Don’t skip out on safety! Check out our top tips for making sure your tenant is provided with a good environment.
Don’t skip out on safety! Check out our top tips for making sure your tenant is provided with a good environment.
We can all agree that technology has done wonders for the field of real estate. Within seconds, you can have all kinds of data, specifically big data, right in front of you almost instantly. Big data, as its name implies, is basically a huge set of data that requires extensive processing because it’s so big. You’re probably thinking, what does this have to do with real estate?
Well, the possibilities are endless…
Once a big data set has been analyzed and the relevant information has been extracted (this process is called data mining), it can be used to show you all kinds of trends that can be very useful for your real estate or property management business. For example, a big data set that has housing information for your area can show you how the housing market has changed in the past year, while showing which specific factors may have contributed to it.
Analyzing these large data sets can also help you determine the potential value of a property based on data pertaining to similar properties. Depending on the type of data you have, you can develop an algorithm that can tell you which properties are good investments, and which are not so good.
It’s pretty clear that big data will eventually serve a much bigger purpose than predictive analysis and trend examination (even though these are huge in the real estate industry), the question is, what’s next?
Just like with any other application, a reference letter can definitely set someone apart from the rest. Though it’s not necessarily a requirement of the lease application process, asking your possible tenant for a reference letter from their previous landlord is absolutely in your best interest.
Other parts of the application, like proof of income, and credit history, give you information about the tenant and whether or not they can afford rent, but they don’t really tell you if they’re going to be a good tenant or not. The reference letter is written from someone who was in the exact same position as you, so it’s going to be your best source. This is where their previous landlord can tell you about any specific issues they may have had (that you probably won’t know right away), and where they can also tell you if that tenant was the best they’ve ever had. The reference letter is a way of knowing things that you wouldn’t immediately know about the tenant, but you should consider when making the final decision.
The same way that you would expect an honest and detailed reference letter from a possible tenant, you should always be willing to provide your tenants with a reference once they move out. When you’re writing the reference letter, talk about anything that you feel is relevant and valuable to the next landlord. Mention how well your tenant took care of the property, if they paid rent on time, etc. Maybe you want to provide a number where the landlord can reach you at in case they have other questions.
Somewhere in the tenant screening process, tenants are usually required to fill out a lease application that will help determine if they are a good fit for the property or not. Lease applications are pretty standard but you can modify the required information if your lease requires you to. So, what exactly is a lease application?
A lease application, like any other application, requires tenants to put down basic information that goes into making the decision about renting your property out to them. Basically, contact information, previous residence(s), proof of income, criminal history, and employment history are all standard on rental applications.
Rental applications are a great tool for weeding out the people who really aren’t interested in your property. If someone who is very unsure of whether or not the home is right for them, they won’t want to waste time filling out an application. Plus, a fee is usually required of the tenant, to be submitted with the application; not surprisingly, this is referred to as the application fee. They aren’t going to want to pay a fee if they don’t think they’ll actually end up living there. If you have multiple people interested in your property, tell them about the rental application and their responsibility to fill it out and pay the fee; those who are truly interested will be the ones to stick around for the entire process.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you plan properly and take the right opportunities, expanding your property management business is not difficult to do.
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?
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.