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5 Things You Should Know Before Renting a Home

System - Sunday, March 30, 2014

U.S. Rental listings has composed a list of five things that everyone should know prior to renting a home.  This list includes: knowing your rights as a potential renter; before signing your lease, you should know what your lease can and cannot do for you (understand your lease); know what to get in writing; know how to protect your security deposit; and know how renter's insurance can protect you.  This article was very insightful, especially for those first time renters.


How You Can Save As a Renter?

System - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MSN Real Estate composed a list of four reasons that you as a tenant may be able to save on your rent.  The first reason on this list is because the property is priced higher than comparable units in the area.  The second reason would be if you are an excellent tenant that has an excellent payment history.  With this reason, the landlord may also consider your credit score and your payment history with other bills.  You can also take it a step further by having your monthly rent automatically drafted from your account the first of every month.  The third reason offered by MSN Real Estate is if you are able to pay your rent a few months in advance.  Finally, they suggest working for your discount.  If the property has any maintenance that needs to be done, offer to fix up the property at your own expense and negotiate with the property owner to reduce your rent.  If all else fails, MSN Real Estate suggest that you find a roommate to help absorb the cost; downsize to a smaller living quarter; and conserve on your utilities.



Foreclosure Down in Durham

System - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In January of 2014, the Hearld Sun did an article reporting that the foreclosure rate in Durham had decreased in 2013.  Foreclosures were down by 20 percent in 2013, the lowest it had been since 2002 in the county of Durham.  Overall, foreclosure filings were down 18 percent compared to the 2012 filings in North Carolina; the lowest it has been since 2005.  According to this article, this decease in filings may be reflected through less distressed properties being put up for foreclosure and investors willing to pay cash for certain properties on the auction block.  This decrease in foreclosure filings reflects a growing property market and a positive trend. 


Why Hire A Property Management Company

System - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Recently, we came across an article from allpropertymanagement.com and they came up with a list of 10 reasons to hire a property manager.  The article explained that owning a rental property could be financially rewarding; however, it requires a large amount of your time and energy.  A few reasons they recommend a property management company is to set the proper rental rate, compared with similar properties in the area; they find the proper tenants by conducting background and credit checks; and they manage vendor relationships, often finding vendors who are dependable and building a relationship where the vendor becomes familiar with the property. 


Durham: Ranked #4 Best Place to Live in 2014

System - Monday, January 13, 2014

In a recent article, Livability: America's Best Places to Live and Visit ranked Durham as the number 4 best place to live in 2014.  Other North Carolina cities included on this list were Greensboro, NC ranked number 19; Asheville, NC ranked at number 48; and Chapel Hill, NC ranked at number 71.  The top three cities included: Palo Alto, CA; Boulder, CO; and Berkeley, CA.  

Durham is well known for its schools, including Duke, and its numerous hospitals, allowing the city to be dubbed as "the medical city".  The city includes amenities like the Museum of Life and Science and the Durham Performing Arts Center.       

According to Matt Carmichael, author of the article, Durham's history dates back through tobacco production, textiles, and agriculture.  Approximately 50 years ago, the Research Triangle Park was established as a means to retain professionals from local universities including those in the Raleigh and Chapel Hill area; especially in areas of technology and science. Since then, the city has been able to embrace its past and remake itself into one of the leading industries in research and technology.  More than 1 million square feet of land has been reused and old tobacco mills have been transformed into residential loft and office space, known as the American Tobacco Historic District to maintain its historic importance while blending with modern technology.   



5 Things You Should Never Put on a Credit Card

System - Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Credit.com compiled a list of five things they suggest to never pay using your credit card: college tuition, taxes, a big wedding, vacation, and medical expenses.  They argued that credit cards are powerful financial tools, but they must be used carefully to avoid accumulating serious debt.  On the other hand, you cannot predict all expenses and using your credit card maybe the best payment option.  They suggest alternatives to fund each of these five items that would prevent you from accumulating ridiculously high interest rates and will not affect your credit score negatively.  Payment options range from establishing payment plans to living within your means.  The best advice that can be offered is to only charge items that you know you will be able to pay off when you receive your monthly statement.          

