According to the Census Bureau’s quarterly survey, rental vacancy fell 10 basis points to 8.2%. Prior to the second quarter of 2013, vacancy rates have not been this low since 2001. The tightening rental market is a reflection of an improving economy. The trend could also be an indication of future housing demand as renting is typically a first step in household formation.
Homeowner vacancy, provided in the same survey, increased in the fourth quarter of 2013. The current reading is 2.1% or 20 basis points above last quarter. The current reading is also 20 basis points above the fourth quarter of 2012.
The seasonally adjusted homeownership rate, according to Census data, was 65.1% during the four quarter of 2013. The seasonally adjusted rate has held constant for three consecutive quarters. The current seasonally adjusted rate is well below the historical 20-year average of 66.8%.
The ability to smoke in public and at apartment communities has been under attack for years. But what about rental homes? Often times an owner plans to rent their home for only a year or two. Certainly the owner does not want to receive the house back with the smell of cigarette smoke still lingering in the house. Even if the renter was a model tenant in all other respects, cigarette smoke can be very destructive. Smoking turns walls yellow (new paint job $1,200), it destroys carpets ($1,500), and it requires a deeper cleaning, perhaps with a deionizer ($500). The cost of all this stress…priceless.
The best approach? In all of our homes we have a no smoking policy. However, we do allow the renter to smoke outside, perhaps on the porch or deck. However, this issue can be a hard one to enforce. What if it’s cold outside? Who wants to stand outside when it’s only 35 degrees? The renter is easily tempted to stand inside the house or close to an open window and light up. Inevitably, smoke gets in the house and the home owner smells the evidence. A good suggestion is to do an inspection within the first month or two of a new lease if you know the renter smokes. Catch the problem early. Then do another inspection a few months later to make sure. If you detect smoke after the tenant moves out, a landlord can charge the tenant for the remediation of the smell. But this can be a tricky proposition. It is always best to be pro-active and keep this issue from becoming a possible expense. It is less ideal to react and pursue a vacating tenant for money.
You can always call Rappold Property Management with questions about your single family home investment.
Rappold Property Management, LLC
1125 SE Madison Street, suite #201
Portland, OR 97214
1. Can you afford to pay off the mortgage in 15 years?
Although a 15-year mortgage offers a lower rate relative to a 30-year mortgage, thereby allowing borrowers to pay interest for only half as long, a 15-year mortgage comes with a higher total monthly payment. This is because the principal must be paid off faster, making each principal payment larger.
Because borrowers pay down the principal balance faster, in the longer run they save on interest payments. Inside Mortgage Finance publisher Guy Cecala noted, “if you can afford the higher payments associated with the shorter-term 15-year mortgage, there is no reason not to take one.”
However, because the monthly payments are higher, it can strain borrowers’ ability to set aside money for retirement or their kids’ college tuition. These borrowers may be better-off with a 30-year mortgage. Similarly, if the higher payments of a 15-year mortgage mean borrowers have…
This 1944 photo shows an Alberta Line streetcar at its terminus at NE 30th Avenue and Ainsworth Street. An article in the June 16, 1940 The Oregonian describes the new retail development on the southwest corner (left) and six-unit bungalow court development on the southeast corner.
We saw the top of the dome on this building the other day; here it is from the front. At the time, the YWCA called the corner of N. Ivanhoe Street and Richmond Avenue home, now it’s the McMenamins St. Johns Pub.