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Home Inspections in Oakland County MI & Surrounding areas

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June 2019

Welcome to your June 2019 issue of Sterling Home Services Newsletter. This month’s issue offers some home inspection tips for landlords - inspections are a crucial step in protecting your investment and satisfying your renters! With warmer weather comes yard sale season and we’ve asked around and come up with some helpful tips for a successful and profitable yard sale. Lastly, the weather is finally nice enough to address the exterior of your house so we’ve compiled a short list of helpful tips for cleaning and painting exteriors! 

Inspections for Rental Properties

If you own property rentals, or if you’re thinking of getting into the landlord business, regular inspections are a necessity for maintaining the condition of your rentals. There are several times when a home inspection is needed:
  • Before handing your rental property over to a property management company
  • When new renters move in
  • When renters move out
  • Annually or seasonally
Check the laws protecting your renters before entering the property. You will need to give tenants ample notice before gaining access to the home. 
Hiring a Property Management Company
Landlords who own several properties or who own properties far away often use the services of a property management company. It’s the responsibility of the management company to keep the rental home in good repair.  If you’re hiring a property management company for the first time or switching to a different company a home inspection is imperative for both parties. Most management companies require an inspection before taking on a new property. Make sure you are part of the assessment and that you receive copies of every inspection the company does on your property. Most property owners prefer to arrange an inspection themselves, and the property management company may defer to that inspection or use it to compare to their own.
New Renters Inspection
Before new tenants move in - or immediately after they take up residence in your property, do a thorough walk-through with them. Write down any existing damage or problem with the home and property in general, and have your renters sign the document. Having this documented in writing protects you and your renters from future legal disputes.  You can help make this process easier by providing your renters a checklist of things to inspect on move-in day (or within one or two days of move-in day). Then, for everyone’s protection, meet the renters at your home and walk through the property together with their checklist.
Move-Out Day
The Move-In Day Inspection will come into play on move-out day, when you complete another walk-through of the property and compare the condition of the home now, to the condition of the home documented on move-in day. Normal, daily wear and tear are to be expected, but any damage or messes beyond that should be deducted from the renter’s security deposit. It’s important to be upfront with your exiting tenants about what you find.
Annual and/or Seasonal Inspections
When you have long term residence, it’s important to check in with them periodically to make sure the property is in good repair and the major components and mechanical systems receive regular maintenance. A good practice is twice a year with the season change. In the fall and spring, you can check the heating/AC systems, the windows, gutters, irrigation, smoke alarms, plumbing. During this inspection, you can take the time to make sure your tenants are caring properly for your investment as well. Regular inspections and maintenance is a great service to your renters and sends the message that you care about your property.
Sterling Home Services can help you with any of your rental property inspection needs.

It’s Yard Sale Season

Shopping yard sales is a favorite past time for many folks. And selling your items at your own garage sale can have many benefits: You get to visit with your neighbors when they stop by to shop, you make a few extra bucks, you declutter and clean out your house. But many a neighbor has dragged a truckload of belongings to the yard and sold nothing. Either nobody came, or people came but nobody bought. Here are a few tips for hosting a successful, and lucrative, yard sale.
There are many ways to advertise your garage sale. The local paper is a good investment in many areas. Search Facebook book for yard sale/garage sale groups in your town or county. Craig’s list postings are free and easy, too. Street signs are almost a necessity. Make sure your signs are sturdy, bright colored with big, bold lettering. Keep the wording very simple such as: 
Yard Sale
1243 Elm St.
Fri-Sat 9-3
Have plenty of money on hand to make change. Keep pricing simple to keep the math quick and simple. If you have larger items for sale, have larger bills available to make change. Keep your money in an apron with deep pockets. Have all your items organized and be ready to start the sale on time.
Retail stores put displays down the center aisle and on end-caps to lure you in and attract attention. Do the same with your sale. Make sure all your items are clean and look good. Put the “like new” kayak out front, set it up so people can see. Arrange the patio furniture set at the end of the driveway. Hang and fold clothes neatly (and re-fold and rearrange as customers pick through them).  Set your items up so they are attractive and inviting.
Make sure everything has a price, but you can price in bulk. For instance, you may have a table of books. Use one sign for the table: “Books! Hardcover $1 Paperback 3 for $1”
or “Clothing: $1 per item unless noted” so that you can price larger, newer or nicer pieces separately. And price it right. Some say yard sale prices should be 1/3 what the item cost new but of course, it depends on how worn the item is and how badly you want to see it go! Remember, your shoppers are looking for deals and you are looking to move the merchandise.
Be reasonable. Some people are happy to pay the posted price but many will want to bargain with you. For your benefit, if a shopper’s purchase comes to $11.50 it’s sometimes easier to take $10 than to wait while a busy mom rummages through her purse for the extra $1.50. Be firm when you know you are already offering a great deal, such as that “like new” kayak priced at $200 that sells for $400 brand new. 
Many yard sale patrons will visit several sales in one day. Offering a drink or snack is a good way to get them to stay and look around a little longer. You can let your kids set up a lemonade and cookie stand, or offer cans of soda or bottled water for a small fee. 
Everyone loves freebies. A large box of cheap little toys marked “Free” will keep little ones busy while parents browse the sale. You can get rid of additional items with a “Gift With Purchase” table. Load up a table with free items and for every $25 spent, allow a shopper to pick something from the free table. Or for fun, wrap the item for a “grab bag” surprise. 

Cleaning and Painting Exterior

June is a great month for caring for the exterior of your home. Just like indoors there's no quicker and easier way to give your home a facelift than with a quick coat of paint. Of course, painting the exterior of your home is a lot different than painting a room indoors. A professional painter is always a good idea, but if you're a DIY kind of person, here are some tips for painting the exterior of your home. 
Quality paint. No paint job is worth the effort if the paint you're using isn't going to last or withstand the elements. 
Clean, repair and prepare. Start with a thorough pressure washing to remove any mold, algae, dust, and dirt. Repair any damaged siding or stucco.  Remove all wrinkled, blistering or flaking paint by scraping and sanding. 
Mask and tape. To protect trim and adjacent surfaces, apply tape to edges and use drop cloths on roofing, walkways, shrubbery and any other area where there is a danger of dripping splattering paint.
Paint top down. Start with the top: facia, eaves, overhang, gutters. Then work your way down to surfaces painting in 3'-4' square sections. Keep a close and constant eye out for drips and streaks as these are much easier to clean up and correct when the paint is wet.
Careful around the trim. For wood trim paint inline with the grain. With doors, consider removing the door and painting on sawhorses. 
Clean up. Use soap and water for latex paint and paint thinner for alkyd paints to clean your gear and brushing. Never pour paint thinner or excess paint down the drain. Keep it in the can and dispose of it at a toxic- waste collection site. 
This is just a brief list of suggestions. Do your research and plan ahead carefully before taking on an exterior paint job. Consider calling in professional painters, home repair or power washing companies to help with the job.

Facts about June:

  • June is the month with the longest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere
  • June’s birthstone is the pearl, Moonstone, and Alexandrite
  • June’s birth flower is the rose and honeysuckle
  • June was the most popular name for girls in the USA in 2009
  • June is derived from either Juno, goddess of marriage, or from Iuniores (young people)
  • June is the only month to always begin on a different day of the week than every other month in that year. (Example: if June 1 is a Wednesday, no other month begins on a Wednesday for that year!)
  • June is international men’s month
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