Lucrative Landlord Locales

If you’re thinking about investing in a new rental property (or two) there are several factors to consider. Perhaps one of the most critical factors and the first decision to make is where your property will be. This can have a substantial impact on being able to attract tenants and what rent you will be able to set. It’s important to do your homework on each location that you are considering. Here are five hot spots where rentals are in demand and command top dollar.

  1. Boise, Idaho

Home to rivers, mountains, canyons, deserts, and lakes, Boise is popular with those who love the outdoors. As coastal cities continue to grow and become more expensive, people are moving inland to find jobs and more affordable places to live.

With population and job growth triple the national average, low unemployment rate, and year-over-year rental growth, Boise could be a great place for you to invest in rental property. The Boise housing market was ranked as the #1 in the U.S.by Realtor.com in 2020 but slipped to #4 in their 2021 list. The average rent for an apartment in Boise City is $1,508 and 43% of properties in Boise City are rental properties. Best of all, Idaho has one of the cheapest landlord insurance rates, which means lower costs for your business.

  1. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee remains one of the top locations to own rental properties. Located along the Mississippi River, the city is home to Elvis’ Graceland, the Blues Hall of Fame, and a bevy of tourist attractions.

There is also a high population of millennials, meaning that rentals are very popular. With Fortune 500 companies like FedEx and International Paper and AutoZone calling Memphis home, the job market is thriving. The average rent for an apartment in Memphis is $967 and 43% of property in Memphis is rental property.

  1. Tampa, Florida

Previously we listed Miami as one of the most lucrative landlord locales and, whilst it is still a great area to invest in, Tampa also deserves a look.

Tampa is an attractive metropolitan area and one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations. In addition, it is a popular relocation spot for retirees, providing many short-term rental opportunities. The average rent for an apartment in Tampa is $1,647 and 44% of property in Tampa is rental property. Also of note, a perk of owning property in Florida is that the real estate property tax rate is only 0.98%, compared to 1.08% nationally.

  1. Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale is a favored spot for Arizona State University professors and graduate students to live, as well as for retired Northerners to visit during the colder months. With more than 76,000 students (plus the faculty that teaches them), landlords in Scottsdale have a steady stream of tenants interested in renting, distancing themselves a bit from Tempe’s undergrad-saturated communities.

And it’s not just students, Scottsdale is also an emerging tech market with companies such as GoDaddy, Yelp, Paypal, and Indeed.com all opening offices in Scottsdale. The average rent for an apartment in Scottsdale is $1,914 and 44% of property in Scottsdale is rental property.

  1. Dallas, Texas

Everything’s bigger in Texas, they say, and in Dallas that includes the number of renters.

Dallas has a substantial single, upwardly-mobile professional population. This demographic is a landlord’s dream as young professionals tend to be responsible and reliable tenants.Things aren’t slowing down either with the population expected to double in the next 15 years. One of the reasons for this population growth is the large and diverse job market with leading industries in technology, financial services, and defense. The average rent for an apartment in Dallas is $1,383 and 43% of property in Dallas is rental property.

These hot markets are full of renters anxious to sign on the dotted line and find their next home.

How To Repair Warped Hardwood Floors

Nothing is worse than walking across a wood floor and having it cause a stumble.

Even though the change in the flooring is subtle, it is there and it can cause an injury.

Take a look at the floor and you will see that the boards have actually risen or sunk just a little bit instead of being flat.

This means that you’ve got a warped floor.

Knowing how to repair warped wood floors first means being able to scope out the size of the problem that exists.

Wood naturally expands and contracts over time with changing environmental conditions and this can cause nails and glue to work their way loose.

You might just need to take down some loose boards.

On the other hand, you might also need to have a professional contractor come in to fix the problem.

 

1. You’ve Got a Small Wood Warp

Many small rises in the floor can be solved by warping the floor back into place.

Get the wood wet and then place a heavy object on top of it.

Make sure you walk around the heavy object in the middle of the floor while you’re doing this.

In the span of a few days, the floor will likely become flat once again and you won’t have had to do anything.

If there’s a squeak in the board when pressure is placed on it, then this may mean that the nails holding it down or the glue have worked their way loose.

After straightening out the board, tack it down with a nail or some glue and you’ll have solved the problem.

If your wood floor is cupped instead of crowned: If you have a dip instead of a rise, then a latex wood filler of the same color can help to solve your flooring issue.

Apply it where the cupping has happened and allow it to dry.

