Is It Ordinary Wear and Tear, or Damage?

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s a Landlord, there are the usual expenses in cash flowing a property which is the cost of doing business.  From the time the home is acquired until it’s rented, costs include acquisition costs to restoring habitability to updating, depending upon the overall objective of the landlord, and different levels of updating that may be desired.  Providing a safe and habitable abode is the goal to obtain and keep long-term tenants.  Once the tenant is placed, ordinary wear and tear is a landlord expense.  Damage or excessive filth isn’t.

A habitable structure is a safe structure that has met minimum building codes, and can be occupied in reasonable comfort.  Although standards vary by region, the premises should be closed-in against the weather, provide running water, access to decent toilets and bathing facilities, disposal of wastewater, provide heating, and electricity. Particularly in multi-dwelling buildings freedom from noxious smells, noise and garbage are included in the standard. (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/habitable)

So, once the property meets the definition of habitable structure, what is ordinary wear and tear, and what is damage?

Ordinary Wear and Tear (OWT) and Landlord Responsibility VS Damage or Excessive Filth, the Tenant’s Responsibility:

1. Moderately worn carpet, vinyl and tile is OWT; burns, holes, breaks or stains is Damage

2.  Small holes from hanging pictures, OWT;  numerous or large holes from hanging shelves, accidents or carelessness is Damage

3.  Dents in wall from door handle, OWT; Door off hinges or missing handles or hardware is Damage

4.  Faded Paint is OWT;  stains, drawings or unapproved painting is Damage

5.  Burned out oven heating elements is OWT;  Burned out oven heating elements caused by food debris catching fire is Damage

6.  Warn gaskets on refrigerator doors is OWT; Broken refrigerator component or shelf is Damage

7. Moderate dark patches of soil on reasonably worn hardwood floors, OWT; water stains is Damage

8.  Warped cabinet doors is OWT; Sticky cabinets and interiors is Damage

9.  Moderately dirty mini-blinds, OWT; missing, stained or broken mini-blinds is Damage

10.  Cigarette smoke residue or fumes is Damage

11.  Garbage disposal that quits operating due to motor dying, OWT; Garbage disposal that breaks a because of a foreign object lodged inside is Damage

12.  Laminate top separated from countertop base, OWT; Burns, chips and breaks is Damage

13.  Loose door handles is OWT; missing or broken door handles is Damage

14.  Failed toilet parts, but no cracks in the toilet or stoppages or blockages is OWT;  cracked, breaks or problems caused by flushing foreign objects is Damage

15.  Loose faucet handles is OWT; broken faucet handles or missing drain plug or other parts is Damage

16.  Some electrical issues may be OWT; electrical damage caused by overloading the circuits or other tenant activity is Damage

17.  Worn out switches, OWT; broken or missing switches is Damage18.  Loose deck or fence components, OWT; Broken deck or fence pieces or parts is Damage

19. Loose stair banister or handrail, OWT; missing stair parts is Damage

20. HVAC concerns related to age of unit, OWT; problems caused by dirty or missing filters or abuse or misuse is Damage

21. Animal droppings left in the yard, and damage to landscaping by animal droppings or urine is Damage.

~ This list is by no means a complete and comprehensive list.  Based on what features are included in a home, there may be other items to consider.  Ordinary wear and tear should not be charged to the tenant or deducted from the security deposit.  Damages should be charged to the tenant or deducted from the security deposit.

Feel free to share this list with your tenants and your preferred Maintenance Professional so that everyone is aware of what is and isn’t covered by the landlord.

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Chrystal Safari Roy Leading You Home…

Chrystal Safari Roy has over 20 years experience in personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina.  As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer.  Chrystal is a member in good standing of the Charlotte Regional Association of REALTORS®, North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and National Association of REALTORS®.

 

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How to Hire a Contractor to do Work in Your Home

home work  An important aspect of hiring a contractor to do work in your home is to understand what permits, special requirements or licensure are required for each job.  Once that’s understood, you can know whether it’s best to hire a licensed contractor or a handyman.

