Category Archives: Administrator

To Furnish, or Not to Furnish

furniture

Finding a place that comes furnished is a big deal breaker for a lot of people and can really make your property stand out among the rest.  For someone who is unsure of how long they will be staying in a certain town, renting a furnished place is perfect. There’s no need to buy and transport heavy furniture, so the move is made really easy.

The real question is, should you furnish your rental?

Furnishing a rental home may seem costly, but it does pay off. If you offer your property furnished, you’re automatically entitled to charge more for monthly rent. Basically, the large one-time cost will continue to benefit you.

What furniture should you provide?

For bedrooms, you can provide basic things like a bed, nightstand, dresser, and maybe a desk. In the living room, you can provide a couch or two, and a coffee table. For the dining area, find a simple table with at least four seats.

Don’t think that you have to go out and spend tons buying furniture! Check places like Ikea, and even your local thrift stores and garage sales to find affordable furniture that will look nice in your property. When shopping, try to find furniture that’s simple and neutral, this way your tenant can add their own personal touches and make your property feel like home.

Remember the lease! If you do decide to furnish your property, make sure that it’s included in the lease agreement. Make it clear that the furniture is just an extension of the property, and that your tenant is liable if anything is to happen to it.

Relet vs. Sublease: what’s the difference?!

Like many words in the English language, sublease and relet tend to be used interchangeably, even though they are two different things. Though they both are methods of renting out property to a tenant, and involve a third party, reletting and subleasing are totally separate understandings.

Well, where to begin?

Reletting is pretty much the process of voiding the original lease with a tenant and bringing in someone new.  The new tenant is now the lease holder and the old tenant is no longer responsible for the property. There are various reasons properties may be reletted, be it because of the tenant, landlord, or both. If someone has a special circumstance, maybe a new job, that requires them to move from their rental, the landlord can come in and relet it so that the initial agreement will no longer stand. This is also an option if a tenant is evicted from their property prior to their lease ending.

Subleasing, on the other hand, is a bit different. Subleasing is when the tenant who initially signed the lease rents out the property  to another person. The new tenant is responsible for paying rent (this may be less or more than what the original tenant pays) as well as following the terms of the lease. Despite this, the overall responsibility of the lease still falls on the original tenant. If the new tenant damages something in the property, they won’t be liable, the initial tenant will be. With subleases, there is usually an agreement drawn up that states the terms that the new tenant must abide by (i.e. when to move out, how much rent they need to pay, etc.). Sometimes a fee is charged to sublease the property, with the initial tenant being the one liable for paying it.

subleasing

Tenant Safety

Keeping your tenant happy is a huge part of being a good landlord, but even more important is keeping them safe. Because you’re going to have a person living in your home, you want to make sure it’s as safe as possible so that they feel secure living there. Don’t think that we’re suggesting that you need to implement a maximum security system in your property, just make sure the property is equipped for safety the best you possibly can.

A good place to is with windows and doors. Make sure that all windows can be locked properly and cannot be opened from the exterior of the home. Do not make it so that the windows cannot be opened at all, because that in of itself is a huge safety hazard. Make sure that all doors have locks that work and that your tenant has copies of the necessary keys. If your property is one where there are multiple roommates living together, you may want to install separate locks on each bedroom so that each roommate can feel more safe.

safety

Make sure that smoke detectors are in working order and that enough are installed in the home. If you only have one smoke detector in the home, it won’t be as effective in alerting your tenant if there is a fire. Also on the subject of fires, make sure that your home has a working fire extinguisher so that your tenant can take care of small fires if they happen to occur.

Aside from the aforementioned safety measures, there are a few other things you should check on in your home. Inspect any floorboards and railings to be sure that they are in tiptop shape and do not pose any safety hazards for your tenant. A lifted floorboard may not seem very serious, but it can cause a problem if your tenant trips on it and hurts themselves.

 

Accessibility in the Home

Sometimes the set up of a home may not be the most convenient thing for everyone; you need to consider that different tenants have different needs and may have to make some changes to your property. Though we recently we talked about what changes you should and shouldn’t allow your tenants to make to your property, there are some changes that are imperative to your tenant and shouldn’t be up for debate.

