Collecting Rent Amid a Pandemic

As the Coronavirus continues to create chaos for all of us, landlords are doing their part to work with their tenants while both struggle with economic hardship and financial uncertainty. During these times we need to continue communicating with one another to find reasonable solutions while understanding that the health, safety and the welfare of the general public are the priority.

Due to COVID-19’s wide-ranging effects, a landlord may get different types of information provided by tenants requesting rent deferment (some due to job loss, some for health reasons, some both). Thus, it is important to develop uniform guidelines in terms of the type of payment arrangements you want to offer to avoid potential fair housing issues.

It begins with being empathetic and tactful. Listening also goes a long way as people are worried, stressed and a lot of times, just want to have their voices heard.

On the bright side, many states may soon be lifting their Stay at Home Orders and so asking a tenant when they anticipate going back to work is a perfectly appropriate question. While continuing to be polite, a discussion as to whether an individual is receiving additional unemployment benefits is also suitable. After all, the purpose of these added benefits was to help pay for vital necessities such as food and rent.

It is important to maintain good records, especially making a log of the attempts to contact a tenant. Just be mindful to make sure to adhere to state social distancing and other guidelines regarding making contact with others.

It is also extremely important that you understand if your properties are affected by any State Emergency Orders or the Federal CARES Act. The latter imposes a temporary moratorium on evictions through July 25, 2020 for any housing receiving federal funds (such as subsidized housing) and for any housing with an underlying mortgage that is federally backed.

The Coronavirus is taking its toll on everyone. For landlords and tenants, communication is key. It should always be done in a respectful manner, but don’t be hesitant to ask questions to gauge an individual’s ability to make payments. Enter into agreements verses verbal arrangements when applicable and make sure you are ready for when the courts re-open to enforce your rights and protect your interests.

If you need assistance or would like to get help from a property management company, Rental Management One is on standby for your call.

Property Owners and Tax Time

The key to saving money on your tax return is to take advantage of the many deductions offered to full-time rental property owners. Your property is considered a full-time rental if you allocate fewer than 15 days for personal use.

Some of the most basic deductions that landlords could easily overlook are costs related to cleaning and maintenance, property taxes, management fees, mortgage interest, advertising, and even property insurance.

Want to save even more money? You can also deduct expenses related to traveling to manage your property, depreciation of your property, HOA fees, insurance claim deductibles, operating expenses, and even your utilities. Basically, any cost you incur to keep your rental property up and running can be filed as a tax deductible expense.

If your rental property expenses exceeded your rental earnings, you can even deduct your losses. If your annual income (adjusted gross income) is below $100,000, you are eligible to deduct up to $25,000 of your rental losses. As your annual income increases, the rental loss deduction is reduced.

One of the best tips any landlord could get is to keep meticulous records or better yet, hire a professional property manager to keep these records for you. You must treat your rental property like a business. The more expenses that you document, the better chance you have to get those tax deductions and keep more of your money. Rental Management One provides detailed expenses reports and even copies of expense receipts for our Owners to turn into their CPA making this important task a “non-stress” related task.

New to the Rental Game

With the popularity of travel websites such as Airbnb, many people are interested in the opportunity to turn their primary and/or secondary home into a money making property, which is a great idea I might add. The good news is, for rental experts and noobs alike, you can dramatically benefit by adding a professional property manager to your business team. The cost is low but the value is worth every penny. Call Rental Management One at 248-208-3882 and start getting the most money out of your rental property.

DIY Upgrades That Make Your Property Feel Like a Luxury Rental

Renovations can be expensive, especially when you want to turn your property into a luxury rental to attract higher-paying tenants. While materials and furniture can be expensive, the prices really start to climb when you bring a professional into the mix. Luckily for your budget, that isn’t always necessary.

Instead, try these DIY upgrades, all of which will make your property feel like a truly luxurious rental.

