Do you own rental properties? If so, you can probably relate to the pit in your stomach you get when receiving those dreaded calls from tenants who report problems. Usually, it’s the minor stuff that leads to bigger issues. It’s important to take care of those little problems before they grow into larger concerns that can result in costly and ongoing lawsuits, besides losing tenants. Here are four important maintenance jobs you need to do for your rental properties, along with a few considerations and warnings.
Check for Leaks and Other Types of Water Damage
One of the worst problem you can have as a landlord is a flood or another form of water damage. After a storm, look for possible leaks. Another time to check is when ice and/or snow starts melting. It’s also a good idea to inspect for leaks on humid, hot days as this can cause pipes to sweat. In addition to checking for soft spots on walls, ceilings and roofs, look for any moisture and water in showers, toilets and windows. Other areas to check include underneath sinks, water heaters and boilers.
Regularly Check Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
All your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors need to be tested on a regular basis to ensure they’re functioning properly. This includes both hard-wired devices and those that are battery-operated. Consider that most smoke alarms last around ten years, while carbon monoxide detectors have a lifespan of about five years. You don’t want to be faced with lawsuits because of defective smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.
Exterminate Your Rental Properties
One of the main reasons tenants leave is because of pests, so it’s critical your properties have regular pest exterminations. You need to check for insects, pests and other varmints at least once a month. Although you can buy your own extermination supplies, it’s better to use a professional exterminator. When you consider how losing tenants will cost you considerably more than what it costs to hire an exterminator, it makes sense to hand over this job to a specialist who’s both trained and experienced.
Inspect Air Conditioners to Ensure They’re Working Properly
Unfortunately, most people examine the interior or an air conditioner only when it doesn’t seem to be working or when it needs replacing. In fact, it’s the air conditioner that is typically the equipment that’s ignored the most in rental properties.
When an air conditioner isn’t checked consistently, it can have a severe impact of your tenants’ health because of harmful bacteria entering that can invade the lungs. The best months to take care of air conditioning problems are April and May instead waiting until summer when the weather is the hottest.
Other Considerations and Warnings
By doing some basic preventative maintenance you can be spared of problems that can entail having to spend thousands of dollars on repairs. For additional tips on how to succeed as an investment property owner, please contact us.
Inspections Are Time Consuming For Landlords:
Part of a landlord’s job is to keep the home they rent out in good shape for the next tenant. That means that the landlord will have to inspect the properties that are being rented out on a regular basis. While inspections a necessary part of the job, it’s no secret that they can take a substantial amount of time out of a landlord’s schedule. It can be very challenging and time-consuming to ensure that every single home is inspected every time a new tenant is going to move in.
Moreover, keeping track of the endless mounds of paperwork for each home that you are renting can be next to impossible. This is where the benefits of digital inspections come in. These inspections are done via a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other mobile device rather than with the classic method of pen and paper. Digital inspections make inspections quicker and easier for everyone involved.
Why Should Landlords Inspect Their Rental Homes?
So the real question from all of this is: Should landlords inspect their homes between tenants or on a set schedule? The answer is a resounding yes!
The following are some of the reasons inspections are important for rental homes:
Beyond just ensuring that the home is safe for tenants and fixing small issues before they turn into big problems, inspections help ensure that everyone involved in the renting process is protected. Inspections should be carried out after each tenant’s lease is up, before the next tenants move in to ensure that the home is safe.
If the same tenants occupy the same homes for an extended period of time (i.e. years, decades, etc.) periodic inspections ensure that the tenant respecting the property and that they are caring for the home appropriately during their stay. It also ensures that the home is safe for the tenant to inhabit and helps fix any possible issues before they become real problems.
Why Are Digital Inspections More Convenient?
While regularly scheduled inspections are vital for rental properties, there is a new phenomenon taking hold that is changing how inspections are done. Digital inspections are a more recent phenomenon that has largely replace the classic “pen and paper” method. These digital methods of tracking inspections is more convenient for a variety of reasons, some of which include the following:
These are just a few key reasons that inspections are better when they are done digitally rather than by pen and paper. Increased accuracy and easier filing of forms make the inspection process much more painless for landlords and inspectors alike. Having inspections helps the buyer ensure that they are buying a home that is safe to live in and that is functioning properly.Tenants who know their home was carefully inspected before they move in are more likely to pay a higher price for their home and the peace of mind knowing that their home is in premier shape and that their families are safe living there.
For more information about scheduling digital inspections for your rental homes, please feel free to contact us.
