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Vapor Barriers and Dealing with Moisture. This is an informative q&a with practical tips on dealing with unwanted moisture in various parts of your structure. It should help you deal with mold.

Cabinet Q's and A's. Are you getting your rental unit ready for a new tenant? Do you have problems with the cabinets? This article should help with most of them.

California Creating Permanent Renters' Class. This article shows exactly how government no-growth policies can distort a market. And no, the shortage of housing in general is not good news for landlords who already own buildings. Think about the impact inflated housing will and is having on the economy in general, which is where tenants get the money to pay their landlords in the first place.

Rental Concessions Landlords May Consider. The author discusses several types of concessions you may consider if you are caught in a slow market. It is very useful, despite being written from a tenant's point of view.

Fair Housing Advertising: What You Can And Can't Say. We already have a treatment of Fair Housing issues in our discussion of marketing the rental unit. This article is another perspective.

Lender Policies Put Condo Owner in Real Estate Pickle. A fine column from Robert Bruss with a series of Q & A dealing with mortgages to 1031 exchanges to living trusts.

IRS Updates the ‘Dirty Dozen' for 2004: Agency Warns of New Scams. The IRS warns of a dozen illegal tax scams that could land you in big trouble. You really should read this, unless, that is, you want to join Martha for a year or so at Club-Fed.

A Home Owner's Guide to Buying a New Roof. This treatise (it's more than just an article) will help you determine when you need a new roof, what type is best for your building, and how to find a competent and honest contractor.

Interior Painting. If you do the prep work on your rental units yourself, check this article for instructions on how to get a durable, professional looking interior paint job.

Be Aware of Potential Lead, Asbestos Hazards When Remodeling. If you have an older rental unit and are thinking of a remodel, you should consider potential environmental hazards and select a contractor accordingly.

"Tax Time Bombs" May Be Ticking Away for Unsuspecting Home Sellers ‘Tis the season…. Are you looking at a time bomb? Read this and find out.

The Tax Treatment of Points Did you refinance last year? This Q&A deals with points and their impact on your 1040.

Sacramento Area Market Trends If you want an idea of how the market is doing in Sacramento, then follow this link. You will find an expert's opinion for Zipcodes 95831, 95822, 95818.

Apartment Industry Looks Cautiously at Broadband We guess they figure it's just a passing fad.

Urban Redevelopment Hits Real Estate Snag It's the old story: the government gumming up development. In this case it is infill development, the blockage of which will guarantee a housing crisis, which in turn guarantees new government power grabs to remedy the problem they themselves have created.

HUD's Mortgage Reform Will Increase Loan Costs Yes, most such reforms do.

Affordable Housing Remains Unaffordable for Many.  This article discusses “affordable” housing and how it is going out of the reach of more and more persons.  The National Low Income Housing Coalition has found, surprise, that there is a “crisis” in housing affordability justifying increasing government intervention and funding of “affordable” housing.  Of interest to persons interested in getting into the government subsidy business. 

Changing Demographics Power Apartment Growth.  Thought provoking article about the impact the new demographics are having on demand for apartments, it is increasing.  This may be a good starting point for long term investment planning. 

Chimney Checkup.  Yes, we know it's hot, but Fall is approaching like an express train and your tenants in units with fireplaces are going to want to use them.  Now is the time to start thinking about giving your chimneys a safety check so they will be ready for use when the chill comes.  Do not trust your tenants to do it.  This is important enough to see to yourself. 

Financing with a Spiritual Perspective.  Can a home be purchased without the payment of interest?  Islamic law forbids both charging and paying interest, which would seem to make home ownership out of the question, as a practical matter, for members of the Muslim faith.  Not so, as some very creative persons in Canada have shown.  This article is food for thought on the degree to which ingenuity can be employed in real estate acquisition and sale. 

How to Take Title with a Friend.  If you are planning to marry, and want to buy now, this article shows how to take title jointly. 

Keep Your Cool with Proper Attic Insulation.  One way to reduce wear and tear on the air conditioning and electricity expenses during the summertime is through adequate attic ventilation.  This article discusses the issue. 

Condos, Co-ops, & PUDs:  What's the Difference?  A brief discussion of the different ways to hold title to property and how it affects the amount of control you will have over it.   

Management by Going Away.  If you own your own business you should realize that there are times when your best management bet is to leave your people alone. 

New Products Reduce Lead Paint Exposure.  Alternatives to expensive removal of lead paint are becoming available. 

So You Want to Add a “Mother-in-Law Suite.”  The pros and cons of adding a mother-in-law to your residence, from the tax and local regulation angles. 

