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Tenants – What Do They Really Want?

Any property investor knows that getting tenants and keeping them are tricky. Property that goes unoccupied for too long can more or less be considered a dead investment. At that point, investors should do an in-depth analysis to diagnose the problem. It is important to find out if there is anything they can do to attract new renters. So here are a few things that tenants look for when scouting for property.

Tenants Want Safe Neighborhoods

Safety and security is an important concern for most, if not all, potential renters. The area should be well-lit and more or less crime-free. In fact, many would-be renters go online to check if potential properties are in a high-risk area with regard to crime.

Some investors, especially those who own high rises in high-crime areas, have to make up for the property location to attract tenants. This is achieved by installing cameras and hiring security personnel to make potential tenants feel at ease.

Renters Prefer Affordable Units

Why spend an arm and a leg on rentals when one can get a unit for less? Tenants rent based on their budget. Therefore, many renters will pass on property that they like if the price tag is too rich for their current budget.

This can cause problems for many investors. However, there is a way around it. The property management firm might be more selective when showing units to would-be renters. They may attempt to offer pricier units or houses to renters who would rather spend more for quality property.

Tenants Need Accessibility

How near is the rental to a potential tenant’s place of business? Is it close to schools, hospitals and shopping centers? These are legitimate questions that investors should consider before coming up with a rental price.

Accessibility is the reason that many substandard units sell like hotcakes. If it saves a renter gas money, he or she is less likely to pass it up.

Some Tenants Prefer Pet-Friendly Rentals

Pets are family too. This is why many potential renters would rather pass up an affordable unit in a safe neighborhood if pets are not allowed.

A wise investor will choose to allow furry tenants for their rental units, as this will attract more potential renters. This is a smart business move, especially if the unit is priced affordably.

Whitetail Properties can help investors lease out their rental property. Schedule a meeting today to learn how our firm can assist you in gathering more potential tenants.

 

©Maria Codilla

 

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Finding the Best Property Management Firm to Rent My Property

More people are investing in property these days for a number of reasons. It generates a decent cash flow, which allows the homeowner or investor to enjoy extra income aside from the money that he or she usually earns, for a property that would have remained a stagnant investment if not for this venture.

However, not all investors are satisfied with the results of their real estate venture. In most cases, the difference between success and failure in this industry lies in choosing a capable property management firm to manage the rental property. Here are a few factors to look for which will assist investors in choosing the best property management firm for their investment.

Experience

Seasoned property management specialists are the best choice, especially for investors who are new to the industry. They can provide useful tips and ensure that all the necessary legal paperwork are ready for renters. An experienced property manager will also be knowledgeable about various legalities that the investor may not be aware about.

Dedication

Many firms take a passive approach when it comes to assisting investors rent out properties. A good firm is composed of driven property managers who are able to make use of different social media platforms and websites to attract possible renters. The best firm would be one that is composed of employees who are dedicated to their assigned projects and are able to ensure that every property under their care is showcased properly to potential renters.

Ensures Investor’s Financial Security

The best property management firms take good care of their client’s investment by ensuring that each tenant is screened properly. Ideally, an experienced property manager from the company will be tasked to go over the potential renter’s finances. The goal is to ensure that their clients will be paid the amount due to them on time, with no hassle on their part.

The success of your venture rests upon the quality of the property management company you choose. Ensure the success of your investment property with the help of Whitetail Properties.

 

©Maria Codilla

Important Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent

There are important steps that investors must take to ensure the success of their rental property; one of the most critical is that of procuring the right property insurance.

As your property management company, we cannot advise you specifically on what insurance policy to purchase. The purpose of this article is simply to make you aware of common insurance facts and questions that are important to ask your insurance provider. Failing to know what coverage you have could lead to major financial loss in the future.

Does my property have the right insurance for an investment/rental property? This is THE key question to ask. Many people do not realize that a normal homeowner’s insurance policy is generally invalid within 30 days after vacating the property and converting it to a rental property. A different policy should be put in place as soon as possible.

In addition, the best insurance for a rental policy will give you additional coverages, such as loss of rent. The type of insurance coverage for landlords generally falls under the umbrella term “property and casualty insurance.”

