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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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Rising Rent Across The Country

Renters in California aren’t the only ones feeling pain in their rental market. Rents Climb To ‘Insane’ Levels Across U.S. Rents have exploded across the country, causing many to dig deep into their savings, downsize to subpar units or fall behind on payments, and risk eviction now that a federal moratorium has ended. In the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, median rent rose an astounding 19.3% in December 2021 from a year earlier, according to a Realtor.com analysis of properties with two or fewer bedrooms.  “Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville — and the Sun Belt destinations of San Diego; Las Vegas; Austin, Texas; and Memphis, Tenn., all saw spikes of more than 25% during that period. Rising rents are an increasing driver of high inflation that has become one of the nation’s top economic problems. Labor Department data, which cover existing rents and new listings, show much smaller increases, but these are also picking up. Rental costs rose 0.5% in January from December; the Labor Department said last week. It was the most significant increase in 20 years and probably will accelerate. Economists worry about the effect of rent increases on inflation because the big jumps in new leases feed into the U.S. consumer price index, which is used to measure inflation. Inflation jumped 7.5% in January from a year earlier, the most significant increase in four decades. Although many economists expect that to decrease, rising rents could keep inflation high through the end of the year because housing costs make up one-third of the consumer price index. Experts say many factors are responsible for astronomical rents, including a nationwide housing shortage, extremely low rental vacancies, and unrelenting demand as young adults continue to enter the crowded market. Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, the lead author of a recent report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, said there was a lot of “pent-up demand” after the initial months of the pandemic when many young people moved back home with their parents.  Starting last year, as the economy opened up and young people moved out, “rents really took off,” she said. , According to the U.S. Census Bureau, rental vacancy rates during the fourth quarter of 2021 fell to 5.6%, the lowest since 1984. Meanwhile, the number of homes for sale has been at a record low,contributing to ballooning home prices that have caused many higher-income households to remain renters, further increasing demand. Construction crews are also trying to bounce back from material and labor shortages that made a preexisting shortage of new homes even worse at the start of the pandemic, leaving an estimated shortfall of 5.8 million single-family homes, a 51% leap from the end of 2019, Realtor.com said. And compounding all of this is the increasing presence of investors. A record 18.2% of U.S home purchases in the third quarter of 2021 were made by businesses or institutions, according to Redfin, as investors targeted Atlanta; Phoenix; Miami; Charlotte, N.C.; and Jacksonville, Fla. — popular destinations for people relocating from pricier cities. Let us help you find the perfect rental property in your budget.For more information on real estate investment; or to see what your rental may be worth with a rental rate calculator, contact True Property Management today – …

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Predicting Profits From Your Investment Property

An investment is a risk; there’s no guarantee of profit. Some investments are riskier than others. For better or worse, profits from your investment property are one of the more difficult ones to predict. While predicting the market is incredibly difficult, there are a few things you can do to manage better and predict profits from your investment property. 3 actions you can take to manage better and secure profits from your investment property Research Your Neighborhood Even if two neighborhoods are right next to each other, it’s important to know that each neighborhood has its own real estate market – its own values, its own turnover rates, its own desirability. If you’re looking to invest in property in your current neighborhood, you might be at a slight advantage for predicting the real estate market. At the very least, you should have at least general understanding of the market you’re looking to invest in. Make sure you take the time to calculate rent prices, use neighborhood search tools, analyze property reports, visit online listing sites, and talk to a local real estate agent. Know Your Property Knowing your neighborhood is important, but knowing as much as you can about your investment property maybe even more so. Knowing as much as possible about your property makes it easier to calculate rent prices that will maximize your earning potential.  Rental properties in different neighborhoods will command different rent rates, even if the units are the same size. Take your amenities into consideration, along with property updates. The more amenities a property has and the more remodeled it is, the more you can charge for rent.  Estimate Potential Earnings Finally, once you have as much information as possible about your property, you can start estimating your potential earnings. Calculate rent prices at current market rent and figure out how much your rental property would be able to bring you in a given month. Don’t forget to subtract expenses, like maintenance and taxes. You’ll also want to account for times when your property may be vacant between tenants. Estimated earnings can also help you understand if updating the property is worth the cost. Knowing just how much you can earn through your rental property can be complicated. These three steps can help you start. For more information on real estate investment; or to see what your rental may be worth with a rental rate calculator, contact True Property Management today – 866-957-6677. Source: …

