Bad News for Pet Owners

cat-and-dog-resting-togetherOn December 16, 2016, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed legislation which restricts the total amounts landlords may charge for move-in fees. This legislation took effect January 15, 2017, and enacts the following:

– Pet damage deposits may not exceed 25% of the first full month’s rent, and landlords cannot charge any other fees for allowing a pet.

– Monthly pet rent is not allowed as a part of any new agreement signed January 15, 2017 or later.

So you’re probably wondering, how can this possibly be bad? Isn’t it a bonanza for pet owners? Welcome to the reality of unintended consequences. Continue reading

Inflation? What Inflation?

US homeownership rate

US homeownership rate

It’s like a game of Where’s Waldo? All the new in regards to inflation seems to be good. Yet do such reports reflect what is going on in your pocket book?

A recent Census Bureau quarterly update on residential vacancies and homeownership shows continued decline in home ownership. Continue reading

Is Home Ownership The Worst Investment Ever?

Is Home Ownership The Worst Investment Ever?Here’s a mistake you won’t want to make – rolling your hard-earned cash into a money pit. So, what are the investments to avoid? Is it penny stocks? Junk bonds? Collectible beer cans?

It’s hard to know what the biggest loser might be, but one common investment myth that keeps coming up is the idea that home ownership is the road to riches. Think about it: What are the typical attributes of a good investment? How about some cash flow, low transaction fees, liquidity and a proven track record?

The average single family house falls far short on every metric. Continue reading

I Found An Interesting Article On Green Apartment Construction

Green Apartment Living is Growing

Green Apartment Living is Growing

While skimming across various apartment rental blog sites recently, I came across this interesting article, “Green Apartment Construction Blossoming, Yet Renter Survey Shows $560 Rent Premium is 5 Times Higher than Most Would Pay“. It’s a long article, but I know you’re busy, so I thought I’d summarize it for you to save you some time.

Real estate crazes run the gamut. There are some that are temporary. There are others, however, that are around for the long haul. Many crazes have significant effects on the real estate industry in general. Sustainable structures are an example of a real estate craze that’s not going anywhere any time soon. These buildings are popping up in locations all over the United States. They indicate that the eco-friendly green lifestyle is no longer a novelty. This kind of lifestyle is actually quickly becoming the norm. Continue reading

Christmas Trees and Fire Safety

Christmas Trees and Fire Safety

Pretty . . . and flammable

No one wants to spoil the holiday season, but Christmas trees in the home can present a fire safety issue. A primary concern with a Christmas tree is fire danger, often brought on by the combination of electrical mal­functions and, in the case of a real tree, a drying tree.

In the United States, christmas trees start approximately 210 house fires per year.

According to a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report issued in 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to more than 200 home structure fires annually between 2009 and 2013 in which Christmas trees were the first item to catch on fire. Each year, fires occurring during the holiday season injure 2,600 individuals and cause over $930 million in damage, according to the United States Fire Administration. Sadly, Christmas tree-related fires have a higher incident of fatalities than typical house fires, according to the NFPA report.

Read more at christmastreeassociation.org

Fire safety is serious business. The threat of fire is a good reason why you should have renters insurance. See our post on apartment fire and renters insurance. Its inexpensive too: about $8 per month. Call our office at (262) 785-0840 for more information . . . and peace of mind.

Pet-Friendly Policies Across the Nation

household-petsSan Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore., are the most pet-friendly rental markets in the country, according to a report from Trulia.

Cats are the preferred pet among landlords. On a national level, 20% of rental units welcome cats, 18% permit small dogs and big dogs are allowed at 4% of properties, the report found.

Added rental costs are common for pet owners, including deposits, fees and higher rents. However, 78% of the listings only charged one of these fees and 22% charged two, said Ralph McLaughlin, housing economist at Trulia. “It’s very unlikely you will get hit with all three.”

Trulia analyzed seven factors to determine the rankings, including the number of listings on its website that allow pets, the costs associated with renting as a pet owner and the concentration of pet-related businesses. The study included properties listed in the 25 biggest rental markets . . .

Read more at CNN Money

The Milwaukee area wasn’t in the report because we don’t live in one of the top 25 US markets. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great apartment that will accept pets like the apartments you can find at Decker Properties. Our pet-friendly policy allow you to bring your friendly companion home with you. Bring your pet to the The Fairways Apartments in Fond du Lac, Riverdale Apartments in Little Chute, or any of our other fine apartments across southeast Wisconsin. Call us at (262) 785-0840 to schedule a visit.

