5 Steps To Properly Managing A Vacant Home

vacant home

Are you managing a vacant home?

Leaving a house empty for a while?

If you find yourself with the task of dealing with an empty property for the first time, it can be difficult to know what to do. However, it’s important that you take steps to protect the home against problems and ensure that it remains in great condition until it’s ready to be used again.

Below we’ll tell you the 5 most important steps to properly managing a vacant home.

1. Check Up Regularly

One of the most important things to do when you have an empty property is to get into the habit of checking up on it regularly. It’s important to routinely give it a visit and see if anything seems out of place. There could be vandalism, break-ins, or a squatter staying in your house.

If you’ll be out of town for a while you may want to get a friend to check on it for you or hire a great property manager to stop by the home on a regular basis.

2. Make Your Vacant Home Look Occupied

When you have an empty house, it’s also important that you do everything you can to make it look occupied even when it isn’t.

There are plenty of things that you can do to make it look occupied. One way is to set a light up in your home on a timer to be turned on each night. You may also consider parking a car in the driveway, or find some other way to make it less obvious that the home isn’t currently being lived in.

Additionally, don’t let mail and newspapers build up as this can be an obvious sign to people passing by that the home is vacant.

3. Put the Right Security in Place

It’s also a good idea to invest in some security measures if your home will be unoccupied for some time. Consider setting up motion sensors or surveillance. These days, it can be easy to set up a security camera and access the live feed from just about anywhere.

You may also want to get an alarm system in place. This will allow you to rest assured that your property is well taken care of and give you peace of mind. Additionally, if you already have a security company in place, it’s a good idea to let them know that the house won’t be occupied.

4. Be Prepared For Winter

In addition to keeping your home secure and safe from burglars and squatters, it’s also important to keep it safe from mother nature. Winter time can lead to some very cold temperatures and it’s important that you prepare for the worst.

Cold temperatures can cause a lot of damage to your home if not prepared properly. The cold may lead to busted pipes, flooding, or snow getting in due to gaps and crack in the doors and windows.

5. Consider Insurance Issues

If you’re managing a vacant home you should be aware that it won’t be covered by insurance for long. If your home is vacant for too long, usually over 60 days, it may no longer be eligible for homeowners insurance. After this, you won’t be protected from things such as vandalism and broken glass.

However, there may be other solutions and insurance providers vary so do your research. Make sure you contact your insurance company and find out exactly what you can expect.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with a vacant home doesn’t have to be difficult, but it will take some effort on your part. By following the steps above you’ll have the best chance of managing the empty house well and ensuring you’re doing a great job at taking care of it.

Looking for a great real estate agent? Need property management solutions? Contact us today to learn more about what eFind Agent can do for you.

5 Essential Tools for Commercial Property Management

commercial property management

For every house you see in your neighborhood, chances are 34.9 percent are renter-occupied. The reason is likely due to the fact that millennials are coming of age in an era where renting is more popular than owning.

For property managers, this noticeable supply and demand gives a substantial boost to business.

However, with this major income increase comes the need to manage properties more efficiently. Keeping an organized system can only add to your businesses success, so make sure to get ahead of the game with the right software for your needs.

Whether you’re planning on hiring a property manager or looking to take your commercial property management expertise to the next level, we’ve got some great programs for you to explore!

Top Five Commercial Property Management Tools

We’ve created the best of the best to help you get your business on track and streamline your record-keeping habits. Check out the top five programs below!

5. RealPage Commercial Property Management

The RealPage Commercial Property Management program is a dream come true for property managers. Created for small to medium-sized property management businesses, the user-friendly software has the ability to grow alongside your commercial business. Not only does it keep track of your assets, it creates reports for all stakeholders involved.

Among the many features to choose from are:

  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Built-in data recovery system
  • Standardized leases
  • Portfolio management
  • Seven types of report options

Commercial property management industry professionals agree that this program is top-notch in function and ease of use.

4. Rentec Direct

For landlords with under 10 properties to manage, Rentec Direct is the ideal choice because it is one of the easiest programs to use. Another great thing about the program is the Basic plan is free.

Property managers can also screen applicants to weed out any potentially problematic tenants.

More features Rentec offers are:

  • Income tracking
  • Report generating
  • Streamlined record management system
  • Multiple tab integration
  • Criminal background check

The ease and user-friendly component of this program are sure to win you over.

3. Appfolio Property Manager

Appfolio is the ideal system for owners and real estate agents who prefer a quick and easy program to manage. Reports can be created with ease with the simple yet sleek template creation. More features that earn rave reviews are:

  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Ease of use
  • Owner portal
  • Ability to create an additional website with rental listings
  • Great customer support

This is a great program for property managers who prefer a more simple approach to property management.

2. Buildium Property Management

Buildium is one of the most popular programs on the market today. Used by property managers around the world, it is best known for its multi-use functions. Some of the most popular features that make this program top-notch are:

  • Business expense management
  • Leasing
  • Payment processing
  • Tax filing ability
  • Resident portal for repair and rent payment

Another great feature of this program is the ability for property managers to design their own property rental website with available listings.

1. Planon Real Estate Management

This program is ideal for large property management companies who want the option to go global. The best thing about Planon Real Estate Management is the way it allows room for growth within the program. It also recognizes how important financial efficiency is with the planning features.

