Greater Baltimore Property Management Blog

January 2023 Newsletter

System - Thursday, February 2, 2023

Payment Disbursement Date

Payment disbursement date is every 15th of the month or the next business day if it falls on a weekend or holiday.

How to pull a rental owner statement:

1. On your portal, go to Reports.
2. Click on the Rental Owner Statement.
3. Choose the Property (if you have multiple properties) then the Date range.
4. Click download report.

Important Information:
Available for payment is how much money a property has to disburse to a rental owner as an owner
draw. Unlike the ending cash balance, cash available for payment does consider a property reserve and
liabilities held. The total amount of money that can be paid to a rental owner as a draw may be less than
the ending cash.

New High Water Bill Alert SOP

We know how frustrating the water bill processing can be especially now that water bills can no longer be considered as additional rent, therefore if a tenant refuses to pay, the only legal solution is to take action by going to Small Claims Court. We can not evict a tenant for just unpaid water bills only unpaid Rent. Please see our correspondence (Important Changes Regarding Water Bill Collection… Reference: Lockett v. Blue Ocean Bristo) about that law that passed for more information. While not perfect in our operations, we are committed to improving our procedures and figuring out a way to help you our trustee client meet your financial goals.                       

We just discovered the DPW Portal for Baltimore City Properties has created a water bill consumption tracker which allows you to see daily water consumption, so there are no surprises when the bill arrives.

We have created a special department that is dedicated to check for any spikes and we have started what we call a High Water Bill Alert- SOP. Please note some of these features are only available in Baltimore City currently but as soon as other jurisdictions enable this we will automatically be checking consumption as well. Also it’s important to not we are only able to offer this service to properties where we are doing Full Service Water Bill Processing on our clients behalf. This includes the bill is coming to our office, we are charging the tenant, and paying the bill each month using our very advanced Water Bill Processing. This cost is $5.00 per unit per month. To sign up for this service, feel free to make the request via your Rental Owner Portal

-We will alert the owner of the increase of 30% in water bill consumption compared to previous months.
- Owner will be asked for approval to have a maintenance guy out in order to check for possible leaks
- Maintenance will dispatch our preferred vendor to check the property and send report to the owner
- Once confirmed that there is a leak and they were able to fix, finance coordinator will send the report
to DPW to dispute the water bill charged.

PLEASE NOTE:
- Disputes / credit from DPW is not always guaranteed, but once approved, it will be deducted on
the bill.
- Water bills are processed normally to both owners and tenants. We will also be requesting
approval from the owner if they want to pay for the bill before we proceed.

Snow Removal Policy and Cost

Winter is upon us again! City and County housing codes require snow accumulation to be removed by the specific days after snow stops.

If any of the rental properties are vacant or is a multi-family dwelling, it is the owner's responsibility to clear the snow. Some owners may want to take care of the snow removal even for their occupied single-family homes to reduce liabilities.

The regular cost is about $75 to $150 per property for a typical townhome (front public sidewalk and the path to the main entrance). Extra salt as needed. Keep in mind, the cost will be adjusted if there is icy condition and heavy snow accumulations.

Be a Hero! PropertyWize Referral Program

Pick anyone and we’ll manage their property for 1 month for free and yours for free too.

For Referrals

Only applicable to first time customers. Property also must minimum standards and fully compliant of all state and local laws.

For Current Clients

To qualify, your account must be in good standing. Also only 1 property management fee credit is applicable up to a maximum of $150.00.

Owner Benefit Package

Minimize Your Exposure... and Headaches:
When a tenant defaults on the rent, it can take months to regain your property and get another tenant in place. Meanwhile, you're continuing to make mortgage payments and incurring additional expenses on the property, all the while losing rental income. Enter the Owner Benefit Package.

Keep Reading

Thank You and Happy New Year!

Your support, your presence, your feedbacks—all of this keeps our business alive and makes our line of work a pleasure each day.

Thank you for playing such a pivotal role in our growth.

We look forward to another great year with you!

December 2022 Newsletter

System - Monday, December 5, 2022

New Resident Services Portal and Assistance in Job Placement 

We are proud to announce our new Services Portal and Assistance in Job Placement Board for Residents! This board helps tenants in need of assistance or are seeking job to be back on track with rent payments.

