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How to Make Sure Your Tenants Don’t Destroy Your Rental Property

It’s every landlord’s biggest fear: your tenant’s lease is up, and you go walk through the property to see if they’re getting their security deposit back. What do you see? Holes in the walls, destroyed carpet, broken light fixtures, neglected landscaping…and the list goes on.

You want your tenants to be happy and comfortable in your rental property, but you also want it to be in good shape when they’re done with it. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make sure your tenants don’t destroy your property during their stay. Here are some of our favorites.

Don’t use flat paint.

While you’ll most likely be repainting the entire house in between tenants, you might be able to get away with a few touchups in certain rooms—but only if you’ve used the right paint from the beginning. Flat paint is going to show every scuff, scrape, and mark. Paints with a shinier finish will be much easier to clean and keep looking fresh.

Choose your flooring carefully.

Flooring in a home can really take a beating, even in a short period of time. Certain kinds of flooring are going to withstand the test of time much more effectively (think tile, vinyl, and laminate) while others (like carpet and hardwood) are more likely to show all the wear. Especially for high traffic areas of your house, consider installing a flooring type that will stand up to all those dirty feet. And when choosing carpet, choose something that is made specifically to be high-traffic friendly and stain-resistant.

Go for low-maintenance landscaping.

Choose greenery that survives your climate easily, without much attention. You’ll definitely want a few trees or bushes outside your home, but don’t go overboard. Too many of these plants, especially in varieties that are hard to take care of, is setting your renters up for failure.

Be present, right from the beginning.

If your tenants are comfortable talking to you, they’ll be much more likely to bring small issues to your attention, before they become big problems. This will save you a lot of hassle and headache when it comes time to find a new tenant. Of course, make sure you’re available at a level that is comfortable for you. You might not be comfortable giving your tenant your personal number, for example. If you’d rather not deal with your tenants directly, hire a great property management company to do all the heavy lifting for you.

Communicate your expectations.

Whether they’re built into the lease, or typed up on a sheet you give to the tenant on the first day of occupancy, it can’t hurt to tell the tenant what you expect when it comes to their care of the property. They will definitely care about your expectations, because ultimately, you decide if they get their deposit back! Tell them things to keep an eye on, what your maintenance schedule is like, and any special care instructions for the flooring, landscaping, or appliances. Make it easy for them to take care of things!

You definitely want to do whatever you can to avoid a sticky situation with your tenant at the end of their lease. Take care of your investment property, and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come!

A property management company can be your best friend as a landlord. Offering various services ranging from marketing to maintenance, Real Property Management can help you make sure that your investment is hassle-free and profitable. Let us help you reach your goals! Give us a call at 480-719-1243 or contact us online today!

 

Should I Rent Out My Property? 3 Questions to Ask Yourself

If you own a house or condo that you no longer need for personal use, you may be considering renting it out. Of course, that’s not always a simple decision to make. Being a landlord comes with its challenges, and for some people, those challenges just aren’t worth it, no matter what the benefits may be.

When trying to decide if renting out your property is right for you, you’ll want to take your time to make an informed decision. Here are some questions you should ask yourself as you try to decide whether or not to start looking for renters for your property.

1. What is the home’s current value?

Knowing the current value of your home will help you determine whether you are better off renting or selling. If your home is worth enough that you will make a good amount of money on the sale by cashing in your equity, you may be better off selling. If you think your home might be worth more in a few years, it might be a good idea to rent while preparing to buy.
If you’re unsure of the home’s current value, you might want to start by talking to a real estate agent, or property management company. You might be able to get some help looking at comparable homes in your area, which would give you a good idea of what a fair asking price might be. If you really want to be sure, you could always have your home appraised (which you would have to do anyway, if you decide to sell).

2. What condition is the house in?

If your house has been lived in for a while, it may be in need of some improvements. Those repairs could be very costly if you decide to sell, whether you have to spend more upfront to get the house in “sell-ready” condition, or you have to lower your asking price to make up for the poor condition and needed repairs.

If you have the cash to spend on any needed repairs, you can perform those right away which could raise your asking price (whether you’re selling or renting). If not, renting for a while might be a better option for you. Many renters are willing to overlook things that are outdated or are not upgraded, giving you time to save up to make some changes before selling.

3. Am I able to manage a rental?

The truth is, renting out a property can be a very profitable venture. But it’s also a very time-consuming one, and it can be very confusing, especially if you’ve never done it before. How much should you charge? How do you go about finding the right tenant? What sorts of things should you (and shouldn’t you) allow your tenants to do while living in the house? What will you do if rent payments are late, or if emergency repairs pop up?

These questions (and many more) need to be considered when you’re thinking about renting out your property. Thankfully, if you think the whole thing might be too much for you to handle on your own, you still have options. Your best bet would probably be a property management company, which would handle many of the technicalities of renting your space while helping you maximize your profits.

Renting your property is a great option if you own an unoccupied space, but make sure you do your research and think things through before jumping into this unknown territory.

