Tag Archives: tenant file

Getting a Real Estate License

Do you have what it takes to get your real estate license?

Most likely, you do!  Basically, getting a real estate license is like getting a college diploma…you have to take and pass the course (classes) to get the license (diploma). The requirements for the license vary from state to state but have the same general basis. The first step is the easiest, make sure you’re 18 or older and have a high school diploma or GED. Then, each state requires that you apply for the in-state license and pay the required fees, and then take the state issued exam (some recommend taking a prep course). After you pass the state exam (with flying colors, of course), you go through a background check and fingerprinting. For most states, the final step is to pair up with a broker and have them sponsor you for the beginning of your licensing period, the required time depends on your state.

Don’t be scared by the nature of the exam, either! The exam won’t be testing you on something that you wouldn’t have learned in the course. If you’re interested in getting the license, be sure to look into what requirements your state has set as far as courses and required classroom hours. Some states even allow the course to be taken online, a great option for someone who doesn’t have the time to take the class in a normal setting.

real estate license

Taking Care of a Home That’s Not Really Yours: Why Tenants Should Take Care of their Rental Home

 

maintenance

It is no secret that homeowners are very keen on taking care of their homes; there is a constant desire to make sure one’s home is always in a perfect state. For a homeowner living in their own home, there is no question about who needs to be maintaining the homes condition, the responsibility falls on themselves. But where does someone who lives in a rental home stand? Is it solely the job of the landlord to maintain the home, or is the tenant also responsible?

In any lease agreement there are certain conditions set that both the landlord and tenant must abide by. Typically, these are things pertaining to payments, general rules, and maintenance, etc. Maintenance standards are set in order to determine what falls under the landlords responsibility and what doesn’t. Though these agreements are set so that the tenant does not have to deal with the problems that a homeowner would have to deal with (since they’re just renting), they should not brush off the notion that a tenant should also make it a point to take care of their rental home. This does not necessarily mean that a tenant should be responsible for paying for a handyman, or trimming the tress; this means that the tenant should make it a point to keep things in good shape and ensure that any problems that they have are brought to the attention of the landlord. If a landlord pressure cleans a tenant’s driveway, the tenant should make it a point to keep it clean and looking nice. Simple things like that are what keep the property looking good and both the tenant and landlord happy. Being timely with maintenance requests is also very important! It is entirely up to the tenant to make sure the landlord is quickly notified if something needs to be repaired, as this ensures that things are being taken care of effectively before they get worse.

Aside from living in a well kept home, there are other benefits of tenants helping in their property being taken care of. The cooperation of the tenant definitely fosters the growth of the relationship with the landlord making the rental process significantly easier. Also, if a landlord sees that a tenant is very good about keeping the house clean, or even notifying them of repairs, they will be more inclined to write a good recommendation letter for this tenant.

 

Pets and Rental Properties: The Great Debate

Should your property be pet friendly?

pets

A while back on the Tenant File Property Management Software Blog we covered the things you need to be aware of when you’re screening pet owners as potential tenants (check it out here). Now, don’t think that making your property pet friendly is going to cause you problems! There are quite a few benefits to allowing your tenants to bring their furry friends as roommates.

Landlords constantly question whether or not they should make rental properties pet friendly. Though many agree that this just opens the door for destruction of property, there are benefits that come with allowing tenants to have pets. If you limit yourself to only allowing people with no dogs or cats, your pool of possible tenants is significantly smaller. It is no secret that most pet owners are very fond of their four-legged friends; they become like children to them, feeding and loving them, and most importantly giving them a home. Because the owners also act as parents in a sense, you know that they’re responsible and capable of taking your home. You won’t have to worry about the house being destroyed. This also brings up the issue of the security deposit, something that definitely works to the landlords advantage. If you allow pets you’re entitled to asking for a bigger security deposit (kind of like a pet fee) or even ask for a bit more monthly rent.

The question of pets or no pets becomes a huge ultimatum for potential tenants- they aren’t going to make the move if their pet can’t too. Being a pet-friendly rental property gives you a huge advantage in the market because many properties do not allow pets so they’re automatically written off as an option to those looking to move. Though it is a big decision to make, making your property pet friendly is definitely you should consider!

Say Hello to Christina!

Christina - new marketing manager for Tenant File Property Management Software

Welcome to the Tenant File, Christina!

