Tag Archives: landlord

Web-based or On-premise Desktop Based?

Tenant File logoWe used to get asked why the Tenant File is not in the cloud … it seems there are hundreds of property management software programs doing that, so web-based must the the next great new thing, right? No. Well, now we get lots of calls from property managers that are sick and tired of the ever escalating and unending monthly fees, downtime, and the high security risks.  So I wanted to address how the Tenant File is doing . . .

Happy GirlYes, the Tenant File DESKTOP Property Management Software is still going strong.  Our user-base is growing every day. If you have tried moving to web-based software thinking that it will make your property management run smoother and are now tired of paying a monthly fee PER UNIT for some company on the ‘cloud’ to hold your important information and you now want to get back in control of managing  your rentals, come back to the Tenant File.  Throughout the years, we have made many important upgrades and additions to the Tenant File.   To name a few:

The Tenant File Version 8 now includes up to ten Bank Accounts up from the original 3 Bank Accounts

  • Additional posting fields were added to the POST RENT INCOME section, the screen that  allows you to quickly post rent income from a large number of tenants very quickly, or just to post a few rents as needed.    Additionally, this screen enables you to create a bank deposits for the rent posted, post management fees, post late fees received, and add another payment for any income account in the chart of accounts. You can even write a check to your own company for management fees posted.
  • The Tenant File now allows you to have up to 6 different RECURRING FIELDS for charges that are in addition to the typical rent posting, management fee posting, and late fee charges. The recurring field amounts are kept in the Unit Information for every rental unit.
  • Additional Reports were added to Version 8, such as the Ledger Balances Current (Compact), Owner Audit Report, Owner Profit and Loss Report, Owner Invoices , Late Rent/Late Fees Due , Security Deposits Receipts Posted, Tenant Balances Aging Report , Tenant Rent Payment Summary , Register – All Bank Accounts , Property MTD/YTD Summary, Company Profit and Loss Report, Tenant Balances (Range) , Owner Vacancy Listing , Tenant Delinquency By Owner – just to name a few.
  • The new Security Deposit Disposition Screen allows you to easily take care of the deposit postings when your tenant moves out.
  • The Owner Invoice allows you to take any posting (or multiple postings) in the ledgers and create an invoice for those transactions. This is actually a report, so it is accessed from the Reports screen.
  • The Tenant File now supports any number of Automatic Rent Increases, for any rental unit, and for any date in the future. On the screen below, you simply select the rental unit, enter the amount and date of the increase, and the program will do the rest.
  • Automated Late Fee Postings were added with release of the Tenant File 8. It allows you to set the late fee individually for each tenant separately in the Tenant Ledger under ‘Setup/View Fees’. So, if you charge late fees differently for different tenants, you charge DAILY LATE FEES and you want them to be automated, or if you simply want a hands off’ method for late fee posting, this method is for you.
  • Upload Vacancies to the Web – Version 8 entitles you to a no obligation ONE YEAR subscription to RentalWIZ, which provides you a free web page branded for your company, uploads to other Internet rental sites, and more!

Property Manager HandshakeIf you have an older version of the Tenant File and are ready to get back to running your property management business in your own office, you can order the Tenant File update and STOP paying monthly fees for your own software.  If you have never had the opportunity to try the Tenant File DESKTOP Property Management software but have been looking for a reliable desktop software program that has been on the market for over twenty years with thousands of happy customers, click into www.TenantFile.com to review our program.   The Update purchase includes a month of free phone support to assist you with familiarizing yourself with the software while new purchases include two months of phone support.  Plus, users have the ability to use the WEB SUPPORT Ticket System that will continually provide answers to all individual questions at no additional charge.  We know that you will be happy with how smoothly and simply the program will take care of all of your property management needs – right from your own computer.

Buy A Rental Property To Pay For College: Save On Taxes And Tuition With No Room And Board

With the cost of the priciest colleges now over $65,000 a year, and room and board costs increasing faster than tuition at many colleges, buying a rental property for your child and a couple of good roommates to live in can be a savvy college funding, tax and retirement move.

You can pick up all of the traditional tax deductions from owning a rental property, hire your child to manage the place and use his net income to pay for tuition with little or no tax, while the rent the roommates pay can help pay the mortgage. When your child graduates in four years, and he will, right? Then you can either hang onto the rental and use it as a retirement home once its paid off, or you can do a 1031 exchange, deferring the tax on the capital gain so long as you buy another “like-kind” property, possibly in a location you prefer to retire to.

Gene Rivers of Tallahassee, Florida, home to Florida State University and a handful of other nearby smaller colleges, is one of the truly outstanding real estate professionals in this country. Gene knows real estate and he knows the real estate business. So it’s no surprise that he is approached by 25-30 parents a year with kids going to one of the nearby universities who want to buy a rental property for their children to live in and rent a couple to some roommates. After all, Gene helped his own son buy a house that his son then lived in with roommates while going to college.

