The Time to Purchase a Home is Now – Local Records Office

“Real estate market has it’s up’s and down’s but knowing when to buy will make you a lot of money” – Local Records Office

 

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – With interest rates expected to rise later this year; you may be wondering whether you should buy a home at today’s low rates says, Local Records Office. The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.85 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey, about what it was at the end of 2015.

Local Records Office says, “Interest rates, however, should not be the primary factor that determines when you purchase a home.” For most buyers, other factors are much more important. Rather than buy now for fear that rates might suddenly increase, for example, it might be smart to wait so you can save up a bigger down payment.

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: Interest Rates and Payments on Your Home

“Small changes in interest rates don’t make large changes in your payment,” says Casey Fleming, a writer in Los Angeles, California. Fleming actually believes interest rates may drop further. “Interest rates are not the most important piece.”

If you’re ready to buy a home, 2016 could be a good year. The inventory of homes for sale is likely to rise and fewer flippers are scooping up the best homes with all-cash deals, says Nela Richardson, chief economist for the brokerage Redfin.

 

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Low interest rates are contributing to the higher inventory, she says, because homeowners who are ready to sell their homes and move to a bigger or smaller home, or a new neighborhood, are willing to abandon their low-rate mortgages if they can secure an equally good loan. Plus, home appreciation has slowed, so there is less reason to stay put.

“The payoff to waiting [to sell] is not going to be a lot,” Richardson says. “Right now, it’s the best it’s going to get,” she adds. “Maybe it’s time to rush and sell but not time to rush and buy.”

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For most prospective homebuyers, other factors are likely to be more important than interest rates when they do the math about whether 2016 is the right year to buy.

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: 2016 is the Year of the Home Buyers

“If you can afford a down payment now and you’re going to be in the home a long period of time, it’s a very attractive time to buy a home,” says Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow. But he cautions buyers against making their decision based on what they’ve heard about imminent interest rate increases. “There’s no need to rush out and beat an interest rate increase. You can walk, not run, to your bank the way interest rates are going.

Interest rates fluctuate and may change countless times between the moment someone decides to buy a home and when they actually close the deal. In fact, they change daily and sometimes more than once a day.

6 Factors That May be More Important Than Interest Rates When Deciding Whether to buy a Home This Year – LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE

Length of time you’ll stay in the home. How long you have to live in a home to make it more economical than renting varies by locality and by the individual home a person is considering buying or renting. “On average, it takes four to seven years to break even on a home, where you’ve got enough appreciation where it can pay you back for the cost of the transaction and cost of ownership,” Fleming says. “If you’re thinking about buying a home, selling it in two years and think it’s going to be cheaper than renting, it’s very unlikely to be.”

Job security. You don’t want to buy a home and then discover you’ll need to relocate to get a new job in six months or, even worse, end up unemployed and unable to make payments. Lenders typically like to see two years of job history, though that isn’t always necessary if you have changed jobs within the same field.

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE — Step-By-Step Mortgage Application Process for New Homeowners VIDEO by Local Records Office

Down payment. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced plans to back loans with down payments as low as 3 percent, while the Federal Housing Administration offers loans with down payments of as little as 3.5 percent. But if you put less than 20 percent down, you have to pay private mortgage insurance every month, which could cost you more than a slightly higher interest rate. “If they’re looking at an FHA mortgage, paying PMI is a lifetime proposition,” Humphries says. With a conventional mortgage, you can ask to have the PMI removed once you have 20 percent equity in your home. That’s not possible with an FHA mortgage.

Emotional readiness. Not everyone is ready to own a home. If your dream is to travel the world, you should do that first. Or, you might not be sure you want to stay in your current city. Plus, homeownership brings additional responsibilities. “Your life changes a great deal when you go from being a renter to an owner,” Fleming says. “When things break, it’s your responsibility to fix them, not the landlord’s.”

