How To Find Rent To Own Homes in Virginia

Are you thinking about buying a home but not sure if you can afford the property you want?

If so, then finding a rent to buy house, also known as a lease option home or lease purchase home, may be the right choice for you.

What To Know About Rent To Buy Real Estate

virginia rent to own housesRent to own properties are a good option for individuals who either don’t have enough money saved for a down payment or who have poor credit scores and can’t get a traditional loan from a bank.

Typically, rent to own houses are offered as a form of seller financing, where the owner of the house is prepared to carry all or part of the home loan for a prospective buyer.

Buyers will pay a premium rental fee for a pre-set period of time, during which a portion of their rent each month will be credited towards their downpayment for the purchase of a home.

Most commonly, this seller financing will occur over a period of 12-36 months, during which time the buyer has time to accumulate enough equity in the property to bridge the gap and qualify for a bank loan or other form of refinancing.

This can be a great deal for a potential buyer who couldn’t otherwise afford to purchase a home, but buyers should be careful about the terms of the loan before signing any deal. Many times, the seller will put in clauses that allows him to repossess the home if any payment is late, meaning the buyer could potentially lose the additional money he had contributed towards the downpayment.

That means that while there can be great benefits to the deal, the devil is always in the details, and anyone considering a rent to own home purchase should consult with a qualified real estate lawyer before agreeing to any seemingly favorable seller-financing terms.

Where To Look

The following links are resources for individuals looking for rent to buy properties.

Sniffing Out Energy Savings in Your Community

Are you sick and tired of paying your energy bill every month but don’t know what you can do about it?

The truth is that most homeowners overpay for their energy, but, stuck on a city grid with a single corporate power-provider, they often feel there’s not much they can do to improve the residential wind powersituation.

The reality is far different, however, and there are lots of ways you can save money by shifting your electricity needs…and I’m not just talking about turning down the lights (though that’s obviously a valid choice for immediate savings as well).

Sustainable Energy To Save You Money

The first and biggest area to consider is updating your home not just to be energy efficient, but to use sustainable energy sources as your primary means of electricity.

For most, that falls into one of two categories: solar and wind.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels have skyrocketed in popularity over the last five years or so, thanks to sharp price reductions in their production costs, increased efficiency and longevity per unit, and a host of government programs aimed at helping people shift to solar.

While installing solar panels in your home can be costly out of pocket, the savings over time often make it a wortwhile investment, especially if you live in an area that gets decent sunlight for most of the year.

Not only that, but ease of installation has greatly helped to reduce the overall costs of having solar in your home, boat or rv. Read more about DIY solar installation for your home or find out more about installing solar panels for rv.

Wind Turbine

If solar isn’t your thing, another option is to get your own small-scale wind turbine.

This source of potential energy is too often overlooked by many homeowners, who think of wind turbines as giant contraptions the size of a jet engine.

The truth is that you can now get a wide range of options for small-scale, residential wind power units, that sit silently atop your roof.

While the units obviously work better in windier areas, most areas of the country experience enough consistent wind that makes the units worthwhile.

For added benefits and complete independence, consider installing both a wind and solar unit on your roof!

See the Wind Energy Foundation for more information.

Consider Government Tax Plans

Finally, it’s important to note that perhaps the biggest driver of large-scale residential sustainable energy systems is the advantageous tax code.

Many states and counties have very aggressive tax legislation that allows you to write off the majority of purchase and installation costs.

This means that not only will you have significant energy savings over time, you can actually get (essentially) a grant to install it to your home.

Investigate your county and state laws to see if you qualify. Home energy may just be more affordable than you think.

Building the Backyard and Garden of Your Dreams

backyardMany people dream about owning their own home, and often have a firm idea of what their dream house looks like.

Far fewer take the next step of designing their own backyard and developing a clear mental image of what their garden and lawn will look like once their finished.

If that’s the case for you, then this post has a few tips for figuring out what you really want from your backyard.

Fresh Vegetables, Anyone?

Probably the first consideration most people make is whether or not they should start a vegetable garden.

This is an excellent way to truly bring the “eat local” mantra home. Studies show that individuals who keep home gardens, even if they are small and represent a minor portion of their overall food consumption, are generally healthier and happier.

The secret could be in the dirt itself, as some scientists argue that getting your hands working with soil can release chemicals to the brain that send pleasure signals that can stay with you throughout the day and week.

If you like to garden, starting a small area for edible plants is a no brainer. If you don’t like to spend your weekends in the dirt, however, you might consider a low maintenance herb garden, or planting trees that provide fruits over time, with little hands on work.

