3 Tips for Home Staging an Empty Property

You might be familiar with the concept of home staging as a way to increase mass appeal of your for sale home to the general public. But what if the home you wish to sell is empty? Can an empty home also be effectively staged? The answer to this question is: definitely yes! Read on for more information.

The first tip is that, believe it or not, there are home staging professionals in existence today that excel in staging empty homes. Some of them are so effective at what they do that empty, the home receives multiple offers before entertaining even one open house. If the home you want to sell is empty and you are seeking to have it staged, you would do well to ask around to the different staging companies to find out if they have anyone on hand who specializes in empty homes.

Another important tip is the concept that less is more. That means the less your home is cluttered up by too much furniture, art pieces, or any other decorative items; the more appeal it will have to potential buyers. This is because the majority of potential buyers enjoy imagining what the home will look like with THEIR furnishings inside of it. If the home is too crowded they cannot easily do this. Then they may move onto a different home instead of buying yours.

Still another tip is regarding the cost of professional home staging companies. This can vary from one company to another, based on your home’s particular needs and the market for home buying you are currently in. Another factor that will determine how much you pay them is whether or not that staging company uses their own sets of furniture or buys some especially for your home. Of course the amount of time they spend staging your home also will factor into your cost.

We have a bonus tip for you as well. That is the person you select to stage your home should know your potential market. Is it families with children and pets or possibly a single professional who prefers a lot of space? Perhaps it is a retirement age couple with homes in a couple of states? Part of the answers to these questions lie in the neighborhood your home is in. Who makes up the majority of your neighbors right now? Odds are good that whatever demographics are there now will determine if more of the same type of neighbors will be attracted to your home. Then make sure your hired professional home stager knows how to set up your home accordingly.

When you are ready to sell your home, either empty or furnished, be sure to contact a local home staging company. They can work wonders when it comes to actually selling your home. Remember; the better your home looks, the more potential buyers it will attract. Then you can be assured of a successful and relatively quick sale. Everybody will be happy.

Property Management Made Simple

A fast, simple and effective way for landlords to manage their property portfolio with minimum hassle.

Being a landlord or a property manager can be an arduous task. There is usually an endless list of jobs that need to be taken care of, whether you’re managing a single property or a vast portfolio. There are several landlord property care apps offered by property management groups to help property owners in managing their property and keep everything running smoothly, taking the stress out of daily tasks.

WHY DO I NEED AN APP FOR THIS?

Downloading the app provides a simple and efficient way for you to manage your properties. It’s intelligently designed, easy to use features have been developed by the experts in app development to cater for your specific requirements. With its key features you can digitally take control of all tasks with a swipe of your finger.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Managing Tenants
  • Monthly rental payments
  • Utility management
  • Rent review
  • Property inspection reports
  • Annual safety tests
  • Lease management
  • Print yearly/ monthly taxable finances.

MANAGING TENANTS AND RENT

When it comes to managing rent owed and tenants the app couldn’t make it simpler if it tried! You go to the sub section you need, click the icon and straight away you can add new tenants, storing their personal information i.e. phone number and address, as well as their moving date and contract end. As for rent you merely need to select the property in your portfolio, specify the date, rental fee and Estate agents commission and you’re sorted. This saves a lot of time and productivity in the long run, meaning you’re not chasing any overdue payments or tenant details.

TAX MADE SIMPLE

Everyone knows that trying to keep on top of yearly tax returns can be a nightmare, but this is just another reason why this app is extremely beneficial. It allows you to do your own book-keeping on the move, by logging all of your income and expenses, when and where you necessary, to keep on top of your accounts. In the long run this will be more beneficial for your accountant or even for yourself if you organise your own accounting. Moving forward, this means you can review monthly and yearly reports with the tap of one finger, as well as track your taxes making your End of Year returns report easy to access, and print off for your benefits.

The same format is used when logging Expenses, again these are all kept in one place, and you can easily input property expenses through their individual property details and log important expenses such as Interest only mortgage, Capital Mortgage, Repairs, Insurance, Cleaning, agents involved etc.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

An additional benefit is that you will have a dedicated support team which promises to assist you with any technical and non-technical help that you may require. This gives you reassurance and trust that your portfolio details are in the right hands, and that all information is deemed confidential, to which you will only have access to, and none of which will be shared to other Property Managers.

