7 Ways to Save Your Damage Deposit – Tips for Renters

If you ever lost part of your deposit, when moving out of an apartment or rental home, you probably decided that you’ll never allow that to happen again.  This trusty list was made by landlords and property managers at 8z Rentals, that will help you remember everything necessary to keep your damage deposit!

1 – Twelve Months of Disrepair Can’t be Cleaned in 24 Hours

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Plan to move your stuff out 24-48 hours before returning your keys to be able to do a complete and thorough cleaning.

2 – Reduce Smoke Damage Even if Smoking is Allowed

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Even if your landlord allowed smoking in the rental property, if you’re a heavy smoker, it will take more to clean that property to be ready to rent.  Smoke damage may require repainting, or an Ionizer to clean out the smoke smell from carpets and drapes.  If the smell still can’t be cleaned out, the carpet may have to be replaced.

3 – Transfer Your Utilities

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Make sure to move utilities you’re responsible for to your name when you move in, and take it out of your name immediately when you move out.  You likely can’t get reimbursed if you continue paying for the cable, Internet, water, heating or electricity bills for the next tenants.

4 – Reduce Carpet Wear and Tear

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If your carpet was in good shape when you moved in to the property, there should not be visible wear and tear after just one year.  If it looks a little tattered, it will need a good clean prior to returning your keys.  An ordinary vacuum cleaner won’t clean as well as a truck mounted vacuum.  If you have a property manager, ask them for a recommendation of who to use, and make an appointment for them to come before your final walkthrough.

5 – Prevent Damage to Walls

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Purchase adhesive hooks to hang pictures and decorations so that you will not damage or put holes in.  DIY wall repairs can be difficult due to matching the paint color and the wall’s texture.

6 – Don’t Save the Repairs for Move Out

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It is important to clean and make small repairs and replacements throughout your lease term. This will save you money after you move out (your landlord won’t have to call a handyman and pay labor and parts, or a cleaning service to pay hourly.) Even if you can’t make the repair yourself, having the replacement for the damaged or missing part there for the handyman, will save you money more of your deposit.

7 – Don’t Skip the Move In Walk-Through Inspection

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Make sure to do a thorough walk-through inspection when you first move in, documenting any existing damage with photos, and sending them to your landlord ASAP, to make sure you don’t get stuck with the damage when moving out.

Have a tip as a renter or landlord?  Please share them in the comments below!

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Ways to Make Your Place Halloween Friendly!

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Halloween Tips for Building Neighborhood Connections

Remember that no matter where you live it can be your community. Halloween is a great time to get to know your neighbors! Are you going to go out or stick around to give out candy? Will you host a halloween party? Bring pumpkins around to the neighbors? Whatever your Halloween tradition might be, remember that it is a great time to create community!

Just a few simple things can make a big difference in how connected you feel to your neighborhood. Kids love trick or treating! And people are generally in a festive mood. Here are a few ideas of what you can do to build neighborhood connections at Halloween:

  • If you don’t know the kids who come to your door, greet them openly. Ask if they live in the neighborhood.
  • Compliment (or get scared by) their costumes.
  • Ask the child a question or talk to them briefly before you give a treat. Ask them their names, what grade are they in school.  Guess what their favorite TV show is. Anything really!
  • Turn on a light so children will be safe.
  • Intervene if trick-or-treaters become disrespectful or damage property.
  • Offer to take a busy parent’s child or children out along with yours [if you have kids].
  • Share treats that reflect your culture or values. Tell kids why you are handing out the treats. Engage them in a brief discussion.
  • Get together with neighbors to decorate. (Make it more fun for kids and adults and get to know neighbors at the same time.)
  • Remember to greet neighbors the next day–when they don’t have costumes on!
  • Consider making a special treat bag (with extra treats or extra surprises) for the children who live nearest to you. When these children arrive, make a fuss about them coming and say you have something extra special for them.

Enjoy a fun & safe Halloween!

Time to Winterize!

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First the rains came. Then the floods. Now it is time to turn our attention to getting ready for winter to visit us in Colorado. We have already had our first freeze, but it was just a gentle reminder to get going on preparing our homes for the months to come. Is your home ready?

Below we have listed five important areas to winterize to ensuring your safety and warmth all winter long!

1. Prevent Plumbing From Freezing: Outdoor plumbing is at risk of freezing if not properly drained and insulated.

  • Blow out sprinklers
  • Drain & insulate all outdoor plumbing fixtures
  • Drain & clean evaporative coolers so no water is left in the system

2. Service Seasonal Equipment: If you have equipment you only use seasonally then it is time to get it ready for storage or to be used.

