5 Common Mistakes that Renters Make

Photo by Pallspera.com

Photo by Pallspera.com

There are pluses and minuses to being a renter, just like there are positives and negatives to owning a home. In the United States, 35 percent of homes are renter-occupied, and 65 percent are owner-occupied, and the biggest percentage of renters includes those under 30 (18 percent.) Renters often have to worry less about big problems with their living space because the landlord is usually responsible for fixing the problem, but at the same time, renters also might have to wait for the landlord to fix the problem like they are supposed to. Renters also usually avoid dealing with outside maintenance, snow removal, and sometimes lawn care. While in some ways being a renter is easier than being an owner, it can also be harder, and there are many common mistakes that renters make. Here are five of the biggest mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Not researching the area
If you are moving to a new area and you need to rent for a while before purchasing a home (or you just prefer to rent anyway), make sure you research the area that you are signing up to live in. Especially if you are working with a relocation company, or someone is finding an apartment for you, you should still do your own research. An apartment that seems too good to be true probably is; don’t fall for an unusually low price tag without looking around first. Make sure that the area is safe, convenient, and that it has everything you need (a good school if you have kids, groceries in walking distance if that is important to you, and so on.) If you don’t carefully research where your apartment is, you risk getting stuck with a lease that you are not comfortable with.

2. Not comparison shopping
Even if you find an apartment you like at a good price in an area that you trust, you shouldn’t stop there. Be sure to compare multiple properties to see which you like the most. If you are moving from out-of-state and someone is helping you to look, ask for pictures and specific apartment details when possible. Make sure that you factor in important aspects of the overall package, and not just the price. If you have animals, you will need a pet-friendly rental, and many rentals are not pet-friendly. Some landlords will allow you to sublet if necessary, or to have a roommate move in, but not all apartment owners or managers are the same. Even if you find an apartment at a great price, you may find the price isn’t worth giving your dog away, etc.

3. Not paying attention to the details
Before you sign a lease, make sure you know exactly how much your rent will be. Find out if you have to pay utilities, and if so, which ones. Determine if any bills are shared between neighbors, and if there are any additional fees for trash, amenities, and so on. Ask any questions before you sign the lease, including how to pay your bill, what happens if you are late, and who to contact in an emergency (including when your landlord is unreachable.) Also be sure that as you look over the agreement, that you are aware of the various included terms, including the deposit and fees, apartment lease regulations, any sections on repairs, utilities, renter’s insurance, and right of entry.

4. Not documenting problems
When you first move into a rental, make sure you take pictures and document any previous issues that existed at the beginning of your rental agreement. Many landlords will provide you with a list of any problems with the rental, but if they don’t, or you see other issues, make sure to keep track of them. When you encounter issues with the landlord or the property itself after you have moved in, make sure to document those problems as well. The landlord is required to fix major problems, but if you don’t keep careful track of the previous and existing condition of the property, the landlord may try to blame you for certain issues. Your landlord is not legally responsible for fixing cosmetic issues, but check your lease if your landlord is refusing to fix something you think they need to fix.

If you face an issue with a landlord refusing to fix a problem, or mistreating you, be sure that you seek legal help. Landlords have many legal responsibilities, but if you never report a problem, you may not see any changes. This may require simply having a lawyer contact your landlord, or you might actually have to go to court.

5. Not protecting yourself
Although your landlord should have rental insurance, if you have valuable property that belongs to you and you are keeping in your apartment, you probably need renter’s insurance. If you are trying to save money, you can get a basic plan, but you should make sure that you at least get some type of renter’s insurance. You should also protect yourself when it comes to other tenants. If anyone is bothering you, threatening you, or breaks your stuff, you should report it to the landlord and the police.

Also be aware that you shouldn’t make any changes to the property without getting written consent from your landlord; so while many landlords would appreciate their tenants having the entire apartment professionally painted, you still need to ask first.

Renting can be a great way to have a comfortable home, without having the same maintenance responsibilities that home owners face. Just make sure that you avoid making these five mistakes.

To read the article as published on thewallstcheatsheet.com, please click here.

