Category Archives for "Property Management Tips"

Help! My Cleveland Ohio properties have statement discrepencies

Cleveland Ohio property managers deal with very diverse properties and tenants.

Statement discrepancies happen. There are a lot of moving parts when it come to property management, and property managers throughout the Cleveland, Ohio area are working with a very diverse group of tenants and properties.

Although it may seem easy enough to add up how much you should be getting in rent and subtract the expenses; there is more to it than that. Rent doesn’t always come in at the start of the month; tenants pay late or make arrangements with partial payments. While some expenses are known at the start of the month, they can also come up throughout the month. These two factors will alter the amount you may think you should be getting.

Especially for owners that are out of town, making reference to past statements can easily get confusing. We have worked to eliminate any possible confusion. We do this by first making sure everyone is looking at the same statement. Sometimes amended statements are sent out when things change, and the problem may be that the property owner is looking at an outdated statement without realizing it.

There are two things we do to get rid of confusion. First, we will email the current statement while on the phone before trying to sort out the problem. Making sure both the property manager and the property owner are looking at the same statement is essential.

Another option we have is doing a screen share through join.me. This allows us to send you a link with a code that will allow you to see our computer screen. Then we can walk you through the statement and answer any questions while showing you were the answers are coming from on the statement.

We firmly believe that communication is the key. The better communication we have the less chance there will be for misunderstandings.

If you have rental property in the Cleveland Ohio area, please give us a call. 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 do you protect me from property damage?

Learn the steps we take to protect you from property damage.

We are often asked by property owners how we protect them from property damage. This is an important question because property damages can get very expensive very quickly. Costs come from repairing the damages, and from the time the property has to remain empty.

There are two things we do for all our property owners to protect them from damages.

  1. Collect a deposit. We collect a deposit from each tenant before they move in. The deposit is held to help cover the cost of any damages to the property. After screening, if we think the person is risky, we may offer them a lease with a higher deposit. We may collect a double, triple, or even quadruple deposit. In an upcoming post, I will discuss how much of a deposit we collect and why.
  2. Tenant screening. The best thing we do to protect property owners is by carefully screening every tenant. We have a screening process that we go through with every tenant application we receive, and it works. If we can provide better tenants, there is a lower risk of property damage. We foster good will with our tenants by encouraging and maintaining a positive relationship with the tenants. Staying in contact with tenants helps, and so does giving landlords regular updates. You can learn more about our screening process from our post 7 Steps to a Flawless Tenant Screening.
  3. Inspections. we also suggest regular inspections. They allow us to identify problems earlier than we would waiting until the tenant moves out. This allows us to discover problems such as water leaks before they cause significant damage. Learn more about what your options are when it comes to inspections with How many times do you inspect my property

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!

 

My home is not leasing: tips for better lease marketing

Our marketing efforts are proven effective.

 

We get this a lot. Someone calls and tells us they have a property that has been sitting on the market for a year and nothing is happening. We ask, are they marketing the property? The owner responds that there is a “for rent” sign. We ask if they’ve gotten any calls on it. They tell us that they call their realtor or manager about it, but don’t get a clear response or any response at all.

If this story sounds familiar to you or it is your story, please call us.

We will bring energy to your properties and actively work to reduce vacancies.

There has to be a starting point, for us, that will be sitting down with you and discussing the rental prices to ensure they are marketing at a price that makes sense.

We spend thousands on marketing. Way more than most individual landlords can possibly spend because we can combine our efforts over all the properties we manage. We also spend our marketing dollars on the most effective marketing tactics possible.

Our first line of marketing is our website, ohiorental.info, which gets thousands of visitors every month. We also pay for syndication. This gets our property listings out to dozens of websites. We follow up with every lead on every property. Our marketing program has proven effective day in and day out. Also, we add to and improve our efforts anytime we discover a new or better option. We regularly look at our efforts to make changes as needed. We also use MLS, which is massive and Craig’s List to provide constant exposure to properties.

Our property owners get weekly activity reports. You will never go weeks or months without hearing from us. Weekly reports show things like how many page views a property listing received. They show how many inquiries the property got and how many showings were scheduled. We also provide advice on possible changes based on the information provided.

We found that roughly 30% of the time, we have a deposit on a property before the previous tenants even move out. In addition to our marketing efforts, tenant screening is an essential tool we use to reduce potential damage to properties and reduce vacancies.

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!

Will I have an assigned representative for my property?

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An assigned representative will work directly with you and know everything going on with your property.

Will I have an assigned representative to deal with me and my property? This is a big issue because not all property management companies offer this.

Yes. Our property management company has a system in place where the managers split the properties between them. Those managers are responsible for your success. You can call them with your questions or problems, and they will know about your properties and be able to get you what you need.

A lot of larger property management companies use a call center that directs property owners to different departments, where the person they talk to may or may not know their properties.

We still have departments, but your manager will be responsible for your properties. These is also a 24-hour call center, but this is used to be always available. Our company works to streamline everything we do to make it easier.