What type or types of insurance do I currently have on my rental property? Building coverage, hazard and fire Insurance, as well as liability insurance, are always needed for the physical property. However, there are additional insurances that can be carried, depending on the location of the property, age of the property, and other extenuating factors. Other insurances to investigate are flood insurance if you are in a flood plain, sewer backup insurance, workman’s compensation, terrorism insurance, and loss of income insurance. Question your agent on your current insurance and what other policies are available that would be appropriate for your investment and worth the cost.

A big key to obtaining the right insurance is to provide your agent with ALL the facts – age of the property, condition, area problems, special use, etc. It is very important to be specific on what “type” of investment property you have (for example, horse property, condominium, single-family, apartment etc.). Most landlord insurances are for 1-4 units and multiple units above this number are handled on a different basis.

I have outbuildings on my rental property, are they covered? Most policies generally do not include additional structures, unless specified. This is another reason why you need to disclose all the information to your insurance agent and obtain quotes.

Is my property covered for loss of rent? Covering rental loss, under the right circumstance (such as a building fire), is one of the pressing reasons for obtaining a good landlord/rental policy.  There is no coverage for tenants giving a standard notice to quit and vacating the premises. However, it may cover vandalism during an eviction or vacancy – but you need to ask. Have your agent discuss in detail the paragraphs in your insurance paperwork which pertain to vacancies / income loss and what is your actual coverage.

Is my property covered for disasters such as fire, tornado, hurricane, tsunami, flood, and more? Normally, most natural disasters are not covered. However, the insurance company may make a determination that many damages are covered. For example, although a flood isn’t covered, there may be coverage for “water damage.” Another example, a house fire is usually covered for damage as long as the landlord has not shown neglect which caused the fire. The insurance company will have a list of criteria for what is and what is not covered for extreme conditions under the existing policy. Again, find out the facts, ask questions.

How can I reduce the cost of my landlord policy? Landlord insurance is more expensive than a homeowner policy and the main reason for the increased cost is that a landlord doesn’t have any control over a tenant’s actions, implying additional elements of risk. In spite of the higher cost, landlord insurance can be made more affordable through discounts for having security alarms, especially monitored ones, burglar alarms, deadbolt locks, and fire extinguishers. Ask your agent for recommendations on cost-saving items you can do. Remember, landlord insurance IS worth the cost.

It is of utmost importance and your responsibility to consult your insurance provider regarding your coverage. It is also part of your contract with us that you provide our company with proof of insurance.

There are many insurance companies and plans available and it pays to compare coverage. If your agent cannot spare you the time to answer your questions, seriously think about shopping for another agent and/or company. Review your policies at least once a year, require that your agent provide you with the facts, and take out the best possible policy for your specific investment property to protect your investment.

 

 

Jean Storms, MPM®, owner of LandlordSource

©LandlordSource.com

Property Management Takes Teamwork

Over the last 50 years, managing investment property has become more complicated. Major property management legislation, increased tenant awareness, major disasters, and escalating technology have been contributing factors in the field of property management today.

 

Generally, the days of a simple handshake between a property owner and a tenant are over. It takes an educated and collective approach to support, manage, and maintain a property.

 

Today, sound property management benefits from teamwork.

 

Property management begins with the property owner and the property management company working as the primary team, each party supporting the other. The role of the property owner is to supply a sound physical property, necessary financial support for the property, and provide the property management company with the authority to act on supervising the myriad of details of management. Today there are also many other people and services to support both the property owner and the property management company.

 

As your property management company, we operate and think of successful management of your investment as “teamwork.” We know that it is extremely difficult for one person to do it all – market the property, screen the tenants, collect tenant funds, supervise maintenance, move tenants in, handle tenant issues, handle property issues, comply and keep up with increasing legislation, move tenants out, dispense security deposit refunds, and much more. Consequently, it is our practice to utilize additional people and services as part of our team.

 

In addition to property management personnel, a well-run property management team includes a myriad of maintenance services, tenant screening/credit reporting services, banking institutions, insurance companies, accounting services, property management attorneys, referral services, supportive industry organizations, local government offices, and more. This provides more eyes, ears, and expertise to oversee the property owner’s investment.

