How to Flip a House: 7 Things to Consider Before You Get Started

TV shows make house flipping look like a sure-fire way to make a lump of easy cash. However, the reality is often quite different, and there are several things worth considering before getting started. It’s always best to go in with your eyes open, so with that in mind, here are seven things to think about.

Your Job

The first thing to think about before you get into the business of flipping houses is your job. Are you prepared to commit to flipping properties full time, or are you thinking of it as a side hustle? Take the time to weigh out the pros and cons of both options. House flipping can be very expensive, and having a stable source of income can ease the financial strain, especially if you’re new to this. However, flipping is very time-consuming. Ask yourself if keeping your job will give you enough time to handle the flip and whether you’ll have enough financial stability without your current employment.

Your Budget

Flipping properties is more expensive than buying a house to live in, so budgeting for it is slightly different. Apart from the cost of purchasing the property, you will need to factor in the costs of building materials, hiring contractors for work you can’t do yourself, selling costs, and the holding costs while the property is still in your name. Also, keep in mind that house flipping is seen as a high risk for conventional lenders, and your mortgage application may be declined. If a cash purchase is not an option for you, you will need to find alternative ways to finance the purchase of your investment property.

Understand the 70% Rule

The 70% rule should be the cornerstone of your house flipping budget. It will help you determine the maximum price you should pay on a property in order to maximize profit. Ideally, your maximum buying price should be no more than 70% of the after-repair-value (ARV) of the property minus the renovation costs. Anything above that, and you risk either just about breaking even or, worse, losing money.

The Neighborhood

A successful flip relies heavily on location, so it’s important to know whether you’re dealing with an up-and-coming market. Keep an eye out for how long houses typically spend on the market in the area you’re prospecting, but also what type of properties are being sold. For example, an area where foreclosure sales are common may give you a good chance to grab a bargain, but it’s also a sign of a declining neighborhood. Finally, don’t forget to check what’s being built nearby. A new school, a park or a shopping center can become selling points that will also boost the value of your property. A nearby power plant, not so much.

The Timeline

One of the most common mistakes first-time flippers make is underestimating how long it takes to flip a house. This is why establishing a time frame is just as important as setting up a budget. On average, a loan approval takes about two weeks. You can also expect to wait anywhere between 30 to 60 days from the time you made an offer until you actually have ownership of the house. Depending on the state of the property, repairs or renovations can take another couple of months. The entire time, you’ll be accruing carrying costs that will directly impact your budget, such as loan repayments, insurance, property taxes, utilities and so on. Setting up a realistic time frame will reduce the risk of unexpected delays, as well as the risk of straining your budget.

Sweat Equity vs. Contractors

Try to determine very early on how much renovation work you can do yourself and whether you’ll need to hire contractors. If you already have carpentry, plumbing or tiling skills, building up sweat equity is a good call and can take a load off your budget. Otherwise, it’s best if you hire a professional team. Keep in mind that a DIY renovation may not pass an inspector’s assessment, and the buyer might back out as a result. And the more time the property spends in your possession, the more you’ll become encumbered with monthly loan repayments.

What Happens if the Flip Flops?

If you struck gold and found a property that needs minimal touch-ups in a hot market, it is possible to flip a house in a month. Realistically though, the process may take anywhere between 3 to 6 months. And in a worst-case scenario, the house may remain on the market for much, much longer. So ask yourself what would happen to the property during this time. Perhaps you can rent it or live in it yourself. Or perhaps even wholesale it. Whichever the outcome, always have a backup plan if the house you are planning to flip doesn’t sell.

How to Flip a House: A Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide

So, you’ve decided to enter the exciting world of house flipping. You’ve done your research, considered the pros and cons, and you’re ready to give it a go. But where exactly do you start? In this guide, we’ll take a look at the key steps you’ll need to take to flip your first house.

Find a Property

When looking for houses to flip, it’s important to think like an investor, not a homebuyer. You’re not buying a home that fits your needs, but a property that can be improved with little time and resources and then sold quickly.