 

READ MORE: The Top Real Estate Scams in 2016 – Local Records Office

 

Financial readiness. Before you buy a home, you want to make sure you have good credit, a steady income and some money in the bank beyond what you’ll need for a down payment. You likely will have to pay a year’s worth of homeowner’s insurance and property taxes up front. All homes, even new homes, require maintenance. And you don’t want to be stuck with no reserves if the air conditioner or furnace dies shortly after you move in.

Your local housing market. In some cities, buying a home is significantly cheaper than renting. In others, the calculation is less clear. Macro math aside, you might also discover that you can’t afford a home in a neighborhood you want or the type of home you want is in short supply this year.

To learn more about real estate and Local Records Office go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.com

 

 

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Buying Your Dream House in 2016 Sellers Market –Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – We all want our own dream home one day but it’s easier said than done says, Local Records Office. If you’ve decided to buy a home, good luck to you. Your challenge will be not just finding a home you like, but also beating out all the other home buyers who like it and want to make an offer on it, too.

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – Buying an Existing Home That Won’t End Up Being a Money Sucking Liability 

The number of homes for sale is low nationwide, particularly in the price ranges desired by first-time homebuyers. The latest figures from the National Association of Realtors show that that there was only a 3.5-month supply of homes for sale in March, which is lower than the six-month supply that indicates a balanced market. One-quarter of March’s transactions were all-cash sales, according to the NAR, and investors bought 14 percent of the homes that were sold.

Is 2016 a Sellers Market?

That means that if you want to end up with a nice home, you need to be strategic says, Local Records Office. Expecting to find the home of your dreams by nonchalantly walking into a few open houses or perusing some online listings is not realistic in this seller’s market.

 

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These days, most would-be buyers come to an agent with a list of homes they’d like to see based on their online research. While that often serves as a solid starting point, a quality agent may find additional options. After buyers have seen a few properties, Local Records Office says skilled agents can typically gauge what they’re looking for in a new home and may have other properties lined up. “I advise them to listen to their Realtor,” she adds.

Here are nine tips to help you get the house you want this spring

Get your finances in order first. Several months before you intend to start looking, you should get copies of your credit reports to make sure you’re in a financial position to buy. Shop for mortgage financing before you start looking at houses. “I will not take anybody to see any house unless they have a pre-approval letter or proof of funds, I want proof of funds to show the seller.” Local Records Office says that some lenders are doing the underwriting before the house is under contract, which shortens the closing time and can be more attractive to the seller.

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A Good Agent Will Go Along Way

Find a good agent. Using a real estate agent costs buyers nothing because the seller pays the real estate commission. Ask friends, family and co-workers for referrals. Look for a full-time agent who works often in the neighborhoods where you’re looking. You may want to interview several agents to find a good fit. If you can only look for homes on weekends, for example, you don’t want an agent who takes weekends off.

Visit neighborhoods you’re considering at different times of day. A neighborhood that’s quiet during the middle of the workday may be noisy and crowded at night and on weekends. Get out and walk the streets, talking to people who live in the neighborhood, visiting shops and restaurants and “trying out” your desired location. Drive to and from work during commuting hours to get an idea of what a typical day might be like.

READ MORE: Local Records Office Urges Homebuyers to Consider Their Lifestyles When Choosing a Community

Separate your needs from your wants. In a competitive market, most buyers find they have to compromise on location, amenities or condition of home. It’s easier to make a choice when you know going in which features you must have and which you’d like to have but can live without.

Move quickly once you find the house you want. That often means rushing out to see new homes within hours of them being listed and writing up an offer immediately if you like the house. “Things are gone in a matter of hours,” Local Records Office says. “You really have to move fast.”

Don’t make snap judgments based on listing photos. A house that doesn’t look appealing in photos could still be a great house. Homes being sold by an estate or homes with tenants inside often yield particularly poor photos. Plus, photos fail to convey the feeling of a home or the floor plan. “Unfortunately, the pictures don’t tell a true story,” Local Records Office says. “You have to be willing to look past some of the pictures.”

