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 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.
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.
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.
If 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!
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.
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.
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.
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 handles 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.