Greater Baltimore Property Management Blog

2021 Property Management Trends

System - Friday, January 8, 2021

This past year has been a difficult one for landlords. As the COVID-19 crisis has impacted the entire country, landlords have dealt with a variety of issues including shifts in housing patterns, a federal moratorium on evictions, and a need for implementing new procedures and protocols to keep properties and tenants safe. Here is a look forward to 2021 for landlords. 

As a new year looms and the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is underway, many landlords are optimistic about what 2021 will hold. While there is still much uncertainty as to what the next year will look like, there are a few trends that landlords can anticipate and plan for. Here are a few to keep in mind. 

Renters will Continue to Leave High-Density Areas for the Suburbs

One major trend of 2020 has been renters leaving high-density urban areas for the suburbs. The combination of so many employees working remotely and the loss of many perks of city living – like restaurants, events, and amenities – has caused many renters to look for a suburban rental with more space and a yard. 

Describing this trend, Stuart Miller of Lennar says, “There’s no question that there are people who are fleeing the cities…..There’s no question people are rethinking whether they want to be in high rise rentals with common spaces as amenities vs. having a home of their own with a backyard.” 

This trend will likely continue during 2021. Even once there is widespread distribution of the vaccine and a loosening of restrictions in cities, it’s likely that this trend will continue as more and more companies shift to having employees work remotely. This will mean that there will likely be reduced demand in urban areas with a simultaneous increase in demand – and rental prices – for rentals in suburban areas

There will Continue to be a Rise in Tenants Unable to Pay Rent

While the federal eviction moratorium was initially set to end on December 31, 2020, it will likely be extended through January 31, 2021, as part of the most recent stimulus package. However, even when it is lifted, landlords will see an increase in tenants unable to pay rent as there are still millions of Americans out of work. 

Hopefully, joblessness will continue to decline and will decrease dramatically after the widespread rollout of vaccines. Until then, however, landlords should anticipate an increase in tenants unable to pay rent combined with federal protections to help support these individuals impacted by COVID-19. 

The Rental Market Will Rely More Heavily on Technology and Go Contactless 

One major shift in 2020 has been a rise in rental markets going digital. Landlords and property management companies have worked to go contactless, setting up self-showings, online applications, e-signature services, and contactless rental payments. 

This is a trend that will likely continue into 2021 and will remain even after the COVID-19 crisis has passed. These systems enable property managers and landlords to be more efficient and to more effectively handle tenant turnover and property management. 

If you haven’t done so already, it’s a good idea to work towards going contactless by putting all forms online and utilizing an e-signature service. While this might sound daunting to some, by simply getting an ezLandlordForms Lease, landlords can instantly get access to all necessary, state-specific forms online as well as ezSignature and ezCloud storage. 


As we enter 2021, the end of the pandemic is in sight. That said, it will continue to impact rental markets throughout the year and likely into the following year. Uncertainty about the timing of vaccine distribution, the potential for new federal regulations, and the potential for long-term shifts in the rental markets leaves many questions about what the year will hold. 

Looking forward to 2021 for Landlords, they should go into the year planning for some of the shifts that seem likely while also anticipating some surprises and the need for flexibility as the year unfolds. For help with the tools and resources needed to be successful this year, visit ezLandlordForms or contact our team.

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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 15 minute consultation with an Experienced Manager Today!

How Do I Transfer Title of a Property From a Person to an LLC?

System - Tuesday, November 24, 2020

For owners of rental or investment real estate, it’s common to form a limited liability company (LLC) and transfer title to the property from the individual owner to the LLC.

Transferring property to an LLC can limit your personal liability if someone is injured on the property and files a lawsuit against the property owner.

People who own multiple rental properties sometimes form a series of LLCs to insulate each piece of property from liability claims involving other properties.

Here are eight steps on how to transfer property title to an LLC:

1. Contact Your Lender

Transferring a real estate title to an LLC doesn’t transfer the mortgage. You personally are still obligated to make the mortgage payments on time. In addition, many mortgages have a “due on sale” clause, which means that if you transfer ownership of the property, the lender could require you to pay the full mortgage amount.