REFERRALS
Be sure to ask for referrals and references and know the relationship of those referring parties to the contractor. Ask for pictures of installations on similar jobs that have been performed for others and give those referring parties a call or visit to ask how the work was performed, the attitude during the job, coming in on budget and wrapping up on time.  Discover if there are any negative remarks online or with the BBB.   Be sure he or she is qualified to handle the scope and type of work needed, especially with regard to special conditions such as lead based paint, asbestos, mold, etc.

IDENTITY
If the home is occupied, if personal items are stored there or is otherwise notid_verified vacant, be sure to qualify your contractor if he’s unknown to you through online services such as mysmartmove.com or others.  Get a copy of the contractors driver’s license and have him sign a w-9 to include his social security number.  If you’re an investor and renovations are common for you, you may want to investigate the Verify Photo ID app recommended by Inman News.

CONTRACT
Next, execute an Independent Contractor Agreement with your contractor. Be certain it has no verbiage or requirements to suggest the contractor is an employee of yours.

PHASES
Now is the time to outline and understand the three phases of the renovation. The initial Phase One is paid on day 1 of the job.  The subsequent draws for Phases Two and Three should be paid by the week, on a Monday or Tuesday. In constructing the phases, the contractor should budget for each item and any overages or misquote is the responsibility of the contractor, not the homeowner. Make sure your agreement covers things such as milestones, and outlines the scope and sequence of the work to be completed. The contract should include the description of all work, and condition of Customer Satisfaction such as all items completed in a workman like manner, job site left clean and tidy daily, and no items incomplete.

MATERIALS
selecting-the-right-color-bigIdeally the home owner should have chosen paint colors, sheens, types for each space, cabinets, granite and whatever materials will be used in the project at the source. Have your Independent Contractor pay for those materials and have that provider deliver the materials to the job site, then reimburse the contractor immediately – this strategy avoids any appearance of establishing an employee/employer relationship. Do not pay for routine tools and supplies the contractor uses in his everyday business such as paint brushes, ladders tarps , etc.

UPDATES
If you’re not the owner occupant at the job site, require the contractor to provide daily pictures and videos of each phase when complete before scheduling a personal inspection and before payment on that phase is released.  An investor can use this in the future or marketing.

COMPLETION
In exchange for the final payment the homeowner should sign off that he is satisfied with the job, and the independent contractor should sign that he is releasing all liens in exchange for final payment.

For a No Obligation Sample Copy of my Independent Contractor Agreement, email me.  I’ll be glad to help.  Chrystal.Roy@RERCharlotte.com | 980.355.9025

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cbs isaChrystal Safari Roy, Broker in Charge of RER Charlotte, an Investor-Centric Real Estate Firm bringing you from Purchase to Portfolio located in SouthPark Towers, has over 20 years experience in investing, personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina.  As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer.  Chrystal is a Certified Military Residential Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, and HUD Registered Agent.  View all our properties at RERCharlotte.com.

Market Monday Update – Charlotte Homes

Weekly Market Activity Report

market watch monday 42715

(Data current as of April 27, 2015)

More Homes Hit the Market in the 2nd Quarter Than All Year Long

You may have been browsing the internet for a home to buy once yours sells and not found what you like. There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is if you’re a seller and waited until the second quarter you’re going to have a lot more competition. The good news is that you’ll have a lot more selections available for your move in or move up neighborhood in the next 30 – 60 days because more homes hit the market in the 2nd Quarter than all year long!

Call me to set up a time to discover why Giving Tree Realty is the preferred brokerage firm in Charlotte for THE top sellers in our area, and how my marketing plan can help you get significantly more money for your property by correctly preparing it for market.

The Roy Group Home Selling Team is at your service.

In the Charlotte region, for the week ending April 18:

  • New Listings increased 6.2% to 1,246
  • Pending Sales increased 46.7% to 1,141
  • Inventory decreased 19.8% to 13,214

For the month of March:

  • Median Sales Price increased 9.9% to $189,000
  • List to Close decreased 2.2% to 133
  • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.5% to 94.6%
  • Months Supply of Inventory decreased 26.0% to 4.1

This research tool is provided by the Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association.  For more information, contact me, Your Full time REALTOR®.

T  E  S  T  I  M  O  N  I  A  L

I highly recommend Chrystal Safari Roy and The Roy Group Home Selling Team. In the selling and purchasing of our home she worked with us for over 9 months, even before we were sure about selling and re-purchasing. With her input we were able to sell our home in 7 days.