A lot of our property owners are out of the area. It makes them angry when they have a question that no one can answer. They want to know what is happening with their properties. Not only will you have a manager, but you will also get weekly updates. All of our property owners receive weekly reports showing what is happening with their properties. Reports also cover the collected rent and money spent.

Many of the processes we have in place are to make our property management run more successfully.  Even if they are unfamiliar, we encourage landlords to trust our systems and call when they have 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!

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!

 

When do I get my rent money each month?

We focus on providing property owners with a steady cash flow from their properties.

This is another common question and with good reason. In order to plan accordingly, property owners need to know when they can expect the rent money from their properties. Management companies vary greatly on how they handle payments. Many companies pay at the end of the month because it makes accounting easier and cleaner. By waiting until the end of the month, they can deduct whatever expenses come up and send you the remaining balance.

We, however, understand that doesn’t work out for all property owners. In an effort to serve the needs of our property owners, we pay weekly with direct deposits. Each week any money owned is paid out, which keeps up the cash flow for you because you don’t have to wait weeks to receive your rent payments.

It does take longer if you prefer getting paper checks, and we strongly encourage setting up the direct deposit.

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!

 

 

What needs to be done before leasing my house

We utilize the best available resources to make your properties profitable.

With everything we do there is a process and a checklist. This helps us to get things done quickly and effectively without the worry of forgetting something. This includes a checklist with everything to do before leasing your house.

When a tenant moves out.. the first thing we do is a move out inspection and security deposit accounting. The move out inspection allows us to determine the condition of the property compared to the property’s condition when the tenant moved in. After determining if there is any damage, we prepare the security deposit accounting, which MUST be provided to the tenant within 30 days of them moving out by law.

The next step before leasing making needed repairs. This step is important to us. Some property owners prefer to not make any repairs as a means of saving money and simply charging less rent since the property is not in perfect condition. However, our philosophy is the better condition the property is in, the better quality tenants we attract. Better quality tenants take better care of the property while they live there and there will be less damage. It creates a positive cycle.

Once repairs are made, the property is thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom. We have an amazing cleaning person on staff, who follows a detailed checklist. We’ve received plenty of feedback on how well she does. Making sure the property is thoroughly cleaned has a big impact. People will pass on a property that is dirty. It suggests that it was not well cared for.

We also paint. Any rooms or walls that are marred or too dirty are painted. Touch-ups never work because you can always tell. At the very least, we paint the entire wall. We generally go with neutral colors, but we do experiment with accent walls. Again, the better quality the apartment is, the better quality tenants we attract. We also make sure there are window blinds throughout in a neutral color.

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 much do you charge for evictions?

Control eviction costs by preventing them

This is not a bad question to ask, and we get it a lot. Landlords are worried about evictions because they are so costly.

We offer our property owners an all-in-one fee. This covers the three-day notice, court appearances, attorney fees, court costs, and any other related costs. I’m not going to state here what the current fee is because it changes from time to time. Check HERE to see our current all-in-one eviction fee.

We are looking at adding eviction protection insurance as a service to our property owners. For an additional small monthly fee, eviction costs will be covered. If that is something you may be interested in, let us know. We are currently gauging the level of interest there is for that kind of service.

While an eviction is sometimes necessary, it is out ultimate goal to avoid evictions because we understand that evictions and move-outs are costly. We want to save our property owners the expense and frustration of evictions. Please also read What Happens if a Tenant Doesn’t Pay the Rent? to learn more about what we do to avoid costly evictions and move-outs.

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 to use video marketing to lease your property faster

Rent your properties faster than ever before with less showings.

Video marketing is a huge tool and something you should already be using. Video tours can save you a lot of time showing properties because people will have the opportunity to preview the property first. This will filter out a lot of tenants that wouldn’t otherwise be interested once they had a chance to see the rental unit. In this way, video marketing also attracts more serious prospects.

The success of video marketing is completely dependent on the quality of the video. The key to success is making a video that is smooth, clear and provides an accurate and appealing view of the property. Here are a few tips to help you make a video tour that will get your property rented fast.