Taking legal action against a problem tenant can be stressful for new landlords. However, evicting a tenant is a simple and straightforward process. Many states will protect the tenant’s legal rights while allowing the landlord to freely conduct business without undue burden or hardship.
The steps below were designed with landlords in mind. The overall goal of this guide is to introduce you to the eviction process. It’s also an excellent bookmark to use as a refresher reference for later use.
As a general rule of thumb, it is important to keep a separate file for each tenant and take note of any lease agreement violations. Each note entry should include photographs, recordings (where applicable), the date, time, and name of all parties involved or observed. Be careful not to violate a tenant’s right to privacy when collecting evidence.
Life happens. Occasionally, a tenant might be experiencing a major life change that may be a key contributing factor to the violation. Evicting a tenant can be a nasty and expensive process. Perhaps having a talk with him or her will help resolve the situation before it escalates.
A tenant, who continues to be a nuisance, can be notified to remedy the violation or leave the premises.
The notice can be mailed or hand-delivered to the tenant. However, he or she could contest that they never received it. Detail-oriented landlords might benefit from using a process server or requesting a signed return receipt.
If the required notice proved to be ineffective at solving the problem, then it is time to file a complaint in court. Eviction actions under $10,000 should be filed within the justice court system. Amounts exceeding this number are usually filed within the Superior Court System.
If the court rules in your favor, you will be issued a Writ after the judgment. This writ is court-given permission to remove the tenant from the unit.
A tenant that refuses to leave the premises will have to be forcibly removed by the sheriff. Law enforcement officials will usually allow the tenant one or two days to pack their belongings and leave. Do your best to comply and discuss any special circumstances with the sheriff that may hasten the eviction.
At this stage, it’s common for tenants to leave personal belongings behind. In some states, you are required to hold their possessions for a certain number of days after the Writ has been served. Landlords are usually permitted to move the belongings to an unoccupied unit or self-storage facility after evicting a tenant.
After this time period, you are free to clean the unit and rent to another tenant.
After evicting a tenant, you may be able to reclaim a few of the costs associated with the eviction processing, including:
Pursuing remedies should be discussed with a licensed attorney that can help you determine if suing your former tenant in civil court is right for your situation.
It may be worth the time and effort to build in strategies that make managing the eviction process easier, particularly if you own a larger complex. This could include checklists, template notice letters, and making yourself (pleasantly) familiar with your local courthouse library and clerks.
On the other hand, working with a company like Property Management Pros can help you avoid the stress and difficulties of managing tenant evictions. Please contact us here to find out how we can help you with your properties.
Preparing your rental for a new tenant isn’t a hassle. If, you do your due diligence. You can hire the best vendors and line them up to turn the unit fast. But, what if the cost exceeds the deposit? You can put the rest through collections but when will you see that money? The key to reducing your turnover damage is putting the right tenants in your rental. This increases your chances of avoiding the damage altogether. So, how does landlord find a great tenant?
Tenant screening is always worth it. You never want to put a tenant in your rental without a thorough background check. You can add an authorization form in the application. Then applicants authorize you to run all the screenings. There are some basics that must take place at every screening.
If they can’t take care of their credit, can they take care of your property?
Make your rental shine:
Your goal is to find a high-quality renter who won’t destroy your rental. To reach that goal, you must present a rental that attracts high-quality renters. You want plenty of applicants to choose from in case the first one doesn’t work.
High-quality photos: Take high-quality photos that highlight the best features of the home. What are the most attractive aspects of the unit? For example, highlight hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, his and her sinks in the master baths, spacious kitchen, and high ceilings. If you can, use a wide-angle lens for your photos. Otherwise, take your pictures diagonally to get the widest view of each room.
Video tours: Video tours allow prospects to view your rental from the comfort of their home. This saves you time too because you don’t have to be present for the tour. Video tours are a must have. Prospects can get the most realistic view of the home and you can highlight the best parts of the unit.
Choose your words wisely:
High-quality renters don’t want a cozy home they want a spacious home. Don’t just state what upgrades you did to the rental. Talk about the benefits of the upgrades. Instead of saying ‘new garage’ say upgraded garage to protect your car and provide added storage space. Don’t say ‘new AC’. Say new energy efficient air conditioner. Keeps your home cool for less.
Make sure it’s well priced:
The price of the home will determine the quality of the prospects who apply. If you price it too low, good prospects will wonder why it’s so cheap. They will not apply. You may find yourself with several applicants that don’t qualify if the price is too low. If you price it too high, no one will contact you. They can’t afford it, and they can get a better deal elsewhere. Do your research and see what other comparable homes are charging for rent. Try to match that closely but take upgrades into account when pricing.
