Advice

How to Win the War on Pet Hair

Spring is here and you know what that means – allergies! What you won’t expect is that most allergies actually come from your pets. They will be shedding their winter coats and getting rid of the winter fur. A good deal of us have allergic reactions to our own pets, and this is because their fur harbors dust and dander. These aren’t common allergies, but allergens.

The best way to keep you from sneezing this spring is to win the battle against hypersensitive fur. There are two ways to do this, first regularly groom them, and second, clean the hell out of your home.

Keeping pets tidy

Dogs typically shed their skin cells every 22 days, usually indicating they have healthy skin. If they’ve got unhealthy skin it is more like every week. The best way to ensure they have healthy skin is to bathe them every month.

If you have cats your best bet is to use grooming wipes, as they are typically not fond of water. These wipes are designed for cats and collect loose fur. We all know if we’ve got a cat who is a jerk or not, so the key to winning this is to make sure you brush them in a place where they are comfortable to be brushed. Wherever it may be, be sure to brush them on a mat or towel so they’re not sliding and you aren’t unleashing any fur to be spread.

All pets need to be groomed regularly if you plan on winning the war on hair. Don’t think of it as a chore, think of it as bonding with them. Cats can be more difficult to groom, but dogs are pleased almost anywhere.

Tricks and Tools

Your best weapon to fight this war is a big powerful vacuum cleaner. Don’t be a victim of marketing and buy the vacuum “specifically designed for pet hair”, buy one with the best suction, and comes with a variety of attachments for those hard to reach places. Lint rollers...

Reasons to Avoid PMI, and How to Skip it

Private Mortgage Insurance doesn’t seem to be a costly expense, but it definitely adds up over the life of your loan. Commonly known as PMI, private mortgage insurance is an extra fee on top of your monthly mortgage payment as well as escrow and taxes. It’s an insurance that protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan. Whoever gave you the loan is the entity handling the PMI. PMI doesn’t do a single thing for the homeowner other than cost you $100 a month. Here’s why and how you should avoid paying PMI.

You don’t have to pay PMI

PMI isn’t mandatory for all homeowners. Lenders charge PMI when borrowers finance more than a certain percentage of a home purchase, it’s usually less than 20%. It makes no difference what you look like on paper, this is the lenders duty to protect themselves. Usually when you reach around 80% equity, you can drop the PMI. Avoid having to pay PMI by putting down a bigger down payment, and expect to pay it if you put down less than 20%.

PMI mortgage insurance does nothing for you

Yes it’s true, you are basically throwing money away. This payment strictly protects the lender, it doesn’t go towards the equity of your home, and it can’t be recouped from the sale of the house. It’s not tax-deductible like your interest, and doesn’t affect your loan balance.  It’s simply a fee to pay if your home-loan-to-home-value ratio is less than 80%.

It’s difficult to get rid of

You build equity as you pay down the principal amount on your mortgage. Even if you financed more than 20% of the purchase price of your home, you should eventually pay down your loan, or your home will increase in value, so that you owe less than 80% of what your home is worth....

Fixtures, Furniture, and Finishes. Misunderstandings that Kill Home Sales

Most sellers know that staging a home exponentially increases the odds of selling it. This means spending time, effort, and money, to get the house looking the way it needs to be to catch a potential buyer’s eye. Most of the time people hire a professional to stage their house, and the professional moves out a few of your items and brings their own in pace of them.

Sometimes when buyers see a home and they fall in love with it, they want it as is, furniture included. It’s not always the seller’s items to provide with the sale. Sellers often times have to lay out what items can stay, and what goes with them. Some items can be confusing, like light fixtures, built-in objects, etc. and will need reasoning why they will be staying or going.

What’s a fixture, and what’s its significance

A fixture is anything inside the home as long as it is attached to the property, meaning if it was removed it could cause damage. Typically, if it requires a screwdriver to uninstall, it’s a fixture.

Appliances

Dishwashers, microwaves, cooktops, and sinks usually stay with the house. The fridge and washer/dryer are often up for negotiation. If it is built into the cabinets, it stays, if it stands on its own, it goes with the seller. Everything is up for negotiation though; this is just the general rule.

