Are you interested in renting your home in Stamford?

So You’ve Decided to Rent out Your Home? Some Tips

Cynthia Kent and her husband, John, didn’t set out to be landlords, but career choices made it necessary.

“We have rented out our home in Florida for nine years because we move all over with the military,” says Kent, who recently relocated her family from Nevada to Alabama for yet another posting.

Some people become accidental landlords because of a job change or difficulty selling a house. Others find they need to rent out the home of an elderly parent who has moved into a care facility. More than 3 million owner-occupied homes were converted to rental properties between 2007 and 2011, according to a 2013 report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Some advice for those taking on this challenging new role:

FINDING THE RIGHT TENANT

A credit check and legal background check can help you find reliable, honest tenants, says real-estate agent Gail Carpenter of Northwood Realty in Pittsburgh.

“Sometimes a credit check alone” will rule out an applicant, she says.

Personal references can be useful if the applicant is local and you have mutual acquaintances. Otherwise, be wary.

“Do not take ‘personal’ references too seriously,” says New York City condo owner Sharon Lynch, who rented her home to tenants while spending a year in California. “Anyone can get a friend to write something nice about them.”

Lynch suggests using an online directory to search for an applicant’s current address and get contact information for their neighbors. “Not only can these people tell you if your applicants are good neighbors, but they can also supply you with the landlord’s contact information,” she says, “just in case your potential tenant is faking you out, pretending a friend was his or her landlord.”

Meet applicants in person and really talk with them, Carpenter says.

And request a rent that doesn’t price good applicants out of the market. You might earn more over time with a slightly lower rent, she says, because “that can help you keep your property occupied, versus asking for the moon and then it sits there vacant.”

PREP THE HOUSE

Once you’ve found your tenant, clean your home thoroughly and “make the property as safe as it can be,” Carpenter says.

You may also want to tackle any looming home improvement jobs now, rather than leave your tenant to handle (or ignore) them when they become larger problems.

If you plan to return to the home eventually, it can be practical to drop the rent slightly and fill one room with belongings you’re leaving behind, rather than paying for a storage space. Put a new lock on that door and take the key with you.

DOCUMENT AND DISCUSS

“It helps to take pictures of the house inside and out,” Kent says, to document its condition and cleanliness.

Don’t skip anything, and don’t assume one panoramic shot of each room will do. If you’re leaving furniture, also photograph the condition and cleanliness of each piece.

When Lynch returned to find her tenant had damaged the kitchen countertop, such “before” photos were key in being able to use the tenant’s security deposit to help pay for repairs.

When your tenant arrives to inspect the home before moving in, Kent says, “have tenants sign a document of the pictures, showing the condition at move-in.”

That walk-through inspection is vital for both parties. “Always be present for the move-in and move-out inspections,” says Babette Maxwell, who has rented her home to tenants several times during her husband’s Navy career and founded “Military Spouse” magazine to advise other military families about challenges like this one.

Also, Maxwell suggests, “Provide your renter with a baggie of ‘approved’ nails, screws, picture hangers.” And if you “have specific products you want used on your counters, cabinets, floors, yard,” she says, “list them in the lease.”

TEND THE OUTDOORS

As you negotiate the lease, don’t forget to have a detailed discussion about outdoor space, too. Will you or the tenant pay for lawn cutting? Who will keep up with pulling weeds and trimming bushes? Is the tenant permitted to plant flowers and do other gardening?

You may want to do an outdoor cleanup before you leave and then have the tenant agree to maintain that level of neatness.

Scan the property for any trees that could fall on the house and assess their health. Better to pay now to have a sick tree removed than worry about the outcome of a storm.

PLAN AHEAD

If there are repairs or upgrades that you promise your tenant, set a schedule in your personal calendar for completing them in the weeks after they move in.

Kent also recommends leaving a “welcome binder that stays with the house with local information, cleaning requirements and other details.”

Make sure your tenant knows how to contact you and how to handle problems that might arise. Have a reputable contractor or other professional on-call in case something needs to be repaired, says Carpenter.

“A lot of landlords grumble about getting a call in the middle of the night,” she says, but things will inevitably happen.

Then, stay in touch. If you won’t be living close enough to check on the property yourself, arrange for a friend or hire a property manager to do so.

Being a landlord “isn’t just signing the lease and disappearing,” Carpenter says. A tenant will respect you and your property more if you remain involved.

If you are interested in renting your home, please call Chris Maroc, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage at 914-215-2025.

