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5 Surefire Places to Find Good Renters

5 Surefire Places to Find Good Renters
If there's any money to be had in property ownership, it comes directly from the tenants who pay their bills on time and treat your property responsibly. Find them in five places you should definitely be advertising: Property listing sites online. Do a Google search for rentals in your city, and see which property listing sites pop up first. Advertise there, and provide an outbound link to your site. Your own web site. Use lots of visuals on your home page, and don't miss this chance to build a community full of blog posts and links to local resources. Include a direct external link to specific listings on every print and online ad you post. Post new content at least weekly, and be sure to include all social media plug-ins and a Twitter feed on your home page. Engage current and potential residents in conversation through social media. Video. Put together a video tour of your property and post it on YouTube or Vimeo. Embed that video in your web page. Newspapers. Many people who are actively looking for a new place to live will still look through local classified ads first. Maximize your print advertising dollar by sticking to Sunday papers only, and make sure your ad will appear on the newspaper's online classifieds. Craigslist. The ads are free and give you almost unlimited space, but keep the ad short so that your attractive, full-color photos pop up near the top of the screen and entice your next great tenant......
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Three steps every landlord must take when evicting a renter

Three steps every landlord must take when evicting a renter
Once you've established that you have legal grounds on which to evict, save yourself headaches by following three simple steps to evicting a tenant. Step One: Know the law in your state Most states have a version of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Every landlord should be familiar with their state's version before ever renting a property, but it pays to review state law before starting the eviction process. The law will address specific questions like how to notify a tenant that they are in violation of the lease agreement, how many days the tenant has to respond to the initial notice, and what follow-up steps are required. As the landlord, you're responsible for proving lease violations, so it pays to know the law and the text of your own lease thoroughly before you're asked to stand before a judge. Step Two: Put the resident on notice Every state law requires that the landlord post a termination notice, usually giving the tenant an opportunity to correct a situation. In extreme situations, there is no opportunity for a resident to change their ways; this is called an Unconditional Quit Notice. It's reserved for the most extreme cases of repeat non-payment of rent, property damage, and illegal activity. It still gives the tenant a time frame in which to vacate the property voluntarily before you begin legal eviction proceedings. Step Three: File a lawsuit to evict Landlords usually don't have any right to remove a resident or their property, or lock......
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8 Essential Elements of Effective Walk-Through Checklists

8 Essential Elements of Effective Walk-Through Checklists
Documentation is the first step toward protecting the interests of all parties involved in rental transactions. The walk-through checklist is a great way to protect a renter and a landlord both when entering into a lease and when a tenant moves out. When it comes to using security deposits for repairs and cleaning, a checklist is a legal necessity. Here are 8 of the most important facets of a great walk-through checklist: Every space – bedroom, bathroom, dining, living and kitchen area – needs its own area on the list. Outbuildings, attached storage or utility rooms need their own space, too. Condition score notes can be a generic notation of condition, such as “good,” or detailed repair needs, but every feature needs a score. Each space needs custom feature condition scoring. A kitchen needs a list of all features and appliances. A bathroom requires scoring areas for the bathtub, toilet and sink, as well as lighting fixtures, walls, floors and doors. Bedrooms require closet and flooring condition inventories, in addition to the fixture, door, window and wall ratings. A general comments section allows for any notes not covered anywhere else on the form. This could include something like an odor or unknown pipe noise in the walls. Both the tenant and landlord should initial each page to indicate that the walk-through was done together and that both parties agreed to what's written in the document. Wrap up with a full signature and date line at the end of the checklist. A stipula......
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Ready to Manage an Apartment? Take the Quiz to Find Out