The Best Qualities of a Property Manager

The importance of property managers is not new to anyone, especially to the landlords, buyers, sellers and tenants. Real estate management is a career profession and is booming in every corner of the world. The manager works either directly for the owner of real estate properties or works for a real estate management firm. Nowadays, owning a rental property anywhere on this planet requires the assistance of property management services which are professional and efficient. Not all managers have the same competency to find you a rented house or a house to buy. Hence, you need to consider certain things before hiring a manager:. Wondering what are these? Check out here:

Reliable and ethical

Property managers need work on a code of honour while they deal with other people’s trust and money. While collecting rent, laundry machine money, maintenance charges, security deposits, etc. the managers should maintain a fiduciary relationship with the property owner. While the owner entrusts his money and property, the manager must be honest with these. The managers must perform at the highest level of integrity.

Local ordinances and state laws

There are separate land laws of every place and every country. The Government usually decides on how the real estate is to be managed. The manager needs to stay updated with the legal requirements of managing real estate so that he or she can take right decision and correct action whenever required.

Organised and detail oriented

The property manager, while collecting rent, must also ensure that the rent is paid and updated in the tenant’s account as “Received”. He should maintain financial records with details of each and every transaction. Also, it is their duty to remind the tenants about the rent increase, lease renewals, lease expirations, etc. In short, the manager must be able to multi-task based on priorities.

Technical competency

In today’s date, a property manager should have computer competency along with other technical skills like typing, driving, etc. The methods of mail merging, emailing and faxing need computer knowledge. Also, he or she should be in complete command of basics of computer usage. Only then they can efficiently handle all tasks.

Communication skills

The property managers must have good communication skills as they have to deal with people coming from all walks of life and all corners of the world. Hence, the managers must be able to document their cases in front of judges, negotiate with vendors, and talk to owners and tenants even when they are in bad state of mood. They should always deal with their clients in professional manner.

Flexible mind

The managers must have a flexible mind as this is a volatile profession. They should have ability to accept changes of law and have positive and unbiased attitude, obey fair housing laws, etc. They should not mistreat tenants.

Property Management Provides Peace of Mind

While real estate can be a lucrative investment, managing tenants, repairs, and related issues can be challenging. This is especially true for owners who live in another location or have full-time jobs beyond their real estate investments. For these individuals, hiring the right property management company can provide much-needed peace of mind. Here are questions to ask when interviewing a potential property manager.

1. How long have you been in business?

Not only is a lengthy record in the industry often indicative of a trustworthy business, but it also means a manager has likely dealt with most problems that tend to crop up with rentals. Experience with a range of issues, including legal, accounting, emergency response, and maintenance expertise, is essential.

2. Are you licensed by the appropriate state and industry authorities?

In most states, licensed managers must take an approved property management course and passed a state licensing exam. A licensed property manager in charge, or PMIC, is allowed to manage other managers and run his or her own business. He or she is knowledgeable about state regulations for handling rental income, security deposits, and other financial matters.

In addition to licensure, certification can indicate more extensive industry knowledge. These credentials are granted by trade organizations, including the Institute of Real Estate Management, National Apartment Association, National Association of Residential Property Managers, and the Community Associations Institute.

3. Can you provide referrals from past clients?

A property manager should be able to provide contact information for current or past clients that have agreed to speak on his or her behalf. Potential clients should check out the addresses of which the business is in control to ensure that they are being run properly. By the same token, relying on referrals from trusted contacts is a good way to vet a short list of potential companies.

4. What fees do you charge?

While there can be a wide range of industry fees, the standard costs include a management fee ranging from 4 to 12 percent of the monthly rent, depending on the location and condition of the real estate, whether there is more than one holding, how many units in each, and what types of services are required. Some companies charge a monthly vacancy fee when the home is uninhabited, while others require the full fee regardless of whether there’s a current tenant. A set-up fee for a new client can be up to $300. Also, those relying on a management company to find tenants can expect to pay 25% to 100% of the first month’s rent (usually around 50 percent).