  1. Use a decent camera. You don’t need an expensive camera or professional equipment. You just need a decent camera that will take clear video. Most smartphones now actually have excellent cameras and allow you to upload them directly to YouTube.
  2. Use a wide-angle lens. Even if you are using the camera on your phone, you can get a wide-angle lens attachment. This is particularly useful when filming small rooms because it will allow you to shoot the entire room at once, which will make it look bigger and more open.
  3. Sweep the room. You want to ensure when you are showing a room; you aren’t moving too fast or jerking the camera around. Start at one side of the room and slowly and steadily sweep the view up, around, and back down. Then slowly back out of the room. You don’t want to physically turn around and walk out because you will inevitably end up with a close-up of a wall.
  4. Limit the length. No one will sit through a 30-minute video tour…or even a 10-minute video tour to be frank. Aim to make your videos 3 to 7 minutes. 5 minutes should be your max, but depending on the size of the property, you may need to go up to 7 minutes. As with any marketing, video marketing must be short and to the point or people will stop watching.
  5. Walk smoothly. You may not feel it, but the simple act of walking can make your video turn out jerky and shaky. Our eyes naturally correct that jerky when we walk, which is why you won’t see it until you’re trying to watch a video you recorded. One way to limit the movement in the video is to take your shoes off, so you can slide your feet as you move around. Some cameras come equipment with stabilization, which also may help. There is also a certain amount of correction you can make using Youtube editor. The finished product does not have to look professional, but it needs to be as smooth as possible.
  6. Hold the camera with both hands. Holding the camera with both hands will help to keep it steady and centered. The less you move the camera around the better the final video will be.
  7. Walk through the center. Regardless of whether you are moving down a hallway or through a door, stay in the center. This will keep the walls from cutting into the video and make the space look more open.
  8. Be prepared. Before you start filming, walk through the entire unit, turn on lights, open drapes, and bedroom doors. Do everything you may need to be done while filming, so you don’t need to stop or mess up the video by having to open a door while shooting. Open the drapes and turn all the lights on. The brighter a room is, the more open it will feel.
  9. Highlight anything special. Make a list of all the selling points of the property and make sure they are in the video as well as talked about. For example, if the apartment has a laundry room, don’t just show the laundry without saying anything…or say there is a laundry room without showing it. Include the laundry room in the video tour and when you do, tell the viewers that they won’t have to lug their dirty clothes down to the laundry mat or save up all their quarters to use a laundry room…

When you start the video tour, you always want to start outside in front of the property. Use a very casual, conversational tone when talking, and start by saying something to the effect of, “Hi. Welcome to ________________….” Then start describing the benefits of the property.

Before you go into the property, do a slow and smooth 360, so the viewer can get a look at the neighborhood.

As you walk through the house, name each room you are going in to. This will help the viewer create a mental map of the property. It is best to shoot the entire video without editing. If you make a mistake, laugh it off in the video. If doesn’t have to be perfect, and mistakes make you look more real.

When describing the house, focus on the benefits, opposed to the features. For example, instead of saying there is a “large family room” you can say, “plenty of room for company.” Instead of saying the house has a “high-efficiency furnace,” so it has “low heating costs.” The key is to market what people want, such as low monthly expenses or having friends and family over.

Remember, the video does not have to be perfect or dramatic. Just make it happen. Video marketing provides a new dimension to a marketing plan.

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,

 

The importance of video inspections in property management

Learn how to protect yourself and your property.

Our ultimate goal is to make investment property ownership a stress-free and profitable for the property owners. There are many ways we do that, and we are always working to find new ways to meet the needs of our property owners. This is why we strongly suggest video inspections.

One of the many services we offer are video inspections. This includes a recorded walk through of the apartment prior to a new tenant moving in. It also includes a recorded work through of the apartment when the tenant moves out. Video inspections are provided when large repairs or improvements are being recommended.

We have found the use of video inspections to be positive for both us and the property owners. When a property owner decides to work with a property manager, there is a certain level of trust needed.

For example, when a manager contacts the owner to let them know about repairs needed to the property that will cost the owner money, the owner has two options:

  1. Trust the manager is making a good and necessary repair
  2. Refuse the repair until you get proof that it was absolutely necessary. This creates an awkward situation for both the owner and the manager.

One thing we do to lessen the potential for a bad situation and to build that trust with the owners is to do video inspections. This is good in several ways. You can see a lot more detail in a video that you can in photo. It allows us to zoom in on areas of damage while still providing perspective on where the damage is.

A video provides a better overall view of the property. This is especially helpful when comparing the condition of the property when a tenant moves to when the tenant moves out.

Limitations of video inspections

Video inspections can be limited in that it creates a sometimes long process. Particularly if you have to look through an entire video just to find one area of damage. However, we lessen that limitation by using the video inspections along with a written inspection report.

For example, if a property has exterior damage that needs to be addressed. We can provide a written report detailing the damage, repairs needed, and expected cost. We send it with a video of the damaged area. In this respect, the video will enhance the information provided in the written report.

Interior video inspections while a tenant is living there are sometimes difficult to get. However, this particular limitation can be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Benefits of Video Inspections

By providing the video inspections along with inspection reports we are building trust between us and the property owner while getting rid of a possible awkward situation of the property owner feeling the need to ask for proof of property damage and repair estimates.

Videos are also helpful when a case goes to court. We have found that video is much more effective when a tenant needs to be evicted or taken to court and there is property damage involved. Getting a video tour of the damage has a greater emotional impact than photos. The videos can also be used to show a clearer before and after condition of the property in court.

If a deposit is withheld due to damages and the former tenant argues that they deserve all or part of their deposit back, it is the property owner’s responsibility to prove the damages were legitimate and caused by the tenant. This is when before and after videos are most useful.

Video can also be used to lease properties faster and more effectively. How to use the power of video to promote your properties will be covered in How to Use Video to Lease Your Property Faster.

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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