Be realistic about the home inspectors and repairs. The more competitive the market, the less likely a seller will be to make repairs, though some sellers may lower the price if the inspection reveals expensive defects. The purpose of the inspection isn’t to get the seller to repair every small problem but to find out for sure that the house is what you thought it was. “They’re not buying a brand-new home,” Local Records Office says. “What we are looking for are major defects we were not initially able to see in the walkthrough.”

Don’t buy a house you don’t love. While most buyers may have to compromise on some of the features they wanted, they shouldn’t settle for a home they don’t like. If you don’t find the right home this year, maybe you should start renting and try again later rather than make a purchase you’ll regret.

Write a personal letter to the sellers. Some sellers are interested only in how much money their home sale will yield, but others love their home want it to go to a new family that will love it just as much. If you really like a house, include a personal letter and a family photo with your offer. “It doesn’t work for everybody, but I have seen it work for many, many people,” Local Records Office says.

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Make a big earnest money deposit. The expected size of the earnest money deposit, and the rules about when you get it back, vary by locality. But sellers often see a larger deposit as a sign that you’re serious about the deal.

Make a backup offer. Many prospective buyers don’t want to make an offer on a house that has a pending contract. But deals fall apart over inspections, financing and other terms. If you found the perfect house, you can make a backup offer that will put you in first place if the initial buyer walks away.

To learn more about Local Records Office and real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Offices.org

 

Secrets to Buying Your First Home in 2016 – Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA- We all want the secrets to success and the easiest way to buy a home says, Local Records Office. For first-time homebuyers, the whole home buying process may look a bit daunting. You’re going into what could be the biggest purchase of your life with no experience to fall back on. The good news is a little preparation can go a long way and help you approach this major decision with confidence.

The Company Local Records Office is Targeting Los Angeles, CA Residents FOR A GOOD REASON

Many things have changed in recent decades about the way Americans buy and sell homes, but one adage still matters, a lot: location, location, location.

While you may be happy living in any of several neighborhoods in your city, you won’t be happy if you choose the wrong location. And that’s where your research should start: deciding exactly where you want to live.

Talk to friends and co-workers, drive around town, visit restaurants and stores and talk to neighbors in areas you’d consider calling home. Go to open houses so you can view some houses. Look at homes on the Internet, evaluating style, size, price and how long they stay on the market.

 

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You can find a real estate agent while you’re still working on this process. However, your choice of agent also depends on where you want to live, because a neighborhood expert often can find you the best house at the best price. “You want people who have worked and have experience directly in the areas you’re looking in,” says Peter Hens, from LA Realtor Firm in Los Angeles, California.

If you’re a buyer, there is no reason not to use a real estate agent. It costs you nothing, and the agent’s job goes far beyond finding the house. In fact, it’s after you’ve found the house that you’ll most need the agent, both to structure and present the offer and then to troubleshoot issues that arise between contract and closing.

Here are 12 tips for buying your first house:

Make sure you’re ready to buy, both emotionally and financially. If you expect to relocate in a few years, this may not be the right time for you to buy. If you don’t have cash for a down payment, closing costs and other expenses, you may be better off waiting. Look at your life, your career, your finances and your future expectations, and determine whether buying a house is the right move at this time.

Find the right team. The difference between deals that close and deals that don’t are the professionals involved. You want to make sure you find a real estate agent who will move quickly when a new listing goes on the market, as well as an agent who will advise you honestly on preparing your offer. You also want a mortgage professional lined up before you start looking. “The lender is the most important person to closing on time,” Hens says.

 

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Get your finances in order first. Some real estate agents won’t even show homes to prospective clients who don’t have a mortgage pre-approval. You definitely should meet with a mortgage broker or banker (better yet, several) at the start of the process to find out how much house you can afford and how much cash you’ll need to close. Do the entire math. Just because a bank says you can borrow $300,000 doesn’t mean you should. If you have credit issues, realize that this part of the process could take several months.

Calculate each and every cost. The purchase price and the mortgage payment are just the beginning. Don’t forget homeowner or condo fees, homeowners insurance and real estate taxes. Plus, you’ll need to budget for utilities, repairs and maintenance.