5. How often do they inspect?

The answer to this question is a key to ensuring that a real estate investment is protected. While a property management firm should inspect anytime there is tenant turnover, regular inspections should still be done when there’s a long-term tenant. Intervals can vary, but units or homes should be inspected at least once a year, as well as an external inspection every quarter to notice any potential developing issues.

10 Property Management Tips

Are you looking for some useful property management tips? If so, you may want to read the following 10 tips from experts in the field. With these tips, managing property will be a lot easier for you. Read on.

Provide Important Information

Make sure your customers and clients have access to the information about the properties. If you really want to get the listing, you should be able to share all the relevant information in an efficient manner.

Be Punctual

You should be committed as far as making arrangements for a meeting or appointment is concerned. Try your best to get to the meeting point at least a few minutes earlier. This is a good way of leaving great impression on your clients.

Presentation

You should be well dressed when seeing your clients. This will encourage your clients to treat you well. Moreover, your dress code will tell a lot about you.

Honesty

You should be honest while providing reports and statistics about your properties. Providing misleading or false information to clients is the best method to destroy your business. What you need to do is find a strategy to deal with the situation and get a solution instead of providing false information.

Marketing

You should market your property in an effective way. The vender may have unrealistically high hopes, but you should be realistic and shouldn’t agree to the price offers without taking the time to think about everything. After all, you don’t want your property to sit vacant for months just because the price tag was too high.

Advertising

Advertising your property is of great importance. Make sure the advertisement is available at the right time. Therefore, you should be ready with a draft on time. Aside from this, it’s better that you get approval from the vender prior to uploading the advertisement on your site.

Photography

Make sure you take some professional photos of the properties and upload them on your site. Ideally, it’s a good idea to take at least 4 pictures of each property. The pictures should be taken from different angles. Putting a few videos along with photos is also a great idea.

Stay in Touch

You should send updates and reports to the property owners on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, maintaining great relationship with your clients pays. Losing a client is easier than gaining a new one. Therefore, you should stay touch with your clients.

Database

You should know your database. Your prospective clients should receive the same level of respect as do your existing clients. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take a look at your list of clients from time to time.

Background checks

Make sure you do background checks on your tenants. What you need to do is do rigorous background checks on the personal information, tenancy history and employment history of your tenants. This is a great way of making sure you are on the safe side.

What to Ask When Looking for a Good Property Manager

If you’ve ever searched for a good property manager before, then you know how difficult it can be to find a good one for your rental property. There are several property managers out there, probably more than what you really need to bring your property into the market.

With so many choices available, you may find it difficult to choose one for your unit. But don’t worry – if you ask the right questions while shopping around for property managers, you’ll get a better idea of who would make the best fit for your property. Ask them these questions when discussing your property to see if they’re the right property manager for you:

1. What type of properties have you managed?

Experience counts for a lot in property management, and it can separate the good ones from the ones you should steer away from. Experience in this field, however, isn’t just about the number of years worked in the field; it’s also about what type of properties they’ve managed. Depending on what type of property you have, you can either go with someone who specialises in managing properties like yours or someone who has more varied experience managing different types of properties.

2. How do you screen potential tenants?

Screening potential tenants is one of the most important steps to property management, so the way they do this often reflects their level of service to your property. Ask them how they’ll match tenants to your property and what their process is like for finding tenants. This will give you a better idea of how they operate and what lengths they’ll go to find the right match for your property.

3. How do you handle late payments by tenants?

Finding tenants is just one phase of property management; the longer phase involves managing the tenancy itself. Asking them this question will show you what their management style is like and how they’ll deal with critical rental issues like these. See if their process aligns with what you expect them to do and how you want your property to be managed.

4. How do you respond to complaints?

Similar to the previous question, this question allows you to gauge how well a potential property manager will handle the landlord-tenant relationship. Remember that a property manager will act as the mediator between you and your tenant, so it’s important that you’re comfortable with their process for dealing with any complaints or issues.

5. How often do you do inspections?

Routine inspections are important to any tenancy agreement, and the number of times it’s done per year will help give you better peace of mind as the landlord or owner. This question will also show you how well the property manager will look after your property even after the start of the tenancy.

