How to File a Fair Housing Discrimination Complaint

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Housing discrimination is not a relic of America’s past. It happens to minorities of all kinds every day, even to well-to-do people like Abena and Alex Horton of Jacksonville, Florida.

They told The New York Times the first home appraiser for a 2020 mortgage refinance valued the house about 30% lower than expected, jeopardizing their loan. Suspecting the lowball number was because Abena Horton’s Black, they removed photos of her, all Black family members, and books by Black authors like Toni Morrison.

The ploy worked. The next appraiser valued the home closer to the couple’s expectations. But the experience was humiliating — and one that families with fewer resources would have struggled to navigate. Fortunately, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 provides expansive protections for homeowners and renters facing discrimination in housing and real estate lending.

Who Enforces Federal Fair Housing Laws?

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination in the sale and rental of housing and mortgage lending based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Familial status
  • Sex
  • Disability

Many local and state laws and regulations protect fair housing rights as well. Since the passage of the FHA, federal and state court decisions have strengthened and expanded the act’s protections and enforcement powers.

The federal government assigned enforcement of the FHA to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There are two other enforcement arms, one within HUD and the other a group of third-party organizations.

HUD’s Fair Housing Office 

The HUD enforces the FHA through its Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. It investigates complaints made under the FHA, determines whether they have merit, and enforces their resolution. 

Fair Housing Testers

Nonprofit fair housing enforcement organizations play a key role in building public awareness of fair housing violations and enforcing fair housing laws. They do so by testing various aspects of fair housing law. 

A detailed 2014 report from HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research describes the testing process. It relies on human testers who uncover discriminatory housing practices in the real estate industry by going undercover as prospective renters, homebuyers, and borrowers. They look for discrimination in:

  • The process of renting housing to new tenants
  • Rental housing management
  • Accessibility in rental housing, especially multifamily communities
  • How homeowners and real estate agents sell homes, from listing and showing to accepting offers
  • Mortgage lending

State & Local Authorities

When buyers, renters, and borrowers believe they’ve experienced housing discrimination, they can also file complaints with state and local housing authorities. When they do, they become known as complainants.

Filing an FHA complaint makes sense for complainants in places with strong fair housing regulations. For example, some states explicitly ban housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. That protection isn’t part of the federal Fair Housing Act. 

Your experience filing a fair housing complaint with state or local authorities is unlikely to be much different than your experience filing with HUD. But you should consult with those authorities or fair housing or legal aid nonprofits in your area for specific guidance on what to expect.


Types of Fair Housing Complaints

Complaints fall into two broad categories. Some may qualify for both:

  • Complaints involving discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, including in privately owned and operated housing
  • Complaints involving discrimination in housing and community development programs, including those funded by HUD

A complaint involving alleged housing discrimination can apply to virtually any housing-related activities. That includes renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, or seeking housing assistance.

The alleged offender (the target of the complaint) can be one or more of the following: 

  • A property owner
  • A developer
  • A property manager
  • A real estate agent or broker
  • A homeowners association
  • A mortgage lender
  • An insurance provider
  • Civil employees and authorities, including elected officials, whose actions can affect housing opportunities 

When Should You File a Fair Housing Complaint?

You must fall into one of the protected classes outlined in the FHA to file a fair housing complaint (race, color, sex, national origin, religion, familial status, or disability). 

The act doesn’t explicitly name sexual orientation or gender identity. However, subject to judicial interpretation, it may provide limited discrimination protection for LGBTQ individuals, including transgender individuals and same-sex couples and people with HIV/AIDS. These protections generally fall under the sex and disability characteristics, respectively. 

Unfortunately, many states don’t explicitly outlaw housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In these places, housing providers and lenders may still be permitted to discriminate against LGBTQ people. For information on the law in your jurisdiction, refer to HUD’s list of states with one or both protections.

If someone discriminates against you for any of the reasons outlined in the FHA, you can complain to HUD’s fair housing office. 

Offenses worthy of complaints include but aren’t limited to:

  • Refusal to rent, sell, or negotiate the rental or sale of housing
  • Refusal to confirm that housing is available for sale or rent
  • Discouraging the sale or rental of housing
  • Segregating housing by protected status (for example, grouping tenants of the same ethnic or racial group on the same floor of an apartment building)
  • Mentioning any prohibited preference in housing advertisements
  • Using different applications, screening or qualification criteria, or qualification processes for members of one or more protected classes but not all or none
  • Harassing applicants, tenants, or occupants
  • Conditioning approval of a housing or loan application on the applicant’s response to harassment
  • Denying real estate agents or brokers access or membership in local agent organizations or multiple listing services
  • A mortgage lender’s refusal to provide information about loan opportunities or issue mortgage loans to otherwise qualified applicants
  • A mortgage lender’s refusal to provide other financial assistance to otherwise qualified applicants
  • A loan servicing company’s refusal to purchase a home loan
  • Retaliating against anyone who files a complaint under the Fair Housing Act, assists a complainant, or assists with the investigation of a complaint

Determining Whether You Have Cause to File a Complaint

Before going through the headache of filing a complaint form, ensure you have reasonable cause to file. You can take these steps to increase your likelihood of success.

  1. Confirm Your Complaint Falls Within the Statute of Limitations. First, ensure the clock hasn’t run out on your claim. You have one year from the date of the alleged discrimination (or the most recent example of it) to file a complaint.
  2. Determine Whether Your Complaint Constitutes a Valid Allegation. Next, consult HUD’s Fair Housing booklet to determine whether your issue is a valid complaint under the Fair Housing Act. If you’re not sure, proceed to Step 3.
  3. Contact a Local Fair Housing Initiatives Program Organization. Organizations funded by HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program play a vital role in assisting housing discrimination victims. Use HUD’s search tool to find one in your area. The staff can help you assess your complaint and determine whether to move forward.

Ultimately, it’s HUD’s job to assess your claim and determine whether it’s prohibited discrimination. But preparing and filing a claim is stressful for the claimant. It’s also time-consuming for the claimant and investigator.  

Filing an easily dismissed claim does no one any good. Plus, even if the harm you’ve suffered doesn’t qualify as prohibited discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, you could have other recourse. 

For example, say the property owner fails to repair your broken furnace despite repeated complaints from tenants. Under the law, you likely have grounds to file a safe housing complaint with your city’s housing authority and lodge a complaint with HUD’s Multifamily Housing Complaint Line at 800-MULTI-70 (800-685-8470). 

You may also have informal options to fix the problem, such as refusing to pay rent until the property owner or manager addresses the issue.


How to File a Fair Housing Discrimination Complaint

After evaluating your situation and determining you have cause to file a housing discrimination complaint, you must prepare and file your actual complaint. If you contacted a HUD-funded assistance organization, they will help.

You’re free to hire an attorney with expertise in fair housing claims at any point during the process. But that’s often unnecessary if you’re working with an assistance organization. Many of them have full-time staff attorneys or access to external legal aid resources.

From start to finish, the process involves several steps. 

1. Gather Supporting Documentation

If HUD’s fair housing office later decides to investigate your complaint formally, they won’t expect you to provide all the information needed to see the investigation through. But be prepared to give a detailed accounting of the circumstances precipitating the complaint, including:

  • Where the event or events in question occurred
  • When the event or events in question occurred
  • The identities of others present when the events occurred, regardless of whether they’re included in the allegations
  • The identities of others who may have knowledge of or information about the events in question, including others who may have experienced similar harms
  • Any physical or electronic records or documents relevant to your complaint, such as rental or mortgage applications, loan documents, or truth-in-housing disclosures

The Fair Housing Act prohibits retaliation against claimants and those assisting them. But when gathering documentation, you shouldn’t put yourself in physical danger or increase your risk of losing housing. 

If HUD accepts your complaint, professionals trained to collect and corroborate relevant records and information will investigate.

2. File Your Complaint

You’re now ready to file your complaint through your regional fair housing office. This part of the process involves several possible steps:

  • Intake Interview. Upon receiving notice of your complaint, the fair housing office conducts an initial interview to determine whether you have a legally legitimate discrimination complaint.
  • Complaint Drafting. If the office concludes there was discrimination, a staff member may draft the complaint for you to review and sign. They then notify all parties to the complaint, including those accused of discrimination, of the complaint’s filing.
  • Outside Referral. If investigators conclude there was a violation of state or local laws, HUD may refer you to a state or local fair housing office. If so, you’ll work with staff from that office instead. Don’t take it as a setback. It could help your case to work with a smaller agency that understands your area’s housing market.

If you believe you’re at risk of losing housing due to the alleged discrimination or retaliation for your complaint, make this clear as early as possible. HUD may be in a position to intervene or provide housing assistance before its investigation concludes.

3. Participate in the Investigation

If the fair housing office determines your complaint has merit and accepts the filing or refers your complaint, the next step is a thorough investigation of the allegations. 

If HUD remains responsible for the investigation, it will assign one or more investigators and notify the parties named in the complaint. It will then take some or all the following investigative steps:

  • Interviewing you and any other alleged victims of discrimination
  • Interviewing others with knowledge of the allegations, including witnesses and the parties accused of discrimination
  • Inspecting properties named in the allegations
  • Gathering relevant documentation and records

As part of the investigative process, the parties named in the complaint can provide their versions of events and respond to specific allegations. 

At the investigation’s conclusion, all parties to the complaint receive written reports outlining the findings. That includes the complainant or complainants and the party or parties named in the complaint. 

Though investigative procedures can vary somewhat at state or local fair housing agencies, you should expect any referred investigation to follow a similar pattern.

4. Work With HUD on Voluntary Resolution to the Complaint

Throughout its investigation, the fair housing office acts as an intermediary between you and the targets of the complaint. It’s likely to attempt to broker a voluntary resolution before completing the investigation and beginning the costly, time-consuming hearing or court process.

This process is strictly voluntary. You’re not obligated to agree to any proposed settlement. However, you could feel some pressure from the fair housing office, which has limited resources to devote to court action, to do so. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean the fair housing office isn’t acting in your best interest. The reality is that success isn’t guaranteed in court. But if you’d like to ensure you have an advocate thinking only of what’s best for you, your best move is to retain a lawyer. 