Auto-Approval of Emergencies and Repairs <$300.00

All emergency requests are auto-approved as it usually is a liability issue for the property. Any amount above $300.00 that’s nonemergency requires owner rental approval and less than $300 is auto-approved.

Lease Incentives

If you unit hasn’t been rented in over 30 days, it’s a sign it’s time to make changes ASAP!

As the holidays are approaching, we are combatting "off-season" by offering lease incentives and/or reducing rent to help get your property rented sooner.

Payment Disbursement Date

Payment disbursement date is every 15th of the month or the next business day if it falls on a weekend or holiday.

How to pull a rental owner statement:

1. On your portal, go to Reports.
2. Click on the Rental Owner Statement.
3. Choose the Property (if you have multiple properties) then the Date range.
4. Click download report.

Winter Checkup

As cold weather is approaching, there are chances of interior or exterior pipes getting frozen, to avoid freezing the following precautions need to be done. We do alert tenants to complete the following to work together to avoid any property damage from the cold winter weather.

  1. Turn OFF all interior water valves to exterior faucets. OPEN exterior faucets (leave them open). Detach and drain hoses.

  2. During very low temperatures, increase warm air circulation by opening interior doors and cabinet doors under the sinks, especially when water lines are next to exterior walls.

  3. In the event of a burst water line, immediately TURN OFF the interior main water valve and report the problem to property management.

  4. Keep air returns clean and adjust air registers for the best possible balance of warm air circulation to all areas of the house. If your house has a damper on the furnace duct, change the setting from “Summer” to “Winter” (there will be a written indication on the ductwork).

  5. Change furnace filters every month or two to ensure proper performance of the heating and air conditioning systems, which reduces operating costs.

  6. In the event of power failure, immediately report the problem to your power company.

  7. In the event of a heating system failure, immediately report the problem to Property Management.

  8. In the event of a power or heating system failure of an extended duration, allow interior faucets to drip slightly to reduce the possibility of frozen water lines.

  9. In the event, you will be gone for an extended period of time, maintain the house temperature above 55 degrees F. Have a friend or neighbor check your home during your absence to ensure the heating system is functioning. 

  10. Keep storm doors, storm windows, and garage doors closed if applicable.

  11. If you are responsible for landscaping, trimming all shrubs, raking all leaves, and cleaning gutters; the best time for all these items is after the Thanksgiving holiday.

  12. BGE also has a Program called Quick Home Energy Check-up, if you have not previously participated here is the link to request an appointment: http://bgesmartenergy.com/residential/request-appointment. Also there for low-income families, there is a weatherization program to assist your households in lowering their energy costs by increasing the energy efficiency of your homes.


Owner Benefit Package

Minimize Your Exposure... and Headaches:
When a tenant defaults on the rent, it can take months to regain your property and get another tenant in place. Meanwhile, you're continuing to make mortgage payments and incurring additional expenses on the property, all the while losing rental income. Enter the Owner Benefit Package.

Keep Reading

November 2022 Newsletter

System - Monday, November 14, 2022

New & Improved Collection Process

Eviction process is now smoother than before as the rent court is scheduling court dates as early as 1.5 months after the date of filing. For those delinquent tenants whose leases are expiring soon are being non-renewed. If your tenant owes more than 2 months of rent, Delinquency Analysis Monthly Reports are now available through your tenant’s portal. Login now to your Owner’s Portal to know the latest.


Owner Benefit Package

Minimize Your Exposure... and Headaches:
When a tenant defaults on the rent, it can take months to regain your property and get another tenant in place. Meanwhile, you're continuing to make mortgage payments and incurring additional expenses on the property, all the while losing rental income. Enter the Owner Benefit Package.

Keep Reading


Rent Assistance Programs Updates

UWCM's STEP Program

STEP Program’s bundle of applications are now under final review. UWCM is striving to complete and release the funds by 11/30/2022. Good news! They announced that the tenants may receive additional forward rent for up to 2 months. We’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Eviction Prevention Program

Eviction Prevention Program is still accepting applications. Our office has been submitting landlord applications to invite and encourage tenants to submit their part of the application. Please be advised that once a tenant vacates the property, we are no longer eligible to receive the funding from the program as their primary goal is to prevent the eviction of the tenant.


Move Out Inspection

Once we received keys from the vacating tenant, it is our policy to schedule the Move Out Inspection within 7 business days of the move-out date. Through your Rental Owner Portal, you can view the report under the properties files.


