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What to do with a Rental Between Tenants

- Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Renter Insurance

The move-out process during tenant turnover can be stressful and figuring out what to prioritize can be daunting. These priorities can shift based on how much time you have between tenants.

What to Always Do

No matter how much time you have between tenants, there are certain tasks that need to be done no matter what. These are the most crucial and time-sensitive issues that need to be dealt with first, particularly, if you only have a few days.

Have the locks changed or at least re-keyed before the next tenant moves in. Despite how nice your last tenant may have been, getting new locks and keys is a matter of safety for your new tenants. Your state or local laws may or may not require this, but it can be a good assurance of safety for your future residents. Another matter of safety is the battery in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Always replace the current batteries with fresh ones, even if your current tenant tells you the batteries are fine.

With Less than One Week

If you have another tenant lined up to come in as soon as your current one moves out, there is a very short period of time that you can get everything settled in.

If they are needed, schedule repairs as soon as possible. When you are doing your tenant move-out checklist, make note of any needed repairs and schedule these appointments as soon as they move out. Depending on the repairs, you can also maximize your time by cleaning while the repairs are happening. If your time is short, you may need to prioritize any maintenance tasks and get the most urgent out of the way. If you note non-urgent repairs, create a plan to address them in a timely manner after your new tenant has moved in.

With One Week

A week between tenants gives you a little bit more time to get maintenance done than in just a few days. Everything above should still be done, but there are a few more issues you can address. Maintenance should be performed first, both indoor and outdoor. Outdoor maintenance can include replacing broken shutters, repairing cracked walkways, cleaning gutters, and resealing windows. Indoor maintenance can involve checking for leaks, replacing air filters, and flushing the water heater.

As soon as the maintenance is done, get the unit as thoroughly clean as you can. Ensuring that the unit is freshly cleaned and maintained will demonstrate to your new tenants that you will be a good landlord. It will also ensure that your tenants will care better for the property and must thoroughly clean the property (or pay to have the property cleaned) if your lease requires the property to be in rent-ready condition at the end of tenancy.

Upgrade to hardwired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors if you do not already have them. Depending on your location, building codes might require these in your units. Make sure that you have the expected lifetime of your detectors recorded and, if they are at that point, replace them.

With Two Weeks

With a couple of weeks between tenants, you should have enough time to do everything above and to freshen up your unit. A common way to achieve this is repainting. If time is short, or you want to give your new tenants some flexibility with decorating, you can allow them to paint the unit themselves. Alternatively, consider hiring a professional or repaint the unit yourself to control both the paint color and the quality of the job. Satin paint sheens in particular are nice because they resist stains, mildew, and dirt, but are still slightly reflective.

If you have carpet in your unit, it will need to be cleaned between tenants. If the carpet is still in relatively good condition, then a vacuum or shampoo might be enough to get it ready for the next tenant. However, if your unit is pet-friendly, then it will most likely need a deep clean. This will help with pest control, fur, odors, etc. Drying the carpet after it is cleaned can take up to 24 hours, so arrange your schedule to accommodate it. Switching to hardwood floors or laminate flooring in the future can also alleviate this situation and make your floors last longer.

The Final Touches

After the needed repairs have been made and the maintenance has been done, it is time for the last piece of the puzzle – your pre-move-in inspection report. This can be done manually, or with an app-based inspection solution. Be sure to take photos of the unit. These pictures of the unit should be taken as soon as all of your maintenance is done. This gives you documentation of what the unit looked like before the new tenants, and can be key when dealing with security deposits. These photos can also be used to advertise the unit when the next tenant is ready to move out. Do a quick run-through of the unit before handing over the keys to the new tenants and you are set.


10 Ways to Improve Your Heart Health

- Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance

The Ten Ways to Improve Your Heart Health

  1. Balance calories with physical activity.
  2. Reach for a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Choose whole grains.
  4. Include healthy protein sources, mostly plants and seafood.
  5. Use liquid non-tropical plant oils.
  6. Choose minimally processed foods.
  7. Subtract added sugars
  8. Cut down on salt.
  9. Limit alcohol.
  10. Do all this wherever you eat!
Need more food for thought? Go to

First Valentine's Day Date Ideas

- Monday, February 12, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - First Valentine's Day Date Ideas

You love spending quality time together, so any opportunity to make fun memories together—yes, please!

Find out whether your valentine likes to be surprised or would prefer to be in on the date planning; then, start brainstorming! There are tons of fun first Valentine's Day ideas. If you get stuck when planning the perfect date, we want to help! We've collected many memorable ideas for your first Valentine's Day together.