Your lender may be willing to allow you to transfer property title to an LLC that you own, as long as you remain fully obligated on the mortgage. Your lender could also require you to refinance the mortgage with the LLC as a borrower. Unless your LLC has an established income and credit history, you will also have to sign a personal guarantee that you will pay the mortgage if the LLC cannot. Finally, the lender could enforce the due on sale clause, requiring you to pay off the mortgage and seek new financing. You should understand your lender’s requirements before you try to transfer the title.

2. Form an LLC

You form an LLC by filing articles of organization with the agency that takes care of business filings in your state. You can form an LLC online or in person.

3. Obtain a Tax ID Number and Open an LLC Bank Account

If your new LLC has more than one owner, has employees, or meets certain other requirements, you must obtain a Federal Tax ID Number (also called an EIN or Employer Identification Number). You can do this yourself by filling out a form on the Internal Revenue Service website. Even if it’s not required, you may need a tax ID to open an LLC bank account.

Once you have a tax ID number, you can go to a bank and open an account in the LLC’s name. A separate bank account helps keep your LLC money separate from your personal finances. If you don’t maintain this financial separation, you risk losing the liability protection that your LLC provides.

4. Obtain a Form for a Deed

You can find a deed form at your county recorder’s office or on the Internet, or you can have an attorney prepare a deed for you. Deed requirements vary somewhat from state to state, so be sure you are using a deed form that is specific to your state.

There are two kinds of deeds: warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds. When you purchased your property, you most likely received a warranty deed that included a guarantee that the title was good and free of any claims or interests by third parties. A warranty deed passes that guarantee on to your LLC.

If you transfer title through a quitclaim deed, you are simply saying that you are passing any interest you might have in the property to your LLC. The quitclaim deed doesn’t guarantee that the title is good, or even that you own the property.

Because of the protection they provide, warranty deeds are typically used to transfer property between unrelated parties. Experts disagree on whether you should use a quitclaim or a warranty deed to transfer a real estate title to your LLC. Many people use quitclaim deeds, but some prefer to use a warranty deed because it gives the LLC some remedy if there is a title problem and it preserves the chain of title to the property.

5. Fill out the Warranty or Quitclaim Deed Form

You are the grantor and the LLC is the grantee. Make sure you specify your name as it is written on your current deed, and use the full legal name of your LLC. You may be asked to specify the purchase price, or “consideration” paid for the property. If there’s no money being exchanged, you should consult your county recorder or state laws to find out the minimum consideration required for the deed to be valid.

6. Sign the Deed to Transfer Property to the LLC

As grantor, you will need to sign the deed, and your state may require that you sign in front of witnesses or a notary. Some states also require a grantee to sign, so someone will need to sign on behalf of your LLC.

7. Record the Deed

Recording the deed creates a public record of the property transfer. You record a deed by submitting it to the registrar or other agency that handles real estate records in your county or city.

8. Change Your Lease

If you’ve transferred property that you rent out to others, you should amend any leases to reflect that the landlord is now the LLC, not you personally. Rent should be paid to the LLC and deposited into a separate LLC bank account. Observing these formalities will reduce the likelihood that you could be held personally liable if something goes wrong.

Transferring property to an LLC is a simple way to reduce your personal liability for claims relating to the property. But a property title transfer should be only part of your strategy. It’s also important to contact an insurance agent and obtain adequate liability insurance to cover any claims that might arise.

LegalZoom can help you start an LLC quickly and easily. Get started by answering a few simple questions. We'll assemble your documents and file them directly with the Secretary of State. You'll receive your completed LLC package by mail.

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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 15 minute consultation with an Experienced Manager Today!

Virtual Reality: The Future is Now

System - Monday, April 27, 2020

We actually started offering virtual showing tour in early 2019, mainly as an option for high-end luxury rental homes in order to provide visual access to prospects who are limited on mobility and find it difficult to attend traditional in-person showings and where we had an opportunity to attract out-of-state prospects who were relocating to Maryland. Nowadays, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and with everyone practicing social distancing, virtual leasing and virtual 3D touring of rental homes has become more popular and even mandatory under the state of emergency. As a result, it was a no-brainer for us to immediately offer 100% online virtual 3D tours on all listed rental homes and to come up with innovative ways to attract, screen and successfully place qualified tenants regardless of pandemic restrictions. 

Digital leasing tools provide increased convenience for potential renters to view homes and allow our team members to focus more energy on serious and promising leads. With less physical showing, we actually have more captured leads, and faster and higher conversion rate. That’s a Win-Win (for our clients and our prospective residents)!