Update the Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen isn’t just a place to cook and eat; it’s often the space where tenants spend time with friends and family. A simple way to turn the kitchen in the most lavish space in the home is to update the kitchen cabinets. This gives the space an instant facelift at a fraction of the cost of re-doing the entire space.

The lowest-cost update is to paint the cabinets a fresh new color. If you have a little more budget, consider refacing the current cabinets or replacing them altogether. Finally, take it one step further and replace the hardware on your cabinets for another visually impactful, yet simple DIY project.

Source: Freshome.com

Update the Fireplace

The fireplace is a coveted feature, but one that’s not in top condition can be an eyesore and detract from your property’s value. Not to mention, it’s a centerpiece of the home, which means the smallest changes can make a big difference. A few ways to upgrade the fireplace include:

1. Replace the doors with tinted glass: Tinted glass looks classy, and keeps the mess covered: “Your fireplace is the ugliest place in your home. It’s covered with soot, ashes, and is a grayish blackish mess. Glass doors with tinted glass do a great job of hiding the unsightly mess. It’s like closets. No matter how well organized they are, most people still like a door to keep them out of sight,” says Sam Wilhoit, of Brick-Anew.

2. Paint the brick: Bring your fireplace to life with a fresh coat of paint. Consider re-staining or painting the mantle as well to create an entirely new look that elevates the entire room.

Update the Backsplash

An easy and economical DIY project is updating the backsplash in the kitchen. Fresh tile has a significant visual impact without being expensive. “This is another tenant appreciated upgrade that can be very economical if you get tiles on sale and install yourself. Even if the tiles are not on sale, you’re usually only covering an area that is 2 feet by 10 feet = 20 square feet of area = 20 tiles,” shares Nathan Richard with Revnyou.com.

If you want to skip the sometimes-tricky installation, go with peel and stick subway tiles instead. These are both inexpensive and easy to use, giving the kitchen a luxurious look without the high price tag or extensive sweat equity.

Update the Garage Door

One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to boost curb appeal and the value of your property is to replace the garage doors. Having worn out or out of date garage doors can make a poor first impression, losing potential tenants before they even step inside.

The best part: garage doors can easily be replaced, and you can also upgrade or replace the hardware on the doors to make an impact without the extra work of a full replacement.

Upgrade Lighting

Lighting has an immediate impact on the feel of a home, making it feel dark and closed off or well-lit, open, and inviting. “One of the worst things about rental units has got to be the outdated light fixtures. Luckily, this is also one of the easiest switches. Simply swap out that light fixture for something more your style. Just be sure to reattach the original fixture before moving out,” says Keri Sanders with HGTV.com.

Updating lighting fixtures can be as inexpensive as your budget needs, with a wide variety of options at varying price points. Consider some of the most popular modern styles, including unique chandeliers and wood and metal materials.

Finally: Clean the Property

Never underestimate the impact of a clean rental, especially if you want it to have that luxurious feel—it’s hard to sell relaxation when the space is filthy: “Nothing will turn off a potential renter more than a dirty place,” says Patricia-Anne Tom with Realtor.com.

It can seem almost too simple, but a good cleaning is a great opportunity to make the rental shine—literally—to prospective tenants. Deep clean the rental twice yearly, if possible, and hire a professional if possible. Don’t forget the often overlooked areas like baseboards, window treatments, ceiling fans and appliances.

A small budget can go a long way to turning a mediocre rental into one that looks could be in a luxury home magazine. Use these ideas to take your space up a notch and attract renters who are ready to spend more.

Find out which rental property kitchen and bath trends are making a statement in 2017.

Original article: https://www.propertyware.com/blog/diy-rental-upgrades/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=diy-rental-upgrades&utm_term=20170822-tpw&hootPostID=8f976df8d8034c60cbe1a343bfe91da9

10 Great Reasons to Have A Property Manager

When you hire a professional property management company, you save time, money, and lots of hassles. They can handle all aspects of your properties daily operations, legal aspects, and transactions, ensuring efficient management. There are many things you should know about such a service.