6. What’s the right rental price for my property?

If you’ve done your research beforehand, this question will let you assess how well a potential property manager knows the market and what they can offer you. It also allows you to get a better idea of what your property is worth in the current market. Compare their answer with different property managers to see what they offer and to better understand where your property stands in the market.

7. What are the things I can do to improve my listing?

Asking them this question won’t just reveal their expertise in property management, but it’ll also help you put your property in the best position in the market. Note their suggestions, assess how relevant they are, and decide whether or not they can get your property where you want it to be.

8. What are the full costs and fees for managing my property?

Some have small sign-up fees but a variety of hidden fees once you sign on and let them manage your property. Avoid getting surprised by such fees, and ask them to indicate all management and service fees included in their service. The more complicated their fee structure is, the bigger the headache (and expense) it will likely be.

9. What can you do that others can’t?

This is where prospective property managers will try to sell you on what they offer and how well they set themselves apart from the competition. It’s also the part where you assess the intangibles in any working relationship, giving you a better idea of how well they meet your standards. Listen well, take notes, and assess if they provide what you’re looking for.

4 Easy Ways to Increase Profits and Your Rentals

Cha-Ching! It’s the first week of the month and time to cash these checks. It is not always easy, but I love owning rentals; especially now when rents are through the roof. The challenge now is finding property to buy. If you were lucky enough to pick up a few properties the last few years you are likely doing very well, but maybe you could be doing even better! Here are four ways to do even better on your rental portfolio.

Consider renting extra space separately. There is a tremendous amount of upside in this. Garages immediately come to mind, but I have also rented storage sheds separately and have heard of people renting sections of the lot for horse boarding or additional storage.

I have a property now that I rent the garage out separately. It is a two car garage that I rent for $200 a month. This one strategy increases my revenue by 10% and there is little to no expenses with the garage lease, so it actually increases profits by more than that!

Rent extra items. I have heard of rental property owners renting out items such as TVs, computers, or furniture to increase revenue. I have not done that, but I have rented washer/dryers separately. Washers and dryers tend to break down so I will never include them with my rental units. If I buy a property with a washer/dryer or I get one from a tenant that has moved out, I will typically either offer it to the tenant for free or rent it to them. Obviously, renting the washer and dryer will increase the monthly cash flow, but you will be responsible if something goes wrong. It could increase your headache, but it will also increase your profits. If the tenant does not want to rent them from you, you can offer it to them for free or you will want to remove them. The last thing you want is the responsibility of insuring the washer and dryer works without any income for the additional hassle.

Bill tenants for utilities. For some reason this was a hard one for me to do. I was taught early on that I, as the landlord, should pay for the water. The argument is that water is the one utility provider that can lien your property for nonpayment. Although that is true, it still makes since to have the tenant pay water. The worst case is the tenant does not pay and you have to.

In my market, it is becoming more acceptable to ask the tenant to pay all utilities, so why not give them what they expect? The two benefits are increase in cash flow for you and they will use less. I just spoke to Travis in my office about this. He has a tri-plex that had extremely high water bills. He was having trouble figuring it out and was paying that bill each month as the landlord. This was cutting into his profits by more than $300 a month!! The solution for him was to pay a company $2,500 to put in a system to individually meter each of the 3 units. Within one month, he discovered that one unit was responsible for most of the water usage and discovered that they were growing marijuana. Those tenants were asked to leave and were replaced with a much better tenant saving Travis over $150 a month. His next step will be to start sending invoices to each tenant for their water usage, which will increase his revenue by another $150.

Reduce turnovers. This one might sound obvious but is often overlooked. Turnovers can be very expensive. In fact, it is not uncommon for one turnover to ruin your profits on a unit for two or more years. The cause includes loss rent, marketing for a new tenant, repairs, and more. Reducing turnover can be complicated. Here are just a few ideas to help.

Screen tenants – This is the single best way to keep your turnovers low. It is extremely important to get quality tenants, and the only way to do that is to screen them properly. Obviously credit and criminal checks are essential, but it is also a good idea to interview your prospect about why they are moving and why they want to rent from you, call references, insure they can afford the rent and utility payments, have a stable drama free lifestyle, take care of their stuff (look in their car when you meet them), and have an emergency contact that will help them if they get into financial trouble.

