Landlords secret weapon to lowering property taxes

Lorain County Board of Revision Ninja

We are going to be doing a short question and answer teleseminar/ webinar on the best way go to the board of revision and lower your property taxes in Lorain County or Cuyahoga County. If you are a landlord you are always looking for ways to cut your costs in this economy. If you could cut the taxes in half on all your properties this could make things much better for you, yet challenging taxes can be quite a hassle.

A landlord with over 75 units will be online for your questions and to explain his method for lowering his taxes. Also we will have several other experienced individuals that will share their expertise in this area. We won’t hold back and will even reveal our secret weapon for getting our property values lowered. If you are a landlord you won’t want to miss this.

We haven’t locked down a date yet but we will have this webinar some time before the 1st of December when people can start making the application to lower their taxes.

To receive early bird notice fill in your information below:

Lower your taxes webinar early bird notice:

Fill out this form to get notice of the upcoming webinar to lower your property taxes.

5 considerations before jumping in with the sharks to buy a rental property

Buy a home in Lorain Ohio

Lorain County Investment Property can feel a bit like swimming with sharks! Yes even at these great prices you can lose an arm!

If you are seeing all the great deals out there and want to get a great rental property before all the deals disapear, my advice is not so fast. The waters here are great for surfing but they are infested with SHARKS.

For instance it is not entirely unheard of to purchase a rental in Lorain County for $10,000 put $10,000 into it and be able to rent out the property for $700 per month. At first glance that means you will get your original investment back in 2.3 years.  Not bad.  We have seen better deals than that come across our desk and lesser deals (See our web form below join our investor list. ). However if you don’t know the area you might be in for some 30% plus vacancy that could significantly effect your profits. Or maybe you thought you could get 700 but after 6 months of trying you have to lower it to $450. Still not a terrible deal compared to many investments today but maybe not as good as you could have gotten.

1. Location, location, location.
Carefully consider exactly where you are buying. There are many out of town investors that look only at the numbers. However if you don’t know location you need to make sure you have someone who does helping you understand the benefits and drawbacks of a specific location. Some areas look great but simply are not desirable for a whole lot of reasons. Other areas don’t look good but actually are in demand.

One strategy for evaluating location is to consider the target market you think a home will be for. Is this home likely going to attract a you family based on the lay out and size? If this is the case then proximity to good local schools will be something for you to evaluate.

Other factors for your consideration are:

  • are crime rates
  • percentage of owner occupants on the street
  • vacancy rates in the area
  • are neighboring properties well maintained
  • availability of parking
  • is there any good public transit nearby
  • what are the local amenities (shopping, recreation centers, parks, golf courses, restaurants, banks)
  • how nearby are public service hubs like fire stations and the police station

Also consider location in the cost of landlord insurance. Your zip code effects your insurance rate big time.

2. Get on the knowledge train…
Make sure you understand the processes and legal obligations involved in renting out a property. One small slip up in how you advertise can mean a fair housing violation for you. Fair housing violations are very very expensive. There are also numerous requirements for paperwork to cover your tail and make sure you you have expectations properly set with your tenant. Do you know what lead based paint disclosure is? Ohio law requires it in properties built before 1978.

Make sure you understand the true costs when purchasing a rental property. They can bite your arm off. One benefit of the current market is that the low prices of homes are making cash purchases a reality for many potential investors so the risk of jumping in is much lower. Even if costs eat you alive your return on investment will likely be better than than the stock market or a CD.  Still it is very possible to lose money with an investment property and it is important that you do your research (hint- an investment property specialist can really help here- see below).

The following should be factored in:

  • Vacancy rates for the area
  • Security system while renting
  • Eviction costs
  • Cost of getting property ready for rent
  • Marketing cost
  • Maintenance cost
  • Management cost (You can do it or someone else can do it but it is still cost to factor in either way.  Keep in mind the cost you incur when you hire someone who isn’t a professional or do it yourself.  It dwarfs the cost of professional management which we believe will pay for itself many times over.)
  • Landlord insurance
  • Money cost- If you are getting financing (which we don’t recomend) then you will have your interest cost as well as payments on principal (which eat into cash flow).  If you use cash then you have to consider the oppurtunity cost of tying up your money in a property.
One excellent place for landlord knowledge locally here is LELA, however

3. Insurance

Rental property insurance is an absolute must.  If you are renting your property out then you certainly will not qualify for a standard home insurance policy.  Vacant homes that are not rented are even a bigger insurance hassle and you want to make sure that you are on board with a good insurance agent.  Email us for a referral (

Also you want to make sure that you are properly insured to protect your assets.  Although there are many other asset protection strategies in the form of separate entities like trusts, LLC’s etc (contact us if you want an attorney referral for this at  Our company has a $1,000,000 E & O policy and our Investment Property Management Company has $1,000,000 in insurance for repairs made to our clients properties as well.  For a Landlord an inexpensive umbrella policy would help protect against the freak lawsuit that could otherwise wipe away all the assets you have worked so hard to acquire.