The first thing you need to scout is a good location. Look for properties in up-and-coming neighborhoods or in residential areas that are in high demand. The type of property is also important. A stylish old house may seem like it will sell for a higher price after being fixed, but it may need extensive repairs that will set your budget back. Distressed properties or fixer-uppers may be cheaper but can pack higher renovation costs. Ideally, the property should be a modern construction, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, in the middle to upper price range for the area it’s located in.

Find Financing

Unless you’re buying your investment property with cash, finding financing can be tricky but not impossible. If this is your first flip and you don’t have enough savings, you’ll most likely need to apply for a loan. However, conventional lenders perceive house flipping as a high risk, so you will have to prospect other avenues. For example, you can obtain a loan via a hard money lender, a private lender or a HELOC. Remember to factor in not just the price of the house but also renovation costs and carrying costs such as taxes, insurance and utilities.

Buy the Property

Once you’ve found your investment property, reach out to the seller and make an offer. Use the 70% rule to determine the maximum price you should spend on the house to turn a profit. Calculate the after-repair-value (ARV) of the property, multiply it by 0.7, then deduct your estimated renovation costs. If the seller accepts your offer, you can then discuss closing the sale.

Assemble Your Team

The sooner you can fix up the property, the sooner you can flip it. And nothing speeds up the flip like several pairs of helping hands. So ask friends and family to help, even if they’re just decluttering and repainting the walls. Also, find reliable contractors to work with if there are any repair jobs you can’t do yourself.

Repair and Decorate

To maximize time efficiency, draw up a task list in advance. Start by decluttering any old or broken items and giving the property a general clean. This will help you find any hidden problems that may be covered by old furniture, for example. Work your way through the major repairs first, such as patching up holes in the walls, changing the flooring, retiling and so on. Ideally, there shouldn’t be too many big jobs to fix. Then follow-up with cosmetic repairs, such as painting the walls, changing the carpets and blinds, landscaping, replacing door handles and light bulbs. The last items on the list are small decorative touches and one final general clean.

When renovating the house, avoid using the cheapest materials, but also expensive or custom-made upgrades and furniture. They will strain your budget and can result in delays. Also, avoid adding too many personal touches, such as paintings, odd decorations or bold colors. A few houseplants are cheaper and more effective than a full-sized wall decal, for example. The house should look inviting but also impersonal to allow buyers to better envision their life there.

List Your Property

With repairs and renovations done, it’s time to put your property on the market. Take plenty of good quality photos, maybe even a video tour and write a description highlighting all the property features, from square footage and the number of bedrooms to neighborhood amenities. It’s important to maximize your listing’s exposure, so try posting it on several platforms. You may find it helpful to work with a real estate agent at this point. Not only can they advise on how to tailor your ad to attract the right type of buyer, but also help negotiate a profitable sale.

Sell Your Flip

Pick the buyer making the most attractive offer, and make sure that the sale won’t take too long to close. Of course, a pre-approved buyer will speed up the process, but it’s still wise to consider delays caused by inspections, appraisals, title claims and so on. Otherwise, the selling process should be fairly straightforward. Remember to pay off your loan, declare your earnings and then… who knows? Maybe even start scouting the market for your next successful flip.

Why Most People Rent Their Water Heaters.

 

Presented by Enercare

Most of the time, taking a chance is a good idea. Most of the time, it results in a positive experience. Like trying to follow a recipe created by a celebrity chef or signing up for that class you’ve always wanted to check out. Most of the time, it works out. Taking a chance with your home’s water heater however, is not one of those times.

Let’s say you bought a water heater – upfront, in full, out of pocket; and your water heater breaks down. It’s time to replace It. On average, replacing a hot water tank costs around a thousand dollars. Which means you’ll need access to those funds immediately (yup, say goodbye to that trip to Tahoe). Not only that, you’d also have to call every qualified technician in town to see who’s available, read over a hundred reviews to figure out which model number is right for you and schedule a prompt delivery. Until then, you’d have ice cold showers to look forward to every morning before breakfast. We’re shivering at the thought of it.