The required social distancing caused by COVID-19 shall soon pass into history, but by that time it will have changed our cultural acceptance to virtual showings; and the simplicity of virtual leasing will become a part of our new norm. 

In the past 6 weeks of our lockdown, we have experienced very positive results with virtual leasing and showings. We are helping to move our industry toward having every rental listing on the market upgrade to virtual tours, either by 3D interactive photos or video filming of a walk-through.  Here are the key benefits:

  • More Effective Marketing and Advertising
  • Interactive & User Friendly
  • Saves Time & Energy
  • Filters Less Serious Inquiries Out
  • Homes are Rented even while Social Distancing
  • Less Vacancy Days
  • During peak season average vacancy days has reduced 20-50%

The number of units we manage has increased 6 times in the past 4 years and our online ratings have remained exceptionally high at 4.9 of 5.0 across all major platforms. One of “secret sauces” is that we always listen to the market and rely on innovative new technologies to provide better experience and streamlined processes.  Virtual leasing and showing is definitely here to stay, and we want to share our success with you when you partner with PropertyWize®… the Team that has already Mastered this new way of leasing homes. 

Interested in a Virtual Leasing Make Ready Checklist to prepare your home for a successful virtual listing? Provide us your information below and we will send you the checklist.  πŸ˜Š

Receive Checklist Now

The Cycles of Leasing- Yes it’s a Real Thing just like Most Business Cycles! Why your rental stays...

System - Friday, December 20, 2019

 When is Peak Rental Season? 

Peak rental season is when there are more tenants looking for rental properties. This happens in the summer, specifically May to August.

When is Trough Rental Season?

Trough rental season is when there are less qualified tenants looking for rental properties and a lot of properties on the market.

Wondering why its extremely difficult for leasing between October- December 

  • It’s hard to move during the winter. For most of the United States, moving in the winter requires moving furniture through snow and sub-zero temperatures.
  • Parents typically want to move during the summer, so their children’s school year is not interrupted.
  • Students who are renting while they’re in school want to sign a lease right before the school year starts.
  • Graduates typically finish school in the summer and move into rentals.

What are the Benefits of Finding Tenants During Peak Rental Season? 

As a landlord, you want to make finding tenants, screening tenants, and signing a new lease as easy as possible. Searching for tenants during peak rental season helps you do just that. Here are the specific benefits:

Maximize Tenant Interest

If you list your property during peak rental season, more tenants will see your rental listing, which will result in more tenant leads. You want to list during peak demand so you can engage with more tenants.

Be Selective 

With a larger number of tenant leads, you can be more selective. When you’re selective, you increase the chances of finding quality tenants who pay rent on time and take care of your property. We’ll help you find quality tenants with our tenant screening advice. Learn how to:

  • Review rental applications
  • Verify tenant income
  • Contact prior landlords
  • Analyze tenant credit reports and background checks
  • Accept or deny prospective tenants
  • Avoid Rental Vacancies 

If you list your property when demand is high, you decrease your chances of having a vacant rental property. At PropertyWize, our online rental listings generate an average of 25 tenant leads per month, so a vacancy is almost never a concern.

Things to Consider Renting During Trough Season

Don’t panic or become desperate 

Make sure your rental property stands out in appearance and PRICE amount the competition.

Offer a leasing incentive to move.

Keep the same screening process but you may need to budget to drop the rent.

Know the cycles of leasing as it important when budgeting for new investment properties. We always inform clients that you may be able to a good deal but always know this time of year is very tough to rent homes to qualified tenants.

What Do PropertyWize do to assist with leasing during the Trough Cycle

Lease Terms

In order to make the most of peak rental season, you’ll want to get on a summer vacancy cycle. Beginning during the month of November, we offer an incentive for doing an 18-month lease term or in some rare cases we offer a 6-month lease option. That way, the next time you must search for tenants, it will be during the summer.

Turn up the Marketing Efforts

Leasing Chart
  • During the Winter Season, we increase our marketing activity:
  • Post to craigslist at least 2-3 times a week
  • Offer Free Applications
  • Make sure our Listings stand out by having professional photos and proper signage
  • List to over 30 sites and counting including the top 6 (Zillow, Hotpads, Trulia, Craigslist, Go-Section 8, and Facebook Marketplace)
  • Run Sponsored Ads on Facebook to drive more clicks
  • Promote to all the Popular Facebook Groups
  • Refresh leads more often to stay at the top of the listing’s webpage.
  • Weekly email blast using Mail chimps and Go section 8
  • Have brochure boxes in specific properties with flyers to generate more drive by traffic
  • Co-Op with other Realtors and Tenant Placement companies
  • Host Big Open Houses to drive in more traffic

Other things to consider when Leasing a Rental Home.


