Tag Archives for " tenants "

How to easily and quickly spot a leaky toilet and stop a water billzilla.

A water leak from your toilet can be trouble, for both the property owner and the tenant. It is something that if left unattended, can become costly and very inconvenient at the same time. It’s important to know that most tenants are responsible for the water bill according to what is stablished on their lease. Also, depending on the situation, if a water leak occurs, tenants might also end up becoming responsible for the extra water usage that goes over the standard bill in the case of a non-reported leak. This extra amount can ascend to hundreds and even thousands of dollars, depending on how bad the leak is.

A water leak can drive up your bill to even thousands of dollars.

So, in order to help you prevent having to deal with a billzilla attack, I’d like to give you a few short tips you can use to detect and handle a water leak from your toilet.

  • Listen carefully and try to detect water running continuously during the night, as well as sounds coming from your toilet as if it were being used when it’s clearly not.
  • Purchase a dye test for your toilet. You can get these at Home Depot for a couple of bucks, and it’s easy to use. You just put the dye test in the toilet tank, and after some time, if it’s leaking you will notice that even when the toilet is not being used, the edges of the inside of the toilet will have rivulets of dye running down.
  • You can try the previous step without the dye test, it’s just harder to detect the rivulets of water down the inside of the toilet if it’s a really subtle leak.
  • Sometimes, you can actually find the problem inside the water tank for the toilet. You might find it a little bit gross, but don’t worry it’s only filled with regular clean water. Several things could be wrong here, just check that everything is working as it should and nothing is stuck and the flapper that blocks the flow of water is able to seal the water off consistently when down (it could be bent, filled with sediment, or something along those lines).
  • If you detect a leak, you can stop the flow of water into the toilet tank by closing the stop valve that is connected to your toilet. It’s usually low near the ground, right next to your toilet, you just turn it clockwise until the water stops flowing in. Careful not to turn it too hard though, you could break it!
  • After you’ve detected the leak and stopped the flow, give us a call!
  • Something you can do in order to keep using your toilet even with the stop valve closed due to you having found a leak, is to fill about a gallon of water in any type of container, and after you’re done using the toilet you heavily empty this container into the pool until the water goes down. This is a temporary solution, until the problem is fixed.

We hope this helps for you to be able to better manage your toilet and issues that arise in regard to a leak coming from it. Remember, the more you pay mind to these type of things, the less likely you run the risk of incurring any extra expenses or inconveniences that come along with them.

 

Hard work is not enough!

Hard work is a good thing! But it is not enough for us to develop as much as we are able to. How many times have we seen somebody clocking hours of work along with overtime in order to rise quickly through the ranks and acquire better opportunities within a company. They typically get promoted quickly and then plateau and stop advancing.

Taking a break from work will also help you grow.

This is a common occurrence, and it’s fueled by the misconception that working as hard as you can, as long as you can, will yield the most results in your life. This is wrong. Hard work is not enough. And sometimes, it could even become detrimental. Some people even become workaholics based on this concept, and it completely wrecks every single aspect of their life – at times this yield results at work, but more often than not, it will just mess your life up.

Part of the issue is that much of what you need to be successful lies outside of you and in your ability to make those around you be empowered to create their own success. If you focus is on your own work you may not be able to see how what you are doing is effecting the net productivity of the company or team you are working with in.

A balance needs to exist. People should give themselves time to rest, time to experience life outside work. Time to grow. When you take your time to do these things, you will start developing more as an individual, you will sleep better, you will think better, and you will allow yourself the time to evaluate your life from a perspective than will procure your growth both inside and outside your job. It is a choice that only you can make, and it will in return lead you to better decision making at work, to more creativity, and to bring a positive energy back with you into your workplace. When exchanging these new assets with your colleagues you will notice how things will start flowing differently, and they will flow in favor of those things you want to accomplish.

So, remember, overworking yourself will definitely not help you be more successful, at least in the long run. Overgrowing yourself will!

The Importance of Video Inspections for Property Management

As a property manager, our ultimate goal is to make investment property ownership a stress-free and profitable experience for the property owners we work with. There are many ways we do that and we are constantly striving to find new ways to meet the needs of our property owners.

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 as well as a recorded work through of the apartment when the tenant moves out. Video inspections are also provided when large repairs or improvements are being recommended.