All About Security Deposit

Deadline per MD Law:

As the landlord, we must return a tenant’s security deposit plus interest, less any damages rightfully withheld, within 45 days after the tenancy ends. Otherwise, without a good reason, we may be sued for up to 3x the withheld amount, plus attorney’s fees.

What’s expected if the owner is doing the turnover?

To be in compliance with MD state law, please submit all receipts showing damages above normal wear and tear within 30 days of the tenant vacating date. This gives us ample time to mail the finalized statement to the vacating tenant by certified mail.

Normal Wear and Tear VS Negligence 

It is important to make allowance for wear and tear when determining the appropriate withholdings from a past tenant’s security deposit. Click here how Annapolis Property Services defines the difference between the two.


Dealing with Mold Growth

If you own or manage a rental property in Maryland, a mold problem could present you with costly cleanup and repair bills as well as lawsuits from tenants claiming that the mold made them ill.
Every landlord should take mold seriously. A top environmental hazard, mold thrives in warm, damp places, and often grows quickly in basements, attics, and other parts of buildings with poor ventilation and humidity problems. Although mold is often associated with buildings in wet climates, no rental property is immune from a mold outbreak, as one can occur following an unattended spill, faulty plumbing, or even a water intrusion from a foundation leak.
Any dark place, and where moisture can accumulate, is a potential breeding ground for mold.  

PropertyWize Handles Any Potential Mold Cases as Follows:

Step 1- We request pictures and descriptions from the tenant with the service request.
Step 2- Within 24 Hours, a service provider will be scheduled to do the inspection.
Step 3- In severe cases, we highly recommend for our clients allow us to schedule mold tests by sending a sample of the biological growth to a lab, they may be able to determine whether it is mold and what species of mold.
Step 4- Once the mold is discovered, we contact the mold remediation company to get an estimate, and the next step is to Clean and Remove the Mold.

We ask all clients to check their insurance policies to see if this is a covered expense, as the cost of properly removing mold can be very expensive. Most insurance policies do offer this coverage or at the very least remediation services. 

September 2022 Newsletter

System - Thursday, September 1, 2022

Eviction Timeline Updates

We’re almost back on track! Rent court’s timeline for scheduling cases now only takes one month from the date filed - making it easier for us to evict tenants for non-payment of rent.

Cash for Keys Program


Cash for Keys is an agreement between an owner and a tenant for a renter to move out on an agreed-upon date in exchange for $500* cash.

If you have a tenant who stopped paying rent or is a nuisance due to incessant maintenance requests, you might want to consider offering Cash for Keys Program to get them to leave.

*Initial offer recommended by PropertyWize

New Collection Attorney


We are pleased to announce that we have switched to a new collection attorney who not only has significant experience but also is highly recommended by many property managers and landlords in Maryland.

If you are interested in filing a Money Judgment for a former or current tenant, feel free to reach out to us by submitting a request through your Owner’s Portal.

Eviction VS Money Judgment


What's the difference?

Eviction is for owners seeking possession and is also known as "Pay to Stay" judgments. If the tenant pays, the eviction shall be canceled.

Money Judgments, on the other hand, is for owners seeking to collect the money owed - whether the tenant has vacated the premises or not.

For more information, read here.

Process to Change Maintenance Plan

 

We understand that you are concerned about the maintenance requests that you have been receiving. You may consider to update your current maintenance plan. Visit this link for more information regarding the current plan that we are offering.

Payment Schedule and Rental Owner Statement


Payment disbursement is every 15th of the month, unless it falls on a weekend or holiday, then it will be released the very next business day.

You may determine the amount of your disbursement by looking for the Available for payment.

Tips when running the rental owner statement:

  • Check the property beginning balance

  • Run the rental owner statement including the transaction details

Annual Inspections

Mid of each year, we conduct an annual property wellness checkup walk-through visual inspection for each unit or property. The aim is to check all the safety items, be on track with the preventive maintenance items, and update the inventory checklist for each unit.

Owner Benefit Package

Minimize Your Exposure... and Headaches:
When a tenant defaults on the rent, it can take months to regain your property and get another tenant in place. Meanwhile, you're continuing to make mortgage payments and incurring additional expenses on the property, all the while losing rental income. Enter the Owner Benefit Package.