Light fixtures

The chandelier in the foyer is often a point of question. These usually will remain with the home, but don’t be surprised of the seller makes a quick swap between your last walk through and signing day. If it’s something you really want, make sure to get it in writing which items stay.

Window treatments

Blinds and shades should stay since they are fitted...

Boosting Cell Signals in Your Home

Are you living in an apartment with terrible cell phone reception? No matter where you stand inside your calls always seem to fail. The lobby or hallways have full bars, but the moment you step inside your place the magic bars suddenly drop to one bar. Everyone knows how frustrating flakey cellphone service can be. There are explanations on why this happens, and the solutions are right here.

Problems

Your buildings cellphone antenna

Cell providers put their cell sites near or close to the ground, because that’s where people are usually. Sometimes they are on the corners of buildings 20-30 feet up, angled facing the street. If you live on the 40th floor, you might be out of luck.

Building materials can block radio signals

Big bulky metal objects, tinted windows, concrete, all interfere with your cellphone reception. Often times, stepping outside on the balcony or holding your phone out the window will improve your reception.

Living in a densely populated area

Have you ever noticed service tends to slowdown during nights and/or on the weekends, or when you attend a big event half the city is going to? The more people who use the network, the slower it runs. Each tower has a finite amount of radio channels it can use, so the endless amount of people drawing from it slows it down considerably. Once it has reached its capacity, you will have all the bars you need, but it won’t provide you with any data or call service.

Solutions

Buy a cellphone booster

This is truly an investment because these things are not cheap. They usually run anywhere from $400 - $1,000....

15 Easy Feng Shui Tricks for Your Home

Could the right feng shui in your living space result in better in better living conditions, from sleeping to your bank account? You bet! Feng shui is the ancient Chinese art that we as humans are connected to our environment. The objects we bring into our homes and the placement of them affect the energy that surrounds us. It can affect everything from our health, to our happiness.

Most people think feng shui is achieved by adding a bunch of Chinese items in your home, but this isn’t true. Here are some easy steps to improving your feng shui around your house.

Maintain a 6-foot clearance – All surfaces within six feet of the front door, inside and outside, need to be clutter free. This allows energy to flow in and out without running into clutter. Floor mats are fine, but avoid objects like coat and shoe racks right at the door.

Add plants – Potted plants on balconies, patios, and near windows can help energy flow around the home. Plants are living objects that have energy despite how still they are.

Choose your palette carefully – Red happens to be feng shui’s color for 2016, but it is highly discouraged to paint your walls and/or doors red. It is noted as bad luck to have them red, but do what you will. It’s better to have smaller items red, like rugs, pillows, blankets etc.

Add living objects – pets and plants are alive and well, and they move energy throughout the house.

Shape and scale - Feng shui doesn’t limit itself to furniture with round edges. A variety of shapes are your best bet here. Your furniture should be large enough to fit in proportion with your room. Don’t get massive...

What to Know When Shopping for Homeowner Insurance

There are so many parts to buying a home; we often pay attention to certain parts more than others. One area you want to pay attention to is getting home insurance. If anything happens to your home, the right insurance can be the world of a difference. Before you sign up for a plan, here are a few tips to help make this easier.

Shop for insurance from at least three providers

Mortgages typically require you to have homeowner insurance, and you will also have to buy other insurance for disasters. The market is yours to shop in, and there’s no one specific place you are supposed to go. You will want to look around the market and compare coverages, prices, and customer reviews. When shopping, keep in mind you want to shop for quality, not the best price you can get. Be sure to read their customer reviews because you mostly deal with insurance companies during times of disaster, and you will want to be companies with the bets reviews.

Escrow insurance payments with mortgage payments

Most homeowners tack their monthly insurance payments onto their mortgage check. The lender pays your insurance premiums (sometimes property taxes too) out of your escrow account. Lenders like this option because they know your premiums are being paid, and they are protected. You will probably pay for one year of insurance at closing. Bring information about your insurance policy and the money to cover the first year’s premium.