Visit for more information on vegetable gardens.

Installing a Gazebo or Pergola

Another aspect to consider when planning your ideal backyard is to what extent you want to incorporate extra add-ons, from garden statues and fountains to self-standing structures like a gazebo, pergola, or arbor.

These units can give your home a wonderful added aesthetic, and many constructions are both cheaper and easier to build than you might imagine.

Visit for more information on pergolas and gazebos.

Other Backyard Ideas for Small Areas

Of course, your overall design and plan for your backyard and garden is ultimately going to depend upon the size of the area you’re working with.

If you have a large fenced in lawn in the suburbs you have a lot more flexibility than if you have a small patch of cement courtyard in an urban environment.

Regardless of the size, however, your creativity is ultimately going to be the defining factor in shaping your backyard.

Check out the video below for more ideas.

What To Look for in a Rental Property Company

property managementAre you a new homeowner looking to capitalize on the rental value of the property, but don’t know where to begin? Or maybe you’re a seasoned real estate professional but simply don’t want the hassle and headache of dealing with your tenants, and would rather outsource the problem?

Whatever your reason, rental property management is a huge industry in the United States, and accounts for more than half of real estate rental properties in the country.

With that level of investment in the industry, there are lots of providers out there eager to add your property to their list, but how do you know which to pick?

Look for Local Experience

First and foremost, you need to consider how long the company has been around in your area. Just because a company has a large regional or national brand, doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing when it comes to managing a property in your city.

Trends can vary from city to city, even within a relatively short geographical distance, and the more established a management company is in your city, the more likely they are to know realistic expectations for getting things done in your neighborhood, whether that means helping you to find a new tenant or calling the emergency heating repair man on a holiday weekend.

Consider Fees

The next point to consider is the level of fees the company charges. Fees can be all over the map in this industry, because the included services can vary greatly.

For example, some companies charge a higher base fee but include minor service visits and inspections for the property, so you don’t have to pay extra if the repair can be done by one of their in house handymen as opposed to hiring an outside firm.

For the dozens of small quick fixes that arise with any rental property, that could be a good deal, or it could be a way to rip you off, so make sure you do your homework to figure out which it is.

See this site for more.

Find a Reputable Association

Finally, you should always be looking for rental companies that have a good reputation with a local, regional, or national association.

There are literally hundreds of different types of homeowners associations to choose from, whether that’s for property management and investing or resource lists for owners.

You can find one example on this site.

I hope this post has helped you to think about different ways you can evaluate your rental property management company, before you sign the formal agreements and get locked into a situation you weren’t expecting!

Detecting Safety Issues with a Boat: Getting Inspections


For people who are interested in purchasing or building a boat, one of the most common areas of oversight is that they do not go through the necessary procedures to inspect the boat for all safety issues before purchase.

Why inspections are a standard procedure before purchasing a house and yet are almost completely unheard of when it comes to buying a boat, is beyond me. Especially since you put your life in the hands of the boat, so to speak, every single time you use it!

In this post we’ll talk about a few of the key procedures you should follow to make sure you stay safe on the water and don’t fall into any unnecessary harm with your new boat.

See this first time boat buyers guide for more info.

Safety Tips for Boat Building

Firstly, I ‘d like to address a few safety tips to keep in mind if you’re going to build your own boat.

While I am by no means a DIY boat expert, personal and hobby boat building is a popular past time for many Americans.

If you do decide to build your own boat, make sure that you follow a clear and concise plan for your efforts, and if it’s your first time in the workshop, make sure you work alongside an experienced partner who can help you through and trouble spots you have.

Fortunately, there are lots of kits and plans available on the market, that make it easy for just about anyone to jump in and learn to build a boat relatively quickly, and at a much lower cost than what it would take to buy a boat.

One popular source is to go with one of the many Glen L boat plans, which could include plans for an aluminum boat, wooden sailboat, and others.

The number one thing to keep in mind, however, is that before you take your new boat out in deep water, be sure to test it in near-shore, shallow, and calm conditions first!

Inspection Tips for Buying a Boat

If you’re going to be purchasing a boat, the main thing to keep in mind is that used boats can have all sorts of problems that may or may not be visible to the naked eye, and may or may not be easily fixed.

One example is the problem of boat blisters, which occur from a non-petroleum based lining that was used in boats made during the Iranian oil crisis, and form pocket bubbles on the hull.

You can fix the issue cosmetically, but eventually the blisters will return, which means that a person selling their boat might “fix” the issue to convince you there’s no problem, only for you to figure out later that the problem will keep coming back!