If successful, the voluntary resolution process typically produces one of two types of agreements (and sometimes both): a voluntary compliance agreement or a conciliation agreement.

Both types of agreement address three important issues:

  1. The steps the parties accused of discrimination must take to make things right
  2. The compensation or redress provided to the complainant, if any 
  3. Ground rules the accused parties must follow to prevent future harm

These agreements can’t stand in the way of ongoing HUD monitoring and enforcement. If the accused party continues to discriminate, you or other complainants can and should file new claims.

Once all parties sign the agreement or agreements, the investigation concludes.

5. If Voluntary Resolution Is Impossible, Receive a Determination

If no voluntary resolution occurs, the investigation continues to its conclusion. Investigations have one of two outcomes:

  1. Dismissal, formally known as a determination of no reasonable cause, if HUD finds the allegations do not constitute prohibited discrimination
  2. Determination of reasonable cause and charge of discrimination — essentially, a finding that the allegations likely do constitute prohibited discrimination

If the investigation results in dismissal, HUD considers the matter concluded. Complainants can request reconsideration if they wish.

6. The Case Moves to an Administrative Hearing or Federal Court

If the fair housing office determines the allegations have merit, the case moves into the adjudication phase. 

After receiving notice, all parties to the complaint have 20 days to inform HUD whether they’d prefer to have the case tried in federal court. Any party can state this preference and force all parties into court. If none does, HUD schedules a hearing before a HUD administrative law judge. 

Though overseen by the executive branch rather than federal courts, administrative proceedings resemble adversarial court proceedings. The parties all have the opportunity to make arguments, cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence favorable to their claims. 

However, administrative proceedings are faster and less costly than traditional court proceedings. 

HUD assigns its own attorneys to represent you in these proceedings at no cost to you, so you don’t have to worry about retaining an attorney on your own dime. However, you’re free to do so if you prefer.

Though they save time and money, administrative hearings aren’t always the best choice for fair housing claimants. Depending on the facts of your case, you may have better luck in civil court proceedings. Emotional arguments are more likely to hit home with jurors than judges. 

Additionally, federal civil procedures provide more leeway to appeal unfavorable decisions. Consult with an attorney to decide whether your case is a good one to take to court.

If any party requests trial in federal court, HUD refers the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the government agency responsible for enforcing federal law. The DOJ then files a civil lawsuit on your behalf in the jurisdiction where the alleged discrimination occurred. Essentially, the DOJ serves as your attorney in the case. 

But you may still wish to retain an attorney at your own expense, especially if you expect to be cross-examined by attorneys for the respondent or respondents. 

In either case, expect the trial to last for many months and perhaps years after accounting for appeals. If the administrative or federal court judge decides the case in your favor, their ruling could provide some or all the following types of relief:

  • Reasonable attorney’s fees if you hired an attorney at your own expense
  • Compensation (civil penalties) for damages incurred as a result of the harm, such as out-of-pocket relocation expenses
  • Equitable relief, such as providing housing or a loan that was initially denied
  • Injunctive relief, such as a promise by the respondent not to discriminate in the future
  • Punitive damages (financial compensation beyond that necessary to redress the harm itself)

What to Do if Your Fair Housing Complaint Is Denied

HUD doesn’t always side with housing discrimination complainants. Many fair housing investigations result in a determination of no reasonable cause and never proceed to the adjudication phase.

If your complaint’s investigation ends with such a determination, you’re not at the end of the road. You have two primary options for further recourse. One involves very little effort. The other takes substantially more time and money.

1. Written Request for Reconsideration

You can submit a written request for reconsideration to the fair housing director’s office at any time after your complaint’s dismissal. Send this request by certified postal mail to:

Director, FHEO Office of Enforcement
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th St., SW, Room 5226
Washington, DC 20410-2000

Include in your request any new information that has come to light since your complaint’s investigation. That might include statements by the alleged offender that could support your claim of discriminatory intent or evidence of subsequent actions by the offender that could support allegations of a pattern of discrimination.

The Fair Housing Act does not mandate reconsideration of dismissed housing discrimination claims. HUD does not adhere to a formal, standardized reconsideration process, either. That means there’s no guarantee your request will receive a timely response. And HUD could ignore it altogether.

2. File a Private Lawsuit

If your request for reconsideration is denied or ignored or you simply don’t want to wait to hear back, you can move forward with a private lawsuit against the alleged offender.

You must file this suit within two years of the most recent date of alleged discrimination or the conclusion of HUD’s investigation of your complaint, whichever came later. 

However, two circumstances prevent you from filing a lawsuit at all:

  • Your complaint is presently pending before an administrative judge
  • You signed a HUD conciliation agreement to resolve your complaint before the fair housing office could make an official determination of cause

You’re responsible for all costs related to your filing and could be liable for the defendant’s legal fees if the judgment goes in their favor. 

If you can’t afford to pay a lawyer to represent you, visit your regional court’s self-help center for information about obtaining pro bono legal representation at no or reduced cost. Alternatively, you can approach local legal aid or housing assistance organizations and request they represent you.


Final Word

The Fair Housing Act’s mere existence is a check on the potentially discriminatory behavior of individuals and entities with power over Americans’ housing access, including property owners, real estate agents, lenders, and public officials.

However, for all its value, the FHA has limitations. Its protections don’t extend to actions that aren’t inherently discriminatory, such as a failure to repair a broken furnace. The FHA also doesn’t protect you from eviction or foreclosure for lawful reasons, such as nonpayment of rent or mortgage payments. 

But tenants and homeowners do have other means of recourse, such as withholding rent, entering a lender’s loan workout program, or tapping sources of emergency financial assistance for renters.

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30 Sacramento Facts That Only Real Locals Know are True

The state capital of California, home of the Golden State Warriors and one of the hottest tourist destinations in the state.

Nearly every city in the country has some sort of “It’s a [enter city name] thing.” It’s no different for Sacramento. People have their own perceptions about the city, mostly based on what they think happens in the state capital, what they’ve read online or what they see on film. But there’s so much more to a city — all sorts of interesting secrets. The following Sacramento facts may change how you view the city.

There’s a lot you already know about Sacramento but there are some things only residents of the city know — and those Sacramento facts are fascinating!

Sacramento facts: What you should know before making your move

1. Sacramento is the most “hipster” city in California. The culture is contemporary and constantly evolving, and the young population has serious influence over what happens in the city — the same (if not more so) as the men and women in suits.

2. Sacramento, like every city, has more than one nickname. In this case: SacTown, Sac, The Big Tomato and City of Trees. For the most part, locals just call the city Sacramento or Sac.

3. The Sacramento Kings had their heyday in the early 2000s. They’re definitely not as good now. But they’re your team no matter what. And you’ll be faithful to them — no matter what. And the Lakers? Nope. Never, ever going to happen. However, it’s a fair split between Kings and Golden State Warriors fans, which makes sense since the franchise chose the name “Golden State” so they could represent basketball fans in the entire state.

4. The Kings play at…wait, they don’t play at ARCO Arena anymore? It’s a Sacramento fact that where the Kings play is super confusing. They played at ARCO Arena forever. Even when the Kings moved from the original ARCO Arena to the new ARCO Arena and then that venue changed its name to Sleep Train Arena, locals still referred to it as ARCO Arena. See why it’s confusing? Now, they technically play in the Golden 1 Center.

Sacramento ice cream

Sacramento ice cream

5. Ice cream and fro-yo are important to locals. Makes sense since it gets so dang hot in the summertime. Some local favorites you need to try if you’re visiting or are a newbie: Gunther’s Ice Cream, Leatherby’s Family Creamery (thank goodness they have three locations in Sac and surrounding areas), Vic’s Ice Cream and Yogurtagogo.

6. If you think you love bacon, you’ve probably got nothing on Sacramento locals. After all, they created a festival in honor of the greasy, delicious goodness that is bacon.

7. Fairytale Town has been around for over 60 years. It’s a non-profit amusement park that’s committed to making learning fun and fostering kids’ imaginations. Many families have Fairytale Town traditions that continue on, generation after generation. The Park has 26 play sets based on nursery rhymes like Humpty Dumpty, Mary’s Little Lamb and Jack & Jill. There’s also an animal farm, gardens throughout the park and two performing arts stages.

8. Here’s an interesting Sacramento secret: Locals are Gold Rush experts. Not because they want to, mind you. It’s because going to some Gold Rush history museum was one of the most common field trip destinations for Sacramento kids. Sometimes kids would dress up like pioneers. Other times, they’d actually mine for gold. Mention gold mining or the Gold Rush to a local and you can expect to get an eye roll in response.

9. Farm-to-table or farm-to-fork is a way of life for people in Sacramento. It’s literally a way of life. In fact, Sacramento is America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital. And produce from local farms isn’t just for sale at the 40 (yep, you read that right) farmer’s markets — it’s shipped throughout the U.S. all year long.

Sacramento park full of trees

Sacramento park full of trees

10. The reason people call Sacramento the City of Trees is because — shocker — there’s an abundance of trees. The trees (sycamores, elms and oaks) line the city streets and keep downtown looking beautiful and green, which is a nice change of pace from some cities that are strictly metal and concrete. What’s great about having all these trees in such a hot city (not hot as in awesome, hot as in Hades-level hot) is that the trees can actually lower ground temperatures by more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

11. The original city of Sacramento is underground. Back in 1862, there was a huge storm that flooded the city and created an inland sea. Those who stayed in Sacramento rebuilt the city but had to raise the streets, which created underground spaces and walkways. The underground areas are more than nine feet below the Sacramento streets. And yes, you can tour these underground areas!

12. Golden 1 Center, the first fully solar-powered venue in the world, is really trying to impress locals. Not only is it home to the Kings and a venue for some of the best acts in the world (Paul McCartney, Pentatonix and Stevie Nicks, to name a few), but owners of the venue are also trying to keep at least 90 percent of the food and drinks locally sourced. They’re also reusing or recycling all their fryer oil and green waste.

13. Locals swear that ghosts haunt the city, including a former governor’s son, old gold minors and a glowing pink orb named Pinky that floats throughout the Sacramento Theater Company.

14. When locals say they’re going to “the City,” they’re not talking about downtown Sacramento. They’re talking about San Francisco.