Renting is affordable, the billing is convenient, protection plans cover parts and labour so you’re protected from additional costs and unpredictable fees, and  maintenance can be scheduled for the same day.  You get peace of mind because your time and money aren’t on the line. Plus, if you haven’t found your forever home yet, you won’t have to face the dilemma of leaving or taking  your brand-new water heater when you move.

When you rent, you won’t have to suffer through the headache of figuring out which part is causing the trouble. Or the stress of having to research which company sells the particular part and for how much. All you’ll have to do is simply let in the licensed technician who will restore hot water to the home.

Moreover, with a rental water heater in your home, you could be eligible to receive discounts on your home insurance. And if you switch to an eco-friendly unit, you could also receive government and/or utility provider rebates.

With Enercare, you’ll be able to make unlimited service calls, receive a HomeCare Report including expert assessment and recommendations, have access to 365-day parts and labour protection with a protection plan, and count on Same Day Service for requests before 5 pm. Sign up today and live in comfort

 

Take a Deep Breath. It’s Time to Upgrade Your HVAC and Enjoy Cleaner, Safer Air.

 

Presented by Enercare

Breathe in, breathe out. The quality of the air we breathe is more important now than ever before. We’re spending so much of our lives indoors, it’s crucial that we make sure it’s clean and safe. Just like the outdoors, the air in our home contains moisture, odors, allergens, and other pollutants but unlike the outdoors, we can do a few things to stop pollutants from building up in our space. At the end of the day, a breath of fresh air can make all the difference in our lives.

The keys to improving the quality of air in your home are managing indoor air circulation, ensuring a flow of fresh air, as well as maintaining air filtration and sterilization. Makes sense and sounds pretty straightforward, right? Here’s how you can make them happen:

HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air. And what you want to get is a HEPA air filtration system which will reduce the amount of particulates in the air. Also known as a HEPA air sanitizer or air purifier, a standard HEPA system is 99.97% efficient at removing particulates that are 0.3 microns in size or larger such as pollen, mould, tobacco and cooking smoke, household dust, and bacteria. You can install a whole home HEPA system that integrates into your heating and cooling system or buy a standalone unit. When shopping for a standalone unit, consider the cost of replacement filters, look for certifications like the Energy Star logo, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers  (AHAM) Verifide seal, and clean air delivery rate (CADR) rating (the higher the CADR, the faster and more efficient the air purifier is), the size of your room, and noise performance. Once you’ve found a system that works for your home, place it in a spot where nothing obstructs airflow. Remember to clean the filters regularly.

Building on that, there’s a category of HEPA air purifiers that use short-wave ultraviolet light to reduce pollutants in the air. This UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) deactivates airborne pathogens and microorganisms. Historically, this process has been used in hospitals to disinfect water and surfaces and has been shown to be effective in cleaning the air as well. With a UV light air purifier that’s integrated with your home’s heating and cooling system, air passes through UV lamps that directly disinfect the air for the entire home.

For those who need to replace their furnace, you may want to consider installing a model with an electronically commutated motor (ECM) variable speed motor. A variable speed motor precisely controls the flow of heated or cooled air throughout a home. This energy efficient unit can be set to run for longer periods of time to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the home. (By the way, it’s a common misconception that a longer running unit will cost you more in electricity. ECM motors are designed to run 24/7 and actually uses less electricity than a standard PSC motor.) When the fan is in constant operation the motor will continue to slowly circulate air, allowing your furnace filter to capture more contaminants, keeping your unit clean and efficient. Combined with a HEPA air filter, your home’s air will be cleaner.

If you live in a recently built home, here’s something you may not know. As construction techniques have become more energy efficient, homes have better air sealing and insulation which means there is less air leakage, heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. While good for the planet and your energy bill, the downside is a lack of fresh air being brought into the home.

Because the house is sealed the air inside collects moisture and pollutants from everyday activities done in your home. This is why you need an air exchanger with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV). These systems remove stale and polluted air from the house to the outside and replace it with an equal amount of fresh air – exchanging the air multiple times a day. During heating season, HRVs will also help warm the incoming air so your heating system doesn’t need to work as hard. Combine an HRV or ERV system with your indoor plant garden, and you’ll have an abundance of fresh air everywhere.

