Monday, March 11, 2019

You’ve finally found your first dream rental, but are you still struggling between budget-friendly and big-ticket luxuries decor? Here are some tips that will help you decide on the must-haves.

Budget-Conscious Must-Haves for Your First Apartment

first apartment
Getting your first apartment is an experience like no other, but as everyone knows, the search can be quite a process.
After searching for your dream apartment and prioritizing your needs, and finally signing your lease, it can be tempting to let your excitement get the best of you when shopping for furniture and decor. However, between the cost of movings and deposits, you have likely already spent a hefty chunk of change.
Since this is your first time on your own, there are likely some necessities that you will not have, so be certain to budget appropriately for these items and save the big-ticket luxuries for the future. How do you decide what items are must-haves and what purchases can be saved for later?
This can serve as an easy reference point for what your first purchases should be for your new apartment. Here are the must-have purchases for your first apartment.


Sleeping is vital for functioning well, and you spend 7-9 hours in bed. While this big-ticket item is necessitous, there are still ways to save. Opt for a full-sized bed and upgrade when you have the extra funds, or keep your eye on department store sales to find a queen bed for the price of a twin or full. That way you have room to grow for the next few years until you have enough extra funds to spring for that King-sized Tempurpedic you’ve had your eyes on. Be aware, however, that saving money is great… until it costs you long-term. Avoid purchasing a used mattress from Craigslist or another resale sight, these may come with free bedbugs included, and you certainly don’t want to deal with pests in your apartment.

Comforter & Sheets:

This may be obvious, but your new mattress needs a proper set of sheets. Avoid sleeping directly on your mattress to protect it from your skin oils and excess wear. If you’ve invested a lot in your mattress, it’s also wise to purchase a mattress protector to mitigate allergens and keep your mattress safe from any ramen noodle accidents you may have in the future. Don’t be fooled into blowing your budget on fancy sheets with a high thread count or the most expensive down comforter. Those are luxuries you can save for down-the-road. For now, look for inexpensive bed-in-bag options online or in discount home good stores like Ross and TJ Maxx.


Couches are expensive, especially if you are purchasing them new. If you can buy a used couch from a relative or friend, this is a definite must-have. However, be careful once again of spreading bed bugs into your home if you buy from an unknown seller. If a new couch seems a little out of reach and you don’t have the ability to buy a nice used option, opt instead for an inexpensive futon for a serviceable seating solution for yourself and future guests.

End, Side, and Dinner Tables:

Having a table in some form is a must. You will need a flat surface from which to eat, work and set down your stuff. However, having all of the varieties of tables may not be realistic to your budget and your apartment size. It also may just be excessive for your current lifestyle. Instead of springing for a fancy dining set, truly think about when you will sit at the table and why. A space-saving bistro set may be a more affordable and desirable option for your first apartment. End tables are often considered a need in a more traditional setting, but your first apartment may benefit from a more non traditional coffee table.

Bathroom Accessories:

Only you know what kinds of toiletries and personal care products you can’t live without, but as a general rule, your bathroom absolutely needs only a few items. The first is toilet paper (and this can be so easy to forget admits all the furniture and decor purchases) the 2nd is a shower curtain and liner.  Nothing will make you feel less at home than showering the for the first time in your apartment and spraying water everywhere because you forgot to buy a shower curtain, and trust me, you will want to shower after doing all the heavy lifting involved with moving and unpacking. Bathroom rugs are definitely nice to have and do serve a purpose, so look for an inexpensive set that includes a curtain to save some extra funds. Finally, you will definitely want to purchase a trash can and plunger. You may not use these every day, but when you need them, you definitely need them!

Kitchen Necessities:

Unlike most items on this list, what you will or won’t need for your kitchen is rather subjective. It truly depends on your personal needs and expected lifestyle. Since there are hundreds of kitchen items you could buy, it can easily become a budget buster if you are not selective. For your kitchen you likely will only need: 4 cups, bowls and plates, 4 sets of silverware, a pot for boiling, a pan for cooking, a chef’s knife, paring knife and steak knife, pot holders, dish drying rack, dish cleaning supplies, a small set of cooking utensils, a bottle opener, a mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, and a cutting board.