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Storage Tips for Landlords

  Many people feel that being a landlord is an easy and quick way to earn money. However, they often forget about rental repairs, maintenance, and, in case of difficult tenants, having to constantly fulfill their demands. Another thing landlords have to think about is finding adequate space for keeping extra and backup items. For that reason, we’ve prepared storage tips for landlords. Not only will they help you learn how to keep your belongings in the safest way, but they will also make other tasks you face as a landlord much easier. Easy storage tips for landlords – ways to use the storage unit A storage unit is vital to your operations as a landlord. Therefore, the first thing to do is find a quality solution and pick a storage unit that suits all your needs best. An adequate storage unit will be helpful to ensure your property is in a top-notch state. Also, it will be quite useful when you are searching for new occupants or wanting to keep your current ones happy. Staging your rental to attract “the right” tenants When renting out a property, you want to stage it so that it looks appealing to the widest range of potential tenants. You want to show prospective tenants how your property can match their lifestyle, how you can fit in different furniture, maximize the space, and how to make their lives easier by creating a functional environment. The best way to achieve this is to stage your rental in a way that’s seen in show homes. That means going beyond what’s expected and showing your rental’s true potential. For instance, you should show off your kitchen equipment, add different ornaments and wall art to make the space feel more welcoming, and similar. By making your rental look desirable, you’ll increase your chances of finding good tenants. When trying to stage your rental in the most efficient way, you’ll need a range of furniture pieces and accessories. However, you won’t necessarily leave all of them inside after the contract is signed. You’ll need to keep them safe until it’s time to stage your rental again and search for new tenants. Renting a storage unit is an ideal solution for this. Providing space in case tenants want to bring their own furniture Some tenants, usually long-term ones, look for empty rentals and prefer moving in with their own belongings. Even though you have furniture and appliances to provide, they might feel more comfortable using their own things. In that case, you’ll need to put away your belongings until the next time you need to stage your rental, and renting a storage unit is your best option. Not only will your things be safe, but you can also extend the lifespan of your furniture. Your belongings will be stored in a climate-controlled environment so you’ll be able to prevent deterioration. Storing bulky items Sefl storage facilities encourage proper storage practices, so you can be sure your things are safe from damage and decay. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some precautions, especially if you plan on storing your belongings for longer than a month or two. Storage tips for landlords – keeping your furniture safe Here’s how to store your furniture in the best way. When storing wooden furniture, you really want to avoid damaging it. The best way to ensure this is to wax and polish your wooden pieces to protect their surfaces. Also, make sure to put blankets, scraps, or carpets between wooden surfaces, as it will help prevent potential scratches. You should also dismantle all possible items and put screws in a bag which you can tape to the item to avoid losing it. That way, you’ll save space. When it comes to sofas, you should store them standing upright on their arms. In case they are high-end or fragile, store them on their feet. Don’t forget to add folded blankets beneath the arms. That way, you’ll help them withstand the pressure of their weight and prevent potential damage. If you need to store mattresses, make sure to wrap them in plastic coverings. You can find ones specially designed for that purpose in various supermarkets or DIY stores. A good idea is to also check with the storage company you’re renting the unit from, as they can possibly help. By doing this, you’ll help mattresses keep their shape as well as keep them safe from dust or any potential damage. If you plan to store gardening equipment such as rakes or lawnmowers or other metal-based items like tools or bicycles, make sure to treat them with a rust inhibitor. A fine coating of oil could do the trick, too. This will help them stay in good condition. Meeting tenants’ needs quickly If you didn’t opt for the help of a property management company that will take care of your rental, you would need to be in charge of handling any maintenance issue that might occur. This can get especially difficult if you are renting out more than one property. From needing to change a busted lightbulb to a new TV, you need to be prepared for anything. The best way to go is to keep spares in your storage unit and have them ready whenever an issue comes up. It’s much easier than going to the store each time. Plus, you’ll surely get a discount when you buy in bulk. More importantly, you’ll be able to quickly react to your tenants’ requests and handle any issue in the shortest possible time. You will show how efficient you are, which will help you build a good and trusting relationship with your tenants. By knowing they can rely on you to solve their issues swiftly, your tenants will be more likely to stay at your place longer. The bottom line We hope our storage tips for landlords made your tasks that much simpler and quicker to handle. To make your life even easier, consider hiring a good property management company. That way, you can sit back, relax and collect your rent while they handle all aspects of your rental. Meta description: If you are looking to rent out your property but not sure where to keep your extra belongings, check out our storage tips for landlords. Article Courtesy Of: Betty White Photos used: https://unsplash.com/photos/ZVkDLrXGMdw https://unsplash.com/photos/GVa_DPiICfA https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-setting-up-a-dismantled-baby-crib-7491085/ …