  • Chimneys should be cleaned and  inspected
  • Furnaces or boilers should be cleaned and inspected
  • Change your air filter in the furnace. Changing the air filter will improve both function and indoor air quality
  • Drain gas from your lawn mower and other lawn tools
  • Get the snow blower ready by adding gasoline

3. Insulate: Adding insulation is one of the best thing you can do to your home to increase your comfort and decrease your energy bills. But there are other things you can do too.

  • Identify leaky areas [windows, doors, etc.]
  • Windows: If you have storm windows now is the time to put them up. If not, you can cover windows with the plastic film to reduce drafts and head transfer.
  • Doors: Roll up a towel or rag that is the width of the door. Tape the roll to keep it in shape. Place the roll at the bottom of all leaky doors to reduce drafts and heat transfer.

4. Check All Detectors: These can save your life!

  • Test all smoke detectors to make sure they are functioning properly
  • Make sure you have at least one carbon-monoxide detector and test it.

5. Clean Gutters: Clogged gutters can cause ice dams and then water can move, freeze, and seep into the house.

  • After the leaves fall simply remove them from all gutters
  • Check for any misaligned pipes and gutters that do not move water away from the house

If you have any additional ideas you would like to share with 8z Rentals readers please comment here! We would love to hear from you!

4 Things to Look for During Your First Walk Through – Tips for Renters

Want to be sure you get back your deposit after your lease?  We compiled a list of the best tips for tenants, from landlords themselves, of what to look for during your first walk through to make sure you’re not stuck with damages you didn’t cause, or liable for hazards!

1 – Look for Anything Hazardous

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Keep your eye out for trip hazards, missing handrails, rotting decking etc. Ask landlord to fix these issues prior to moving in or immediately afterwards – this moves the liability from you to the landlord if you or a guest were to be injured at your rental property and you asked the landlord to fix it but they did not.

2 – Take Photos of Existing Damage

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Email your landlord or property manager within the first week with photos of existing damage.  Be sure to save the sent email in case if you need to refer back to it when moving out or any disputes over your deposit.

3 – Who Pays the Utility Bills? 

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Make sure to find out who is responsible for paying water, sewer, or trash bills before moving in – these aren’t always mentioned in the lease, and can lead to confusion and extra fees if not addressed right away.

4 – Where Should I Park?

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Be sure to clarify what storage spots or parking spots you are allowed to use, and any parking permits required to avoid being towed, especially if you live in a complex with common areas or a common parking garage.

Tips for Condo Insurance & Minimizing Gaps in Coverage

After Boulder and the front range had significant insurance claims from the recent floods, we thought this article, shared originally by 8zmortgage.com, was very insightful.  If you are a condo owner, whether it be for your primary residence or as income property we recommend you to read this, and ask your insurance agent, or Garrett White, the Nationwide agent who wrote the original article how a unit owner’s policy minimize any gaps in insurance coverage for your property.

 

As our property market recovers and the metro Denver Area market rebounds, we have seen a paradigm shift in new purchases from homes to Condominiums with a 9.73% sales increase year over year, placing Denver in the top 10 condo markets in the United States. Nationally these sales surpassed 600,000 with a median price of $171,000. With this growth requirements for insurance have changed for new mortgages on these condos. The requirement now is to not only list the condo association’s master policy as an insured interest, but also a “unit owner’s” policy, HO6 (“walls-in as we will be telling our mutual clients), to show them as an interest as well.

What does this mean for the buyer?

On top of higher HOA fee’s for the “master policy”, which is provided by the association and covers the common areas and external physical structure (roof, basement, elevators, boiler and common areas/walkways) for both liability and physical damage, the HO6 policy will cover all items internally from the drywall in (additions, alterations, and personal possessions). Prior to closing it is imperative to get a copy of the master policy declarations to understand the scope of coverage it provides for the potential buyer, and work with an insurance professional to determine the adequate protection for the unit itself minimizing gaps in coverage. Most common master policies only cover from the studs out.

Another great feature inside an HO6 policy is Loss Assessment coverage. This coverage is built in to cover HOA assessments from common losses to the entire unit or updates to the premise where all owners would be assessed. This is an excellent feature to protect against large assessments like a new roof. As an example, Nationwide offers up to $50,000 in loss assessment coverage with a $1000 deductible. As well, if the condo being purchased is an investment, lenders will typically also require a minimum of 6 month’s of rent-loss insurance, which covers lost rent due to an insurable event.

All condos and clients are different and their HO6 needs need to be evaluated individually.

-Garrett White
WHITEG2@nationwide.com

Share Your Colorado Flood Photos – Photo Contest

Two weeks ago we watched as the hometown of our company, Boulder Colorado, was inundated with flood waters. Since then we worked with residents, both renters and property owners, who needed to find housing, and scheduling service calls arranging for contractors to fix rental properties under our management that were damaged. We personally met with so many people affected by the floods in Boulder County alone.

