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It’s summertime, I’ve got my hat on backwards, and it’s time to have a get-together under a gazebo. If you live in a warm and sunny place like South Florida, you know to search for all of the shade you can get. When it’s hot, it gets really hot—having a gazebo, an awning, or a canopy attached to your property can give you a space to enjoy the outdoors in the summer and springtime. If you’ve ever been interested, here’s the rundown on the different options you have for shaded settings on your property.

 

What’s the difference between a gazebo, awning, and a canopy? A gazebo is most like a house—”a roofed structure that offers an open view of the surrounding area, typically used for relaxation or entertainment.” An awning is most like a shade—”a sheet of canvas or other material stretched on a frame and used to keep the sun or rain off a storefront, window, doorway, or deck.” A canopy is perhaps the most vague, and could technically describe either a gazebo or awning, but is usually just a simpler version of the two—”a rooflike projection or shelter.”

 

What are the benefits of having a gazebo, awning, or canopy? They’re not just for summer—with outdoor structures like these, you can get year-long protection from the elements, whether it be rain or snow or sun. They make great sites for get togethers and hosting guests.  Set up a few outdoor seats (wicker furniture, lawn chairs, etc.) and chill in the shade with a glass of lemonade in hand.

 

How can you get one? The question is usually build or buy. While some fixtures like awnings are best bought—think of electronic retractable ones—you can easily DIY your own canopy or gazebo, with varying levels of fanciness and decor depending on your affinity for construction.  If you’re renting property, remember to speak with your landlord about any additions to the property before you make any decisions or purchases.

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It’s pretty common to have an overlap in the lease duration between a place you’re moving out of and a place you’re moving in to.

 

Let’s say the lease for your current apartment ends on September 1st. If you sign a lease for a new place that begins on September 1st, you’ll ostensibly only have one day to move in. How can you get a good idea of the apartment before you move in? How can you make the move-in process easier?

 

A solution to this common problem is to coordinate with previous and future tenants for the properties you’re dealing with. Often times you can set up a chat to talk about the property and even to coordinate an early move-in date.

 

Who can you go through to coordinate between tenants, whether you’re someone about to move into a place or the one moving out? It’s best to contact the landlord for the space to ask about contact information. See if the previous tenants are willing to have a short phone call or to meet up. Try your best not to invade their privacy and don’t expect a response. Never just show up at the apartment or office unannounced or without warning.

 

If you do initiate contact, make sure to outline what you want out of the conversation—is it just a check-up to get their take on the state of the property? Are you interested in buying/selling things? etc. If all goes well, you can work through any questions the both of you have and come to a solution for your move-in concerns!

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Some say spring is the perfect season for do-it-yourself pet projects around the house. But what about all those April showers coming down on your parade? Some say winter, when it’s cold outside and toasty inside, making inside projects key. But the cold is usually pretty discouraging—wouldn’t you rather cozy up with a mug of hot chocolate than start a renovation project?

 

That’s why, in our humble opinion, the calm skies and bright sun of summer weather are the absolute best for sprucing up your space with DIY projects. What’s better than a sunny space tune-up without having to call a professional? Here’s a list of some simple do-it-yourself projects you can take on over the summer to really revitalize your space.

 

Give your space a deep clean. And we mean deep—not just a quick broom and vacuum job. Go ahead and rent a carpet shampooer. Buy a high-quality steamer for those hardwood floors and work up all that grime. Spend a day moving appliances to get to those hard to reach places, and make sure even the spots you don’t always see shine just as bright as those you do.

 

Declutter electronics and wires. Buy a pack of twist ties and go to town on your television sets and computer desks. Make sure no loose wires can be seen, and bundle them all up together for easier access.

 

Give your space a fresh coat of paint—on the walls and the ceilings. Summertime is perfect for lighter, pastel colors. With even just a small change in color, you can make a space really pop. Look for inspiration online—check interior design blogs and Pinterest for the latest trends and your favorite colors. It’s always best to pick a neutral but fun color that will complement the space and add value. If you’re renting, make sure to get approval from your landlord before deciding on any projects.

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In the warmer months, having a well manicured lawn can really set your property apart from the rest. And they say a little gardening work is good for the body and the mind. If you don’t have the greenest of thumbs, it might seem like a daunting task to start landscaping and sprucing up the yard. We’re not saying you ought to mow intricate patterns into your grass or plant exotic flowers all around. Don’t worry! There are some very simple and effective strategies when it comes to do-it-yourself landscaping—and it’s not just for the pros.