If you think renting might be right for you, or you would like to know more about the potential benefits and downsides of owning a rental property, contact Real Property Management today. We can give you a free management quote and apply our years of knowledge and experience to your unique situation. Give us a call at 480-719-1243 today!

5 Ways to Increase Cash Flow on Your Rental Property

It’s true what they say: cash is king. This is especially true when it comes to investment properties like rental homes. It can be a lot of work to keep up with a rental property (unless you use a property management company, of course), and you don’t want all that hard work to be for nothing.

If you’re trying to think of ways to increase the cash flow on your rental property, we are here to help! We’ve come up with some changes you can make that will make your property the income source you’ve been waiting for.

  • Reexamine your fees. Are you charging an application fee? You should be. Application fees will make sure you only get serious applicants vying for occupancy of your house. This can also help you offset the cost of background checks (you’re doing those, right?)

    You should also reconsider charging late fees, if you haven’t done that before. If fees aren’t stated explicitly in your current contracts, have them rewritten to include when a late fee will be charged, and how much it will cost. Tenants that don’t pay on time are disrespecting their rental agreement. Remember: it’s not personal, it’s business!
     
  • Upgrade appliances. Newer appliances will do a few things for you. First, the home will be an easier sell, meaning fewer vacancies. Also, newer appliances are often more energy efficient, lowering power and water costs noticeably. You’ll recoup your costs in no time.
  • Cut out carpet where you can. Carpet is difficult to keep clean and needs to be replaced often, especially when you’re in-between tenants. Replace carpet with something more durable (tile is great!) that will stand the test of time and not need to be replaced so often. Bonus: it’s easy to keep clean, so your tenants will love it, too!
  • Charge for pets. Allowing tenants to bring their furry friends along to your property is usually a good choice; such a restriction can be a deal breaker for many potential renters. But it is very reasonable to increase the rent by a small amount (say, $20-$30) when a pet is involved. Pets can do damage to a property and require a deeper cleaning once the tenant moves out, so the increased rent is completely justified.
  • Install new window treatments. New blinds, shades, or shutters can be very appealing to potential tenants, which means that your property may be rented faster when you include these things. Also, you’ll keep direct sunlight out of the home, which could lower utility bills significantly, especially in hot climates.

Whether they’ll make it easier to find new renters or help you to manage cleaning costs, these changes can help you keep your rental property profitable and your cash flow high.

Looking for more great tips, or more help managing your rental property? Contact Real Property Management at 480-719-1243 to get property management tips from experts who have been there, done that, and helps dozens of property owners turn their investments into profitable ventures. We can’t wait to help you succeed in your business!

Finding a Contractor or Repairman to Handle Repairs in Your Rental Property

No matter how diligent you are about taking care of your rental property, the truth is that the house is going to need repairs sooner or later. Whether it’s the appliances, the central cooling/heating system, or the plumbing, something is bound to need fixing at some point. And depending on the rental agreement you have with your tenant, you may be responsible for fixing them yourself.

Some things will be simple fixes that you can handle alone. Others may require full replacement of the fixture or appliance. But sometimes, it will be your best bet to hire a professional to do the repair.

How do you go about finding a contracted professional that will handle the repair quickly, efficiently, and effectively? We’ve come up with a few tips for you to keep in mind when you’re looking for a contractor for your rental property.

Ask for references

One of the best ways to find someone reliable is to ask other property owners who they have used. Ask for both good and bad experiences, so you know who to try out, and who to avoid.

Get estimates.

Don’t resign yourself to a high price from the first person you call. Call a few people and ask for a rough estimate of the cost for your project. Once you have a good idea of what it should cost, you’ll be able to find a good deal.

Check review sites.

Sites like Yelp can be very useful when you’re searching for contractors or small businesses. You’ll be able to see what other people think of the contractor and whether or not they would recommend doing business with that person. Look for contractors who have more than a few reviews, with a rating of 4 stars or more.

Ask plenty of questions.

Before your contractor gets to work, ask exactly what they’re going to do and how much it’s going to cost. Are they charging separately for parts and labor? How long is the repair going to take? When do they expect payment and what forms of payment do they accept? Knowing these things will avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Don’t make rash decisions.

As anxious as you probably are to have the work done quickly and cheaply, you probably shouldn’t base your decisions on who can be there first or who is the cheapest. These people might be desperate for work, meaning they might not be your most competent option. Instead, look for someone who is highly reviewed, reasonably priced, and most importantly, seems to know their stuff.

Use a property management company. Nothing will make repairs easier than having someone else do a lot of the work for you. These companies handle many aspects of property ownership, including payment collection, maintenance, marketing, and more.

Maintenance and repairs on your property can be stressful, especially if they are impacting your renter’s quality of life. By following these tips, you’ll be able to handle these stressful situations in the best way possible.

Real Property Management makes managing your rental property a breeze. Take the guesswork out of renting and let someone else handle the contracts, payments, and maintenance for your property. Contact us today at (480) 719-1243.