Get adequate coverage

You should know the most important part of homeowner insurance is the level of coverage. Don’t pay for more than you need. Here are the most common types of coverage.

HO-2 – Broad policy that protects against 16 perils that are named in the policy.

...

How to Unpack in Your New Home

After you’ve made all the preparations for moving, packed everything in the truck, and unloaded your belongings into your new home, there’s only one thing left to do, unpack. With boxes galore in almost every room, where do you start?

No matter how badly you want this process to be over with, it will never get finished without rolling up your sleeves and just doing it. Here’s the best way to get started

Clean and prepare your new home – It’s easier to find everything’s proper place when spaces are clean. Wipe down shelves, windows, mop the floors, and start thinking where your belongings would fit best. If time is a factor you don’t have, consider hiring a cleaning service.

Inspect and organize your stuff – check all your boxes against your inventory sheet to make sure you have all your stuff, and it’s intact. Then put all the boxes in the rooms where it belongs. If your boxes are all marked and labeled, this won’t be a big chore.

Open the boxes of essentials – Your essentials are your tools, toiletries, clothes, medicines, packed foods, basic kitchenware, and other lifesaving things you need.

Set major furniture and appliances – place your large furniture and household appliances first. This way, any smaller items you unpack later directly into their right places. It’s helpful to plan your interior design well in advance, so you aren’t moving things around several times.

You want to make sure right after you unpack your necessities, is that they are readily accessible. So prioritize, and unpack the necessities first.

Bedding – Chances are you won’t be able to unpack the entire bedroom right away, but you will need to set up that bed right when you move in. Put it together, put on the sheets, and unpack the pillows, and make the bed, because without it, you’ll be sleeping on the floor.

Bathroom...

Most Common Secrets Sellers Hide

You have finally found the home you want to buy, but beware before signing your name. Sellers can often mislead buyers by not disclosing the serious problems that may inhabit the house. If you fail to notice these issues until after the closing, you are in trouble. Here are a few of the problems sellers most commonly try to hide, and the questions that will expose the truth.

Leaks

Pipes, faucets, radiators, ceilings, roofs, whatever, real estate agents, brokers, and sellers could try to pull a fast one and quick (and cheap) fix that drip to attract offers. The only thing that will 100% work is honesty and admitting faults can benefit the seller. Leaks are never a major problem, and as long as they are honest about it, they can be fixed quickly.

Pests

To love a house is to know what’s behind the walls. Any house that looks amazing on the outside could still hold termites eating away at the walls. It’s important to know that pest laws vary from state to state. If you think there could be pests invading or living in your new home, don’t risk it and just get a pest inspection.

Emotional defects

This one comes down to the state law, some states allow for sellers to leave out if a house is “haunted” or if a death, or murder happened in their house. This may not be a deal breaker for some, but for others, they can’t sleep at night knowing someone has died in the other room. As the new home owner you also have the right to know. If the state you live in keeps sellers from telling you, DiedinHouse.com can give you a heads up.

Issues with the roof or foundation

Knowing if a house has major issues with the foundation or roof can really kill the deal quickly. These repairs are always costly...

To Claim or Not to Claim, That is the Question

Disasters in your home happen when you are ready for them or not, but that is why you have homeowners insurance, and hopefully the premiums you pay will come in handy. What will happen when your pipes burst in your new home, or your roof falls in and destroys an entire room? You have two options, make a claim and risk having higher premiums, or tough it out and pay for it out of your pocket. How will you know which road to take? Let us help you.

Burst Pipes

This is one of the worst things that can happen to your home in the winter. The plumbing systems are exposed to the elements of outside, and with poor insulation this can do major damage to your home. Your pipes could explode leaving you with a hell of a mess. This is one example that you will have to use your insurance policy. There will be damaged wood, maybe floors, cabinets, and you will be staying in a hotel for the duration of the repair. If it’s a small PVC pip3e and a small leak, you can fix that by yourself, or have a contractor repair it.