1. They screen the tenants
Every property owner wants to ensure that they have the best-possible tenants who pay their rent on time. Timely rent is the key to generating regular income. You want to find the kind of tenants who are careful about how they use the place and not cause any damages. Thus, you will not have a tenant who doesn’t pay on time or causes damage to your property.

2. They manage all the repairs & maintenance

Another good thing about a good property management company is that they manage all the repairs and maintenance for your property. Whether it’s the plumbing, electrical systems, equipments or building, the manager will arrange for the job work. They will also monitor the work to ensure quality compliance.

3. They Fill Up Vacancies & Ensure Optimal Retention

This is something that you cannot do on your own like a professional. No one wants properties to remain vacant. You will not have to spend all your time marketing your property. An experienced manager will shorten vacancy time by getting the right tenants. Besides, they will also work to ensure longer average retention.

4. They Deal with Legal Issues

An experienced property management service can handle one of the biggest challenges as an owner – legal issues. They know about the latest tenancy laws and can take the right action to prevent or alleviate legal tussles.

5. They handle all Documentation

Property management is not just about handling the day to day operations, it also involves a lot of essential paperwork. When you hire a professional service, you will not have to spend all your time dealing with potential-tenants’ credit reports, drawing the lease agreements, doing background checks, and dealing with the billing, and notices.

6. They already have Lists of Contractors

When you hire a property management service, they already have lists of contractors in the area. Whether it is fixing the plumbing, cleaning, or removing the snow, they will already know the right people to call for the job. They can also help you save more by getting special rates due to their well-established relationships.

A property manager will ensure that everything keeps running smoothly and efficiently. They will negotiate and secure contracts for clean-up, landscaping, trash removal, mowing, and other services.

7. They Deal with the Tenants

Your property manager acts as the contact with the tenants. A property manager will address all problems at all hours so that you will not have to drive over to the place. This means a lot of convenience and a hassle-free owner experience.

8. They Ensure Timely Payments

Another good thing about hiring the services of property management companies is that they take care of rental collection and bill payments. They will also enforce the lease policies if your tenants fail consistently to pay rents.

9. Get Tax Deduction

Property owners can also claim a tax deduction for the professional services of a property management company. Thus, hiring a property management service can help save money in several ways.

10. They Keep Everything Well Organized

One of the best things about hiring a property management service is that they keep everything organized for the owners. It can be almost impossible for you to keep track of all the details on your own.

Call Rental Management One for your free property evaluation and management quote today!

Single Family Rentals: What Does the Future Look Like?

In June, the NRHC and Green Street Advisors’ Advisory and Consulting Group together published an in-depth research paper packed with stats that illuminate the current market for home rentals and projections for the coming years. Their findings should be of interest (and quite encouraging) to people in the business of renting single family properties.
In short, a number of factors point to a bullish market for single family home rentals over the next five years, including the modest growth in supply of homes; strong demand due to demographics and the growing attractiveness of homes relative to apartments; and a greatly tightened lending environment that has made buying homes (vs. renting) more difficult for many.

Today, according to the report, around 13% of all occupied single family homes are rentals, constituting about 37% of the total residential rental market. That’s more than most people would guess, and testament to the strong role single family homes now play in housing renters. In fact, the ownership of rental homes could even become an asset class for institutional investors betting on large portfolios of homes – though today their portfolios still represent only around 1% of the total single family rental market, with the other 99% being owned by “Moms and Pops.”

Single family homes are still 11% below their peak values in 2006, while apartments are now priced 38% above the peak they reached in 2007. The report suggests that this leaves lots of room for a rise in home values vs. apartments, so the good news isn’t only about the strength of the rental market – it’s also about the potential value of the underlying assets, the homes themselves.