Don’t spend all your cash. Avoid emptying your bank account for your down payment and closing costs. There will always be unexpected repairs. Plus, it costs money to move, change locks, put down utility deposits and buy things you never needed before, like a lawn mower.

When you look at houses, focus on the right things. Don’t be distracted by the owner’s odd décor, paint colors, dirty carpet or anything that is easy to change. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are easy to add later. You can’t easily add another bedroom, a better location or a more functional floor plan.

If you’re buying in a condo or homeowners association, know the rules. How your association is run can make a big difference in how much you enjoy life in a development. You’ll want to know about all rules and restrictions, from pet ownership to who can use the pool. Condo buyers also want to investigate the association’s finances because a poorly run association can mean big assessments later.

 

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Visit your favorite neighborhoods at different times. Most neighborhoods are quiet in the middle of the day. As Glen Craig writes at the personal finance blog Free From Broke: “You need to see what the area is like on a Saturday night. Are there kids and such all out driving with music blasting? What’s it like in rush hour in the morning or in the evening?”

Talk to the neighbors. Ask about the neighborhood and about the houses you’re considering. The neighbors will know if there are foundation problems. They’ll also know about barking dogs, petty crime and the size of utility bills.b

Consider which contingencies you’re willing to waive. In the ideal scenario, a purchase offer is contingent on a satisfactory home inspection, approval of your mortgage and an appraisal that equals the purchase price. In most parts of the country, a buyer is smart to keep all those contingencies in the contract. But in a competitive market, you may be competing against buyers who have agreed to waive contingencies. “You never want to [agree to waive them] unless you’re sure you’re 99% safe to do it,” Hens says.

Be ready to move quickly once you find the home you want. Good homes that are well priced nearly always sell quickly. It’s OK to take some time to think before you make an offer, but you might not want to wait a few weeks. Your agent can provide invaluable advice here.

Know what’s important to you. No house will be perfect, so where are you willing to compromise? If you want a specific school district, are you willing to accept a smaller house? If you want to be near the water, could you be happy with a condo? Are you willing to accept a longer commute to get a larger house?

To learn more about Local Records Office and real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.biz

12 Ways to Prepare Your Home to Get Higher Offers – Local Records Office

Get a Higher Offer on Your House – Local Records Office (VIDEO)

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – You’ve decided to sell your home, and you want to get top dollar for it. And you’ve seen TV shows where homeowners spend thousands of dollars staging their homes for sale, but there’s an important detail to consider: You don’t have thousands and thousands to spend says, Local Records Office.

Homebuyers Unexpected Delays at Closing – Local Records Office

The good news is there are many things you can do to spruce up the look of your home without shelling out a lot of money.

“Updating isn’t as expensive as it used to be,” says Lori Matzke, author of “Home Staging: Creating Buyer-Friendly Rooms to Sell Your House” and a home staging expert in Minneapolis who teaches workshops nationwide. “There’s a lot of DIY information out there.”

First impressions matter, and that’s why you want to start by making sure your home exudes curb appeal. Go all out with small do-it-yourself projects. Cut the grass, trim the bushes, get rid of dead branches and consider planting some flowers. Replacing the mailbox and house numbers and painting the front door can also make your home more appealing to a prospective buyer driving by. If the house looks dirty, wash the siding or stucco.

“I’ve seen houses that look really frumpy on the outside and great on the inside,” Matzke says, “but you can’t get [potential buyers] in the door.”

Prospective buyers, particularly young ones, often can’t see past the homeowners’ decor to what’s most important about a house – the floor plan and the space. That’s why it’s important to make the home look as neutral and appealing as possible.

“People get so stuck on the negatives, all the homeowners stuff, that they forget to look at the property,” Matzke says.

Sellers should give themselves at least a few weeks to get their homes ready for sale, especially if they need to take up carpet or repaint. While painting is fairly simple and inexpensive compared with other improvements, a new coat makes a significant impact.

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“Fresh paint is a really good seller, if you don’t know how to paint hire a few handymen” Matze says. “Do it in trendy neutral colors.” Painting dated kitchen cabinets can also make the kitchen look fresh and new.