Be sure to have your boat inspected by an experienced marine technician and boat expert in your area. You want to make sure he checks out the safety of the hull itself, the engine, and internal plumbing and pumping systems of the boat, since these are the areas that are most likely to have problems, and can be the most expensive to fix!


Background Check Resources

Background Check Resources
by: Reggie Andersen
background check resources

Whether you’re hiring a CEO, a subcontractor, a babysitter, or even looking for a new tenant or roommate, you’re taking a big risk. It’s the nature of business unfortunately for people to go to great lengths to misrepresent themselves and thus create the need for background check resources and references.

Avoid doing business with deceptive people with these 5 key factors in mind:

1. Prepare comprehensive histories from vague or misleading responses
2. Filter fact from fiction and deal with dishonest interviewees
3. Deal with legal issues including which questions you can and cannot ask
4. Make a confident, well-researched hiring decision
5. Use waivers that protect you legally during the background check process

Personal References

A personal reference could be anyone whom the candidate happens to know but most likely has never worked for. For landlords or people looking for a nanny for their children the request for references should still be for business references and not personal ones. The landlord-tenant relationship is still a business one as is the relationship between nannies and in-home health care workers and their employers. Nowadays, personal references have become one of those overused catchphrases that disguises the real work of responsible, effective reference checking.

Background Checks

The term background check is another catchall phrase that means checking the accuracy of basic information provided by a candidate for employment or similar. It’s an important step in the employee selection process because it is a relatively painless and inexpensive way for the prospective employer to whittle down the pile of applications to only those candidates who are, at least, who they say they are.

While determining whether or not the candidate is whom he or she claims to be is an important first step, it should ultimately lead into real reference checking. There is so much more to learn about a candidate for employment or a prospective tenant or even a babysitter before the final decision can be made. And the only way to learn that is by talking to people who have worked with, rented to, or received service or care from the candidate in question.

Check out or HireRight for a comprehensive check.

Job Application Issues

There are several things employers can do to increase the likelihood of receiving honest responses to job performance questions:

1. Always ask the job seeker to provide a resume that contains a complete work history, including dates of employment for every job held.

2. Ask the candidate to provide the name of the person to whom he/she directly reported.

3. Employers should always require candidates for employment to fill out a formal job application that asks for the same information. One way or another, even if you have to ask for it during the first interview, you’ll get a description of the tasks for which the job seeker was responsible at each position held.

If the list of references doesn’t include at least one of the people to whom the candidate reported directly, a red warning flag should appear in the prospective employer’s mind. Some job seekers will suggest they didn’t list a previous supervisor as a reference because the two of them didn’t get along and that’s understandable, but throughout an individual’s entire work history, there has to be at least ONE supervisor who can be a reference. If it’s true the candidate has never gotten along with any supervisor ever, then it’s best to look for another person for the job.

No, every job doesn’t result in a happy ending, but with the above precautions in mind, one can reduce the possibility of getting burned or hiring the more suitable person for the job. Having more information about a job seeker is always better than having less. It’s through working with other people that we reach most of our goals so choosing the right ones is therefore, essential.

Checking Up On Your Nanny’s Past

Tips On How To Conduct Background Checks for Nanny Services
by: Steve Lampert

nannyHiring a nanny is a sophisticated process that involves searching, interviewing, checking references and extending an offer to the right candidate. When the nanny has accepted your offer, the final step is conducting a criminal background check. Your offer should be contingent on the outcome of those results.

What to check?

It’s hard to imagine that in this era of the Internet and computerization there is no reliable national criminal database that is accessible by the public. The “gold standard” for checking a nanny’s background is to first run a search using her Social Security Number to see where she has lived in the past seven years. This is done so that a decision can be made on which counties should be searched. Yes, that’s right, these searches are done county by county, not nationally. Few states have a reliable criminal index that is suitable for nanny background checking because nannies tend to commit misdemeanors at most. Many of these indexes only turn up people who have felony convictions and/or have served time. Many states don’t have statewide indexes at all.

Which counties should you search?

Obviously the safest method is to check each county, but in some cases this can get quite costly. A fairly typical scenario may be a nanny who left home to go to college, after which she may have changed schools and then moved again after graduation. So let’s say she’s 23 now and there are four years that can be searched since she turned 18.
2001            lived at home, 18 years old
2001-2003       moved for college
2003-2005       lived at her second college
2005-           moved after graduation to another city

In this case, since she turned 18 at home and moved shortly thereafter, the duration of time spent at her home residence and the city she moved to after graduation is brief. For someone who wanted to hold their costs down, the two most likely locations to check would be the two cities she lived in from 2001-2005. Again, if you want to be absolutely certain and costs are not an issue, you would need to check each place that appears on the Social Security address check.

