Rentals

Have you ever rented a home without personally seeing it Live? … I have!

rentWith the summer PCS season coming up quickly and orders are arriving, I have had several friends ask me,  Have you ever rented a house without seeing it? Should I consider doing this?  I have, and their mouths drop open. I will suggest this if you have done your research about the area and new duty station. Today, with many us about to PCS the military member might be deployed, and the family in another location where it makes it hard to make a trip to see a home. As a landlord also I am on both sides of this question. There are so many things to consider when you rent a house without seeing it.  Is it on a busy road?  Are the pictures old?  Is the yard safe?  Are there scary rooms?  As a landlord, I want my tenants to be happy.  I try to send current pictures and video (real time Face time or Skype) that show as much as possible, and explain the neighborhood and area.  There is always the fear that if the tenant is not happy in my home, they will consciously or subconsciously blame me, and as a landlord I strive to have happy tenants. Housing is the single largest expense for most families, and of course you want to make sure you are making good use of your BAH dollars.  Have any of you ever rented a house without seeing it in person? My experience of renting a home without seeing it turned out wonderful for our Family. The landlords were Military as well, the home and neighborhood turned out to be better than we had expected. My last piece of advice is to have several conversations with the potential landlords ask all the questions, I have listed a few below that are common ones you might of  forget.

If you’re renting a single family house, you should ask who is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the property. Some landlords expect the tenants to mow the lawn and shovel the snow, while others do it themselves so they know the property is being maintained correctly. These responsibilities should be spelled out in the lease so there’s never a question about who is supposed to do what.

  • How’s your cell phone signal? You don’t want to be forced to have all phone conversations while hanging out your window or the one tiny corner where you manage to pick up a signal.
  • How big are the rooms, really? Great for video or skype. You and the  landlord may have different opinions on what room size comfortably fits a queen size bed.
  • How’s the water pressure? Don’t forget to ask the follow up, including is the shower pressure weak? How long does it take for the water to get hot in the morning?
  • Is the rental noisy? Be quiet for a minute and listen for ambient noise, such as weird fans, generators, barking dogs, loud trucks, trains or noisy neighbors.
  • How is the view? Are there enough windows to provide you with the natural light you want? If the curtains are closed, pull them open to check out the view. You might not want your living room overlooking your neighbor’s bathroom.
  • What is the heating situation? Because people often rent during the summer, they neglect to ask about the heat.  Find out if the heating is individual or shared, such as an uncontrolled radiator, and find out the costs.
  • Who do I contact for repairs and how long does it take for someone to come make the repair from the time of my call?
  • Are there any repairs that I am required by the lease to pay for myself?
  • Who is responsible for the Utilities? What do the utilities cost for the house? (ask for a few past bills to verify)
  • What appliances are guaranteed with the lease and which are not repaired or replaced if something happens to them?
  • Lastly can I have a dog? Rules on size?  Very important to our family, we love our Zoey…pictured below.

Zoey

 

Good luck with the summer PCS Season!

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I am Active Duty Military…Should I Buy or Rent in Williamsburg, VA and the Hampton Roads Area.

by Williamsburg Military Insider

With record low mortgage rates and housing prices remarkably low, it may be a very attractive time for Active Duty Military to buy a home in the Williamsburg/ Hampton Roads area. However, before you decide to take the plunge, think thoroughly. There are several factors you should consider ahead of time very carefully. First, how long do you expect to be in your new location? If you are only going to be somewhere for a year or two, depending on the location renting may offer the most flexibility with the least risk. Second, assess the market conditions of the new location carefully. Have your Realtor share the rental trends. If you are planning on retiring or pursuing a civilian career after moving, you may consider purchasing a home because you will be there long enough to realize a gain in your investment.

In any event, nothing is guaranteed but thinking it out ahead of time will keep
save you from making a potentially costly mistake. Also, keep in mind that you may not always be comparing apples to apples. The house you are buying and the house you are renting are rarely comparable. Trying to predict the future of home prices or mortgage
rates, both of which would impact, the rent–versus-buy decision can be just as challenging. Consider your gut as well as the numbers. You do need to be rational about the choice, but it is also based on your feelings about the kind of life you want. The Ginnie
Mae Calculator
compares the advantages and considerations of owning vs. renting a home.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763  or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

As Active Duty …Could you be a landlord?