In the purchasing of our new home Chrystal was very patient and extremely knowledgeable. Chrystal took us thru several neighborhoods and areas and providing us with great feedback and input on what is a great investment and purchase for our family.

Chrystal has a great knowledge of real estate, including national markets and international markets. Chrystal was born and raised in the area; she has lived aboard and has strong ties to the international communities here in Charlotte.

Chrystal has provided us with so much information, I think it would be worth your time to just take a couple of minutes and speak to her about what you and your family’s needs and desires are in your new home.

Desi and Dinika Collins Bryant South Charlotte

Contact us for all your real estate needs.  Chrystal Roy 704.562.1030 / MyAgentChrystal@gmail.com

How to Prepare Your Home as a Product for Market

The 6 D’s of a Quick Home Sale

Preparing your home as a product for market is very different than living in your home. You must remove your emotion from the deal and look on it as a business proposition. If you’re not ready to do that, it’s best to wait and not put your house on the market. Think you’re ready?

Setting the stage for a home sale means preparing your home to appeal to the broadest market. Here are the 6 D’s to a quick home sale:

Declutter

You’ll be packing to move anyway, so it’s time to put away anything you wouldn’t find an a 4 star hotel room. That means you must walk around every room beginning from the left side of the door and sweeping back around to the right side of the door removing items are visually conflicting or create a sense of having no space. It’s time to put away anything that catches dust and doesn’t add to the attitude or identity of the room. Don’t forget to organize and purge the pantry, linen closets and garage.

Decorate

Each room should be decorated in a way that creates an identity for the intended space. You may have used the dining room for an office, but it’s important for a buyer to see the dining room decorated as a dining room. The decor should be as neutral as possible and not visually distracting. Neutral doesn’t always mean beige! The rule of 60-30- 10 applies. 60 % is a dominant color, 30% is the secondary color, and 10% is the accent color.

Consult the color wheel to select your palette. Keep trendy colors to the 10 percent; think throw pillows, table top decor or towel sets. White space also applies to decor. White ceilings and furnishings can make a dark room feel spacious and rich, yet intimate. Be sure adjoining rooms have complementary patterns and color palettes.
Add lighting where needed.

Deep Clean

Have your property deep cleaned. Don’t forget to change HVAC filters and have siding pressure washed. Buyers perceive a dirty house to have been ignored behind the scenes, such as plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling systems.

Depersonalize and Demilitarize

Put away all family pictures & portraits. You can’t have buyers coming in and say to themselves, ‘Aww, we can’t make this sweet little family move!’ Set the stage for inviting buyers to picture themselves in your space. Buyers must feel that they only need to carry in their suitcases!
Remove all religious items and die-hard fan memorabilia. The home purchase is first made with emotions, then backed up with logic and secured with finances. I was once showing a house to a buyer and when we arrived in the bonus room filled with fan memorabilia, he remarked that he could not buy a house owned by a fan of his biggest college rival.

Demystify

Don’t have buyers shaking their heads when they leave your property. All homes will get a nickname. A personal favorite was ‘the crayon house.’ From the view from the kitchen to the great room to the second floor loft, each wall had a different color! It was very distracting for the buyer to evaluate the house as a whole because of that first impression visual impact and attitude of the crayon/toy box.
Buyers are usually in the car seeing several similar homes a day in the same price range. If your list price does not measure up to everything else that was seen in regard to size, condition and materials, it will confuse the buyer who will mentally put your listing aside and your property will not be seriously considered.

SOLD!

Staged homes sell faster and for more money.

For a personal inspection and recommendation of staging strategies for your home before listing, give me a call. Following my personal consultation with the seller 6 weeks prior to listing, my Personal Best Days on Market was THREE HOURS!! and it was 10% More than Sellers thought possible! For a free evaluation of what your property might bring in today’s market, contact me today.

Chrystal Safari Roy / 704.562.1030 / MyAgentChrystal@gmail.com

Avoid Foreclosure – AND the Tax Man

stop-foreclosure1Have you ever wondered why some foreclosures sit on the market for what seems like forever and others are foreclosed on right away? The homeowner who has diligently paid their mortgage on time year after year and have built up equity in their home are foreclosed on first! The bank sees the value and plans to make back their money AND get your equity when they auction off your home.