Pick out one to three kitchen appliances that you truly feel your need and would use. I recommend a toaster oven, coffee maker, and a blender. These are your starting points, from here you can live your day and discover if there is anything you could use. If you love to bake, you’ll eventually find yourself in need of cookie sheets, or a hand mixer. If you find you cook a lot, you may benefit from a quality knife set. These purchases can wait until you know for certain that you will use them, aspirational home purchases are never good on the budget or are easy to maintain in a small space. Don’t forget that if you find yourself in need of a cupcake tin for a once a year baking session, it may be simpler to borrow it from a friend or relative instead of buying supplies that you will rarely use.

Cleaning Supplies:

Regularly cleaning your apartment is vital if you want to keep your landlord happy, and get your security deposit back at the end of your lease term. You will want to purchase a new or used vacuum cleaner, a mop, garbage cans and all-purpose cleaners. This shopping run is also a good time to stock up on HVAC filters so you remember to change them frequently and according to your lease terms.

Damage-Free Decor Options:

No space is truly yours until you have customized it to your unique tastes. Don’t let the inability to make permanent changes stop you from decorating. There are easy damage free decor options that you can implement to make the space yours, and you can even find renter friendly decor at the dollar store.

Getting your first apartment is a huge step and an exciting one. It marks a new stage of independence. This also marks a new point in your financial responsibility and enforces the importance of living on an appropriate budget. Happily, this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice all creature comforts in your new place, just remember to go small at first and save for later. You can always purchase more things or higher quality versions of them, down the road. Stick with the necessities and you’ll find that your first apartment is a stress-free haven that you truly love.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Many rental home expenses can offset your rental income. Here are some tips to help know which tax deductions you can take for your rental property.
#taxseason #tiptuesday #investmentproperty #propertymanagement #coloradoluxeliving #rentalincome #assets #taxdeductions

In fact, you can use many rental property expenses to offset your rental income. IRS Publication 527 has all the details.Tax Deductions for Landlords
Many rental home expenses are tax deductible. Save receipts and any other documentation, and take the deductions on Schedule E. Figure you’ll spend four hours a week, on average, maintaining a rental property, including recordkeeping.
In general, you can claim the deductions for the year in which you pay for these common rental property expenses:
•Cleaning and maintenance
•Commissions paid to rental agents
•Homeowner association/condo dues
•Insurance premiums
•Legal fees
•Mortgage interest
•Taxes, including property taxes
Less obvious expenses that also may be deductible include fees charged by an accountant to prepare your Schedule E. And don’t forget that a rental home can even be a houseboat or trailer, as long as there are sleeping, cooking, and bathroom facilities. Moreover, the location of the rental home doesn’t matter. It could even be outside the United States.

Travel Expense Deductions

You can deduct expenses for local travel to a rental home for activities such as showing it, collecting rent, or doing maintenance. If you use your own car, you can claim the standard mileage rate, plus tolls and parking. For 2018, it’s 54.5 cents per mile.
Traveling outside your local area to a rental home is another matter. You can write off the expenses if the purpose of the trip is to collect rent or, in the words of the IRS, “manage, conserve, or maintain” the property. If you mix business with pleasure during the trip, you can only deduct the portion of expenses that directly relates to rental activities.

Repairs and Improvement Deduction

Another area that requires rental homeowners to tread carefully is repairs vs. improvements. The tax code lets you immediately write off repairs — any fixes that keep your property in working condition — as you would other expenses. The costs of improvements that add value to a rental property or extend its life must instead be depreciated over several years. (More on depreciation below.)
Think of it this way: Simply replacing a broken window pane counts as a repair, but replacing all of the windows in your rental home counts as an improvement. Patching a roof leak is a repair; re-shingling the entire roof is an improvement. You get the picture.