 

Technology plays a key role as well and we consider this an integral part of the management team. To give an owner the best possible service in today’s fast moving world, we utilize our website, email, online vacancy services, banking technology, documentation programs, newsletter services, etc.

 

Just like the management of the property, there is a continual “maintenance” of all the services involved. We are constantly working to increase our education, acquire new services, and evaluate companies and services that we use for our support system. These efforts promote a well-oiled team to oversee your investment.

 

The property owner needs to sustain integral parts of the team as well – their property insurance company, accounting services, financial institutions, homeowner’s association (if applicable), etc. It is vital that the owner oversee and maintain these necessary support services.

 

The bottom line is that although managing an owner’s investment is more challenging than ever, we know that taking a teamwork approach will accomplish this critical task.

 

Jean Storms, MPM®, owner of LandlordSource

©LandlordSource.com

 

Treat Your Rental Property as a Business

In a perfect world, buying, selling, and/or renting property, everyone treats a rental property simply as a business process. However, as everyone knows, the world is far from an ideal place. Personal attachments, maintenance problems, and tenant difficulties can turn an investment into an emotional morass. It is important to develop an objective attitude that will help you cope with the more stressful aspects of owning rental property.

 

Did you make a conscious decision to purchase investment property? If so, be realistic about rentals and projected expenses when doing projections on any potential investment. Inflated figures will not help if the economic market does not cooperate. It is important to expect a reasonable vacancy factor when owning a rental. Remember that in most cases the property is a long-term investment and that the expenses are tax deductible, increasing the bottom line or return on investment (ROI).

 

Did you become a landlord because you must rent your home rather than sell because of a poor economic market? This can make it more difficult to view your personal home as a business investment. Make a special effort to think of your home now as a “rental property” and view it from the perspective of a potential tenant. Even while you were living in the property, it required maintenance and repairs.

 

Review these ten good practices for all property owners/investors.

    1. Treat the property as a long-term investment even if you do not plan to keep it long-term – you never know what will transpire.
    2. Be aware of legislation and legal practices that affect your rental property – ignoring them can mean losses to your bottom line.
    3. Always be realistic about the current market and rental prices – this can reduce vacancy time.
    4. Practice preventative maintenance – this can reduce or eliminate major repairs and maintenance.
    5. Plan for long-term maintenance – properties have life expectancies on all major components of the property, such as roof, paint, heating and air units, plumbing, and more. Eventually these systems will fail and/or deteriorate.
    6. Be prepared for all types of emergencies – tenant problems, maintenance, or natural disasters. Maintaining a good rental insurance policy is a big key for that preparation.
    7. Do not rent the property “just” to generate income – wait for the right tenancy. The wrong tenant can generate many unwanted expenditures and headaches.
    8. Remember that even the best of tenants can have problems that can interrupt the payment of rent. It is important to remain objective and fair instead of reacting emotionally.
    9. Use professional services when necessary – maintenance, accounting, legal, and more. This expense can reduce liability, aggravation, and unnecessary expenses.
    10. Consult with your property management company regularly and discuss any concerns you have regarding your investment.

 

Take the time to develop a “business” plan for your investment. Review long-term expenditures and plan when and how you will handle them over the period of ownership. This should include good insurance coverage, a savings plan for maintenance/emergencies, and professional services when necessary. This preparation can help maintain a business attitude when any stressful event occurs.

 

As your management company, we can assist you with realistic rental prices, maintenance expenditures, professional services, tenant problems, legal issues, and any other services required. Our support will help you to maintain a “business” attitude for your investment.

 

Jean Storms, MPM®, owner of LandlordSource

©LandlordSource.com

Landlords DO Have Rights

 

It often seems that a property owner does not have any rights and that tenants call the shots, the courts only rule in favor of the tenant, and the attorneys end up with all the money. Just look at the multi-million dollar lawsuits that have happened regarding mold, lead-based paint, Fair Housing, and more. In fact, we do our best to keep you apprised of the legislation and legal actions that are continually happening. However, there is another perspective to landlord and tenant rights.

