First-Time Landlords: How Often Should You Conduct a Rental Inspection?

rental inspection

As a landlord, it’s essential you put the work in to look after your property. Even if your tenant is a perfect angel, it’s always a good idea to check around prevent problems that could arise down the road. 

A presence as a landlord also encourages your tenant to better take care of the property. If you show that you care about the upkeep of the home or apartment, it’s more likely that they will too. 

That being said, keeping up a good relationship with your tenant will depend on communication and cooperation. You don’t want to be bothering your tenant all the time. How often should you conduct a rental inspection? 

Read on and we’ll walk you through what you should consider.

The Importance of an Inspection 

Your property only remains valuable if it is well maintained. If you allow it to fall into disrepair, you’ll be damaging the future value of the property.

An inspection can help you ensure the property is retaining its value when it’s not currently in your day-to-day control. It can help you budget and account for costs. After all, if there is damage to the property, it can be paid for out of your renter’s security deposit. 

Most tenants will expect that some rental inspections will be part of their rental process. Inspections show that you’re responsible and have proper expectations for the home. 

Move-In and Move-Out Inspections 

There are a few moments that are key to have a rental inspection in. Almost all renters will expect there to be a move-in inspection, for example. 

This inspection is done by both yourself and the tenant prior to their official move-in. Together, you will search for any existing issues with the property. Photos of existing damage should be documented. A sense of how the property existed prior to the tenant’s stay should be established. 

This can help prevent things from getting legally ugly later on. 

A move-out inspection will occur on the other side of the process when the tenant leaves. New damage or changes to the property that resulted during the tenants stay will be documented and discussed. 

You’ll want to schedule this walkthrough inspection on the very last day of your tenant’s stay. This way further damage can’t happen after your inspection. 

Routine Rental Inspections

Between the beginning and end of your tenant’s stay, you’ll want to drop in a few times and check on the property. It’s advised that you limit these inspections to once every three or six months. 

To visit more often than that can begin to feel like an invasion of privacy to your tenant. It can begin to cause undue tension between the two of you. But to do inspections less often is also not advisable. 

Once every three to six months allows you to stay on top of maintenance responsibilities and more easily track changes to the home. 

The All-Important Rental Inspection

A rental inspection is one of the key cornerstones to your time as a landlord and property owner. The inspection allows you to maintain the value and care of your property while establishing a working relationship with your tenant. 

Have more questions about working with tenants? Contact us anytime for assistance. 

The More the Merrier! 5 Lucrative Benefits of Investing in Multi-Family Real Estate

multi-family real estate

The research is in. Investing in real estate generates more wealth than any other investment option. Want to build your net worth without wasting valuable time or risking traumatic monetary losses?

If so, multi-family real estate may be the perfect investment option for you. Let’s get into the top benefits.

1. Scalability 

All successful business owners understand the undeniable importance of scalability. While it may seem like a safer bet to invest in a single property, this decision may not be very safe at all.

Think about it. Each individual property needs individual servicing and attention. You need to take care of all the nuances of homeownership like maintenance, landscaping, dealing with evicting tenants, etc.

When you scale up, the per-unit expenses go down. Less maintenance, fewer lawns to mow, and no driving around town to meet with different tenants.

2. Reduce Tenant Risk

A single-family home may be great- when you have tenants. But what happens when the house goes vacant, and the mortgage still needs to be paid?

If, on the other hand, you own a multi-family home, you build a diversification strategy naturally. Multiple tenants are forking over rent payments- this can help you float even if one of the units goes vacant.

3. Less Start-Up Effort

Let’s say you want to buy four houses to rent. Think about all those different closing costs, offer letters, and dealing with various agents and sellers. Think about all the work you need to do before you even own the property.

Compare that effort to that of owning a multi-family home. With this strategy, you visit one property, collaborate with one owner or seller, and engage in a single closing. That’s less time, money, and overall headaches for you!

4. Excellent Tax Breaks

As it turns out, the government rewards real instate investors with some attractive tax incentives.

For example, a major multi-house unit is going to come with serious deductions like depreciation. The depreciation can take place over two or more decades depending on how the property is classified.

To take advantage of these tax breaks, it’s best to work with a CPA who has ample experience in real estate. A CPA can help you save tens of thousands of dollars on your investment each year.

5. Faster Rent Increases 

Multi-family properties can adjust with current market conditions, which means they change according to inflation and market demands.