Going into 2020 all rentals should include the following amenities to attract the best quality tenants:

  • Washer and Dryer
  • Black or Stainless Appliance Package
  • Window Treatments
  • Central CAC
  • Prompt and Professional Maintenance Service 


Does this place have easy access to roadways and/or public transportation? Can I easily access grocery stores? Will my commute be reasonable for my preferences? Is this area safe? Are the school districts acceptable?

These are all questions renters are going to ask when looking for a quality place to live. You don’t necessarily need to provide all of these to have a rental that performs well, but they are certainly things to consider.

If your rental is near a University, there are some advantages for leasing during the trough season. 

For example, if you’re near a University, and tend to rent to students, then you should pay attention to the school’s annual calendar. You’ll want to sign a lease 30 days before the school year starts because students want to move-in right before classes start.

Keep in mind a few key details about timing: 

You want new tenants to move in right away to avoid a vacancy but leasing to the wrong tenant will cost you even more. So its best to wait for the optimal timing. 

Your new lease should be signed 30 days before new tenants move in

It typically also takes 30 days to find and screen tenants during the Peak Season and 60-90 days during the Trough Season.

Making the most of peak rental season will help you find more interested tenants, be selective, and charge a higher rent price. If you end your next lease during the summer, you can be on a summer vacancy cycle moving forward.

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 15 minute consultation with an Experienced Manager Today!

Why You Should Invest in Real Estate Using an LLC

System - Monday, December 9, 2019

1. Protection from liabilities.

LLCs protect you from liability claims. Anything that’s a claim against a property—like, “Hey, I slipped and fell”—an LLC is an entity that can stand between you and that. The party will come after the LLC, not you personally.

Full transparency: there are ways around this. The most important one to mention is liability insurance. Now, I’m not saying insurance takes the place of an LLC—but you are not fully exposed if you don’t have an LLC but you do have insurance.

2. Provides tax write-offs.

Because it’s an entity with its own tax return, LLCs allow you to write things off (i.e., business-related expenses like your cell phone bill). You can try to write them off on your personal tax return, but it looks a little squirrelly to the IRS that it’s not a company claiming those business expenses. It makes things cleaner from a financing and tax perspective to write them off under an LLC.

3. Allows you to sell shares of the company.

An LLC operates as a business entity. As long as it’s registered properly with the SEC, you can sell shares—or in the instance of LLCs, what’s called “interests”—of the company to other investors who want to invest with you. Or you can sell the LLC altogether as a business that owns things.

There are times when an LLC is not appropriate though. So, when exactly shouldn’t you form one?

When NOT to Use an LLC

1. Don’t use an LLC if you’re house hacking.

Don’t use an LLC when house hacking, because it may prevent you from getting the financing you want. If you’re looking for low money down, Fannie Mae- or FHA-backed mortgages, this property can’t be in an LLC.

For these purposes, banks can only lend you that money under your personal name. Just get a really good insurance policy.

2. Don’t use an LLC if you don’t have 20 to 25% for a down payment.

If you’re buying a property for $100K, if you’ve got $20 to $25K to lay down plus some for closing costs, there’s no reason why you would not go out and start up an LLC. You can get commercial financing on these properties or financing from some other lender. If you encounter lenders who won’t do it, find another one, look on BiggerPockets, or walk into a small community bank.

More LLC Pro Tips

Here are a few final thoughts on the topic.

Avoid setting up your LLC online (unless you’ve been doing it for a while). Instead have a lawyer help you.

And absolutely have a lawyer help you create an operating agreement with the LLC. You can do this online, too, but I highly recommend NOT going that route—especially if you have partners.

A good lawyer can set up an operating agreement for you for less than $1,000. It’s worth it.

Bottom line, if you’re going to build a business around real estate investing, run it as a business. An LLC is a company.

If you’re looking to make this a side hustle or just something you do a little bit, then do it in your personal name and own one or two properties. That’s OK.

