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ORANGE COUNTY PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

Rent Climbs in SoCal

If your client is renting and they are thinking about “stepping up” to a better apartment; that may not be a good idea. This post below is bad news for renters relocating to new digs, as vacant units are in short supply. The only relief is that more vacant units become available after the eviction moratorium ends. SoCal Rents 17% Higher in 1st Quarter 2022 Landlords sought 17-18% increases for vacant units in O.C. and I.E. during the year’s first quarter.  New SoCal apartment figures show few “vacant” units available, and rent hikes for those units have skyrocketed into double digits across the region. During the first quarter of 2022, vacancy rates in the region lingered near two-decade lows, allowing landlords to boost their asking rents. Orange County’s average rent for a vacant unit jumped 18.2% from the year before, hitting a record-high average of $2,476 per month, The Southern California News Group composite of three leading apartment indexes shows: That’s up to $381 a month from the first three months of 2021 — and it’s $988 a month higher than in 2010. Inland Empire rents rose almost as fast, climbing 17.4% year over year from early 2021 to a record-high average of $1,941. After seeing rent drops during the pandemic, Los Angeles County landlords asked 12.8% more for a vacant unit in the first quarter, with a record-high average of $2,332. The reason is more tenants are moving out on their own. “It’s young adults moving out of a parent’s home or moving out of a roommate situation.” Meanwhile, vacancy rates averaged 2.4% in Orange County and the Inland Empire and 3.1% in L.A. County, the SCNG composite shows. “We’ve never seen occupancy this high,” said Chris Porter, chief Irvine-based John Burns Real Estate Consulting chief demographer. Porter noted rising employment, increased wages, and stimulus checks put money in people’s pockets, incentivizing them to move out. The composite figures are average first-quarter numbers from CoStar,Moody’s Analytics-Reis, and RealPage. Since their landlord surveys tend to focus on larger, professionally managed apartment complexes, their averages tend to be higher than smaller buildings operated by mom-and-pop landlords. SoCal isn’t alone in seeing such rent hikes amid a national housing shortage, a recent report by Yardi Matrix said. But the region’s pace of rent hikes is a tad faster than the national average of 14.3%, according to Yardi. Yardi’s data showed O.C.’s average rent was 19.7% in April, the sixth-highest percentage gain among the nation’s top 30 metro areas. The Inland Empire’s rent hikes ranked 13th in April at 16.8%, and L.A. County’s ranked 19th at 12.7%. “Explosive rent growth over the past year was driven by pent-up demand, growing household formations, and a large undersupply of new units,” Yardi’s April multifamily housing report said. Meanwhile, the demand for housing is evolving High-income and older households increasingly rent more compared to previous decades. Rising prices are squeezing out homebuyers, competition from investors for rentals, and people buying second homes.” ‘Increase Like No Other.’ Apartment tracker surveys tend to be higher than the overall market because they’re based on rents for newly available units and don’t include rent hikes for existing tenants who renew their leases. Porter said. Last quarter, SoCal rent hikes for new leases were two or three times greater than lease renewals. However, some existing tenants complained that they also see hefty rent hikes when renewing their leases. A new state law capping rent hikes at 5% plus inflation doesn’t apply to buildings built within the past 15 years. Smaller Hikes Ahead Porter said that the long-term outlook is for rent hikes to ease over the next few years, but rent drops aren’t expected. Yardi’s latest report forecasts O.C. rent hikes will moderate to 6.2% by next April, with hikes of 9.1% in the Inland Empire and 7% in L.A. County. During the pandemic, more people moved out of denser, urban areas of L.A. County to the Inland Empire, where they could rent larger homes for less while working remotely. Rents decreased year over year in L.A. County from the spring of 2020 through the winter of 2021. But they started rising last summer as the pandemic eased and more employees returned to their worksites. Rents were up 6.7% last summer, 10.2% last fall, and 12.9% this past winter. Meanwhile, rents are rising even faster in Orange County and the Inland Empire, with the biggest gains over the past year than in the previous 20 years, according to CoStar figures. Demographics may explain why rents are rising faster in the suburban counties rather than in L.A., with millennial tenants aging into their 30s and 40s, Porter said.  “Now, as they get into their 30s, they tend to go more suburban,” he said. I think Covid just accelerated that already occurring …