Multifamily leases are typically a year. Commercial real estate, on the other hand, often have 5-year leases. This short-term lease means that you can raise the rent more quickly and consistently according to market conditions.

Translation? More money for you! And you’re also keeping your property competitive on the current market. 

Final Thoughts On The Benefits of Multi-Family Real Estate

Multi-family real estate is one of the best options to diversify your assets and grow your wealth quickly!

Want to learn more about renting out property like a true professional? We have you covered. Check out this property management guide today.

Ready to Rock Real Estate? Tips for Property Management Professionals

property management professionals

There are more than 43 million Americans that rent their property. That’s the highest number in the past 50 years. No doubt about it: it’s a great time to be in property management. 

Property management professionals are in a great position thanks to the recent “rental rush”. And this trend doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Whether you’re new to this career path or you’re a seasoned professional, we’ve got some tips that’ll help you do a great job.

Property Manager Responsibilities

Job responsibilities of property management professionals depend largely upon if you are a residential or commercial property manager. Residential property managers run a piece of property on behalf of its owner. These can include apartments, homes, condos, and townhouses.

A commercial property manager runs non-residential spaces. These include offices, shopping centers, and retail spaces.

Residential Property Management

Leases on residential properties tend to be shorter than commercial ones. This means that residential property managers do a lot of marketing. They have to show the property to potential renters, set the rates of the rental, and set the lease time and terms. 

Residential property managers also deal with the financial aspect of the rentals. They collect the rent from residents and pay taxes, mortgages, and maintenance for the owner. They also deal with daily upkeep of the property, which can either be hands-on or outsourced.

Commercial Property Management

Marketing is also an important part of the commercial property manager’s job. Negotiating the lease and marketing the property can take longer than a residential property. But as industrial leases last longer and have built-in renewals, it’s a smaller role.

The financial aspects are like residential property management, too. But one major difference is that a commercial property manager is less responsible for daily upkeep. Most commercial tenants take care of maintenance and other upkeep responsibilities. 

Tips for Property Management Professionals

It doesn’t matter if you’ve managed zero properties or one hundred—there’s always room to improve. So no matter what type of property you’re managing, check out these tips to become an amazing property management professional. 

Know the Law

Whether you know the law or not doesn’t change the fact that you’re bound by it. It’s best to know as much about rental laws and real estate laws as possible. Most important are fair housing laws and landlord-tenant laws.

Some important areas to focus on are legal screening processes that don’t allow for discrimination and the use of unlicensed contractors for plumbing and electrical work. And make sure to know your lease! You can find our quick guide on some of the basics of property management law here.

Find Great Tenants

Finding a good tenant that’s here to stay is the best-case scenario. Tenant turnover costs about $1,750 a month. It’s important to properly screen your tenants before selecting them. Don’t rush into filling a vacancy.

Look out for a criminal background or eviction records. If possible, get a reference from the tenant’s previous landlord.

Finally, consider requiring an application fee for a background check. This is often able to deter unsavory individuals from applying in the first place.

Keep a Stellar Team

There are so many property management responsibilities, it would be nearly impossible to do them alone. Know your weaknesses and delegate these tasks out to your staff. 

Try using a tier system. That way, you can focus your energy on dealing with the owner and delicate matters. Meanwhile, your staff can manage inquiries from current and future tenants.

Now You’re Ready to Be the World’s Best Property Manager

Now that you know your responsibilities and have a few tips on your side, you’re ready. If you’re just getting started among the ranks of property management professionals, check out our tips for newbies.

Or maybe you’ve managed your fair share of properties and you’re looking to branch out and invest in your own property. Contact eFind Agent to locate a real estate agent that’ll help you find your own perfect rental property.

Know Your Tenant: Tips on How to Run a Credit Check and Properly Screen Renters

how to run a credit check

The key to having success as a landlord (aside from investing in the right properties) is renting to the right tenants. 

Rental profit margins are thin to begin with. If you rent to the wrong person and end up chasing down rent, going through an eviction, or repairing excessive property damage, that profit can get eaten up very quickly. 

Before you hand the keys over, take the necessary steps to vet your prospective tenants. Aside from verifying all the information on the rental application, you should also consider running a credit check. 

If this is a new process for you, you might wonder how to run a credit check on a tenant. Here’s a quick how-to primer. 

1. Know Your Tenant’s Rights

First things first – make sure you fully understand the rights of your tenant before you run a tenant credit check. 

A person’s credit history contains a wealth of personal and sensitive information. For that reason, you will need to get the applicant’s permission in writing prior to running the check. 