But, if in the future, you intend to build a big portfolio, set up an LLC. Operate as a business. Do it now—five years before you get to that point. I promise you, moving properties out of your personal name and into an LLC is not easy—it’s doable but difficult.

One last thing, set up the LLC where the property is. Don’t favor Nevada or some other state over others. The LLCs that own certain properties should be set up in the state the property physically exists in.

You’re going to have to pay a tax return in that state. So just set it up there.

The reason people talk about state-based LLCs is because they believe specific types of LLCs will prevent certain claims from jumping over the LLC and getting to you personally.

However, I’ve never seen any state-based LLC prevent anyone from getting ahold of a person specifically if that’s what they’re trying to do. Plus, that’s what insurance is for. Avoid the tax headache of setting up an LLC outside of the state the property is actually in.

I’m not a lawyer or CPA—neither is BiggerPockets. You should absolutely consult a lawyer or CPA about this subject. A lot of the information that I’ve gone through here today is my opinion, so it’s important to consult a professional.


How to Evaluate a Property Manager

System - Saturday, September 21, 2019

The best move a real estate investor can make is to not hire a bad property manager in the first place. Use these questions before hiring a new property manager and to routinely monitor the performance of your current manager.

Key questions to ask

Asking these questions can help separate the good property managers from the bad:

  • Are they licensed, do they hold professional certifications, and do they adhere to a code of ethics?
  • How long have they been in the property management business?
  • Do they manage properties similar to yours?
  • Do they have property in the same part of town as yours?
  • Are they property management specialists?
  • When and how do they pay monthly owner distributions?
  • How often do they send out financial reports, and do they provide year-end reports and 1099s?
  • Do they have an in-house maintenance crew and outside vendor network, and what type of work are they licensed to do?
  • What is their current vacancy rate for all properties they manage?
  • How often do they have to evict a tenant and do they handle the process in-house or through an attorney?
  • What is their fee structure?
  • Does the property management agreement automatically renew, and how is it terminated by either party?
  • Will they give you a list of properties they manage so you can drive by and see their work in action?

4 Red Flags to Watch Out For

Believe it or not, a company can tick all of the boxes above and still end up being a bad property management company. That’s because they’re experts at telling you what you want to hear, then doing the exact opposite once the contract is signed and they’re collecting their fees.

Watch for these four red flags to avoid being victimized by a bad property manager:

  1. Unprofessional behavior – Remember, they’re representing you as a professional real estate investor.
  2. Maintain normal business hours only – An emergency can come up at any time on any day. If a property manager isn’t reachable around-the-clock, 365 days a year, move on to the next one.
  3. Slow to respond – Think of the first time you meet a prospective property manager as a “first date.” If they’re slow to respond to your inquiry or late to an appointment the first time you meet, things will only get worse after you hire them.
  4. Refuse to provide references, citing client confidentiality – You wouldn’t go to a doctor, lawyer, accountant, or even an auto mechanic without a good reference. So why would you put your property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars into the hands of a property manager who won’t let you speak with their current and former clients?

Researching Property Management Companies?

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The Cost of Property Management – Always Look Under the Hood.

System - Saturday, June 29, 2019

I know the subject of this blog may have caused 3 reactions. Some people may have rolled their eyes and scrolled away. Or perhaps you were a bit excited, the title alone made you curious enough to continue reading as you are in the process of starting your real estate investing business; the more you know, the better. Like most of us, you smiled as you learned this lesson already and are glad to see someone bringing awareness to this part of investing.

I get it, we are all trying to maximize income and reduce expenses in any business venture but let’s think about it. 

Meet Investor Bob from Waco Texas. Bob recently   invested in a nice size 100-unit property in  Maryland. On paper the deal was sweet and came with instant cash flow. The property is in good condition and doesn’t appear to have many mechanical issues. It is currently 98% leased. Bob already had his mind set, if there were any hidden surprises, he already had plans on hiring a Property Management Team. Bob have been researching good companies, but because this will be his first experience and have nothing to compare the experience to, he decided that the fee is what will seal the deal. His plan was simple, he will interview some Property Managers who appeared to know what they were doing for the most part but charged the least percentage for the management fee. Bob already calculated what his monthly distribution would look like and figured this deal was too good to pass up on.