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3 Signs You’re Ready To Buy An Investment Property

Investment Property Definition An investment property is real estate purchased to generate income (i.e., earn a return on the investment) through rental income or appreciation. Investment properties are typically purchased by a single investor or a pair or group of investors together.  3 Signs You’re Ready To Buy An Investment Property First, know that the buying process is different for an investment property compared to a primary home. Before you invest in property, make sure you meet the following qualifications. 1. You’re Financially Stable Investment properties require a much higher financial stability level than primary homes, especially if you plan to rent the home to tenants. Most mortgage lenders require borrowers to have at least a 15% down payment for investment properties, which is usually not required when you buy your first home. In addition to a higher down payment, investment property owners who move tenants in must also have their homes cleared by inspectors in many states. Make sure you have enough money in your budget to cover the initial home purchase costs (like your down payment, inspection and closing costs) as well as ongoing maintenance and repairs. As a landlord or rental property owner, you must complete essential repairs in a timely manner, which can mean expensive emergency plumbing and HVAC repairs. Some states allow tenants to withhold their rent payments if you don’t fix broken home utilities on time. Make sure you budget more money than you think you need for regular and emergency home repairs. Investment property expenses don’t just begin when tenants move in. You also need to budget money for advertising and credit checks to make sure you take in the best tenants possible. A great set of tenants are an asset for your property, while bad tenants can increase your expenses dramatically. 2. The Return On Investment (ROI) Is There Real estate investors often see positive cash flow with their investment properties in today’s market, but the savviest investors calculate their approximate return on investment (ROI) rates before they purchase a property. To calculate your ROI on potential property investments, follow these steps.  Estimate your annual rental income. Search for similar properties that are currently up for rent. Find an average monthly rent for the type of property that you’re interested in and multiply that rent price by 12 for a year’s worth of income.  Calculate your net operating income. After you estimate your annual potential rental income, calculate your net operating income. Your net operating income is equal to your annual rental estimate minus your annual operating expenses. Your operating expenses are the total amount of money that it takes to maintain your property every year. Some expenses include insurance, property taxes, maintenance and homeowners association Do not include your mortgage or interest in your net operating expense calculation. Subtract your operating expenses from your annual rent estimation to find your net operating income.  Find your ROI. Next, divide your net operating income by the total value of your mortgage to find your total return on investment (ROI). For example, let’s say you buy a property worth $200,000 that you can rent out for $1,000 a month. Your total potential income is $1,000 × 12 months for a total of $12,000. Let’s also assume that the property costs about $500 a month in maintenance fees and taxes. $500 × 12 = estimated operating expenses of $6,000. Subtract your operating expenses from your total rent potential: $12,000 − $6,000 = $6,000 of net operating income. Divide your net operating income by the total value of your mortgage: $6,000 ÷ $200,000 = 0.03, which makes this property’s ROI 3%. If you buy a property in a solid area and you know that you can rent to reliable tenants, a 3% ROI is great. However, if the property is in an area known for short-term tenants, a 3% ROI may not be worth your time and effort. 3. You Have Time To Manage It Investment property management still takes a lot of time. You have to put up advertisements for your space, interview potential tenants, run background checks on tenants, make sure that tenants pay their rent on time, perform maintenance on your property and make timely repairs if something in the home breaks down. You also must do all of this while working around your tenant’s “right to privacy,” a legal standard that prevents you from dropping by unannounced without at least 24 hours of warning in most states. Before you decide to buy an investment property, make sure you have plenty of time to maintain and monitor your space.  