Located just on the outskirts of Auburn, Opelika, AL is home to quite a few thousand cars and plenty of traffic for those venturing to the university nearby. With lots of visitors and the area attracting a variety of folks to the area, our customers at Elliott & Associates Insurance want to offer you multiple ways to keep your car secure against theft.
Wherever you choose to park your car, make sure it is in a well-lit area. Dark spaces encourage thieves to break into vehicles because it is more accessible to work and allows limited witnesses. Most will avoid your car in a lit and secure parking lot to prevent the risk of getting caught.
Get an Immobilizer
If you do not already have one, an immobilizer is a physical device that you place on your car to prevent them from hot-wiring your car and stealing it. This device is complicated to remove without the owner, so most thieves who are looking for a quick snatch will move right past your car when they see it.
Lock your Steering Wheel
Another device that you can place in your car is the steering wheel lock that requires a key to remove. With this lock in place, the vehicle cannot be driven. For most criminals seeking out a car, they will walk right past yours because of the time and risks these locks create.
Get Premium Security
The best security for your car is auto insurance. When you add comprehensive coverage to your policy, you are covered in the event your vehicle is stolen. If you live in or around Opelika, AL, contact our agents at Elliott & Associates Insurance today for more information about our policy offerings.
Renting out your house instead of listing it on the real estate market is a common, and even profitable, way to hold on to your property when you aren’t currently living in it as a primary residence. Some homeowners choose this direction when they want to wait to sell when their second home’s value increases or the market turns in their favor. Others may want to come back to this property for retirement or are holding on to it for their family’s future use.
Whatever your reasons for deciding to rent out your property, some planning and preparation need to go into your home — not to mention your new role as a landlord — before you can start advertising it to the world. The first decision to make is determining if you want this to be a long-term rental, as in asking for year-long leases from tenants, or a short-term rental, such as listing your property on Airbnb or VRBO. This guide will walk you through:
Setting up your house as a
short-term or long-term rental
How to find out how much to rent
your house for
Knowing your legal rights and
Putting on your landlord hat
Pros and cons of short-term vs.
Setting up your house as a rental
Whether you’re setting up your home
for a long-term or a short-term rental, you’ll need to be sure that
it’s ready for your renters to move into. Either way, you want to
double-check to make sure that:
All appliances are safe and in working order.
Entry to the house, whether by key or lock pad, is secure and accessible.
The house is clean, and if furnished, the furniture is not broken or damaged and in good condition.
If you’re going to be renting your house for short periods on a site like Airbnb, you’ll want to take the right steps to set up your profile correctly. You will need to include information like:
Your home type and how many people
your space can accommodate.
If you allow children and pets,
and if there are any additional fees for them.
An overview of your home and the
area nearby, along with highlighting any amenities that guests can
expect to enjoy when they stay in your house.
How to find out how much to rent your
When renting out your house, you’ll need to understand how much rent to charge to make sure you cover all of your costs — mortgage, property taxes, insurance, utilities — and be able to set aside some funds to put toward maintenance and upkeep. You’ll also need to cover costs associated with rental applications like conducting background and credit score checks on tenants, as well as hiring cleaning services, a property manager, and contacting referrals.
However, once you determine a price that covers your needs, you’ll need to search and compare it to other rental homes of the same or similar quality in your zip code area; this applies to both short-term and long-term rental properties. Redfin offers a rental estimate that will help you in determining how much to rent your home for.
When getting your business and finances
in order to list your home as a short-term rental, you’ll want to:
Do your research on Airbnb or VRBO to see the price range that other homes in your area rent for.
Consider offering a discount for extended stays. Also consider increasing the rent on weekends, holidays and other high-travel seasons.
Factor in cleaning costs, pet deposits, and other upfront non-refundable fees.
Protect yourself and your property with insurance.
Pro tip: For new hosts, Airbnb
recommends listing your price lower than the suggested rate, so you
can get a few immediate reviews and build up your credentials.
When organizing your finances and
business to offer your home as a long-term rental, you’ll want to:
Determine the length of the lease you’ll offer.
Set a price for security, pet, and other deposits.
Consider hiring a rental manager such as a property management company to handle rent and late fee collection, take care of repairs and deal with vacancies and evictions.
Protect yourself and your property with insurance.
List your home on applicable rental sites such as Craigslist, Facebook, etc
Once you have settled and secured the business aspects, you’ll want to speak with a lawyer or real estate company to make sure you not only understand your legal responsibilities but that you have them all covered.
Know your legal rights and
The essential contract for a long-term rental is a lease agreement. As a landlord, you need to be sure all of the terms of the rental situation are outlined on paper and signed by all parties involved. You’ll want to make sure your lease outlines the following:
Length of lease
Security deposit amount
Rental due date and penalties for
late or missed payments
Responsibilities for repairs,
basic upkeep, and maintenance — be sure to be specific about lawn
care and pest control
List of names of all tenants
Policies about pets, painting,
noise levels, homeowners association dues and rules, and smoking
All related deposits
Consequences for damaging the
When thinking about the length of the lease, keep in mind that a month-to-month lease gives you the flexibility to sell when you’re ready, while an annual lease is a more stable option for those holding on to the property. Either way, have a lawyer look over the lease to make sure you’ve included all of the necessary components. You also need to research the landlord and tenant laws in your state. When it comes to disputes, some states automatically favor the tenant over the landlord, so it’s important you know the laws, rules, and regulations for your specific state.
When it comes to a short-term rental, signing a lease is usually not involved, but you still need to make sure that your renters understand and follow your policies. You want to be specific about cancellation policies, adding additional guests, steps for clean-up or check-out, and roles around any amenities like swimming pools, hot tubs or kitchens.
Put on your landlord hat
When you decide to rent out your home, you have to be sure to separate yourself emotionally from your renters. While it’s important to be flexible when you can, remember that this is a business. A good landlord is someone who is firm but kind, understanding but not easily taken advantage of. Other qualities of a good landlord include:
Good communication with quick
Reliable and responsible, and
always acts honestly and with integrity
Well-organized and thorough,
paying close attention to detail
Utilizing and developing all of these
qualities will enable you to establish a strong, cordial and candid
Pros and cons of short-term vs.
There are many reasons to rent out your property, but deciding how to rent it out can be just as challenging as deciding who to rent it to. How do you know which is the best choice for you?
Short-Term Rental Pros
More lucrative, especially if you live in a tourist destination
Adjustable in regard to time and money in order to fit the demand
Flexible with scheduling so you can use the property for vacation when you have the time
Possible qualification for tax breaks & deductions that are specific to short-term rentals, like the 14-day rule
Generally less wear and tear on your property
Necessary to furnish and clean on
a frequent, regular schedule
Some states, cities or
municipalities require short-term rental landlords to complete
complex paperwork and hike a mountain of red tape
Accounting for negative financial
gains during slower periods
More competition from surrounding
Typically more tasks and items to
Long-Term Rental Pros
More stable and reliable tenants with less rental turnover
More consistent pay & income
Fewer bills that need to be covered by the landlord
Generally does not need to be furnished
Long-Term Rental Cons
Potentially larger gaps between
Less control over the property
Finding the right tenants may take
The eviction process can be
time-consuming and costly
You won’t find a one-size-fits-all
package when it’s time to decide on a short-term or long-term
rental plan. The benefits — and shortcomings — associated with
both are clear. It’s important to always keep sight of your goal:
maximizing your property’s return on investment.