Besides just the management fee cost, some other things Bob forget to consider when selecting the best fit Property Manager:

a.      A la carte pricing of services (don’t assume services are covered under the management fee)
b.      Unnecessary use of pricey specialized contractors
c.      Not having enough well-established contractor relationships to help control costs
d.      Delays in getting a property rent-ready and re-rented (increased vacancy cost)
e.      Delays in filing FTP and processing evictions (including missing steps in the process)
f.       Delays in processing payments to the owner (where's my distribution?)
g.      Not appropriately charging-back tenants for damages and wasteful service calls (especially when the calls are placed as “emergencies”)
h.      Poorly screening prospective tenants (can cause damages and evictions)
i.       Insufficient monitoring and lack of inspections leads to deferred maintenance (looks good on paper… at first, but there is a substantial cost to you as an investor later)
j.       Insufficient or absent tenant retention policies (turnover is your biggest cost)

So, flash forward 6 months into Bob working with his new PM Company and he is beginning to stress out. He starts wondering, "Where is my distribution?" “Why haven’t I been updated on what’s going?” “Do I even have leases for all my units, and can I see how the tenants are paying?” What’s even more frightening is that he noticed the occupancy is tanking and his lender is already calling and emailing often for answers.

Ok, Bob thinks to himself, “Let me contact my PM team and schedule a conference, as something isn’t right.” There has to be a reasonable explanation as I’m located in Texas and they promised me they dealt with other clients like me who aren’t local. They even said they had tons of previous experience working with multi-family units.

Bob flies in to meet with the PM Team. They explain to you they have been working hard to get the community stabilized, but things have been chaotic. Slowly but surely, Bob realizes the confidence the team once had is gone and they admit to Bob they are overwhelmed and underestimated what the job would entail.

So, let’s rewind. The reason Bob chose this company is because they offered him a 6.5% management fee which was less than the average of 8-10% in the market. Bob had to admit to himself the more he thought on what went wrong, he did get a little glance into the future when he noticed the Property Management team only consisted of a husband and wife. The Wife was the Property Manager and Husband was the Maintenance tech. Initially they took a bit longer to respond to his emails as well as they were late to the initial phone conference and completely missed an appointment. The reason why Bob still decided to hire them was the low rate and that they showed how much they charged other clients for work orders. Bob even had the opportunity to speak to a current client for a reference.

Bob was sold, but now today, he is drowning in debt and has no idea how to end this headache.  

Here is the point:

By this small Mom and Pop Operation, doubling in size, they were so excited for the opportunity to earn more revenue. But with no additional resources to assist with the day today operations as they scaled up their business, their management quality suffered. Tenants requests weren’t handled in a timely manner, clients aren’t called back right away, etc. Tenants aren’t paying their rent and being filed on consistently. Complaints begin to increase, which increases the stress level on the owners of this company.

Every experienced property manager knows it takes a certain number of people to effectively manage a certain number of properties.  If there are not enough people, then the quality of management suffers.

So with this example, let’s say they collect an average of $1000/mo rents for 100 units, and they are charging an 6.5% management fee.

$1000/mo x 100 units = $100,000/mo rents collected x 6.5% = $6500/mo mgmt fee

Now Bob does recall them mentioning they are hiring a part time Admin to assist with the day to day operations.

Great!  Problem solved… well sort of. Although a new part time staff member has been hired, it is still not be enough to handle the workload.

Remember… the workload at least doubled, but the staff increased by only 50%.  That means the owners still have a bigger workload than they did before, which have caused management quality to suffer.

Ok, you are still not convinced. A company can still charge a higher rate and not be efficient. But let’s just say before this experience, you did more research and interviewing. The number one thing, especially for multi-family investors, you want to ask the management company is what systems it has in place.

What’s the difference?  All businesses need to deal with multiple areas of expertise to succeed, and property management companies are no different. They need to have processes in place for…

Marketing – advertising apartments for rent, advertising for new investor clients

Sales – showing and leasing apartments to new tenant, meeting with investor clients and signing them up for service

Operations – dealing with tenant requests, evictions, maintenance and repairs

Accounting – accounts receivable (money owed from tenants and investor clients), accounts payable (money owed to run the company)

Information Systems – all the technology required to run the business, including phones, voicemail, cell service, website, etc.

All of this takes experience, resources and education to learn and build for any company just starting out. However, where many property management companies fail is when it comes to making these systems repeatable.