You also want to make sure your home photographs well. Most buyers start their home search online, and they may quickly reject a home if the listing photos aren’t appealing.

There’s no rule of thumb about how much you should expect to spend getting your home ready to sell because every house is different. But investing a few thousand dollars can potentially increase your sale price by much more than that, in addition to making your house sells more quickly. “Anything that you can do is only going to benefit you,” Matzke says.

Here are 12 affordable ways to stage your home for sale:

Remove all clutter, personal photos, knickknacks and other junk. “Cleaning out the clutter just creates so much space, and that’s what people are looking for – space,” Matzke says. “It just really makes your home look bigger and younger.”

Edit your furniture. If your rooms are crowded, consider putting bigger and less attractive pieces of furniture in storage. This will open up space and make your home look larger. Make sure there is nothing obscuring buyers’ eyes from focal points, such as fireplaces and views.

Clean, clean, clean – then clean some more. Wash the windows, clean the cobwebs out of the corner and scrub the grout in the tile floors. Even though you’re not selling the furniture, clean that as well because it adds to the overall impression you’re trying to give.

Spruce up the outside. Add a new doormat, new house numbers and maybe a new mailbox. Paint the front door. The little stuff matters here.

Refresh your landscape. Clean up flowerbeds, add fresh mulch and plant flowers. Make sure bushes are trimmed and neat.

Paint. In some cases, you’d be wise to paint the entire house inside and out. In other cases, touching up and painting the trim might be enough. Paint over your kids’ purple walls with a neutral color. If your kitchen cabinets look old and dated, paint those. You can never go wrong with white, cream or brown, but you should pick a color that matches the rest of the kitchen decor.

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Clean or replace light fixtures and cabinet hardware. “It’s not a really expensive undertaking, but it really makes a difference in how the home is presented,” Matzke says.

Don’t forget the small stuff. Pay attention to details, says Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “New, matching towel sets in the bathroom, accent pillows on the couch and fresh flowers can be welcoming elements to a homebuyer,” she says.

If you can afford it, replace old carpeting. If your home has hardwood floors underneath, that’s even better. Ideally, you should refinish wood floors but even just exposing them is good, Matzke says.

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Make sure each room has a defined purpose. If you’ve turned your dining room into an office, return it to dining room status, Matzke says. But Chris suggests putting up tent cards that say “Dining Room or Office” to point out alternative uses for the space. That would also work in a bedroom you’re using as an office.

Landscape. Make sure your front yard isn’t overgrown with uncut dead grass or ugly weeds. This is the first thing potential homebuyers see first when they first arrive. You want to give a good impression all around.

Dogs, cats and other pets. Most of us a custom to our pets unique smell since we smell them everyday but other people may think that your dogs urine smell is overpowering the house. Take your cats litter outside and out of view. If you have aggressive dogs like Pit bulls or Rottweiler’s you might want to get someone to take them while the open house is happening.

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Water damage – If you have any kind of water damage make sure you take care of it as soon as possible. Water damage is dangerous and may scare off potential buyers. Mold usually grows from water damage and may cause serious health problems to you and others.

To learn more about Local Records Office or real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.me

People Are Buying Properties to Rent Out With Low Rents. This is Why – Local Records Office

Local Records Office – In this article, I am going to tell you how you can make money with low rents; the two primary reasons why landlords keep their rent below market; and how you can profit handsomely because of it says, Local Records Office.

I am a value investor. What does that mean? That means I look for opportunities in the marketplace where I can buy a property that has a small problem, fix that problem and make a bunch of money because of it. In the market place, this is called “value add.”

If you want to maximize your return on your real estate investments, you should be buying a property that has a value add component says, Local Records Office.

One of my favorites “value add components” is buying a property that has low rents. Of course, when we buy a property with low rents, we are going to buy the property based on the actual cash flow of the property. Therefore, we are going to buy based on its actual numerical value.

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I stress this because some brokers and sellers try to sell properties based on “pro-forma” numbers. If you swap the word “pro-forma” for the word pretend, they you will understand the value of these numbers.