First, Gene says, the young college person has to be responsible enough to screen potential tenants or roommates, do a credit check if need be, sign agreements, collect the rent and not let the place fall apart. “Parents cannot be absentee landlords, Gene says. If your child is not the manager type that’s fine.” You just need to know that going into arrangement to avoid stress for your studying student and yourself. Know who the landlord is and what the responsibilities are.


Merging landlords see growing profit on rentals

Merging landlords see growing profit on rentals

Click here to  view original web page at www.cnbc.com

Merging landlords see growing profit on rentals

It was supposed to be a short-term play. Investors would buy thousands of bargain-basement single-family homes during the foreclosure crisis, rent them for a few years and then sell them off and be done.

That’s what the critics thought anyway, but that is not how this still-nascent class of real estate is playing out. Instead, the big players are consolidating, which could make the stocks of those left standing potentially more attractive.

The announcement last week of a merger between Arizona-based American Residential Properties, which owns 8,938 rental homes, and California-based American Homes 4 Rent, which owns 38,377, was the third such deal in the asset class this year. The combined company will own and manage homes in 22 states and is projected to have an equity market capitalization of $5.5 billion based on closing prices as of Dec. 2.

“In our view, this is a very positive outcome for both AMH and ARPI shareholders, with substantial upside opportunities for earnings accretion over time,” said analysts at Raymond James, which is acting as financial adviser to American Homes 4 Rent. “The sector’s recent consolidation should only improve visibility, liquidity, and valuations among the remaining large players.”

The reaction on Wall Street to the merger, however, was not so positive. AMH shares were down nearly 5 percent at the close last Thursday, the day of the announcement. Analysts called that curious. (Shares are off 5.9 percent year to date.)

Hawkes blames rough third-quarter earnings on transition pains, as the company became less of a buyer and more of a manager of the rental homes. She still believes firmly in a vast growth potential for this sector, despite the recovering housing market. The roadblock, however, has always been capital.

“The stock market expects us to accomplish in three years what it took the multifamily sector 25 years to do. The ability to raise capital to grow is the critical element for the single-family rental sector, but issuing dilutive equity or increasing leverage were not attractive options for ARPI,” Hawkes said. “Absent access to growth capital, we concluded consolidation made sense in order to enhance scale, increase operating efficiencies, share best practices and create additional value for our investors. We are rearranging the chairs in the room to optimize performance.”

Two other major players in the sector, Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust and Colony American Homes, announced a merger in September that could create a company with just shy of $8 billion in assets. Together they own about 30,000 homes.

Earlier this year, Silver Bay Realty Trust agreed to buy the entire portfolio of Atlanta-based The American home. That consisted of 2,460 rental properties in three states.

Scale has always been the buzzword in the brave new world of large scale investors in single-family rental homes. Managing thousands of individual homes is a far greater challenge than managing units in a single apartment building. Some have outsourced the management, while others built an infrastructure from scratch.

The total number of single-family rental homes increased 35 percent since 2006, with smaller investors also taking on millions of distressed properties to rent. This happened as the nation’s home ownership rate fell to the lowest level in 50 years.

Walk it Out – How to Successfully Conduct Your Walk-Through

We recently talked about the importance of providing a move out checklist for your tenant, and how much easier it’ll make the process for the both of you. Once your tenant is all moved out and the property is empty, the next step on your agenda is to conduct the walk-through.

The walk-through is a very important step in the process because it allows you to assess the condition that your property was left in and determine what your previous tenant is liable for. When conducting the walk-through, you should take a record of what damages and/or issues the tenant may have noticed when first moving in, a report of any maintenance problems they may have had while living there, and the move-out checklist that they completed for you. You may want to consider making a chart where you can document all of these things so as to avoid having to be going back and forth.

The first thing you should pay attention to when doing the walk-through is whether or not your previous tenant did everything that they were responsible for. Look at the checklist and make sure that everything on it is done, because are the things that your tenant was held fully liable for. If something hasn’t been done, make note of it so that you can see if it will need to come out of their security deposit or if you will need to charge them additional for it.

Once you’ve determined what the tenant is still responsible for, look at reports of existing issues, and maintenance problems that may have come up while your tenant was living there. This way, you’ll be able to see if any problems still exist and if repairs held up well. You can then determine was needs to be fixed or replaced before the next tenant moves in.

Moving Out

Moving out can be pretty hectic for both you and your tenants, but it can be made easier! Giving your tenant a checklist for them to follow makes the moving process way simpler. There won’t be any confusion on either end about how things need to be left or what steps the tenant needs to follow. This also helps if something isn’t left as it should be, because you can bring up the checklist to show them exactly what you had expected from them.