Leaky Roof

Leaky roofs leave bold stain marks on ceilings or walls, and can be much more troublesome when ignored. Be sure to check your roof to make sure there’s not a huge hole. Most roofs are covered under your homeowners insurance, but the cause of the repair is typically out of pocket. This is one you may want to pay for yourself.

Damage from a natural disaster

Natural disasters are surely worth filing a claim. If your home is damaged by a tornado, tsunami, earthquake, forest fire, etc. assuming you have the proper coverage. If the damage is substantial then you won’t have a choice, because most people don’t have cash on hand to repair their entire home. If you have a small side of your house blown off, you can probably afford to fix it yourself. The thing here...

5 Mortgage Misconceptions

 

At some point, we all will likely need a mortgage, but it doesn’t have to be a potential deal breaker. IF you are organized and have the right expectations, you won’t have a problem. While we are at it, let’s debunk some common mortgage myths.

Only your best credit scores are used in your loan approval

If you happen to be applying for a mortgage with a co-borrower, you would assume the lender would use the higher credit score among you both, but this is not the case. The lender uses the middle of three credit scores (from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian), and the lowest score between both borrowers middle score. It’s not exactly leaning your way, but you shouldn’t have a problem if you’re responsible.

Your rate is connected to your credit score, so with a lower credit score comes a higher rate. There are exceptions though. Sometimes, if you have the higher credit score, and earn more money, some lenders will use your high credit score. This is usually only for gigantic loans around $415,000.

It’s always worth it to ask your lender if there are any exceptions, but just know that they are rare.

The rate you’re quoted is the rate you will receive

Rate quotes can change unless you have locked the rate in the moment it’s quoted. Rates are affected by the trading of mortgage bonds, so rates change several times a day.

If you are refinancing, you can lock the rate at which it’s quoted, but only if you’ve given the lender ample information and documentation to determine if you qualify for the quoted rate.

When a homebuyer is trying to get a quote, it happens at the beginning of your pre-approval process. The rate lock runs with a borrower and a property, so without a property to buy, you cannot be quoted. Rates will be changing while you’re hunting for...

How to Detox Your Bedroom in 10 Steps

We spend an entire third of our lives asleep, most of it being it in our own bedrooms. Some people think their bedroom is their safe space where nothing can touch them, but in fact there’s plenty of stuff in there to harm you. Things like chemicals, pollutants, and even radiation from electrical devices.

Lucky for you there’s no one you can call, because clearing it out by yourself is simple. Learn how to detox your room if you are a renter, or the owner. Doing this will surely improve your well-being, health, and quality of sleep.

Diss the devices

TV’s, phones, laptops, and tablets are all distracting you from sleep. Believe it or not, these devices emit enough light to trick your brain into thinking it’s supposed to wake up. They also emit a low level of radiation. The best way to fight this is to vanquish your room of all electronics. I understand if the TV needs to stay, but you should at least unplug it and throw a towel over it.

New mattress

Inspect your mattress to see what it’s made of. Some are made of polyurethane foam, which emits VOC’s; also known as volatile organic compounds. These are the biggest source of indoor air pollution. Oddly enough these VOC’s have been linked to respiratory problems, skin irritation, and cancer.

There’s also formaldehyde, which is a sticky substance used in mattresses. This lovely stuff has been linked to allergies, lungs, asthma, nose, and throat cancers. You will want to switch to an organic cotton, or low-chemical VOC mattress. You will want to upgrade immediately if your mattress is before 2004. Another fun fact, PBDE is a chemical prominent in flame retardants. These have just as many health concerns as the VOC’s.

Go low or no VOC

VOC’s also can be in wall paint. In paints...

How to Bring Green Life Back to Your Plants

Are the plants around your house starting to fade and look a bit old? When’s the last time you dusted it? There are a few things you can do to bring your plants back from the dead, so don’t give up just yet. Your plant is probably fighting for its life, so give it a second chance.

Inspect and clean

Take a quick glance over the plant to make sure there’s nothing eating away at it. Look for little bugs crawling on leaves and the stem. If all is well, wipe the leaves off with a damp cloth. The more sensitive plants should just get a quick shower.