Finally, as with many areas around the house, allowing dust to build up only leads to more headaches, sometimes literally. A home’s ducting can collect dirt, dust, mould, pollen and pet dander over time. Make sure to sign up for routine duct cleaning service to remove these allergy-aggravating contaminants.

And that’s it. Start with a HEPA air filter and work your way up to get cleaner, safer air in your home. Soon, you’ll wonder how you were ever able to breathe easy before. To learn more about the products and services mentioned in this list, visit enercare.ca/safer-air-solutions.

 

Winterizing Tips to Protect your Home and Save Money

 

Presented by Enercare

When the cold front comes in, the name of the game is to keep it out while reducing energy costs and avoiding major repair headaches once the ice thaws. Getting your home prepared for winter in Canada is a must. Here’s how:

According to Hydro One, up to 40 percent of home heat loss in winter is due to air leakage. If you were to add up all the cracks and leaks in the average Canadian home, it would be like having a hole in your wall the size of a basketball. Shocking, right? To deal with this, install or replace old weather-stripping and caulking around the house. Once all the doors and windows are sealed, plug the less obvious air leaks by finding hidden drafts using a lit stick of incense. Light the incense and pass it around baseboards, light fixtures, and electrical outlets, anywhere there may be an air leak. If the smoke wavers, that’s where you have a draft. You can also use a damp hand to locate leaks; any drafts will feel cool to your hand.

Now for the energy saving part. You might assume that fans are only useful in the summer, but they can also push hot air downward when running in reverse (read: running clockwise). Next, if you have a programmable thermostat, set it to turn on the heat when you’re heading home or when your kids are on their way back from school. There’s no need to pay for heating when no one is home.

Once or twice during winter months, replace or clean your furnace filters. We can’t stress this enough. Not only does it maintain healthier equipment, it can also lower your heating bill. Dirty furnace filters have a tendency to restrict air flow and increase energy use. Now is also the time to give your furnace and boiler a tune-up. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a snowstorm with a technical problem. By scheduling a professional cleaning and inspection each fall, you can be confident that your HVAC units won’t leak, produce inconsistent temperatures, or turn on and off unexpectedly. Just make sure when you’re looking for a technician or company that they’re qualified, licensed, and insured.

Before the first snowfall, finish up your winterization by protecting your outdoor air conditioner from falling leaves, snow, and ice. Cover it with a breathable material that doesn’t lock in moisture, which could be detrimental to the finish and inner components. Keep your gutters free of leaves, sticks, and other debris so that melting snow can flow freely, preventing ice dams that can cause water damage. Turn off the water to your outdoor garden hose spigots and drain the lines. Lastly, and arguably most importantly, prevent your basement from flooding by looking for pipes that aren’t insulated and run through unheated spaces and wrap them in insulation sleeves to prevent freezing and breakage.

There you have it. Once all these steps are complete, your home will be toasty, warm, and ready to take on the frostiest of winters. For a little extra romance as you keep out the cold, sit by the fireplace, wrap yourself in a cozy blanket, and pour yourself a cup of hot cocoa.

Learn more about Enercare’s furnace or boiler maintenance plans.

 

There’s virtually nothing to rent in the Central Okanagan

 

Vacancy rate almost zero

The tight housing market in the Central Okanagan is even more bleak than may have been thought.

The yearly rental figures released Friday by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation show the rental market in crisis.

The vacancy rate in the Kelowna Census Metropolitan Area which encompasses everything from Peachland through to Lake Country plunged to 0.6 per cent in 2021.

That’s the lowest rate since 2017 when the rental vacancy rate (0.2 per cent) was virtually non existent.

The rate has fluctuated since, hitting a high of 2.7 per cent in 2019. The rate in 2020 was 2.1 per cent.

Looking at room types, the vacancy rate is 0.1 per cent for bachelor suites, 0.7 per cent for one bedroom, 0.6 per cent for two bedrooms and 1.4 per cent for three bedroom units.

