Risk Management Tips

August 30, 2016

Why Flexibility is more important than Rigidity in your Operations….

Things happen when you run a rental property operation.  That’s why there’s the phrase you see on bumper stickers that says “**** Happens.” As such, two primary choices present themselves:  Be absolutely rigid and unbending in your policies and procedures….or…..Be absolutely flexible and have strength in your policies and procedures. What I mean is captured in this video below. As you watch it, consider the possible scenarios in your minds and do the metaphorical application to your rental properties, your tenants, and your landlord clients if you are a property manager.     So….Is your operation flexible and strong enough to break your ‘cement blocks’? Or will you end up crushing all 27 bones in your hand?
August 18, 2016

Top 20 Questions (that will spawn 20 more….)

Questions. We all have them. (If you don’t, run away from real estate.) Here’s the Top 20 questions asked by landlords and investors when choosing to hire a property management company. Some are deeper questions than they might seem the first time you read them, which is why the first question on the list is the first question on the list.  If you are thinking about them in the correct mindset, you should realize within 2 breaths that the questions spawn subordinate questions and will take you down a rabbit hole even further. What do you charge? If I have a question and send in an email or call, what is the expected response time from your company? Is the prop mgr available on weekends if issues arise? How do you handle repairs? How does money get to me each month? What happens if the tenant doesn’t pay rent? What […]
July 11, 2016

Oh $%^^!!!! My Tenant just declared Bankruptcy!

A common question from my clients is “My Tenant just declared bankruptcy and I got the notice in the mail today.  What does this mean for me as the landlord/property manager/investor?” Here’s a single page, well-written explanation from this month’s National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) magazine of what to do/what not to do. Landlord Loses Because Tenant Went Bust, Broke, and Bankrupt As with other legal issues, it’s best to seek counsel from an attorney in your state/city who deals with these issues in their primary practice. Why subscribe to our weekly tips?  Because…..
July 8, 2016

In Case of Emergency, Part II….

So yesterday I posed this hypothetical question of:  “What would you do if your Tenant was incapacitated and a friend of theirs needs access to the property to pick things up?” (http://danbaldini.com/2016/07/08/in-case-of-emergency/) If your lease agreement doesn’t contain specific language and data to address this situation, you as the landlord or property manager are in a tough spot. Do you deny access to the friend or do you allow him access to the tenant’s personal property? How do you know he isn’t a scam artist? How do you know he is not perhaps an identify thief who happens to know the tenant is traveling out of the country and unreadable for a few more weeks? Fact is, unless you have protocols in place prior to this event happening, you simply don’t know and you are unprepared to deal with it appropriately. Not a fun position to be in, is it? […]
June 28, 2016

Evictions….weird for sure….

To avoid burnout in this industry of real estate rentals, you gotta step back and laugh sometimes at yourself and others. Evictions suck to be sure. But at least you can be thankful you didn’t have any of these 7 weird evictions happen to you.  
May 3, 2016

How to Know When to Fire your Landlord

Yes, it is sometimes necessary to fire a Client…. In fact, it is one of the best actions you’ll ever do for your property management business. You work hard to earn Landlord business.  You advertise your services, you interview, you scrap and scrape to retain your client’s when the proverbial SHTF (and it frequently does in the business of managing other people’s rentals.)  You work excessively long hours.  You even, sometimes, have to rebate back fees or stroke a check when someone in your company or a vendor screws up royally. We’ve all done it. But…..there comes a point where you grit your teeth with some clients when you wish you never wrote their business, isn’t there?  Again–we’ve all done it.  I certainly remember more than a few clients early on in our property management company’s history which I wish I would have terminated our services earlier rather than later. […]
April 26, 2016

The importance of Tenant keeping Utilities on….

If you’ve noticed a common thread to my posts, it is the critical nature of setting proper expectations for ALL PARTIES in a lease transaction.  In other words, it’s critical for the Tenant to know what is expected of them just as it is for the Landlord to know their role. Today’s article is about the need to properly and repeatedly communicate with Tenants about utilities.  And keeping them turned on! Now, most leases will have clauses in them about who pays for the utilities–Tenant or Landlord–and that is good to have this clarity.  Where I see the expectation “break down” between Tenant and Landlord or Tenant and Property Manager is this:  What about the time period when a Tenant voluntarily moves out of the home before the end of the lease and they turn off the utilities thinking they’ll save money? Case in Point:  The picture of this once-beautiful […]
April 6, 2016

For when the SHTF in your rental properties….

This post is one of those that isn’t fun to write or read for that matter, unless you’ve been there and done that.  Then you’ll immediately appreciate it. It WILL happen to you. Play the Landlord/rental/Property Manager game long enough and it happens.  A tenant trashes your property.  You have a flooded basement.  You have a fire.  The proverbial Shit hits the Fan. It’s easy to panic.  It’s easy to lose sleep, to not think clearly.  It is tough to regain your sense of control in situations like these, but it can be done.  With some advanced thinking and planning, you can and will survive. Here’s how to protect yourself when SHTF: Remember back to your childhood.  You likely enjoyed playing with Play-doh, right?  Remember the extruder toys where you put a ball of your favorite color into it and pressed the handle and out squirmed a shaped snake of […]
July 16, 2015

Sewer & Drain Backup Endorsements for Rental Properties

  Not exactly what you want to find in your house.  Definitely not what you want to hear about in your rental property. If you have a rental property with a basement, this is a reality that you likely will have to deal with, but there are ways to mitigate the risk as well as outcome. Two perspectives come into play here–that of the Landlord and that of the Tenant. (Standard disclaimer here before we get into the nitty gritty:  I’m not a licensed insurance agent and the comments below are not intended to be taken as providing such professional insurance advice.  Please contact a licensed insurance agent to discuss your particular situation.) Let’s look at the Landlord issues first… Make sure you replace your sump pump approximately every 3 years, even if it is functioning.  It’s a motor and moving parts.  Things break, wear out, get stuck.  Better to […]
May 19, 2015

Why you MUST collect Security Deposit and 1st Month rent at time of lease signing

  One of the most frequent questions I receive from novice landlords is what funds to collect at lease signing. As fast as an Indy 500 car slams into the 3rd turn wall I respond with “Security Deposit PLUS 1st Month’s rent”. The reasons are simple for why you should require both to be paid at once but they all congeal into one simple concept: RISK MANAGEMENT Successful real estate leasing is almost all about risk management and the simplest way to minimize this risk is to force the tenant to have skin in the game.  Collecting essentially 2 months rent value at time of lease signing is plenty of skin for most tenants. It also sets the stage for the tenants to expect a certain standard of engagement with you as the landlord–you aren’t joking around with an important business transaction. Finally, it is an excellent secondary screening method–after all, if they don’t have […]