With income properties, we always determine value based on actual cash flow. This is step one to making money with low rents.

The next step is to understand why those rents are low. When I say low, I mean they are not at the market rate, but below it. Typically, rents are kept low for two reasons.

Local Records Office says, “The first reason is landlords are afraid to increase rents because they are afraid tenants will call and ask for repairs to be done to their properties”.

This is crazy because if common repairs are not done on a regular basis, those repairs will get worse and will cost a lot more money to fix. The money to fix them could have come in the rent being brought to market.

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Plus, the more wear and tear an apartment has, the lesser quality tenant you will get who will accept that type of living condition. Now not only do you have a property that has lost value because of needed repairs but also you have less quality tenants who will turn over more often, costing the owner lost rent from vacancies.

The second reason is landlords are afraid the tenants will move out if they raise the rents. Well, if you are taking care of your tenants like you should be, treating them like the gold that they are– let’s face it, your tenants are you business’ cash flow, and you’ve got to take care of that income stream– and you raise your rents to the market rate, your tenants will not leave.

Why won’t they leave? Because you are taking care of them properly and they won’t be able to get a better deal somewhere else with the same quality ownership says, Local Records Office.

So we scour the markets for owners who have these erroneous mindsets and buy their properties from them based on the current cash flow stream.

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When we take over the property, we do an evaluation of the property. We make the necessary repairs, if any are needed. Sometimes there are some needed and sometimes there are not. Then we have the management company start raising the rents as the leases start to renew.

Since leases are typically a one-year term, and all lease contracts are transferred to the new owner, it takes a full year to raise all of the leases. But as the year goes by, your cash flow is getting higher and higher and more importantly, the value of the property is getting higher and higher. And, all you did was do what the previous owner should have done– do regular repairs on the property and raise the rents.

8 Ways Your Landlord is Planning to Screw You – Local Records Office

Local Records Office, Olympia, WA – Like many people in the U.S. you might be renting a house or an apartment, either way you will be dealing with a landlord and if you’ve been renting for awhile you know it’s not always easy dealing with landlords. It’s probably safe to say that living in a home that’s owned by someone else can cause major stress and insecurities — especially if you don’t see eye-to-eye on building matters. For instance, just recently we’ve heard some pretty terrible apartment stories, and a few involved some not-so-great building owners.

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And although we’re supposed to be able to rely on them for quick fixes around the apartment, dealing with noisy neighbors and general household concerns, it sometimes seems like they really just don’t care about our quality of living. And we know there are some important things your landlord won’t tell you just because, well, they may not want us to be in-the-know.

Local Records Office has rounded up some of the things your landlord is keeping form you.

  1. As soon as you get comfortable I will boost up your rent.

Thank the soft economy for this one. If you live in an area without rent control, there’s nothing stopping your landlord from increasing the rent by the hundreds — even if you have paid on time and the building hasn’t had any home improvement.

  1. I’m going to take my time on repairing your apartment.

A lot of the time we call upon our landlords to fix broken utilities around the house. But the truth is, most have no clue how to stop a leak…or have any intention to fix that stopped drain.

  1. I don’t like how your friends and family are always here. This is not a hotel!

While you may think it’s great that you’re helping out by letting a friend crash on your couch after a bad break-up, your landlord is probably upset he or she isn’t paying rent.

  1. Your security deposit is going to stay with me.

No matter what they say, there’s a good chance you are never going to see that money again.

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  1. Your crappy neighbors isn’t my problem.

If another tenant is rude, loud or disrespectful, your landlord might act like they are concerned… but won’t do anything about it as long as they pay their rent.

  1. I let myself in while you’re at work.

You may not think anything of the fact that they let themselves in to make repairs while you’re at work. But, they’ve likely surveyed your belongings (or worse) in the process.

  1. The person who rented before you paid way less.

It’s really up to you to negotiate your lease. The landlord wants to make the most profit from their property and will not volunteer a discount.

