Every landlord has had the feeling at one time or another that a prospective Millville tenant may not be a good choice. Call it a hunch, or intuition—but something tells you that this tenant may be trouble down the road. There is more than enough riding on the decision to make you want to pay attention to your instincts, but that’s where being aware of the dos and don’ts of tenant management comes into play. You need to protect your business and property, but in so doing, you also need to heed outside factors.

Chief among those factors is the housing laws and regulations. This is a realm where there’s no shortage of fine print—and since I don’t offer legal advice, we needn’t wade into the technical weeds. But there are some common sense concepts that should shed light on the subject.

One of the key things to remember is that it is frowned upon to arbitrarily accept or reject tenants based on personal preferences or whims. Of course, a landlord does own the property whose use the tenant is asking to borrow, but nevertheless, most people understand why anti-discrimination laws have been created. Some feel they go too far—some, that they don’t go far enough—but at any rate, one fact is indisputable: ignoring the rules can have bad consequences.

One easy-to-follow idea is to prepare your own written standards for accepting prospective Millville tenants (standards that are certain to not contravene discrimination guidelines). Another that is universally considered good practice is to require every applicant to fill out an application form with the kind of information that state and federal guidelines allow. When everyone is required to complete an application in full, failing to do so becomes grounds for rejection. The kinds of information should be relevant to the landlord’s business needs; and the standards may be high or low, as long as they are evaluated evenly for every applicant. Some common criteria:

· Prospective tenants should never have been evicted from a property.

· Prospective tenants should have a credit score above a certain level

· They should have no record of any judgments having been levied against them for failure to pay utilities.

· They should have proof of employment and enough income to reliably pay rent (the national average income level is 3 times rent).

· Prospective tenants should supply references from previous landlords—references that can be verified over the phone.

Of course, none of this means a landlord is required to rent to just anyone who comes by. The key is to define the ideal tenant, make sure that ideal isn’t based on random discriminatory criteria (like race or sex or religion)—and then to adhere to a consistent evaluation process. And the fact is, the potential financial rewards should more than compensate for heeding the basic ground rules.

If you will be taking a look at the inviting opportunities that Millville income properties currently offer, I’d like to show you some of the best ones. Give me a call!

For anyone who has looked into to buying a Millville home several times—but kept getting discouraged every time because of a negative credit report—read on!

You probably already know that you are not alone—but so what?—it’s small consolation, especially when you consider how much financial ground you lose every year you continue to pay rent (the entire amount of which has zero tax deductibility). Many people mishandle credit in their teens and 20s, not knowing how it can come back to bite them when credit reports determine their credit worthiness. In Millville, we see the fallout in the form of mortgage application turndowns or discouraging interest rate proposals.

But that just makes it all the more important that you stop letting past errors continue to keep you from getting the loans and rates you want. You can choose to take action now to clean up that credit score. Not only will it speed the moment when you become eligible for the significant benefits of home ownership—the actions you take now will serve to set you in the driver seat when it comes to credit management. You will become aware of any apparently minor oversights that can depress your credit score for years to come. It will put you ‘in the game’ of credit report management, instead of continuing to be a passive outsider.

Steps Millville consumers can take now:

Review your credit file for accurate information

The credit reporting bureaus’ job is to report the most accurate information possible, but in the past the Federal Trade Commission has found that 5% of reports have at least one mistake. Get your current credit report from any number of services (start with a free one: you can always subscribe to a paid service later). Check all the accounts and verify that the amounts reported and the account statuses are correct. If a creditor reported your information incorrectly, file a dispute through the credit bureaus’ online sites to get the inaccuracy fixed. The same FTC report says that 13% of consumers who reported an error saw a boost in their credit score.

Get old negative accounts removed

Credit reports carry negative information like missed payments or a collection account for seven years, but are required to delete it after that. If an account is lingering past the seven year mark, use the dispute tools available on credit bureaus’ websites to mark the account as too old for reporting. Note that the seven-year time period is calculated from the date of first delinquency, not the date the account was first opened.

Talk to collection companies about their input

Even when you pay off collection accounts, that history continues to hurt your credit score. Some lenders look solely at those details when starting the process, so even paid collections can disqualify you for a loan. Instead of dealing with this frustrating problem, while you are negotiating with collection agencies to pay off a debt, ask that they put in writing that they will remove their report as part of their part of the bargain for your satisfaction of the debt. Some agencies will and some won’t (but it can’t hurt to ask).

Once you have acted, and begun to see the negatives dropping off your current credit report, your path to local home ownership will open up markedly. Then it’s time to give me a call!

