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Landlord’s guide to the lifespan of furniture

As any experienced property manager or landlord will tell you, if you plan to rent your property furnished, furniture and other elements in rental properties have to be replaced after some time. This is simply unavoidable. Of course, this does not imply you should skip regular and thorough maintenance of the property. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to pay attention to the condition of furnishings in your rental. The reasons are clear – your tenants’ satisfaction and safety depend on it. Here is the landlord’s guide to the lifespan of furniture in rental properties.  How should I manage a furnished rental? The best approach to keeping your rental crisp, fresh, and inviting is to keep tabs on when you have replaced furniture, carpeting, appliances, and other essential items your tenants’ comfort and well-being depend on.  Also, it would be best if you always were responsive to your tenant’s needs, requests, or concerns regarding the condition of the furniture. If they report a leak or some other emergency going on in your rental, be sure to react promptly. And it is not only the safety of the tenants that could be compromised. These kinds of issues could damage everything inside the home if left unresolved. Make sure you respond to such complaints immediately.  Your responsiveness and timeliness in dealing with worn-out or broken furniture will pay off big-time. Not only will you extend the lifespan of the furniture, but you will also make ground for establishing a good tenant-landlord relationship. So, this is just one way you can ensure your rental attracts and retains trustworthy long-term tenants.  Regular rental inspections extend the lifespan of furniture However, relying exclusively on your tenants’ reports is not the best strategy for maintaining your furniture in check. First of all, they might be perfectly content with using worn-out furniture. This is especially true if you mostly rent out on a short-term basis.  Also, if you do not thoroughly inspect your rental after tenant turnover, you might be clueless about what condition it is actually in. This sometimes happens if the landlord manages the rental remotely. Hence, regular rental inspections, fixes, and upkeep are a must for ensuring and extending the lifespan of the furniture inside your rental. Ideally, you or your property manager should address all issues before new tenants move in.  Update the following items at least once in 5 years Pillows, sheets, towels… Naturally, some items are quicker to break or wear down than others. In some cases, throwing out things is even a question of maintaining proper hygiene in your rental. For instance, it is appropriate to bring in new towels, pillows, and sheets every 1-2 years. If you want to avoid this liability, you might settle a deal with your tenants and have them use their own. Changing the shower curtain each year is also a good idea. Yet, you should wash and dry the shower curtain regularly to extend its durability. Mattresses Other items that are considered relatively expendable by experienced landlords are mattresses. Mattresses you might have inside the rental go through regular wear-and-tear much faster than the bed structure itself. Your tenant’s quality of life depends on the possibility of having a good night’s sleep. So, be sure to check from time to time if the mattress provides proper back support. A good mattress can last up to 7-8 years, but if you switch between tenants frequently, it is best to change it every five years. Cookware Scratched or damaged non-stick cookware may compromise the tenants’ health by releasing toxic substances into the food. Hence, update the pots and pans at least once every 3-5 years. Upgrade furniture and appliances at least once in 10 years Remember that the furniture update periods we mention here are more guidelines than strict rules. So, if your current tenants have kids or pets, the quality of the furniture might diminish faster than usual.  In our experience, office chairs, armchairs, beds, and most appliances should be updated at least once every ten years. However, if the furniture is only damaged on the surface and the structure holds just fine, you can reupholster the piece rather than buy a new one. Yet, keep in mind that the upholstering costs can sometimes exceed the price of your IKEA sofa. In some cases, the incentive to invest in a new appliance or piece of furniture will be more cosmetic than practical. So, new tenants like to see that the rental is being updated, even though realistically, your old fridge may work just fine. If you need help with moving in new furniture into your rental, be sure to hire pros from the area to give you a hand. A professional moving crew will be able to finish the transportation within a day, which is extremely helpful if you have new tenants coming in soon.  Carpeting and flooring The lifespan of your carpets also depends on their quality. If you invest in low-grade carpeting, it can rarely last more than five years. Rugs that are slightly more expensive should last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. However, if you buy top-notch carpeting and maintain it well, you can keep calm for 15-25 years! Just make sure you do not fall into the trap of assessing your carpeting through the price tag. So, if you notice spills, stains, or damages at the end of a tenancy, fix the problem immediately. You can designate a part of the tenant’s deposit for deep cleaning, repair, or replacing the carpet if needed. Also, it makes sense to take quality photos of the property prior to the new tenant’s arrival. As for bathroom and kitchen floors and walls, you may want to explore the possibility of investing in quality tiles and non-scratch surfaces.  It is best if you do not wait for the furniture piece to wear out completely If the furniture is left unchecked for too long, you might be setting the ground for complaints or unforeseen expenses. It is better to nip these kinds of issues in the bud.  So, instead of being forced to splurge on a new bed if the old one goes bust unexpectedly, a conscientious landlord will do their best not to inconvenience their tenants (and their budget) by always making sure that the furniture is in good condition. In other words, buy new furniture before the old one wears out completely. In addition, remember that replacing one aged or damaged furniture piece at a time is much more budget-friendly than having to replace the entire furnishing in your rental all at once. So, as much as you hate the idea of wasting time and money on buying new furniture too often, do not postpone changing worn-out furniture. Otherwise, you just might be setting yourself up for more than what you can manage – a complete rental remodel.  All in all, we hope this landlord’s guide to the lifespan of furniture has helped you devise a tenable furnishing plan for your rental.  Meta description: Need guidance when it comes to the lifespan of furniture in your rental? We are here to explain when you need to buy new furniture. Article courtesy of: Betty White Photos used: …