Take the first step toward buying a house. Get preapproved to see what you qualify for.Start My Preapproval Things To Consider Before Buying An Investment Property Time, down payments and returns are just a few pieces of the investment property puzzle. Here are some other considerations to think about before you invest. What Are The Housing Market Trends? You want to choose a property that rises in value over time. But how can you tell which areas will become the next best places to invest in real estate? The only way is to watch an area’s housing market indicators and rental trends over time and compare the direction of previous property prices and taxes to where they are now. A home purchase is a major investment, so don’t be afraid to take plenty of time to do your research and to analyze market trends to find the perfect area before you dive into a loan. Should You Buy With A Partner? A partner might seem like a great idea – you can pool your money, split maintenance costs and requirements and combine your home repair skills to save money on professional contracting costs. However, buying with a partner also splits your potential profits in half and puts you in the position of sharing legal liability with another person. For example, if your tenants tell your partner about a pest problem and your partner doesn’t fix the issue in a timely manner, your tenants may sue both of you because you are both landlords and you are both equally responsible for providing a habitable environment. You should also remember that if something goes wrong with your partner and you split the cost of the home equally, you’re both equally legal owners of a single property. Make sure that the person you choose is trustworthy, responsible and proactive when it comes to maintenance if you decide to go in on a rental property with someone else. How Much Will Property Taxes Be? Property taxes are taxes that homeowners pay to support their community and local government. Property taxes fund fire departments, public schools, libraries and other local projects. The amount you pay in property taxes is directly related to the value of your home. If your home is worth more money, you pay more, and vice versa. Local governments set their own property tax rates, so the specific amount you pay in property taxes depends on your house’s location. Speak with a local real estate agent or mortgage lender to calculate how much a certain house will require in property taxes. No estimate is going to be perfect because every homeowner qualifies for different levels of exemption as well. Should You Hire A Property Management Company? You need to decide whether you want to handle property repairs, tenant management and maintenance yourself or if you’ll hire a property management company to manage the daily maintenance on your behalf. Property management companies take both scheduled and emergency repair calls and check up on your property with both drive-bys and scheduled visits to make sure that tenants respect your space. They can also collect rent on your behalf. Some property management companies also offer tenant placement services and eviction processing for an additional fee. In exchange, the property management company takes a percentage of your monthly rent. If you live far away from your property or you don’t have the home repair skills to fix your own property, hiring a property management company may be a great choice. Applying For Investment Property Loans: How To Prepare Mortgages and loans for investment properties – such as a non-owner-occupied mortgage – work a little differently than those for personal homes. Investment Property Loan Requirements If you have a mortgage for your primary residence, you probably know that most mortgage lenders no longer require a 20% down payment to get a loan. Lenders are stingier with loans for investment properties, however, because the risks of foreclosure and default are higher. Most fixed-rate mortgages require at least a 15% down payment with a 680 qualifying credit score for a one-unit investment property. Your credit score should be at or above 620 if you’re applying through Rocket Mortgage®. Lenders want you to put down 25% with a 620 or higher interest rate on two- to four-unit investment properties. Pre-Approval It’s a good idea to get preapproved for a mortgage before you start searching for homes so you know how much home you can afford. You can apply online with Rocket Mortgage to get a preapproval. A preapproval is different from a prequalification. A prequalification only tells you how much money you might be eligible for – it’s not as strong. A preapproval requires your financial information so the mortgage company can provide a solution that’s customized for you. While prequalification only looks at your credit and your inputted estimate for income and assets, preapproval involves a hard credit pull and proof of income and assets. …