 

Featured Realtor of the Week: Hart Traylor

Our featured Realtor this week is Hart Traylor. Whether you are looking to buy or sell a house, contact him to find out how he can help you with your real estate needs!

Hart Traylor PictureHart Traylor

Vice-President | Realtor® | Project Manager

Phone: (803) 622-5432
FAX: (803) 779-1880
Email: HartTraylor@TheMatherCompany.com

Hart graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in History. Upon graduation, he spent 2 years working at a church in Columbia as the Media Administrator. In 2009 Hart joined Charlie Mather as Charlie was beginning The Mather Company. In 2010 Hart got his sales license. Hart was born and raised in Columbia. He met his wife Vanessa at an on campus Bible study (RUF) at USC. They married in 2008, and in 2010 had their first child; a son. Hart loves Jesus and spending time with his family. He also enjoys Gamecock football/basketball/baseball, the Minnesota Vikings, and music. He and his family are actively involved with their church, Columbia Crossroads Downtown.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:1-2

Looking for a Rental Property, Don’t Be Scammed

Internet For RentIdentity thieves have increased their presence in the housing and rental  markets making it even more important for potential homebuyers and renters to do  due their diligence and know the warning signs of a scam.

The housing bubble caused many homes to be pushed into foreclosure and the  owners into the rental market, and scammers are using a myriad of ways to steal  personal information and money from unsuspecting victims. According to Raul  Vargas, fraud operations manager for Identity Theft 911, many of the scams are  occurring online.

Vargas explains that many of the scams involve an online post about an  available property to rent and when someone is interested, the scammer sends a  rental or lease agreement that requires a plethora of personal information like  birth date, Social Security number and current address. Some even ask for bank  account information to verify eligibility. The unsuspecting renter ends up  giving up the information hoping

Some scammers post bogus properties online and target renters moving from  another city or state.  “Everyone renting looks online to find a great  price,” and the scammers know that, says Steve Weisman, a college professor at  Bentley University and author of 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a  Digital Age. Typically the fraudster will list a rental online with a market  price far lower than others in the area. The listing will have a real address  and photographs and the renter will be asked to either wire a deposit or send a  money order to hold the rental. “The renter doesn’t get to see the place and the  next thing they know they don’t have a place,” says Weisman. “It’s very easy to  copy a listing and put up a phony one.”

Scam go both ways: People with a property to rent can also become victims.  Weisman cites a popular scam that involves someone living outside the country  agreeing to move into a rental unit sight unseen. The “renter” will even send a  deposit of six months rent to ease any fear. A few weeks later, the scammer will  call to back out of the agreement and tell the landlord to keep two months of  the rent for the trouble and send the rest back.  The landlord cashes the  check, sends the money back and a week later the check bounces. “Even though you  waited a few days for the check to clear the bank doesn’t tell you that it’s  only provisional credit. The bank takes back the money when the check truly does  bounce,” says Weisman.

While scammers have become more sophisticated, renters and landlords can stay  one step ahead.  Being aware of some red flags will prevent them from  losing any money or sacrifice personal. According to Vargas, if the person asks  for personal information via the Internet and/or asks you to send money via a  money order or a wire transfer ,which isn’t easily traceable, should all serve  as red flags. He also recommends never sharing personal information without  meeting someone and checking their credentials.

Experts suggest out-of-town movers to work with a licensed agent to find a  place to live. To verify if an online posting is legitimate, Weisman recommends  searching the address and if it turns up on multiple sites with different names,  there’s a strong change the listing is a scam listing. The tax assessor’s office  can provide the homeowner’s name of the particular property and many of the  offices have websites making it easier for renters to check public information. “Be wary if the place is dramatically priced less than others and always check  out who the real owner is,” says Weisman.

To read the article as published on foxbusiness.com, please click here.

 

New Listing: 309 Kalmia Drive, Columbia, SC 29205

Our agent Charlie Mather has a new listing for sale in a popular downtown Columbia neighborhood! Contact us to find out more about it!