 

The Tenant File Property Management Software company heartily welcomes Christina to our team! We are happy that she will be handling the marketing and social media for us. So you can get to know her better, here is some information about her education, interests, and future plans.

Christina Karolewicz is currently a junior at Florida State University pursuing her bachelor’s degree in marketing with minors in hospitality and business analytics. Christina recently joined the Tenant File team as the marketing manager for the company. Christina has experience in the field of marketing and was the marketing director for Florida State University’s Swatch Magazine in 2014. Christina is now the financial officer for the magazine and has held the position since the Fall of 2014. Though there are many different aspects to business and many different components that contribute to a successful business, Christina sees marketing as an essential facet that people tend to overlook. She feels that marketing is imperative in effectively branding oneself and company and requires extensive planning in order to guarantee success.Rental Property Diploma

 

Future Plans and Goals

As far as her future and career, Christina plans on graduating from Florida State in the Spring of 2015 and using her marketing and business analytics expertise to enter the research and development field of business marketing. She realized her love of marketing when she began studying the subject in 2013 and shortly thereafter realized that she wanted to focus on a career in the field. She appreciates that marketing encompasses all aspects of business while still employing an immense amount of creativity. Currently, Christina has coursework in economics, statistics, finance, accounting, computer science, big data, and hospitality. She is proficient in various forms of social media, Microsoft Office, SQL Server, InDesign, Virtual Box, Windows, and Mac OSX. Christina believes that having proficiency of computers and computer software is essential in marketing because of the impact that electronic marketing has on consumers. She thinks that it is important to be able to collect and analyze market data in order to determine what exactly the consumer wants.

 

Marketing Goals to Increase Awareness Among Owners and Managers of Rental Property

With Tenant File software company, Christina hopes to use her knowledge of marketing and business in order to increase the recognition of the software and increase overall product awareness. She hopes to create a devoted base of customers who are loyal to both the brand and the software that will continue to support future Tenant File rental property management products. Christina sees the importance of the relationship that should exist between a customer and a brand and hopes to give Tenant File users this experience. Through social media marketing such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, she hopes to give Tenant File users a closer relationship with the brand and be able to give them multiple platforms by which to receive news and updates about the software. By increasing brand awareness, Christina hopes to create software users that know they can trust and rely on Tenant File with any of their future property management software needs.

We Warned You That Your Online Data Wasn’t Safe

Have YOU been affected by the Heartbleed bug? Yes, either directly or indirectly! We’ve been warning for quite some time now that your online data IS NOT safe! Now comes the Heartbleed bug…My passwords have been compromised???

My passwords have been compromised???

 
This is a major problem that affects nearly everyone. For the past two years the SSL (secure website data transfer method) has had a bug. A bug that allows your user name, password, YOUR sensitive data, your CLIENTS sensitive data to be stolen.

This is on top of the recent breeches from Target and too many other websites to keep up with. What are they saying you should do? Change your passwords – ALL of them, starting with your online financial websites. The future is here and the prospect is alarming. You are a property manager in charge of the private financial data, social security numbers, contact information, and passwords for your clients. You are facing a lot of problems if that information gets out. Not to mention that you are out of business if your server goes down. The Tenant File doesn’t have those issues – it is a desktop application, and your data in always on your own computer. Don’t roll the dice!

 

What To Do When A Tenant Breaks the Lease

handshake

Every landlord will most likely experience a tenant bailing before the end of their lease. And if you haven’t already, don’t hold your breath. It will happen. Sometimes the tenant has good reason to whether it’s due to a family emergency or a job transfer. Other times, the tenant’s only excuse is “I want to move.” So now, take a deep breath and look at these tips:

 

1. Expect the Worst – From the Beginning

When you sit down to discuss the terms of the lease, just expect the worst from the get-go. This will help protect you. Even if you hope for the best, expect the worst. Life happens. Therefore the lease is always in danger.

 

2. Communicate With Your Tenant

Be very, very clear from the start what will happen if/when the lease is broken. Your policies may vary from the next landlord in town so state your policies clearly. You could require the tenant find a replacement tenant should they choose to move out early. This will save any lost income. Also remember to communicate what you will do should the tenant break the lease. This action could involve a forfeit of the security deposit or something like that. You can also include a statement in the lease about how said lease is legally binding, meaning that you can take the tenant to small claims court to recoup lost income.

 

3. Be Aware of Applicable Laws

Check with your state laws regarding tenants and leases. Don’t make the situation messier than it already is. Then (quickly!) proceed with caution.