Depreciation refers to the value of property that’s lost over time due to wear, tear, and obsolescence. In the case of improvements to a rental home, you can deduct a portion of that lost value every year over a set number of years.
You can begin depreciating the value of the entire rental property as soon as the rental home is ready for tenants and you hold it out for rent, even if you don’t yet have any tenants. In general, you depreciate the value of the home itself (but not the portion of the cost attributable to land) over 27.5 years. You’ll have to stop depreciating once you recover your cost or you stop renting out the home, whichever comes first.
Depreciation is a valuable tax benefit, but the calculations can be tricky. Read IRS Publication 946, “How to Depreciate Property,” for additional information, and use Form 4562 come tax time. You may need to consult a tax adviser.

Profits and Losses on Rental Homes

The rent you collect from your tenant every month counts as income. You offset that income and lower your tax bill by deducting your rental home expenses including depreciation. If, for example, you received $9,600 in rent during the year and had expenses of $4,200, then your taxable rental income would be $5,400 ($9,600 in rent minus $4,200 in expenses).
You can even write off a net loss on a rental home as long as you meet income requirements, own at least 10% of the property, and actively participate in the rental of the home. Active participation in a rental is as simple as placing ads, setting rents, or screening prospective tenants.
If your modified adjusted gross income (same as adjusted gross income for most persons) is $100,000 or less, you can deduct up to $25,000 in rental losses. The deduction for losses gradually phases out between income of $100,000 and $150,000. You may be able to carry forward excess losses to future years.
Let’s say that for the year rental receipts are $12,000 and expenses total $15,000, resulting in a $3,000 loss. If your modified adjusted gross income is below $100,000, you can deduct the full $3,000 loss. If you’re in a 22% tax bracket, a $3,000 loss reduces your tax bill by $660, plus any applicable state income taxes.

Tax Rules for Vacation Homes

If you have a vacation home that’s mostly reserved for personal use but rented out for up to 14 days a year, you won’t have to pay taxes on the rental income. Some expenses are deductible, though the personal use of the home limits deductions. 
The tax picture gets more complicated when, in the same year, you make personal use of your vacation home and rent it out for more than 14 days
A for rent sign outside of a house.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Getting fresh air, exercise and fun seems a little bit harder to accomplish in the winter. Boost your winter wellness with these tips, such as letting in light, steamy baths and purifying indoor air.
#denver #summitcounty #breckenridge #coloradosprings #propertymanagement

Improve indoor air, enjoy some exercise and have fun — even on the coldest days

Houzz Contributor. I cover decorating ideas, Houzz tours & the monthly home maintenance... More
When the excitement of the holidays has passed and there are still months of short, dark days ahead, it can be tempting to climb under the covers and hibernate until spring. But here’s a better plan: Tweak your space to make the most of winter light, encourage healthy habits and keep your home safe and snug.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Are you a #city dweller? Find the hustle and bustle of #people, traffic, and #downtown exciting? Or, do you like quiet #neighborhoods, #backyards, and #suburban living? Knowing your needs will help in finding your next home. What are your pros and cons of city living?

#denver #breckenridge #coloradosprings #realtor #houses #referrals #homegoals #realestate #rentals #tips #luxeliving #coloradoluxeliving

 The Pros and Cons of Renting in a City Center

renting in a city centerThe city lifestyle has a unique appeal that suburban and rural living doesn’t offer. With its hustle and bustle, flow and energy, it makes sense why so many young people move to a metro area like San Francisco, New York or Philadelphia. Around every corner, there’s something new and exciting to experience.
That said, renting in a city center can have its negative aspects along with the excitement. Since signing a lease is such a significant commitment, it’s essential to understand everything city living entails, both the good and the bad. Only then can you feel confident in your decision and be well informed and prepared for potential problems.
Here are a few of those potential problems, as well as some positives of city living, such as transit accessibility, career opportunities, rent and other factors to consider.