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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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How to attract long-term tenants

If you want to rent out an apartment, or any property in general, the most important thing is finding the right tenants. And this does not simply refer to someone willing to pay the most money! You want to be able to trust the people living within your walls. And you want to form a long-term relationship with them. Because that way, you know your tenants well and can ensure no sudden issues, misbehavior, or property damage would occur. However, it is not always easy to form such a relationship. You need to balance your own needs with those of your tenants and plan carefully for the future. To help you do this, we have written this guide on how to attract long-term tenants. Offer good amenities Amenities are one of the most important draws for tenants. People are a lot more likely to rent from you if they are assured of having good conditions. Included in this are quality appliances, parking, air conditioning, stable and fast internet, and more. The most necessary amenities right now, interestingly enough, are those that allow a comfortable work-from-home experience. There are, of course, concerns about dealing with difficult tenants. Many landlords are afraid that providing better amenities would only result in higher losses when those amenities are damaged or ruined entirely. However, if you provide them, you would both be more likely to find good long-term tenants and discourage bad ones from damaging what benefits them. Keep your property in good condition Upkeep is essential. You cannot assume that you can set everything up and never bother to renovate or update your property. A key component needed to get along well in a landlord/tenant relationship is support and understanding. And you need to show them through continuing to care about your property. Organize occasional minor renovations. Replace appliances when they break down or start to develop issues. Check in occasionally with your tenants to see if they need any repairs done. Of course, you do not need to take this to an excessive level and start losing money. Some tenants will do the repairs and upkeep themselves. However, they sometimes do not have the resources and means to do it on their own. And the support of their landlord will go a long way toward convincing them to keep renewing their lease. Negotiate on the rules and policies The rules of your property and your stance on certain topics are one of the main issues to address before new tenants move in. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to make how you feel about pets very clear. A lot of tenant-landlord conflicts happens because of this one topic. And many landlords have found themselves in shock over finding out their tenants own a pet without bothering to inform them. Additional issues you should discuss regard the remodeling, renovations, and similar things you are willing to let your tenants do on their own. If your property is furnished already, you should also make it clear whether you are okay with your tenants replacing some of the furniture or using exclusively their own. Charge a reasonable price and avoid sudden rent increases This is one of the best ways to build a better relationship with your tenants. It is only natural that you want to earn money from your property. That is why you are renting it out in the first place! However, you must remember to keep the price affordable and check whether you are raising it significantly over or under other rentals in your neighborhood. It is beneficial to coordinate with other landlords, just so none of you run into awkward situations. In addition, it is only natural that your tenants would appreciate a timely warning if you decide to increase their rent. Typically speaking, you want to inform them at least one or two months in advance. This way, they have time to plan their budgets or even move out if they decide they cannot afford it. Offer incentives If you are determined to hang onto your tenants, you might want to offer them incentives to stay. Renegotiate your property policies. Offer them a lower rent. Or even offer a flat rate for the price of their utilities. Of course, doing so might cut into your profit margins a little. And you might not like the idea of allowing pets onto your property. However, if you are confident that your current tenants are good people who treat your property with care and respect, it is probably worth it. Nightmarish tenants who ruin properties are surprisingly rare. But so are tenants who do their best to take good care of them! Show proper respect and support This can be both easy and difficult. The support part is relatively simple. You need to do what is expected from you as a landlord: organize the repairs and similar. However, ‘respect’ can be challenging to put into words. The simplest way to put it is: Do not hover. Some landlords feel the need to constantly check on their tenants, to the point of showing up unannounced at their door for surprise inspections. Tenants have their own lives and timetables, which means this behavior is disrespectful and shows an utter lack of trust. Such behavior is likely to quickly drive your tenants away, no matter how good the renting conditions and price are. Final Words The topic of how to attract long-term tenants can be an exhaustive one. However, we can sum things up by saying that you just need to treat your tenants the way you would want to be treated. Offer them understanding and support. Do not overstep boundaries in your desire to assure the safety of your property. And do not spring sudden rent changes on them. If you follow this advice, you will be just fine! Article courtesy of: Betty White Pictures used: https://unsplash.com/photos/cIOwoljvd_Q https://unsplash.com/photos/tN344soypQM https://unsplash.com/photos/OQMZwNd3ThU …