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How to get started buying investment property

You likely know investing in real estate can be one of the best ways to achieve financial success. However, it is no secret that buying rental properties can be a big step. Fortunately, with the help of True Property Management, you can get started with your first investment property to put you on the path to a more lucrative future. 1. Start With Thorough Research Real estate is all about location. In Southern California, it may seem like anywhere can be profitable. However, in such a competitive market, every investor needs to carefully balance affordability and desirability. Doing plenty of research helps you make more informed decisions about which properties to purchase. 2. Secure Essential Financing Of course, most people don’t have cash lying around to buy investment properties. This is okay. With appropriate financing, you can ensure your property earns a good return on investment without needing to have the capital upfront. In fact, according to Apartments.com, you can even buy investment properties in a number of ways with little or no money. Take some time to research your financing options. Often, the mortgage is the biggest ongoing cost associated with an investment property. Saving yourself even a small amount each month can be worth the work. 3. Obtain the Right Help With the Purchase Process Working with real estate experts can help secure a better deal. Someone who is familiar with residential properties in California can assist you with opportunities you may otherwise miss. Additionally, they can give you some insider knowledge on whether a deal is as good as it looks. Like any other business function, buying real estate is often easiest when you have the right professional services in your corner. A realtor is a big part of this. However, you should also have a good accountant and potentially even a financial consultant. 4. Be Realistic About Your Management Abilities Investment properties aren’t just a matter of purchasing a building and collecting rent, even if your notices are on your best invoice template. Properties need to be managed. Be realistic about how much time you can commit to managing your property. If you are buying a duplex and renting out one unit, it is reasonable to maintain a full-time job while also managing your property. If, however, you are buying a multi unit apartment building, managing all the units may be a full-time job itself. It is often a good idea to acquire some help for managing properties. You can consider hiring someone directly. Alternatively, you may prefer working with a property management company. 5. Make Sure Your Property Is Competitive Finally, you need to think about how competitive your property is with other rentals nearby. For example, dated interiors could set your property back. Similarly, you want to repair any items such as appliances that could present safety issues or address other major aesthetic drawbacks. Hiring a repair service can be a little tricky. However, it is worth the time to research reviews to find the right option and possible discounts. You will also likely need repairs in the future, so building a relationship with the right service provider is a good idea. Get Ready to Buy Your First Property By following the above tips, you can be in a good position to buy an investment property. This could become a lucrative path if you play your cards right. This article is brought to you by True Property Management, which currently manages properties all across Orange County, California. From the beaches of Newport and Huntington Beach to Costa Mesa, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin, Mission Viejo, and everywhere in between. Our tremendous success is the direct result of landlords like you leaving their current management for someone they can trust like True Property Management. Virtually all of our clients were once with another management company. We know and understand your pain because we interview each of our landlords to better understand their needs and make it our mission to best serve you. For more information, please visit our website or contact us …

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Is It Time For a Change In The Housing Market?