We have found the use of video inspections to be beneficial for both us and the property owners we work with. When a property owner decides to work with a property manager, there is a certain level of trust that has to grow in order for that relationship to work.

A video inspection is really efficient and beneficial for all parties involved in a lease.

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 verification that it was absolutely necessary. This creates an awkward situation for both the owner and the manager.

One thing we do to eliminate the potential for an awkward situation and to build that trust with the owners is to conduct video inspections. This is effective in several ways. You can see a lot more detail in a video that you can in photo, and it allows us to zoom in on areas of damage while still providing perspective on where the damage is within the property.

A video can also provide a better overall view of the property. This can be especially helpful when comparing the condition of the property when a tenant moves in compared to the condition of the property 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 mitigate that limitation by using the video inspections in conjunction 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 along 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 due to valid privacy issues for the tenant. 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 eliminating a possible awkward situation of the property owner feeling the need to ask for verification of property damage and repair estimates.

Videos are also helpful when a case goes to court. We have found that video is significantly 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 leverage the power of video to promote your properties will be covered in How to Use Video to Lease Your Property Faster.

How do you ensure that you find the best tenants for our property?

The key to maximizing profitability and minimizing risk as a landlord has a lot to do with choosing the right tenant. That starts with the marketing of the property, and the energy that can be produced off that. There are a few tricks to creating effective advertisements to help find the best tenants for your properties. You can advertise in the newspaper, on billboards, or on the Internet; however, you may be wasting your time and money advertising to people who either aren’t interested in what you have to offer or aren’t qualified to meet your criteria.

A good ad campaign lets you target and attract the kind of tenant you’re looking for. An advertisement works best when it’s appealing. So, before you decide what information to incorporate, think about what characteristics you value in a tenant. Here are some good examples:

Finding good tenants will, more often than not, prevent you from having to deal with a myriad of problems as a landlord.

· Stable employment

· Pays rent on time

· Has never been evicted or used a landlord as a revolving line of credit

Once you’ve identified characteristics you like in good tenants, think about what factors contribute to a good rental experience for landlord and tenant. What did you as the landlord have to offer your last tenant? Was the last tenant happy and satisfied? Assessing this information will help you decide how to focus on the marketing aspect for the property.

Often you will attract high risk tenants who use landlords as a revolving line of credit when advertising your rental property, so it is imperative that you attempt to identify these tenants immediately. Here at RTS, we have a very specific checklist process for screening tenants and filtering out bad elements for your property. Sometimes we even go as far as contacting up to two previous landlords for the potential tenant in order to verify their background. This can get tricky, since some landlords will lie in order to either keep their tenant (say they’re awful when they’re not) or lie in order to get them to leave (they will say they’re great when they’re not). This is why we have such a detailed process, and it will reduce the risk of you getting a bad tenant for a good property.

It’s important to note that, if the marketing aspect of the property is done right at the beginning, usually bad tenants will filter themselves out even before the screening begins. Rest assured though, that we will do our best to get you the best tenants we can find for you to do business with.

Can I Refuse Pets?

Let Fido help you maximize your business!

The short answer is yes. We do allow our property owners to have some discretion over pet rules. However, most of them allow pets and we encourage it. Let me tell you why.

Allowing pet owners will double your market. A good portion of the people renting single-family homes are doing so because they want to be able to have pets.

Because there is a higher demand for properties that allow pets, you will experience shorter vacancies between tenants. You’ll also have tenants longer. One study I read suggested that allowing pets can double the amount of time the tenant will live at the property.

Those two benefits work together; shorter vacancies and longer stays means more income and will more than compensate the potential costs associated with allowing pets.

Now, there is the potential for damage. Pets can get out of hand. They can pee all over the place. They can scratch up and ruin wood floors, door frames, etc. Pets can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

However, we do charge $35 per animal, which also helps to cover costs. We require potential tenants to submit photos of any animals they will have living in the house with their rental applications. This enables us to make sure we know exactly what animals will be there.

We also recommend our property owners request a 90-day Video Inspection, which will allow us to see if the tenant is, in fact, cleaning up after the animal and making sure it doesn’t destroy the property.

Despite the risks, we do thing allowing pets is a good policy. You can charge extra and reap the benefits.

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 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).

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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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