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Rental Move-In Checklist

Rental Move-In Checklist

Rental Move-In Checklist

Rental Move-In Checklist sign
Any relocation process can get a bit overwhelming at times, however, a step in your rental move-in process that shouldn’t be overlooked is filling out a checklist detailing the condition of your rental property. Not only do you need to make certain that the rental is handed to you in a habitable condition, but if there are any serious faults in the property violating health and safety codes, you are able to withhold making your rent payment until repairs are made by the landlord. While some repairs are up to the landlord to take care of, some may also be the responsibility of the tenant, thus making it important to review your lease for those details.
A rental move-in checklist will ultimately make the move-out process and security deposit return easier. Here are ten things that should be on your checklist:
Take photos of any noticeable damages or pests, and document the condition of the unit
Is the smoke detector working?
Are the provided appliances working?
▢ Do the toilets flush?
Do the faucets work, is the water pressure good, and do the drains properly drain?
Do all door and window locks work?
Can all windows open and close properly?
Do heating/air systems work?
Check power outlets
Check your internet or WIFI signal throughout the unit.
Interested in renting a home in Central Florida? Learn more about renting through our brokerage, Bardell Real Estate, and our tenant services click here or contact us to speak with a Central Florida property manager.

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How To Avoid Getting Scammed When Renting An Apartment

How To Avoid Getting Scammed When Renting An Apartment

How To Avoid Getting Scammed When Renting An Apartment

Especially if you live in a big city, navigating the apartment rental market is tricky. Where you end up living is largely based on luck — being in the right place at the right time with the right agent — but there are things you can do to prepare and protect yourself. Real estate agent Jesse Shafer of the Shafer-McHale team at Compass tells us how to spot a good listing, find a good landlord, and negotiate a fair contract.


If you’re more than two months away from your planned move-in date, it’s likely too early to start looking at an apartment because most of the listings you’re seeing will be gone by the time you’re ready to move. You can probably hold off on your search until a few weeks before your move-out date. “I’ve seen people start looking for a home days before it was time for them to move and they were still able to find something great,” says 

Living room details in apartment

Shafer. In the meantime, start doing your homework. You’ll be expected to provide financial documentation — tax forms, pay stubs, or a note from your employer that verifies your income — that demonstrates your financial stability. Basically, prospective landlords want to know that you’ll be able to pay the rent on time. Having these documents will also help you determine how much rent you can actually afford to pay — you should only be spending about 30% of your income on rent. Remember that you will also need to have enough saved to cover first month’s rent, a security deposit, and moving fees.


It can be difficult to determine what’s worth seeing when you’re slogging through hundreds of online listings, but you can tell a lot from the photos. If the window treatments are down, for example, Shafer says there’s probably a bad view. Close-up artist shots are usually a sign of a tiny apartment. Computer renderings or highly polished photos are also a red flag: “If the photos for a $2,500 apartment look like they were torn from the pages of Architectural Digest, the listing is probably fake” or at least misleading, says Shafer. Before you meet with the listing agent, verify everything described: Ask about concessions, fees, and amenities. There’s typically no consequences for not being totally truthful, so even well meaning agents can be tempted to fudge the details to get prospective renters in the door. “The general rule of thumb is if something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” says Shafer. It’s a good idea to keep all of your correspondence over text or email so you have proof if they try to go back on their word.

A pretty apartment can distract you from serious issues, but this is the time to go over the apartment with a fine-tooth comb. Is there a working outlet in every room? How’s the water pressure? Do the heating or cooling systems run properly? You should request any fixes or renovations before you put down a deposit; it can get a lot more difficult to get what you want after they have your money. “You can’t be afraid to 

be pushy,” says Shafer. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” No matter how perfect the apartment is, you don’t want to get involved with a landlord that has been taken to court or has any housing code violations — your city’s Department of Building should have this information available on their website. In less serious cases, high turnover rates or negative articles are both signs of underlying issues. You can also look the management company up on Yelp or Better Business Bureau to find out how their tenants feel. Even if you don’t find anything, try to meet potential landlords in person so you can assess for yourself whether they’re trustworthy and reliable. If that’s not an option, pay attention to the state of the building itself. “If the communal areas are clean and well-lit, those are signs of good management,” says Shafer.
Don’t let your eagerness get the best of you right at the finish line! Whatever is written in the lease is what really matters, so pay attention. Check for a clause that states what utilities you are responsible for paying directly and read the riders at the end carefully — in addition to building-specific rules, they should also include any verbal agreements. “The lease should be reflective of everything you’ve discussed with the agent or landlord,” says Shafer. You’ll typically be expected to put down first month’s rent and a security deposit, but application fees, credit check fees, and security deposits for pets are also common and usually nonnegotiable. “Always pay with a certified bank check because it’s a lot easier to track if something weird happens,” says Shafer.
Source: Emily Shwake, Contributor |

Rent Or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage!

Rent Or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage!

Rent or BuyThere are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize, however, that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explained:

Over the last three years, renter house-buying power has increased fast enough to keep pace with house price appreciation, so the share of homes that a renter can afford to buy has remained the same since 2015.

Although mortgage rates are expected to rise, they are still low by historic standards, and real household incomes are the highest they have ever been. Assuming this trend continues, our measure of affordability, which takes into account income, interest rates, and house prices, indicates that homeownership is still within reach for renters.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.51% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

Source: Keeping Matters Current

Property Management Uses Tech to Help Landlords, Tenants

Orlando Property Management Uses Tech!Property Management Uses Tech to Help Landlords, Tenants

ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 6, 2018 – When a tenant moved out of the College Park home Ruth Zimmermann grew up in, the Los Angeles woman decided it was time to hire a Property Management Professional.