  As Peggy Huang drove through the hills of Yorba Linda, she passed ranch-style homes with backyard stables.  White picket fences lined equestrian trails snaking through the Orange County city, whose motto is the “Land of Gracious Living.”  Farther uphill, newer houses were closer together but still featured the open space most suburban residents desire, with trails, parks and churches nearby.  Huang, a city councilwoman, wants Yorba Linda to stay this way.  Along with officials in many other O.C. cities, she is fighting a state mandate to build new homes — more than 183,000 countywide over the next seven years. The requirement, called the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, dates back more than five decades, with new goals set for each city every eight years. “I’m not a NIMBY,” Huang said, using an acronym for “not in my backyard.” “I just think it’s important for people to understand that one size fits all doesn’t work, and that’s the very policy Sacramento is pushing on us.” As home prices climb, fueled in part by a long-standing housing shortage, the stakes have never been higher for well-heeled suburbs like Yorba Linda. Many young couples can’t afford to buy homes. Low-income workers are struggling to pay the rent. Homeless people are pitching tents in places where poverty had never been visible. The argument is about how many units of new housing each city should be required to accommodate. It is also about the essence of Orange County, which is becoming more racially diverse, more politically liberal — and more crowded.  Some say that change is inevitable and the burden to create affordable housing must be shared by all communities, not just those that are already densely packed.  But residents fear that what they love about Yorba Linda — the pastoral landscapes, the wide-open boulevards, the privacy — could be lost if too many others join them. “There’s this idea that Orange County is a cluster of suburban communities far away from the ills of the big city,” said Elizabeth Hansburg, co-founder and executive director of People for Housing Orange County. “It has a nostalgia for low-density suburban development, where everyone has their single-family home, but we don’t have that kind of space anymore. We have to build higher-density housing and in a way that really violates Orange County’s sense of self.”  In every eight-year cycle, cities are assigned a certain number of new units under a complex formula that anticipates future housing needs. A state agency specifies an overall number to regional planning agencies, which then divvy up the units among cities and counties in their jurisdiction. In 2020, the Southern California Assn. of Governments was responsible for distributing 1,341,827 units of new housing among cities in Los Angeles, Orange, Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. The association calculated that O.C. should zone for about 183,000 new units. Yorba Linda’s share was 2,400 of those units, with about half for low- or very low-income residents.  To fulfill the requirement, cities identify areas where zoning can be changed to allow new development.  Yorba Linda officials recently identified 27 sites —including church parking lots, an event venue and a hotel — for possible zoning changes. They were hoping to decrease their requirement to between 70 and 211 new homes. Nearly half of O.C. cities, including Yorba Linda, filed appeals with the association asking for their numbers to be reduced. Nearly two dozen cities in L.A. County also appealed. Some cities argued that the bulk of new homes should be placed near jobs and public transit or in places that have more open space to build. After the appeals failed, the Orange County Council of Governments sued the state and the Southern California Assn. of Governments, arguing that the number of new units in the six-county region should be 651,000.  Redondo Beach, Lakewood, Torrance, Cerritos, Downey and Whittier were also plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was dismissed in November by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.  The O.C. Council has said it plans to appeal. In O.C., some city officials see the building requirements as overreach by state officials who haven’t spent time in the area and aren’t familiar with the geographic limitations. Newport Beach Councilwoman Diane Dixon says she wants to maintain Orange County’s character.  “Who wants to live in a congested urban environment?” she said. “That’s why people move to Orange County in the first place.”  Dixon, who is a member of the Orange County Council of Governments, is concerned that the state housing mandates will result in rapid growth, ultimately stripping away cities’ control over development. Newport Beach, which like many O.C. cities has little undeveloped land, must find room for more than 4,800 new homes.  That means construction would have to spread upward, not outward, resulting in a more urban landscape.  But others say more growth in suburban communities is necessary to combat the shortage of available homes and the upward trajectory of housing costs. “Supply and demand tells you that more houses will help ease upward pressure on prices,” said Jan Brueckner, an economics professor at UC Irvine. “California doesn’t have enough houses at the moment compared to its population and the purchasing power of the population.” Hansburg, the housing advocate, points to the divide between homeowners trying to preserve their lifestyles and renters dealing with rising prices in an already unaffordable market.  “They’re saying this isn’t an Orange County problem, and what I’m saying is it is as much an Orange County problem as it is a problem for any other place in California,” she said.  The last Regional Housing Needs Assessment plan required Yorba Linda, which has a population of about 68,000, to create 669 new housing units. The city exceeded that, issuing building permits for 932 units between 2014 and 2019.  In a commercial and office hub called Savi Ranch adjacent to the 91 Freeway, two new apartment complexes were welcomed by many locals, partly because there are no single-family neighborhoods nearby.  All of the roughly 120 units are priced to be affordable for people making 30% to 60% of the area’s median income. “They kind of fit there,” said longtime Yorba Linda resident Dee Dee Friedrich. “If you have to have it, that seems to be a better place.”  But Friedrich and others don’t want their own quintessentially Yorba Linda neighborhoods to change. Friedrich moved there nearly 40 years ago, mainly because the lots were large enough for horses, which she had always dreamed of owning. Recently, she has been concerned that someone might buy on her street, where each home sits on a half acre, and build multiple units. “That’s just not why we live here and moved here and worked our whole lives to be able to afford to live here,” she said. “We like that we can have a little space between us.”  Residents and city officials are also concerned about wildfires.  When the Freeway Complex fire tore through the hills in 2008, thousands piled belongings into their cars and fled. Yorba Linda Boulevard was gridlocked. Then came the Blue Ridge fire in 2020, which renewed residents’ concerns.  Huang, who was born in Taiwan and is a state deputy attorney general, fears that the more people there are, the harder it will be to evacuate when the next fire ignites.  “With more housing and more density, how are we supposed to make sure people can get out safely?” she said. Fry, Hannah. “Amid Housing Crunch, Officials Want Orange County to Stay the Way It Is.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 22 Jan. 2022, …

