Category Archives for "Landlord tips"

Should My Properties Be Owned as an LLC or Corporate Entity?

Please check with your CPA and Attorney for purposes of Legal Consequences and Tax Consequences. Coming from experience all properties should be set to companies, and the main reason for people not wanting to do so is because certain mortgages. From the asset protection standpoint it adds an extra layer of protection, and inexpensive. You can login to the Secretary of States website and pay a fee, and you receive the certificate. You can give this certificate to the local title company; this ensures an extra level of insurance. Another main reason is doing this step can protect you from being targeted personally. In regards to that this is not 100% protective as there is ways to pierce the Corporate veil.

An example is if you own ten properties and someone injures themselves on one of your properties and wants to hold you personally accountable for the situation the attorney who is hired to assess the situation will research the owner of the properties. In which seeing they (you) are covered will avoid making this more of a dangerous situation.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

5 problems with Cleveland Oh property management

These are the 5 most common problems with property management in Cleveland, Ohio.

Property management is a difficult industry in Cleveland Oh. We are often the messengers of bad news. Renting is difficult and expenses vary by zip code throughout the Cleveland Oh area. Property management is also a very young industry in the Cleveland area. Only a small percentage of Cleveland landlords currently use a property management company. Of the top five companies in the area, the oldest is only seven years old.

Due to the newness of the industry here in Cleveland, there are some problems that property owners need to be aware of before hiring a property manager. Here are the top 5 problems with Cleveland, Ohio property management.

  1. Lack of accountability. Unless you are following your property manager around making sure they are doing what they say they are doing, there is no way to know for sure. This creates an overall lack of accountability. We work to eliminate that with our property owners through the use of surveys, photos, videos, and inspections, as  well as provide regular reports and statements, as well as inspection services. We take the extra step to demonstrate accountability.
  2. Lack of fiduciary. All property managers are supposed to be licensed, but that is often not what you will find. Fiduciary care to all clients is sadly not happening. In many cases, it is someone who owns some properties and decides it would be easy enough to also manage other properties. However, they are not giving the same level of care to all properties. We use systems to make sure all properties are getting the same level of care. Our landlords also have dedicated representatives that act as their direct point of contact.
  3. Lack of license. I said earlier that many people offering management services in the area are doing it without a license. A quick check of Craigslist will verify that for you. Managing properties without a license is highly illegal.  If caught the individual will be charged with a misdemeanor and receive a fine of $1,000 per incident, which adds up quickly. This can lead to you losing a lot of money. Not to mention, working without a license is not professional and does not offer accountability or fiduciary responsibility.
  4. Lack of communication. This is a common problem between property managers and landlords because the management company has not created a system to monitor and encourage communication. We guarantee your dedicated representative will respond to calls by the end of business on the following day. We believe the more communication the better.
  5. No real process. Those new to the business quickly realize that without solid systems in place to manage every aspect of property management, things get out of hand quickly. This is a very complicated industry. The bigger the company gets, the more difficult it becomes.We deliver peace of mind through our systems. We utilize management software, maintenance software, project management software and more to ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently for everyone.

We are always looking at our current processes to determine if there is something more or better we can be doing. If you have any suggestions or feedback, we are always happy to hear. If you are a property owner in Cleveland Oh, feel free to contact us with any questions.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

 

Should I have someone manage my rental properties?

rental properties

Investment property comes with unavoidable risk.

This is a question I hear a lot. People want to know if they should manage their rental properties themselves or hire a property manager. In order to answer that question, I have a couple questions for you.

Do you have real estate experience and can you handle high stress situations? Managing rental properties is a stressful job. Are you the kind of person that can stay calm and level-headed in a stressful situation? Can you manage emergencies calmly? Can you keep your cool when someone is trying your patience? These are some of the attributes you need to deal with tenants on a day-to-day basis.

Tenants bring drama and have ways of attempting to control the situation. They may call in the middle of the night or make constant demands. They may try to guilt you into accepting their excuses for not paying rent or for making concessions you wouldn’t normally agree to. Can you deal with these emotions? A manager will insulate you from possible mental and emotional abuse.

Having  a manager helps with these emotions by dealing with the tenants directly. Managers create a buffer between you and the chaos. However, there are some emotions a manager can not help alleviate.