15. A moderate 60 degrees will leave someone from Sac shivering.

16. If something is good or great or awesome, locals will put a “hella” in front of it to show just how enthusiastic they are about the thing. “That show was hella great.” “My dinner was hella awesome.” You get the idea.

Sacramento graffiti

Sacramento graffiti

17. Art is life for many locals, whether they’re creating the art and showcasing it on the street or in galleries, or simply appreciating it.

18. A well-kept Sacramento secret (a secret to tourists anyway) is the Dragon House. This is a private residence that’s off the beaten path. The unnamed couple who owns the structure has been working on their home for nearly 20 years, turning it into a mosaic work of art. The house has ornate tile work, a mosaic dragon that weaves between windows, a tiger that stares you down, a stained-glass fence and kinetic sculptures of fairies and forest animals throughout the yard.

19. Locals take their sushi very seriously. Sacramento sushi chefs create beautiful, delectable works of art. Once you experience it, you’ll never go back to your old way of eating sushi.

20. Here’s a fun Sacramento Fact: The city is home to a child-sized city called Safetyville. And nearly every child raised in the city has gone there to learn all about fire and street safety.

21. If you’re trying to plan a fun date night in Sacramento, take your date to the West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-In theater. It’s a retro drive-in that gives you and your date some privacy for a little bit of romance.

California state fair

California state fair

22. The California State Fair is fun for the whole family. It takes place each year at Cal Expo and lasts for 17 days. The event showcases California agriculture, industry and diversity.

23. While some locals love the California State Fair, others are partial to the Sacramento County Fair, a four-day event where you can experience tractor pulls, chainsaw artists, a rodeo, figure-8 races, animal auctions and live music.

24. Sac residents aren’t huge fans of folks from Los Angeles. And oftentimes, the feeling is mutual. Locals feel like SoCal residents look down their noses at anyone from NorCal. It’s not true of 100 percent of the people but it’s a recurring theme, so the stereotype has stuck.

25. You know ice cream is super important to locals. Well, there’s a bit more to the story. East Sac, Curtis Park and Land Park residents all think their type of ice cream is the best. It’s a constant debate between Burr’s, Vic’s and Gunther’s. But that just proves how (hella) awesome the ice cream is in Sac.

Sacramento capital building

Sacramento capital building

26. The state capital building is a regular field trip destination for school kids. Kids know the building inside and out better than a lot of adults in the city.

27. The city is home to the world’s oldest triathlon. There’s a 5.82-mile run, a 12.5-mile bike ride and a 6.10-mile water event. What’s odd about the event, known as Eppie’s Great Race? Instead of swimming 6.10 miles, racers kayak. Before the race, local celebrities, as well as an Ironman and Ironwoman complete the race. Anyone else who beats the best time wins a free breakfast (yay, pancakes!).

28. Sacramento isn’t cheap. That’s probably not a secret but it’s definitely a Sacramento fact. On average, the cost of living is more than 22 percent higher than the national average. Apartments in Sacramento are nearly 40 percent higher than the U.S. average. But the median monthly income is also higher than the national average. If you can afford it, though, it’s a great place to live.

29. It rarely snows in Sac. In fact, there are only three significant snow events on record, the last of which was in 1976 when the city recorded two inches of snow.

30. Locals don’t drink Starbucks. They’re Temple Coffee drinkers all the way.

Ready to learn some more interesting Sacramento facts?

You can learn a lot about a city by doing some online research. But the best way to really get to know a city is with first-hand knowledge. Schedule a trip to Sacramento and explore this beautiful, unique city on your own.

Or, better yet, make some friends in the city. They’ll happily show you their favorite destinations and provide you with some fascinating Sacramento facts and secrets. You may find that this city fits your personality so much that you’ll never want to leave!

Source: rent.com

What Is a Candlestick Chart and How Do Traders Use Them?

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Dig Deeper

Additional Resources

Are you looking for a better way to spot trends while trading in financial markets? Whether you’re trading stocks, commodities, or even forex, your best friend is going to be your chart. After all, short-term trading is the process of analyzing historic price trends and technical indicators to determine whether there’s buying or selling pressure on an asset that will push its price up or down. 

No matter what you trade, a quality chart will largely dictate the amount of profits you cash in at the end of the trading day. 

If you haven’t started using one yet, it’s time to look into candlestick charts. These charts consist of multiple bars that look like candlesticks with wicks on both sides. Candlestick charts make it possible to quickly visualize and identify key trends. 

What Is a Candlestick Chart?

Candlestick charts were around well before financial markets were established in the United States. The first candlestick chart was developed by Munehisa Homma, a Japanese rice trader who made a connection between the price of rice and trader emotions. 

Homma theorized that trader emotions led to changes in supply and demand, ultimately resulting in price movement. By using his candlestick chart to quickly see the open, close, high, and low prices in any given trading day, he could predict when reversals were likely to occur; these were perfect times to buy or sell rice. 

The Japanese candlestick chart was so successful at mapping emotions and pointing to trend reversals that it was picked up across a wide range of financial markets, starting with commodities and working their way into forex and equities. 

Today, candlestick charts continue to act as an integral tool for people taking part in day trading, swing trading, and other financial market speculation. 

Dissecting the Candlestick

The candlestick chart got its name because of the appearance of each entry on the chart. Each “candlestick” has a body and two wicks, which offer four crucial pieces of information at a glance. Here’s the anatomy of the candlestick:

Color or Fill

There are two different types of candles that you’ll find on a candlestick chart. A bullish candlestick represents a time period in which the value of the asset closed higher than the opening price. A bearish candlestick represents a time period in which the value of the asset closed below its opening price. 

Most of these charts are color coded with green candles representing bullish movements and red candles representing bearish ones. In some cases, when candlestick charts are displayed in black and white, white shaded candles are bullish candles and those shaded in black are bearish. 

Real Body

The real body of a candlestick is the fat rectangle found between the two wicks. The length of the body represents the difference between the session’s opening price and closing price. Candles with long bodies represent a bigger change in price than short-bodied candles.

On bullish candles, the bottom of the real body is the opening price of the day and the top of the body is the closing price. On bearish candles, the opposite is true, with the top of the body representing the opening price and the bottom of the body representing the close. 

Upper Shadow “Wick”

The upper shadow of the candle, also commonly referred to as the upper wick, represents the highest price the asset traded at during the time period. 

For example, if a stock opened at $100 per share, moved up to $105 midday, and closed at $104, the candle body would cover the range between $100 and $104, with an upper wick from $104 to $105.

Because the high price of an asset is often viewed as resistance, drawing a line that connects the top of the wicks on a chart outlines a theoretical boundary where the price of an asset will likely face resistance to further gains. 

Lower Shadow “Wick”

The lower shadow of the candlestick, also known as the lower wick, represents the lowest price the asset traded for during the time period. 

For example, if a stock opened at $100 per share, dropped to $93 midday, and bounced back to $98 by the close, the candle body would cover the range between $98 and $100, with a long lower wick from $93 to $98.

Because the low price of an asset is often considered a point of support — a point at which the price of an asset is likely to bounce back and start heading in a positive direction — drawing a line connecting the lower wicks on the chart will produce a support line. 


Why Traders Use Candlestick Charts Rather Than Traditional Charts

Candlestick charts for a stock provide the same information that can be presented on bar charts and line graphs. So why do so many traders consult the candlestick chart?

These charts are a perfect fit for a fast-paced technical trading strategy. 

The color coding of candlesticks within a chart makes it easy to quickly determine whether the value of an asset is trending up or down. Moreover, the layout of the candlesticks on the chart makes interpreting data faster and easier. 

In financial markets, whether you’re trading rice, stocks, or Bitcoin, time is money. The ability to spot trends visually and absorb data at a glance gives a trader the upper hand in a market where quick decisions count. 


Common Candlestick Patterns That Traders Use

Candlestick charting was designed as a way to track supply and demand led by trader emotions. This gives traders a method of predicting future price movements based on chart patterns. 

As you can imagine, with a charting system that was created centuries ago, countless types of patterns have been spotted and exploited for profits. The most popular patterns to look for when candlestick trading include:

Bullish Engulfing Pattern

A bullish engulfing pattern generally takes place at the end of a bearish run. Essentially, when the sellers run out of steam and buyers begin to take over, you’ll notice a red- or black-shaded candlestick with a relatively small body. The small-bodied candlestick will be followed by a bullish candlestick that’s much larger than the small bearish candlestick before it. 

As the name of the pattern suggests, the pattern suggests buyers are engulfing, or taking over, sellers. In general, this is when a downward trend reverses and becomes an uptrend. 

Bearish Engulfing Pattern

The bearish engulfing pattern is similar to the bullish engulfing pattern. The only difference is the direction of the reversal. This pattern starts with a bullish candlestick with a relatively small body. The small body signifies that buying interest is beginning to slow. 

Following the bullish candlestick with a small body will be a large bearish candlestick. This pattern suggests sellers are beginning to overtake buyers and a bearish reversal is on the horizon. 

Bearish Evening Star 

The bearish evening star pattern is one that suggests downward movement is likely on the horizon. This pattern happens when the last candlestick in the pattern opens below a previous candlestick with a small body. This opening will usually be deep into the bottom of the candlestick from two days prior but not below the bottom of the body of this candlestick. 

This pattern shows that buyers are beginning to become indecisive and sellers are taking over. As a result, a downtrend generally commences following an evening star pattern. 

Bullish Morning Star

The morning star pattern works just like the evening star pattern, but in reverse. The pattern is formed using three candlesticks. The middle of the three candlesticks will be very small with the last of the three opening well above the body of the middle candlestick. 

Moreover, the last of the three candlesticks will generally open well into the real body range of the first candlestick in the sequence. This pattern shows that sellers are beginning to lose interest and buyers are starting to take over, signifying a coming uptrend. 

Bearish Shooting Star

Shooting stars are exciting to see in real life, but as a candlestick pattern, they’re a sign that declines are coming. The pattern is formed when an asset opens the trading session and shoots higher before falling substantially and landing near its opening price. 

When this happens, the body of the candlestick will be very small with a long upper wick and little to no lower wick. Generally, the price of the asset begins a downtrend following a shooting star event. 

Bullish Rising Three

The rising three pattern is a bullish pattern that’s mapped out using five candlesticks, each representing a single trading day. 