Pros of Renting in a City Center

You’ll enjoy a number of benefits when living in a metro area.

1. Transit Accessibility

If your motivation for moving to a metro area is work-related, you’ll find your commute is comparatively quick and easy. While many commuters who live in suburban areas have to drive a considerable distance and fight against traffic to navigate a city, you have multiple modes of public transit to depend on.
Within a broader context, the convenience of buses and subways directly contributes to your quality of life. Your commute determines when you wake up, when you go to bed and the amount of free time you have in the evening. It’s something to think about when choosing between the suburbs and the city.

2. Social and Cultural Amenities

Major metro areas have a wide range of social and cultural amenities like nightclubs, sports stadiums, performing arts centers and museums. Whether you enjoy Italian, Thai or Mexican food, you’ll likely find restaurants catering to each cuisine within walking distance of your apartment. If variety is a top priority, a city is ideal.
While it’s true that suburban areas have their own restaurants and art centers, they’re often scaled down and farther apart. Additionally, high-profile musicians usually won’t visit a small town, and if you’re interested in catching your favorite band live in concert, you’ll usually have to travel to see them.

3. Career Opportunities

The high population of a major metro area naturally lends itself to more job opportunities. New businesses and expanding companies need employees, and whether you’re a business executive, scientist, engineer or a service industry worker, there’s demand for someone with your skills and experience.
You’ll also network with far more people than you would if you lived in a suburban or rural area. As you meet other professionals in your field, you’ll make connections and build relationships with the potential to help you advance in your career. It’s easier to climb the corporate ladder.

Cons of Renting in a City Center

While the city has benefits, it has downsides as well.

1. Lack of Space

An apartment may suit your lifestyle at the moment, but over time, you could begin to feel cramped and restricted. Even a large, multi-bedroom unit might not be sufficient to accommodate a growing family, and if your plans for the future involve children and a dog, the absence of a yard might trouble you.
Before deciding to sign a lease, consider your short- and long-term goals and aspirations. If you can’t see yourself giving up city life in the next few years, you likely won’t have any issues. But if you’re dreaming of fixing up a home now, then the delay may not be welcome.

2. High Cost of Living

In most U.S. cities, the income needed to live a comfortable lifestyle exceeds the median household income. Renters in Delaware, Florida, New Mexico, Maine and nine other states spend more than 50 percent of their earnings on necessities, struggling to make enough money to meet the demands of urban living.
That said, rent isn’t the main contributor to their financial difficulties. In fact, the average monthly rent in an urban setting is $1,640, which is $55 less than the average suburban monthly rent. Much of the strain comes from other expenses associated with living in a metro area, and is also dependent on location. Some of the biggest metros in the U.S. have greater financial challenges for renters than smaller cities.

3. Overcrowding

When you live close to other people, you might make some sacrifices. Noise and odor issues are fundamental to the rental lifestyle, and they’re almost impossible to avoid. One neighbor could decide to try out their new stereo system in the middle of the night, and another could cook something with too much garlic.
On the upside, living in a city center means you’re more likely to run into potential friends. If you’re young, there’s a higher percentage of peers in your age group within just a few miles. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what kind of noise and crowding you can handle.

Are You Meant To Be a City Dweller?

Depending on your personal preferences, you may not care about smaller apartments and higher costs. Your motivations might center on your job, your friends and your love for culture, all of which can thrive in a city center.
Or, you crave the peace of a suburban apartment and are looking forward to making a space you can call your own. There’s no right answer here — where you’d like to rent is a deeply personal decision. Understanding the pros and cons of all your options can help you hone in on the choice that works best for you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

How to Make a Rental Property More Welcoming for a New Tenant

Creating #stressfree experiences for property owners and tenants is so important to us. From marketing to managing repairs, all steps are taken care of for you. Welcome to your new home.
#welcomehome #denver #colorado #summitcounty #breckenridge #conciergeservices #propertymanagement #coloradoluxeliving