If your tenant has a disability that may impair their use of normal household things like showers, doors, or stairs, you should definitely allow them to make the necessary modifications to make living in your home a good experience. For instance, your tenant might have a hard time standing up in the shower and may want to install accessibility items. There should be no debating about whether or not they should be allowed to do this; if they purchase and install it themselves there shouldn’t be any issues. Because everyone has different needs, your tenant may need to make a bigger change beyond installing accessibility items inside. If your tenant has a wheelchair or walker, you should definitely allow them to put a ramp (or ramps) outside or inside the home. A modification like this is a lot larger in scale than adding accessibilityhandles and levers; because of this, you may want to consider keeping it once they move out. Your home may have the perfect set up for people with similar needs and will definitely stand out in the market.

Aside from functionality and comfort, your tenant may need to make changes that are necessary to guarantee their safety. If your tenant has a hearing impairment, they may not be able to hear normal smoke detectors going off if there’s a fire. Let your tenant install the smoke detectors with accessibility devices, like lights that’ll notify them when the alarm is going off.  The safety of your tenant is imperative and you should not overlook it.

Allowing your tenant to make these necessary changes will show them that you care and want them to be happy in their home. If they’re investing their time and money into fixing your property to make themselves comfortable, it’s probably because they plan on living there for a while.

 

Seasonal Rental Preparations

With summer slowly winding down it’ll soon be time for your tenant to move out of their summer home, meaning it’ll be time to prepare your rental for the next seasons tenants.

Since you’ll probably rent out your property again in winter (it is a seasonal rental, after all!), chances are, it’ll stay empty for at least a couple of months. Because your home will be used in two very different seasons, it’s important to make sure you prepare it properly after your summer tenants leave. What should you do?

  1. Clean the gutters! With all the flowering plants and leaves from spring, plus the rain from summer, your gutters are probably more than ready for a cleaning. This way, once the fall leaves start falling and the winter snows begin, your gutters won’t be clogged up.
  2. Check that there are no leaks caused by summer storms. Sometimes the more harsh summer showers may cause leaks that go unnoticed for months. Inspect your roof and see if there are any problems that need fixing, also be sure to check ceilings for stains that may indicate a leak. Fixing leaks now can help you avoid even bigger problems when it starts snowing.
  3. Landscaping. If you have seasonal plants that you’ve noticed may have not made it through summer, switch them out for other plants and landscaping decor that’ll fit with the next season.
  4. Change the A/C filter! With the heat, your tenant was probably keen on using the A/C often. Change the filter, and give it a tune up so that you know the unit will be working well. This will also help to ensure that the heater function will be working for your winter tenants.

seasons

Ch-ch-changes to your property!

As a landlord, you have to outline to your tenant what they can and can’t change as far as physical things in your property.

You should definitely give your tenant freedom as far as painting the interior, as long as they paint it back to the original color when they move out. This same kind of idea applies to hanging things on walls; your tenant should be allowed to hang things up on halls as long as they cover up the holes when they move out. You have to remember that your tenant is living in a home that isn’t theirs, so they want to make it feel as much theirs as they can. By personalizing your property, your tenant will feel more inclined to stay there for a long time. If your tenant doesn’t comply and return your property to you in its original state, take the repair and restoration costs out of their security deposit.

Your tenant may want to do bigger changes, like changing floors or even knocking down walls…yikes! These kind of changes become costly and may also be a hassle to deal with. Unless it’s something that absolutely needs to be done, like changing carpets to tiles become there is a risk of water damage from an appliance, it’s probably not in your best interest to allow your tenant to do it. This may also alter the value of your home, and not always in a positive way. paint

Is your listing lost in the internet jungle?

The internet has proved to be a phenomenal tool for real estate. Properties can be shared on just about any site, becoming accessible to billions of people within seconds. That being said, with all of the content available on the internet, it’s pretty easy for your listing to get lost somewhere in cyberspace. What can you do to make sure that your listing is reaching enough people?

