving and storage ladders may be better options because you can take them with you when you move. Magnetic Spice Racks If you’ve ever scoured through bathroom drawers and baskets looking for small metal items such as tweezers and nail scissors, you’ll love this idea — paint the top portion of the back of your medicine cabinet with magnetic primer and install a press-on magnetic spice rack to hold small items. You’ll never waste time rummaging for your tweezers again. Hanging Wire Baskets Another storage idea stolen from the kitchen, wire baskets that hang from the ceiling are another great way to provide vertical storage in the bathroom. Open-weave, hanging wire baskets are often used in kitchens to provide a place to store items such as garlic bulbs and various fruits. In the bathroom, they can hold bars of soap, packets of bath bubble bath, and other assorted sundries. Stacked Wicker Baskets Another attractive way to provide instant storage is to purchase wicker baskets and stack them in a corner. Labeling each basket will ensure that you’ll know exactly what’s inside. Wicker baskets can be easily purchased from a variety of home and garden retailers. If you’re on a limited budget, you can probably find a good selection of wicker baskets at a local thrift store. Stick-On Storage Containers Stick-on storage containers are clear, plastic...

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2 Signs You Need To Find A New Apartment Immediately

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Many people have the misconception that they have to simply live with conditions they are not happy with when they live in an apartment. While there are some aspects of apartment living that are simply just part of life when you are renting, such as not being able to make permanent changes in your apartment that the owner cannot reverse when you leave, that does not mean that being a “renter” means you just have to put up with whatever problems you face at your current apartment building or complex. If you deal with any of the following problems in your current apartment, then they are signs you likely need to find new apartments for rent.  1. You Don’t Feel Safe If you live in an apartment that you feel unsafe in, then that is a huge sign that you should move.You should never have to lie down in your bed at night and wonder if your apartment is going to be broken into while you sleep or wonder if your vehicle is going to be stolen. If this is the first apartment you have lived in, then you may have the misconception that this is simply part of “apartment living” when it is not.  If you want to move into an apartment that you feel safe in, then look for the following features in your new apartment: A gated entryway. Some apartment complexes have gates that can only be opened by waving a special programmed “key card” to open it. Others have security guards posted at the gate who make sure everyone who enters is a renter or a guest of a resident.  Thorough background checks of residents. If your current apartment complex did not do a background check to make sure you have a relatively clean criminal history, then they likely didn’t perform this check on other residents. You can sleep better at night knowing everyone in your apartment building has a clean criminal history.  Several locked entry doors. If the only locked door between you and the outdoors is your apartment door, then this can lead to an unsafe feeling. Look for a building that has a front door that must be unlocked, or even two locked doors, before anyone can even enter the building.  While a safe apartment building does not need all of these features, look for one that has enough safety features that you can feel safe in your apartment. However, since your fellow apartment-dwellers are in your building, avoid any apartment buildings that do not require background checks of residents. Follow these additional tips, as well.  2. Your Maintenance Calls Are Not Answered Promptly While it is normal to have to wait a few days for the maintenance personnel to address a small problem you are having in your apartment, such as a dripping faucet or another minor inconvenience, you should never have to wait for a major problem to be addressed by staff.  For example, if your heat stops working in the middle of the winter, you shouldn’t have to wait longer than a few hours for maintenance personnel to check into the problem and see what they can do to fix it. Signs to look that a new apartment complex stays on top of problems residents are facing include: 24-hour...

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