Keep Reading

Rental License Registration and Renewal

Mid of each year, we conduct an annual property wellness checkup walk-through visual inspection for each unit or property. The aim is to check all the safety items, be on track with the preventive maintenance items, and update the inventory checklist for each unit.

Removing the Red Tape Episode 1

System - Monday, August 8, 2022

Are you a Real Estate Investor or maybe an Enthusiast looking for information from credible thought leaders to make better decisions, get better returns, and reduce risk. Well you have came to the right place!!! Introducing a Special Podcast where a Professional Real Estate Investor Coach (Nat) and Bad Ass Property Manager (Neek) collab on their journey in playing Monopoly in Real Life! As they say on this Tube, please please...like, comment and Subscribe!

August 2022 Newsletter

System - Monday, August 1, 2022

Rent Assistance: UWCM STEP Program

We are currently helping cooperative & eligible tenants with the STEP Program to assist with back rent payments & water bill assistance. Stay tuned for updates from the program!

Less Vacancy Days = More Revenue 

Did you know that as soon as we get notification from a tenant that they are not renewing, or if the tenant moves out for any other reason and you decide to relist the property, we start advertising it for rent as Coming Soon, achieving shorter vacancy cycles and increasing your profit?

Auto Non-Renewals

If a tenant's balance reaches > 2 months, we automatically send out a Notice of Non-Renewal of Lease, motivating them to either pay the balance in order to renew their lease or move out of the property for us to rent it to a better-paying tenant.

New Tenant Screening Criteria

We are now offering short-term lease options for applicants under 700 credit score. Here is what we are recommending: 628-699- Encourage 12 mths lease only | 550-628 - Encourage 6 mths lease only with an opportunity to renew yearly with great rental history.

Official Water Bill Statement Not Received- Final Reminder

We have sent several requests to you from our office to properly receive the water bill copy directly using the methods outlined in this notice. Unfortunately, we can no longer process the water bills on your behalf without this information. We ask that you please complete this request as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Here are the convenient ways to process water bills.

What is an Owner Maintenance Program?

All incoming work orders will be sent to the owners first. Please note this means the owner/s have 36 hours to respond to non-emergency tickets. This method also means that the free annual inspection that comes with our standard services will no longer be included. You will be set up with Latchel - our dispatching company and through Latchel, any work orders will be brought up to your attention via SMS and/or email first before reaching our team for processing.

Read more here.

Did you know? Non-Emergency work orders for those with balances over $1500

For the past few months, we have implemented a strategy to motivate tenants to pay their balance. currently, non-emergency tickets will not be addressed if their account has a balance of over $1500 and on an approved payment plan. TRUE emergencies MUST be handled in order to prevent liability. They are reminded to settle their outstanding balance with our office in order for maintenance services. The tickets are placed in deferred status.

Owner Benefit Package

Minimize Your Exposure... and Headaches:
When a tenant defaults on the rent, it can take months to regain your property and get another tenant in place. Meanwhile, you're continuing to make mortgage payments and incurring additional expenses on the property, all the while losing rental income. Enter the Owner Benefit Package.

Keep Reading

Check Out Our Latest Blog!

Are you a Real Estate Investor or maybe an Enthusiast looking for information from credible thought leaders to make better decisions, get better returns, and reduce risk? Introducing a Special Podcast where a Professional Real Estate Investor Coach (Nat) and Bad Ass Property Manager (Neek) collab on their journey in playing Monopoly in Real Life!

Removing the Red Tape Episode 1

Why should I hire a property manager?

System - Monday, July 25, 2022

It's a question I hear quite often so I thought I should address it.

Starting with the basics... what's the goal of investing in real estate?  It boils down to securing an additional income stream.  Clearly, there are risks involved, as there are with any investment.  So, the only reason we should do it is if we can reasonably believe it will provide us with more income... and a source of income that has historically been pretty secure (as long as we do it right).  Unfortunately, like many investments, if we do it wrong, there can be substantial losses involved. Ugh! I knew there was a catch!

Okay, so what does it mean to "do it right?"  Well, a few basic things that actually cover a lot.