Traditional First Valentine's Day Date Ideas

Making new traditions is one of the sweetest things to do with your new date. But, since you're still getting to know each other, you may feel unsure about what they'd enjoy the most. The best way to find out is to ask them, but if they aren't sure, a traditional romantic date will do the trick!

If you need help deciding what to do, try a traditional romantic idea—and look for ways to add a personal touch.

Go out for a fancy dinner together. Ask what fancy restaurant they love and make reservations well in advance. Dressing up, sharing a fancy bottle of wine, and chatting in a beautiful setting is always memorable and exciting.

Spend the weekend away. Plan a getaway at a fancy hotel or bed and breakfast. Order room service, sneak in early to sprinkle some rose petals on the bed, and pack a special card and gift.

Go to a romantic spot & exchange gifts. Whether in a restaurant, a beautiful overlook, or a park, you can enjoy each other's company in a lovely setting.

Adventurous First Valentine's Day Date Ideas

If you're an adventurous couple, you'll enjoy something less traditional to get your adrenaline pumping. What's romantic to one couple may be boring to you, so plan an outdoorsy adventure or try something new:

Take a hike! Visit a local trail you enjoy, or drive a little farther to a beautiful location for Valentine's Day. Do your research to find the best trails, lodging, and restaurants—and check their seasonal availability.

Do something that scares you (both). What do you both want to learn how to do or try—from salt water float therapy to ballroom dancing? Trying something new is a great bonding experience, and you can lend each other some courage.

Go skydiving—indoor or outdoor. Maybe you've tried it before, but they haven't (or vice versa). Isn't skydiving on almost everyone's adventure bucket list? Take the first leap together!

"Foodie" First Valentine's Day Date Ideas

It's what drew you together in the first place—besides your actual attraction to each other. You both love food, and there's no getting around that fact. If you’re both self-proclaimed culinary critics, anything food-related will be the best date idea to celebrate your first Valentine's Day together.

Take a cooking class together. Choose a class where you can learn to cook something you both enjoy eating. You can find local in-person cooking classes or virtual ones, but either way, it's an enjoyable (and delicious) bonding experience.

Host a wine & cheese tasting. This one can be just for the two of you, or you can invite some of your favorite couples. Gather a combination of new and favored wines, cheeses, and the food lovers in your life to host a fun & romantic event.

Try an exotic new cuisine (or restaurant). Discover a new ethnic restaurant in your area, or plan a trip to an exotic eatery together.

Low-Key First Valentine's Day Date Ideas

If your relationship is super-new and you want to do something more under the radar this February, opt for one of these more casual date ideas.

Order takeout & watch a movie at home. DoorDash your favorite restaurant & choose a movie from your favorite streaming service to enjoy. The possibilities are endless, whether you want to Netflix and chill or Disney+ and de-stress.

Go to a movie. If there's a movie you both want to see (or you want to treat your date to the infamous Valentine's Day chick flick), grab some movie tickets. Find a theater that also serves dinner & enjoy a super low-key evening together.

Cook them a fancy dinner at your place. Those three sweet words: I'll cook tonight. (Especially if you're a good cook!) Your love will love to relinquish menu planning & cooking for tonight and relax together. Bonus: they don't even have to clean up their apartment this time.

Romantic First Valentine's Day Date Ideas

The most romantic first Valentine's Day dates blend silly, sweet, and sexy moments. So, if you want to up the ante, find a way to combine playful and endearing moments that will fan the flame of your love.

Enjoy a romantic game together. Purchase a fun card game for couples—some focus on getting to know each other more, and others are more adventurous bedroom games.

Two words: couples' massage. Hit the spa together and experience a couple's massage. Try to find a hotel with a spa package so you can enjoy some calming, romantic time together—and you don't have to hurry home!

Play with puppies at the SPCA. And maybe adopt one? If your S.O. loves animals, visit the animal shelter to play with the dogs or cats. (Just be prepared to potentially bring a new pet home.)


Tips to Pre-Screening Potential Tenants

- Tuesday, February 06, 2024
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Rental Home

Screening is an essential part of finding a great tenant. You can begin the screening process immediately, as soon as a prospective tenant calls to let you know they saw your listing and is interested in the rental. In fact, you can even start the screening process before ever having someone lay eyes on your property listing.