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Housing Market Competition Doubles

The spring market is already blooming, and so is the competition. Buyer competition intensified ahead of spring in February and likely will intensify further over the next few weeks and into summer. On average, there were nearly five offers for every home sold in February, higher than in recent months, according to the February 2022 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey. Real estate professionals who were surveyed reported more than five offers, on average, in Massachusetts, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Washington, and California. Nationwide, 48% of buyers’ offers were above the list price, according to NAR’s data. On average, those offers were about 2.9% above the list price; on the median-priced home, that would be about $10,000 over the asking price. However, 13% of the offers were 10% above the list price. Real estate pros report that in general their buyers typically lose two homes before succeeding on the third try, according to the study. Homes are selling quickly under the intense competition. Eighty-four percent of listings were on the market for less than a month. “Competition could intensify in 2022 before waning in 2023 as home buyers compete to lock in at the current rates,” Gay Cororaton, a research economist for NAR, writes on the association’s blog. “Mortgage rates may rise more steeply in 2023.” View the latest on …

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Tips and Resources for Your Southern California Move

When it comes to scenery, weather, and a diverse population, Southern California is second to none in the United States. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind area that offers something for everyone, from scenic nature to thriving metropolises. And it’s also the state to be if you work in the healthcare, entertainment, or tech sector. However, if you’re moving to the Golden State, it’s essential to prepare and plan for your trip. Below, True Property Management is happy to provide some simple advice and resources to help your experience go as smoothly as possible. Prepare for Living Expenses California is not a cheap state to live in, so make sure you are ready for everyday expenses before you make the move. Between your sales tax, property tax, and income tax, you can expect your tax burden to be quite higher than you’re used to. The cost of living is also high in the Golden State, especially if you live near the beach. Since public transportation is not as accessible in California as it is in other areas of the country (especially the East Coast), you will need to plan on driving everywhere. Within 10 days of the move, you will need to obtain a California driver’s license. And you will also need to register your vehicle and get insurance within 20 days of moving. Plan for the Relocation For a smooth relocation, be sure to plan as thoroughly as you can. Ensure that you have a job lined up, whether it’s the full-time position you are moving for or a gig that you find from a temp agency. If you’re a business owner, register your venture with the state. This is easy! You can even establish a California LLC in a half dozen steps. Moreover, set up your utilities (e.g., water, gas, electric), internet, and other necessities before arriving at your new home. And set up long-distance movers to handle your belongings. Set Up for a Smooth Moving Day Even when everything goes your way, moving day can be stressful. So, make arrangements beforehand to keep your stress levels to a minimum. Prepare your children for the move by explaining to them ahead of time the reasons for moving, and reassure them that essential routines will stay in place. Get a pet sitter to watch over your pet while you’re packing, loading up the truck, and moving your belongings to your new home. Research restaurants and lodging on the way so that you can take breaks for rest and relaxation. Pack an essentials box (e.g., extra clothes, chargers, snacks) to make your trip more comfortable. Southern California is a great place to live. Nonetheless, you will want to prepare and plan to make your trip (and new life) go as well as possible. Be sure to get ready for the expenses that come with living in the Golden State, and carefully strategize your relocation, including moving day. In no time, you’ll be settling into your new home on the best coast! True Property Management is comprised of licensed luxury real estate agents with extensive luxury marketing experience who will market your property with the same magazine quality photography, virtual tours, videos, and professional copywriting you would see in a multimillion-dollar home. Call 866-957-6677. Article courtesy of: Amy Collett Image via …

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From Near Or Far, Here’s How to Secure Your Rental Property