 

First thing’s first, think of your visitors! Create a walkway or sidewalk through your yard with stones or bricks. If you’re really looking for a cheap option, you can even find these in a public space or collect rocks from the outdoors that really strike your fancy. Make the space your own!

 

Got a path/walkway? Line it, and your yard with flowers or small shrubs. You can purchase seeds for super cheap at your local home improvement store. Or if you’re not in for the waiting game, simple flowers like morning glories, peonies, and lavender make for easy plotting.

 

Buy solar lighting fixtures to decorate your yard and provide a little shine at night. The best thing about these? They light themselves! No wiring or electricity involved.

 

When in doubt? Mulch, mulch, mulch! What do you think when you see mulch in someone’s garden? You think they’ve put in the effort for beautiful garden, at the very least! Fill your flower beds with mulch to help your plants grow and to keep the space aesthetically pleasing.

 

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Of course, we at Genet Property Group are partial to renting in South Florida. It’s home, the weather is nice, and with approximately 1.5 million square feet of space available to lease right here from us? What’s not to love! But it’s interesting to do some digging and to find out just how different cities in the United States compare when it comes to the cost of rent. Cities in South Florida aren’t the cheapest places in the country to rent, that’s probably a given. But can you guess which cities do host the cheapest rent prices, or maybe what part of the country they’re located?

 

As it turns out, most of the cities that are least expensive for renters are located in the midwest. It’s probably no surprise—sprawling fields and expiring manufacturing industries make the midwest pretty cheap to live in. At the top of the list, with a median rent cost of $550, is Toledo, Ohio. Toledo is perhaps most well known as the site of the amusement park Cedar Point, “the roller coaster capital of the world.” With all the money you’d save on rent by living there, you could probably head on over to the amusement park anytime you want.

 

The number two cheapest city for rent is Memphis, Tennessee, with a median rent price of $728. After that comes Glendale, Arizona in third at $751. Though cities in the midwest make up four of the top five, Glendale stands alone in representing the southwest region of the country. At fourth is Kansas City, Missouri at $885, and fifth is Lincoln, Nebraska at $907.

 

You can find a more extensive list of the cities with the cheapest rent in the U.S. over at CNBC. You can even read the median family income to see how it compares from city to city.

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Where there’s Spring, there’s rain. And of course, where there’s rain, there are plenty of good things—pretty flowers, cute animals sipping from puddles, abundant life in nature. So goes the old saying, April showers bring May flowers. But there’s something else that April showers can bring, and it ain’t so pretty. As can be expected, damage to property caused by rain spikes in the spring months when it starts to pour. Being prepared for the onslaught of rain is important to ensure the integrity of your property. So, here are some tips to follow as spring time rolls around…

  • When the rainy months start to pick up, make sure the gutters around your property are in tact and unblocked. In the event of a clogged gutter, water can spill over and collect on the roof or it can even cause enough damage to penetrate into the building. No one wants a leaky roof.
  • Follow the water. If you see puddles collecting in your yard, assess why it might be happening. If the ground is compromised, consider resaturating it with soil to prevent water buildup. If your property sits at the bottom of a hill, or is vulnerable to more flooding, try to set up a drain or small pipe that can lead water away from the lower points of the property.
  • If you see water coming in from the ceiling, do like they do in the movies: place a bucket underneath. Never try to fix a leaky roof while it’s still raining! And for extra safety, it’s always best to call a professional to come deal with any problem that can end in extra bodily harm for the inexperienced.

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Did you know that the laws on security deposits vary state to state? Did you also happen to know, there are no laws in the state of Florida that limit the amount of money a property manager can charge for a security deposit? Most people don’t get excited about studying or reading up on property law. But it’s important to know these things as a lessee, as you never know when you might have a dispute over a security deposit you’ve paid, or any other issue.

 

While there’s no law that states how much a property manager can charge for a security deposit, there are laws that dictate how soon a property manager must return a security deposit after a lessee moves out. According to Nolo, a property manager or landlord has 15 to 60 days after a tenant moves to send back the security deposit placed at the beginning of the lease.