309 Kalmia Drive, Columbia, SC 29205 (Columbia SC Real Estate)309 Kalmia Drive
Columbia, SC 29205

(Map)

Listing Price: $189,000
Square Footage: 1,852
Bedrooms: 3
Full Bathrooms: 2

Stately older 1852 SF, 3 bedroom, 2 full bath home in one of Columbia’s sought after established in-town neighborhoods. Enjoy the elegant formals of yesteryear with original hardwood floors and moldings in the living room that has a huge picture window and the dining room. Spacious white kitchen with lots of cabinets and a closet pantry for storage. Enjoy the family room that offers the comfort of rich knotty pine paneling, a gas log fireplace, and built in book shelves as well as access to the Florida Room that overlooks the large, fenced, green backyard. Additional closets in the hallway and the unfinished basement allow for all the extra storage space that anyone could need. This is a home with loads of character and the convenience of “in-town” living!

SOLD – 401 Cedar Field Lane, West Columbia, SC 29170

Congratulations to our agent Hart Traylor on selling his listing at 401 Cedar Field yesterday! The Mather Company is successfully helping their sellers sell their homes. Contact us to find out how we can help!

Sold!
401 Cedar Field Lane
West Columbia, SC 29170

401 Cedar Field Lane, West Columbia, SC 29170 (Columbia, SC Real Estate)

Open House Today in Lexington Land of the Lakes Neighborhood

221 Mockingbird Drive, Lexington, SC 29073 (Columbia, SC Real Estate)

Hart Traylor will be hosting an open house today, Sunday May 25, from 2-4, at 221 Mockingbird Drive. This is a great home and has a lot to offer for the price! Stop on by to see this house! Call Hart at 622-5432 for more information.

221 Mockingbird Drive, Lexington, SC 29073 (Columbia, SC Real Estate)221 Mockingbird Drive
Lexington, SC 29073

(Map)

Square Footage: 1,650
Bedrooms: 4
Full Bathrooms: 2
Half Bathrooms: 1

Come see this 4 bedroom, 2 ½ bathroom home in Lexington that exudes southern charm, starting with the large front porch. Upon entering, one is greeted by a large spacious living room and cozy brick fireplace. Crown molding runs throughout the downstairs, and the dining room features elegant chair rail molding and wainscoting. The eat-in kitchen features wood stained cabinets, and a welcoming bay window area where you can eat your meals while enjoying the scenic view of your wooded, and secluded, backyard. Upstairs one will find a large master bedroom, with his and hers closets, and a private master bathroom. The 2nd and 3rd bedrooms, located upstairs as well, are good size, and share the 2nd full bathroom. The finished room over the garage is ideal for a 4th bedroom, playroom or office. The garage has been converted into a bonus room (not included in the square footage) and workshop. This home features lots of storage space in the attic and large closets. Come make this your home today!

Open House on Sunday at Charming Lexington Home

221 Mockingbird Drive, Lexington, SC 29073 (Columbia, SC Real Estate)

Hart Traylor will be hosting an open house this Sunday (May 25), from 2-4, at 221 Mockingbird Drive. This is a great home and has a lot to offer for the price! Stop on by to see this house! For more information please contact Hart at 622-5432.

221 Mockingbird Drive, Lexington, SC 29073 (Columbia, SC Real Estate)221 Mockingbird Drive
Lexington, SC 29073

(Map)

Square Footage: 1,650
Bedrooms: 4
Full Bathrooms: 2
Half Bathrooms: 1

Come see this 4 bedroom, 2 ½ bathroom home in Lexington that exudes southern charm, starting with the large front porch. Upon entering, one is greeted by a large spacious living room and cozy brick fireplace. Crown molding runs throughout the downstairs, and the dining room features elegant chair rail molding and wainscoting. The eat-in kitchen features wood stained cabinets, and a welcoming bay window area where you can eat your meals while enjoying the scenic view of your wooded, and secluded, backyard. Upstairs one will find a large master bedroom, with his and hers closets, and a private master bathroom. The 2nd and 3rd bedrooms, located upstairs as well, are good size, and share the 2nd full bathroom. The finished room over the garage is ideal for a 4th bedroom, playroom or office. The garage has been converted into a bonus room (not included in the square footage) and workshop. This home features lots of storage space in the attic and large closets. Come make this your home today!

