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!

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

10 Best Tips for Documenting Posessions for Renters Insurance

Renters have a lot of stuff, but they seem to not know exactly how much for insurance purposes.


The National Association of Insurance Commissioners notes that 59 percent of consumers have not made a list or inventory of their prized possessions and valuables. Of those who have done their preliminary paperwork, 48 percent have no receipts and 28 percent have no back-up copy of the inventory outside the home. Additionally, most don’t regularly update their inventories.

Many insured residents don’t document their belongings.

That, says insurance providers, is a sobering indication of how unprepared people are when it comes to proving what they have in a claim resulting in a loss from fire, storms, accidents and disasters.

“The average resident never makes the effort to fully understand what they’ve got,” says Ed Wolff, President for LeasingDesk Insurance. “And, many times they don’t have enough coverage because they’ve never taken an inventory to understand what they have. They usually underestimate the cost in a loss.”

Obtaining renters insurance is only half the battle for apartment residents, Wolff says. The other is thoroughly documenting possessions and keeping the records in a safe place.


Personal Inventory Insurance

In a claim process, the insurance company will want to know beyond a general description what items have been lost. The claim representative is unlikely to accept and pay based on a claim of “everything in the living room” without some proof of the contents.

And, during a time of crisis, it’s extremely difficult for a resident to fully remember the various pieces and items that were lost in that living. Documenting via an inventory and keeping records like sales receipts and copies of important legal papers is the only way to prove to an insurance company the extent of the loss.

Making a list, checking it twice, even with an app

While creating an inventory sounds daunting, the process is easier than it looks. In many cases, the task can be done simply by walking through the apartment and making a list on a personal device or notepad. Some even recommend documenting online so the inventory can be accessed from anywhere.

A number of applications are available to inventory possessions. Included are options for descriptions, prices, warranty status, photographs and where they are located in the residence. Some are designed to inventory multiple properties. Many are compatible with iPhones and Android devices. Some can provide access via desktops and allow users to upload various file types.

Inventory Possessions Insurance

The idea is to make a note of each item with a short description and a picture or two, Wolff says. Some items – like expensive jewelry or firearms – may require more detailed descriptions and additional coverage on the policy. An appraisal may be required to get adequate coverage.

Knowing the scope and value of possessions, Wolff says, will help renters insurance policyholders better determine the amount of coverage they need. Following are best practices for accounting for possessions and valuables, as provided by LeasingDesk:

1. Inventory personal property.

Walk through the apartment and make a list of valuable items, such as jewelry, art, collectibles, tablets, laptops, computers, televisions, and guns. An accurate value should be placed on each item. A checklist can be grouped by category, value, rooms in the home, etc.

2. Keep good records.

Anytime a new purchase is made, add to the inventory. And anytime an item wears out or is discarded, cross it off the list.

3. Itemize valuables and get appraisals.

Jewelry, art, and collectibles should be listed and described separately, and include appraisals.

4. Note make and model.

Include the manufacturer and model of big-ticket items like computers and televisions. Include the serial number if possible.

5. Take photographs or videos.

Pictures are worth more than a thousand words. Photographing and/or videoing possessions are especially helpful in assessing value during the claim process. Typically, such documentation can be done on a cell phone.

Inventory Personal Insurance

6. Save receipts.

It’s especially important to have receipts if the insurance policy covers replacement cost value.

7. Don’t forget the storage areas.

Items in out-of-the-way places like closets, attics and garages shouldn’t be forgotten. Make sure they are included on the inventory list.

8. Generalize clothing.

Unless the closet contains an expensive fur, most clothing can be listed by type and number (pants, shirts, shoes, etc.). Items don’t necessarily need to be individually documented.

9. Safely store inventory list.

Place the inventory in a fire-proof safe or protected area. Make a copy and store it in another location, even electronically so it can be accessed from anywhere.

10. Update, update, update.

Annually update the household inventory in addition to periodic updates when new items are purchased and others are discarded. It’s good to walk through the house again and account for new items that may not have been added throughout the year. Also, values change and should be so noted.

“Creating a physical inventory of your possessions is a good habit to get into,” Wolff said. “Keeping it updated and storing it in a safe place that can be easily accessed is the way to go.”
By Tim Blackwell | May 27, 2016

http://www.propertymanagementinsider.com/10-best-practices-for-residents-to-properly-inventory-possessions?hootPostID=bba839d6f345e50dc773da96831b619d

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