Here is your ‘Tree Section’ in Manhattan Beach market update…
Here is your ‘Tree Section’ in Manhattan Beach market update…
Before retirement, I worked in the escrow business for 20+ years and interacted with countless number of real estate agents. When it came time to sell our California home, Jack McSweeney was the obvious choice. I’ve known and worked with Jack for over a decade. Over the years he has repeatedly demonstrated a high work ethic and trustworthy reputation. He provided us with great advice on preparing our home for sale, and helped facilitate the final pre-sale interior upgrades (painting, carpet, hard wood floors, etc) after we moved out of state. Jack’s presence while we were out of state was very reassuring. In the end, we got more than our asking price and can’t thank Jack enough for the impeccable job. He earned every penny and more! You can trust Jack McSweeney.
Tammy and Paul C.
“Sorry, no pets allowed.” That four-word phrase is the bane of all pet owners searching for an apartment, and it can shatter their dreams of finding the perfect place for them and their furry friends.
Fearing property damage and noise complaints, many landlords are wary of household animals and might enforce no-pet policies. If you’re a pet owner on the lookout for a rental, though, don’t worry: You have options.
Of course, the best option is to find an apartment that openly accepts pets. Reach out to a real estate agent, or check classified ads and real estate websites for listings that say “pets allowed.” You can also contact local animal care and control agencies, which may know of pet-friendly rental communities.
Because such listings are less common, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to find the right one. If you’re moving out of your current rental, start searching about two months before your lease expires.
Making Your Case
Now, what if you fall in love with an apartment that has a no-pets policy–or, say, only accepts cats when you have a dog? All hope might not be lost. Some cautious landlords could be willing to make an exception, and it doesn’t hurt to ask. Here are a few tips to help you make a convincing case:
Provide references. If you’ve already rented with your pet, ask your previous landlord to write a letter stating you were a responsible tenant and your pet caused no problems.
Create a resume. Developing a resume for your pet is a simple and creative way to let a prospective landlord learn about your animal’s qualities. Include a photo and your pet’s name, breed, age, weight and height. Note that your pet is house-trained and any other positive behaviors. Attach a letter from your veterinarian showing the pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and that it has been spayed or neutered. You could also help elicit sympathy by writing a brief adoption story and listing your pet’s favorite activities.
Set up a meeting. If written documents aren’t convincing enough, ask if the landlord would be willing to meet your pet; seeing that the animal is well behaved–not to mention cute–might alleviate the landlord’s concerns.
Offer to pay extra. Given that a landlord’s main worry is likely animal-related damage to the apartment, offer to pay more if you can afford it. The landlord might be willing to accept a pet security deposit or want you to pay an extra pet fee on monthly rent. If you have more than one pet, expect the cost to increase.
Check the Lease
Even if a landlord verbally says it’s OK for you to have a pet, get it in writing; the lease could protect you if the landlord has a change of heart later or other issues arise. Read a lease carefully to ensure it doesn’t include a no-pets clause, and if it does, don’t sign it until the language is removed or crossed out and initialed by both parties. If you agreed to a pet deposit or monthly fees, make sure that’s included in the lease, as well.
When searching for an apartment as a pet owner, it’s essential to be upfront with a potential landlord, especially if there’s a no-pet rule. Hiding a secret pet or lying about how many animals you have can be stressful, and a landlord is bound to find out the truth sooner or later. More importantly, however, such violations could subject you and your furry friend to possible eviction or other troubles. Before renting a new apartment, honesty is the best policy.
You might be able to purchase the house of your dreams for less than the asking price. If the owner is in a hurry to move or the house has been on the market for months and you are the first person to make an offer, the seller might be willing to shave thousands of dollars off the price or to make concessions in other areas to sweeten the deal.
When to Offer a Lower Price
An owner who has to move by a specific deadline is motivated to sell. Someone who is moving for a new job will want to wrap up the process of selling the house in time to relocate and start over. If the deadline is fast approaching, the owner may be willing to cut a deal. You can ask the real estate agent why the owner is selling the house, but he or she may not be able to tell you.
How to Negotiate
If you want to offer the seller an amount below the asking price, make a reasonable proposal. The seller may be willing to make a counteroffer and negotiate, but not if you make an absurdly low initial offer. You might be justified in making a low offer if the house is in foreclosure or has been on the market for months because it is overpriced.
Submit a written purchase offer specifying the price you are willing to pay. The purchase offer should explain what will happen if you are unable to obtain a mortgage or if the inspection uncovers major problems. It should specify any additional terms, such as any concessions you are seeking. The offer should be accompanied by “earnest money,” a small but significant sum of money to demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in the house. Set a short time limit for the owner to accept or reject your offer. That can help you avoid getting into a bidding war with other potential buyers.
If the owner makes a counteroffer that is lower than the asking price but higher than what you are comfortable paying, you don’t have to accept it. No matter how much you love the house, you shouldn’t borrow more than you can afford to repay.
If the owner is unwilling to budge on the price, he or she might be willing to make other concessions. You could ask the owner to make repairs, leave behind appliances, or pay some of the closing costs.
If you and the seller are unable to agree on a price, be prepared to walk away. You may find another house you like even more at a lower price in the near future.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
Depending on the market and the owner’s circumstances, the seller might be willing to significantly lower the price of the house, but you won’t know unless you make an offer. Your real estate agent can provide you with advice and guide you through the negotiation process.
Shopping for a home can be a great experience—especially for first-time homebuyers who have always dreamed of owning their own place. However, it’s critical to know how much you can truly afford. After all, there is more to consider than just the price of a home.
Thanks to online calculators and apps, it’s easy to figure out how much a mortgage payment would be on a house, but that monthly payment is just the tip of the iceberg.
A new home will also require homeowner’s insurance and property taxes, meaning both of these will need to be factored into your monthly payments. Insurance will protect the home against things such as fire, theft and some weather incidents, while your taxes will go toward community expenses such as school, city maintenance and public services.
Think about the bills that will come each month. Homeowners need to pay their water, gas, electricity and oil bills to keep their home running smoothly, and add-ons such as alarm services or homeowner association fees must also be factored in.
Usually when people move into a new home, they want to bring in new furniture and make some changes or upgrades in the home, such as painting or adding curtains or carpets. Be sure to leave room in your budget for changes like this.
Unless you’re someone who has the time and energy to work outside, you may need to hire someone for yard upkeep such as landscaping, mowing, raking leaves and shoveling snow in the winter. Make sure you know how much these local contractors will cost.
And don’t forget food bills, dining out, entertainment and gifts for special occasions, as well as saving for kids or your future. All of this will play a role in how much you spend each month.
By considering these other financial requirements, you can get a much better sense of how much you really can afford, and will keep yourself from shopping for a home that you won’t be able to enjoy because you’re living paycheck to paycheck.