Then sand down the wood filler until it is flush with your current flooring. Paint or stain as needed to match.

2. You’ve Got a Large Wood Warp

Sometimes entire sections of a wood floor will begin to warp.

If there is more than just one board affected, then it is often easier to just replaced the boards that have warped rather than try to flatten them out.

Take up the affected boards and replace it with the same flooring that has been cut to size.

You’ll then need to secure the repair, paint it, or stain it so that a uniform look can be achieved.

If you have gaps in your flooring after replacing the warped wood: Use a latex floor filler if you have a gap left in your repair that is 0.25 inches or less wide.

This spreads easily along the floor and must be applied before you sand it.

Gaps that are larger than 0.25 inches need epoxy wood filler. Apply that after the finish coat.

 

3. You’ve Got a Massive Wood Warp

Sometimes the entire wood floor has become uneven.

This can happen because of the natural aging process, water damage, or not taking care of the floor over time.

There might also be a problem with the subfloor that is causing the warpage in your hardwood floor.

To fix this kind of problem, the entire floor will need to be taken up to determine where the damage might be.

A good DIY’er can take up an entire wood floor and put down a new one if the subfloor is intact.

If there is damage to the subfloor, however, a bonded flooring contractor is probably a better solution.

You may need to have the joists inspected and there may be other issues involved, including the home shifting, that may be causing the whole floor to warp.

Always remember this one tip: Whether you can classify your wood warp as small, large, or massive, it is always important to identify the source of the warp to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen again.

Being proactive about fixing the problem will help to give the hardwood floor a longer, better life so that you don’t have to stumble every again because the flat floor wasn’t as flat as it should be.

Many floors need to be sanded and refinished after a repair.

If this has happened several times already to a floor, then additional cracking may occur.

Not every wood floor is suitable for a repair and refinish.

If you are unsure of the damage the floor has sustained, then knowing how to repair a warped wood floor might mean finding the lowest quality bid from a local contractor.

How Private Are Tenant Screenings? (Part 2)

In the first installment of this series, we started examining the laws and ethics surrounding the information contained in tenant screenings.

In the course of a tenant screening, you and your employees will handle sensitive information.

Handling and relaying that information in an ethical, responsible way can be very difficult.

State-by-State Privacy Laws

As we discuss the legal aspects of handling sensitive information, keep in mind that privacy laws can be different from place to place, and may change as laws are passed and repealed.

If you ever have any questions, it’s always best to do your own research and check with a lawyer.

Federal regulations apply in most states, but some have a more strict legal stance on privacy.

California, Texas, and New York all have added protections under the law.

California Privacy Laws

As a landlord, you need to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and any state laws that govern the collection, usem and dissemination of nonpublic personal information (NPI) when you run a tenant screening.

NPI includes social security numbers, employment history, and any financial information collected.

If you make a rental decision based on a credit report or a tenant report, you have an obligation to disclose the fact that the rejection was based on these reports and offer the applicant an opportunity to obtain a copy of the report used in the decision.

In California, you can not ask about citizenship status. This is a hot issue in California, so be sure to leave off all questions related to immigration.

Texas Privacy Laws

As another state that prioritizes privacy for their citizens, Texas has also taken a more strict stance on privacy than the federal government.

In Texas, you have the right to know about a company’s privacy policy before they collect your NPI.

As a landlord, you have the right to use the collected information for the specified purpose, but you don’t have the right to resell, reuse, or disseminate the information to third parties.

Essentially, you and in-house employees can use the information to complete the tenant screening, but it should not be shared with affiliates or marketing partners.

Once your use for the information is complete, it should be destroyed.

In this case, complete would refer to the end of a lease term and after the return of the security deposit to the tenant.

If you have an ongoing business relationship, you should always maintain the tenant file for reference.

New York Privacy Laws

New York treats the information collected on a rental application similarly to California and Texas.

NPI collected for an application is single use only. Tenants sign a document allowing you to use their social security number and other information to collect financial information related to making a rental decision. You may not use or sell the information for any other purpose.

The laws protecting the use of NPI are fairly clear.

Make sure to only provide NPI on a need to know basis, store it in a secure location, destroy data as it becomes unnecessary and stay up to date on changing privacy laws.

With increasing concerns about privacy and the growth of identity theft, states are starting to enact more and more legislation to protect consumer financial information.

Keep track of changes as they occur, so you are always compliant.

If you have any questions about legal issues involved in running a tenant screening, find a local legal professional to help.