property management

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 […]
July 26, 2015

Top 7 reasons why Tenants lose Security Deposit money

There’s an old Landlord saying…. If it wasn’t for the dealing with Tenants and property maintenance, Landlording would be Easy! If you’ve been a Landlord for more than 2 months, you’re silently nodding your head acknowledging the above with a smirk.  It’s OK.  Everyone does it, too. You also know that, as required by State law, you are required to send the outbound tenant a letter accounting for deductions to their security deposit. With this in mind, here’s the Top 7 reasons why tenants frequently see deductions made from their security deposit funds: 1.  Light Bulbs.   If your lease document does not require the tenant to replace burned out light bulbs in your property, you are literally throwing money out the window.  When our management company moves in a new Tenant, all the light bulbs are confirmed to be working and in good condition via photographs in our extensive […]
August 24, 2015

Your Rental property is not worth what you think it is…

August 24, 2015 Today’s New York Stock Exchange activity was historical. Ouch. We may be in for continued volatility for the near term in the equity markets, which reminds me of how this relates to your rental properties… When I speak with new potential clients, the conversation usually goes something like this…. Property Owner: “I’d like to rent out my house, but I need to get at least $1500 a month because we bought it at the height of the market in 2008 and owe too much on the mortgage still to sell it. Can we get that amount for the house?” Me: “Well, according to the market comps and the demand for your house, I don’t think we can get anything higher than $1300 a month.” Property Owner: “But you don’t understand. I NEED $1500 a month in rent.” Me: “I certainly appreciate your needing to maximize the revenue […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
May 18, 2016

How to Create Margin in your Rental portfolio

Margin–that critical component Margin….What comes to mind for most real estate investors, landlords, and property managers is financial concepts, such as Profit Margin.  Or maybe Gross Margin.  Or, if you are a particularly deep financial geek–Contribution Margin.  And that’s all well and fine.  Yes, savvy investors fuel their Financial Freedom by keeping a focused eye on their financial margins because without them, let’s face it, losing money on rental properties flat out sucks. What I’m offering to plant in your fertile mind today is a different kind of margin.  In some very very smart people’s minds, like Dave Ramsey for example, it is one of the best kinds of margin.  The kind of margin I’m mentioning here is margin for the unplanned. Unplanned expenses. Unplanned sources of emotional pain. Ultimately, Unplanned changes in your overall plan for Financial Freedom. Unplanned expenses: In my experience in counseling hundreds of real estate investors […]
May 27, 2016

Winning the Indy 500 and your Financial Freedom–The Commonalities

It’s Race Weekend! Indianapolis buzzes excitedly during the month of May with the Indy 500.  If you’ve never attended, it is a highly recommended ‘bucket list’ item.  Over 300,000 spectators watch 33 drivers strap themselves into horizontal rocket ships zipping at 230 mph around a 2.5 mile oval.  It is simply a spectacle to watch. Before the weekend activities commence, I thought it would be enjoyable to compare how the best racing teams win this pinnacle event with how the best investors, landlords, and property managers win their own pinnacle event–their Financial Freedom. Rules of Racing As with every kind of sport, there are rules, regulations, laws, and customs that must be obeyed.  Some of the rules are for playing fair with each other, some are there to provide a base level of safety, and some are there to provide an element of controlled risk/enjoyment for the players.  Just like in the […]
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.  
July 8, 2016

In Case of Emergency…

Run rental properties long enough and it will happen to you. You rent to a wonderful person who pays their rent on time each month, never complains, and keeps the property spotless. I’m talking a true breath of fresh air. Ahhhhhhhhh……… Then, all of a sudden, she misses the rent payment.  Weird, huh?  She’s never missed a payment.  So like a good landlord or property manager you call her and you get voicemail.  Two days go by without any return call.  Completely not like her. You send her an email.  No response. You send her a text message.  Still zero communication. Now a bit of panic starts to set in.  You leave her another voicemail saying you’d like to stop by to talk with her on Thursday after work.  Your mind starts wandering thinking things like “Did she move out in the middle of the night and just not tell […]