When you do take action, make every effort to contact your tenant before retaking their possession if they do not already notify you. It is up to you to either release them from the lease or strictly enforce the rent payment. Remember that you must wait 15 days for a rent payment before officially considering the rental “abandoned”.

 

Tragic Times Lately

Seems like by the time we get over one disaster, there is another. The Boston Marathon bombing was still fresh in our minds, then the explosion in West, Texas happened. While one was deliberate and one probably wasn’t, the outcome is still the same. Families have lost love ones, children were robbed of a long life and many will endure pain and suffering for the rest of their lives.

Being from Texas, some of us drove through West and saw the outpouring of assistance and love that neighbors, friends, families, and civil workers showed to help those affected. I guess that is the bright point in an otherwise devastating event.

Now, the entire country is shocked by the massive tornadoes that tore through Oklahoma, Kansas, and other nearby states. More destruction, more death, and more pain. I brings home the point that none of us have a guarantee to live a long life. We have to live our lives today in a way that we would be proud of if we were gone tomorrow. At the Tenant File and with our friends in Texas we are praying for all of the victims and their families. We hope that the volunteers can bring them comfort and that time will heal the painful memories.

Infographics Help Customers Understand Your Business

TFInfographic-Thumb25You have probably seen them before, but may not know the term – infographics. These are graphic representations of an idea, a concept, an organization, or a help topic. If fact, similar graphics have been in widespread use forever, but today’s infographic follows a loose format that includes colors, cartoon characters, symbols, charts, and other design tools to make a concept more understandable.

The Tenant File has an infographic at http://www.tenantfile.com/TF_Infographic.htm. This infographic is designed to help the viewer to understand the broad picture of what the Tenant File provides. A picture is truly worth a thousands words. At one glance, you can see how the various modules interact with the main program. Plus, there is other information in the form of a bar graph that provides interesting information about the Tenant File rental management software as well.

You can take advantage of this to promote your business. Your customers are more likely to click on an email link or website link if they can see a colorful graphic. The infographic in this blog was created by a free infographic designer called Piktochart. The free version will display their logo and link at the bottom of the infographic.

Some suggestions for use would be a display of your company employees, your mission statement, or the areas that you serve. Don’t be too serious with the text or the symbols.  It is meant to be a fun way to learn and to provide valuable information to your clients. If you also create a link to your website it can additionally help with the SEO of your site. Or, you can send it out with your emails.

Have fun and provide a service to your customers at the same time!

 

 

 

Tip of the day! Using the FEATURES section

Many Tenant File users do not know of the capabilities of the ‘Features’ section. In fact, this is a very powerful and useful part of the program. With Features, you can keep detailed information about your rental property, such as bedrooms, bathrooms and other important information. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

You have 4 ‘major’ categories, that you can edit toTenant File Features your preferences. Those are typically interior, exterior, appliances and general. Each of these 4 main categories can have 15 subcategories. This is where is gets interesting. For example, under ‘appliances’ you could list every major appliance in the rental unit, such as the stove, refrigerator, microwave, wash, dryer, etc. You can simply type information in the field next to the item, whatever you want to keep track of. For example, you could enter the serial number or the last repair date. Or, you can create up to 5 ‘default’ choices for the sake of consistency.  For a dryer, you might set up 2 choices: electric or gas.

Under the ‘general’ category, you could include nearby schools, shopping centers, businesses, parks, playgrounds or more. You can include insurance policy information or anything you want to keep track of.

In the end, you’ll have a detailed description of the property with up to 45 pieces of detailed information about the interior, exterior, appliances or general information.

So, other than having a ‘filing cabinet’ of information, how can this be used? For starters, the Tenant File has the ability (under Miscellaneous > Feature Search) to look for this information by combining up to 5  ‘features’. So if you need to see all of the 3 bedroom homes, with 2 baths, near a certain school, with an electric stove, and a fenced yard – no problem.

Or if you have the optional RentalWIZ service, you can have the Tenant File automatically upload all of this information plus photos when it becomes vacant! No need to fill out forms, just click a few buttons and your vacancies are broadcasted all over the Internet! Plus, you can automatically create a Craigslist ad with this information.

This ‘Features’ information can be printed out from the report section and used in many ways. Don’t forget to use one of the most helpful and useful time saving ‘Features’ already included in your program!