A good place to start is social media, specifically Facebook. Facebook has millions of daily users, all having something in common: the ability to share posts. If you post your real estate listing on Facebook and have your friends and family share it, the reach is automatically getting bigger. Their friends and family can also see the post and share it themselves, presenting your listing to tons more people. This constant sharing will keep it as a relevant post and will prevent it from getting lost amongst memes and family photos.

It’s also a good idea to post your listing on trusted real estate websites, like Zillow, or Yahoo! Homes. People trust these sites because their main focus is real estate, and that’s what they’re known for. It’s like buying a car; are you going to look on Craigslist first, or look on Autotrader, a site known for car sales? Take advantage of the credibility of these sites and let your listings be seen! Using Craigslist for real estate is useful, but it’s really more targeted towards your community. If you go for a bigger site, the listing will be seen by those who don’t live in your area (yet) but are looking for a home there.

internet

How can you help with your rental property?

Not too long ago we discussed the subject of property managers, and whether or not hiring one was the right choice for you; given the work that is required to manage a property, it’s usually in your best interest.

So, once you’ve found your property manager, or property management company, what can you do to make sure that they have the right tools to succeed?

It’s a good idea to set up an office of some sort. If your property is a small community (apartment complex, gated community, etc.) you can set up an office in the center of the property so that all of your residents have easy access to it. If your properties are separate, you can set up an office in a central location that’s convenient for you, your tenants, and your property manager. Having an office set up is nice because it provides your tenants with a place to direct any problems or concerns they may have with the property. It also provides you with an address where all property related correspondence can be sent. Definitely provides a sense of organization for everyone!

As far as maintaining the rental, you should set your property manager up with some kind of software they can use to keep everything organized. Tenant File is an awesome option as far as rental property software. Tenant File offers all kinds of features that’ll help keep your rental property organized. Your property manager will be able to keep track of tenants and maintenance requests, post rent, and email you and your tenants (plus wayyyy more) with the help of a single software program! If you think this rental property software sounds too good to be true, download a sample and see for yourself!

tenant file
The best in rental property software!

 

How will you manage?

Should you be working with a property manager?

If you’re looking into real estate and rentals, hiring a property manager, or property management company, is definitely something you should consider. Property managers basically serve as the middlemen between you and your tenants, keeping up with rent, tenant issues, and maintaining the property.  Also, property manager can also work with you if you’re investing in commercial real estate!

Property managers are well equipped to deal with tenants and issues they may have so that you won’t have to. If this is your first real estate venture, you’re already going to have a lot of different duties as far as getting everything situated and ready; do you really want to figure out property management on top of that?! I don’t think so. If your tenant has a maintenance problem, your property manager can find and hire a contractor so that you don’t have to.  If a system for rent needs to be set up, it won’t be your duty, it’ll be something that the property manager handles. With a property manager, you won’t have to invest tons of your own time into your property; they’ll handle the work

Property managers also know all the rules and regulations that you must abide by, and what kind of protocol needs to be used. Their jobs are to manage properties, so they know what they’re doing.

property manager

Where should you invest?

As someone looking into investing in residential real estate, you need to figure out what kind of properties will be most profitable. Typically, the choice lies  between single family homes, and apartments. Both offer different benefits and require different levels of investment so it’s important to do research on what will serve your market (and your budget) best.

With apartments, you definitely have lower cost-per-unit than if you were to buy multiple houses as investments.Even though your cost-per-unit is lower with apartments, the startup cost is much lower when you invest in single family homes. Buuuuut…if you invest in an apartment building, you really have no choice as to how many properties you’ll be managing, it’s pretty much all or nothing. With houses, you can pick the number of properties you want to invest in and go from there.

As far as managing the properties, there’s definitely more of a need for a property manager when you’re investing in apartments. With a house, or houses, it’s pretty much your responsibility to deal with the tenants and properties, because hiring a property manager is not a cheap deal if you’re only renting out a few houses. Now that we’re talking about dealing with tenants, you should recognize that those who rent single family homes are usually long-term tenants; those who rent apartments typically do not expect to stay there for an extended amount of time.

Basically, look at how much you’re planning on investing in start-up costs, and whether or not you want a property management company to work with or not, and go from there.

investment