The pattern starts out with a bullish candlestick that has a large body. Following the bullish candle, you’ll see three sequential bearish candles, each of them relatively small, and each staying within the range of the large bullish day the pattern started with. Finally, the fifth day is a bullish day represented by a large green or white candle at the end of the pattern. 

This pattern suggests that the price of the asset is going to begin trending upward. 

Bearish Falling Three

The falling three is just like the rising three but is the version of the pattern that suggests a downtrend on the horizon. 

It starts with a long red or black candle signifying a relatively steep drop in the price of the asset during the first trading session. The long bearish candle is followed by three small bullish candles, with the fifth candle in the sequence representing yet another long, downward day. 

This pattern signifies that a downward trend is likely on the horizon. 

Bullish Harami

The bullish harami takes place during a downward trend in which at least three days of downward movement have taken place. At the end of the trend, you’ll find the last candle, which will be a relatively small green or white candle. 

This is a reversal pattern signifying that the downtrend is coming to an end and the buyers are beginning to take control. As a result, an upward trend is likely on the horizon. 

Bearish Harami

The bearish harami follows along the same lines as its bullish counterpart. The difference is that this harami takes place following at least three sessions of upward movement. The last candle in the pattern will be relatively small with a red or black body. 

This pattern signifies that the upward trend may be coming to an end and a downtrend is on the horizon. 

Bearish Hanging Man

The hanging man is a bearish signal signified by a small candle body with a very long lower wick. The lower wick should be at least double the length of the candle’s body. The candle suggests that the stock started at one price and quickly fell before recovering some of the losses to close near the open price. 

In general, when this type of price action takes place, the trend following is a downward one. 

Gravestone Doji

The gravestone doji is another bearish pattern that signifies declines to come. The pattern is formed when a financial asset shoots up in value from its opening price only to fall back down, closing near its original price for the trading session. This is often a sign of further declines to come. 


Final Word

Candlestick charts are incredibly useful tools for traders looking to make fast-paced moves in the market because the layout of these charts makes quickly analyzing price movements a breeze. 

However, when you start to use these types of charts, or technical analysis in general, it’s important to remember that historic trends aren’t always indicative of future movements. So, even if you find a pattern that seems to be a sure win, you should never risk more than 5% of your total portfolio’s value on a single trade. 

Moreover, many of the patterns found in candlesticks and any other chart form over the course of several trading sessions. Coupling your technical analysis with fundamental research will help to ensure success as you trade. 

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Source: moneycrashers.com

Seeking Alpha Review – Is the Premium Subscription Worth It?

At a glance

Seeking Alpha Logo

Our rating

  • What It Is: Seeking Alpha is a stock market news and research website that produces more than 10,000 articles per month, designed to give readers investment ideas and tools for evaluating different investments.
  • Membership Fees: Basic, Free; Premium, $29.99 per month or $239.88 annually ($19.99 per month); Pro, $299 per month or $2,388 annually ($199 per month).
  • Pros: Detailed research and opinions from bears and bulls, proprietary rating systems, intuitive stock screener, portfolio monitoring, earnings calls and transcripts, and notable calls from Wall Street experts.
  • Cons: Relatively high monthly fee, many of the premium features can be found free elsewhere, few tools for technical traders, and the vast amount of information can overwhelm newcomers.

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Dig Deeper

Additional Resources

Everything you read when it comes to learning how to invest tells you that research is the foundation of profitable investment choices. One of the best research tools for the fundamental investor is found at SeekingAlpha.com.

Seeking Alpha is an investment research service fueled by more than 7,000 contributors who produce more than 10,000 articles per month, with each having a unique stance on the topics they cover. Investors can benefit quite a bit from the company’s free services, but if you’re willing to pay for the premium service, even more tools are unlocked.

What Is Seeking Alpha?

At its core, Seeking Alpha is a crowdsourcing website that sources valuable investment research through a vast consortium of contributors. Seeking Alpha was designed for individual investors who are interested in choosing individual stocks. 

The vast majority of the content on the website is available for free for the first 10 days after publication. However, if you’re interested in in-depth research, stock screening tools, and proprietary rating systems, you’ll need to sign up for one of the company’s subscription services.


Pricing

There are three different pricing models available.

  1. Basic. The Basic subscription is absolutely free. With this subscription, you’ll gain access to free articles for the first 10 days after their publication as well as some portfolio management tools. For most casual investors who aren’t interested in diving deep into research and fundamental analysis, the Basic subscription is a great fit. 
  2. Premium. The Premium service unlocks all articles on the website regardless of their age. Premium members also get access to a customized news platform, an intuitive stock screener, proprietary Quant ratings, unlimited conference call transcripts, earnings call audio, and exclusive author ratings. In exchange, members agree to pay $29.99 per month or $239.88 paid annually ($19.99 per month). You can also try before you buy with the company’s 14-day free trial. 
  3. Pro. The Pro service comes with a price tag that will turn off most mom-and-pop investors at $299 per month or $2,388 paid annually ($199 per month). Designed for investors who manage large portfolios, the Pro service offers a curated collection of the most in-depth research offered through the platform. 

Key Features

As a research-centric service, the vast majority of key features offered by Seeking Alpha have to do with getting to know the companies you invest in before risking your hard-earned money on them. Some of the most exciting features you’ll gain access to when you sign up include:

Thorough Investment Research

With more than 7,000 contributors offering up more than 10,000 articles per month, you’ll have everything you need to research just about any publicly traded company and make a quality investment decision.

The vast majority of these articles are labeled as investment ideas that fall into one of the following categories:

  • Long Ideas. Long ideas are investment ideas centered around stocks that the authors believe will head up in value in the long term. 
  • IPO Analysis. Initial public offerings, or IPOs, are a hot topic among investors, and tools that help determine whether an IPO is priced fairly and has strong potential to grow in value are invaluable. The IPO analysis offered by Seeking Alpha is one of the best ways to go about analyzing an IPO trade.
  • Quick Picks. Quick picks are articles centered around stocks based on a specific investment theme or fundamental data. 
  • Fund Letters. Fund letters is a curated list of select letters from professionally managed funds to their investors outlining the investing landscape and their goals moving forward. 
  • Editor’s Picks. Editor’s picks are articles that are hand-selected by the editors at Seeking Alpha based on in-depth research, the author’s track record, and other factors.  
  • Stock Ideas by Sector. The Stock Ideas by Sector section of the Seeking Alpha website lets you quickly scan through any sector of the market. 

Beyond the basic search functions of the website and access to all articles regardless of how old they are, Premium members also enjoy a customizable news dashboard that displays articles on stocks and investment strategies they’re interested in first, making combing through the vast sea of content on SeekingAlpha.com far easier. 

Note that although investment ideas are shared on the company’s website, nothing on the site constitutes investment advice. The author couldn’t possibly know your unique goals, financial capabilities, risk tolerance, and other factors that make you, well, you. The platform is designed as a research tool. You should never blindly make an investment just because the title of an article on the platform suggests big gains are ahead. 

Article Sidebar

The article sidebar is a feature that’s only available to Seeking Alpha Premium subscribers, but it alone is worth the subscription fee for many investors. 

When making investment decisions based on what you read online, it’s important to validate the source of the research and ensure the author and the stock are worth following in the first place. The Article Sidebar makes this simple to do at a glance by offering a brief bullish and bearish synopsis of the stock, stock ratings from the authors on the platform, a real-time stock price chart, and ratings for the author who contributed the piece.

Quant Ratings

Technology and computerized trading algorithms have reshaped the investing industry. Today, the market is more active than ever before, and algorithms provide a trove of data on the potential of any investment. 

However, the details offered up by these algorithms are often difficult to understand, and therefore often are ignored by novice investors. 

The good news is that Seeking Alpha offers its readers quant ratings, which algorithmically rate stocks in an easy-to-understand way. These ratings are based on five key factors: value, growth, profitability, EPS revisions, and momentum.

Factor Scorecards

Factor investing has become a popular concept. The idea is that by investing in stocks that come with risk premiums like small-cap, value, growth, and other characteristics, you’ll be able to beat the average market performance in your portfolio. 

When analyzing these factors, Seeking Alpha offers an easy-to-understand score ranging from A+ to F.

  • REIT Scorecard: On scorecards for real estate investment trusts (REITs), Seeking Alpha provides scores based on funds from operations as well as adjusted funds from operations. 
  • Dividend Stock Scorecard: Dividend stocks are a great way to generate income through your investments. The Dividend Stock Scorecard takes various factors into account, considering not only whether the stock pays competitive dividends, but also whether those dividends are sustainable. 

Earnings Call Transcripts & Recordings

Earnings reports are some of the most important events in the stock market. Every quarter, publicly traded companies are required to provide updated financial information, letting investors in on the financial stability and growth prospects for the company. 

Basic members have access to earnings call transcripts, but if you want to listen to the recorded calls, you’ll need to upgrade to a Premium subscription. 

Earnings Estimates & Surprises

Basic members have access to past earnings data from the company’s they’re interested in as well as information on dividends. 

For premium members, the data becomes a bit more intuitive, offering analyst forecasts and earnings surprises, which show the extent to which the company beat or missed earnings expectations in recent quarters. 

Notable Calls

Across Wall Street, there are tons of investment grade funds and investing professionals that manage money for individual investors. These fund managers often provide quarterly letters to their investors outlining the state of the market and how they plan on capitalizing on it in the future. 

The Notable Calls section of the website, only accessible by Premium and Pro members, is a curated list of these quarterly announcements from some of the most well-respected hedge funds and investment-grade funds. 

Intuitive Stock Screener

Stock screeners make it easy to find the types of opportunities you’re looking for in the stock market. It seems as though every investing-centric website offers one. However, the screener offered by Seeking Alpha is one of the best in the business. 

As with any stock screener, you’ll be able to screen opportunities by volume, sector, stock price, and more. However, what’s unique about the Seeking Alpha screener is that it lets you screen stocks based on the company’s proprietary Quant Ratings and Factor Scores. 

So, if you’re looking for a technology stock that has both a high Quant Rating and Factor Score and is experiencing exceptionally high volume, you won’t have any issues digging an opportunity up. 