Featured Realtor of the Week: Charlie Mather

Our featured Realtor this week is Charlie Mather. Charlie has been voted “Agent of the Year” 3 years in a row (2011, 2012 and 2013) by the readers of The State newspaper! If you need help with buying or selling real estate in Columbia, SC, please contact Charlie. He can help you with all your real estate needs.

Charlie Mather PictureCharlie Mather

President, Owner, and Founder of The Mather Company, Inc.
Broker | Realtor® | Residential Home Builder

 

Phone: (803) 622-9480
FAX: (803) 779-1880
Email: Charlie@CharlieMather.com

 

Charlie graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Upon graduation, Charlie began a career in real estate, and has been serving clients in the Columbia and surrounding area ever since. In 2009 Charlie started The Mather Company. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 Charlie was voted by the readers of The State Newspaper and other local people as Real Estate Agent of the Year. He has lived in Columbia since 2001. He has been married to his wife Lauren since 2006. They had their first child, a boy, in 2011, and had a girl in 2013.

Open House Today in Bradley Neighborhood at 3006 Oakhaven Road, Columbia, SC 29204

Hart Traylor will be hosting an open house today, Sunday March 9, from 2-4pm at 3006 Oakhaven Rd., Columbia, SC 29204. This is a cute home with some recent updates. Please come by to see this house and give us your feedback! You can contact Hart for more information at 803-622-5432.

3006 Oakhaven Road, Columbia, SC 29204 (Columbia, SC Real Estate)3006 Oakhaven Road
Columbia, SC 29204

(Map)

Listing Price: $99,000
Square Footage: 1,748
Bedrooms: 3
Full Bathrooms: 1
Half Bathrooms: 1

Welcome home to this updated, tri-level home close to downtown Columbia. This 3 bedroom, 1 ½ bathroom brick house was recently painted inside, and has new carpet and flooring throughout the house. Warm up by the charming brick fireplace in the family room. Enjoy a relaxed meal in the eat-in kitchen space, or host a more formal meal in the formal dining room. The 1st and 2nd bedrooms are located upstairs, along with the ½ bathroom. The full bathroom is located on the main level, and the 3rd bedroom is located downstairs with its own entryway. The large backyard is fenced in, and has a shed perfect for storage. Come make this your home today!

Open House Today at Cute Home in Lexington!

221 Mockingbird Drive, Lexington, SC 29073 (Columbia, SC Real Estate)

Hart Traylor will be hosting an open house today, Sunday Feb. 16, from 2-4, at 221 Mockingbird Drive. This is a great home and has a lot to offer for the price! Stop on by to see this house!

221 Mockingbird Drive, Lexington, SC 29073 (Columbia, SC Real Estate)221 Mockingbird Drive
Lexington, SC 29073

(Map)

Listing Price: $119,000
Square Footage: 1,650
Bedrooms: 4
Full Bathrooms: 2
Half Bathrooms: 1

Come see this 4 bedroom, 2 ½ bathroom home in Lexington that exudes southern charm, starting with the large front porch. Upon entering, one is greeted by a large spacious living room and cozy brick fireplace. Crown molding runs throughout the downstairs, and the dining room features elegant chair rail molding and wainscoting. The eat-in kitchen features wood stained cabinets, and a welcoming bay window area where you can eat your meals while enjoying the scenic view of your wooded, and secluded, backyard. Upstairs one will find a large master bedroom, with his and hers closets, and a private master bathroom. The 2nd and 3rd bedrooms, located upstairs as well, are good size, and share the 2nd full bathroom. The finished room over the garage is ideal for a 4th bedroom, playroom or office. The garage has been converted into a bonus room (not included in the square footage) and workshop. This home features lots of storage space in the attic and large closets. Come make this your home today!


For more information, please contact Hart Traylor:

Hart Traylor
Phone: (803) 622-5432
Email: Hart@TheMatherCompany.com

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