 

It’s also worth noting that a property manager or landlord must alert a former tenant if they are not returning a security deposit or any portion of it. The 15 to 60 days is meant as a cushion of time for the lessee to potentially dispute the terms of return on a security deposit. Of course, when it comes time to move out of a rental property, one should always try to leave the place in a better condition than at the start of the lease. Safer to ensure that your property manager or landlord has no reason to deduct any amount from the security deposit you’ve paid.

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It’s finally spring time! The birds are chirping, the sun is out, and if you’re looking for a new rental property starting in the warmer seasons, now’s the time to make sure you’re rental ready. Whether you’re looking for a new living space, work space, flex space, or warehouse space, there are a few key things to keep in mind as you hone in on the property that’s perfect for you.

 

First thing’s first, if you’re planning to sign a lease in the near future, make sure your papers are in order. Collect and have at the ready your proof of residence, bank statements/pay stubs, any lists of references that you might be asked for, and a summary of your rental history. It’s best to be prepared for whatever a property manager or landlord might ask you to provide. And being prepared ahead of time means you’ll secure that lease sooner.

 

Outline the different costs that you’ll face in the beginning of your lease and as time goes on. Assess any fees, such as moving-in fees, security deposits, upfront rent, and application fees, to get an estimate of the upfront costs of signing a new lease. Also evaluate any ongoing costs, such as monthly management fees and utilities. Because you’re likely looking at a few different rental properties, it’s best to ask the standards each property manager works with. Keep a spreadsheet to track the different fees that each potential property requires.

 

Plan a moving or furnishing process in advance to save time and potentially money. By choosing or scheduling a moving service ahead of time, you remove the burden of finding a last minute solution to any problems or concerns that arise when it’s move-in day at the new rental.

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Without the proper digital protection, you’re more likely than ever to be vulnerable to scams and data breaches. As time goes on, malware becomes more advanced and so do the criminals and hackers who create it. Whether you’re an individual leasing a space or a business owner who uses office and warehouse software, it’s important to make sure your data is secure. What are some steps that you can take to keep your data and your computer systems safer?

 

The number one most simple tip for any individual with a computer: always have virus protection software and always keep it up to date. It’s not enough to just download a simple antivirus app like Avast or Norton and leave it sit dormant. With every update comes advanced protection for new types of malware, adware, and spyware that can infect your computer systems. And on top of keeping antivirus applications up to date, make sure your operating systems and other applications are updated as well.

 

There’s no question about this one: Make sure your wireless connection has a security code or password. If your wifi is open for anyone from the public to connect, it might as well be a pig with an apple in its mouth ready for the spit roast. By using an unprotected wireless connection you are leaving your devices, and their data, wide open for attacks and infiltration from anyone close enough to connect.

 

While we’re on the topic of passwords, it’s also important to note that you should never keep passwords stored on your devices. That means no e-sticky note or word document that lists all of your account passwords. If a file like that were to fall into the wrong hands all of your online accounts could be compromised. Diversify your passwords and make them longer phrases rather than single words.

 

And lastly, be sure to regularly backup all of your data in the case of a breach in security. If you do fall victim to a scam or malware attack, knowing that your data is at least safe in the cloud or on a separate physical backup can give you peace of mind.

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Some of our warehouse spaces are pretty big—huge, you might even say. Depending on your needs, you can lease a warehouse space at any number of square feet (for some perspective, Genet Property Group leases over 1.5 million square feet of property in South Florida). But no matter the size of the space you need, whatever you’re storing will be lost in a boundless sea or deep pond unless you have a surefire organizational system for your warehouse. If you’re able to pay for it, a computerized inventory system is definitely recommended for the professionals with a lot of inventory coming in and out of a warehouse. But if you’re on your own, how can you better organize your warehouse space?

 

No matter what you’re using a warehouse space for, setting up quadrants for storage or for active equipment will help you keep track of where items are and where they’re meant to be. Envision your warehouse as a giant kitchen utensil drawer—there needs to be individual slots with easy access for the forks and knives you use every day, but there should also be a spot in the back for the ice cream scooper that lies dormant most of the time.

 

It also helps to label all of the objects you’re storing so you know where they ought to be when not in use or when they’re waiting to head out of the warehouse. And with labeling comes cataloging: it is perhaps most beneficial to keep an accurate log of all of the items and machinery in your warehouse to ensure that everything is accounted for. To make sure nothing is lost or stolen or removed from the space, it helps to keep up-to-date with your catalog and do sweeping inventory counts every so often.