If you have pests try mixing soap into water and give each leaf a good scrub. Googling it too should provide multiple solutions. If the plant is clearly stunted in growth, it’s too late, and it must be tossed.

Trim and re-pot

Even if your plant is in good shape, it doesn’t hurt to trim them and re-pot. Take away all the dead leaves and unhealthy looking branches. Don’t cut too many of the leaves off since that’s their energy source; you should always leave at least 2/3rds of the leaves intact.

Once you take it out of the pot, look for mushy and unhealthy roots; carefully trim those off. If they are tightly wound at the bottom edges, cut the in two a few times. Repot them with fresh potting soil, and leave room for the roots to grow. Be sure to use a pot with draining holes too.

Place in good light

You will want bright and indirect light as your source. Cacti and succulent plants require intense and direct light. Indirect light is a place in your house where it’s naturally light, and you don’t need to flip on a light to read. You can also do the shadow test: hold your hand a foot away, and if you see a blurry shadow, that is indirect light; direct light would be a crisp shadow.

...

Winterizing Your Home is 7 Steps

Winter is coming whether you like it or not, and staying warm can be an expensive lifestyle if you aren’t careful. Most people turn up their heat and leave it there, which can make your jaw drop the next time you see your heating bill.

If you do not want to shiver all winter, while keeping more money in your pocket, take note of these seven house warming tips.

Buy a programmable thermostat

You can buy these for a little less than $100, and you have options! You can heat your house when you choose. You will want one that has at least four settings, so you can program it to come on during different times of the day. What’s cool about this is you can program it to shut off after you leave work, and turn it on 30 minutes before you get home, this way it won’t be running all day.

Deal with drafty windows and doors

Drafty doors and windows literally suck money out the cracks. Buying a weather stripping kit to seal these open spots can save you bundles. Another option would be to calk the frame around the doors and windows. Also, making your home a bit more energy efficient can add some value to your home too.

Localize the heat source

If you spend most of your time in one room of the house, this is a good idea to keep your heat low and get a little portable heater. Your room will stay toasty while your heating system isn’t working overtime to keep the entire house warm.

Stay away from companies who claim they can lower your bill

If you’ve ever gotten letters in the mail from third party energy savers claiming they can save you money on your heating bill, you should have thrown them away. For one, the money you are saving goes directly to the company you just hired. Energy prices do fluctuate, and...

Every Tool A DIY Should Have in Their Toolbox

Before you move into any new rental unit, or home there is one item everybody needs. That item is a toolbox with the essential basics. This isn’t just the basic hammer and nails I’m talking about. Unless you are living in a house made of gold that doesn’t fall apart, you will need to put some work into it from time to time. You will be thankful you’ll have the right tools so you don’t have to call someone. Below are the list of essential tools every DIYer needs.

  1. Screwdriver set – This will be your most used tool is your bo0, as you will use it on almost everything. Pick up a quality drill, and different size Phillips, flat-head, screwdrivers.
  2. Hammer – Get yourself a hammer that feels heavy enough to get the job done, but also one that feels comfortable in your hand.
  3. Measuring tape – the 25-foot tape measurers are the perfect size. Get one that can lock with a toggle of a button. This will be used in nearly every home improvement project from hanging pictures and shelves, to measuring a room you plan on painting.
  4. Pliers – Locking pliers can handle almost every little task you come across, but if it’s a plumbing job you will want groove-joint pliers. Take a look at channel locks too, those are for the heavier plumbing projects.
  5. Utility knife and blades – Having a quality knife is one of the best tools you can have. It gets the job done every time, and you don’t have to use your kitchen knives or keys to cut items open. Keeping extra blades is handy too, this way you can change them easily and have a fresh blade ready.
  6. Adjustable wrench – tightening and loosening bolts will need to be done from time to time, so this is where this tool comes in handy.
  7. Level – Levels are some of the greatest tools in any box because it has the power to make everything symmetrical. Without it, pictures will be crooked. It can also serve as a straight edge, so get a 3-foot one...

