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- Extensive marketing of vacant units
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- Screening and selection of qualified tenants
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- Collecting rents
- Monthly reports of all financial activity at your property
- Coordinate all necessary maintenance through our carefully trained maintenance staff
- End of Year reporting that makes tax filing easy
- 24/7 access to online portal for owners and tenants
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22 ESSENTIAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR LANDLORDS
Owning various real estate investments is one thing, but becoming a property manager is a very different endeavor altogether! As a matter of fact, if you own a property with the intention of renting it out, then you're stepping into a time consuming world that needs a great deal of organization and discipline to execute successfully. Tackling it alone means you are personally responsible for interacting with both potential tenants and current renters.
In the end, it's you who has to decide who can lease your property, when the rent is due, how it's collected, how you're going to market the rental property, and how maintenance matters are dealt with. It's quite a lot to handle for just one property, but if you have multiple properties, it can quickly overwhelm you. That takes you away from doing more investing or enjoying the lifestyle that your investing could otherwise permit. In the end, it's much simpler to just use a reputable property management service. Do so using these 22 property management tips for landlords.
PART I: Understand The 4 Categories Of Property Management That You Can Have Someone Else Handle
Even if you don't want to be a landlord yourself, you need to understand the 4 categories of work that property managers have to take care of. They form the cycle of renting out any property.
1) Tenant Placement:
All throughout your rental property's lifetime, you're likely going to need more than one tenant. Renters move quite a bit, often moving up to home ownership or cheaper rent somewhere else. It's not enough to just list the rental and hope for ideal tenants to just show up. Your rental has to be actively marketed.
Those who respond to the marketing are going to need to be shown the property, which is something you need to either do yourself or leave to the property manager. Just keep in mind that your rental property will need to be anywhere from presentable to impressive if you want photos and walk-throughs to get visitors turned into tenants.
Mind the laws of your state. Some won't let you show a property if it's still currently occupied. Others do, but require 24 hours of advance notice.
If you do landlord on your own, review tenant applications with care. Contact any listed referrals, go over their rental history, verify the accuracy of all provided information, and conduct credit and background checks. Also, be sure all your application evaluations are compliant with fair housing rules.
At some point, you have to accept or decline an applicant. Once qualified, new tenants usually have a certain amount of time to handle move-in fees and the security deposit.
2) Prepare The Lease Terms:
This is going to be the legally binding agreement between you and a tenant, so you need to make sure it's quite detailed. Address specific policies, conflict-resolution protocols, tenant expectations, and property rules. You can either find a generic lease agreement online and customize it, or you can have a property management professional handle it while you look over the terms to to ensure your satisfaction.
3) Keep Up With The Maintenance:
Properties are always going to require seasonal and routine maintenance, which you can plan for. There will also be leaks and things breaking down that might mean 3 a.m. phone calls that you have to answer and be responsible for responding to, unless you've hired a property management firm. They can prevent these disruptions to your life, and they might also have bulk deals with contractors that let them handle maintenance issues cheaper than you ever can on your own.
4) Renewing A Lease:
Local ordinances and fair housing rules cover lease renewal notifications. Your state might have limits on how much you can raise rent, but if you face no such restrictions, try to be fair to good tenants. Losing them and having to replace them costs time and money, and an empty property generates no revenue.
PART II: Make Sure Your Property Management Agreement Has All 4 Parts
If you decide to use a property management company, they will be the ones handling leasing out your properties, but you still need to form a contract with your property management service provider. There are 4 crucial components to these.
6) Organize The Payments And Fees:
Having a property management company work for you tremendously simplifies your life, and hopefully their tenant recruitment and retention drives up your ROI. However, the property management company has to make money, too, and that usually comes straight out of rental payments and fees. Only work with someone up front and honest about their fees and expenses.
7) Know When You Would Fire A Company:
Non-performance components of any property management agreement need to specifically outline the conditions where you can terminate the contract early and replace the management firm. For instance, you might want the right to fire the company without fiscal consequence if your property sits vacant for four consecutive months.
This part of the agreement needs to stipulate what occurs between one tenant moving out and the next one moving in. Maintenance and upgrades are often necessary, along with cleaning and item replacements.
PART III: When Will You Get Rent And Reports?
Hopefully, the paperwork is minimal, because the best property management firms will handle everything so well you can just kick back and collect the checks. However, you still have to make sure they're doing the best they can.\9) Know
9) When The Rent Is Coming:
You need to know what dates you can expect the rent to come to you. For that matter, you need to know how the funds will be transferred to you from the property management firm. This is the income you bought the investment property for after all.