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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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Can You Use a VA Loan for Investment Property?

VA loans offer veterans a convenient way into the property market. As they’re backed by the Department of Veteran Affairs, applicants can get away with no credit score minimum and no money down. But what about investment properties? Are you able to use a VA loan for investment property or multi-unit homes?  Short answer — The VA loan program is designed to assist veterans, and military members find a home they will use as their primary residence. As such, you cannot use the program to shop for an investment property, meaning one you intend to repair and flip immediately or one you plan to rent out wholly. However, that does not mean you cannot earn money from a VA-financed property entirely. To use a VA loan for an investment property, you will need to fulfill the following three requirements: 1. You’ll need to have military service To even consider a VA loan, property investors must make sure they meet the program’s military service requirements. Meaning, you (or your spouse if you’re co-buying) must be an active military member or veteran. You also should have clocked a specific number of days within the military, counting on once you served. The requirements are pretty specific based on whether your service was during wartime or peacetime, so check the charts at to make sure you’re eligible before going further. If you ultimately find yourself applying for a VA home loan, you’ll have a Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs. 2. You have to live on the property Have you ever heard of a strategy called house hacking? That’s what you’ll need to do in order to use a VA loan for an investment property. One of the more important VA loan requirements is that the borrower uses the house as their primary residence. Meaning, if you propose to use the program to buy a multifamily property, you will need to live in one of the units. You’ll also have to move into it within 60 days of closing on your loan. 3. Your property cannot have more than four single-family units VA loans can only be used on properties with up to four units. If you go above this, your rental property won’t qualify for financing. Meaning duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes are all fair game. But big apartment complexes? Definitely not. Using rental income to qualify for a VA home loan If you and your property meet these requirements and plan to rent out some units for extra money, you might use that income to help you qualify for the loan. To do this, you’ll need to have cash reserves to cover at least six months of mortgage payments and documented experience as a landlord. Meet both those qualifications, and you can collect 75% of rents previously collected on the property or 75% of the rent an appraiser projects you can ask for each unit. Article Courtesy Of: Gabriel Merchen, …

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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: …

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Recharge Your Rental With These Tips