Growing Demand

The report posits household formation as the chief driver of housing demand, and goes on to estimate that 6.6 million households will be created over the next five years. Over half these households will rent, a percentage exceeding the historical norm; of these, around 1.5 million will choose single family homes – an increase of around 9% over the next five years.

Job creation is another demand driver for rental housing, and a post-recessionary job market that continues to improve should add around 156,000 jobs per year over the next five years if the report’s projections are correct.

Demographics figure into demand as well. People under 35 represent the most important renter base, and this base is expected to grow faster than the population as a whole over the next five years. These days, carrying lots of debt and finding it hard to come up with down payments, they’re likely to delay buying homes until later in life than ever. Until that time, they’ll remain in the renter pool.

Then too, there’s the fact that every demographic group has seen an increase in desire for homes over apartments, particularly those needing three or more rooms – a feature homes are much more likely to provide than apartments or townhomes. The large millennial generation will soon be creating families that need more room than many apartments can offer them.
Limited Supply

The economy has for over seven years now been absorbing the many foreclosed houses that came on the market as a result of the Great Recession. Where once they might have been rented at bargain prices, many have now been purchased out of the rental market, and the others are more highly valued than they were when empty houses were abundant.

At the same time, the building of single family homes has lagged far behind the development of new apartments, and virtually nobody today builds homes from scratch specifically as rentals.

The changing ratio of supply and demand has led to a favorable situation for owners of rental homes, leaving plenty of room for rent growth. The occupancy rate has been climbing since 2009, and is expected to rise even more quickly over the next five years, while apartment occupancy is already at historic highs and doesn’t leave as much room for growth.

The upshot of this eye-opening report is that it’s a good time to own single family rental properties, and it’s likely to get better – perhaps a lot better. Keep an eye on our blog to pick up tips on how to squeeze the most from your investments!
Source: “Single-Family Rental Primer,” June 6, 2016, Green Street Advisors in partnership with National Rental Home Council.

http://www.propertyware.com/blog/single-family-home-rentals-what-does-the-future-look-like/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=blog&hootPostID=d1a89f336bc38ee9c2b9c45924586e09

 

Recent Analysis Shows Many Big-City Renters that Earn Enough to Buy, Prefer Convenience of Renting

SEATTLE, WA – Across the country’s largest rental markets, almost 14 percent of on-market renters have strong credit scores, relatively high incomes and could afford to buy the median home in their market.

As the homeownership rate has declined over the past decade, a broader socio-economic swath of Americans are renting than at any time in recent history. That means people who could afford to buy are renting instead, increasing competition for limited available homes for rent, according to an analysis of financial qualifications reported via the Zillow Renter Profile feature.

San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco have the largest segments of on-market renters who have the credit score and income necessary to purchase a home, making those metros highly competitive for renters. Los Angeles, New York and Seattle also made the list of metros with large segments of current renters who are financially qualified to buy a home.

To determine which markets have the highest number of financially stable and thus most competitive renters vying for the attention of landlords and property managers, Zillow examined the self-reported credit scores and incomes of renters who were on the market during the first half of 2016. Zillow also looked at regional median rental and home values and competition to determine the markets with the highest share of renters who reported a monthly income equal to or greater than necessary to afford the typical rental and median home in the metro area.

There are also long-term demographic trends impacting renter qualifications and competition: young adults, both the affluent and otherwise, are renting longer than ever before as they delay many of the hallmarks of adulthood that typically lead to homeownership, such as finishing their education and starting families.

In general, markets with lower homeownership rates have higher proportions of on-market renters with both strong credit and high incomes. That said, even when controlling for the homeownership rate, booming markets closely associated with the tech industry – such as San Jose and San Francisco – tend to have exceptionally high proportions of highly qualified, on-market renters.

At the other extreme, markets that tend to have higher homeownership rates, such as Houston, and metros that were particularly hard hit during the housing bust and foreclosure crisis, including Cleveland and Detroit, have lower shares of renters who report both strong credit and high incomes.