Fortunately, there are a few simple ways landlords can alleviate the burden on new tenants. It’s nothing major, but some assistance or thoughtfulness can help a new tenant feel at home right away. You’re laying the foundation for the relationship you’ll build over time.
When a tenant feels welcome and sees you’re a competent, capable landlord, their confidence in you reflects in more lease renewals, better behavior and fewer complaints. They trust in your ability, and while it pays just to be a good person, there are very real benefits in keeping tenants content.
We’ll walk you through the process for making a new tenant feel at home. From properly preparing a unit to offering a welcome basket, here are a few ways you can help make a tenant’s transition to your property one that’s quick, easy and relatively painless.

Clean the Unit and Repair Damage

After an old tenant moves out, you need to scour their unit of any mold, mildew or buildup. That’s par for the course. If it’s been a while since the unit has been occupied, however, freshen it up again right before the new tenant is expected. A newly polished apartment is just what a fatigued renter is happy to see after a long day of moving.
You should also inspect the unit for any small damages that could use repair. To ready your property for renting, tend to holes in the drywall and replace frayed window screens, moving from room to room as you assess and address any issues. Make sure all the appliances function before concluding your work.

Provide Information About Utilities

It’s best to provide a new tenant with information about utilities at least a week in advance of move-in day. They’ll have the option of calling the utility companies ahead of time and working out the details, setting up their services before they arrive. It’s a small convenience that allows them to settle in without any more frantic research.
Beyond the essential benefits for a tenant — like a hot shower at the end of a long day of lugging furniture — you enjoy the advantages of this preliminary measure as well. The faster a tenant can place the utilities under their own name and contact info, the less you have to stress. Everyone wins.

Assemble a Welcome Package

A new tenant walks through the door of their unit expecting to find an empty space. Surprise them with a welcome package, a small collection of food, drink and miscellaneous items to reinforce their confidence that choosing your rental was the correct decision. It’s a thoughtful gesture, and not necessarily an expensive one.
You can fill the basket with necessities like inexpensive toiletries, cleaning supplies and bottled water. If you’re willing to spend a little more, consider a bottle of champagne or a gift certificate to a local coffee shop. Either way, the welcome package you assemble should include a packet containing relevant information about the building and area.

Help With Logistics During the Move

The logistics of moving can be somewhat complicated. You can simplify them, acting as a resource for your new tenant if they have any questions concerning their move. Take time to learn more about the subject to prepare yourself for any questions they might ask, and pay attention to the tiny details.
To provide just one example, tenants can avoid tickets and violations as long as they secure a permit for their moving truck to park on your street the day of the move. Since you know your property best, let them know if there are any parking or moving tips that will make their lives easier on moving day.
If you can supply this information ahead of time, it solidifies your reputation as a reliable landlord dedicated to those who lease with them.

A Warm Welcome for Your Tenant

When move-in day arrives, you want your new tenant to feel comfortable in their new accommodations and confident in their decision. A few thoughtful gestures can help them adapt and adjust from day one.
Whether you help them through providing logistics during their move, or you make the extra effort to assemble a welcome package with a few essential items, every gesture — however small — makes a difference.
After all, if you help them make moving a bit easier, why would they ever want to move out?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Let go of being overwhelmed in searching for your next rental home; here are 5 great tips to help.
#denver #colorado #summitcounty #breckenridge #coloradosprings #forrent #coloradolifestyle #propertymanagement #homegoals #apartmenttherapy #tips #luxeliving

perfect rentalFinding the perfect rental these days takes more than just a Google search or a quick peruse in the paper to find a new home that will fit your needs.
Discovering that magic listing with all the features you want in a new abode may require some patience and pre-planning, but it’s entirely worth it in the end.
These tips make the task less painful–and even simple–and they could mean you’ll be picking out curtains for your new home in no time.