If you are new to the income-producing property business and looking for information on whether to turn your house into a rental home or are simply looking for ways to make your rental stand out, keep reading for ideas to make it happen. Don’t want to deal with the hard work of managing your property on your own? Connect with True Property Management for expert property management services! Reach out to us today to find out more. Choose the Right Rental Partner Unless you live nearby and have plenty of time to devote to managing a property yourself, you’re going to need a great property management agency like True Property Management, which offers a streamlined experience with reliable, around-the-clock support for you and your guests. A property management company can ensure that your home stays clean and in good shape. This is essential since cleanliness and condition are the first things renters notice. Your property management team can take care of the structure and grounds whether you’re using the home for personal pleasure or plan to open it up for nightly or weekly vacationers. Regardless of whether you work with a property manager, it’s important to establish yourself as a business, and an LLC can be the best choice in this situation. A limited liability company enjoys the protection of personal assets as well as tax advantages. You can find detailed instructions on how to formalize your entity through a site like ZenBusiness. Accentuate the Amenities Your property will have features that make it a better option for some renters over your competitors. But if you do not play up it’s best amenities, then you can really be missing out. For example, if you have a great view but old, clouded windows that won’t come clean or open, you (and your renters) can’t enjoy the property entirely. This Old House asserts that it takes about five hours to replace a picture window, but this investment of time and money will pay off in the enjoyability of the home, apartment, or cabin. Similarly, make sure the color scheme throughout your rental takes advantage of natural light and plays well off the surrounding scenery. Another example of enhancing the property’s features would be to fully equip a large kitchen with everything vacationers need to handle mealtime without dining out. If you are unsure of which dishes and equipment to put into your kitchen, start with the basics. Pots and pans – preferably enameled cast-iron, which is durable and easy to clean – plates, glasses, forks, knives, and spoons, and serving utensils are a great start. However, don’t shy away from including a high-end coffee maker, blender, and additional pieces. Satisfy Their Slumber People rent private properties to have a comfortable place to stay away from the hustle and bustle of hotels. Make sure they can get plenty of rest and have room to spread out both day and night. If you only have two bedrooms, put bunk beds in at least one. NY Mag’s The Strategist has compiled a list of the best budget, overall, and wooden bunk beds. Before pulling the trigger, make sure they can accommodate people of all ages and sizes. Another crucial element to the success of your rental is the comfort of the mattresses. Remember, a comfortable and supportive sleep surface is not a luxury but a necessity. If your visitors can’t get cozy under the covers, they are unlikely to return and more likely to warn other vacationers of their Princess and the Pea-like experience. There is much more that goes into creating the perfect rental than a single blog post can ever possibly hope to cover. However, the above tips cover a few of the basics and can put you on track to creating the vacation home of your dreams, which is one that you can enjoy when you use it and make money off of when you don’t. Article courtesy of Tina Martin Image via …