“When faced with hurdles of high prices and low inventory, first-time homebuyers are renting longer than ever before even if they are qualified to buy,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “San Jose, San Diego and Seattle are among the most competitive places for buyers, and the going isn’t any easier for renters – as they are competing against throngs of financially sound applicants with strong credit and high incomes. This is a conundrum for many young people who move to those cities because of their strong job markets, only to find tight inventory and steep competition standing between them and their dream home.”


Courtesy of: http://www.multifamilybiz.com/News/7107/Recent_Analysis_Shows_Many_BigCity_Renters_that_Ea…

Skills All Property Managers Need

The best property managers know how to apply a broad skillset to the unique situations they encounter. They move with ease into situations that require strong communication, negotiation, customer service, and organizational skills. Property managers also have the ability to manage more tangible property-related concerns, such as maintenance and repair issues.
Here are five essential property manager skills that all property managers must develop in order to excel in the field:

1. A Property Management Company Needs Strong Communication

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, “learning how to effectively communicate with others while choosing the right words can literally make or break your growth in the marketplace.” While your properties are an important part of your rental property management company’s portfolio, it’s the way in which you interact that will seal the deal for tenants. If you treat prospective tenants with respect during the screening and move-in, move-out process, they will know that they can trust you and your business.

Respect means that you communicate clearly, you’re easy to access, and when you’re not available, you have processes in place that allow tenants to connect with your company. A tenant portal that allows tenants to ask questions, find information, and pay bills online at a time that is convenient for them is a communication investment that will pay off. Keeping the lines of communication open is a great way to build and maintain good relationships with your tenants.
Property managers need to have strong customer service skills backed up by effective property management systems.

2. Property Managers Must Exemplify Responsive Customer Service

For tenants, excellent customer service and exceptional communication skills go hand in hand. When tenants communicate a question, they want an answer as soon as possible. You must have a way of tracking tenant queries and concerns. A tenant portal makes these questions and concerns visible to tenants. Then, you must act. For example, if a tenant is concerned about a possible leak in the roof, you need to treat this issue as the emergency it is and respond quickly. To do this, you need a list of pre-approved contractors at the ready and a schedule that shows when your employees and those contractors are available to manage the customer’s problem.

3. Managers Need to be Exceptionally Organized

Property management requires a high level of organization. For example, that leaky roof might have been avoided if your company conducted an annual evaluation of large maintenance concerns, such as the integrity of the roof and the safety of stairs and railings. According to Inc.com, exceptional leaders look for patterns to improve the company’s processes: “they are constantly scanning themselves, other people, and processes to identify patterns and changes in the patterns.” To avoid the leaky roof, you could identify the need for a stronger ongoing maintenance schedule that involves not only yard maintenance but checking appliances, plumbing, and other common problem areas in the home. Help your managers put these systems in place with rental management software that can be used in the development of a maintenance schedule and ongoing tracking of maintenance and repairs.

4. Managers Need to Know the Basics of Marketing

Most property managers are skilled in property maintenance and related tasks, but not everyone has extensive marketing experience. Do you find it challenging to write about your properties, add that information to listing services and your website, and develop the site itself so that the listings speak to certain desired groups of tenants? Writing a great property description requires knowledge about the amenities of the property and surrounding area, as well as an understanding of how those amenities will attract a specific group of tenants. Digital property marketing assistance can help you develop a website and list your properties even if you don’t have a lot of experience with web listings.

5. A Property Management Company Needs to Have Hands-On Skills

Property managers need to have a diverse range of skills, and they must understand properties as well as people. Some property managers come from a background in customer service, while others come from a background in building maintenance. Each manager should have an understanding of how buildings work so thorough and well-documented inspections can be conducted. Managers also need to understand the typical problems of rental properties so that they can respond appropriately and rank maintenance issues according to their urgency.
Written & Published by Propertyware June 2016

Detroit Landlords Get A Firm Warning

The city on Friday put out a call to Detroit landlords to register their rental properties ahead of stepped-up enforcement next year.