Spotlight on Mold:  Tips to Protect Your Home.  Mildew problems are entering the public awareness and becoming the subject of court awards.  Learn how to protect your properties from this infestation. 

Are Credit Scores Plummeting? A new study seems to show that credit scores in general are going down, meaning that people tend to be less and less qualified for loans.  The drop is most dramatic among those in the lower end of the spectrum, but exists across the board.  A reason not mentioned in the article may be that, with the permeation of the entire credit system by computers, and the reporting  of everything even vaguely negative, including payment for your groceries with wrinkled currency, the system is becoming more and more unforgiving.  Does this mean that lenders will have to revise their credit scoring to more accurately reflect the universality of some types of blemishes? 

Commercial Leases Require More Than Rent.  Author Clifford Hockley presents an excellent article on what is involved when you are renting your commercial property.   

Identifying Time Wasters.  You have a lot on your plate, and maybe you think you have too little time to get it done.  Guess what:  you probably have plenty of time if you stop wasting it. 

Seven Truths of Automating the Real Estate Industry, The.  Tongue-in-cheek but still informative look at what the automation of the real estate industry really means and will really take.   

Will You Pay Too Much for Your Mortgage?  What is overage?  This article will tell you and why it is important to you if you are searching for financing. 

Energy Improvements Add $18,000 to Homes, Say Studies.  Does the replacement of appliances, light bulbs, and other energy consuming devices with more efficient ones add value to your property?  Some studies say so. 

Fixing a Squeaky Floor.  Floor squeaks are inevitable and annoying to your tenants.  Learn how to take care of them yourself.  It is not as difficult as you think.  Be sure to follow the links.  

Should You Use Flash in Your Website?  If you have your own Website and plan to include a Flash feature, read this before you do. 

Supreme Court Victory Opens Way for “Taking” Claims.  The US Supreme Court has ruled that a landowner may contend that environmentally based zoning and other land use restrictions may be challenged as an uncompensated taking under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.  IMPORTANT.  Find the full text of the decision here, courtesy of Findlaw.  

Tenant Appreciation Is a Key to Investment Profits.  This article argues that, to remain profitable, you must create a sense of community among your tenants, as well as to provide them the bare minimum of clean and decent housing. 

When Faucets Drip and Toilets Run.  Instructions from a professional on how to save money by doing minor plumbing maintenance yourself. 

When to Repair and Replace Appliances.  This article explains the factors to consider in deciding whether a major appliance should be repaired or replaced.  Some of the ideas are not obvious.  This is definitely worth a read. 

Who Owns the Property If an Owner Dies.  The author analyzes the most popular means of owning property and what happens when one of the owners passes away. 

Why Landlords Shouldn't Let Tenants Make Their Own Repairs.  This article explains why relying on your tenant to make even minor repairs is a bad idea.  

Best Rate Guarantees?  Consumers Beware!  Even though your mortgage company has guaranteed they are giving you the best rate available, how do you know it is true?  What exactly is a rate guarantee? 

Five Phone Tips.  Useful hints for using your telephone more effectively.  

Getting a Loan after Bankruptcy.  If you were forced into bankruptcy in the past, that does not mean you can never own real estate. 

Navigating the Rent Control Morass.  Read about how rent control works, with Washington D.C. as an example. 

Smells Can Increase Sales.  Your vacancies will rent faster if they're smelly.  Seriously, this is a very interesting technique and is definitely worth a read.  

Streamlining the Service Request Process.  This is important if you expect to retain your tenants for any length of time. 

To Lock or Not? How to Do It Right.  Locking in a mortgage rate can be a good or a bad thing, depending on whether rates rise or fall.  Learn about the lock-in process and when doing it is a good idea. 

Turning a Service Request into a Customer Service Opportunity.  Mindy Williams explains how you can turn a negative into a positive, increasing your tenant retention. 

Vacation Checklist:  What To Do When Your Home's Alone.  Give a copy of this to your tenants, especially if they are renting a single family home from you.  The advice will not do you any harm either. 

Why We Buy.  Very useful article on adapting retail sales techniques to improve your marketing effort. 

Will Higher Utility Costs Increase Rents?  No, say most of the experts.  Rent levels are determined by supply and demand, which is why rents in California's Silicon Valley have actually decreased in the face of soaring energy costs.  Demand for commercial space is down because of the local economic downturn.

Reflective Roofs Are So Cool.  The color of your roof can result in increased life and substantial energy savings. 

What Does “Due on Sale” Mean?  Almost all mortgages contain a “Due on Sale” clause, but there are many situations in which your mortgage can be assumed without lender permission.