Personalized Alerts

Personalized alerts are available to all Seeking Alpha subscribers. These alerts come via email, informing you of any news and analyst upgrades or downgrades of the stocks you’re interested in. 

While the service is available to all users, Premium members get all the data in the email they receive, while Basic members must click to the Seeking Alpha website to see the full information associated with the alert. 

Portfolio Monitoring

Investors are able to connect their live investment portfolios to Seeking Alpha and monitor their holdings through the platform. Through the portfolio monitoring service, you’ll be able to track your portfolio and pinpoint the investments that are doing best and worst for you. 

Moreover, when you attach your portfolio, you’ll receive alerts when news and opinion articles are published around a ticker you invest in. Premium members enjoy faster time-to-delivery, ensuring you’re one of the first to see the news on stocks you invest in. 


Advantages

Seeking Alpha is one of the most successful investing-centric websites online today, and that popularity didn’t just happen out of the blue. There are several benefits to taking advantage of the services provided by the company, the most significant being:

1. Investing Ideas

Finding quality investment opportunities is arguably one of the most difficult parts of the investing process. Seeking Alpha is essentially a curated list of the best investment ideas produced by thousands of authors. 

Considering the sheer scale of content produced, you’ll be able to find quality ideas no matter whether your preferred style of investing is growth, value, or income.  

2. Free Services

For many investors, the content available under the Basic membership will provide everything you need to make wise decisions in the stock market.  

3. Proprietary Scores

The proprietary scoring system used by the company to provide at-a-glance information about stocks is second to none. Not only does the company take general fundamental data into account when creating these scores, it adds in a risk premium factor that’s difficult to find elsewhere.

4. Portfolio Monitoring

When managing your own self-directed investment portfolio, monitoring your performance in the market is key. The company makes this simple for both free and paid users, including email alerts when important news is released about a stock you’ve invested in.  


Disadvantages

Sure, there are plenty of reasons to consider signing up for this service. However, as with any rose, there are some thorns to be mindful of before grabbing a fistful and taking a whiff:

1. Not the Best Option for Technical Traders

If you’re a swing trader or day trader who relies heavily on technical analysis, you won’t find much value in the service. The company’s core focus is on providing fundamental data and research, and it leaves most technical data to companies that focus on providing that type of information. 

2. Many Features Are Found Elsewhere Free

While the company does make it easy to access tools in one space, much of what it provides can be found elsewhere for free. For example, there are tons of websites that publish free opinion articles on stocks, and a simple search on Google will provide a list of articles on the stocks you’re interested in. 

Moreover, stock screeners, portfolio monitoring services, and earnings data are all widely available for free online. However, it is worth mentioning that most free services don’t go as far in depth as the tools available at Seeking Alpha. 

3. It’s Expensive

Sure, $29.99 per month doesn’t sound like much, but if you have a beginner investment portfolio that consists of $1,000 in stocks, you’ll have to earn a return of nearly 3% per month just to cover the cost of the service. As such, the Premium service is most worthwhile for investors who have a portfolio value of at least $10,000. 

4. No Buy Recommendations

Seeking Alpha is not an alert service. In fact, the disclaimer on all articles on the website suggest that investors should make their own decisions. There are plenty of services with similar pricing that actually offer alerts, recommending when investors should buy or sell stocks. If you’re looking for an alert service that does so, you’ll have to look elsewhere.  


Final Word

All in all, Seeking Alpha is a great tool for the fundamental investor who takes the time to research what they’re buying before diving into a stock. With so many authors and articles on the platform, investors are able to see stocks they’re interested in from multiple points of view, helping to avoid investing based on a few skewed opinions. 

Moreover, Seeking Alpha is a great add-on service to those who use the Motley Fool Stock Advisor, which gives two trade ideas per month. By cross-referencing the ideas provided through the Motley Fool or another alert service with the in-depth research Seeking Alpha provides, you’ll be able to form educated opinions about whether the recommendations are worth following. 

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The Verdict

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Our rating

Seeking Alpha is a valuable research tool for the fundamental investor. While it doesn’t offer much for technical traders and has a relatively high premium membership fee (starting at $29.99 per month), it is a great option for active investors looking to add detailed research to their repertoire of tools.

While there are plenty of benefits for paying subscribers, the service is relatively expensive compared to its competitors, and some premium features can be found elsewhere for free. However, active fundamental investors will benefit greatly from the detailed research and proprietary scoring system Seeking Alpha offers.

Editorial Note:
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Bilt Rewards: Earn 5x On All Purchases (Excluding Rent)

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Bilt Rewards is offering 5x on all purchases. Maximum of 50,000 points

The Fine Print

  • Qualifying transactions can be made in person or online, and remember you always have access to your digital Bilt Card in the Bilt Rewards app.
  • The following types of transactions will not count as a Qualifying Purchase for this promotion: balance transfers; cash advances; purchase of travelers’ checks, foreign currency, money orders, wire transfers or similar cash-like transactions; purchase of lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, race track wagers or similar betting transactions; writing or cashing checks; unauthorized or fraudulent charges; gift cards and other cash-like instruments.
  • See all promotion terms and conditions here.

Our Verdict

Will be interesting to see how tolerant Bilt is towards manufactured spending for this promotion, terms do specifically exclude cash like purchases and gift cards. Bilt recently made significant changes to make the card and program better. If you don’t already have the card you can apply and then the digital version is  available in the Bilt Rewards app instantly.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Stock Market Corrections – What Are They and How to Handle Them

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People look to the stock market as a way to build and protect wealth, but experienced investors know it doesn’t always work out that way. The market moves through a series of peaks and valleys, often leading to overvaluations or undervaluations. 

When a long-term bull market takes place, investors know that a dreaded downturn on Wall Street is likely ahead. 

These drawdowns, or market corrections, are periods when stock valuations fall. They tend to cause some investors to panic, but there’s no need to be alarmed. These occasional declines are perfectly normal, and most consider them necessary in a healthy U.S. stock market. 

Here’s everything you need to know about market corrections. 

What Is a Stock Market Correction?

A correction is a downward market trend characterized by the value of a financial asset falling at least 10% from its most recent peak. 

For example, imagine stock ABC was trading at a peak of $100 per share 45 days ago. Today, the stock is trading at $89 per share, down $11 or 11% from recent highs. Since the decline is greater than 10%, the move would be considered a correction. 

These market declines are often riddled with volatility as investors race to sell, hoping to protect themselves from further financial pain. 

However, as you’ll learn below, a sudden drop in stock prices from recent highs isn’t always a reason to sell. In fact, corrections are often the best time to buy more shares of your favorite stocks, practicing dollar-cost averaging and increasing your overall return potential. 

Here are a few important facts about corrections:

There Are Different Levels of Stock Market Corrections

First and foremost, market corrections take place on varying levels:

Individual Stocks

Like in the example above, corrections often happen on individual stocks. They can be spurred by bad news like missed earnings or revenue expectations, or they can come completely out of the blue as a group of investors decides it’s time to take a profit. These corrections only tend to affect a single stock. 

Sectors

Some corrections wreak havoc on entire sectors, sending nearly every stock in an industry down a slide. For example, sudden shocks to the price of oil might put the oil and gas sector into a correction, or new legislation targeting drug prices might send the pharmaceutical sector into a slump. 

Regional

Some events can lead entire financial markets in a specific region on a spiral downward. For example, when tariffs were placed on Chinese goods entering the United States, Chinese stocks took a dive, resulting in a regional correction.

Market

Finally, corrections can happen across the global market. During a stock market correction, the entire market drops. These events are characterized by simultaneous declines of 10% or more throughout major market indexes around the globe. 

Corrections Are Generally Short-Lived

While some market corrections lead to long-lasting bear markets, the vast majority of corrections are actually short-term sell-offs. In fact, only 10 out of the past 37 corrections from 1980 to 2018 resulted in bear markets, with the rest turning out to be short-term blips. 

In general, corrections last between three and four months. Once the event is over, the market generally rebounds quickly, resulting in tremendous earnings potential. So, it’s important not to panic when these events take place; keeping a level head and paying attention to market conditions will likely open the door to several profitable opportunities.  

A Correction Isn’t the Same as a Bear Market

Both corrections and bear markets are characterized by stock market crashes. However, there are a few important differences between the two:

  • Percentage Declines. Bear markets are generally characterized by declines of 20% or more from recent peak values rather than 10% declines. 
  • Term. When the bears take hold of a sector, region, or the whole market, they tend to maintain control for some time. According to Hartford Funds, the average bear market lasts 9.6 months, which is substantially longer than the three to four months the average correction takes to subside. 
  • Cause. Corrections can take place out of the blue when the investing masses decide it’s time to take profit. However, bear markets are generally more meaningful. These long-standing declines are usually signs of concerning economic conditions, geopolitical conditions, or a mix of the two. 

Corrections Happen Often

As mentioned above, 37 corrections took place from 1980 to 2018, working out to slightly less than one per year on average. That stands as evidence that you shouldn’t panic when it happens. 

While the talking heads on financial media will make a big deal out of any correction that takes place, level heads prevail in the stock market. 


Examples of Corrections

One of the best ways to get an understanding of the nature of stock market corrections is to look at a few examples from history. 

One of the most recent market-wide corrections was caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. As the virus spread, hair salons, movie theaters, amusement parks, and shopping malls were considered nonessential and forced to shut down for months. This led to widespread job loss, corporate bankruptcies, and reduced consumer spending. 

As a result, the market started to tank. 

Soon, the correction caused by the pandemic became an all-out bear market, leading the S&P 500 index, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the Nasdaq all down by more than 30%. It took 10 months for all three indexes to make a full recovery. 

Another example occurred in February 2018, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index fell by more than 10% each. While the correction was prompted by inflation-related concerns, the profit-taking proved to be overblown in the long run. By mid-March 2018, prices began to rise, eventually making a full recovery.


What Corrections Tell You

Market corrections aren’t always as informative as you might think. They can be a sign of healthy market and economic conditions as valuations balance themselves out, acting as a perfectly normal part of the financial system. 

For example, if a correction happens out of the blue at a time when economic growth is at its peak, corporations are experiencing growth in profitability, and geopolitical conditions are stable, the move is likely nothing more than investors taking profits, and it will soon be over.