See our blog post “Bad News for Pet Owners”

The Seven Dream Secrets of Renting

dream-swashThe American dream has always been to own your own home. But like everything, the times are changing and now so is that dream. Today, about 35% – 45% of renters are renters by choice. So let’s glimpse inside the dream that these folks have been having in the Seven Dream Secrets of Renting:

1. Flexibility. People change jobs today more often than ever. If anything, this trend is only likely to continue if not accelerate. Today, owning a home might mean missing the next promotion. For those making career a priority, renting just makes more sense.

2. Cash. Renting just doesn’t tie up cash like owning. The first month’s rent and security deposit are often less than even the closing costs associated with purchasing a home, let alone the down payment. And sometimes owning has unanticipated costs, like home owners association dues, insurance and unexpected repairs.

3. Tax Advantages. It used to be that owning a home had great tax advantages. But now the standard deduction is $6,300 for singles and $12,600 for married couples and interest rates are at all time lows. For some prospective home owners, the interest deduction might not be more than the standard deduction. And none of the expenses of home ownership like insurance and repairs are deductible.

4. Equity Buildup. The hoped for equity grown from ownership may never come to fruition. First, in the early years of a mortgage, most of the payment goes toward interest. Second transaction costs from a sale can eat up appreciation so severely that some experts say to plan on staying in a home at least seven years to break even on these costs.

5. Price fluctuation. It used to be that home prices only changed in one direction – up. But in more recent times, we’ve witnessed perilous drops in home values, leaving many home owners “underwater,” owing more than their house is worth.

6. Liquidity. If circumstances change – health, employment or relationships, being tied to a home can sometimes make a bad situation worse.

7. Lifestyle. Some renters by choice are just plain sick of maintenance, mowing and all the other drudgery of home ownership. Throw in that many apartments are located closer to transportation, shopping, entertainment and employment and it just makes more sense to rent.

Catalina Crossing apartments in Madison, artist rendering #3No, its not a dream: Come see the wonderful options Decker Properties has, and rent a beautiful apartment. The hard part is deciding whether to rent at the new Catalina Crossing Apartments in Madison, or our our new Wilson Heights Apartments in Hartford. Call us at (262) 785-0840 for these and other great Wisconsin apartment locations.

Don’t Buy a House

hands-holding-20-dollar-billsAnd now, a few words of wisdom from our friends at CNN Money on renting vs. buying

Theresa King of Illinois knows lots of young people who dream of owning their own home. It’s ingrained in the American psyche, like turkey on Thanksgiving.

But Theresa sees it differently. She calls her decision to rent a home instead of buying her smartest financial move.

In 2000, she found herself in a situation she never expected: going through divorce as the mother of two young daughters.

She and her ex-husband sold their Chicago home and Theresa faced a tough choice: Where would she go now? The homes she could afford were mostly in neighborhoods with mediocre schools.

“I did not spend all of the money I got from the sale of my home in the city on buying another home,” Theresa told CNNMoney. “I would have blown through the money fast.”

For Theresa, the decision was simple:. . .

Read more by Heather Long at money.cnn.com

Photo by Steven Depolo from Flickr using Creative Commons license.

The Five Questions Your Landlord Is Going to Ask

question mark with a personQuestion One: Why are you moving?

At first, it may seem like this is none of the landlords business. However, your landlord may ask a question like this because she is trolling for red flags. An answer like, “because I’m getting evicted” or “I lost my security deposit” is not going to impress your new landlord. Neither is going on at length about what a jerk your old landlord is. Continue reading

Be A Good Neighbor

Get to know your neighborsFor some people, their ideal home is an apartment building in a glamorous part of town rather than a suburban spread with a lawn. Whether you share this dream or find yourself renting an apartment for other reasons, you should do everything you can to be a good neighbor in the close confines of an apartment building.

Communicate Freely Without Being Pushy

It’s important not to live in anonymity. Make an effort to get to know your neighbors without sticking your nose into their business unduly. Introducing yourself when you first move in and making a habit of saying hi when you run into neighbors will go a long way towards building up positive feelings in your building.

You should cultivate at least a little common ground with your neighbors so that you feel comfortable asking them for favors (or doing favors for them) when it’s absolutely necessary. Whenever you need to ask your neighbors for something – even if it’s to turn down their music, for example – it’s good to think of your request as a favor. Continue reading