Other homeowners who have little or no equity are allowed to remain in the home without payment sometimes for years!  Banks know they will reduce the incidences of vandalism and have someone who may keep up the home for free if they are allowed to remain.  It also allows the market to appreciate over that time so that a future sale will be more profitable for the bank.

Then, if that’s not enough, the IRS will charge you income tax on the loan amount

tax man in the form of a 1099 Miscellaneous. Your foreclosed loan is taxed as earned income in that single tax year!

Unfortunately sellers lose their home and their equity to banks all the time and then have the double jeopardy of having to pay an additional tax in already distressed situation.

You have options the bank doesn’t want you to know about.  I can help. Call me or go online here and answer a few questions, and I’ll work with you to get what you want for your home and get you moving forward again. I am a REALTOR®, but this is not about listing your home for sale.  I am also an investor and this is about getting you what you want for your house, helping you prevent foreclosure and the taxman. Don’t wait until you’re more than two to three months behind.  Then, it’s much harder to help you get what you want for your house.

cbs isaPlease call me as soon as you know you can’t make your payment.  I’ll ask a few confidential questions by phone to see if my team and I can help, and schedule a visit to see your property.  Call or email me today.  Click this link to see the questions.  My team and I can help you prevent foreclosure, the taxman and get you moving forward.

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Here’s a testimonial from a loyal fan:

‘Chrystal, your experience and professionalism helped me prevail through difficult times in the listing and sale of my long-time family home.

From creating professional marketing materials including onsite brochures, online photo tour, and email blasts, promotion of my listing through TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube.com, to showing the house 6 of the 24 times it was shown, you were on the job.

After the property was under contract, your previous experience and successful resolution of similar problems discovered during the home inspections helped me work through a difficult transaction that included a breakdown in communications, unexpected property conditions and lender required repairs, and keeping the buyer on track with lending requirements and in love with the house until closing.

I couldn’t have done it without you.  It’s my pleasure to recommend your real estate services to everyone I know.’

Tony Sweatt, Fort Mill, South Carolina

The Safari Group Launches New Foreclosure Help Division

CHARLOTTE, NC – Nov 01, 2014 – REALTOR® Chrystal Safari Roy, Broker in Charge, and The Safari Group of Charlotte, NC are proud to announce the addition of a new foreclosure relief division to their real estate practice earlier this month. Carolinas Foreclosure Help division expands the practice due to its continued growth and commitment in delivering quality customer service combined with the latest strategies to assist home owners in the sale of their homes and to assist new home buyers in purchasing homes at a great value in the Charlotte, Fort Mill, Waxhaw and Weddington areas for a growing number of clients.

Chrystal Roy is owner of the local boutique real estate firm and has been a REALTOR® for 14 years practicing real estate in the Charlotte Metro area for that time.  She is licensed in North and South Carolina. The Safari Group is a full service brokerage firm specializing in listings, sales, tenant procurement and rental portfolio development.  Her mission with the new division follows years of experience with clients who attempted to avoid foreclosure on their own, falling victim to the banks’ superior knowledge and know-how, is to educate customers and clients on all aspects of real options for home owners who are in distress leading to a smoother transition from a home owner at risk of foreclosure, to avoiding foreclosure and the credit and tax liability that comes with it.  In addition to pre-foreclosure counseling, Mrs. Roy will make recommendations on approaches to renewed home ownership as a part of the client’s recommended recovery plan.

The Safari Group’s website, TheSafariGroup.com, and its associated blog include information on how customers can, not just get the most out of their financial situation, but avoid the decade-long stigma of foreclosure and also how they can help themselves speed up credit recovery times.

“I’m happy to be part of debt relief and recovery in the Charlotte and surrounding areas, and to be part of Mr. and Mrs. Homeowners’ solution to foreclosure at such a difficult time for their families,” said Mrs. Roy. “In my years of experience, there’s never been such an advocate for homeowners with approaches that both avoid foreclosure for the homeowner and provide a quick opportunity for returning to home ownership.”

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chrystal

Chrystal Safari Roy has over 20 years experience in personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina.  As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer.  Chrystal is a member in good standing of the Charlotte Regional Association of REALTORS®, North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and National Association of REALTORS®.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting — To Buy Your First Home

From conception to delivery there are many steps and stages when purchasing your first home, whether it’s a resale or new construction.

