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Ask your Residents To Write A Property Review

As multifamily property owners we tend to always be marketing our vacant units and we are always looking for better/cheaper options, at least I am, I assume many of you are also. The one thing I noticed is that we tend to overlook our reviews and the power of good reviews. One of the first things a potential new resident will do is to search your property online and if they find reviews from existing resident or past residents that have written good reviews they will be more likely to want to rent from you, now if all they find is negative reviews they will of course keep looking. The one thing you want to keep in mind is that if you have a resident that has had a difficult experience with your property they tend to want to spread the word but if you have a tenant that has had a great experience they sometimes don’t consider taking the time to let everyone know. Make it easy for them to write a review and incentivize them!  A simple request for feedback could be all it takes to increase your number of reviews or make it part of your move-out or lease-signing process by providing the renter with a questionnaire or link to the review website.  Offering an incentive like a gift card from a local retailer or a small discount on their rent for submitting a review is a great way to get them motivated. Go where your renters are- G......
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Why You Should Invest In Multifamily Instead Of Single Family Homes

Many Investors that are starting out seem to think that buying a home and leasing it out is the best way to go.  Although there are some advantages in acquiring a Single Family Residence (“SFR”) there are as many disadvantages as well.   The most pressing advantage for an SFR is that you can typically purchase them  for less money down, allowing you to make use of today’s low interest rates and leverage the return.  The low down payment can be the difference between investing now, and waiting years until you’ve saved up a larger down payment.    However, keep in mind that lenders typically consider anything that is 4 units or less to be an SFR, so you can purchase a 4 unit building for as little down as you would a house.  Of course, the main risk of investing in an SFR comes from the simple fact that if the property goes vacant you are covering 100% of the mortgage payment, taxes and insurance. My experience with newer investors in the industry tends to drive them more toward smaller multifamily investments.  Properties that have less than 5 units still fall under the guidelines for a residential mortgages so you still have the smaller down payment. The learning curve that comes with smaller properties is probably the best way to learn how you should be handling your larger investments.  As you gain industry experience and expand your portfolio, or even if you choose to hire a management company you will then know what th......
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The Downside To Raising Rents

The Los Angeles rents are likely to rise an additional 2.9% in 2018, what this means to you as a landlord is higher rental income of course, but it could also mean additional vacancies or evictions as the rental rates are pushing the renters beyond appropriate rent to income ratios. Many of the renters are choosing to relocate to an area that has better rent for them but that sometimes means driving further which as we all know in L.A. can add a good amount of additional drive time, others may try to scrape the money together every month so they don’t have to move but that’s usually a short term prospect. As a landlord you will want to consider your current residents and face the facts that if they move the cost to replace them can be significant, down time for the unit (lost revenue), the expense to turn the unit and of course advertising and in some cases you will have to pay commissions to a realtor or property management company. It can sometimes behoove a landlord to meet the resident halfway on the increase, maybe setup a plan to gradually increase their rent instead of all at once or maybe consider not doing the full percentage increase but something that is comfortable for you both (keep in mind the higher rent will  exponentially  increase the value of your asset) and will allow them to stay in their unit. If a resident tries to make ends meet but can’t and y......
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Tips For Becoming A Highly Successful Landlord

Treat your property just like it’s a business. Put your processes and systems in place, know your numbers, delegate what you are not great at and be very consistent. Understand the importance of charging market rate rents, but weigh that with the benefit of having a good long term tenant. Know Fair Housing Laws There are local, state and federal Fair Housing Laws be sure to know them all as it’s a very time consuming and expensive matter if you break one of these laws, even when it’s an accident.  Something as simple as having wrong/old wordage on a sign can get you in trouble. Provide a great place to call home Make the property desirable and put durable, reliable systems and appliances in the unit so you are not constantly fixing them.  Have the home clean and ready when the resident moves in and have the common areas kept up. Market your available properties to everyone Be sure you make a complete effort to get your available homes seen by everyone looking in your market place. If you have a website be sure all of your properties (including floor plans) are posted; utilize all forms of social networks including pushing out to groups; have a great referral system for your current residents as they can be your best resource and lastly be sure to utilize websites that allow you to post your available homes for free. Utilize a strong tenant screening platform This is a big one as your screen......
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You’re interested in starting to invest in rental property, be sure to consider these five factors

Do you Want To Self-Manage Or Hire A Professional Company If you are considering taking on the management be sure to speak with several investors that have already made this choice, managing a property can be a lot of tedious work and very time consuming.  Also, many times a professional management company will actually save you money, budgeting for large expenses, having preferred pricing with vendors, or by just being aware of local legislature and how to navigate it efficiently. Property Taxes Always consider property taxes when buying an investment property. High taxes will eat into your profits, while low taxes will allow you to keep a larger amount of your rental income each month. Some locations charge investors at a higher rate than owner-occupants, so it’s worth calling your local tax assessor to determine whether this is the case.  Also, consider talking to a tax appeal specialist in the area, and see if they think they could get the taxes lowered, a good tax appeal specialist will work for you on a contingency basis, so you have nothing to lose. Condition of The Property After receiving a thorough inspection by a qualified professional, ask yourself how many of the repairs you can do on your own, and how many would require outside contractors. Get estimates for any major jobs that you would have to pay someone else to do. You’ll want to make sure that you fix all serious issues before anyone takes occupancy so figure how long the repairs shoul......
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Top 5 Reasons To Invest In Rental Properties