10) Go Over The Property Management Reports:
Any property manager that doesn't offer you regular reports is a place you shouldn't be doing business with. You should spend at least 15 minutes a month going through the reports that you do get. Look for certain things, like low turnover rates, how much money you're making, seasonal maintenance costs, satisfied tenants, and how the property stacks up to comps.
PART IV: How Does The Property Management Company Communicate?
Communication is different for everyone. Research has indicated that Baby Boomers still prefer phone calls, while Generation X is more comfortable with email, and Millennials lean towards texting. Even these are generalizations, but it shows how complicated things can be.
11) Pick A Firm That Communicates With You How You Prefer:
Know what form of communication you like, and then pick a property manager that can accommodate you. Do you just want emails you can check during your chosen work hours? Or do you prefer to be contacted by phone?
12) Identify How The Property Management Company Communicates With Tenants:
Phone calls can be the kind of personal touch that wins over prospects, whereas active renters might prefer texting and even an app for formal communication and notifications given the convenience. Whatever medium is used, be sure you are leaving your tenants in the hands of someone that communicates clearly and informatively in a mindful and friendly manner.
PART IV: 3 Things You Have To Understand About Evictions
Evicting tenants is never fun, but sometimes it is necessary to protect your property, your money, and possibly even other tenants. Fortunately, hiring a property management company means they have to do their dirty work for you. They're also likely more experienced at doing it.
13) Find Out If Your State Friendly To Landlords:
It's much easier to evict tenants in such states, since laws are more protective of landlords and property managers. This would be in contrast to tenant-friendly states. In either case, evictions can only happen if particular criteria are met or if certain aspects of the lease agreement were broken.
14) Learn How Long It Takes:
State laws vary on how long it takes to evict tenants. A few states only give tenants 72 hours to vacate a property, but others permit them up to two months.
15) Know The Costs That Are Involved:
Eviction isn't as simple as it looks. The court costs are one thing, but there will also be the costs for maintenance, new marketing, and applications and interviews with new tenants. You have to be sure the property is returned to legal livable condition, and you might have to do this before you can even market it.
PART V: Remember Your Responsibilities
Even if you hand off most of the work of landlording to a property management company, you still have 3 responsibilities as a property owner that you need to handle at all times.
16) Ask Yourself If You're Still Satisfied:
Reviewing the reports for 15 minutes a month, as previously mentioned, should tell you whether or not your chosen property management firm is doing a good job. Still, you need to take it a step further. Is the property performing as well as you hoped? Are you getting maximum ROI? Is the property management firm satisfying what you want from them?
17) Be Responsive:
You're doing no one any favors if you don't respond to the property managers promptly when they reach out to you. While they are hopefully there to prevent tenants from communicating with you directly, you do need to respond to the property management company for a mutually successful business partnership to take place.
18) Stay Reasonable:
You might have grand ambitions about how much money real estate investment can make you while being free to enjoy the good life. However, you have to be reasonable about things. Property management companies sometimes make mistakes, do things you don't like, or simply miscommunicate. Don't get enraged over this. Clearly communicate your feelings or wishes and then give them time to correct the situation.
PART VI: How To Find The Ideal Property Management Service Provider
While it's true that property management service agreements don't last forever, don't let the possibility of a future 'out' be your peace of mind. Find the right one in advance to make the most of things.
19) Check Their References:
Granted, you want a property manager to be there to go through all the references that prospective tenants provide so that you don't have to. Still, you need to check out the references of the property manager, and a reputable one is going to have a vibrant and happy list. Talk to prior tenants, local industry professionals, and other investors. Just be sure you are getting someone with the right experience. A property management company that specializes in mountain cabins might not be a great fit if you are looking to manage a couple of duplexes.
20) Look At Them Through The Eyes Of A Tenant:
Look over their tenant and landlord portals both. They should be both equally easy to use and work across many different devices. How much information and accessibility is there?
21) Learn How They Handle Adversity:
One of your desires for handing off the landlording to property management professionals is to avoid those late-night phone calls or dealing with problem tenants. However, you need to make sure that the property managers you hire have experience in handling hard situations with positive outcomes.
22) Ask Around:
See how many options you have in your area and then check them all out for their pros and cons.
Granted, there are quite a few tips on this list, but don't let that overwhelm you. Each one of them is pretty simple on their own. When you apply them right, you can find a great property management service provider and make the most of your relationship with them. That maximizes your ROI and simplifies your life tremendously.