Buyer or Dreamer?

Shopping Woman Shocked Over PriceOnce you decide you no longer want to live with good old mom and dad, or pay rent, you must prepare yourself to become true buyer and future homeowner. The first step is to determine your financial position. If you live with mom and dad, take 6 months to pay yourself the amount you would be paying in a mortgage. It does two things: it helps you build up savings, and it helps you overcome the sticker shock of having to pay your own way.

Show Me the Money

Do you have enough money set aside for a down payment? The most common amount needed is 3.5% of your purchase price (for an FHA loan). There will also be what are called closing costs to complete your loan and home inspection processes, and to close the deal at the attorney’s office. Closing costs run about three and a half percent of the purchase price. Before you determine that this is too much for you, ask your home-buying experienced family, friends and coworkers about a savvy REALTOR® who can work with you in your area who will negotiate that the seller pay your closing costs.

Your TEAM

Your REALTOR® has preferred vendors and can recommend lenders to help you obtain your Partnership-page-picturegoal. My lending analogy is this: if you have some credit issues or are self-employed or earn commission with fewer than 24 months in that job and on a tax return, you may need a Big Mac and you can only get that from one place. But if your credit scores are high and you’ve been employed in the same field for over 6 months earning wages or a salary, a taco may be right for you.  You can get that anywhere from a fine restaurant with a real Mexican chef, or you could go to Jack in the Box and order that thing in a taco shell with meat and American cheese called a taco. Once you’ve discovered your lender needs and become pre-qualified by reputable, preferably local lender, you have become a potential home buyer.

The Dreamy Home
Next, clearly outlined the preferences you have in a home within your price range establish by your lender with your REALTOR®. Select the top 5 homes you prefer and enjoy shopping!
Once you’ve discovered your top pick, it’s time to develop an offer. Your Realtor should discuss with you the pros and cons of what you’re thinking. A strong offer is a high percentage of list price, has no contingencies, is offered by well qualified candidate working with a local lender with whom the realtor has great experience, and can close in a short period of time. There will be several documents that you will sign that authorized your broker to represent you and to direct the seller to pay the buyer agent fee. Additional documents include actual Offer to Purchase which becomes a contract when all parties agree on the terms. This document is accompanied by earnest moneuyyour pre-qualification letter and an earnest money deposit. The earnest money deposit is your ‘skin in the game’ in exchange for the seller taking his house off the market while you begin inspections and so on, and usually runs between $500 to $1000 dollars, depending upon the price of the house. There may also the negotiations to request a Due Diligence Fee from the buyer that is not refunded if you fail to close on your purchase. Once you and the seller agreed to all the terms, the offer becomes a contract.

Congratulations! You have just purchased your new home! Now your broker has 180 tasks to perform behind the scenes to get you to an on-time closing.

From Contract to Close
Your broker will begin ordering inspections such as the termite and home inspections and any inspectionothers if indicated during those inspections. Focusing on the discovery of any major defects, you may prepare a request for repair proposal for the seller.
You’re also coordinating with your lender to get him several documents and other pieces of information. Be sure to respond to his requests as soon as possible to keep you on schedule to close on time
Your broker will recommend looking into homeowner’s insurance and provide any HOA documents, if indicated, for review.
7 to 10 days from closing you should have a loan commitment letter from your lender. Now is time to transfer utilities into your name and forward your mail beginning the day of closing!

Advice About Advice

Sure, the internet, the media, Uncle Herman, your coworkers, and dear old mom and dad have opinions about real estate, and your nearest and dearest have purchased homes and know about the process, but unless they are closing homes hundreds of times a year in your market, there’s no way that they are up to date on changing guidelines, trends and the latest market analysis. Hear what they have to say, but let your real estate professional be your guide.

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Chrystal is a REALTOR® and principal of The Safari Group, a local,cbs isahomegrown real estate firm, specializing in all phases of the residential and small business real estate market, including First Time Home Buyer, New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, Foreclosures, Short Sales, and Luxury Homes and GREEN Features.  Contact her at 704.562.1030   TXT/PH or Chrystal@TheSafariGroup.com