1)      They say that more millionaires made their money through real estate then through any other means. There are of course many avenues for investing in real estate, but I’ve always preferred rental properties for various reasons: Real estate investing can be simple and straight forward to get started- The pathway to investing in real estate can be quite simple, you can start talking to experienced investors, read a few of the thousands of books available to learn the basics. Once you have the down payment saved and an understanding of property management (or hire a professional to help you manage) you can start. 2)      Ability to invest with leverage- By using leverage you can spread your investment wider and be more diversified.  Also, if interest rates are lower than what the current return on the property is, you will effectively be borrowing money for less than what you make on it, thus increasing your return. 3)      Utilizing your connections is a good investment- Utilizing your connections in the real estate industry is key to finding the right investments, in some other industries it might be considered insider trading. 4)      Stability and Predictability- The real estate market is one of the more stable and predictable investments you can make, do the proper due diligence and manage the assets with care and you will find that it will end up better than most other investments. 5)      Multiple ways to grow your investment- With a real estate investment you have multiple ways to help your money grow, rental r......
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Property Management Fundamentals: Prioritizing Goals

To be effective in any workplace, you need to prioritize your goals to get the most important things done immediately, but also be able to have sufficient time to accomplish every aspect of your job.  Once you get good at identifying where each task belongs on this list, you’ll be effective in prioritizing your work. 1. Emergencies This is a given, however emergencies are the things you absolutely are unable to ignore, but often impede on your day-to-day.  Whether it’s a plumbing issue in a unit, a tenant lock-out, or criminal activity in the neighborhood, you weren’t planning for it, but now it’s the most important part of the day.  When there isn’t an emergency going on, you should be focusing heavily on projects and organizational changes that can reduce the risk of emergencies occurring in the future.  If emergencies happen on a continual basis, then they’re getting too much in the way of your day-to-day work. 2. Procedural Procedural tasks are tasks that you do on a schedule.  You know ahead of time that they’re coming and they play a central role in the working of your company.  Procedural tasks for a property manager include billing, make-readies, minor work orders, and more.  These tasks are usually best accomplished first in the day if there aren’t any emergencies.  Once accomplished, you now have the rest of the day to work on projects and organizational changes that improve your business. 3. Projects In general, a project has a deadline.  Projects are tasks that can’t be a......
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Top 6 Tips When Staging Your Property

A cost many landlords don’t take into account is their loss on lease or vacancy.  Think of the effect on your net income.  The loss of one month revenue can equate to over 8.0% of the annual rent.  What can you do to lease your property sooner, and avoid the loss of revenue?  Many landlords now are staging their properties.  Studies have shown when you bring an available property to the lease market, take the time to stage it (even minimally), it will lease quicker than a property which is not staged.  Most attribute this to the fact a staged property gives the potential renter some vision as to what their furniture will look like in this space.   Here are some helpful tips to consider when staging. 1)      Use neutral colors as they don’t create such a distraction from the home. 2)      Don’t over furnish the home or use pieces which are too big for the space or room. You don’t want it to look crowded. 3)      Place artwork in a few places only ie: above the couch in the living room, at the end of a long hallway (with lighting), the dining room and master bedroom should be plenty. 4)      Good, bright lighting is a must. 5)      Have a focus on the entryway, as this the first thing seen. Make the area welcoming and bright. 6)      Once they are in the property, you want them to see a staged dining room, living room, kitchen, patio/porch and master bedroom at a minimum......
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Resident Retention Tips For Property Manager & Landlords

Resident retention in the real estate industry is a critical part to an investor’s success.  Several factors go into the cost of acquiring residents, marketing, and make ready costs. There is also lost revenue from vacant units, making it a key part of your ROI. We put some tips together to help you retain your residents. A key factor in a resident staying is they feel they belong to a community. Their apartment should be more than a place to sleep and eat. Create a social media presence for your community. Try to get your resident to utilize your page to talk about the events you hold on the property. Talk about your staff and the community. Look to create experiences within the community. The day a new resident moves in, you should have a nice welcome gift waiting for them. Something they can use in their new place. Also, a popular idea is a gift certificate to a local restaurant for takeout or pizza. After a long day of moving, it’s nice to order some food and relax. Creating events for your property can give your residents a sense of community, and allow them to get to know each other as well. Fun events like cook-offs, BBQs or events for their children are usually big winners. An added benefit is once your residents get to know one another, they become more vested in the community, looking to better it, and taking a pride of ownership mentality. Training your staff in t......
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Don’t let a Landlord-Tenant Dispute Become a Natural Disaster

shutterstock_171847709Don’t wait until disaster strikes to protect yourself and others from damages. Have a plan in place to prevent landlord-tenant disputes when there is property damage of any kind.  You should take steps to ensure that the lease clearly designates who is responsible for what damages and when.  Both parties should also have insurance when replacements or repairs have to be made. Mind the Lease Lease Termination Landlords should take special care in the rental agreement about terms and conditions for terminating or breaking the lease. This should include stipulations that specify how much advanced notice a tenant must give in order to break the lease and what fees will be incurred if the contract is violated.  Both parties are required by law to provide a 30 day notice that they will be terminating the lease, but you can choose to request a larger time frame in the lease.  Keep in mind that if special circumstances develop on the property, such as a tornado ripping off the roof of the property, the tenant can’t be expected to continue to live in the property.  In such situations that the property is deemed to be untenable, the Landlord must either provide alternative housing for the tenant during the period of repairs or terminate the lease. Damage Repair Replacement and repair for damages are generally isolated for the landlord and the tenant.  The tenant is to be responsible for their own personal belongings inside of their unit.  The landlord is responsible for the upkeep of the physical property inside and out. What if the pro......
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