Items You Shouldn’t Buy Used for Your Rental Home

In our blog post titled Items You Can Always Buy Used for Your Rental Home, we listed a series of items that you can safely buy used for your home needs. However, we didn’t specify which household items shouldn’t be bought used. So we’re listing those items here so you don’t end up with something in need of repair because it’s broken and unusable—or worse, something that could make you sick or bring an infestation into your rental home (which could actually be bad news for your entire rental unit).

Except for the cast iron cookware we mentioned in the “Buy Used” post, cookware shouldn’t be bought used. It’s likely to be pretty worn down, and it can still have hidden bacteria and other germs cooked or baked into it. Instead, buy the new yet inexpensive pieces that you need most and can afford, and then build on that collection later.

Vacuums, small kitchen appliances with blades (e.g. blenders, food processors, automatic can openers, etc.) and other important electronics shouldn’t be bought used; they’ll likely be so worn down that they’ll likely need to be repaired or replaced soon anyway. Save yourself the headache (and wasted money) and buy your electronics new. And if you’re on a tight budget, you can find good deals on many of these items year-round.

Mattresses, pillows, and bedding should never, ever be bought used. You have no idea where they’ve been, and they’re likely home to a good deal of germs, bugs, and dead skin cells. In fact, there are laws in some states that prohibit buying or selling used mattresses for health reasons. So, always buy them new. You can easily find inexpensive pillows and bedding at stores near you, and you can ask about inexpensive mattress options at your local mattress stores.

Lastly, it’s a tossup whether or not you should buy cushioned or upholstered furniture. While some of it might be OK, you need to be wary of the dust mites, germs and bed bugs that could be hidden in the fabric or cushioning. If there is a way to take the furniture apart, do so and clean the fabric and cushions thoroughly in your washer and dryer using the hottest settings possible, and hot steam or otherwise disinfect the furniture frame or structure. (NOTE: You might need to research different types of furniture materials to see what the best way to clean it is.) If it can’t be taken apart or you’re otherwise in doubt about the state of the furniture, leave it alone and buy it new instead.

If you’re waiting to buy items for your home because you haven’t found the right rental property yet, Combs Properties can help you with that. We are located available in the Clovis and Portales areas in New Mexico. We have home rentals, apartment rentals, and even corporate rentals available. To get more information about homes and other properties available for rent, you can message us via our Contact Us page, or call us toll-free at 1-877-720-6992, or fax us at (575) 356-4436.

Items You Can Always Buy Used for Your Rental Home

In our blog post titled Things First-Time Movers Will Likely Need we said that not everything in your home needs to be bought new and that some of those items can be bought used. However, we didn’t specify which household items can always be bought used. This post will detail what those items are and where you can buy them (or, perhaps, find them for free).

Non-upholstered furniture, like tables (from coffee tables to end tables), wooden chairs, dressers, armoires, TV stands, nightstands, and more can be bought secondhand. If you don’t like how the furniture looks when you get it, you can always paint over it. There are paints and spray paints made for all kinds of surfaces. Just make sure to do your research on how to prepare the furniture before a paint job (as some surfaces, like wood, needs to be sanded down before you paint it), and use a primer first. Découpaging the inside or outside of the furniture with paper or fabric is another option.
Non-plastic cups, plates, bowls, serving dishes, eating utensils, and cooking utensils, as well as glassware, are perfectly fine to buy used as well and will still last quite a while. Just check for any stains, scratches or cracks.

Cast iron cookware, if found secondhand, can be repaired if needed and re-used at a less expensive price than buying it new. The only thing you might want to keep in mind is what was cooked in that cookware beforehand, especially if you have any dietary issues or special needs (e.g. food allergies, vegetarian, vegan, etc.), as the old fats, oils and liquids could still be left behind. (If you have concerns, simply buy new. Better safe than sorry.)
Secondhand home décor and wall art are great for decorating your home inexpensively. And just like the used furniture, you can repaint frames and certain pieces of décor and repurpose them. Plus, you’re more likely to find rare décor and works of art when you buy it used.

Used books, as long as they aren’t too worn down, are as readable and useful as other books. So save your money and buy your books secondhand.
If you have a room or area of your rental home designated for exercise, you can buy your exercise equipment and sports gear secondhand (especially the larger exercise equipment).

Lastly, you are likely going to have things break in your home. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy brand new tools to fix things. Buy your tools used instead. So long as they aren’t too rusty or worn, they’ll still be as useful as they would be new and will still last a lifetime (particularly if they don’t require electrical wiring).