On the other hand, when coupled with concerning fundamental data, corrections can be signs of tough times to come.

For example, if recent economic reports show slowing new home sales, increasing unemployment insurance claims, and declining consumer spending, and stocks slide by 10% or more, the move could be a sign that an economic recession and all-out bear market is on the horizon. 


What to Do if a Stock Market Correction Takes Place

Although it may come as a surprise, many long-term investors do nothing at all when market downturns set in. These investors know that the vast majority of corrections won’t last long, and they avoid knee-jerk reactions when it happens. Riding out corrections is the favored approach of buy-and-hold investors, especially those with a long-term outlook. 

On the other hand, some seasoned active investors take steps in order to make the declines work to their advantage. Here’s how:

1. Rebalance

If you’ve been following a solid investment strategy, your asset allocation was thoughtfully chosen to provide diversification. 

Unfortunately, over time, your allocation will fall out of balance as some assets move at faster rates and in different directions than others. When imbalance happens, it can leave you either overexposed to risk or underexposed to opportunity. 

With the market edging down, it’s crucial to make sure your allocation isn’t out of balance and the protections you’ve put in place are able to work to your advantage. Now is the time to rebalance your investment portfolio. 

2. Assess the Correction

Next, you’ll want to determine what type of correction you’re seeing and whether the move is likely to continue into a bear market. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How Widespread Is the Correction? Are you noticing the move on a single stock or single index? Take time to look around and see if it’s more widespread. Look into what the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq composite index, and S&P 500 index are doing. If they’re all falling at a similar rate, the correction is a widespread one. 
  • Is There a Clear Cause? Corrections can come out of nowhere with no rhyme or reason, or they may be the result of deep underlying issues. The only way to find out is to do a bit of research. 
  • How Deep Is the Cause? Did the U.S. Federal Reserve raise interest rates by a quarter of a percent? If so, although the move may slow lending slightly, it’s a sign that the U.S. economy is doing well, and the market will likely recover quickly. On the other hand, if war was just declared or jobs reports have shown months-long declines in hiring, there may be cause for long-term concern.

3. Act On What You’ve Learned

There are several different actions you could take based on your answers to the questions above, but they’ll all boil down to one of the following:

If it’s a Single Stock or Sector Correction With No Apparent Cause

If the move is in a single stock or sector, and there’s no clear rhyme or reason to it, you’re in luck — you’ve found a buying opportunity. 

Traders take profits all the time, and this profit-taking can lead to painful, short-term declines. Although there’s no telling where the bottom will be, now is the time to strategically buy more shares in a company you like. Here are a few tips for doing so:

  • Set the Floor. If the sell-off has no rhyme or reason, it’s likely a technical move in which traders are taking profits. This means that there will likely be a clear point of support. Use technical analysis to find the support level. 
  • Buy Even Blocks of Shares. As the stock continues to fall to support, make consistent, equal purchases of blocks of shares. This process of dollar-cost averaging ensures you don’t lose too much with a large purchase before further declines or miss out on opportunities when the rebound happens. As the stock falls, your average cost per share will fall as well. When the rebound happens, that reduced average cost means larger gains. 
  • Set Stop-Loss Orders. Set stop-loss or stop-limit orders just below the support level. If the stock falls below this point, there may be a significant underlying reason for the declines. It’s time to exit the position and reassess the situation. 

If it’s a Single Stock With a Short-Term Cause

In some cases, there will be good reasons for a single stock taking a dive, but those reasons will only lead to short-term movement. 

For example, a company may miss earnings or revenue expectations in a single quarter, leading to fear among investors. In this case, the company’s stock will likely fall, but if the company is solid, it will make up the losses and then some in the long run. 

If this is the case, consider using the dollar-cost averaging method described above to gain further exposure to the rebound. 

If it’s a Single Stock With a Serious Problem

If the correction takes place in a single stock and the reason is both clear and long term, it’s time to sell and accept your losses. 

For example, imagine a biotech company you’ve invested in has been working to find the cure for a devastating ailment. Things looked great. However, the FDA rejected the drug, and the company decided it’s going to cut its losses and go back to the drawing board. At this point, the stock’s losses are likely to continue for some time. 

In this case, it’s best to cut your losses and look for a more promising opportunity elsewhere. 

If the Entire Market Is Falling

If you’re looking at a market-wide correction, there are a few things to consider. In the majority of cases, if the entire market is falling, there’s a reason, regardless of how clear or unclear that reason may be. 

One of the most common reasons for market-wide corrections is high valuations. Movement in the market takes place through a series of ebbs and flows. However, when the market flows up too fast without enough ebbs in between, overvaluations happen, and investors begin to take profits. 

These are generally short-term moves and nothing to be concerned about. As a result, outside of buying in on undervalued opportunities as prices fall, there’s not much action that needs to be taken. 

On the other hand, corrections can be signs of deep economic or geopolitical concerns. For example, if job growth in the U.S. seems to be plateauing, home sales are slowing, and unemployment lines are growing during a market correction, all these signs together point to a potential economic recession, which could cause the correction to turn into a long-term bear market. 

Even in this case, it’s important not to panic. After all, panicking leads to poor decision making.

Instead, consider making adjustments to your asset allocation to reduce your overall risk. To do so, move a portion of your money out of stocks and into fixed-income securities and other safe-haven assets. 

After doing so, keep a close eye on economic data. When the economy begins to improve, it’s time to go shopping for discounts in the stock market. At this point, long-term declines will have led the valuations of many quality companies into the dumps, which is great news for buyers. Buying in at these lows will often lead to jaw-dropping profits.

4. Consider Speaking to a Financial Advisor

If the market’s experiencing declines, and you’re not sure what to do, one of the best courses of action is to speak to a professional. 

Sure, it may cost a few hundred dollars to get a financial advisor’s ear for an hour, but those few hundred dollars could save you thousands — or, even better, help you turn a profit in a down market. 

When you have a leak, you call a roofer, even though you know that will cost you more money than doing the research and fixing the roof yourself. There’s no reason to be ashamed to call a financial pro when you have questions about your money and activities in the market. 


Pros and Cons of Market Corrections

Although corrections may be concerning at first glance, they’re not all doom and gloom. In fact, there are several benefits to corrections happening as well. Here are the pros and cons of these moves:

Market Correction Pros

1. Discounted Buying Opportunities

The basic concept of making money in the stock market is the act of buying low and selling high. If you’re looking for a strong entry point, there are few better than in the midst of a correction. During these times, stocks are undervalued, offering discounted opportunities to get in on future gains. 

2. Market Health

Financial markets are complex systems with multiple moving parts, and for those systems to work properly, there have to be checks and balances. Corrections help to keep the market balanced, which is necessary for a healthy system overall. An occasional round of profit-taking helps to keep euphoria in check. 

3. Set the Stage for Bull Markets

A far smaller portion of corrections become bear markets than are followed by bull markets. Statistically, these moves are more often than not signs of a bull market on the horizon. 

Market Correction Cons

Unfortunately, market corrections come with some drawbacks, the most important being:

1. Retail Investor Panic

The biggest victims of corrections are often inexperienced retail investors who panic and sell when stocks fall. While the retail crowd sells for a loss, savvy investors — often institutional investors or experienced traders — are picking up their shares and enjoying the gains the average investor would have had if they’d simply kept a level head. 

2. Can Be Signs of Bear Markets

Although a market correction is more likely to be followed by a bull market than a bear market, there are times when bear markets do set in. If economic conditions are troubling, a correction can be a signal of something even worse ahead. It’s important to understand the reason for the correction and determine whether a long-term bear market is likely before deciding how to react. 

3. Short-Term Financial Pain

Finally, stock market corrections aren’t significant points of pain for everyone. Although nobody likes to see short-term losses, for some investors, the moves can come with significant financial concern. 

This is particularly the case for investors with a short time horizon, like retirees. Investors who are dependent on the income generated through their portfolios often have to withdraw money to survive during market corrections. Unfortunately, these investors don’t always have the option of waiting for the correction to end and may be forced to realize significant losses. 


Final Word

All told, corrections aren’t quite as scary as they’re cracked up to be. Sure, losses can and often do happen during these downward moves. However, they’re important cycles that help to keep the overall financial machine healthy. 

Not to mention, savvy investors can make corrections work to their advantage by strategically buying undervalued stocks for a discount to take advantage of the gains that are likely to follow. 

No matter what your plan is during a market correction, it’s important not to panic. Level heads make educated decisions, and educated decisions usually equate to profits in the stock market.

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Source: moneycrashers.com

How to Write a Rent Increase Letter To Your Tenants

Follow this process to notify your tenant of an upcoming rent increase.

Increasing rent each year is a common practice for many property managers. And when the time comes, you need to write a rent increase letter to tenants informing them of the change.

Many states have rental laws that stipulate how much you can raise a tenant’s rent, when you can increase rent and how and when you’re required to notify tenants that their rent is going up. Standardizing this process will help you apply rent increases consistently and equitably for all your tenants.

Not sure how to write a rent increase letter? Here’s an overview of what the letter should include, how to send it and when to deliver the notice to your tenant.

Reasons to raise a tenant’s rent

If you’re planning to raise rent sometime soon, you’re not alone. Over the past year, rent prices have crept up about 20 percent nationwide, according to ApartmentGuide. The reason is that there are fewer rental properties available and a large number of renters are looking for affordable properties. Keeping up with the local real estate market is one reason property owners increase rent each year.

You might also raise the rent if there’s a rise in property taxes, insurance, homeowners association fees or utility prices. Another reason is if you made significant upgrades or repairs to the home. Increasing rent can help cover some of these expenses.

You can’t increase rent for retaliatory or discriminatory reasons, however. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, religion, color, national origin, family status, sex or disability. Raising rent based on how many children a family has could violate this law, for example. Many states prohibit rent increases solely because you had a negative interaction with the renter.

Man working on a calculator

Man working on a calculator

How much can I raise the rent?

In October 2021, rent for a one-bedroom apartment averaged $1,660 nationally and $1,964 for a two-bedroom. The average rent increase is usually 3 percent to 5 percent a year. If rent is $1,660 a month, an increase would be $49 to $83.