Ready to Manage an Apartment? Take the Quiz to Find Out
Investing a large amount of money into multifamily properties can be risky for the unprepared. Answer the following questions and check your answers at the end to determine if you're ready to start shopping for properties.  1.    Which of the following functions are the responsibility of an apartment manager?  a)    Lawn and landscaping services  b)    Pest control  c)    Tenant relations and dispute mediation  d)    Emergency repairs (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc.)  e)    All of the above  2.     What are the two methods of communication a majority of all apartment residents prefer?  a)    Mail  b)    e-Mail  c)    Doorknob hangers  d)    Telephone calls  e)    Texting  3.    What is the largest expense for an apartment renter?  a)    Groceries  b)    Car payment  c)    Day care  d)    Utilities  e)    Rent  4.    What are the biggest risk factors for a multifamily housing investment?  a)    Contractors  b)    Maintenance  c)    Customer Service  d)    All of the above Answers: 1.     Answer: g) All of the above. And then some. As soon as a property owner signs those closing papers, he or she becomes “the management.” Apartment management involves all facilities maintenance, customer relations and emergencies, just as a sample. 2.     Answer: b) e-Mail, and e) Texting. A recent survey by SatisFacts and TurnSocial revealed that 87.2 percent of renters today have smartphones, and they want apartment management to communicate through them. 3.     Answer: e) Rent. Tenants pay a majority of their income to live in a property, and they expect the property manager to address issues quickly and efficiently. 4.     Answer: d) ......
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Hire a Property Management Company for Cost Saving Benefits

Hire a Property Management Company for Cost Saving Benefits
Are you a property manager because you want to be or have you fallen into the role simply because you’ve made a multifamily property investment? If you find yourself part of the latter group and are contemplating a change, or you are considering an investment and want to know all your options, this article is designed to provide some insight into a major benefit of hiring the right PM company: cost savings. While employing the services of a PM company is an added and regular expense, it’s actually also proven time and again to be an investment with a notable return on investment (ROI). It often saves investors considerable amounts of money, in addition to helping secure ongoing income. A few of the ways property management companies are able to achieve this include: Reduced vacancy rates - Recent studies show that professional property managers, on average, are able to maintain lower vacancy rates than the national average. In fact, the vacancy rate with a professional is 5.5% while the U.S. Census Bureau average is closer to 9%. The contributing factors are many, but not surprising. Professionals are often able to leverage more powerful and plentiful marketing and advertising resources, getting the word out there more quickly. They are also have fairly rapid turnover practices that enable them to move-in new tenants rather quickly after a move-out. Economies of scale - Marketing is just one area or resource professional property managers are able to leverage using economies of scale, or the cost advantages larger ent......
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6 Ways to Damage Proof Your Rental

6 Ways to Damage Proof Your Rental
What keeps you awake at night? If you’re a property owner or manager, there are likely 2 or 3 things topping the list: financial issues, the unknown, and property damage. If you find yourself worrying about #3 on that list a bit more often than you’d like, considering the following 6 tips that can help significant decrease the need for such worry. Put it in writing. One of the best things you can do to protect your property and yourself is ensure you have an ironclad lease. This is your opportunity to very clearly define what is acceptable and what is not, what is allowed and what is not, who has responsibility if and when any damages occur, and the costs associated with damages. It’s not possible to be too careful or too verbose with the language. Get detailed. Then, have an attorney look it over to make sure you’ve got the protection you need. Screen applicants. If you’re not already screening (why on Earth not?!), this will give you even more incentive to do so. Screening an applicant not only gives insight into credit history; it can also provide details on his/her background, including criminal history, references, etc. Learning whether or not he/she has had issues with former landlords, evictions, and the related, can provide a pretty good character reference from which to base a decision. When the opportunity presents itself, take it to call upon those references and past landlords so you’re as informed as possible when it comes to whom you......
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Establishing the Line Between Renter and Landlord Responsibility

Establishing the Line Between Renter and Landlord Responsibility
A recent Freddie Mac report shows the results of a tenant survey that sought to answer the question: Why do people choose to rent? The top three most popular answers all deal with money, including simply not being able to afford it. The fourth ranked answer, however, is all about convenience. Plainly put, respondents “didn’t want the upkeep of ownership.” For many renters, ‘convenience’ is knowing they won’t have to worry about leaky roofing or structural integrity. For others, there is confusion over where the conveniences end. In other words, the expectation of what a landlord/property manager should and should not provide often seems a bit disillusioned. It is for this latter group (and your own sanity) we recommend establishing a clear set of responsibility guidelines that can be easily accessed by tenants. For each property we personally manage, for instance, we have a policy page within the website where tenants are reminded of their personal responsibility to the property and their individual unit. To guide you in developing your own policy, we’ve put together the following quick outline, using Texas law as a source. The Landlord’s Responsibilities It is the landlord’s legal responsibility to provide inhabitable conditions to paying and legal tenants. In other words, the landlord has an obligation to each and every tenant to ensure units are safe and suitable for living. This includes a weather-proof roof, working plumbing and HVAC systems (heat/cold depending on climate), and that the property itself is free from obvious threats to health and safety. ......
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Lifehacks for the Apartment Manager