So, where can you find all of these things used? Start with your local thrift store, as well as any nearby flea markets, garage sales or estate sales. You can also check various websites and apps, like eBay, Amazon (yes, third-party sellers on the site sell used items), VarageSale, Etsy, and more.
Occasionally, you might find some of the above items sitting on a curb because someone just wanted it out of their house. Or you might have a friend or family member who just wants to get rid of something without having to worry about selling it. In either case, as long as the item is in decent condition, or it’s something you know you can get repaired inexpensively, go ahead and pull that item off the curb or take it off your friend’s hands.

If you’re not ready to buy anything or don’t yet need anything extra because you haven’t found the right rental property yet, we can help you with that. We have home rentals, apartment rentals, and even corporate rentals available in the Clovis and Portales areas in New Mexico. To get more information about homes and other properties available for rent, you can message us via our Contact Us page, or call us toll-free at 1-877-720-6992, or fax us at (575) 356-4436.

List of Things to Do Before You Move Into a Rental

You’ve picked out your home, done your walk-through of the rental, signed the lease, and now you’re just about ready to move in. But, aside from packing, what should you be doing before you move in? Here’s a short list of things to check off before you’re officially ready to move in.

First, make sure the locks to your apartment are changed. This was previously discussed in the blog post titled “List of Things to Do During (and After) a Rental Walk-Through, Part I”, but only concerning faulty locks. The truth is, you have no idea how many other people the previous tenant gave copies of their keys to (and, not to mention, you have no idea who these people are). So change the locks regardless. You can ask your landlord to replace the locks, or, if allowed, get them changed yourself with the help of a locksmith.

Next, see what kind of cleaning your lease requires and schedule a cleaning day. Whether it’s you (along with friends and/or family) or professionals, make sure it’s a thorough cleaning of your rental. This might have been done shortly after the previous tenants moved out, and you can always ask your landlord if a cleaning was done. But you take the time to do the cleaning yourself, you’ll know for sure that everything is clean and was cleaned properly.

Speaking of cleaning, once you get to the bathroom, if your landlord allows it, you should change the toilet seat. You can change it yourself or ask your landlord to have someone do it for you.

Also, plan ahead for designing your rental. If you haven’t already, ask your landlord if you’re allowed to paint your walls. If so, figure out what colors work best with the furniture that will go in the rooms you’re painting. Take measurements of your space and figure out where you want to put your furniture (or, rather, where you want the movers to put the furniture). If you haven’t bought the furniture yet, figure out what colors you want for the furniture and what size it needs to be so it won’t be too small or too big for your space.

If not already done by your landlord, complete your utility arrangements with your landlord and/or the utility companies and confirm installation date of new utilities, such as Internet, electricity and gas. Also, reconfirm your move-in date with the movers (whether that’s a professional moving company or family and/or friends who are helping you move).

Ask your landlord if a parking spot can be reserved for your moving day. This could mean pulling into the back or side alley or getting a parking spot right out front.

If necessary, withdraw whatever cash you’ll need for moving day, such as money for the movers and cash for ordering in a meal or two.

If this will be your first time moving into your own place, check out our previous post, Things First-Time Movers Will Likely Need, and use it to make a checklist of essentials and other things you still need to get for your new home.

List of Things to Do During (and After) a Rental Walk-Through, Part II

  • Check the air conditioner (and heater if there is one) to make sure they work on all settings. Unusual sounds or smells might mean it needs a filter change, or it could be another issue.
  • If your rental has a fireplace, make sure it works.
  • Make a note of any particular scents you smell, like cigarette smoke, pet odor, or even moldiness. If the smell is bothersome enough, ask management about it. You might be able to request a thorough cleaning of the living space before you move in.
  • Do a safety check for a smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, and a fire extinguisher. If these aren’t located in your rental, you’ll need to buy (and possibly install) them yourself. Also, ask whether or not the complex has a fire safety plan (and tornado safety plan if the rental is in a tornado-prone area). You need to know where to go in case of an emergency.
  • If your rental has a laundry facility, ask where it is, then visit the facility. Make sure it is within a favorable distance and is in a safe area. Also, make sure their washers and dryers are all in working order.
  • Check for proper lighting on the property, especially in the parking areas, as well as external hallways (if your rental has any).
  • Make sure the overall parking is adequate. You should be able to get in and out of parking spaces without much of a problem.
  • If your potential rental happens to have security gates, make sure they’re in working order.
  • If it’s possible, visit the housing or apartment complex during both the day and night, and do it on both a weekday and weekend. It will give you an idea of what you’ll be dealing with on a daily basis. You’ll know ahead of time how much noise you’ll be dealing with, as well as how safe the neighborhood is.

Note any and all current and potential issues you find and bring them up with the landlord before signing the lease. Get details on the security deposit and take care of any necessary repairs.

After you visit your potential home (and also before you sign the lease), find and read reviews about your building. It will give you some insight into any maintenance problems or other management issues that you could be dealing with in the future should you choose to live there.