The best way to prevent damage to your unit is to rent to quality tenants. To do that you must have a rental that shines and attracts great tenants to your property. Looking to fill your unit? Let the experts at Property Management Pros.com help. We show you how to find the best renters for the highest return on investment. Contact us today.
Being A Landlord Is NOT That Difficult:
Many people think that being a landlord is a never-ending nightmare with clients constantly calling to complain that something is broken or that the grounds are not kept up nicely enough to meet their unreasonable standards. Others imagine that the logistics of keeping track of all the properties you own would be enough to stress anyone out. However, the truth is that being a landlord does NOT have to be nearly as difficult of a job as people think it is.
The solution? A quality property management service.
The Benefits of Property Management Services:
Many people will think of property management services as an unnecessary expense that most landlords will not be able to afford. However, the contrary is actually the truth. The average property management system is really not all that expensive for the return it gives to you as a landlord. Along with some time to do the proper research as to what each property management system offers, the property management system you employ will require you to pay a small part of your rental revenue to them in exchange for using their services.
However, the benefits that come from using such a service are easily worth a small fraction of your rental revenue to help make your life as a landlord much easier and cheaper than it would be if you were to try to hire people to manage all of the functions of your business manually.
The following are some of the great benefits that a property management system will provide you as a landlord:
Property management services can provide you all of these benefits as a landlord. They are basically like your own virtual assistant to ensure that things are done on time and properly while also letting you have more of freedom and personal time than you would if you had to go follow up with every single thing that needs done personally and in person.
Property Management Services Are Affordable:
Moreover, many landlords think that these property management services are overpriced and not affordable to the average landlord. That is simply not true as many of these programs are affordable for landlords and the amount of freedom they will give you in return isn’t something you can put a price on. Having that assistance and the ability to live your own life while maintaining your properties in the process is something that every landlord dreams of. These programs make being a landlord so much easier that it will make it worth your time and investment.
Please feel free to contact us here at Property Management Pros for more information and to help you get set up with your new property management services today. Then you can see for yourself that being a landlord is NOT that hard after all!
Top 6 Trends For Low Cost Landscaping In 2018:
First impressions are everything when it comes to rental homes. Quality landscaping is vital to the curb appeal and the first impression that a home will make when a potential tenant comes to view the property. Making a good first impression can often be the difference between gaining or losing a tenant, even before they set foot into the indoor space.
However, quality landscaping can also be very expensive and eat into a good portion of the landlord’s profits. The key to avoid this? Tasteful landscaping that is done at a low cost to the landlord.
For 2018, the following are 6 low cost landscaping trends that are taking hold and capturing the interest of potential tenants:
These are just a few great, relatively inexpensive landscaping ideas that will help make your rental home look warm, welcoming, and inviting to potential tenants. Increasing curb appeal with perennial plants ensures that the plants come back year after year and you will save money not having to replant landscapes every single growing season. A fresh coat of mulch and some flowers for the pots on the property will provide your tenants with a new, relatively inexpensive landscape that looks updated and new, which can help you get top dollar for your rental home.
For more information on making the landscape at your rental home appealing and attractive without overspending please feel free to contact us.
The stock market is often the first option that comes to mind for many people who are thinking about investing their money. Many have no idea which investment will provide them with the best return. While the stock market is certainly viable and has a lower barrier to entry, real estate may be the best option for many.
Real estate can offer a number of benefits over the stock market. Consider the fact that according to Forbes Magazine, prior to the recession, two-thirds of American adults were investing in the stock market; that number fell to a little over 50 percent by 2016. In other words, the recession took a toll on the American willingness to invest in stocks. Instead, American investors between the ages of 18 and 34 have opted to invest in real estate or to save their money. Why? What makes real estate so attractive? Because of benefits like those below.
When weighing the value of one type of investment against another, the investor has to factor in the risk as compared to the expected returns. Real estate has earned its investors almost twice as much as the stock market has in the years since 2000. Rental properties are particularly profitable since along with the returns from the property’s appreciation, the investor can earn a return of as much as 12 percent from rental income.
Real estate is not as liquid as stocks in that it is not as easy to buy or sell real estate; however, it is also not as volatile as stocks. In addition to the lack of volatility, real estate investors can take advantage of tax benefits. Consider the fact that the interest on a mortgage is tax deductible. Landlords can also deduct operating expenses as well as property taxes and depreciation.