What kinds of things should you include on the checklist? The first step is telling them when they need to notify you of their official move-out date, so that you can schedule an inspection after that date. Beyond that, make it clear if they need to re-paint anything that they may have changed from it’s original color, maybe walls, or doors. The checklist should highlight that everything needs to clean, basically returned the way the home was first presented. It’s also very important to make sure that you make it clear on the checklist to have them remove all of their belongings and any trash that may be around the home. Your tenants need to ensure that everything is disposed of and that trash isn’t left around for days.

Your tenant will benefit from this too because they’ll be more likely to get most of their security deposit back once the entire process in completed. If they do everything on the list, you can return them their deposit and save yourself the time and money of doing everything that was needed to be done. If any additional repairs need to be done, use the money from the deposit, and if that doesn’t cover it, you will need to bill your tenant.

Website Wonders

As a property manager, your website is important for all kinds of things. Not only can it showcase what your property has to offer for those looking for a new place, but it can also be a resource for your tenants to take care of their property needs.

Depending on how you set up your website, your tenants will probably be some of the main users. A lot of property managers use their websites as portals for residents to pay rent, check any balances they may have, and put in maintenance requests. Using your website for this purpose is great because it’s quick and easy for both you and your residents.

Your website is a great way to showcase what your property has to offer to those who are looking for a new rental. On your website, you can post pictures of what the property looks like, with floor plans and more pictures of how different units look. The internet is the first place people turn to when they’re looking for anything, so you want to make sure that your website makes a good first impression. Put as much information on your website as you can people can know about the property and not have to be reaching out to you over and over again with the same questions.

Community Amenities

So, a few days ago we talked about different amenities that you should be sure to have on your property for your tenants. Community wide amenities are always good to have because they give your residents a reason to come together while adding a whole other level of appeal to your property. What kind of community amenities should you consider adding to your property?

A community pool is a great idea and definitely a big selling point for people. Maintenance on the swimming isn’t going to be too costly, and your residents will want to stay at your property longer. This is also very appealing for people with children looking for  a new place to lease because kids looooove pools. A pool area is also the perfect place to have an outdoor bar or kitchen! This will totally fly in summer time, and gives you the opportunity to hold community barbecues for your residents.

playgroundIf your property is one where a lot of tenants have children, a playground is definitely something you should consider adding if you don’t already have one. This a community amenity that you won’t cost you a lot to put in place but will make your residents very happy because they’ll feel that your property is a place for the entire family.

If you want to add some recreational space for your adult residents, think about a basketball or tennis court, or even both. This is also a great fitness outlet if you can’t have an on-site gym. You can even hold games and tournaments to bring your residents together!


What kind of amenities should you offer?

From furniture to incentives, we’ve covered all kinds of things that can set your property apart from the rest. Aside from these, there are certain things that people tend to really look for in a property. Don’t fret, we’ve put together a list of the top 3 amenities that you should always try to incorporate into your property.

  1. Having a washer and dryer inside the unit is a huge deal breaker for most people. No one likes having to pack up all their dirty laundry and soap to have to go somewhere else to wash and dry it. If it’s not possible to have a washer and dryer in each individual unit, make it a point to at least have a few laundry machines somewhere on the property for tenants to use.
  2. For properties in warmer places, central air conditioning is a must. Though this may be costly, it will surely make your property stand out among the rest. Tenants aren’t going to want to install their own A/C or have fans all around, so they’ll be very happy to see that your property is well equipped.
  3. Parking spaces near the unit are also a really big deal breaker for people. You should try to provide each tenant with at least two spaces near their own unit, and provide adequate visitor parking around the property. No one wants to walk five minutes to get from their home to their car, so try to avoid offering resident parking far from each unit.

Incentives Matter!

As a property manager, there may be times when you encounter difficulties in finding tenants for your property. In a case like this, where there are lots of properties similar to yours available, what can you do to stand out? Give people an incentive!

One of the basic economic principles is that incentives matter, and it really is so true. If you provide people with an incentive, they’ll be more inclined to choose your property over others. Incentives are great because you can target them to your specific property or target market. For example, if your property is located on a golf course near a country club, you can team up with the club and offer those who rent with you a lower membership rate. This same kind of thing can also work with properties in college towns, too. Team up with the local cable and internet provider and offer a ‘student special’ with lower rates to those students who decide to rent with you.

Aside from market specific incentives, you can also offer general incentives too. You can offer a reduced application fee (or get rid of the fee all together) to those who sign before a certain date. You could even offer cash incentives, or gifts for tenants, too. The purpose of having an incentive is to make your property stand out when the competition is very similar, so it’s important to also factor your competitor’s incentives as well.