The Daniels and O’Keefe Team's Blog
Maybe you’ve thought about buying rental property. Wouldn’t it be great, you think, to own something that someone else pays for? It can work out that way, with your property increasing in value while you pocket money every month. But with the wrong home, the wrong tenants or the wrong management, it can go horrendously sour. Here are eight ways to make your first venture as a landlord a successful one.
Start small. Buy a single house, townhouse or condo rather than an entire apartment building.
Decide how much work you’ll take on. Are you a DIYer? Can you make minor repairs yourself? Are you willing and able to recruit tenants and deal with them on an ongoing basis? If this isn’t you, you’ll be wise to hire a property management company to handle these items.
Really, really, understand your income and expenses. Project them forward 5 to 10 years and make sure you have a margin. There’s more than mortgage, taxes, insurance and utilities. There also can be landscaping, pest control, landlord insurance and minor repairs. Be especially aware of big ticket items. If you’ll need a new roof eight years from now, set aside for it. Be aware of property tax trends so you won’t be caught be surprise. Consider what will happen if a tenant leaves and your property is vacant for several months.
Arrange financing in advance. Most mortgage lenders will pre-qualify your loan. It helps close the deal if you can show this to a buyer.
Know the neighborhood. If you’re not familiar with it, drive around. Talk to people. Research it online.
Learn how to be a landlord. Talk to other landlords. Join a landlord’s association. Familiarize yourself with tenant rights and local regulations.
Know your tenants. The right tenants can make your experience a joy and the wrong ones can make you rue the day you got into this business. Use a screening service. Have a written lease ready to go and specify exactly what is expected: when the rent is due, what the grace period is, what’s the penalty for being late, who pays utilities, what - if any - maintenance the renters are required to do. Insist on prompt rent payment right from the get-go. No matter how much you like your tenants, it's imperative to keep the relationship professional. Visit your property from time to time. You’re not permitted to barge in, but a drive-by can tell you a lot.
Keep business and personal finances separated. Maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards. Be clear on which is which for record keeping and tax accounting.
People have put children through college and financed their retirement through rental property while also working at paycheck jobs. But being a landlord is not for the timid, the inflexible or the careless planners. Think before you make the leap, and if you decide to go for it, all the best!
40 Hastings Way, Wayland, MA 01778
A great deal of misinformation about obtaining building permits exists that sometimes results in property owners not securing one. An inspector combing through your entire home looking for violations rarely happens in practice. Of course, if the house has been significantly altered over the years without pulling a permit, it’s not unreasonable for a building code enforcement officer to notice.
That being said, the benefits of applying and receiving a building permit outweigh avoiding the process. Homeowners who do not secure a permit can be subject to a fine and ordered to tear down any unapproved construction. If you are considering a home improvement or erecting an outbuilding, these are things to know about getting a building permit.
1: Know Whether You Need A Building Permit
It’s essential to understand that not every home improvement requires a formal permit and follow-up inspection. Minor projects such as new kitchen cabinets or flooring often do not. But as the size and scope increase, so does the likelihood of needing a permit. Depending on your municipality, the requirement could be triggered by how much the project costs, square footage or type of work. Contact your local building official’s office and get the facts.
2: How To Apply For A Building Permit
It’s generally a good idea to task contractors with securing permits because they are familiar with the people and process. If you are a DIYer, start by downloading or getting an application from the local government agency. Most cities and towns streamline the process and charge a fee for the approval process and inspection. Along with a completed and signed application, the following documents may be required:
High Wind Rating
Flood Zone Designation
People who live outside the city limits may have to clear a few hurdles that involve both city and county oversight. Local officials are usually helpful in shepherding residents through the process as long as the project meets building and zoning regulations.
3: Building Inspections Are Crucial For Safety
A portion of the fee property owners pay for a permit helps fund inspections. Although some inspection professionals are viewed as giving taxpayers a hard time, the truth is they keep households safe. When a project fails to meet minimum building standards, inspectors cite the issue and require changes. The goal is not to have homeowners spend more money than necessary. Subpar construction can collapse, shoddy wiring can spark a house fire, and other building code violations put people in harm’s way.
By enforcing minimum building safety codes, inspectors ensure construction missteps do not cause any injury or fatality. That’s largely why working through the building permit process results in a safe, secure outcome for homeowners and their loved ones.
Window sealants are sealing materials used to fill in cracks, holes, or openings around windows. A good seal is essential for protecting your windows’ lifespan. Gaps around a window let in the elements and end up increasing your energy bill. For home maintenance, preparing for the next season, or getting your house ready to sell, sealing your windows is a smart step.
Uses of Window Sealants
Window sealants function as a joint or point of contact between two spaces. The resulting barrier is resistant to gas, air, and also liquid. There is no one best sealant. Different sealants are necessary since each material has a specific sealant recommended for it. Metal window frames require a different sealant from a wood window or a vinyl clad window. Always check the requirements for your window type with someone knowledgeable about windows.
Types of Sealants
There are several types of window sealants commonly in use:
Silicone Sealants: A silicone sealant is mainly for use on windows in the bathroom, kitchen, shower, and toilet areas. Because they are subject to moisture that can cause the metal or wood to expand and contrast, these windows need a sealant that can also expand and contract. Also good for bonding materials that are subjected to vibration. Available in white and translucent color, it fits into your décor seamlessly.
Multi-Purpose Sealants: When two dissimilar materials join, such as wood and vinyl, metal or PVC, a multi-purpose sealant forms a bond between the two. In areas where replacement windows are set into original window frames, a multi-purpose sealant may be necessary.
Acrylic Sealant: Suitable for the connection and the sealing of cracks on brick, plaster, concrete, PVC, and wood, acrylic sealant is paintable and can be plastered to match an existing surface.
These are the common types of window sealants and their applications. They are typically available in local building materials and DIY stores. If you are unsure about which material to use for your project, seek the advice of a window installation professional.