Are you thinking of renting out your home? In that case, you need to ask these 10 questions to anyone wanting to rent your house:
1. When are you planning to move in?
This is the question that shapes the rest of your engagement with the potential tenant. The answer here will help you determine whether or not the tenant’s timelines synchronize with yours. If, for example, a tenant wants to move in a month from now but you want to rent it out sooner than that, then there is no point in engaging the person any further.
2. Why are you relocating?
If the tenant is moving into your property after falling out with their previous landlord, you need to know what led to the fallout. Was it because of dishonoring their rent obligations? Was it because of neglecting their other tenant responsibilities as per the lease agreement? The answers they give will tell you whether or not to let them rent your property. In the same vein, ask them how long they have lived in the previous apartment and how long they intend to live in yours. If you establish that they have a habit of hopping from one apartment to another within unreasonably short durations, politely decline their application.
3. Have you ever been evicted for any reason?
This question seeks to clarify the #2 question even further. Maybe they weren’t evicted in their immediate former home, but you cannot conclude that they have never been evicted in the past. Ensure that they give you sufficient details about their journey since they started renting.
4. How stable are you financially?
If they are unstable, chances are that they will give you problems with the rent. Experts say that a good tenant is the one whose monthly rent doesn’t exceed 40% of their total monthly earnings. That is to say that if you expect the tenant to pay $1000 in monthly rent, they should be earning at least $2500 per month. And because monthly income isn’t a perfect indicator of financial stability, make a point of running a credit check to determine how much debt the tenant is in. If your new tenant is in the Gig economy, you might want to ask more questions if they are financially stable.
5. How many people will you be living with?
The last thing you want is to rent your house out to an individual, only to realize later that he brought in his extended family and some of his friends to live with him. There is nothing wrong with housing a needy friend or relative, except that more people mean more wear and tear to your property. Besides, overcrowding in homes is listed by most fire departments and health professionals as a major health and safety risk.
6. Do you own any pets or support animals?
If yes, how many do you have? This is important to know if you have a renting policy that doesn’t allow pet ownership. If you have a set monthly/annual deposit for pets or a limit as to how many pets a tenant can have, make it clear to them beforehand.
7. How clean is your criminal record?
As a tenant’s credit history is significant to your property’s financial future, so is their criminal history to your - as well as your other tenants' - security. Don’t underestimate the number of ex-convicts looking for rental homes in the US today. In 2015, a tenant screening by SmartMove showed that at least 22% of all tenants-to-be had a criminal record. Even if you don’t have a problem renting out to an ex-convict, having this information with you is necessary when planning your rental unit's overall security.
8. Are you prepared to pay all moving costs upfront?
Some landlords require tenants to pay a security deposit, one month rent deposit, and first month rent in full upon signing the lease. If you are such a tenant, or if there are other moving costs attached to your house, then let the tenant know beforehand.
9. What kind of a neighbor can you describe yourself as?
A new tenant can be so unruly that they force their neighbors to end their lease earlier than intended. If they like to play loud music or bring home too many friends, you need to know so that you can append a rule within the lease that will keep their unruly behavior in check.
10. Do you have any follow-up questions?
This sounds obvious but it is very important. You need the tenant as much as they need your property, so you will be wrong not to give them the chance to ask you the follow-up questions they could have. This presents you with the opportunity to appeal to the tenant.
Multiple studies have shown, employees who work in cozy offices always have better productivity. A perfectly-designed office impacts positively on employee morale and health, which in turn reduces absenteeism and lack of commitment. That is why you need to try the 6 tips below on how to brighten and open up your office space in your next remodeling project.
1. Proper lighting
Adequate lighting is one of the factors with the greatest influence on the mood and, by extension, productivity among employees. If you have ever worked in a poorly-lit office, then you will understand how frustrating it is to read small texts in such conditions. You also have had to deal with constant headaches and eye strains that come with staring at the computer all day in a dimly-lit cubicle. You definitely do not want your employees to go through that horrific experience.
On the flip side, working in an office that has excessively bright lights can be detrimental to the employees’ visual health. That is why you should ensure that your office has a light balance of natural and artificial light. The more natural light from the windows, the more stimulated your employees will be. Ensure that your windows are large enough to let in as much sun rays as possible.
2. Inject some productive noise
There are people who actually find background noise therapeutic. Such people are very productive when working in acoustic, open workspaces. But then there is a group of people who can only work productively in total silence. So, how do you take care of these two groups of people? The best thing to do is to install natural, white sounds such as waterfalls, rain sounds, or ocean waves in the office. These noises are not as disturbing as generic playlists. Employees who want to listen to their own playlists can have a separate cubicle, just like the few who dislike white sounds.
3. Tweak the layout
Traditionally, there were no open-plan offices. Everyone was confined in cubicles. And although this isolation plan made people work with zero interference, the lack of human interaction significantly reduced employee productivity. Then came the open layout office plans and excessive human interaction brought many unintended consequences. For example, people spend a lot of time chatting, there isn’t much privacy, and everyone feels like the boss is watching at all times, which isn’t a good thing.
Clearly, cubicles and open plan offices have their fair share of positives and negatives. Instead of implementing one option and eliminating the other, it is best to have them both. Ensure that your office plan includes quiet enclosed spaces where employees can fully concentrate on work without the bosses watching. Also, ensure that there are open areas where colleagues can brainstorm and collaborate.
4. Modernize the office kitchen
Kitchen remodeling should be top of your remodeling priorities for the simple fact that people cannot be productive on empty stomachs. While at it, invest in office kitchen appliances, vending machines, microwaves, and any other appliance that employees can use to source for, warm, or prepare food. And in case you haven’t been preparing food for the employees in the kitchen, maybe it is time you reserved a small kitchen space for that. That is if you don’t want the employees to be eating junk food all the time. Note that junk food is unhealthy, it causes fatigue and makes employees feel unenergetic in the afternoon hours.
5. Add some green
To reduce the levels of carbon dioxide gas and other volatile organic compounds in the office, it is advisable to use green and other environment-friendly building materials. Note that poor office air quality can blunt employee energy levels and, in extreme cases, cognitive function. Also, ensure that there are good ventilation and enough air-filtering live plants in the office.
6. Proper insulation
Office temperature is as important as lighting. People who are close to the AC are far too cold while those close to sun-warmed areas are far too hot. To solve this, the best thing to do is to switch off the AC after the ideal temperature is attained. To ensure that the ideal temperature stays as-is for long periods of time, ensure that your office has proper insulation.
We have established that simple factors such as lighting, temperature, and office layout can significantly affect employee productivity. Have that in mind when remodeling your office or even your house in general. You might need some ways to save money and not spend an entire fortune.
About the Author:
Lena is an interior designer at Homes in London, and she loves to be able to help her clients create their dream home because she believes that home isn't just a place, it's a feeling. She is confident that her experiences can help a lot of people so she expresses it through writings. If you need design advice, feel free to reach out to her as she will always be available for those in need. :)