When you live in the home you own, you have a sense of security knowing exactly what is — and isn’t — going on in and around your home. Once you enter the world of rental property, however, not knowing whether the property you invested in is secure can keep you up at night. Whether your rental property is located across town or across state lines, here is how to make sure everything is going smoothly while you’re away. Hire a Property Manager Before you start installing an assortment of home security devices and gadgets, your first line of defense should be a trusted property manager. Why? A property manager ensures the home is move-in ready, provides emergency support, conducts check-ins/inspections, handles maintenance requests, and even collects the rent. In essence, they are the guardians of the home, making sure everything is safe, secure, and running smoothly. And when you work with a team like True Property Management, you can feel confident in knowing that your property will be cared for and rented out to qualified tenants. Get the Locks Changed Before the next tenants move in, hire a locksmith to change out the locks on all doors. Choose a professional who is licensed, insured, and reputable. If you’re not sure where to begin the search, try a website like Angi to see which pros are in your area. You can then narrow your search for an Angi locksmith by looking at their average rating and reviews. Keep in mind that costs of re-keying a door range from $50 to $150. Protect Your Home with a Home Security System Another great way to secure your home is with a security camera system, but keep in mind they aren’t all created equal. As you shop, consider what features each offers such as field of view, storage space, battery backup, motion detection, audio, and night vision. They come in different shapes and sizes as well, so compare and narrow down your search. There are many systems on the market, including both professional and DIY. An important note is that DIY systems save on subscription fees, but you’ll likely be the one to contact local emergency services as opposed to the instant contact a professional system provides. Add your own security touches too such as motion sensor lighting or smart locks. There’s an App for That Smartphone security is a great option for those who want to check in on their home with the touch of a button. Apps like Frontpoint Mobile and Simplisafe Home Security let you control security cameras and sensors, receive sensor notifications, and keep track of comings and goings by notifying you when a door is opened. Don’t Forget About the Garage The front and back doors might be locked and monitored, but don’t forget to secure the garage too. You’ll likely have supplies and tools stored in the garage, not to mention this is where renters will park their cars. Buying garage door openers in bulk isn’t realistic, plus openers are easily hacked, becoming an instant key to the home. To make things easier and help you keep track of who has access, use Genie Company’s Aladdin Connect device. By attaching to your garage door opener, your smartphone becomes the opener. The best part is that you can give out up to 20 unique virtual keys with set timers. This makes it easy to give renters, property managers, and cleaning/maintenance crews access and remove access at any time, making it more secure than four-digit pin codes on realtor lockboxes. Consider Landlord Insurance Insurance is meant to protect you should disaster strike, and as a rental property owner, something going wrong when you aren’t there to help is a big concern. Landlord insurance gives you that extra net of protection with both property and liability protection. The property piece of the policy covers the home itself and any repairs or damages as a result of weather as well as detached structures such as a garage. Liability protection makes sure you are covered in case an injury occurs on the rental property. It’s a good idea to add additional coverage as well for burglary to not only cover any damages incurred but to pay for or replace anything stolen. Owning a rental property is a big responsibility, not to mention a large investment. Protect your home and your finances by adding some security measures. The peace of mind is worth it, and you’ll be able to sleep a little better knowing your home is in good hands. Article courtesy of: Michael Longsden Photo by …

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Tips for building better relationship with your tenants