  1. Follow the numbers
  2. Follow the rules
  3. Manage expectations

Following the numbers starts before you invest.  You need to make sure your investment makes financial sense from the start.  We'll assume that you've already covered this part, since you're already a property owner and you're wondering about hiring a property manager.  Alright then, you also need to make sure you have enough cash set aside to handle emergencies.  Unfortunately, our imperfect world catches up with us from time to time and they do happen.  But don't worry; with proper planning and a well-designed maintenance program, we can minimize those expensive occurrences.  Hey!  That brings me to my first reason for hiring a property manager!  Professional property managers have this covered and they do it in a way that promotes the longevity of the asset as well... so that equals fewer emergencies on a well-maintained asset that can continue generating income over the long term.  Nice! Right?  And it doesn't stop there. The "numbers" also involve staying current with the rental market.  Many private landlords fall behind on rents because they don't keep up with their rental markets.  Sadly, this is an often unseen and unrecoverable loss.  A professional property manager maintains a keen awareness of the local rental markets and knows when to raise rents and what property conditions, characteristics, and decor lead to the highest rents.  Further, they also know what is "too much" for a given area such that the additional expense is unlikely to yield additional income.  Clearly, this is valuable information to have at your disposal when you're renting a property.

Now for the "rules."  Oh, the rules... so many rules!  There are a lot of laws and regulations that must be followed when you're renting real estate.  And while they often create burdens for good landlords, it's worth noting they were designed to try to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords (which still do exist in many areas).  What this means is that, because of the unfortunate actions of a few bad apples, the costs associated with violating the rules can be pretty high.  This could easily reduce or eliminate the income on which we were counting from our properties.  So, what are these "rules?"  Wow!  It seems like an almost endless list, but it involves:

Security deposits, notifications, maintenance, lease structure (what's allowed; what's not; and what's nice to have to protect the owner), inspections and property access, home safety, rent increases, rent court documentation, subsidizing agency rules (that's a whole other topic by itself... whew! But we have you covered by clicking here )... the list just goes on and on.  And in many jurisdictions (Maryland included), each violation of these rules can lead to stiff financial penalties that can add up to huge losses.  You need someone on your side who not only knows the rules but has processes in place to ensure they are followed.  In short, it's a good idea to have a professional property manager working for you.

So what can you expect from a property manager? Well, as I mentioned above, you can and should expect a good plan for the numbers and a good plan for the rules.  You can also expect your property manager to hold your tenants accountable for following the rules on their side as well.  But, unfortunately, those "endless rules" also cover the relationship between the landlord (or property manager) and the tenant.  So, there are legal and practical limitations on the enforcement of rules on tenants including specified processes that must be followed.  I often get asked by owners, "Why don't you just do this...?" and I must explain that doing so is a violation of the law (you know, those "endless" rules I mentioned above) and would be more costly than following the defined legal process (which, unfortunately, almost always takes longer... Ugh!).  So, it's important to know that, while property managers are not miracle workers and cannot solve every problem, they are trained professionals who understand the business and can help you navigate the pitfalls and market changes in a cost-effective way.

Researching Property Management Companies?

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July 2022 Newsletter

System - Friday, July 1, 2022

Inspection Reports for Door Postings 

Once a tenant reaches an outstanding balance of >$2K, a red collection notice will be posted on the tenant's door. Upon doing this, our agent will check the condition of your home's exterior by filling out an inspection report. This report is available by logging in to your Owner's Portal.

No Contact from Tenant Procedure

When a tenant starts being non-responsive to our attempts to communicate, this procedure is initiated. This process includes: Calling emergency contacts, BGE verification, posting a notice on tenant's door, and scheduling a wellness visit.



Eviction Process Updates

Great news! Rent court is gradually picking up the pace on backlogged cases and is setting court dates from 9 months delay to 2 months
now. We are now recommending filing monthly effective July 2022 on those tenants with more than $3K balances.

Check out our Eviction Flyer for more details.

Does Your Home Attract Quality Tenants?

The best way to attract quality tenants is to have a high-quality rental property at an ideal location. Make sure that your property meets our minimum standards.

Click here to read more.

Annual Inspection Season is Here!

The Annual Inspection season commenced in June. Here's a blank copy of the inspection report in case you are curious. Once your property was successfully inspected they are automatically synced in your owner's portal. We also share a copy with you as well via email once completed!