Reasons to NOT Use the Inspector Your Agent Recommends

If you are new to the real estate world, you may think it’s common sense to use the inspector your real estate agent has recommended, but you should think twice. Yes you should trust them, and hopefully they have been around the block several times before, but there can be a few reasons to not go with their word of advice in this situation. Here are a couple reasons you might want to hire your own inspector.

Conflict of interest

It’s possible that the home inspector and the real estate agent have a conflict of interest. Your interest is in the detailed description of your home, while the inspector could be helping the real estate agent close the sale. It’s unlikely that either party would act unprofessionally, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Who’s the client?

Every inspector is supposed to work directly for the buyer, but the inspector and the real estate agent could have a long partnership together. If this happens to be the case, you could be getting the second best deal in the game, not the first. Ask a few questions if they’ve ever worked with your real estate agent before and if so that could be a red flag. They could get skimpy on the details, and push your inspection under the rug like it’s no big deal.

List of three

In most markets across the country, real estate agents provide a small list of three inspectors to their buying clients. Notably, these inspectors are professionals who come with quite a few references. Having skin in the game, they also risk not being included on that list if they give length and poor reviews time and time again.

The nagging feeling

Even if your inspection goes well, you can’t help but wonder if there’s something they missed. If an issue...

7 Secrets to Living in a Perfectly Clean House

We all know that one person whose house is always impeccably clean. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, their house is always spotless. It looks in tip-top shape, and smells awesome all the time. There is no secret to having a house like this. They have a routine they practice every day to make sure their house stays this way.

Here are the seven “secrets” to having a perfectly clean house all the time. Do them every day and your life will become clutter free, and you will even feel better about your house.

Baby wipes

Baby wipes serve way more purposes than to clean a baby’s butt. They are excellent household cleaners. They can wipe up spills, wipe down dusty furniture, and even remove stains (if you catch them in time).

One time paper machine

One of the best things you can do is to not let your mail pile up. Once they get home for the night and grab their mail, they open it and deal with it immediately. If they have to put it to the side for some reason, they deal with it ASAP. Don’t just push it to the side and think you’ll take care of it later.

House cleaning service

If you can afford house cleaning service then sign up for one. Most of the time, they do an excellent job and make yours much easier. IF they are going to do the bigger jobs of scrubbing baseboards and bathrooms, you will find much more time to do the day-to-day jobs.

Host parties

Having guests and parties regularly will keep you motivated to keep the house clean and looking good.

Excellent speed cleaners

In your laundry room, it’s a good idea to keep a stash of cleaning supplies ready. You’ll want to know where they are in case there’s...

What Pictures Can Save Your Butt When Renting

If you just moved into a new rental unit you may just want to get moved in as quickly as possible. You will also need to keep in mind your security posit your entire stay, from move-in day to move out day.

When you move in be sure to take a thorough look around and report the condition of the place. This could determine how much of your security deposit you receive back. 

The fool-proof way to do this is to take pictures of every nook and cranny in the apartment. Take extra pictures for areas that are questionable. If you are renting from a management company you can ask them for a move-in condition report, or you could print one from the Internet. Walk through the apartment with the landlord to sign off on any of the questionable areas.

The next step is to email the pictures to your landlord before you move-in and keep a safe copy for yourself. 

If you really want to be safe, walk around making a video of the place. Here is a list of six things you should picture or video before you move in.

Holes

Unless the last tenants did not have a single piece of art hanging on the wall, you should check for holes. They could have hung pictures, shelves, mirrors, etc. and if they go unnoticed by the management company, you will probably have to deal with them when you move out. And any holes you put in the walls you must repair as well. 

Carpet and flooring

Often time’s tenants are charged for spots on carpets that may or may not have been theirs. This is why it is important to keep a date-stamped copy of the photo. Floors experience wear and tear throughout its life, but you don't want to be held responsible for various marks that may not be yours. ...

What is Included in Builder Warranties and What's Not

Most people would choose to live in a brand new house over one that’s already been lived in. The reasons are simple, it has never been lived in, it has the newest amenities, and the next major repair won’t be for a long time (hopefully).