My grandfather-world famous mystery writer, Rex Stout

My grandfather, Rex Todhunter Stout was born in Noblesville, Indiana, December 1, 1886. He was the sixth of nine children born to John and Lucetta Todhunter Stout. Educated in Kansas, he was recognized as a prodigy in arithmetic. After a brief time on campus at the University of Kansas, he quit school to enlist in the Navy where he spent two years as warrant officer on board President Theodore Roosevelt’s yacht.

After the Navy, he began to write and tried his hand at a variety of jobs. With his brother, Robert, Stout devised and implemented a school banking system. Bank Day proved a very successful venture and allowed Stout to move to Paris and write full-time.

He published three novels before he turned to the mystery genre. The books received favorable reviews but were not best sellers. Stout returned to the United States and built a house on the Connecticut-New York state line. Fer-de-Lance, my grandfather’s first Nero Wolfe novel, appeared in 1934.

More than seventy other Nero Wolfe books and stories followed. During World War II, Rex Stout waged a personal campaign against Nazism serving as chairman of the War Writers Board,wrote and broadcast the CBS radio program “Our Secret Weapon,”and was a member of several national committees. After the war, he resumed writing Nero Wolfe novels. In 1959 he won the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award. My grandfather died October 27, 1975 at the age of 88. A month before his death, he published his final Nero Wolfe book, A Family Affair.

My grandfather was recently inducted in the the New York State Writers Hall of Fame.

On a personal note, my grandfather was very much a family man. He built the family home, High Meadow, near Brewster, NY, around the time of his marriage to Pola Weinbach in 1932. My grandparents raised their two daughters, Becky and Barbara at High Meadow. My grandfather worked primarily from High Meadow.  His hobbies included raising virtually all of our family’s produce and poultry,  kept various pets, including a pony, maintained over 300 house plants as well as large and admired iris beds (almost 200 varieties of bearded irises and over 100 varieties of day lilies), building his own furniture, and being a baseball fan of the Giants, then, after their move, the Mets.

http://www.nerowolfe.org/htm/about_us/about_us.htm

https://www.facebook.com/groups/140970269281661/files/

 

So much to do in Fairfield county-Westport Country Playhouse

The Westport Country Playhouse, a not-for-profit theater, in Westport, CT., serves as a cultural nexus for patrons, artists and students and is a treasured resource for the State of Connecticut.  There are no boundaries to the creative thinking for future seasons or the kinds of audiences and excitement for theater that Westport Country Playhouse can build.

There current production is Nora
Ingmar Bergman’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House
Translated into the English language by Frederick J. Marker and Lise-Lone Marker
Directed by David Kennedy

July 15 – August 2, 2014

Nora has the perfect life, a happy home, and a healthy marriage. But when a mysterious man from her past appears, her idyllic world is suddenly turned upside down. A story of love, blackmail, and the little lies we tell, Nora is a sexy and stunning adaptation of one of Ibsen’s most psychologically penetrating works.

We had the pleasure of seeing Nora at  the Westport Country Playhouse. Just another reason to consider living in Fairfield county, Connecticut. If you are interested in looking at homes to rent or buy in Fairfield county, please call Chris Maroc, 914-215-2025.

http://www.westportplayhouse.org/

Things to do near Stamford, CT-Caramoor Center for Music & the Arts

This is so much to do within 30 minutes of Stamford, Connecticut. Here is one wonderful destination to visit for music, art, house and garden tours and educational classes.

Caramoor is the legacy of Walter and Lucie Rosen, who established the estate and built a great house as its centerpiece, filling it with treasures collected on their travels. Walter Rosen was the master planner, bringing to reality his dream of creating a place to entertain friends from around the world. Their legendary musical evenings were the seeds of today’s Summer Music Festival, held annually on the estate. What is now known as the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts was originally created by a foundation established by the Rosens to operate the estate in perpetuity. Lucie Rosen once said that people feel they have gone to another country and another time when they visit Caramoor. Because the Rosens were touched by this, by the obvious pleasure their friends took in Caramoor’s beauty, they decided to leave their home as a legacy for all to enjoy after they had gone. It is to the vision and energy of this inspirational couple that thousands owe their enjoyment of Caramoor each year. http://www.caramoor.org

We had the pleasure of seeing Patti Lupone at Caramoor a few weeks ago. Just another reason to consider living in Stamford, Connecticut. If you are interested in looking at homes to rent or buy in Stamford, please call Chris Maroc, 914-215-2025.

Encouraging news about the US housing market.

Bloomberg news reported, “Americans snapped up previously owned homes in May in the biggest monthly sales gain in almost three years, a sign the residential real estate market is regaining its footing after a stumble early in the year.” This sales news is a sign the residential real estate market is regaining its footing.

This a great time to consider selling your home in Fairfield county. Please call me for all your real estate needs at 914-215-2025. Thank you, Chris