Townhouses, which are tracked separately within the CMHC report shows a zero per cent vacancy across the board.

Figures also show there were 7,185 private apartment units within the CMA, 280 more than in 2020.

The vacancy rate only takes into account apartments, and does not include secondary suites, basement suites, carriage houses, rooms or entire homes.

As the number of available units plummets, the cost for those lucky enough to find a vacancy is rising.

CMHC data, compiled in October of last year, pegged the rent for an average one bedroom unit at $1,191 with a two bedroom going for $1,475.

By comparison, rental ads on Castanet from October of last year show the average one bedroom listed at $1,471 while two bedroom units averaged out at $2,117 a month.

Create the perfect laundry room

 

How to maximize one of the most underrated rooms in your home

Modern, organized laundry room with white washer and dryer

A laundry room – if you are fortunate enough to have a designated room – is one of the most underrated and important spaces in any home. Your guests may not see it and it might not be a deal-breaker for potential buyers in the future, but you are likely to spend several hours (at least…) each week in the laundry room. That means, while it doesn’t have to be fancy, it does need to be functional, clean and easy to navigate. 

Here are some tips to help make your laundry room easier and more enjoyable to use:

  • Make sure your appliances are the right size and in the correct location for your space. The layout of your laundry room will revolve around the washer and dryer, so consider carefully where and how you place these machines. Of course, the water and power supplies will be a big factor. If you have room to stack your laundry machines, this can open up a lot of floor space. If not, place them side-by-side so you can use the top as a work space. Tight on space? Many retailers sell condo-sized machines that even fit in a closet. The maximum load size is smaller, but they take up much less space.
  • Storage and organization are key. You will need cabinets and/or shelves to keep your laundry detergent, household cleaning supplies and extra towels and linens. The laundry room likely also doubles as your broom closet. If you don’t have enough space to install a tall cabinet for your broom, mop and ironing board, consider hanging wall hooks behind the door to avoid having these items strewn messily on the floor. Remember to make room for larger items like laundry baskets and buckets, likely on or under a floating shelf. 
  • A work surface where you can sort and fold laundry can be very helpful. Even in a small space, a countertop can be installed on top of your side-by-side washer and dryer. And, if you prefer to hang-dry your laundry, you may want to install a clothing rod for hangers or a drying rack that folds up to the wall. 
  • A deep sink or tub is a super handy addition to any laundry room. And, with a couple of cabinets below, it’s a great place to store cleaning supplies and smaller appliances, like an iron or steamer.
  • Consider swapping out a traditional door for a pocket door. If you have the option to install a pocket door, it can free up wall space inside the laundry room and improve your freedom of movement within it.
  • Choose materials that are durable, as well as easy to clean and maintain. For countertops, choose a non-porous stone like quartz that will not easily damage with heat or chemicals. For cabinet doors, melamine is durable and cost-effective. Select a panel with flat finish that is easy to wipe clean. For flooring, ceramic and porcelain tiles are easiest to clean, however vinyl flooring is less expensive and is also water-resistant. 
  • Brighten up the space. Paint the walls a crisp white or a bright blue or yellow to make your laundry room feel larger. You might not have windows to let natural light into the room, so install bright task lighting overhead.

New data shows Penticton rental market still tight and expensive

 

Rental situation still dire

Private apartment rental vacancies have risen year over year in Penticton, but not by much.

A new report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which publishes a yearly survey of the rental market in cities with 10,000 or more people every February, shows Penticton’s rental availability moved up a fraction of a percentage in 2021 as compared to 2020.

Penticton was at an overall 0.8 per cent vacancy rate for private apartments in Oct. 2020, and was at 1.1 per cent in the same month in 2021.

That breaks down to a 1.1 per cent rate for 1-bedroom apartments, 1.32 per cent for 2-bedrooms, and 0 per cent for 3-plus-bedrooms. Data was not included for bachelor apartments, but in 2020, it was at 0 per cent.

The report also indicates the average rent for a private apartment in the city has gone up from $1,047 to $1,076 year over year.