Many new investors make the mistake of focusing on the property management fee while losing sight of more costly aspects of the management of their properties.  And many property managers know this and reduce this part of the cost as a sales gimmick. But now you know too much to fall for this.  
Always look under the hood.  😊  
Good Luck!” 

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.

Don’t Delay Let PropertyWize End Your Headache Today!

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How to Keep Positive Cash Flow on Your Rental Property in 2019

System - Sunday, April 14, 2019

If you want to be a profitable landlord, it requires more than just pocketing a rent check every month. You must understand the rental market to know how to best increase your bottom line. You can encounter costly mistakes and legal pitfalls if not careful. Learning to maneuver the complexities of the rental industry takes time and experience.

Money Management

Owning a rental home is a business investment that requires business decisions. If you want a steady cash flow, you must utilize the proper resources that help you succeed. At PropertyWize, our number one goal is for our owners to see investment gains. 

We offer great tips that make landlords profitable.

  • Quality Tenant Screening – Placing qualified tenants in your home makes a big difference. When you find quality tenants, the likelihood of payment delays, property damage, and even eviction decreases. Keep in mind that where you purchase your investment can determine the type of tenant you will attract. We highly recommend C+ through A markets in order to guarantee a good quality tenant. The solution is simple, quality tenants want to live in quality neighborhoods!
  • Strong Collections Process – Consistent rent collection helps you be profitable. On occasion, however, tenants may run into financial difficulties. Make sure you have a firm-but-fair collections system in place. At PropertyWize we place a lot of time and resources into developing a vigorous policy on collecting rent that makes it easier for our owners to keep consistent cash flow month after month.
  • Accurate Rent Rates – The rental market constantly fluctuates. Property management companies like PropertyWize can help you decide the best price for your rental based on their extensive experience in the market. 
  • Proactive Maintenance – No matter your tenants, maintenance is inevitable. Don’t let this discourage you. You should expect to put money back into your rental for home repairs. But you can drastically reduce your overall costs by fixing small problems before they become big problems.
  • Regular Inspections – Be preventative. Protect yourself and your property by conducting property inspections. This helps your property stay in compliance with legal regulations as well. We offer a detailed inspection annually included in your Management fee. We pride ourselves on being proactive, prompt and professional as well as being transparent for our owners to be as hands on or as hands off as they like!

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. Being a landlord is hard work. Put our experienced team to work for you. 

Don’t Delay Let PropertyWize End Your Headache Today!

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Tags: rental management property management baltimore real estate investing

NEW: Rental Property Licensing

System - Monday, July 16, 2018

On August 1, 2018, a new law takes effect requiring all Baltimore City rental properties, including one- and two-family and multi-family dwellings, to be licensed to operate as a rental by January 1, 2019. In order to receive a license from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) the property must meet two requirements: 1) must be registered with DHCD using the online portal and 2) must be inspected by a State Licensed, Baltimore City registered Home Inspector.

The new system does not eliminate the annual registration fee (which remains unchanged at $30 per dwelling unit for one-family and two-family houses, and $35 per dwelling unit for buildings with more than 2 units). The new system differentiates “registration”, which is done annually, and “licensing”. The “License” will last 3 years for “good” landlords; defined as one who gets violation notices corrected within 60 days of their issuance. The License will last 2 years if the landlord gets violation notices corrected within 90 days of their issuance. Landlords are “bad” if they take more than 90 days to correct housing, building, and fire code violations and, therefore, must get their units inspected every year. “Bad” landlords on one-year licenses must pay an additional $15 per unit registration fee. The system is designed to reward “good” landlords who keep their properties in good repair and respond promptly to violation notices.

Are you prepared? If not contact the Pros... PropertyWize! For additional information please visit or call 24/7 410-372-6512!

Should I Rent to Section 8 Tenants? A Guide to the Housing Choice Voucher Program

System - Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The term “Section 8 tenants” refers to renters who qualify for the government’s Housing Choice Voucher Program.

So how do people qualify, and what exactly is this program?

Renters who qualify must have an extremely low income, and if they do, the program helps them afford local housing by paying for 33%-75% of the rent.

Some people in this program are elderly, some are disabled, and some simply have little or no income.

Landlords are divided on whether they should or must rent to Section 8 tenants.