4. Maintenance and upkeep
You’ll need to inspect your property at specific intervals and make sure that the tenant is not destroying property faster than what you might expect from normal wear and tear.  It is vital to make sure that a property is inspected reasonably soon after a tenant first moves in just to make sure they aren’t quickly destroying it.

Failing to maintain a property can result in injury to the occupants and then a lawsuit.  Also an unmaintained property is difficult to rent out to good paying renters.  It helps to have a reliable contractor on hand who can quickly do any work necessary (hint, hint… we can help with that- this is one benefit of professional maintenance.  and you won’t have 1AM calls for help).  For instance plumbing repairs and furnace repairs must be done immediately in order to avoid a certain and expensive vacancy.

5. Finding GREAT tenants
Promoting your property is an art in it self.  Different areas need different marketing techniques to find the best tenant for the area.  Also some areas will simply attract a different kind of tenant than other areas.  It is important to understand various areas and the best marketing for each area as well as how to screen tenants(see our tenant marketing strategies article here).

Find a great investment property

Let us know your investment property needs. Our specialist will contact you to assist you.
  • Let us know any questions you have or special requirements. Do you need a specific return?


With more than 45 years of investment property management experience our expert 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 vary your rental marketing and tenant screening for the area

The market has been ruthless to many landlords as well as opened up new oppurtunities to acquire properties and make more money in real estate investments than every before.

When looking to lease out a property and find the best tenant you need to keep in mind the following and vary your strategy according to the local market you are working in and the type of property you have.  It helps of course to have the help of a professional team with experience.  However if you want to go it on your own here are some guidelines and strategies that will hopefully help you manage this process.  Keep in mind we do have a marketing and tenant placement service for those who want to do the management themselves.

Certain areas will simply attract a different kind of tenant than other areas. It is important to understand various areas and the best marketing for each area as well as how to screen tenants.

For lower income areas (properties with rents $300 to $850) Craigslist along with aggressive handwritten signs (if necesary) might be the way to go for marketing. Also in many lower income areas you won’t find a tenant with good credit. You have to screen those tenants based on their eviction history, criminal history, landlord referrals and income. Make sure you check those references. We have a grading system for quickly grading low income renters. This is important because competition is brutal. If you can’t give an affirmative answer with in several hours your best in class low income tenant may have signed somewhere else already. In many lower income areas the competition is so fierce that you won’t be able to attract a tenant with out discounting the security deposit.

For higher end areas (properties with rents 900 to 2,500) the process is much different. Those properties need to be put into the MLS as well as numerous other websites including Craigslist (which is still very useful). Tenants may come through outside agents who represent them. The good news is generally there is a much higher quality pool of tenants to choose from. You may be able to require great credit and a full security deposit. However you have to sell good prospects as well as they have a choice. Rental prospects may in fact be interviewing and screening a landlord or management company just as much as the management company is screening them. They will make a choice based not just on rent and whether they like the property but also they want to know that a professional is managing the property and want assurance that the property is going to be maintained in a timely manner and their needs will be dealt with professionally (hint- We actively market to clients not just our properties but the assurance that we as a company have a system to take care of them).


With more than 45 years of investment property management experience our expert 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!

Bedbugs… what is the Lorain County landlord liability?

Bed bugs are becoming a huge problem for Lorain County Landlords these days.  The question is what is the liability to landlords?  Does a landlord need to pay to exterminate bed bugs, when it is the tenants fault for possibly bringing them in to the home in the first place? We aren’t attorneys and can’t answer that question directly for every scenario.

However landlords do have the responsibility for maintaining the safety of their buildings.  In multi unit properties a landlord should probably shoulder the responsibility as blame for infestation is even more difficult to ascertain.  In a single family home it is still possible that a landlord will be responsible as the cause of an infestation is very difficult to prove and the bugs are a real health threat.

Here is a research paper on bed bugs from Ohio State University.

Here is an attorney article on bed bugs and rentals.

Lorain County Bed Bugs Article.

Feel free to comment below on local bed bug experiences.  Bed bug mitigation is very expensive and often doesn’t work. There are however many new treatments coming out.

If you as the landlord have bed bugs on your property, this is a real bummer, regardless of whether you have professional property management or not.  At Realty Trust Services we are able to help you in treating infestations and handling the tenant dram that is involved so you can go on with life as usual.


With more than 45 years of investment property management experience our expert 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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