An average bachelor apartment was found to be $767 per month, a 1-bedroom 941, a 2-bedroom $1,230 and 3-plus-bedrooms $1,633.

Meanwhile, the number of private apartments in the rental market has decreased.

In 2020, the report found 2,308 units. The 2021 number is 2,302.

Townhouse rental inventory, which is tracked by CMHC separately, also went down from 238 units to 231.

What Does a Home Warranty Cover?

 

A home warranty is a type of contractual agreement that covers the cost of repairing or replacing home systems and appliances. It is optional home coverage, yet it can spare you a lot of headaches, especially if you have older appliances and home systems that would cost a lot to fix.

In this guide, we’ll look at what is typically included in a home warranty and explain how it differs from a manufacturer’s warranty and homeowners insurance.

What is covered by a home warranty?

Let’s start by listing what is typically included in a home warranty coverage:

Home systems:

  • Internal plumbing
  • Internal electrical systems
  • Heating and cooling systems (including ductwork)
  • Smoke detectors and fire or burglar alarms
  • Central vacuum cleaners
  • Ceiling and attic fans

Appliances:

  • Refrigerators and ice makers
  • Built-in ovens and microwave ovens, ranges, cooktops
  • Clothes washers and dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Exhaust fans and hoods (including kitchen fans and attic fans)
  • Garbage disposals

Apart from appliances and major home systems, home warranty companies also provide a list of add-ons, which can extend your coverage to include items and amenities such as:

  • Electronics (laptop, TV, computer, etc.)
  • External plumbing (including septic systems, sump pumps, well pumps and sewer lines)
  • Spas and pools
  • Rentals and guesthouses located on the property premise

The home warranty coverage is usually capped at a certain amount per appliance or system. If the cost of repairing it exceeds that amount, you can choose between having it replaced or paying the difference needed to fix it.

What Isn’t Covered by a Home Warranty?

Here are the main items left out of the home warranty coverage:

  • Any issues previously discovered by a home inspector
  • Problems that result from neglect or poor maintenance
  • Systems and appliances damaged as a result of incorrect use, incorrect installation or manufacturing flaws
  • Damage caused by pests such as termites and rats, or mold
  • Identifying and removing hazardous substances such as lead and asbestos
  • Solar panels
  • Fireplaces
  • Commercial appliances
  • Cosmetic damage

It’s worth pointing out that just because something seems like it would be covered by the home warranty doesn’t mean it will. For example, some providers may offer coverage for refrigerators but not for free-standing freezers. Or they may provide coverage for doorbells, but not if they’re part of an intercom system. So always read the small print carefully to ensure that the coverage fits your needs.

Despite the name, a home warranty will not include the structure of your dwelling. This means it will also exclude coverage for structural problems, windows, foundations, flooring, walls and roof. There is, however, an exception to this rule:

Home Warranties for New Constructions

In both the U.S. and Canada, builders can provide a home warranty covering new constructions for up to 10 years. The coverage is typically included in the home price, guarantees the quality of labor and materials used in the new building, and will cover potential problems with the roof, exterior walls, foundation and frames.

Depending on the company, a home warranty for new buildings can also include coverage for appliances and home systems such as plumbing, electrical and heating.

Home Warranty vs. Manufacturer’s Warranty

Both home appliances and systems come with a standard manufacturer’s warranty by default. Yet this type of coverage is drastically different from the one provided by a home warranty.

The main difference is that a manufacturer’s warranty will cover the cost of parts and labor needed to repair an appliance, but only as long as the damage is caused by a manufacturing fault. On the other hand, a home warranty will cover the cost of repairing damage that results from regular wear and tear.

Also, a manufacturer’s warranty is limited to new systems and appliances. Meanwhile, a home warranty will provide coverage for older items as well, even if they are outside the manufacturer’s warranty by several years.

Home Warranty vs. Homeowners Insurance

As a homeowner, you’re most likely wondering which is worth buying: a home warranty or home insurance? To better understand which one you’ll need, keep in mind that a home warranty protects your home systems and appliances and covers the cost of repairing or replacing them.