While we were helping our 8z Rentals clients, both residents and property owners, we saw the destruction first hand and heard many personal stories. So we had the idea to switch up the October Facebook contest to give those most affected by the floods the chance to win the gift card drawing.

Did you take photos of flood damage on your property – to send to your insurance agent or for friends out of the area? Please submit your original photography along with your Colorado flood story for the caption. Then vote for the photos submitted to help us find the 1st place and 2nd place photo, to award the $100 Target gift card and $75 Target gift card winners.

While it certainly won’t replace everything that was lost for the two winners, we hope it will help turning their house back into their home.

If you would like to do more to help those who are still cleaning up from this natural disaster, we recommend for you to go to BoulderFloodRelief.org.  Boulder stands strong!

Flooding at 9th and Balsam in Boulder

Flooding at 9th and Balsam in Boulder

Official Rules for 8z Rentals: Share Your Colorado Flood Photos – Photo Contest

1. Here’s how to enter: (1) Go to the 8z Rentals Facebook page http://facebook.com/8zRentals between October 1st, 2013 and  October 18th, 2013, 11:59pm MDT.  Click on the app “Share Your Flood Photo Contest.”   No purchase is necessary to enter or win; a purchase will not increase our chances of winning.

2. Winner selection: One Grand Prize, and One Runner Up will be awarded for receiving the most votes within the voting portion of the app. If there is a tie in votes for Grand Prize, tied entries will be pulled out of a hat.  Entry/entries in hat for ties for Grand Prize that were not pulled from the hat will be Runner Up or put in a hat for Runner Up.

3. Prizes and Approximate Retail Value: One (1) Grand Prize winner receiving the most votes will receive $100 Target gift card. One (1) Runner Up winner receiving the second most votes will receive a $75 Target gift card.

The prize is non-transferable and non-assignable, with no cash redemptions. There will be no substitutions for the Prizes except by Sponsor who reserves the right to substitute a prize (or portion thereof) of comparable or greater value at its sole discretion. Any taxes on the prize and any expenses not specified relating to the acceptance and use of a prize shall be the sole responsibility of the winner.

4. General Rules: Open only to legal residents of the State of Colorado who are 13 years of age or older as of October 1st, 2013. Employees, officers and directors of 8z Rentals, and their affiliates, advertising and promotional agencies and their immediate families (spouse, siblings, parents and children and their spouses) and members of their immediate households are not eligible. The Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state, local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited or restricted by law, rule or regulation.

Not responsible for interrupted or unavailable network, server or other connections, mis communications, failed telephone, computer hardware, software and other technical failures of any kind.

Sponsors reserve the right to cancel or modify the online portion of Sweepstakes if fraud, misconduct or technical failures destroy the integrity of the Sweepstakes; or if a computer virus, bug, or other technical problem corrupts the administration, security, or proper administration of the Sweepstakes as determined by the Sponsors/judging agency/administrator, in their sole discretion.

By entering, participants (agree (a) to these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor and the judging agency, which shall be final in all matters relating to the Sweepstakes; (b) to release and hold harmless 8z Rentals and their respective affiliated companies and directors, officers and employees from any and all claims, liability or damages arising out of their participation and the acceptance and use of a prize; (c) that under no circumstances will participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and participant hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental, consequential or any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses; and (d) that all causes of action arising out of or connected with this Sweepstakes, or any prizes awarded, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form class action. This Sweepstakes is governed by laws of the State of Colorado with venue in Boulder, CO for the resolution of all claims and disputes. Sponsor and judging agency are not responsible for printing or typographical errors in any Sweepstakes-related materials; for stolen, lost, late, misdirected, damaged, incomplete, illegible, or for transactions, entries or communications that are processed late or incorrectly or lost due to computer or electronic malfunction or human error.

5. Notification of Winner: Winners will be notified by email on or about the next business day.

6. Waiver of Liability / Publicity Release: By acceptance of Prize, each Winner grants to 8z Rentals the right to publicize such Winner’s name, city and state/province of residence and/or likeness in any medium now or hereafter devised worldwide without limitation and without additional compensation or consideration, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law.

7. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.  By submitting your photo in this contest, you release Facebook from any liability for the contest.

8. Sponsors: 8z Rentals

CONSUMER DISCLOSURE: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. No entrants have yet won. Entries, of original photos of the Share Your Colorado Flood Photo Contest ends October 18, 2013 11:59PM MDT. Approximate Retail Value of entire sweepstakes: $175.00.

See Official Rules above for complete prize restrictions. Sponsored by 8z Rentals, 4041 Hanover Ave., Suite 102, Boulder, CO 80305.