Smaller rent increases – In a hot rental market like we are in, it is challenging to keep up with the pace in which rents are rising. Often times rent in the area is going up faster than I can raise the rent, which is a very positive thing. The reason this occurs for me is that I do not want to increase rent more than a tenant can afford. My experience is that if the tenant cannot afford the rent increase, they will not tell you. They will attempt to make it work and will eventually fall behind, creating a costly turnover. It is much better, in my opinion, to work with your tenant with reasonable increases and keep them happy and paying their rent each month.

Maintenance – I just had my maintenance team go out to a rental to unclog a shower drain. I got a bill for the service for $125. On the invoice it mentioned that he found hair in the drain. Why is it my responsibility to clear a drain that the tenant clogged? Well the answer is… it’s not. My lease states that I am not responsible for any clogged drain, so when I got the invoice I created an invoice that I sent to the tenant with a copy of the lease and a copy of the invoice I received for the maintenance call. I just got the $125 check in the mail today. Now the tenant is conditioned to take better care of the unit because I am not paying for issues they create.

The other thing about maintenance that has worked really well for me is to take care of items that I am responsible for right away. I do not delay at all. When I get a maintenance call, I will get my team on it right away. The tenant will normally hear from the person scheduled to fix the issue the same day. This has really helped me keep tenants. I have had tenants tell me several times how much they appreciate that. It is not uncommon for a tenant to ask me to rent them another place when they decide to move, and it is also not uncommon for me to hear that a tenant stayed longer than they wanted simply because I took care of them.

How A Property Management Company Helps With Quality Renters

One of the toughest parts of being a property investor is finding an outstanding tenant to fill your vacancy. What makes an outstanding tenant? The two most important things are that the tenant pays their rent on time and cares for the property as if it were their own.

According to MarketWatch.com, considerations for placing a quality tenant in a property is more valuable than even the old adage of location, location, location when investing in the rental housing market. As such, this is one of the most valuable aspects of working with a property management company. A good property management company will find you rock star tenants that will not only pay the monthly expenses on time, but also keep the home looking as nice as it did the day they moved in.

But what do property management companies do to make that dream tenant a reality? We’ve highlighted some of the most important steps a firm can take to protect you and your investment.

The most important aspect to finding a quality renter is the screening process. A reputable property management company will utilize a nationwide screening company to ensure the most qualified candidates are found.

Several factors come into play when screening a potential renter. Things like criminal and sex offender history are good places to start. But beyond that, other items that will be checked include credit history, verify income, check rental history and search for past evictions. By thoroughly researching potential tenants, you can feel confident about the tenants you allow in your home.

Also, by being available to take applications online 24/7, a property management company will be able to swiftly process the applications received and get a quality tenant in your property faster than if you did it yourself.

A reputable property management company will also likely have a marketing department that will utilize as many resources possible to reach potential renters. This is particularly important because quality renters may seek out a reputable company that appears more legitimate rather than work with an individual one on one. With rigorous marketing, quality renters will gravitate toward properties represented by a reputable firm.

A good property management company will always strive to treat tenants with the utmost respect and address their needs swiftly. A tenant should feel that the home they inhabit is more than just a place to hang their hat, they should care for the property as much as if it were their own. Even the best tenant can become disgruntled and less than motivated to care for the property when they feel they are not being treated well and their concerns not addressed.

By working closely with the tenant, a property management company helps to keep the tenant happy and willing to do the little extras that keep up your investment. For many investors it is not possible or practical to build this relationship themselves and by letting a management company take over the work, you can rest assured the tenant will be happy to call your house their home.

Also, keeping a good quality tenant happy in the property means they are more likely to renew, which will keep costs down and keep the steady stream of income from the reliable tenant coming in to you.

Finally, much in the same way that having a sign for a security company outside your home can act as a deterrent to burglary, association with a property management company may deter unqualified renters from applying in the first place. Often, those who cannot meet the rigorous standards set forth by a property management company will seek out individual landlords who may not have the knowledge or resources to help find qualified candidates. When you partner with a property management company, you send the message to potential tenants that you are seeking quality and will not be taken advantage of.