In most cases, property owners can technically increase the rent as much as they want, but only by a reasonable amount. Raising rent too much could turn off a great tenant, and it will likely cost more to have the apartment sitting vacant.

When deciding how much to increase a tenant’s rent, it’s best to start with your local landlord-tenant laws. Some states or municipalities may cap rent increases or not allow rent to exceed a certain amount, especially if the property is rent-controlled.

When is the best time to increase the rent?

Property managers can’t raise the rent on a whim or in the middle of a lease term. When a tenant signs a lease, they agree to a specific rent amount for a certain timeframe. Some leases specify how rent increases work and how much rent will go up. Rent increases should occur once the lease term ends, which is usually every 12 months.

You can propose a rent increase ahead of a lease ending with it going into effect once the term expires — however, the tenant doesn’t have to agree to it. The renter can choose not to renew the lease with higher rent and move out. If they stay in the home after the lease expires, you have the right to go through the eviction process.

When to send a rent increase letter

You must provide tenants with written notice before raising the rent. State laws specify the timeframe for when you should send the notice, but it’s usually 30 days before a lease term ends or when the increase will take effect. Then, give renters time to respond to the notice — if they agree to the rent increase and will renew their lease or they’re not renewing and plan to move out.

Woman putting. a letter into an envelope

Woman putting. a letter into an envelope

How to write a rent increase letter to tenants

A rent increase letter serves two purposes. It notifies tenants that their rent is going up and is official documentation that you notified them of the increase within the required timeframe.

When writing a rent increase letter, keep the tone professional but friendly — and be clear and direct. Make sure your letter includes these elements:

  • Name of the tenant
  • Property address
  • Name and contact information for the property manager (or property owner)
  • Date of the letter
  • Date the rent increase will go into effect
  • Amount of the rent increase
  • Amount of the current rent
  • Date first new rent payment will be due
  • Mention the current lease agreement’s expiration date
  • Include a timeframe for when the tenant must notify you that they’re not renewing their lease

Sample rent increase letter to tenants

Here’s a rent increase letter template that you can use to notify your tenants. Simply update anything in brackets. You can also download a PDF or word document of this file.

[Property manager or owner name]
[Address]
[City, state, ZIP Code]
[Phone number and email address]

[Date of notice]

[Tenant’s name]
[Property address]
[City, state, ZIP Code]

Dear [Tenant’s name],

This notice is to inform you that beginning [date the rent will increase], the monthly rent that you pay to occupy the unit at [property address] will increase if you choose to renew your lease. Your current lease expires on [date of lease expiration].

The current monthly rent is [amount of current rent] and your new rent amount will be [amount of new rent]. The first payment at the new monthly rent amount will be due [include date payment is due].

Please let us know if you agree to this increase. Check one of the boxes below and sign and return this notice to the address provided by [date to return the notice]:

I agree to the rent increase of [amount of new rent] effective [date the rent will increase]. Please send me a lease renewal.

I do not agree to the rent increase and will vacate the unit by [date to move out], as specified in the lease agreement.

Please let us know if you have any questions about this notice.

Sincerely,

[Property owner/manager’s name]
[Property owner/manager’s signature]
[Tenant’s signature]

How to deliver the rent increase letter

Check with your local laws to see if you’re required to deliver a rent increase notice via a certain method. You can hand-deliver the notice by leaving it on the tenant’s front door.

If you mail the rent increase letter, send it certified mail, which provides confirmation that the tenant received it. Email is another option. Just make sure you include a read receipt to ensure they received the message.

Play by the rules

Increasing rent is a standard part of running a rental property. You just need to make sure you’re following all state and local laws regarding how much and when you can raise rent and how to notify tenants.

When you list the property with Rent.com, you can collect rent online, as well as accept applications and screen tenants.

Source: rent.com

41 Jacksonville Facts That Only Real Locals Know are True

Beaches, colleges and having the most land inside of city limits are just a small part of what it means to live in Jacksonville.

Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or just moved in, there are some things you seriously ought to know about this crazy town filled with palm trees, surf and golf courses. Take a look at these Jacksonville facts — some of which are pretty crazy — and get the lowdown on the city. You’ll sound like a real local in no time and be the best tour guide around when friends pop in for a visit to Jax. Just don’t forget your sunblock for all those sunny, hot days.

41 Jacksonville facts any good Jaxson knows

1. Jacksonville has the largest square mileage within city limits in the nation, with over 875 square miles of land. It’s also the most populous city in both the state of Florida and the southeastern United States. Now, I hear you — what about Miami or Atlanta? Jacksonville has all those people within city limits while the other cities include the greater metro areas for their population counts.

2. Overall, Jax is the 12th most populous city in the country. Crazy Jacksonville fact, right?

3. The highest point in Jacksonville only rises to 190 feet above sea level, on the Trail Ridge, along the boundary with Baker County.

Friendship fountain, Jacksonville, FL

Friendship fountain, Jacksonville, FL

4. At one point, the Friendship Fountain, located in downtown Jax, was the largest and tallest fountain in the world (when it was built). The fountain remains one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks and, of course, a popular attraction for tourists. The fountain was designed by Taylor Hardwick of Jacksonville and opened in 1965.

5. Folks from this city on the east coast of Florida are known as Jacksonvillians, Jaxsons or Jaxons.

6. Jacksonville has become a prime real estate location, with tons of foreign investors buying things up. The city is considered one of the 20 busiest real estate towns in the country. So, better get that search going and rent your dream Jacksonville apartment before someone beats you to it!

7. The Fort Caroline National Memorial marks the location of the first European settlement in Florida in 1564. The original settlement was destroyed by Spanish conquerors in 1565, though, so not much remains of that original settlement.

8. Big cat lovers adore Jacksonville. The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is located here and is a forever home for rescued big cats. You’ll find lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, leopards and others here, where they’re loved and cared for. You can visit whenever they’re open and learn more about the plight of big cats in captivity and the wild.

9. Jacksonville was the original Hollywood. In the early 1900s, the city was the motion-picture capital of the world and had a production industry long before L.A. was a thing. It was known as the “Winter Film Capital of the World.”

Dames Point Bridge, Jacksonville, FL

Dames Point Bridge, Jacksonville, FL

10. The Dames Point Bridge, when constructed in 1989, was the longest cable-stayed concrete bridge in the world. It’s still the second-longest in the Western Hemisphere.

11. In 1910, Jacksonville became the first place where “The Blues” were officially performed. A performance given at LaVilla was dubbed with the term and it stuck.

12. Speaking of Blues, the Springing the Blues Festival in Jacksonville Beach is one of the largest and longest-running blues fests in the country.

13. Jacksonville isn’t just the birthplace of the Blues — the city also holds claim to the name Birthplace of Southern Rock.

14. A few big-name bands got their start in Jax, including Limp Bizkit, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers Band, .38 Special, Yellowcard and Shinedown.

15. Other celebrities out of Jax include Bob Gandy, Al Denson, Rosalie King-Simpson, Ashley Greene, Lil Duval, Whitney Thompson and Pat Boone, to name a few.

16. Jax is also the birthplace of Don Estridge, the father of the personal computer.

17. In 1964, the Beatles refused to play for their planned Jacksonville audience until organizers desegregated the crowds.

St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FL

St. Johns River, Jacksonville, FL

18. The city is located along the banks of the St. John’s River, both the longest river in the state and one of the very few rivers in the world that flows from south to north.

19. Jacksonville got its name from the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson. He was the first military governor of the state as well.

20. Cowford was Jacksonville’s original name. There were more cows grazing on the banks of the St. John’s River than people in the town at the time.

21. Some of the oldest pottery pieces ever found in the U.S. date back to around 2,500 B.C. and come from Jacksonville. That’s a pretty cool Jacksonville fact.

22. Elvis Presley gave his first indoor concert as a headlining act in Jacksonville’s Florida Theater in 1956.

23. Jacksonville’s Florida Theater was built between 1926 and 1927 and took over one million bricks to complete and was the first time ready-mixed mortar was used in the South. It was also the first major building in downtown Jax to have full air-conditioning installed.

24. The Florida Theater also remains one of only four high-style movie palaces from the ’20s. If you take a walk through it, you’ll notice aspects of the Mediterranean Revival architecture which had a boom in the state during the ’20s.

25. Jacksonville’s founding father, Isaiah David Hart, was a bit of a scamp. He was accused of some cattle thievery (a hangable offense in those days) along the Florida-Georgia line in his early life. He returned to Jax (still called Cowford, of course) later on with some cattle, and then founded the city along the river.

26. The Great Fire of May 3, 1901, considered the third-largest metropolitan fire in American history, lasted about eight hours and began as sparks flew off a mattress factory as piles of moss outside caught fire. The fire claimed seven lives.

27. The worst fire in the history of the city broke out 64 years later. The Roosevelt Hotel fire in 1963 claimed 22 lives.

28. In 1886, Jacksonville experienced a severe earthquake that shook the whole town. It didn’t do serious damage, but the disturbance lasted 11 minutes, with more tremors occurring for another almost two months. This was the same earthquake that shook Charleston which destroyed hundreds of buildings and took dozens of lives. The same earthquake was felt as far west as Chicago and as far north as Boston.

Jacksonville Zoo, Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville Zoo, Jacksonville, FL

29. In the early 1900s, the city’s largest tourist attraction was an ostrich farm was located along the Southbank. Sadly, the farm closed in 1937.

30. Prior to colonization, the Timucuan people inhabited Jacksonville. They thrived on the land until the colonists came and exposed them to countless diseases, reducing their numbers by more than two-thirds by 1595.

31. The city does occasionally get snow. There are loads of photos of folks sledding down hills in 1989, for example, enjoying the wonder of the powdery white stuff.

32. Bessie Coleman died while performing in an air show in Jax. She was the first female pilot of African-American descent and the first African American to hold an international pilot license. Known as Queen Bess, the pilot performed in an air show when her plane made an unexpected dive. She fell from the plane some 2,000 feet to her death. There is a bronze memorial plaque for Coleman at the front doors of Paxton School for Advanced Studies in Jacksonville.

Treaty Oak, Jacksonville, FL

Treaty Oak, Jacksonville, FL

33. The oldest living thing in Jacksonville is the Treaty Oak. A Southern live oak located in Jessie Ball DuPont Park downtown. Experts estimate the tree is over 250 years old and believed to be the oldest living thing in the city.

