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Pitfalls of Poor Tenant Screening Part 1

One thing to keep in mind while screening applicants is the federal Fair Housing Act, which:

“prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and disability.”

2Does this mean you can turn a prospect down because they don’t dress well?  Absolutely.  How about if they show up reeking of smoke?  Sure.  What if they just give you a bad feeling?  Yes.  None of these reasons are provided for in the FHA.  But here’s the rub.  What will stop a prospect from suing you for discrimination because you did not rent to them because they were minorities, and not due to the fact that they showed up to view in a car with trash falling out of it.  You felt that represented how they may keep up your property.  The problem is convincing the court this was your reason for not qualifying them.  Whether it’s true or not, you can run in to a lot of liability issues if you deny applicants who otherwise meet your screening criteria.

You should also be familiar with your state and local laws to make sure you are not violating any laws or statutes.  Please consult an attorney if you have any concerns.  I am an advocate of one of the prepaid legal programs.  I pay $25 per month and can ask them for legal advice when anything comes up. They will also review legal documents you have, such as leases, addenda, etc. to ensure it is legal.  Or have a professional Charlotte property management handle things for you.

Just to reinforce the need to properly qualify prospects, here is another video showing the result of a Landlord who did not property qualify their tenant who moved in to a brand new town home:

One valuable trick is, while processing the application, if an applicant lives locally, visit them unannounced.  Tell them you were in the area and wanted to stop by for them to sign their application in person, or for some other reason.  This will give you a chance to see how they maintain their current unit.

Investing some additional time and effort into the qualification process can pay big dividends in the future.  What you save now could cost you more down the road.  Best of luck.


Turning House into a Green House

In today’s property market, sellers are looking for new and innovative ways to increase the attractiveness of their homes, to attract potential buyers. “Green” – This term has made a place for itself in almost every aspect of life and the real estate sector is no exception. Yes, a very popular way to make a house the buyer wants is to make it environmentally friendly or “green”. Read on to learn how you can successfully turn your home into an eco-friendly home and make a satisfactory sale in the shortest possible time.

Your first step should be to convert the natural solar power into energy that we need for heating and cooling our homes. This can be done by installing solar panels. The money that goes into this act depends on the total area that you want to heat using these panels. For instance, if you want to heat your three story house entirely, then this would certainly be a huge investment. On the contrary, if you wish to use the solar power on a small scale, for example only on the pool shed or on your garage’s roof, then it would be quite affordable.

Properly insulating the attic of your house can also help you make your house green. Proper insulation would make your house stay cooler in the summers and retain heat during winters. There are lots of insulation options that can be considered, depending on where they would be used. Some of these options include spray foam, fiberglass, cellulose, soy beans, old denims, old newspapers etc.

Even, by simply replacing the old traditional bulbs with CFL bulbs, the monthly lighting costs can be significantly reduced. You can even consider hiring an experienced contractor to get the old and drafty windows of your house replaced with double pane windows. Likewise, getting aluminum siding replaced with new vinyl siding would also add to the energy efficiency of your house.

If you are planning to construct an extra space in the house, then it is advisable to go for green building materials that are non-toxic in nature. As for painting the walls of the house, it is best to use low or zero VOC paints. Paints that contain VOCs result in poor air quality inside the house and often cause side effects, like headaches, nausea, irritation and fatigue in the occupants. In worst cases, VOCs can even be the major cause for respiratory diseases, such as bronchitis and asthma and more serious ordeals, like cancer or liver damage.

It is good to choose natural and durable materials, such as cork floors and natural fiber rugs, do not contain harmful chemicals. Cork, being an excellent sustainable material, reduces noise pollution inside the house, when used as a floor. Installing a low-flow shower head and a toilet that uses less water, than a standard watering appliance, can also act as an attractive feature of your home. So, combine these green changes in your home and be prepared not to find them, but many, potential buyers, are willing to pay dearly for your home.

Make Commercial Buildings Look Green

Offices and commercial buildings have a major impact on the environment. Designing sustainable buildings not only works well for the environment, but also increases the company’s profits from time to time. For old and green construction is mostly limited to homes. However, over time, the concept quickly followed when building commercial apartments. Let’s see how real estate developers make office buildings greener.

Green roofs

Eco-friendly advances don’t just focus on the building’s structure and architecture. It starts from the top. Layers of plants and grass on the top moderate outdoor heat during summer and retain warmth during winter. Though such roofs are costly, yet they reap benefits in the long run.

Living walls

Vegetation covers living walls. These walls improve air quality and reflect solar radiation. The walls absorb rainwater and play a big role in reducing building temperature. The walls improve the overall aesthetics of a room and act as effective noise barriers.

Passive solar building design

In this type of design the walls, floors and windows distribute solar energy in the form of heat in winter and reject it during summer. Sun is a part of the building’s lighting in this design. Though complicated, passive solar building design doesn’t cost much. An apartment using this design uses materials that have high thermal mass along with large windows and deciduous plants on its southern side.

Smart lighting

Lighting is an important aspect of eco-friendly buildings. Developers are installing automated systems that turn off lights when not required. A green commercial property focuses more on using natural daylight to cut the dependence on artificial lights during the day.

Smart glass

Small glass or electrochromic glass allows users to control the amount of heat or light passing through the glass. Through these glasses, one can regulate temperature of the room. These glasses, based on the principle of electrochromism, change their opacity or color when electricity passes through them. They save air-conditioning cost and most of them block the harmful ultraviolet rays.

Dual piping system

Green apartments focus on water conservation. Double piping systems are an effective way to conserve water. Water is divided into two types – portable and reclaimed – in this system. While portable water is used for drinking, water reclamation is used to clean the toilet.

Over time, green building has become a big business. In many countries of the world, developers get grants and incentives for the construction of such apartments. The company is also looking for environmentally friendly buildings to run its business. Due to its enormous benefits, the demand for these apartments will increase in the coming days.