Did you know? Non-Emergency work orders for those with balances over $1500

For the past few months, we have implemented a strategy to motivate tenants to pay their balance. currently, non-emergency tickets will not be addressed if their account has a balance of over $1500 and on an approved payment plan. TRUE emergencies MUST be handled in order to prevent liability. They are reminded to settle their outstanding balance with our office in order for maintenance services. The tickets are placed in deferred status.


Lawn Care Management

We are on a bi-weekly schedule for all units that owners have opted in Lawn Care Management.

If your property is a single-family property, the tenant is 100% responsible to manage unless it’s vacant. If a violation notice is issued due to unkept lawn care, please be sure to upload a copy of the citation to the portal so that it can be processed timely.

Check Out Our Latest Blog!

Looking for awesome life hacks to help you being a landlord? Our latest blog is for you! Read here.

Owner Benefit Package

Minimize Your Exposure... and Headaches:
When a tenant defaults on the rent, it can take months to regain your property and get another tenant in place. Meanwhile, you're continuing to make mortgage payments and incurring additional expenses on the property, all the while losing rental income. Enter the Owner Benefit Package.

Keep Reading

24 Totally Awesome Life Hacks for Landlords

System - Wednesday, June 1, 2022

1. Never Forget a Paint Color Again

Try to use the exact paint color/brand used for every rental lease agreement. This way, you will always know what paint was used when the tenant moves out and the property needs touching up! Also never use flat for rentals or you will find yourself hearing complaints and paying to paint the entire unit on every turnover!

Alder-Creek-Living-Room2.jpg (720×480)

No need to remember what color each place is painted that way, and no partial gallons of leftover paint sitting around – it just gets used on the next rehab.  We also use the same color on both walls and ceilings, which allows the painter to “spray” the entire unit rather than roll, cutting down the costs significantly (tip: choose a neutral color if you are going to do this. No one likes a dark ceiling!)


2. Save Money on Mini-Blinds

Alder-Creek-Dining-Room.jpg (480×720)

We like to make sure all units have clean, white mini-blinds in every window. When buying those miniblinds at Walmart or Home Depot, they typically cost around $4 for blind up to 36″ in width and $20 for blinds that are wider than 36″. Rather than spending $20.00 on each window for blinds, we simply use 2 blinds, side by side. Not only does this still look great for half the cost, it also makes it cheaper to replace just one side in the future if a blind gets damaged.

3. Forget the Mini-blinds Altogether

iPhoto

While I love using mini-blinds, they do get destroyed easily by kids and pets, plus they are a nightmare to clean. Put up a 99-cent curtain rod and some cheap curtains from Goodwill or eBay (like $4). This way, there are multiple benefits:

  • Cheaper than the $8 mini-blinds for every window.
  • Makes the place look nicer and more of a home feel.
  • When the tenant departs they can be washed and rehung – no more throwing away damaged miniblinds that wind up in a landfill.  Then you don’t have to buy more mini-blinds either. Better for the environment and saves money on turnover.

4. Easy, Low Cost Carpet

iPhoto-4

I’ve tried a lot of different methods for getting carpet installed – from doing it myself to hiring contractors on Craigslist. However, for me, nothing has come close in terms of cost or convenience to just have Home Depot install it. In my area, Home Depot’s contractors will usually install a whole house of carpet for $97 (flat fee) if you buy the carpet through them. Carpet prices vary, but I typically spend under $1.00 per square foot for the carpet and choose the “72 hour guaranteed install” option. It is easy, simple, and cheap. Plus, I can order it, schedule it, and do 90% of the work online. 

5. Angry Tenants+Hollow Doors=Easy Fix

Maybe I just live in an angry part of the world, but I have a real problem with holes getting punched in hollow-core bedroom doors. Maybe it makes them feel more powerful knowing they can punch through 1/16″ thick piece of cardboard.  However, I’ve discovered a great fix for this.  Rather than replacing (or trying to patch… which never works), just buy a $6 mirror at Wal-Mart or Home Depot (they are about 4 feet long and 12 inches wide, like this one) and screw it to the door. Not only does it hide the hole, it makes the hallway look larger and ads some decoration to a boring space!

If you have a bad spot on the bottom half of your interior doors just go buy 2 cheap square metal vents (look like hvac return covers) and cut out the square almost the same size to fit one on each side of the door. It also helps airflow in the home.