Can you handle the emotions that come with risk and property ownership?  A manager can help deal with the tenants but they cannot take out the risks involved. This is addressed in Should I be a Landlord? There will always be risk in owning rental properties. Things happen. Bad tenants happen. Property damage happens. natural disasters happen. As property managers we work to decrease many of the risks, but we cannot promise they will never happen. You have to be able to deal with the risks that come along with owning rentals.

Do you have the time to manage your properties?  We take care of the day-to-day needs allowing you to use your time in other ways. We have several successful systems in place that allow us to manage a multitude of properties seamlessly.

Are you a control freak? We see this a lot with landlords that have been in the business for years and have been managing their own properties. They want us to do everything their way, but that won’t work for us. Our systems work and to try to manage different properties using different systems or procedures would be hectic and take way too much time. When landlords decide to work with us, they need to take that leap of faith and allow us to manage them our way using our systems. If this is something you can not let go of, you may be better offer hiring an employee to help you with the day-to-day work instead of hiring a property manager.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

 

Should I be a landlord in Cleveland, Ohio?

Cleveland, Ohio is a very unique market

Do you have what it takes to be a landlord? That is an important question to ask yourself before you start buying rental properties. Unfortunately, there are a lot of courses out there encouraging people with the benefits of property ownership without explaining the risks involved.

Cleveland, Ohio is a very diverse area with a lot of different zip codes, and the zip code you buy property in will make a huge difference in what your experience is as a landlord. Do you know the area you are looking at buying properties? Again, there are courses that make being an out of the area landlord sound glamorous, but you are taking a real risk buying properties in an area you’ve never seen before.

Are you a worry wart? If the answer is yes then you should not be a landlord. You probably should not be in business at all. Stick with safe investments like bonds. You won’t have the potential for large returns, but you also won’t have the risk of a total loss.

Do you have financial limitations? For many, they go into real estate with no extra income. Don’t invest all of your retirement savings into real estate. Yes, there are success stories of people who spent their last hundred dollars to get into the business and ended up millionaires, but that is not the norm, and there is a lot more to the story than what you may hear.

If you have no cash reserves, you are taking a significant risk. A single natural disaster or sewer collapse could financial destroy you. You’ll be left waiting for the insurance to pay out to make the needed repairs, or the insurance will refuse the claim, which can happen, and then you have to pay out of pocket. You MUST have cash reserve for the worst case scenario.

Often times people are blinded by the potential and fail to see the risk. You need to have an investment mindset, which means you think long-term. Can you do that?

Can you put 20% “true” equity down on a property. Housing prices are not always what they seem and properties do not always follow national trends. I’ve seen landlords try to sell a house “as is” because they are mad about damage made by a tenant. What they don’t realize is that $5,000 worth of damage can drop the value of the home $50,000. This may not sound fair and it may not be fair, but it is the reality of the situation. If buyers have to put work into the home, they are going to want it for well below market value.

You need to understand the Cleveland market and know what you are getting into. Otherwise, do not invest in Cleveland and don’t be a landlord.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

How OUR systems and expertise can help the CLEVELAND, OH Landlord.

Systems

Our Systems at Work

We want nothing more than for you to feel secure in your investment. We differentiate ourselves not only through our computer systems but also by educating ourselves as part of out T.E.E. system. Each month we meet and discuss how we can improve our systems with the following:

1.) Reducing delays or waste.
2.) Employing sound scatter-site management
3.) Providing you peace of mind.

Do you have more questions or concerns? Please call us and let us know how we are doing at 440-220-7300

Our End of Year accounting makes preparing your taxes easy.

Taxes

End of Year Taxes

There are some people that enjoy doing their taxes, I am not one of them. We simplify your taxes each year by providing summaries including your expenses that you can easily give to your accountant. We want you to have the piece of mind that comes with knowing that our systems simplify the process of filing taxes each year.

Please feel free to call us at any time at 440-220-7300

How much rental deposit do you collect?

People often ask if we collect a rental deposit of the first and last month’s rent. We don’t, and I’ll explain why.

Collecting the first and last month’s rent does not provide a better safety net. The safety net you have is what money is left. That is the rental deposit. There are many key points you need to know about deposits explained in What Cleveland Ohio landlords need to know about large deposits and deposit accounting. Be sure to read about how to handle large deposits.