Evictions Decline Welcome

System - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Herald Sun recently posted an article stating that the number of evictions in Durham County has declined approximately 10 percent since last year.  This is good news for renters and landlords because it reflects the market's inflation.  Much like the article stated, foreclosures and evictions seem almost inevitable in today's economy.  Many family are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot withstand a cut in work hours or missing one day due to an illness.  Financial setbacks make it harder to play catch up once their is a missed payment.  

Although there are approximately 400 individuals in Durham County who undergo eviction each month, this number is slowly decreasing.  A decrease, no matter how small, is always welcomed.  Families are slowly recovering from the Great Recession and finding solid ground when it comes to supporting their family.  A 10 percent decrease is a step in the right direction to reducing the number of families that suffer from homelessness each year. 


Veteran's Day

System - Thursday, November 7, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11 is observed as a federal holiday in the United States.  It has become tradition in the United States to have the official wreath-laying ceremony is held each year at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.   The purpose of Veterans Day is to honor those people who have served in the armed services, also known as veterans.  This day also makes the anniversary of World War I.  The major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918.  

Other countries such as Britain, France, Australia, and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World War I and World War II around November 11th.   Canada practices the observance of Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday, which is held on the second Sunday of November.  Britain and other Commonwealth countries observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11. 

Veterans Day should not be confused with Memorial Day, which according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is a common misunderstanding.  Memorial Days is celebrated on the fourth Monday of every May to honor American service members who died during combat or whose death resulted in an injury during combat.  Veterans Day is used to pay tribute to all servicemen, rather living or deceased.    

North Carolina’s Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony will take place on Saturday, November 9, 2013.  The parade will be held in downtown Raleigh and starts at the intersection of Fayetteville and Davie St at 9:30 am.  A wreath laying ceremony will follow, beginning at 11 am on the north side of the North Carolina Capitol grounds.  Music and static displays will make this an event for the entire family to enjoy.   

Benefits of Renter's Insurance

System - Tuesday, October 22, 2013
This is an interesting article for current tenants to review.  We recently had tenants who were displaced for approximately two weeks due to a major water line break in the home. Thankfully, they had renters insurance. As their property manager, we coordinated them moving into a hotel temporarily and not only did the insurance cover their hotel bill, but it also covered meals as well as damage to their personal property. As a Residential Property Manager, we strongly encourage all of our tenants to purchase tenant insurance as a protection for them. http://renters.apartments.com/landlords-leases/the-benefits-of-renters-insurance/

6 Personal Finance Rules to Live By

System - Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Being fiscally responsible means you live by sound money principles that allow you to build a stable future for yourself and your family. An understanding of these basic financial tenants is the first step in achieving financial success.

1. Build an emergency fund.

Think of an emergency fund as a security blanket for your finances. You should save up three to six months of your total expenses in an emergency fund to be able to deal with an unforeseen circumstance like job loss, illness, natural disaster or home issue.

2. Protect your family with life insurance.

Life insurance is one of the most important gifts you can give to your loved ones. If you are the breadwinner of your family, your insurance coverage should be five to six times your salary to leave them secure and protected if something happens to you. 

3. Negotiate.

Whenever it is an option, you should always negotiate. No matter if you’re buying a new car, landing a new job, purchasing a house or even setting up a new cable account you should always negotiate to ensure that you get the lowest price possible. Don’t feel embarrassed or shy about asking for a deal, perk or discount — your bank account will thank you in the long run. Remember, it never hurts to ask. 

4. Start early to save for retirement.

When you are in your 20s and 30s, retirement seems like a long time away, but it will sneak up on you before you know it. Start saving for retirement as soon as you enter the workforce and look into 401k plans that your employer might offer as a way to start.

5. Don’t buy a house unless you can afford it.

Homeownership is a big part of the traditional American dream, but it also is a huge financial burden. Don’t purchase a house unless you have saved, budgeted and are secure in your finances. Make sure you can afford at least a 20 percent down payment and be aware of hidden costs including home repairs, insurance, closing costs and furniture. 

6. Save 10 percent of your income.

Savings are a huge part of being a financially responsible person. You should try to save 10 percent of your monthly income and an additional amount for retirement. It is key to live within your means, only buy what you actually need, and save for bigger-ticket purchases. Always try to pay down high-interest credit card debt first because it will drain your bank account in the long term.

Written by Maitland Greer

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