6. Replace Flooring the Quick and Easy Way

iPhoto-2

If you have ugly vinyl flooring in a kitchen bathroom, or anywhere else, the demo can be expensive and messy. Instead, just install a floating vinyl right over the top!  My favorite flooring is called “Allure” made by TrafficMASTER and it comes in both a wood design and tile design. It works in the kitchen, bathrooms, or anywhere and anyone can install it in just hours. I can’t recommend this stuff enough!

I actually have actually begun to install it through entire homes, both for aesthetic reasons and because it lasts forever. This stuff can withstand kids, pets, spills, and anything your tenants throw at it.  It runs about $2 a square foot at Home Depot.

7. Appliances Looking Bad? Don’t Replace, Repaint!

iPhoto-7

I learned this trick from a local appliance repair company.  If you have a stove or refrigerator that is showing signs of age, usually with small rust stains shining through, a $5 can of “appliance paint” from the hardware store can make your appliances look as good as new. I always keep a can of this handy when turning over a unit and am continually amazed at how great it works!

8. No More Slippery Stair Treads

If your rental properties have wood steps, it is easy for those steps to get slippery after rain. For the safety of your tenants (and to reduce your risk of being sued!) nail down strips of roofing shingles on your stairs with roofing nails. Trust me – it actually looks great (no one will know it’s a shingle) and is extremely cost effective.

9. Appliance Sale!

iPhoto-9

Appliances go on sale at the big box stores around Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the Fourth Of July, so take inventory each year of what you need and plan your purchases around those holidays. (The same is true for paint!)

10. Quick, Easy, Cheap Lock Changes

Several BiggerPockets members recommend using either KwikSet Smartkeys, which allow you to quickly change a lock in just minutes, or LandlordLocks.com, which allow you to change the lock cylinder easily and for around $5 each time.  

11. Use Apps to Simplify Your Life

Use those portable scanners that can quickly take receipts, leases, invoices, checks, etc and turn them into digital docs; Use tracking mileage apps, the flashlight app, and a Voip service — so voicemails can be delivered as files to your email inbox. 

12. Save Your Cabinet Bottoms

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 2.33.36 PM

“Put scrap vinyl flooring under the sinks and curl up behind the plumbing.  This way, if there’s a sink leak, it’s not ruining the bottom of the cabinet.  If the tenant has a cleaning supply spill, it’s not ruining the bottom of the cabinet. It also looks pretty nice too.” 

13. Store Your Documents Online

“Use Google Docs so you can access your rental contracts at home or the office – easy and free!” 

14. Protect Your Walls Above the Shower

“I like to put small vinyl door stoppers on the walls above bathtubs. They let tenants know exactly where to put their shower curtain rod, and they also protect the walls from repeated installations.” 

15. Money Saving Tip for Agents

“If you’re a licensed agent buying a rental for yourself, you probably don’t want to take a commission.  Instead, you should consider rolling the commission into the purchase price as a credit/discount.  In other words, if you’re buying a property for $100K and are entitled to a $3K commission on the purchase, ask them to knock the purchase price down by $3K (to $97K) instead. Commissions are taxed at ordinary income and profits when you sell the rental are taxed at capital gains rates. So, you’ll save money on taxes by taking the profit on the back-end (when you sell) than on the front-end (as a commission). Two caveats:

  1. If your marginal tax bracket is lower than your capital gains rates, you can ignore everything above.
  2. If you plan to hold the rental forever, you’ll likely be able to earn more on the commission reinvestment than what you’ll save in taxes (time value of money). But, if you’ll be selling in fewer than 5 years, rolling it into the basis is probably a better investment.” 

16. Easy Tenant Retention Ideas

Here are  several great tips for keeping your tenants happy and paying!

  1. Send birthday cards to each tenant with a $5 Starbucks card
  2. Send a postcard to each ‘door’ once a quarter, asking them if there’s anything I can do for them.
  3. On a tenant’s lease anniversary, give them an ‘upgrade’ of their choice, within reason. It’s usually something you would do when they move out anyway, you just get to do it with them there. Carpet shampooing is a favorite!

17. Keep Things The Same

“We use standard paint colors, the same tile, same faucets, same toilets, same door hardware, same shingles, same ceiling fans etc on all of our rentals. When we need to do repairs, touch-ups etc it is obvious what the specs are. Leftovers don’t get wasted, just stored until needed.” 