Below are a few tips to follow when pre-screening your prospective tenants:

1. Set the Requirements to Your Standards

Simply setting the rent price will screen out applicants who know they cannot afford your property. Additionally, if you list out your other requirements such as a rental application, credit report, and criminal history check, you’ll turn off the prospects that know they wouldn’t pass your tests.

2. Ask How Many People Will be Living in the Unit

When you are on the phone, you’ll also be able to ask about who will be living in the rental, how long they expect to rent, etc.

There’s no need to show the place if the prospects are four people trying to rent your one-bedroom (most states have a law that says you cannot have more than two people per bedroom) or if they’re only looking for a short term rental and you don’t offer that.

Here are additional questions you should ask your prospective tenant.

1. What’s Your Desired Move in Date?

Tenants begin their apartment search at various times of the year, depending on when their existing lease ends. Before getting into the details of the apartment, it’s important to first establish when they’re looking to move in by.

The reason why is because some tenants can be looking several months in advance to see what’s available and aren’t planning on moving right away, which is something to consider if you’re looking to fill the property as soon as possible.

2. Why Are You Moving?

Although most tenants are simply moving due to not wanting to renew their existing lease, it’s still a great question to ask to better understand their reasoning for moving. Their response can help you gauge if they’re moving for a negative reason — such as being evicted from a property — or if they’re moving to a different location due to a new job.

As a safety measure, you can write down their answers to then compare with what previous landlords share when being asked about their experience with the tenant.

3. Do You Have Pets?

It’s not uncommon for a tenant to own a pet when renting out a property. Prior to looking for tenants, you should determine if you want to allow pets on your property.

If you decided you don’t, then this is a question you’ll want to ask any prospective tenant to ensure no animals enter the premises. On the other hand, if pets are allowed, then you can then ask what type of animal they own, the breed, and any important behavioral issues to be aware of.

4. What Is Your Monthly Income?

The industry standard is typically two to three times the set rent price. Learning more about your tenant’s monthly income can help you determine if they meet your requirements or need a guarantor in order to get approved. You can also request a credit report to better understand an applicant’s financial health and see if they have a strong history of making on-time payments.

5. Can You Provide Landlord and Employer References?

Tenants that have previously rented more than one property should have a landlord reference to provide on a rental application. For first-time tenants, they can provide a personal or credit reference to share information on how they treat other people and their overall reliability.

There may be instances where tenants are unable to provide any references, and if that’s the case, then you can either move forward with other applicants or provide other suggestions you’re willing to accept.

6. How Many People Will be Living in the Apartment?

To avoid dealing with squatters — which are unauthorized tenants in a rental property — you’ll want to know whether or not more than one person will be living in the property. If so, you’ll need to individually screen each tenant that’s listed as a co-signer on the rental application.

This will also be important when collecting rent payments, the security deposit fee, and any other fees since it’ll need to be split between each tenant on the final lease agreement.

7. Do You Smoke?

Smoke of any kind can cause extensive damage to a rental property, all of which can be expensive to fix. As the landlord, you are allowed to implement a no smoking policy, but it’s advised to provide tenants with alternative spots where it is allowed. This can be a backyard or certain feet away from the building.

Asking this question gives you an opportunity to remind any prospective tenant of your policy to ensure no one smokes in your property during the lease term.

8. Are You Okay With Paying an Application Fee?

When screening tenants with Avail, either the landlord or the prospective tenant can cover the $55 fee for the credit, criminal, and eviction report add-ons. Although this is a normal part of the renting process, it’s important to know if they’re okay with covering it. An application fee will also filter out tenants that are serious about renting your property.

9. Are You Looking for a 12-Month Lease Agreement?

There are different types of lease agreements, such as an annual agreement, a month-to-month agreement, or one that ends on a custom date set by the landlord. Ideally, you’ll want a tenant looking to sign a lease agreement with a 12-month lease term. However, if you come across someone looking to sign a shorter lease or prefer a rent-to-own agreement, then this can be something to discuss more in-depth.

3. Pay Close Attention to Their Questions

Let your prospects ask their questions during the phone interview. First, you’ll find out what’s important to them and can make sure to show off the areas of your rental that highlight their wants.

Second, you can figure out whether their priorities are in line with yours. If they’re asking about the location of the closest bars and you’re concerned about noise violations, this might not be a good fit.

Create a Rental Application

If you’ve gone this far with your prospective tenant, you should always allow them to submit a rental application, even if you know they won’t work out. You don’t want it to appear that you’re discriminating and at this point, you’ll want to allow everyone that you’ve already shown the property to go through your usual screening process.


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