Tenant Rights

Tenant-RightsIn this day and age, statistics are now sowing that people who rent are between the ages of 29 to 35 and single. While this number does not include low income families that pay rent. Considering the rising cost of rent in the United States, we are now beginning to see that Americans have decided to rent rather than buy. It is now becoming harder to actually get into a rental as people are losing their homes due to the current housing issues that is plaguing the market. If you decide to rent, you need to know what your rights are. These rights are defined by the law and you should know how they affect you.

Your Lease

Your lease is the most important part of your tenant rights. A lease contains information that is of great importance to you. It will tell you on what day your rent is due, what happens if you do not pay your rent on time, and will spell out all of your allowable rent increases. Make sure you pay attention to all of these. Never, ever sign a contract or lease in which a landlord states that he can raise the rent at “his or her discretion”. Stay clear of any lease that states you must follow any rules that the landlord may want use in the future. Never sign a lease that gives your landlord unrestricted access into your home. Your lease is the most important document when you decide to rent, so be sure to have a copy and that your copy is notarized.

Security Deposits

When you pay your security deposit, it is generally equal to one month’s rent and is paid when you move in. Although there may be exceptions to this, this is generally standard. When you pay your deposit, make sure you understand your rights under the terms of your lease. Of course normal wear and tear is normal but if you get angry and punch holes int he wall, expect to pay for repairs out of your deposit. Always ask for a list of any deductions that the landlord may make when you move and request the return of your security deposit. Your landlord is required to provide you with your deposit if you don’t have excessive damages about 14-30 days after you move out.

Repairs

As a renter, you have rights regarding any repairs your home needs. Issues such as no electricity or hot water should always be the responsibility of the landlord and should have immediate action to resolve these emergencies and should be taken care of within 24 hours. It is extremely important that you let your landlord know of any maintenance issues immediately. For other non-emergency maintenance issues, make sure to let your landlord know of these issues in a timely manner and if he or she does not respond verbally, the next step to take is by writing a letter. Make sure to list your repair(s) and the date you would like them to be resolved by and always be sure to be courteous and respectful. If this still fails to get your necessary repairs done, your next move will be to the Code Inspector to handle the situation.They will inspect your apartment and document any violations on your landlord’s part. Always be sure to document and keep any copies of your outreaches.

Ending Your Lease

Sometimes you may find yourself in a position where you may need to end your lease early. Sometimes there are different guidelines and clauses that you should be aware of. For example, senior citizens over the age of 60 have the right under the law to end their lease if they have to go into a nursing home. The landlord is liable to end the lease and release the senior tenant from the liability of paying rent under the terms of the lease and return any money paid in advance. Another example is if the tenant is in the military and they are called onto active duty and can end their lease if needed.

Contact

Renting can sometimes be seen as a hassle but knowing your rights and executing them if necessary can lead to a happy landlord/tenant relationship. Always make every effort to maintain a good relationship with your landlord and your renting experience will be much happier in the long run. If you or someone you know is interested in renting, contact us today at the Kuchar Team for more information!

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Tips and Tricks to Selling Your Home

Tips and Tricks to Selling Your HomeA few years ago, the housing market was a breeze. We were able to sell our homes for asking prices and there once upon a time used to be a thing called bidding wars. We thought back then that the housing market would only continue to rise. Well, today this isn’t quite the case. While the housing market is improving after its crash, some still struggle to sell or buy a home. With a few key pointers, these are a few ways to help sell your home:

1. The price is right!
With this day in age, you have to be willing to make some negotiations on the price. In many areas, foreclosures have dropped the prices quite a bit and some homeowners struggle because of this. While you may not be able to cut the prices down to those bank owned homes, you should still do your homework and see what similar homes are going for and undercut those prices. You may not get as many offers compared to foreclosures, but you will definitely get more offers rather than to stubborn sellers who won’t budge on the price. Try hard not to get stuck on a certain price, you have to be able to negotiate. Research on real estate websites such as Zillow and see what similar homes are selling for or call your nearest real estate agent.

2. Lights, camera, action!
Even if you can’t fight with the prices of the nearby foreclosures, you can do your best to make your home look better than the foreclosure down the street. Get your home power washed, touch up your trim and doors, install new exterior lights, and make sure all your plants are healthy and happy. All your hard work should pay off at least by enticing your potential buyer through the door.

3. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.
Make sure your home is clear of all clutter. When it’s just you at home, it might be okay to have a mountain of paper on the coffee table or tons of photos everywhere but when you’re selling your home, you need to remember that the potential buyer will want to picture themselves living in the home. Remove your personal photos from the walls and replace them with neutral, framed art. Make sure to take everything off the counter tops to give the appeal of counter space. Store any unnecessary furniture and if possible, remove clothing from your closets to make your closets seem larger. Reduce and remove extra clutter throughout your home to give it the bigger, more spacious feel and buyer friendly.

4. Can we fix it? Yes, we can!
Make sure to address any problems in your home, small or big, prior to selling it. If your house a big problem that will be sure to turn away buyers, fix it. Ugly, old carpet in the living room? Consider changing it with new carpeting or hardwood floors. Make sure to patch up any holes and paint over any scuffs. Anything that can cause an instant dislike or off put to your home should be fixed immediately.

Who you gonna call?

If you ever feel overwhelmed, consider calling in the pros. There’s thousands upon thousands of real estate agents and other professionals willing and ready to help you in any way possible. Contact one today!

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Tips for Qualifying for a Mortgage

Tips for Qualifying for a MortgageWith housing prices and mortgage interest rates at an all time low, now may be a good time to look into considering looking into real estate in Highlands Ranch. Before you truly begin looking, it is important that you begin planning on how you will obtain your mortgage and what kind of rates and loans you are entitled to. Because of more higher lender requirements, your down payment, credit score, income, monthly expenses, debt-to-income ratio, job stability, and savings will all play a role into you being approved for a mortgage. These are a few tips to help you prepare for your mortgage:

Tips for Obtaining a Mortgage

  • Get a copy of your credit score before going loan shopping. There are many different online services that allow you a yearly free credit report. Make sure you examine it carefully for any errors.
  • Calculate and review your finances. Calculate all of your fixed monthly expenses then include a potential mortgage payment, homeowner’s insurance, taxes, and HOA fees. Make sure to include your fixed expenses such as car payments, credit card debt, and general living expenses. It is also advised to calculate for any home maintenance costs as well.
  • Have all necessary documents. Lenders will ask for a large amount of documentation regarding your salary, savings, job stability, debts, etc. You will need to provide pay stubs for at least the past 30 days, W-2 forms for the past 2 years, retirement, investment account statements, and a listing of your debts and monthly expenses. If you are self-employed, you will also need to submit at least two years of tax returns and possibly a profit-loss statement.
  • Work out your debt-to-income ratio. This ratio compares the gross amount of money you earn to the amount that you owe to creditors, such as mortgage, car loans, credit cards, etc. The lower your number, the better. Lenders generally will require scores at or below 36%.

    Need Some Help?

    Mortgages, especially for first time home buyers, can be extremely confusing and this is completely okay! If you or someone you know is in need of some advice in buying a home, contact us here today at The Kuchar Team where we can help you with all of your Highlands Ranch real estate needs.

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    How to Prepare your Closet for Colorado Summers

    Highlands Ranch Real Estate

    Highlands Ranch Real Estate 1With record breaking temperatures, our Highlands Ranch weather is starting to become warmer and the days are growing longer. Therefore, it’s time to pack away those bulky winter clothes and make room for the spring and summer clothes! We just need to make sure our winter clothes are stored away properly. Your clothes will look better, wear longer, and will be ready once those cold Colorado winters roll in next year.

    Here’s what we can do:

    Firstly, you need to wash all of your winter clothes before you pack them up. Yes, even if they haven’t been worn or don’t appear to be dirty. Clothes can sometimes have spots or stains that aren’t readily visible to your eyes, plus when you pull them out, they’ll be clean and ready to go! Use unscented detergents and skip the fabric softener! Those will only attract insects. Don’t forget to take those items that can’t be washed to the dry cleaner!

    Secondly, put all of your winter clothes into storage containers. You should ideally use boxes or bags that won’t degrade and will seat out dust, dirt, insects, and moisture.

    Next, fold clothing neatly and orderly before adding it to your container. Make sure to pack “loosely”, don’t jam pack it. This will allow air to circulate. Tuck a lavender or cedar sachet into each container to help repel those pesky bugs. Both lavender and ceder are safer to use rather than mothballs and of course, they smell much, much nicer.