34. It might be hard to believe, but Jacksonville has the largest urban park system in the country — yes, out-doing Central Park in New York City by a fair pace. Jacksonville has over 80,000 acres of parks, including two national parks, a national preserve, 400 city parks and gardens, an arboretum and seven state parks. The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, alone, covers 46,000 of those acres.

35. Jax receives an average of 221 sunny days each year — part of the reason Florida has the nickname the Sunshine state!

36. In Jacksonville alone, the military employs over 30,000 active duty personnel and almost 20,000 civilians, making it the largest employer in Duval county.

Jacksonville beach, Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville beach, Jacksonville, FL

37. Jacksonville is home to more than 1,100 miles of shoreline! That makes it more abundant here than in any other city in the state. Included in that are 22 miles of white sand beaches.

38. Jax is home to the largest Filipino-American community in Florida.

39. World of Nations Celebration is North Florida’s largest multicultural event and has been taking place in Jacksonville since 1993.

40. Gate River Run is the largest 15K race in the country. Initially, the race, named the Jacksonville River Run, started in 1978.

41. Famously called the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” Jacksonville hosts the annual college football game between the University of Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs — giving the game neutral turf.

Now you know the best Jacksonville facts

Grab a cocktail, slap on some teal and gold paint and let the world know you’re a real Jaxson with all these Jacksonville facts when you hit up the game.

Source: rent.com

How to Find The Best Renters for Your Apartment Community

Following this step-by-step guide will help ensure you find the best tenants for your rental property.

Finding good renters is something many property owners wonder about, especially if they’re new to owning apartments or other rental property. Choosing the best renters is crucial to your success as a property owner, but it can also be challenging. Finding a tenant requires careful screening and due diligence on your part.

What really makes a great renter? Someone who pays their rent on time each month ensures that you have a steady stream of money coming in. But cash flow isn’t everything. You also want someone who will take care of the property, communicate with you, follow all of the lease provisions and stick around for as long as possible.

The average tenant lives in a rental unit for just over two years. So, creating a streamlined process for advertising your rental and finding, screening and selecting tenants will save you time when a tenant moves out and help you rent the unit to someone else more quickly.

These 11 steps for how to find renters for your apartment community will help.

1. Get familiar with local tenant laws

Landlord-tenant laws vary widely by state and even sometimes by city and county. The laws often specify property requirements and the responsibilities of the property owner. Before you start advertising your rental and looking for tenants, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with local rules and regulations.

Additionally, you must follow the federal Fair Housing Act, which protects people from discrimination when renting a home. The law prohibits discrimination in housing based on the following protected classes:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial status (for example, people with children or single parents)
  • Disability

2. Consider hiring a property manager

If you’re new to owning rental property, hiring a property manager may be a worthwhile investment. Property managers are experienced in the local real estate market and know how to find renters quickly and effectively. They advertise the property, show it to potential tenants, review applications, screen tenants and get leases signed.

Once a tenant moves in, a property manager will take care of the day-to-day aspects of the rental, including coordinating repairs and answering questions. Property managers typically charge between 5 percent and 10 percent of the monthly rent, according to HomeAdvisor. But it might be worth it if it will save you time and a few headaches.

3. Create a detailed rental ad

Writing a detailed, unique ad for the rental attracts attention and helps find tenants quickly. Make sure your advertisement includes:

  • A description of the property
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Details about property amenities like a pool or playground
  • Rent price
  • The date it is available
  • Your contact information
  • Several accurate, high-quality photos of the home

Be sure that your ad follows all local landlord-tenant laws and the Fair Housing Act. The law prohibits ads that suggest a preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin.

Determining rental price

Determining rental price

4. Price the rental competitively

Deciding how much to charge for rent can be challenging, especially as the real estate market remains in flux. The average rent for an apartment is up about 20 percent over the past year, according to Apartment Guide.

Just because rent prices are going up doesn’t mean you can or should charge exorbitant prices. Pricing the rental property competitively is the best way to find renters. It’s a good idea to check out similar properties in your area and align your rent prices with them.

5. Advertise your property in multiple ways

Placing a “for rent” sign in front of the property is a great way to let passersby know it’s available. But, when it comes to finding renters, it may not capture everyone who’s looking for a home in the area. The truth is most renters start their search online. Advertising a rental online using these channels will broaden your reach:

  • Use your website: If you own several rental properties, set up a website to advertise the available units. Just update it as soon as you know one of your properties will become vacant.
  • Post on social media: Share your rental listing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and ask family and friends to share it, too. You can also post ads for the property in local Facebook groups.
  • Create a listing on Rent.com: Whether you have a rental house, condo or apartment community, posting the listing on Rent.com allows you to reach about 10 million potential renters. The site also enables you to accept applications, screen tenants and take rent payments online.

Other advertising options for how to find renters include placing an ad in a local newspaper or distributing flyers around the neighborhood, such as local grocery stores or libraries.

6. Show the property

When you get calls from your rental ad, be sure to respond promptly and schedule individual showings with anyone interested in seeing the home. Tours allow potential tenants to see the unit in person, ask questions and decide if the place meets their needs.

Showings are also a great time to get a sense of whether the person will be a responsible tenant. Be prepared to openly discuss the rent price (including whether you’ll negotiate the rate), the amount of the security deposits and fees, policies such as whether you allow pets and how you handle repairs and the application and screening process.

Along with individual showings, schedule a couple of open houses that are open to anyone. Open houses will attract a broad group of prospective tenants who can drop by and scope out the property on their own. If they’re interested, they can ask questions about applying to rent the unit.

Professional young woman

Professional young woman

7. Sell yourself as much as the rental

Renters are, of course, looking for a nice place to call home. But they also want to rent from someone who’s respectful and professional. When you meet potential tenants for the first time, it’s your time to shine. Respond to calls or emails promptly, be on time for meetings, behave in a friendly and professional manner and be upfront about the property, rent and the process for screening tenants.

The goal should be to establish a long-term relationship with renters. Following through on any promises and treating renters with respect is a chance to solidify that bond. Once they move in, always respond timely to requests, make repairs when needed, listen to their concerns and generally keep the lines of communication open. Keeping renters happy will likely encourage them to live in the home longer.

8. Take rental applications

Create a standard rental application with the same questions and requirements to use with all potential renters. A standard application ensures you’re treating all applicants equally and complying with state, local and federal housing laws. Applications typically ask for someone’s contact details, proof of income, emergency contact, references, rental history, pet information and a photo ID. Charging an application fee of $20 to $50 covers the cost of processing the applications and conducting background checks.

If more than one person plans to move into the rental, consider having everyone apply separately, especially if they’ll be paying rent separately. One renter can apply and still have a roommate, however. They just need to specify that in their application and the situation must comply with rental property laws.

Once you receive an application, date it and note the time it was received. Then, do a quick review, just to make sure the applicant answered all of the questions and provided the required information. If anything is missing, ask them to submit those items. When you get multiple applications for the same property, create a spreadsheet to help you track each one and decide which renter is most qualified.

9. Screen potential tenants

The application provides all the information you need to screen tenants. There are several types of screenings to conduct to verify that an applicant is qualified to rent the property — just make sure you use the same screening process with everyone:

Check references

Contact previous landlords, employers and personal references to find out about an applicant’s rental history, financial situation and general stability. Ask how the reference knows the applicant (in case they misrepresent friends as employers, for example) and when verifying income, keep in mind some companies have policies against providing details about employees. Ask yes or no questions, like “[Applicant’s name] said she earns $5,000 a month working there. Is that true?”

Do a credit check

Running a credit report will help verify an applicant’s financial history, including whether they pay bills on time, their credit score and past evictions or bankruptcies. Avoid basing everything on credit score alone, however, as people just establishing their credit might have a lower score or someone may have encountered a hefty medical bill.

Run a background check

Criminal conviction information is public and available at local courthouses. You usually just need a person’s birth date and full name to run a background check. But double-check local renter laws to make sure they permit criminal background checks for tenants. For example, some states prohibit property owners from discriminating against tenants with certain types of convictions, but you’re allowed to check sex offender registries.

Review rental history

Try to talk to at least one of an applicant’s previous landlords to find out if they paid rent on time, why they moved, how they maintained the property, whether they caused damage and if they gave notice before moving.

Happy young couple getting keys

Happy young couple getting keys

10. Decide what makes a qualified tenant

Property owners can decide what makes a qualified tenant, as long the qualifications comply with federal, state or local housing laws and avoid discrimination. Set standards for qualifications that you apply to everyone. Here are some examples of what you might require:

  • The renter’s income to be at least three times the monthly rent. Since most renters pay about 30 percent of their income in rent, this ensures they’ll have enough to cover rent each month.
  • A “fair” credit score of at least 600. More importantly, check the individual’s bill payment history and verify employment.
  • Impeccable references from past landlords, showing that the tenant hasn’t been evicted in the past.
  • No past criminal felony convictions, if this is allowed based on your local tenant laws.
  • A tenant may need a co-signer or guarantor if they don’t meet the requirements.

11. Prepare and sign the lease

Never rely on a verbal agreement with a renter. You need a lease that outlines your responsibilities and the tenant’s responsibilities while they’re living in the apartment. The lease should specify who’s responsible for which repairs and maintenance, when rent is due, how rent should be paid, pet policies, roommate policies, how lease renewals are handled and how much notice a renter should give before moving out. The lease protects you and the renter.

After you’ve reviewed applications, screened applicants and decided who meets the qualifications, go over the lease with the prospective tenant to make sure they understand everything. You can also negotiate portions of the lease, such as whether pets are allowed or if certain utilities will be included.

Once the lease is finalized and everyone agrees to its provisions, you and the tenant sign it. You’ll collect the security deposit and pet fees and decide on a move-in date. Be sure to give renters a copy of the signed lease and keep a copy in your records.

How to find renters

Learning how to find the best renters is a critical part of owning a rental property. Tenants that pay on time, communicate effectively and take care of the apartment or house are your best option, and there are several ways to find them. When you find top-notch tenants, you can build lasting relationships that ensure your property generates income and keeps vacancies to a minimum.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional legal or financial advice as they may deem it necessary.

Source: rent.com