Mayor Mike Duggan warned the city is gearing up for “a serious enforcement period” in January for rental owners who fail to register and undergo required city inspections.

“We have an ordinance that requires you to register your properties — nobody has enforced that in years. We are going to get back to that,” Duggan told a crowd of more than 100 current and prospective landlords at City Hall.

“What we’re trying to figure out how to do is take the strong landlords and help them grow and succeed and thrive, and take those who are abusing the system and not make it attractive for you to stay in the city. We are giving you notice now.”

The Friday seminar is believed to be the first of its kind for Detroit as officials ramp up efforts to get owners of rental homes or apartments to gain compliance with the regulations.

David Bell, director of the city’s Buildings Safety Engineering & Environmental Department, said officials want landlords with vacant rentals to get them registered within 30 days. For occupied properties, they want them to begin the process immediately.

Landlords are required to register with the building department and get annual certificates of compliance showing they are safe and inhabitable.

The majority of rentals, though, aren’t registered. The city has about 2,500 rental addresses registered, while U.S. Census data estimate there are more than 136,000 rental housing units in the city.

Failure to register or get a certificate of compliance are both punishable by $250 fines, officials said.

Duggan on Friday said he plans to ask Detroit’s City Council to sign off on an ordinance amendment that would require rental owners be current on property taxes to obtain a certificate of compliance for their properties in 2017.

The city is also slated to go live with an online database that will show all of Detroit’s rental properties with the proper certificates and approvals, he said.

“I envision a city in 2017 where every single tenant in this city can go online and in a minute find out whether their rental property is legally authorized and operating in the city,” Duggan said. “But we’re saying here today: Get a head start on this before the rush is coming.”

Rich Salem and Peter Sirr own about a dozen single-family rentals in the city and their Royal Oak-based management company oversees another 150 to 175 homes, primarily in Detroit.

The pair said they’ve already been working to register the homes with the city and came out Friday to learn more.

“Personally, I look at this and think it’s a great thing. You can eliminate all the slum landlords,” said Sirr, of Preferred Homes Michigan. “If you do everything the right way it’s going to cost you a few extra bucks, but it’s not a big deal.”

Duggan noted the city’s land bank owns about 30,000 vacant houses. About 5,000 of the properties could be rehabbed and another 5,000 are occupied with squatters, former homeowners or renters with landlords who failed to pay taxes.

“People who are tenants who were paying rent to a landlord every month had no idea the landlord wasn’t paying taxes,” he said. “…we can’t let this continue to happen.”

The Friday presentation gave attendees tips on crime prevention, squatters, fire and lead safety. Officials also distributed registration steps and requirements and inspections information.

The city launched pilot programs in East English Village and the Bagley neighborhoods to boost registration and inspections.

To help identify landlords, Bell has said the city is using records from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

“We are here to partner with you to increase the quality of life in Detroit,” Bell said. “For too long its been an adversarial relationship and it doesn’t have to be that way. We can’t bring this city back without you.”

Detroit resident and landlord James Lovejoy said he’s worried about the financial impact the changes will have on property owners and tenants.

“I’ve got a property and I’m already charging a set amount of rent, and now the city comes and hands me a bill for inspections,” said Lovejoy, who has three occupied rentals. “I’ll get it all up to code but now the taxes are raised up and I’m going to have to raise my rent on the tenants. People are already struggling to pay rent.”

To register properties online, visit the city’s website.

Written by: Christine Ferretti. http://www.detroitnews.com/staff/27525/christine-ferretti. Staff writer Christine MacDonald contributed.

New Fair Housing Guidelines

indexHUD Releases Guidance on Fair Housing and Criminal Screening in Private Housing

 

written by Amy Glassman, Michael Skojec| Ballard Spahr LLC 4/6/2016