You can either include a clause on the rental application or have a separate addendum for the applicant to sign.

This is also the time to let them know if you charge a fee. Many landlords charge an “application fee” that will cover the cost of the credit check. If the applicant passes, you can always apply the amount in the form of a credit towards the first month’s rent. 

2. Get the Requisite Information

Once you have your applicant’s written permission, you’ll need to ensure you have all the information you need to get the check done. 

You’ll need a full name, driver’s license number, date of birth, current address, and current employer’s information. Most, if not all of this, will be on your rental application. 

If you plan to verify employment and reach out to the applicants current or former landlords, do that prior to running a credit check. You might get info from a former landlord that will automatically rule someone out, and you can then avoid the credit check step altogether. 

3. Get the Check and Analyze

Now it’s time to get the credit check performed. Using the agency of your choosing (like Experian), provide the necessary info.

If it’s your first time running a check, you will need to take steps to verify that you are indeed a landlord. This is an important step and necessary for fraud prevention. 

Once you have an account with the credit agency, check results will come back to you quickly. Once you have the results in hand, you can analyze the applicant. 

Look for red flags like bankruptcies, a history of late rent payments, or a large debt-to-income ratio. Some credit reporting services will also provide information on any previous evictions. 

4. Follow Up

Once you’ve read the credit report, you can make your final decision. If the report raised red flags, feel free to reach out the applicant and ask for additional info. 

If you find a dealbreaker, you’ll need to let the applicant know why you decided not to rent to them. You need to provide a letter stating the reason you rejected their application and the information about the credit reporting agency you used. 

Want More Information About How to Run a Credit Check?

If you had been wondering how to run a credit check on rental applicants, we hope this article helped. As you can see, it’s a fairly straightforward process. It’s also worth it for the potential headaches you might save yourself. 

Our article section maintains a wealth of valuable information for landlords. Check it out today and get the best return on your real estate investment!

Cover All Your Bases: 5 Lease Terms a Landlord Can’t Forget

lease terms

Did you know that the number of people renting a home has increased to the highest it has been since the 1960s? The rental market is booming, and landlords are getting top dollar in many markets.

Before you rent your property, you’ll want to make sure you have a solid lease drawn up.

Any good lease agreement should protect both the landlord and the tenant. There are certain things that your lease must include to protect both parties. Keep reading here for five lease terms that you can’t forget.

5 Important Lease Terms to Include

The devil is in the details. As a landlord, you have to think of every situation that could possibly happen and plan for that in the lease. A lengthy lease that spells out everything, including renters’ rights, is much better than a shorter one that leaves many things up in the air.

Here are five things that you should not leave out of your lease.

1. Parties to the Lease and Occupancy Limits

The lease should contain the names of every adult who lives in the property. This ensures that all residents are legally responsible for all terms of the lease. This gives you grounds to evict a tenant who allows roommates who are not on the lease to move in.

Occupancy limits should also be included because you don’t want six people living in a home meant for four. This causes extra wear and tear on your property and could put you in violation of other rules, such as HOA requirements, if your property is part of a condo or town-home complex.

There are also rules surrounding occupancy requirements that differ by state. Make sure your lease complies.

2. The Term of the Lease

The lease should specify exactly when the lease begins and when it ends. There should also be information on what is required when a tenant is going to move out.

Does he or she need to provide notice in writing that they will not be renewing the lease? If they do not provide this, does the lease automatically renew? This should all be spelled out in the lease.

3. Subleasing

What if your tenant wants to sublease the property to another person? Is that allowed? What kind of requirements are there? If you do a background check on your tenants, you might want to do the same for a subleaser.

4. Who Is Responsible for Utilities and Repairs

There should be no question as to who pays for utilities, lawn maintenance, snow removal (if necessary), and other repairs. If the tenant is to make routine repairs like replacing light bulbs, unclogging drains, etc., that should be specified.

5. What Happens if the Lease Is Broken

If the tenant or landlord needs to break the lease for any reason, how will that work? What kind of notice do you have to give? How much rent will the tenant owe?

If the landlord needs to break the lease, what will be provided to the tenant? Things happen that necessitate breaking of leases, so protecting all involved is important.

The Bottom Line

Being a landlord can be a lucrative and rewarding endeavor. As long as you ensure your lease contains these must-have lease terms, the process will likely go smoothly.

If you have an interest in learning more about property management and our real estate resources, explore some of our other blog posts and resources.