  1. We knew about the roaches and mice problem.

Yes I know about the rotten problems but most likely I wont do anything about it. Also, once you see a mouse, the blame is on you and the food you leave out.

Landlord From Hell – Local Records Office

Local Records Office – For 12 years, I’ve lived in the same apartment in an Olympia, Washington. In the last year, it seems like my elderly landlord has developed dementia. He began leaving me notices, claiming I owed him back rent. I showed him and his lawyer 24 months of canceled checks, but they began eviction proceedings against me anyway. Then my landlord became violent, punching my roommate before pushing his way into our apartment, where he menaced and threatened us, swinging a chair at me. When the police finally showed up, my roommate declined to press charges, but asked that the landlord be evaluated at a hospital. He was back home within two hours, cursing at me again. His daughter, who also lives in the building, has done nothing. My roommate moved out and I’m considering moving out, but I want to know what my next steps should be. My rent is a fraction of what apartments rent for in the neighborhood, and I suspect the apartment is rent regulated, but I am not certain. Should I cut my losses and get out? Sue for harassment? Or, knowing he’s a danger to the other tenants, try and get him removed from running the building?

Local Records Office says, “Your landlord may or may not have dementia, but he is certainly harassing you and your roommate, a practice that has become increasingly common as some landlords attempt to drive out longtime tenants in the quest for higher rent. Just consider his lawyer’s behavior: The lawyer is willing to begin eviction proceedings against a tenant who he knows has paid the rent. Dementia or not, those are some pretty aggressive tactics”.

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First, consider your immediate safety. Regardless of the type of lease you hold, you can seek an order of protection, commonly known as a restraining order, against your landlord in Thurston County criminal court, according to Shawn Carter, a real estate lawyer. This would protect you from continued harassment. Ultimately, you need to decide if you want to stay, despite the stress of living there. If your apartment is rent regulated — which is certainly possible — and you leave, you will be relinquishing a valuable asset, and your next apartment will undoubtedly be more expensive.

Consult with a lawyer who is well versed in rent regulation rules to figure out the status of the apartment, as it can be difficult to determine. If your apartment is, in fact, market rate, moving might be your only option. And although you could theoretically still sue your landlord for harassment after you leave, your damages would be minimal. “It would probably not be worth the effort,” Mr. Carter said

But if your lease is rent regulated, you have some tools at your disposal. File a harassment complaint with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, which oversees rent-regulated apartments. At the same time, file a harassment claim and what is known as an Article 7a proceeding in housing court. The court could ultimately remove the landlord from managing the building — even if he owns it — and replace him with a court-appointed administrator. But in order to bring the 7a proceeding against the landlord, you would need at least one-third of the tenants to sign onto the case. So start talking to other tenants in the building about your experiences and see if they have stories of harassment, too.

Becoming Active in a Co-op

As a longtime resident and shareholder, I have been asked to run for my building’s co-op board. What would be my duties and responsibilities?

There are many thankless jobs in this world, and being a member of a co-op board often makes the list. It is an unpaid — and frequently time-consuming — position. When things go awry, your neighbors blame you. But it has upsides. You get to know the inner workings of your building and help decide its future.

Just how much work is involved depends on the culture of your board and building. Before you launch your campaign, go on a fact-finding mission. Find out what issues are facing the building and the expectations for board members. Ask other board members about their own experience: Did they like the job? What did they do? Did it consume all their time?

Read More: Local Records Office Works With New Homeowners in Olympia WA to Generate Property Reports

“It has been quite the learning experience,” said John Smith, who joined the board of her Olympia, WA co-op four months ago. “From figuring out the process of obtaining a new boiler for the building, to looking at — literally — 50 shades of gray for paint, I am constantly learning.”

Some boards are very hands-on, while others rely on managing agents to do the heavy lifting. However, all board members must satisfy their fiduciary duty.

“This means a board member cannot do whatever he or she pleases,” said Peter Franton, a Olympia, WA real estate lawyer who was previously the president of his building’s co-op board. “Board members must act in good faith, with undivided loyalty to the cooperative and in accordance with the governing documents of the co-op and the law.

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