We collect the first month’s rent and a rental deposit. This is pretty normal in the business. Sometimes, we run specials with lower deposit amounts for those that qualify. With the property owners permission. Qualifying for a reduced deposit as based on the background check. The goal is to get better tenants that will act more responsibly towards the property. Tenants who will take ownership in the look and condition of the home.

The tenant is responsible for damages regardless of how much of a deposit we collect. When damages exceed the deposit, the tenant is responsible. I recommend choosing a quality tenant over a large deposit. Too often, landlords think a large deposit is the best protection. Careful screening can reduce damages and eviction costs.

The goal is to get good tenants that won’t damage the house or stop paying their rent. We make sure to fill properties, and your business remains profitable,  Although sometimes evictions are unavoidable, careful screening reduces the risk. If you have any questions about our policy towards rental deposits, please ask.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

How many years of property management experience do you have?

Realty Trust Services

Our three company values are transparency, empathy, and education

We get asked how many years of property management experience we have? This is a good question, but it isn’t the best question you should be asking.

For us, we have roughly 45 years of combined experience, but that isn’t the best figure because a good majority of people who say they have 30 years experience, don’t actually have 30 years of experience; they have one year of experience repeated 30 times.

The best question is “are people growing and improving to become better at their jobs?”

New technology doesn’t replace good service, but it does combine with service to create a mindset and intention for growth. This creates an atmosphere that promotes better customer service. In addition to personal growth, we consistency work to utilize the best possible options in new technology.

The three values of our company are transparency, empathy, and education. Education is a huge part of this and a significant focus here. We believe education allows people to grow quickly. We read a book a month and increase our experience by learning from others. This makes us wiser and better at serving. It makes us more efficient at doing our jobs.

Another significant focus for us is on systems. How can we make it better? That is always the question we are asking ourselves in every area of the business. We track everything we do, and when something doesn’t go right, which happens, we discuss it to see how we can make it better.

Nothing is ever perfect, but we can always strive for better.

Our goal is always to deliver peace of mind for all the stakeholders. That includes the property owners, us, the tenants, and the neighbors; anyone and everyone impacted by the properties.

We consistently strive to make this company’s experience more than the years.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

How many times do you inspect my property?

Regular inspections protect you from serious damage.

If you start asking around, you will learn that people in the business have some very strong opinions regarding the effectiveness or benefit of doing more than just move-in and move-out inspections.

Personally, I believe more is better, or at least they can’t hurt. Doing an inspection while people are living can be tricky because there is only so much you can do about what you see. Some would argue you can’t really do anything.

For example, if you are in an apartment and see that the tenant damaged the paint, you now know that you are going to have to repaint regardless of how long the tenant lives there, so instead of pushing for an eviction due to damage, you really want them to stay as long as possible.

However, there are other kinds of damage that it is a benefit to catch it early. For example, if you are in the apartment and notice signs of water damage that were not there before, you can investigate it further and make needed repairs. If unchecked, a water leak or other source of water damage can cause a great deal of expensive damage. While one would hope, if there was a water leak, the tenant would call and report it, you can not assume that will be the case.

I think it is best to inspect properties before summer and into late fall. These are the times when you should be changing out furnace filters anyway, so it would be efficient to also use these opportunities to conduct an inspection. Doing them twice a year is enough to ensure that nothing gets out of hand.

We are currently looking at ways to offer property owners a package they can pay for to have these regular scheduled inspections conducted on their properties. We are still working on a way to offer this additional service in an organized, logical, and cost effective way. If you have any questions regarding having more inspections conducted on your properties or just want to discuss it further, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us directly.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

How are you insured to do property management?

This is actually a question we do not get asked a lot, but we should be because it is important to know what kind of insurance your property manager has. We deal with a lot of high liability issues on a regular basis, so it is important to have that protection in place.

We have two types of insurance: general commercial liability and errors and admission.

  1. Errors and admission insurance is if we make a mistake.
  2. General commercial insurance has a much broader umbrella and covers most things not covered with the errors and admissions insurance.

While it is important for us to be properly insured, it is still essential for the owner to have proper insurance.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

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