Lifehacks for the Apartment Manager
Making an apartment complex more attractive to prospective tenants. That’s our daily goal, isn’t it? And yet, it seems that many of the methods used to lure them cost an arm and a leg. But that doesn’t have to be the case. So, in this blog, we’ll give you some simple and cost effective methods you can employ today that will set your property apart from the rest. Let’s just call them “lifehacks” for the apartment manager. Staging. You can hit some estate sales, Goodwill, eBay, and similar buy, sell, trade sites or locations to get your hands on some good furnishing and decorating deals. Set up an empty unit as a showcase for the property, which will give prospects an idea of its potential. If this isn’t a possibility, make sure the office is welcoming and clean, with updated floor plans of all available units. Find Your Place in Cyber Space. These days, there’s no excuse for not having a website. Yet, many still fall into the trap of believing them to be cost prohibitive. This is where a service like Wix.com comes in real handy. For a very low monthly cost, your property could easily have a super attractive and interactive site, that is so easy to build, someone with no experience could put one together in a matter of minutes. Just drag and drop. Get Collateral. Just because you have a great website doesn’t mean you get to neglect those who like to have materials in-hand. Do a search on Google for ......
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Move In, Move Out Guidelines

Move In, Move Out Guidelines
Move In: Once you have gone through the process of showing your vacancy, finding potential tenants, screening those tenants, and finally picking the perfect tenant then you can start the move in process with your new tenant! Step 1: Before the new tenant moves in repair any pre-existing damages in the unit. Step 2:Make sure all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and light bulbs are working. It’s best to install new batteries in the detectors and fresh light bulbs in the units upon tenant move in. Step 3: Check for signs of mold, and if the building was constructed before 1978, check to make sure there is no lead based paint. These are both hazardous health issues. Step 4: Make sure all utilities are in working order. Even if the tenant is responsible for paying for the utilities themselves, they must be in working condition. Step 5: Change the locks of the unit. Step 6: Review the lease with the new tenants and after they have stated they understand the lease, you and the new tenants should sign and date the lease. Also, you should collect the first month’s rent and security deposit during this step. Step 7: Depending on how the former tenants left the unit you may need to hire a cleaning company to clean the unit. Even if the apartment seems clean it is always a good idea to get the unit professionally clean to prevent molding or debris. Step 8: Before your new tenant moves in conduct a w......
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Why Incentives Are Still a Necessity

Why Incentives Are Still a Necessity
Just five years ago, we were all talking about concessions and the need for property managers and owners to make them. From discounts on rent and waiving deposits, to freebies and even more creative incentives, there was a real need to be more competitive when it came to getting the interest of tenants. The vacancy rates were high and there was a real need to incent tenants to consider one property over another. The tables have turned, however, and this simply isn’t the case today. With occupancy rates in the 90th percentile in most major markets, we’ve seen incentives such as these all but disappear. Yet, according to a recent survey conducted by Apartments.com, tenants can be swayed to consider a move to a new property for the right incentive. And, in fact, only 6% of respondents said there was nothing that could be done to convince them to leave their current property. What this says is that incentives has a real place in the marketing plan of any multifamily property. As such, it’s necessary to understand what will excite tenants enough to influence their decision in favor of your property. According to this same survey, there were three things that motivate: A big discount More space A free month’s rent Taking #1 and #3 together, this means that financial incentives are perceived with highest value. Yet, it’s not all about money. Respondents also noted a number of factors that significantly impact their rental decisions. These include: 57% = Safe area with low......
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