Know Your Price Range

Regardless of whether you are moving in as a family, with a roommate, or alone, feasible pricing is one area that is hard to make a concession on. Remember that you don’t want to find yourself in a stressful situation down the road. Don’t waste your time by looking at listings you will not be able to afford; be realistic while you begin your search, and crunch the numbers to see what you really manage from month to month.
Take into consideration important factors like utilities and the cost of living in the areas that you are looking. If you have a particular home or apartment in mind, some power companies will tell you the average utility bill in the summer and the winter for a specific address. Finding out this information can be incredibly useful to understanding how financially possible it will be to live at a particular rental. You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration by knowing what you can afford from the get go.
Pro Tip: Most housing guides advice that a renter can spend 30% of the take home pay on housing, including the housing costs mentioned above. Check out this rent calculator to see how much you can afford.

Focus on Location

There is a reason they say “location, location, location!” Where a listing is located should play a pivotal role in your rental selection. Don’t just focus on the obvious aspects to location, make sure to factor in the little details.
To start, make a list of your ideal areas and note specific benefits of potential rentals in your radius.
  • Do you desire an area with a great school district, walkability to local hot spots, a short commute to work?
  • Is one listing closer to your work than the rest, but another is next to your favorite coffee shop and has a bike path to the dog park?
This is where your list comes in; be sure to think about what aspects you can compromise on, and what qualities are vital. Mentally prioritizing your list is key. Chances are, you will not get everything on your list, but prioritizing will help you get the most important features to meet your needs.

Do Your Research

Learn as much as you can about a place before signing on the dotted line so there are no unpleasant surprises in the future. If you have found a suitable contender during your search, do research on both the listing and the surrounding area before committing.
Be sure to visit the neighborhood at various times during the day and note any differences–this can be especially important if you completed your original walk-through during work hours on a weekday. A home that seemed serene during the open-house, can be deceiving if the noisy neighbors were not yet home from work.
Don’t forget to review the lease agreement itself before signing, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be certain you understand what utilities you would be responsible for, and even ask how they are calculated. Some apartments calculate utilities based on a shared water bill, which is important to note if you’re looking to save money by taking shorter showers.
Other items to check on in the lease agreement: overnight guest policy, decorating policies, parking, and tenant maintenance responsibilities. If your landlord is overly strict with these policies, you might be better off finding a new property. No matter how inexpensive the rent is, an overbearing landlord can be miserable down the road.

Be Professional

Part of finding the perfect rental is looking the part of the perfect tenant, and coming prepared. If you are attending an open house or have scheduled a walk-through, treat it like an interview and put your best foot forward.
Set yourself up for success by dressing appropriately, speaking professionally. While you don’t have to come dressed in a suit and tie, remember that the chances are, if you are in love with a listing, someone else is too. Stand out from the crowd by taking a moment to chat with the landlord, and ask any questions you may have; this makes it known that you are serious in your interest and not just casually passing through for the open house’s free lemonade.
If you really want to make an impression your future landlord, consider putting together a Rental Resume.

Get to Know the Landlord

Ideally you will have a few moments to speak with the landlord before closing the deal, and if so, utilize those conversations to their fullest. Not only do walk-throughs and open houses provide the opportunity for landlords to meet and begin to vet prospective tenants, but they allow you the opportunity to conduct a mental interview of sorts. In every interaction with the landlord, ask yourself if you are ready and willing to work with this person for potential years to come.
Asking the landlord questions about how they respond to emergency repairs, or their plans for upkeep can shed light on their future dealings with you should you become a resident. Gage how you feel about their responses, and evaluate their overall friendliness and personality. After all, you two do not have to become best friends, but you will be in contact long-term.
In the end, finding the ideal rental might require a little legwork, some compromises and a bit of luck, but there are few better feelings than the sigh of relief that comes when you have moved into the perfect one. With these five tips, you are well on your way to finding the prime listing for your needs.