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8 Tenant-Screening Myths

Myth #1: Go with Your Gut Most landlords know that using their gut to judge a person is not the wisest decision. According to a 2016 survey done by the TransUnions screening service, SmartMove, 86% of landlords said they verify an applicant’s information before signing a lease. However, there are still thousands of landlords a year that are duped by rental scammers who prey on “gut-feeling” landlords. The applicant might look perfect on paper, but are they really? No matter how strong your gut feeling is, never assume that an applicant’s self-provided information is accurate. If they claim to make an astronomical amount as a self-employed individual and are offering to pay the year upfront – that should be, at the least, a yellow flag. While rental applications are designed to collect information about the prospective tenant, that alone is not enough. You need to take caution to protect your property and rental business. Take the time to verify income and employment. If they’re self-employed, they should be able to provide you with their tax returns. If someone shies away from full transparency, move on to the next. You’ll be glad you did. Myth #2: A High Credit Score = A Great Tenant Their number doesn’t tell the whole story. A high credit score doesn’t necessarily mean an applicant will respect your property and, conversely, a bad credit score doesn’t necessarily mean an applicant would be late paying their rent. Younger applicants—especially Millennials and Gen Z—may have little to no credit history. Furthermore, someone that has recently gone through a divorce or has been battling cancer may have a lower score because of their spouse’s debt or outrageous medical expenses. There is not a definitive “good” credit score when it comes to renting. Many factors determine creditworthiness. An in depth report will tell you what those factors are to help you better judge what their score means to you. Pro-tip: One rental scam to be aware of is for applicants to provide a copy of their own credit report, which could be outdated or fake. Myth #3: Ability to Pay Rent is the Only Thing that Matters Rent non-payment is the number one concern for many landlords. Especially this day in age with statewide eviction moratoriums in place. Without rent from your tenants, you may be unable to fork out the mortgage payment for your income property. According to a Statista survey, 16% of low-income renters reported being unable to pay rent for at least one month out of a three-month period. It’s easy to see why landlords put their primary focus on a tenant’s ability to pay rent. However, only focusing on payment ability during the tenant screening process, could mean missing other red flags. Myth #4: The Landlord Pays for the Tenant Screening Landlords can pass the cost of a tenant screening onto each rental applicant as part of the application fee. The average rental application fee ranges from $30 to $60. This fee can cover both the cost of the hard credit/background check and the time spent screening the applicant. As a quick reminder, you should review all laws applicable to you and consult your legal counsel with questions (we’re not providing legal advice in this blog). Myth #5: Any Tenant is Better than Vacancy If you have few qualified applicants to chose from, you might be tempted to fill a vacancy with a subpar renter. Before you do, consider this fact – vacancies cost an average of $1,750 per month, but evictions cost $3,500 or more. Rushing to approve any tenant can have serious repercussions causing you a major headache and potentially major losses. In the worst-case scenario, you could end up with a tenant that fails to pay rent and refuses to leave, forcing you to go through the eviction process in an effort to remove a squatter. Myth #6: Checking a Tenant’s Credit Hurts Their Credit Score Prospective tenants may be concerned that a credit check can negatively impact their score and they may use that as the reason to avoid a credit report. Don’t fall for this one – it’s not necessarily true. It’s important to understand the difference between a soft inquiry and a hard inquiry. Traditional credit checks require a tenant’s Social Security Number. This “hard check” or “hard inquiry” can cause an applicant’s credit score to drop. However, there are options to pull a “soft” credit check. With a soft credit check, through a service like SmartMove, an applicant requests the report on their own which results in a “soft pull” that has no negative consequence on their credit score. Myth #7: Checking One Reference is Enough You should always consider an applicant’s references, particularly their previous landlords. Don’t think speaking with just one person is enough. It’s important you reach out to the tenant’s employers and past landlords. An employer reference will confirm the tenant’s employment with the company and their income. A landlord reference will confirm the tenant’s residency, rent amount, and timeliness of payments. Be advised that due to HIPPA laws, there are only a select few questions landlords may answer such as: if the person rented from them, how much they paid in rent, if they were ever late, if they gave proper notice, etc. Myth #8: Tenant Screening Takes a Long Time If you’re a new landlord learning how to screen tenants for the first time, then you should know that there are several different ways to get information on rental applicants. Some methods may be time-consuming, but there are other ways to check an applicant’s background and get quicker more accurate results. Traditional background checks are robust and highly recommended, but they can be very expensive and you may not care if the applicant got a speeding ticket last month.These background checks require an extensive amount of research to pull such a large volume of data together, which means that you may wait days or weeks for information you don’t necessarily need. Another way to check an applicant’s background is by using online people search databases. Doing a self-search, you can find: Sexual assault offenses History of bankruptcies Judgments Address history Marriage records Forget the Myths and Find the Facts with Comprehensive Tenant Screening With all the myths and scammers out there, renting out your property may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Placing the wrong tenants in your property can mean spending thousands on damages or eviction proceedings, but almost all these screening myths can be countered with a thorough vetting process. A good property manager not only has the tools to pull all the proper checks on an applicant, but they know how best to identify scammers, weed out the bad apples, and properly vet the good applicants. True Property Management uses a thorough 3-tier screening process, checking a prospective tenant’s credit, background, and eviction history. They verify income and employment, speak with past landlords, and personally meet each of the applicants. Because of this in-depth screening process, their eviction rate is less than 1%. Employing a property manager may cost a little extra, but it will save you thousands in the long run…not to mention the time, energy, and headaches you’re …

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Is your info as a landlord protected?

Technology enables us to do a multitude of things quickly and easily – especially during these times when many are working remotely. If you’re a landlord renting out your income property, it is likely you are having prospective tenants email you their applications, electronically sign lease agreements, etc. But have you stopped to think about the protections you have in place to prevent information from being stolen? Though we all know email hijackers and malware are out there, it can be easy to forget just how rampant they are. Add to that a global pandemic, these digital thieves thrive on taking advantage of vulnerable people during a crisis. Being that you have the liability of handling other people’s personal information, you don’t want to fall prey to such a breach. Between 35,000-70,000 new strains of malware hit the internet DAILY! Think about how easy it would be for a hijacker to email you a link or attachment to their “application” and invade your computer. It happens more often than you would think! That’s why, at True Property Management, we use a secure, high-tech software for all tenant communications, applications, leases, etc. Our application process is entirely online through this secure portal which will collect and safely store each applicant’s personal info. In fact, we will never personally ask an applicant for their social security number! Our system will verify that in the application by running a full background check, thus relieving our owners of that liability. It also securely stores account information for both tenants and landlords so rent can be paid easily online and deposited to our owners in as little as one business day via direct deposit. If you’re managing your property(ies) yourself, you may want to rethink using your Gmail to collect personal info. Once a strain of malware has infected your computer (something that can happen with the simple click of a button), every applicant that has ever sent personal info to your email and anything stored on your computer is jeopardized. If you plan on hiring a professional to help you, make sure they have these securities in place. If you’re going about it on your own, we suggest looking into a secure system for this. It may be costly, but it’s worth the investment for the relief of …

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