An investor in real estate gets has the ability to add value to their investments. Popular ways to do this include kitchen or bathroom remodeling or the addition of rooms. Any of those upgrades can increase a property’s value considerably. This is not something that can be done with stocks. You have no control over it.
Shelter is a necessity, which guarantees perpetual demand for both rental properties and homes for sale. Predicted interest rate increases and other recent changes within the economy make renting a more desirable option than ownership for many people.
Both home prices and rental rates have historically risen with inflation. The means that real estate can serve as a hedge against inflation for the rental income and the property’s sale price. It offers a long-term benefit since mortgage payments will not increase as a result of inflation.
There are fewer risks involved in real estate investment when you compare it to stocks, especially when it comes to long-term investment. Consider the fact that a real estate investor has more control over their asset than a stock market investor does. A stock market investor is a minority investor who must place a considerable amount of trust in a company’s management. Investors should consider the fact that the longer they hold on to investment property, the lower their risk since the property will appreciate and they will also build equity.
Real estate exists in the physical world, unlike the abstract concept of stocks. This fact means that it can be occupied and used. While real estate can provide shelter, stocks are not tangible and have no innate, practical value.
If you would like to learn more property management as well as the benefits of investing in real estate, contact us at Property Management Pros today.
Owning multiple properties is a great way to invest your money. In fact, it’s a viable way to earn full-time wages. You have the ability to bring in a steady flow of cash. However, as with any business venture, there are some do’s and don’ts in order to get the best experience. Here are 6 reasons why you don’t want to manage your own property.
There’s no getting around it. When you own multiple properties, you will run into problems from time to time with tenants. Maybe you will have one that is disrupting the neighbors or having incidents with police complaints. Tenants may give you trouble with making their rental payments on time or be constantly complaining about the property. This is a problem you don’t need to deal with. However, if you continue to manage the property you most certainly will end up dealing with this stress.
When you manage your own properties there’s a 100% chance that you’ll be called at the worst times to handle some type of emergency. Tenants may have their furnace go out in the middle of the night and it’s you they will call. If the water pipes freeze and burst, you will be the one responsible to find a repair person right away. If it’s not in the middle of the night, you may find yourself getting those dreaded calls while you’re trying to enjoy a bit of family time. Let’s face it, there are not too many ideal times to be interrupted in life.
Part of the responsibilities of property management is setting the rental rate. While that may seem like a simple thing to handle, you may undersell yourself. Or you may put the price too high and drive customers away. It takes careful research to determine just the right price for the current market and location. This is something that property management companies are adept at handling.
There are many laws concerning renting out properties. Some involve safety issues while others are focused on the contract agreement and so on. That means you have to stay up to date on the laws of property management or you may inadvertently break the law. That’s a headache you don’tneed!
Not many people like to deal with tax paperwork, but if you manage your own properties this is something you will need to take care of regularly. Not only will you need to file your taxes but you need to know the current tax laws for real estate well enough so that you can gain the maximum benefit at the end of the year. A property management company provides help with tax and other financial issues.
Balancing the budget is another chore you will be stuck dealing with if you manage your own property. It’s almost as “fun” as filing taxes. This means you will need a good handle on all the incoming rental monies as well as the outgoing expenditures so you know how much you can invest in upgrades, additional properties, and so on. Juggling the financial part of property management can be a headache unless you have a special love for numbers.
Avoid all these cumbersome tasks by connecting with a reputable property management company. A property management company will take the care and responsibility out of your hands and allow you to simply collect the money that flows in from your rentals. This alleviates so much of the hassle that comes with owning multiple properties, yet you still have all the benefits of the income. For more information contact us today.
When it’s time to sell your house or investment property, will you be ready? Do you know some of the pitfalls that may slow down the process? Do you want to make a big profit? And would you like it to be fairly easy?
If you want to sell your property quickly, for the most money, and with the least amount of trouble, read on to find answers and learn how to successfully navigate the experience. At Property Management Pros we use our professional expertise to benefit property owners in their daily dealings with their real estate management.
To help you decide whether to try to sell it yourself or hire someone to do it for you, here are some questions to consider. Take some time now to thoughtfully step through the selling process, evaluate potential problems, and identify how to avoid or correct them.
Is the property in good repair?
Before you list your property inspect it closely and make sure it is free of damage inside and out. This includes:
All electrical systems are updated, safe, and working properly.
All plumbing is in good repair. Replace any leaking or inefficient toilets with water-saving designs.
Heating and cooling systems work as efficiently as possible.
All appliances are clean work properly.