Every property manager aims to find and keep long-term tenants. However, that’s not easy, and very often, it may seem challenging or even impossible. If you’re willing to develop your communication skills and build strong relationships with your tenants, you should let them know you and trust you, which takes time. But, when you succeed and build that trust, you can be sure that they’re likely to stay for the long haul. Let them know that if and when an issue arises, they can count on you to take care of it promptly. Here are the most important tips for building better relationships with your tenants. Make a good first impression and take care of the details First impressions matter significantly in any business. So, when you meet with a tenant for the first time, make sure to dress neatly and speak professionally. Greet them warmly and with a smile, and try to maintain eye contact. Also, ensure that your property is clean and tidy when you show it and highlight its best features. Be transparent, approachable, and polite, and take time to answer any questions prospective tenants might have about your property. Furthermore, find a way to remember their names and something specific about them to ask when you see them again. For example, you can ask about their job, their kids, and their pets. Or, ask about any interests and hobbies they had mentioned during your first encounter. Details are important, and in this case, they will let them know you care about them as individuals. Small talk is great, but make sure not to show too much interest or ask too many personal questions, because this is one of the common mistakes landlords make, and it might have a negative effect. Create clear rules and stick to them As a property manager, you need to create clear rules and stick to them. That’s how you build trust, respect, and reliability with your tenants from the very start. Explain your expectations and lease details to the tenants and ask if they understand all the rules and terms clearly. They should know what is and isn’t allowed right from the start to avoid possible future conflicts or misunderstandings. Define precisely how much notice you’ll need to give them before entering the property and how long you have to fix non-critical repairs. Include detailed expectations from both parties in the lease. Also, don’t forget to discuss policies regarding quiet hours, pets, temporary interior changes, subletting, etc. Respect their privacy Building better relationships with your tenants means being welcoming and friendly. However, you shouldn’t get too close and become intrusive. Nobody wants to deal with unexpected visits. So, no matter how comfortable you feel with each other, it’s crucial to give your tenant at least a 24-hour notice before you plan to enter their home (laws about this vary from area to area). You don’t want them to become annoyed with you or even take legal action against you for not respecting their privacy. Still, if there’s an emergency, such as a fire or water leak, you can ask for their permission to enter without waiting for 24h or more, if that means avoiding much more significant issues. Be responsive and address problems quickly One of the things that tenants value most in their relationship with property managers is prompt problem resolution. They want to know that you are willing to listen and pay attention to their needs. So, be open, honest, available, and responsive when your tenants need you. That will show them you care about keeping them happy and safe at all times. Let them know how to reach you and if you have any preferred method of communication, such as phone, text, or e-mail. Also, clarify how to report emergencies. Your communication should be easy and effective. If you happen to miss your tenant’s phone call, apologize and get back to them as quickly as possible. Always have a list of trusted service providers at hand in case you need to call them to resolve an issue at the property. Remember that timely response is the key to building better relationships with your tenants. Nobody wants difficult tenants, but nobody wants a difficult landlord or a property manager either. So, if an issue arises, always try to put yourself in your tenant’s position, and you’ll probably know what the right thing to do is. Go the extra mile There are many ways to show your tenants that you care about them and respect them. Here are a few ideas if you want to go the extra mile: Friendliness  – Build a positive relationship with your tenants right from the start by being friendly every time you talk to them. Welcome packages – You can help your tenants ease the moving stress by surprising them with a unique welcome package. For example, it can be a nice bottle of wine and chocolates, or something similar. Consider including some essentials like toilet paper, soap, etc. If you want to add a smile to their face, you can include a handwritten note as well. Gifts  – Think of a way to reward tenants who always pay their rent on time (or pay in advance frequently) and show them that you appreciate their reliability. You can give them something simple, such as movie tickets or a gift card to a local shop or a restaurant. All of these will make your tenants feel happy and valued, and as a result, you’ll build a strong relationship with them. Help them out during the moving process You can find many more ways to go the extra mile if you’re willing to. Have in mind that moving into a new home is challenging and stressful and people may have a hard time organizing the relocation. You can help your tenants by giving them friendly advice or a recommendation, such as help finding the right company for moving. That will ensure that your tenants’ belongings arrive safely to the property without any damage in transport. Your advice can help them save time and money on moving which they’ll appreciate greatly. Final thoughts Even though there are many tips for building better relationships with your tenants, these proved to be crucial ones that can really make a difference. Consider them all and start applying them as soon as possible, as they work both in your and your tenant’s best interest. Article courtesy of: Betty White Used photos: https://www.pexels.com/photo/positive-ethnic-colleagues-greeting-anonymous-female-partner-on-street-5668453/ https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-human-hand-327540/ https://www.pexels.com/photo/crop-business-partners-signing-contract-in-office-5673489/ …

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