List of Things to Do During (and After) a Rental Walk-Through, Part I

You’ve finally found the rental home you want to live in, and you’re ready to move in. But before you sign your lease, you need to do a walk-through. Here’s what to remember.

  • Do a walk-through of the actual apartment you’ll be living in, not the model. You need to know what’s wrong (and what’s right) with your potential living space before you move into it.
  • Use your cell phone or a camera to take photos of any visible damage or other problems. Use flash when necessary (or use a flashlight if your flash feature isn’t working). These photos will be proof if and when you decide to sign the lease.
  • Check the front door locks when you’re walking in. If they seem faulty, speak with management and discuss replacing them. Make sure to get a key for each lock. Also make sure the front door is properly sealed.
  • Check the other doorknobs to see if they are indeed secure. They might need to be fixed or replaced.
  • Look for any cracks, holes, stains, dents, chipping, peeling, as well as signs of mold, mildew and other water damage on or in the floors, walls and even the ceiling.
  • Look for proof of a bug or rodent infestation. This includes holes, chew marks and small droppings.
  • Play a little with the faucets in the kitchen and bathroom areas. (You might want to turn on the shower as well.) Take notice of the water pressure, whether or not there is hot water, and any weird sounds coming from the pipes.
  • Flush the toilet in each bathroom to make sure they flush properly and don’t have potential flooding issues.
  • Check the bathroom mirror for any discoloration or cracking, and check to see that the medicine cabinet and any additional drawers open and shut properly.
  • Make sure your kitchen pantry and drawers open and close without any issues.
  • If your rental comes with a refrigerator and any appliances, check each of them out (and turn on if necessary) to make sure they meet your needs and standards.
  • Go in every room and flip each light switch.
  • Bring your phone charger and plug it into different outlets around the rental. Make sure the outlets are working.
  • Make sure your windows have screens. If not, and you choose to move in, screens will need to be put in. Also open and shut the blinds, as well as any and all windows in the rentals. If you can’t easily open or shut a window, it could be a problem in the future, particularly for safety reasons (such as fumes or fire safety).

What Should I Consider When Looking for an Apartment Off-Campus?

Are you looking for a place to live off-campus, but have no idea where to begin? You’re excited to be more on your own, but also dreading the whole process because you’ve never done it before. You might have help from parents, grandparents or friends, but could also be doing it alone, which is great! We agree that it can be scary and daunting, that’s why we at Comb’s Properties compiled a list that we recommend you check out while looking for a place to live.



Choosing a place to live that is safe is of the utmost importance when searching for a place you’re going to live for at least a year. Talk to students who are older than you to see where they live. The office of student life at your University should have information for you also. Last but not least do research on the Internet. CrimeReports is a great resource for you to figure out which places are safe and which aren’t. This tool helps residents or potential residents see where crime is happening in their neighborhood.


Signing a Lease

Be careful when signing a lease. This is not something to take lightly. Many students simply sign a lease without looking the document over or asking questions about it. If you aren’t sure about something get your parents, a lawyer, someone you trusts’ opinion and if everything looks good, then sign it. A lot of landlords can take advantage of you because you are young and have not done this before.



Roommates are great because they enable you to live cheaper and if you are living with friends that could be a lot of fun. However it’s important to have open communication between everyone or things could get a little rough. For instance taking about cleaning, paying rent, and sharing central living spaces beforehand could help you out in the long run. Coming up with a set of house rules and enforcing them would be the best way to go about this.


This is a very short list of items to consider when looking for a place to live off campus and there is obviously a lot to think about. We do this every day and have a lot of experience with it. If you have any questions, reach out to us! We are happy to help and we might have a property that you just might be interested in.

Best Housing Options in Clovis and Portales, Part I

It doesn’t matter the reason that you are moving or looking for a new place to live—the bottom line is that you will need to find a roof and four walls. In the Portales and Clovis areas of New Mexico, there are many different housing options, depending on your needs and budget.

But beware, not all of the real estate is the same, and even homes right next to each other in the same neighborhood could have different values of thousands and thousands of dollars.

It all starts with what you need. Are you traveling to New Mexico and are only planning on staying a short amount of time? Do you attend the university, have to travel because of the military, are you working at the hospital? Temporary housing is a far better alternative to living in a hotel or cramped unit.

Combs’ properties has the corporate rentals that will make you feel like you are truly home, not on some endless work assignment. When you factor in the total costs, including laundry and the ability to cook, corporate rentals make financial sense as you can save a lot more money.
Are you currently looking to buy a home but you are not sure if you can get the financing you need? For starters, Combs’ Properties can help you with 1031 real estate options. No sense in paying excess taxes when you can put those tax dollars towards your home. Build equity the right way—with the money that you have already made.