Landlords are divided on whether they should or must rent to Section 8 tenants, and for good reason. The laws vary state to state, and even county to county.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA), a federal law, doesn’t prohibit landlords from discriminating based on Section 8. However, some states, counties, and municipalities do, often by prohibiting discrimination based on “source of income” or “public assistance status” – considering them a “protected class.”

Here’s an overview of the pros and cons.

Pros & Cons of the Section 8 Program

Section 8 Waitlist

Pro: Guaranteed Rent

“Guaranteed Rent” – Two words that are music to a landlord’s ears. It almost sounds too good to be true.

But, under the Section 8 program, you are guaranteed at least a portion of the rent to be paid to you by the government – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to be exact.

And because you’re dealing with the federal government, this could be a mixed bag. Which brings us to our first two cons …

Con: The Approval Process

As with any government agency, red tape is involved, and Section 8 is no different.

First, you must fill out paperwork, and then your local Public Housing Authority, which operates under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, must approve your rental property.

Then, your property must undergo an inspection, and if approved, it must continue this type of inspection annually.

To pass, your property needs to meet acceptable health and safety codes. And whether your house is approved could depend on how stringent the inspector is in your area (meaning – you should expect to repair minor issues).

Related: HUD Inspection Checklist.

Con: Subject to Rent Control

If you are approved, the Housing Authority then reviews your lease and often restricts how much you can charge for rent. In other words, you can’t necessarily charge what you like.

You can’t charge whatever you want.

You generally can only charge what other properties in your area charge. So your property will be subject to a sort of appraisal process to determine rent.

Note that sometimes, depending on the area your property is in, you might receive more rent through HUD than you would by going through the open marketplace (but I wouldn’t count on it).

HUD then agrees to pay a certain percentage (this varies by case) of the rent. Your tenant pays the remainder, which usually amounts to 30% of their gross income.

Generally, a tenant only pays about 30% of the rent amount.

Pro: Long-term Tenants

Many Section 8 tenants, after being approved for the program and after finding a place to rent, tend to stay put for a while.

Moving is allowed, but Section 8 tenants need to notify the Housing Authority, give you proper notice, and find another place. In other words, it’s a hassle.

Plus, when Section 8 tenants sign a lease, it’s generally for at least one year.

Con: You Hurry Up and Wait

It usually takes a long time to go through the Section 8 process.

By the time you fill out the paperwork, get an inspector to come out, make necessary repairs if required, get the inspector to come out again to check your repairs, get a tenant in, and then receive rent, you might have been able to rent the place to someone else sooner. Meanwhile, you’re receiving no income.

The vacancy caused by delays due to red tape usually outweighs any benefit of the program.

Your Results May (Will) Vary

Section 8 tenants have a bad reputation. And just like any stereotype, there could be some truth to it, but every case is different.

People complain that Section 8 tenants are masters at manipulating the system, and many landlords are left holding the bag.

As with all tenants, there are so many things that can go wrong. For example:

  • They lose their voucher, and then won’t leave,
  • They destroyed your property, and the housing authority won’t compensate you,
  • They moved extra people in despite that being against the rules.
  • But just as there are horror stories with Section 8 tenants, there are good experiences too.

Some people, whether they are temporarily down on their luck, are disabled, or live on a fixed income, might not be able to afford housing without some help, but they could make wonderful tenants.

The key is for you to run a background check and credit report, and to call prior landlords. Do your due diligence before accepting any tenant.

Related: The Landlord’s Guide to Tenant Screening

Some Municipalities Require Participation

Some municipalities (I’m looking at you Oregon) require landlords to accept Section 8 tenants, meaning that whether you want to deal with a government agency or not, you have to, even though this should be the landlord’s decision.

Related: Oregon anti-discrimination law means landlords can no longer advertise ‘No Section 8’ (Oregon Live)

For example, if a Section 8 tenant fills out a rental application in a municipality that requires landlords to accept it, and if that applicant passes your screening process, you need to start the ball rolling to have your property approved… unless you rent it to another qualified applicant first. (After all, the government is not known for moving fast.)

Even California and the city of Chicago protect people in the program; however, many states like Colorado allow a landlord to “opt-in,” rather than being required to participate.

Note that you don’t have to accept an applicant just because they have a Section 8 voucher. In jurisdictions that require you to take Section 8 tenants, you are encouraged to screen them as you would anyone else.

You need to contact your local or state fair housing agency to determine what the law is in your jurisdiction.

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