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

A few questions to answer before you hammer a “for rent” sign in your front yard near  Ft. Eustis, Langley AFB, and Williamsburg.

Faced with a mandatory move and a house that won’t budge?  If you’re thinking about renting it out, you should review a few of these questions.

1. Do you have enough money to manage a rental home?  It comes down to cash flow; you have to plan for the worst-case scenario, such as paying expenses without having renters.

2. Do you want to return to the house one day?  For us Active duty that have to move to a new military installation from an area renting the home could be a smart plan.

3. Do you have the temperament for tenants?  You’ll  have to deal with maintenance, and you’ll have to call when the rent is late.  Hiring a property manager as liaison with tenants can provide objectivity.  This can be another expense, but you might just find it is well worth the cost and peace of mind.

4. Do you live in a rental community? Consider whether you’ll have a steady stream of creditworthy renters to choose from.  Active duty in the Hampton Roads area being
close to many major installations provides a lot of potential candidates.

5. Do you have business sense?  As a Landlord you deal with accounting, tax
deductions, and leases.  This is why turning to a property manager for help can help you maintain this.

6. Do you have an exit strategy? Think about what will
happen to your financial situation if you can’t sell at a profit down the road.
This is really an investment risk decision.

Options for Active Duty Trying to Sell a Home in Williamsburg near Ft. Eustis and Langley AFB

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

U.S. home prices fell 4.2% in the first quarter of 2011, according to data from Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller housing index, released on Tuesday. With the latest decline, prices have hit a new post-recession low, and are now comparable to mid-2002 prices. Hearing this today made me realize the options we have, when we are active duty and trying to sell a home.  I have reposted a  post I wrote in March when we had to decide what to do with the signficant drop of Market Value in our home. We did not qualify for Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP), but we decided to pick the best option and go for it.

First, I am getting past the frustration of not selling my home for what we paid for it in Williamsburg, VA in 2007. This is the biggest first step and obstacle to overcome.  Once you clearly state and accept the problem for what it is, you will be free to develop strategies and select the best option for your family. Notice, I didn’t say a “good option”… all of them are likely to come with difficulties.

Option 1:  If your home is currently listed to sell you can reduce the price of your home and come to the settlement with money.  I know this is hard to swallow, but consider the months the home could sit vacant as part of the costs.   If this option is viable “Go for it!” and have peace of mind.

Option 2: Consider renting your home, yes become a Landlord.  This could be a positive note. This could actually put you in a positive cash flow situation.  Do your due diligence on rental prices and the aspects of property management, but a light at the end of the tunnel.

Option 3:  Leave your family behind. Separating families is always a last choice.  But if the two options above do not work this could be a possibility. Personally I am about to experience this in a few weeks.  It is a tough choice but for the next year, we believe it is our best option for our Family.

The above options merely treat the symptoms of the current housing market.

As for my hero in my life he gives all he has to serve his country, and will do anything he could for it!

A Few Tips When Looking at Rental Property Near Ft. Eustis or Langley AFB.

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

Are you PCSing to Ft. Eustis or Langley AFB?  If you are planning on looking at a rental property this week in Williamsburg or Hampton Roads, keep in mind several things to help you with your search.  You will be viewing many properties bring with you a camera and a notebook.  In your notebook, note what is important to you before you start our search.  Are amenities important? Is space a priority?  What is your budget?  Is location very important you?  All of these should be put in your notebook so that you can take notes on the properties you have seen to make sure your criteria are met. Take pictures, this is so important because when you begin looking at properties it is so hard to keep track of which offered this versus that.  If you have pictures, you will have a visual catalog of what you saw.  It might point out something you missed during your visit, one of the best benefits to pictures.

Keep in mind the Williamsburg and Hampton Roads rental market is competitive, so make sure you are ready to act if you want a property.  Bring with you your checkbook so that you can offer a deposit.  Also, have with you several references so you are prepared when filling out the lease application. It is always best to be prepared and get your first choice instead of settling for second because you were not.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates  Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team    which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex.  When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA  you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you  for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763 or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com