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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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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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Practical Tips for Landlords Dealing with Difficult Tenants

If you are a landlord, one of your worst nightmares is probably dealing with problematic tenants. There seem to be some people who always cause a fuss, and with whom everything is a hassle. If you ask landlords, they will prefer quiet tenants who never cause problems and always pay on time. Sadly, that’s just not a reality, and you are bound to have many different experiences. Let’s take a look at a few practical tips for landlords dealing with difficult tenants. Remain calm Losing your temper will not help, and neither will raising your voice. Watch what you say and never threaten your tenants. You can remind them of their legal obligations, but do so in a calm manner. If you start getting angry, you might enter a heated debate and cause problems for yourself when you are not thinking clearly. Most of the common mistakes that landlords make can easily be avoided if you keep a cool head. Try to solve disputes before they escalate One of the best practical tips for landlords dealing with difficult tenants is to solve any issues immediately. Do not wait for things to escalate. You can threaten to pursue legal action and file a lawsuit. However, that can be a slow and challenging process. You are much better off solving minor issues as they come up rather than turning to lawyers and courts to solve your disputes. How to recognize problematic tenants Your best course of action is to try to avoid difficult tenants in the first place. Try to find a suitable tenant by going through a screening process. Instead of going with your gut, you should make an informed decision once you have some information on the future tenant. By having tenants who don’t cause any issues and always pay rent on time, you will save yourself a lot of stress in the long run. Have airtight paperwork Paperwork and checklists are there for a reason. You can hire someone to help you compose the forms you need and make sure the lease is airtight. Once you have all your bases covered by proper paperwork, you will have strong evidence to back your case if any problems do arise. Make sure your tenants sign all the forms and inform them of their legal obligations. Remind tenants of the move out inspection Your tenants will be required to return your property to the state it was in when they first rented it. Even if it’s their obligation to do so, some people still need a nudge. Remind the tenants that the move-out inspection will happen, and they need to have your property in good condition. When doing regular inspections, you should remind them that they need to fix things around the home. Don’t have them wait until the last minute to start getting the place in shape. Avoid problems by getting your tenants to do repairs on time. Dealing with late rent Although some landlords charge tenants below market value and should probably do a rental analysis, even they will tell you they’ve run into tenants who are late with rent. Basically, this has nothing to do with how much you are charging them; some tenants will occasionally be late. You shouldn’t have to rely on tenant promises that they will pay the rent on time. Talking to them might yield results, but there is no guarantee that things will change. You could enforce your legal option and file for an eviction, but perhaps they are just a few days late every month. Eviction can seem like a very harsh option, so you might be looking for some other ways for landlords to deal with difficult tenants. We recommend that you hire a property management company to deal with the tenants for you. The management company can collect rent for you, saving your nerves and your time. Begin the eviction process If things have gone too far and you don’t want to deal with the problematic tenants anymore, you can start an eviction. Remember that you need a valid reason for this step. Here are the situations in which you can file for eviction: The tenants are not paying rent. Failure to pay the rent is the most common cause of evictions in the US. Not moving out after the lease is over. Once the lease expires, the people living on your property are no longer tenants; they become squatters. Violation of the terms of the lease. This can include anything from damaging the property to illegal activities on the premises. Keep in mind that laws regarding evictions in California have changed to extend the eviction moratorium. We recommend trying to find alternative ways to settle disputes with tenants. Help your tenants move out Yes, you read that one correctly. Problematic tenants might not like living on the property, so you can try to come to an understanding. If they choose to move out, you can help them out and ensure everything goes smoothly, for your sake. Although it’s the tenant’s obligation to move, you can find professional movers and a reliable crew you can work with. Reliable movers won’t damage your property or any of your belongings. Make sure you are present for the day of the move to oversee how things are going. Don’t let problematic tenants take their frustrations out on your property or damage the furniture as they are exiting. Just let the professional movers handle everything while you sit back with poise, avoiding any confrontation. In summary No one wants to deal with problematic tenants, but from time to time, every landlord will have an unpleasant experience with a tenant. We’ve given you some practical tips for landlords dealing with difficult tenants, and as you can see, many of them rely on remaining calm and involving other professionals. If you have particularly nasty tenants with whom you don’t want to deal yourself, you can hire property management to deal with them for you. Don’t let difficult tenants get in your head. Some people are not worth losing sleep over. Article courtesy of: Betty …

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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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