Builders often times boast their warrant when completing a new home, which is always what homeowners love to hear. It can be tricky when you don’t know what is and is not covered. As confusing as it could be, this is something you absolutely want to know, because they could be a big chunk out of your wallet if you get it wrong.

Here’s what you need to know about builder’s warranties.

Long and short term warranties

Long-term warranties are typically around 10-years, and these cover foundations. God forbid any cracks happen, but if they do within the first ten years, you are covered. Short-term is one to two years, and include stucco and drywall, but don’t include appliances.

Surely you will have more than two warranties

Builders usually offer “bumper to bumper” warranties which are one-year, and is everything but cosmetics. So if you kicked a hole in the wall, this is on you. More than this though, your plumbing and electrical HVAC is covered from 2 to 5 years. Keep in mind; you will also have different manufacturer’s warranties like shingles, windows, and appliances.

There’s such thing as a structural warranty, and the state requires the builder to provide a to-year warranty. This is not in very state though, so make sure you figure out if your state has one.

Covers a list of repairs

Expect to have a meeting with your builder in the first year after closing, but before the one-year warranty expires to go through the house and show him if anything isn’t working properly.  If you get a good builder...

Dont Lie to Your Landlord

Nobody likes a liar; no matter how big or small, a lie is still a lie. You shouldn’t lie to anyone including your landlord as tempting as it may be. Yes the relationship between the landlord and the tenant is always a strange one, but it’s always best to keep those relationships in good graces. They hold the key to easy living, and they rely on you to keep them up to date with the condition of the property.

All states have different laws regarding renting properties, but there are a couple general rules to follow to save your butt in the long run. Look at our list and save yourself some money and a major headache by just telling the truth.

Breach of lease

Do not ty and be smooth by letting a friend stay with you and keeping it from the landlord. Hiding roommates from your landlord can affect everyone in ways you don’t realize. You may think the background and credit checks are typical formalities for renters, but it’s there to protect the landlord. This is to make sure you are a responsible tenant who would treat his property like your own.

When you skip the screening process and sublet your apartment without your landlord’s approval, you put your landlord at risk, as well as everyone in the entire building. Now it becomes a safety and liability issue. If you choose to break this trust, expect people in your building to dislike you, and even eviction.

Added expenses

You might be in trouble if your landlord discovers you’ve made a hefty DIY project. They are allowed to fine you for changing anything structurally they do not approve of. They can claim you’ve caused damage. If you have managed to sneak in a pet and the landlord finds out, they can provide you with a painful bill, and even terminate the lease. That security deposit you were planning on getting back, kiss it goodbye. Somewhere in the lease it probably states...

Your Fall Chore List for Winter

It’s that time of year again; fall is officially here and you better clean up your yard now before winter makes that chore a bit too daunting. Yard work isn’t for everyone, in fact, some people actually enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if you love fall chores, or hate them, they still have to be done. Here’s a checklist to make sure you get it all finished.

Compost bin

A compost bin sounds like something hard –working farmers use, but it’s actually for lazy gardeners. These are for grass clippings, branches, and weeds. Mix it up every once-in-a-while and you’re golden. Be sure to use chicken wire to enclose it, or else everything will blow around when a semi-strong wind comes along.

Rake your leaves

Raking leaves is necessary, sometimes. Depending on how many pile up, tells you if you should rake them. No one likes looking at them, but sometimes if they fall in the garden; it turns into a layer of protection for your plant roots. Rake if them they look ugly, and place them in your compost bin, or in your garden.

Gather debris

If you have the ugly trees that just lose random branches when it feels like it, gather them up and toss them in your compost bin. Pick up all those big green balls that fall from the Osage trees too.  Hopefully you don’t have too messy of a tree, but if you do, their waste can serve a good purpose in your garden.

Mow your grass

Cut your lawn for the last time as short as you can to stop diseases from spreading. Put the clippings in your compost pile. Don’t forget to edge too! Once you’ve made your final cut, be sure to winterize your mower and other power tools by draining the gasoline so it doesn’t cause internal damage.

...