Past history tells us that home sales in Millville perk up come springtime, just as the advent of colder weather brings a slowdown in Millville home sales. But what if your own family and professional situations dictate that now is the time to list your own Millville home? What if the weather curve balls Mother Nature has been serving up have to take a back seat to your own scheduling imperatives?

Fortunately, the seasonal home sales ups and downs needn’t deter those plans. The fact is, several advantages can be had when a motivated seller and determined Realtor® put their minds to it. It’s largely a matter of attitude:

1. Make Your Home Feel like an Escape from Winter

Instead of allowing the cold weather to burden your whole endeavor, try to bring a little home sales jujitsu into play. The classic Japanese defense tactic relies on using the strength and weight of an adversary to disable him. In the same way, you can turn inclement conditions to your advantage by recognizing that they can help your home stand out as a beckoning refuge. Think: the nastier the weather, the better! As soon as potential buyers walk in, do everything you can to help them feel the sense of comfort a substantial shelter like this provides. The object is for them to recognize that here is the kind of home they want to wake up to on cold mornings!

Warmth is the starting point, so keep the temperature cozy (this is no time to fuss about the heating bill). If you have a fireplace, be sure it’s lit when visitors arrive. Fluffy comforters in the bedrooms and throw rugs that break up large areas of bare flooring will add, too. Further the effect with cups of warm cocoa, apple cider, tea or coffee that will warm buyers from the inside.

2. Clear All Walkways

It’s relatively easy to control the interior of your house by turning up the heat. Outside, though, you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. Clear pathways, and pay special attention to any surfaces that might become slippery when the weather conspires against you. It’s especially important to clear the driveway, stone paths, sidewalks, and anywhere else buyers may want to inspect or visit. A clear path can be the difference between getting an offer…and getting sued!

3. Use the Slump to Your Advantage

Scads of homeowners buy the myth that Millville home sales are next to impossible to accomplish during wintertime. That’s why many—even some whose homes have been listed since autumn—fail to energetically market their homes until the weather clears (sometimes even failing to respond to home tour requests). That gives you a competitive advantage—and another jujitsu opening. Since prospects doing a Millville house tour will be less hurried than usual, your Realtor should be ready to spend more time with them to share persuasive points that make your property the standout value they’ve been after!

Sure, home sales during the shiver-producing months presents particular challenges, but the hidden advantages can be decisive. If you have been ready to sell, but hesitating until kinder weather surfaces, do give me a call!

ABC’s Nightline recently aired an interesting segment about house flipping, which included a magic number that’s probably never been seen before. Millville house flippers would have been glued to their TVs if they’d stayed up late enough to catch Nightline, because if authentically magical, it’s a good number to know.

The segment was part of a series called "Realty Check." This one was about new strategies in the "ever-competitive world of flipping." The show started with some background about how expensive house flipping can be if it’s done in a hurry and on the cheap. Just slapping a coat of paint on the walls can result in an investment that languishes on the market, often until the asking price is reduced to an unprofitable level. The narrator stated that in the past, house flipping was often approached with the idea that the sooner a renovation could be completed, the better: "Get in, get out, move on." We were shown how TV series like Flip It to Win It, Flipping Vegas, Rehab Addict, and Flip or Flop turned rehab projects into races against the clock: exciting drama for TV, maybe, but not necessarily a profitable real estate investment strategy in today’s market.

Nightline interviewed one new house flipping Phenom with 28 successful house flips to her credit. She says that "I call reality TV unrealistic." She considers that the goal should be to produce a quality result—a house that’s "the best in the neighborhood." That may take months rather than weeks, particularly if you want to avoid blowing your budget. Time, plus meticulous attention to detail, good taste—and a magic number.

It’s the magic number that has to interest anyone contemplating some Millville house flipping of their own. It comes from an expert: RealtyTrac’s VP Daren Blomquist, who posited that the data reveal that "the more you put into a property, the more return you get." Even if it takes half a year. But the amount you should budget only "Up until this magic number which is 23%."

The magic number? It’s 23%. The goal is to make the final product the best in the neighborhood, so that a buyer coming into the neighborhood sees it as "their first choice."

That’s a pretty tall order around here. Millville has some fairly steep competition for best in the neighborhood. And six months between buying a property and being able to put it back on the market could seem like an awfully leisurely use of investment capital.

Without judging whether it’s truly magic or not, there is that 23% number. What was never explained was whether the magic number was meant to be 23% of the asking price, 23% of the purchased price, 23% of purchase plus rehab costs…or 23% of something else. Still—it’s nice to know there is a magic number.

If you have been thinking of undertaking some house flipping in Millville, or even readying your own property for the market as-is (23% of $0 is $0); the 2015 should be a great time to get going. Give me a call!