    For our big, what seems like 500lbs winter coats, use padded hangers and cover them with heavy plastic wardrobe bags. If you don’t have padded hangers, don’t fret. Drape wood hangers with folded towels to fill in the shoulders of your coats without unnecessarily stretching them.

    Lastly, always keep your storage boxes and hangers in a dry place, away from sunlight. Sunlight can fade your clothes. Make sure to clean your closets entirely and thoroughly before filling them with your spring and summer clothes. Dust your shelves, ceiling, wipe down bars and flat surfaces, and then give your floor a very thorough vacuuming.

    Your closet will then be sparkly clean and fresh and ready for our beautiful Highlands Ranch summers! I don’t know about you guys, but I know us Highlands Ranch Real Estate Agents are more than ready for summer!

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    5 Ways to Deal With the Changing Real Estate Market

    The Market Has Suffered

    As most of us know, the housing market had a steep decline beginning in 2006, and since then, has been referred to as a crisis. Many people suffered through the crisis, and others had to succumb to the reality of foreclosure. It was a struggle for most and for others, an absolute tragedy. The market has had ups and downs in the years following the market fall, but now things are starting to look up. Not only for the Denver real estate market, but all over the U.S., people are seeing improvements and more buyers in the market.

    How to Handle the Changes

    Even if things are looking up, the market will show change, and sometimes that’s scary for all of us. The following is a list of the 5 things you can do to protect yourself and your home in this real estate market:

    Use Equity Wisely

    It’s important to use your line of equity when your credit and work status are both in good standings. If you’re planning on using your line of equity on your residence, make sure you do so when you have the credit and employment to back that decision up.
    Continue reading

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    Showing your home in Colorado Winters

    We’re almost there, Spring is so close! Yet, we are still in the winter season and it’s still important to remember these facts when trying to show and sell your home during this season.

    showing homes in winter1When showing your home, leave those lights on! The best way to battle with Father Winter’s short and ubiquitous cloudy days is to turn on the lights on your home! Especially for a showing, every single light must be on, even in the closets or the utility rooms. Make sure the bulbs are functioning aand polished. You should stock up on the right bulbs in case any burn out so they can be replaced immediately. It’s a good idea to also keep the lights on in the front of your home even if showings aren’t scheduled. In today’s market with a lot of the first impressions being on the internet, people are driving by your home frequently! Make your home look happy and welcoming! Add some of that natural light by keeping your blinds and curtains open, let that light in! Let all the warm glow flood out into the harsh winter nights. Continue reading

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    HOA’s

    In this new day and age, many of Denver’s homes and communities are maintained and managed by HOA’s. (Home Owner Association)

    homeowner associations1When you decide to purchase a house, townhouse, or condo in a planned development such as a gated community, a leased land property, or sometimes even a regular subdivision, you are required to join that community’s certain HOA and pay the monthly cost that comes with it. HOA fees are used to maintain the common areas and buildings. If you are considering buying one of these properties, you need to be aware of a few things and how they work with HOA before you decide to move forward with your purchase.

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    Foreclosures vs Short Sales

    In Denver, short sales make up a prodigious percent of the sales in the real estate market. Varying by each area, short sale transactions can consist of almost 50% of the entire market.

    Foreclosures vs. Short Sales1

    Don’t know what “short sale” means? Let me help. A short sale is when the homeowner sells their home for much less than their mortgage value. Unfortunately, homeowners these days find themselves in the unfortunate situation where they find out their home value has vastly decreased. With this and the expenses of selling a home, these days means the only way a seller can actually sell his home is to bring money to the closing table. Continue reading

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    Could 2012 be the Year of the Real Estate Market Resurgence in Highlands Ranch?

    In 2005 (for unfortunate reasons, I remember this year well), real estate sales slowed to a crawl and housing prices decreased. There was little doubt in my mind that his meant a downturn in the Highlands Ranch real estate market. Needless to say, I clearly did not estimate how long or severe the down-turn would be. However, I see a light at the end of the long, dark real estate market tunnel, and the light is good.

    Home Prices will Probably Increase – Not the Overall Sales

    When looking at the real estate market, one really doesn’t have to look any further than supply and demand in order to get a good idea of why the market looks the way it does. In the past fee months the total amount of condos and houses for sale has decreased substantially. According to one report the home inventory in the Highlands Ranch and greater Denver area is down over 35% from the previous year. By the same token, condo inventory has decreased by almost 50%.
    Continue reading

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