Homeowners insurance is more comprehensive in terms of coverage and will include not just your dwelling but also personal belongings such as furniture, living expenses in case the damage to your home makes it temporarily unlivable, and even liability protection.

Of course, nothing prevents you from getting both a home warranty and homeowners insurance. But if you’re still wavering between the two, it’s best to discuss this with a professional and find out which policy suits you best.

 
 

Renting with Pets: Dos and Don’ts

 

Pet ownership has increased drastically in the last couple of years, with more of us than ever before sharing our homes with various furry companions. However, when it comes to renting with pets, there are some definite dos and don’ts to be aware of. So let’s take a look.

DO Know Your Rights

Legislation on renting with pets varies across states and provinces, so this is the best place to start documenting yourself. For example, the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act prevents landlords from including a no-pets provision in the lease agreement. Landlords can, however, refuse tenants who have pets. In other Canadian provinces, as well as in the U.S., such decisions are left to the landlord’s discretion. The only exceptions are service dogs and emotional support animals, which can bypass no-pets rules given the fact that they are not actual pets.

In addition to no-pets clauses, you should also know your rights regarding pet rent and deposits. For example, pet rent is prohibited in Canada, but other pet fees are allowed. In the U.S., pet rent, deposits and fees are regulated by local laws, so make sure to check those in advance. Also, keep in mind that a landlord can never charge you any pet rent or deposit if you have a service animal or emotional support animal.

DON’T Hide Your Pet From Your Landlord

As tempting as it is, sneaking pets into a rental is never a good idea. If your lease has a strict no-pets clause, even something as seemingly inoffensive as a hamster can be considered a breach of contract. A good relationship with your landlord goes a long way, so it’s essential to start off on the right foot. And, who knows, if you need to relocate, they may even agree to write a letter of recommendation for your pet.

DO Prepare Your Pet’s Documents

Even if your landlord doesn’t ask for it, it’s a good idea to have your pet’s paperwork ready before signing the lease. Most states and provinces will require a pet license, which allows shelters and animal control officers to identify the pet if it gets lost or stolen. A pet license will also prove that your cat or dog is up to date with its rabies and distemper vaccinations, whether it’s been spayed or neutered, and whether the pet has a microchip. In some cases, you will also need to provide a certificate of veterinary inspection, an official document attesting that your pet has been inspected for diseases and is in good health.

DO Mind Your Neighbors

This applies to both neighbors as well as potential roommates. Nobody likes a dog that barks at odd hours night and day, and if you’ve only just moved in, this could cause problems later on. If neighbors complain about noise or other pet-related disturbances or damage, your landlord may present you with an eviction notice. To avoid that, try to talk to your neighbors and address any concerns as soon as they arise.

DON’T Leave Your Pet Alone for Long Periods

Unless you’re working from home, there’s a good chance your pet will spend many hours each day alone. And sadly, a lonely pet is a stressed pet and is more likely to cause damage to the property as a result.

Ideally, once you move into a new rental, try to spend a few days with your pet until it becomes familiar with their new home. Also, try to establish a daily routine, so your pet knows that it’s normal for you to be gone for a few hours. Go for long walks, spend as much time as you can playing with your pet, and make sure that it has plenty of food and water while you’re away.

DO Consider Pet-proofing

Pet proofing is the easiest way to reduce pet-related damage and ensure you’ll get your deposit back. Limiting your pet’s access to some rooms can help reduce damage to floors, walls and furniture. Removing carpets can help you stay on top of cleaning up pet hair. You can also put delicate items and appliances in closed cabinets, where pets can’t accidentally break them. Similarly, toys are a great way of distracting pets from chewing or scratching the furniture in your rental.

DON’T Ignore Cleanliness

Not all pet-related damage is the result of chewing or scratching. Sometimes, it can result from falling behind on tidying up after your pet. For example, urine stains or smells can be difficult to remove if they are unattended for too long. Also, pet hair can become an absolute nightmare once it starts building up on carpets and upholstery. But if you stay on top of regularly cleaning up after your pet, you will drastically reduce the risk of potential pet damage.