Flooring is clean and not worn, or replace as needed.
Walls are clean and not damaged, or repair and repaint as needed.
The roof is sound. Gutters drain correctly.
Windows and doors open, close, and lock.
The property is free of any type of infestation and trash.
Lawn and landscaping look appealing and well-maintained.
Do you know what your property is worth?
The value of your particular property is determined by a number of factors. You can’t just compare it to the others in the neighborhood and guess at a listing price. You may get a general idea of what you can ask, but to make the best profit possible you need to do a little more homework. An overpriced property may not sell quickly, and the longer it sits on the market the more undesirable it becomes. Listing too low (unless you just want a quick sale) means less money in your pocket at settlement.
Do you know your market?
Who are you looking to attract as the ultimate buyer of your property? A seasoned investor — or a first-timer? Younger — or older? An individual — or a corporation? Or even: Does it matter to your strategy? Establishing your target market helps direct your marketing efforts.
How will you advertise?
If you choose to sell the property yourself, another crucial aspect to consider is advertising. How effectively you get the word out about the sale will affect your bottom line. For many people this task alone is overwhelming and a big turn-off. Again, the effectiveness of the advertising campaign directly impacts your profit.
Are you up for wheeling and dealing?
Can you deal with offers and negotiate with skill? Do you know how to qualify a buyer? Do you know how to fill out the appropriate paperwork, involving the offer or counter-offers? Are you willing to answer the phone whenever it rings — or promptly return calls — until the property sells?
How will you handle the settlement process?
When you agree on the terms of the sale, do you know the next steps to take? What legal paperwork to complete and sign? Is the title free and clear? Where will settlement take place? Who will help you correctly file and finalize all legal papers to the satisfaction of all parties?
If you want help selling your property or would like to know more about how to run a profitable property management business, contact us today. At Property Management Pros we understand the role that the internet plays and can offer a completely web-based system to help you achieve your business goals.
One of the main benefits of home ownership is that you can often rent the property and make enough money to cover your mortgage and make additional income for yourself. If you have an additional home or someplace else to stay, this is a great way to make money. Many small and medium sized businesses have been started when home owners rent out their homes to generate additional income. Eventually, they can purchase more properties and continue to grow income. However, many people wonder when is the best time to put a home on the market.
Income to Price Ratio
One of the most important indicators used to determine the rental market is the income to price ratio of homes in the area. This is a little complicated but gives a good sense of whether buying a home is affordable to most people in the area. The ratio is determined by dividing the median home price by the median salary in an area. For example, if the median home price is $100,000 and the median salary is $50,000, the ratio 2x. Generally a healthy ratio is between 3x to 4x. At the peak of the housing boom in 2007, the ratio reached 7x. This was obviously way to high.
During these periods, people should not be buying new homes because they are unreasonably expensive. Instead it is better to rent for most people and wait until home prices become more affordable.
Home owners should examine the trends in their community. If the ratio is above 4x and has been rising steadily over time, it is a good time to rent out your property. More and more people will need to find an place to stay as they cannot afford to buy themselves. That means rents will rise, you will have greater profits and more demand.
Seasonality actually also makes an important impact on the price of rents. Certain times of the year have much higher demand for new housing than other times of the year depending on the area. However, a general rule is that rents begin rising in May and June, stay high in July and August and slowly begin going down after September. This occurs primarily based on the school schedule but also because people generally prefer to move during warm weather rather than in the cold.
Personal Profit Using Comps and Costs
Another way to decide to rent your home is by calculating your personal profit. The first thing to calculate this is to look at the rents for similar properties in your community. Make sure to find places that have a similar quality, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms and access to schools, parks or retail locations. Once you have found several comparable properties (comps), average these rental prices together to get the expected amount that you can rent out the home for one month. For example, you may be able to get $1,000 per month in rent for your home.
Next, calculate the total amount that you pay in terms of mortgage and maintenance. For example, you may have mortgage payments of $600 per month. Additionally, you have to pay for landscaping, plumbing, any emergency fixes, insurance and professional property management. Those could total an average of $200 per month. You may leave the heating, cooling and electricity costs to the tenant.
Taking everything into consideration, you will profit $200 per month or $2,400 per year. These funds could be plowed back into the mortgage to pay off the home faster, into other investments or into improving your lifestyle.
On the other hand, you must consider the costs associated with your new living situation and whether it is worth the trade-off when taking into account the extra $2,400 in profit.
Property Management Pros is a leading site for finding the best property managers in the market. For more information, please contact us.