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5 Strategies: Get Your Security Deposit Back

Though this site’s primary purpose is to provide advice for homeowners, we want to acknowledge the population of Americans currently renting their residences. This group is significant; according to the Pew Research Center, more U.S. households are renting now than they have at any point in the past fifty years. Many of these leases require a security deposit, and retaining those funds serves as a point of stress for most renters. Below, we have detailed a few strategies for getting your security deposit back.


Have a plan when you move in. Take necessary precautions when decorating your new apartment. If you have a security deposit, you may want to consider using poster putty and removable hooks to hang items rather than drilling holes into the wall. Use felt pads to protect wood floors from scratches and put carpets under rolling chairs to limit damage.


Document everything. When you move in, photograph every room in the apartment. This will allow you to use evidence if the landlord disputes your later claims. If you notice anything wrong with the apartment when you move in, alert the landlord immediately—even if it is just a simple hole from a hung picture.


Clean thoroughly. If you want all of your deposit money back, plan to do a serious deep clean before moving out of the apartment. This includes behind and beneath appliances, plus small details like light switches, door frames, and baseboards. You may want to hire a professional.


Complete necessary repairs. Replace light bulbs, fill nail holes, and unclog drains. Paint a coat of the original paint color on walls with scuffs or holes; if your security deposit is more than what a professional asks, it may make sense to hire someone to complete the painting job.


Research local laws. Most states require a landlord to provide explanation for withholding security deposit funds. Research local renter’s rights related to security deposits at the city, county, and state level. Start your research on the website of the state’s attorney general and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Best Ideas for Increasing Your Home Value

Whether you’re planning to sell, increase your investment value, or simply improve your home, increasing a property’s value is an excellent strategy. No matter your budget, there’s always an upgrade that can significantly impact the home’s resale value and strength. These home improvements could be for potential buyers, but they can also be for you and your family. Below, we have detailed a few projects that are sure to make a difference.


Kitchen Renovations—This is the biggest way to add value to a home. Adding seating, such as an island with barstools, is an excellent way to update the kitchen without purchasing new appliances. However, investing in a new appliance will also draw interest, even if you plan to take them with you during the move. Replacing countertops and flooring can help you get the most bang for your buck.


Bathroom Updates—Adding a second bathroom or upgrading an existing bath are great ways to improve the “quality of life” in your home. Spend a bit more on the details, such as a high-quality towel rack and upgraded hardware. If you’re not in a position to remodel, re-grouting tile will instantly give your bathroom a fresher look.


Lighting Upgrades—Brighter rooms feel bigger, and if you’re selling, you want every space to look as big as possible. LED lighting changes everything, and investing in something as simple as under-cabinet lighting, recessed, or pendant lighting can make all the difference.


Paint—A new coat of paint will allow your space to feel cleaner and brighter. Use neutral shades, and—if you’re short on time—tackle trims and entryways. This is an excellent and cheap way to improve the way your home looks to both guests and potential buyers.


Landscape Improvements—If your home has a yard or private entry, spend some time cleaning up. If you don’t have the time and money for planting, put down dark mulch in targeted areas. Additionally, pay special attention to the entry. This could include anything from concrete paths and porch plants to a fresh coat of paint or a new doorknob.

An Introduction to Mortgage Loans

A mortgage loan—most commonly known as, simply, a mortgage—is used to raise and deliver funds for the purchase of real estate. This is done by putting a lien on a property—a security interest to secure the payment of a debt. The loan is secured on the borrower’s property through a mortgage origination—a specialized subset of loan origination in which the lender works with the borrower to complete the mortgage transaction.


A mortgage borrower can be an individual mortgaging their home or a business mortgaging commercial property. In most cases, the lender is a financial institution, such as a bank, a credit union, or a building society. Over the past century, the mortgage loan has grown in popularity—few individuals have the savings or liquid fund available to purchase property without financial assistance. This popularity has led to the development of mortgage markets worldwide.


There are two basic types of mortgage loans: a fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) and an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). In a standard fixed-rate mortgage, the rate of interest accumulation remains fixed for the duration of the loan. In an adjustable-rate mortgage, this rate is fixed for a period of time, but will then shift periodically according to some market index.


Several factors contribute to a choice in the most appropriate loan. For example, the interest rate itself is an essential characteristic to consider when choosing your loan. Moreover, the term of the mortgage will often determine whether fixed- or adjustable-rate is best for your transaction. Payment amount and frequency, as well as prepayment amount, should also be considered.