What other types of checks can be performed?

Driving records are very important if there is driving involved in your job. A credit report can be ordered if you feel that information may be important to your decision. There is a sexual offenders list for each state that should be checked as well. There are numerous other reports that may be ordered if you feel the need.

How do I perform the check?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (which applies to more than just credit checks) requires that you have a written release from your nanny to perform the check. This form is downloaded and filled out by the family and then completed and signed by the nanny.

What are some of the limitations of the checks?

Every company that does these checks warns that these reports cannot guarantee complete accuracy. Also, there is a charge for each type of check that you order, so figuring out your budget ahead of time can help you prioritize which type of checks to run.

All in all, running a background check on a potential nanny for your children is essential. These steps should help make that process more informative and resourceful.

Background Checks

Background Checks – Quintessential In Today’s World Of Employment
by: James Warden

background checkA background check is essentially a verification procedure. It is a method of investigating the past of an individual and his achievements and failures for the purpose of recruitment. This helps the employer to judge the validity of information furnished by the prospective employee.

Any company must go through a proper and systematic background checking before making a hiring decision. Background checks have proved to be more beneficial and effective in comparison to personal interviews and information provided by resumes and Reference Letters.

Background checks are organized methods of investigation, where the company follows a particular course of action by conducting a research work as par requirement disregarding additional unnecessary details. The requirement of screening by Federal or Sate Law has become necessary in most professional specifications.

Background check becomes more crucial and indispensable when an employer has to select the best among several potential applicants. A correct detection, results in the gift of a worthy employee. In the United States, the Brandy Bill requires criminal background checks for purchasing handguns from licensed firearm dealers. Restricted weaponry items like machine guns and other explosives, suppressors and huge quantities of precursor chemicals and secret weapons permit also requires a thorough criminal background check.

Background checks are also compulsory for those in positions of honor, greater responsibility and security. These include trucking, ports of entry and airline transportation.

Background reports consist a variety of information beginning with the certification of an applicant’s Social Security number to a complete variety of specifications of the employee’s past accounts and connections. Some of the significant information generally included in background checks is public records formed by government agencies.

The Credentials of Background Checks

• Driving Records
• Social Security Number
• Cases Of Bankruptcy
• Property Ownership
• Former Employers
• Vehicle Registration
• Education Records
• Character References
• Military Records
• Personal testimonials
• Credit Records
• Court Records
• Neighbor Interview
• State Licensing Records
• Past Records Of Imprisonment And Confinement
• Criminal Records
• Worker’s Compensation
• Medical Documents
• Drug Test Documents
• Sex Offender Lists

These above-mentioned details regarding an individual are enough to give the concern an idea of the several traits and characteristics of an eligible candidate. In short, background check can easily be termed as eligibility test to judge the legal worthiness of a candidate regarding a particular professional placement.

What Are Internet Detectives?

Internet Detective Sites – What Are They?
by: Scott Fromherz

internet detectiveOver the last five years we have seen an emergence of a new type of website,
commonly referred to as an “Internet Detective Site.”  These sites fill the need for
people searches that are not easily accomplished using the currently available
search engines.   Here, we will discuss the various aspects of websites that offer
online detective services.

First, we want to answer the most basic question, “What is an Internet Detective
Site?” The simple definition is “a collection of links.” An Internet Detective Site is a
collection of links to resources that allow you to search for many forms of
demographic information. Most of these links can be found for free on the internet,
but it would take hours, if not days, to find them all by hand. Thus, an Internet
Detective Site is providing a service that saves the searcher valuable time by
gathering and updating relevant search links. The price for this service usually
ranges from $19.95 to $39.95. This is often a one-time fee which buys the
subscriber a lifetime membership to the service.

Some of the most frequent uses include finding a phone number or address, reverse
phone number lookup, cell phone search, finding a birthdate, finding an email
address, or locating a lost friend or love. Other uses include background checks,
criminal record checks, military record checks, and genealogy research. The list of
search types is actually very long. Here is a partial list to wet your appetite:

1) Adoption Records
2) Aircraft Crash Database
3) Real Estate Brokers Directories
4) Census Data
5) County Ordinances And Codes
6) FCC Radio Licensee Search
7) Annual Corporate Reports
8) Court Records
9) Military Records
10) Criminal Records
11) Marriage Records
12) Copyright Information
13) Patent Information

Before embarking on your people search, consider saving yourself some time by
purchasing a membership to an Internet Detective Site.