“You don’t know what you’re going to get,” Zimmermann said.

Technology is making it easier for owners to keep tabs on their properties as little or as much as they want, whether working with a management company that’s written its own app or a traditional company using common software.

Zimmermann uses Great Jones, a Fort Myers company that manages about 80 homes in Central Florida – and, like competitor Realty Medics, created its own software.

“They’re good at details and communicate with you frequently,” said Zimmermann, who also found the company to be the most plain-spoken of the ones she looked into.

Self-managing a property can work, said David Ritland of Orlando, who does that with a home he owns close to where he lives. But he turned to Realty Medics to manage a property in Deltona.

‘Farther out, when it’s going to cost me two hours round-trip to go to a site, that’s very much so worth the monthly fee to get the property managed,” said Ritland, an engineer at Siemens. Ritland said using a property manager also enables him to consider buying profitable properties that might otherwise be too distant to manage.

“The tenant has a portal they can log into, they can say, ‘Oh, something’s wrong with the microwave,’ ” Ritland said. “The next day I’m getting an email from property management and they’re saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got this idea, can we send somebody out to take a look?'”

Software such as Appfolio can be purchased by traditional property managers looking to eliminate pen-and-paper ledgers or handwritten tenant applications on clipboards.

“It takes a tenant 15 to 20 minutes to fill out an application, and it takes us less than a minute for the initial screening,” said Raul Veitia of Belmont Management Group in Winter Park and a former officer with the local chapter of National Association of Residential Property Managers.

It also enables tenants who want to pay in cash to go to a convenience store and show a code in their cellphone that can be scanned by a cashier and enable the payment to post immediately.

David Diaz, head of operations at Florida-based property management company Great Jones, talks about some useful tips for people who are thinking about being a landlord of a rental property for the first time.

“Appfolio basically can act as your accounting software, marketing software, inspections for the property have templates, and it generates reports for owners,” he said, including year-end forms such as a 1099 for taxes.

Property management is a fragmented industry because it’s localized, said Ben Sencenbaugh, president of Realty Medics, which built its own software after he joined the Orlando-based company about five years ago. It’s grown from 200 managed properties to about 900 in that time, he said.

“To get to 300 or 400 was unimaginable a couple of years ago,” said Sencenbaugh, an Embry-Riddle graduate. “We built our platform so the staff has visibility of what needs to be done – we have dashboards up on the walls in the office to show things that are overdue, things we need to attend to, high-priority items.”

Great Jones head of operations David Diaz, a UCF graduate, worked previously at Waypoint – a company that works with real estate investment trusts and manage thousands of properties. That enables such companies to keep costs low by negotiating lower expenses for repairs or buying in bulk for parts and materials or for appliances and air conditioners.

That’s part of Great Jones’ model as well as it manages about 80 properties in Central Florida and about 200 statewide.

“Property management, for whatever reason, has been a slow-to-evolve industry,” he said. “… We want to provide that same economic advantage of scale.”

Diaz, Sencenbaugh and Veitia all stressed that no software can replace personal attention for either tenants or owners. That keeps properties well managed and keeps management companies growing – as word of mouth remains the most important factor to bringing in clients.

All three companies say their business mostly involves landlords with five or fewer properties.

“It’s really about the trust factor, then having people review it and tell their friends,” Sencenbaugh said.

© 2018 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.), Bill Zimmerman. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

This is an important read when it comes to why homeowners should hire Real Estate Agents to care for their Property Management needs. At Bardell Real Estate, we offer top notch service for Property Management. Our owners and tenants have access to their online portal to effectively communicate with Property Managers, Admins and Vendors. The portal also give the tenants a great place to pay their rent, easily, and input work orders for their rental. Are you interested in receiving a Free Rental Analysis on your Orlando Vacation Home? Short term rental often offers a different spectrum from Long Term, maybe it’s time to try it out. Contact us today to obtain your FREE RENTAL ANALYSIS.

Most average Orlando Fla. rents rise 3%-8% year-to-year

Most average Orlando Fla. rents rise 3%-8% year-to-year

Study: Most average Fla. rents rise 3%-8% year-to-year

Orlando_Rent_on_The_RiseORLANDO, Fla. – July 10, 2018 – A RentCafe study that looked at average rents in many Fla. cities found that Hollywood (up 9.6 percent) and Orlando (up 8.4 percent) had the greatest year-to-year increases. Out of 19 Fla. cities included in the study, only Davie saw a year-to-year decrease (down 0.3 percent).

However, the study suggests that Davie’s average rents may be turning around. The month-to-month stat finds that they increased 0.3 percent in June. On the flipside, Coral Springs, which saw a 1.9 percent yearly increase in average rents, was the only Fla. city in the study to see rental prices decrease month-to-month in June (down 0.3 percent.)

The overall average rents for the study included studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, which did not necessarily move the same amount. In Hollywood, for example, a one-bedroom apartment rose an average 7.1 percent year-to-year, while the average two-bedroom rose 10.9 percent.

Nationally, rents in the 250 largest U.S. cities rose 2.9 percent and reached an all-time high of $1,405. In Florida, average rents ranged from $1,018 in Lakeland to a high of $1,861 in Fort Lauderdale.

For a complete list of the 19 cities – average city rental prices by number of bedrooms plus month-to-month and year-to-year changes – visit RentCafe’s website. To view cities within the state, select “Florida” in the chart at the bottom of the page.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®