18. Automatic Lease Extensions

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Lease clause that renews leases for another 12 months with a built in rent increase. Lease clause allowing tenant to buy out lease at any time for a specific dollar amount (

19. How to Keep Cats Out of the Flower Beds

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“If you have cats in the neighborhood who have discovered your planting beds as a good place for their deposits, lay down chicken wire mesh on top of the soil and cover it lightly with mulch.  It is the only deterrent that has worked for us.  Plants can still be planted by cutting a spot in the chicken wire mesh.  You or your tenants can also place potted plants on top of it.  The cats try scratching once, get their claws caught on the wire and won’t come back.”

20. Easy Lease Signing and Storage

“Use Docusign for lease signings and file them away in Dropbox.” 

21. No More Broken Water Heaters

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“When you buy a property, if water heater is more than 2 yrs old then just go ahead and replace with a new one, sell the old one on Craigslist and you don’t get the 2 am call that unit is flooding!

22. No More Broken Cabinet Drawers

Take out and flip over your kitchen drawers (bottom of the drawer facing upward). Take liquid nails or adhesive spray and apply the adhesive to all four inner creases where the drawers meet.  This will make the drawer stronger and should not break for years to come. 

23. Brighter Units

If you want your rental appear brighter and more appealing to renters.  Replace all the light bulbs in the home with the clear light bulbs that are usually meant for bathrooms. Renters will subconsciously remember your unit over the rentals that had poor light due to a cheap 40 watt bulbs.

24. Hire a Property Manager!

Researching Property Management Companies?
PropertyWize is the best in the industry!We are committed to making you a successful investor. Our team wants to see you get a better return on your rental property. We know how to increase your profits all while decreasing your stress and frustrations. Our proven systems, and use of cutting-edge technology, sets us apart. Being a landlord is hard work. Put our experienced team of 10 individuals to work for you. Schedule a 30 minute consultation with an Experienced Manager Today!

Why You Should Hire a Reliable Property Manager when you invest out of state

System - Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Buying and owning property is rarely easy or simple. When the property in question is in a distant location, the challenges multiply. Nevertheless, investing in out-of-state property might seem appealing if you live in an area where real estate is expensive. It might also be attractive if you already own your home but want to diversify your investments.

Regardless, here are the issues to consider before you decide to take the plunge.

Proximity And Access: This one is a bit of a no-brainer. You shouldn’t hire anyone to manage your property who’s not situated close enough to it that they can respond to maintenance emergencies at a moment’s notice. The closer they are to your property, the better. If they’re not managing other properties right in your neighborhood, they won’t be a good fit.

Legal And Local Knowledge: As we mentioned in previous articles, property management without a comprehensive understanding of local real estate laws and regulations is a recipe for trouble. You could end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit if you don’t make certain that your property manager knows the ins and outs of region-specific rules. These things change over time, which is why your property manager will need to stay up-to-the-minute current on all developments so that you don’t have to.

Proof Of Work: Without the property owner nearby, an unscrupulous management company might try to say they’ve performed certain tasks they actually haven’t. And if you can’t rely on them to provide clear proof that they’ve done the work they claim to have done, you won’t know one way or the other. So, make sure at the outset of your arrangement that you’ll receive hard evidence every time they walk the property or perform repairs. Dated pictures of recent inspections are a great place to start. “Before” and “after” pictures of repairs can also help make sense of the amount you’ve been billed.

Investing particularly for low price of entry and high promised yields is very attractive. But the process is not as simple as it may seem, so proceed with caution. If you keep these rules of thumb handy, you may find a reason to travel outside your local market for higher returns.

Key Take Aways

• Buy in a town you know, or get to know the town before you buy.
• Finding a property management team and a maintenance worker are as important as finding a real estate agent.
• Don't just tour the property. Get an inspection.
• The cheapest the cost of the firm is not a good indicator of value. Check reviews!!

Researching Property Management Companies?
PropertyWize is the best in the industry!We are committed to making you a successful investor. Our team wants to see you get a better return on your rental property. We know how to increase your profits all while decreasing your stress and frustrations. Our proven systems, and use of cutting-edge technology, sets us apart. Being a landlord is hard work. Put our experienced team of 10 individuals to work for you. Schedule a 30 minute consultation with an Experienced Manager Today!


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