 

It is true that there are big lawsuits, severe fines, and penalties dished out in big numbers to property owners but it is generally because they have violated important legislation or discriminated against their occupants. These are the few because there are millions of property owners who do rent fairly and millions of good tenants living in rental properties. Unfortunately, in a not so perfect world, it is the bad property owners and tenants that get (not unlike our political leaders) the big press and attention.

 

Sometimes, you just have to look at the whole picture to understand that, in fact, a property owner does have rights. The truth is that if owners did not have any rights in this country, there would not be any investments in real property and therefore, no rentals available.

 

The Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act, URLTA, was set up to outline obligations for BOTH landlords and tenants. It specifically provides that tenants uphold certain obligations and responsibilities to the Landlord. Here are some of the provisions for the tenants.

 

  • Tenants must maintain the interior of the leased premises in a clean and safe condition and must use all appliances in a reasonable manner.
  • Tenants must not negligently or willfully destroy property or allow others invited onto the premises to do so.
  • There is a duty of tenants to use the premises in such a manner as to preserve its condition
  • Tenants must conduct themselves in a manner that ensure peaceful enjoyment of neighboring properties

 

You DO have the right to rent your property to good tenants. There is no law that requires you to rent to someone who does not meet good qualifying criteria. No court will force you to take in a bad tenant. You just have to be patient if it takes a longer vacancy to get through the bad tenancy to get to the good tenant.

 

You DO have Fair Housing rights. It is true that the court will rule against a property owner in a big way if there is discrimination. It is free to comply with Fair Housing and not only is it free, it is the smart way to conduct any business. Practice Fair Housing correctly and the law will protect you as well as the tenants.

 

You DO have the right to evict a Tenant for non-payment of rent and other rental violations. It is not right for a tenant to stop paying rent, trash the property, and cause havoc. What if there were no solutions to evict a tenant? That is a truly scary thought. All states have laws that provide owners with a “way out” of a bad tenant through a legal eviction process so that they can replace the bad one with a good one. Tenants cannot hold a property owner hostage unless the owner does something discriminatory or unlawful.

 

You DO have the right to claim property investment deductions on your taxes. Do not forget that you do have the right to use your rental property to reduce your tax liabilities whenever possible.

 

There are definitely more landlord rights than listed in this article. You just have to keep your perspective while owning rental property and look at the big picture that both landlords and tenants have rights.

 

 

 

Jean Storms, MPM®, owner of LandlordSource

©LandlordSource.com

 

Online Rent Payment!

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Get Started with Online Rent Payment! 

We are pleased to offer you the ability to pay your rent online! You can use your credit card or E-Check to make a payment anytime and from anywhere. You can also make a cash payment more securely and efficiently with our Electronic Cash Payments option.

 

Why Pay Online?

It’s Secure – Online payments are more secure than mailing a check!

It’s Fast – Online payments post to your rent account immediately!

It’s Convenient – View your charges and make payments online anytime and from anywhere!

It’s Flexible – You can pay with whatever method best fits your needs!

 

The Payment Options:

E-Check – Enter your routing and account number to pull your rent directly from your checking or savings account.

Credit Card – Charge your rent to your credit or debit card; earn points or pay over time. There is an online payment fee affiliated with any credit card payment:

$17 for rent up to $900

$27 for rent between $900.01 and $1,250

$37 for rent between $1,250 and $3,000

Electronic Cash Payments – Take your cash and personalized PaySlip into 7-Eleven or ACE Cash Express to pay your rent.

Your rent payment will post to your account in minutes and you will receive a receipt for your records.

There is a transaction fee of $3.99 for transactions up to $1,500.

 

Activate your Tenant Portal to Get Started:

1. You’ll be receiving an activation email from us shortly.

2. Click on the link in that email so you can set up your password.

3. Once you have set up your password, you can log in to your personal tenant portal and follow the simple steps to make a payment. To Get Started with Electronic Cash Payments, contact us for your personalized PaySlip and to find the most convenient payment locations.

Let us know if you have any questions and thank you for being a valued tenant!