A few more things that make Planon ideal are:

  • Transaction management
  • Cost forecasting
  • Spreadsheet integration
  • Easy dashboard management

If you need a program with advanced data structuring, then this is the best choice for you.

Make Commercial Property Management a Breeze

Now that you’ve got the five best five software tools at your fingertips, consider taking the next steps to finding the perfect real estate agent.

For all of your real estate needs, contact us and let us know how we can help!

5 Property Management Tips For Entrepreneurs

property management tips

By 2019, the forecast revenue for property management in the U.S. will be about 69 million dollars. To succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to apply the right property management tips.

Unlike landlords who focus on ownership issues, managers deal with running the property. They must be responsible people and have skills in accounting and business management.

New entrepreneurs fail because they don’t know how things work in this industry. They struggle with marketing, dealing with owners and tenants, and managing their time. Others face issues in rent collection and sorting out leases with the owners.

This shouldn’t happen to you. Keep reading to learn property management tips to help you navigate this job.

Great Property Management Tips for Entrepreneurs

The competition in property management is strong because it is a lucrative business. Thus, if you are starting out, you need great property management tips and tricks to succeed.

Here are some of them:

1. Hire Responsible and Experienced Staff

Recruit a team of responsible, organized, experienced, and knowledgeable people. They should have integrity and a strong work ethic.

Pore over their histories and check if they have credible references. Hire only those who can handle the scope of the properties you want to manage.

2. Boost Your Marketing to Acquire New Clients

Improve your marketing and networking skills to attract and meet potential clients. Show them how your services differ from the competition. Show them the skills your team has for managing properties.

Take part in online conversations by building a website. Improve your social media use to connect with potential clients. Make videos and infographics to explain your company’s services to online users.

3. Fix Common Issues Affecting Properties

It’s not always the big things that affect tenants. Smaller problems such as delayed garbage disposal can make tenants very angry. Failing to fix these issues will affect the reputation of the property and your business.

As such, you should fix common issues quickly. This can include pest extermination, fixing lights, and testing the smoke detectors. Dispose garbage as soon as possible and get repair experts to fix damaged areas.

4. Make Use of Technology

Using technology solves issues with accounting, productivity, and time management. It can allow you to scan and print documents from tenants, suppliers, or maintenance teams. Moreover, you can get tools for managing the inventory on the property.

This automation gives you more time to handle other issues. It also reminds you about things you need to sort out. Plus, it will manage your finances, which is crucial to the success of your company.

5. Build Good Relationships with Support Teams

Your business will rely a lot on suppliers and maintenance teams to do their jobs well. Thus, ensure you have great relationships with them. Vet them to be sure they will show up when you have an emergency.

For example, unexpected damages may occur on the property. You will need to fix these problems before things get worse or tenants start complaining.

Learn More About Property Management

If you apply these property management tips, you’ll find everything runs smoother. That’s not to say problems won’t arise. Just that you’ll be better prepared and have a good foundation for success.

Contact us to learn more about managing properties.

How to Deal with Late or Unpaid Rent

unpaid rent

Is a tenant’s unpaid rent leaving a hole in your finances? Here’s what you can do to avoid making costly mistakes.

If your tenants are late, or not paying rent at all, it can be a sticky situation. It takes a lot of time and money to get them out.

You, too, can have the satisfaction of actually doing something about the rent that’s gone unpaid.

The following information will help you decide what actions to take.

Consistent Rules For Unpaid Rent

It’s important to be consistent when dealing with a tenant who isn’t paying rent.

Although state laws vary, there are two things a landlord can do when a tenant doesn’t pay rent: chase them for payment or eviction.

It’s your decision what to do with your tenants. Make sure you’re consistent with your rules.

Deliver the rent bill on the day it is due. Your tenants should know the rent is due by the due date.

If a tenant is late with a payment, be sure to be consistent with adding late fees. If you give a tenant an inch, you never know when they’ll take a mile. If you’re not consistent with late fees, the likelihood of your tenants not paying you increases.

You need to hold your tenants accountable for their rent payment consistently. The next step is an important part of that process.

Meet With Your Tenant(s) In Person

It’s important to meet with your tenants in person to discuss the unpaid rent. You have to hold your tenants accountable in some way. Face-to-face interactions are more impactful than writing letters.

When meeting with your tenants to discuss unpaid rent, always be respectful and polite. You don’t want the situation to be more negative than it has to be.

This meeting with your tenant will hold them accountable for their unpaid rent. Your tenant will tell you the situation of their lack of payment. They might’ve lost their job or had a medical emergency.

In this in-person meeting, you’ll also discuss late fees. This is a good opportunity to serve a Notice of Non-Payment of Rent. Make sure you’re clear with your tenants about everything.

If you’re clear, eviction will not be a surprise.

Eviction

The eviction process doesn’t start until you file a notice. It can also experience delays. You need time to carry out a proper eviction.

Send out eviction notices immediately. Do not accept any excuses from your tenant(s). The eviction process takes time, so the sooner you start it, the better off you’ll be as a landlord.

Waiting to start the eviction process is a mistake. If you accept partial payments, it might restart your eviction and you’ll have to go through the whole ordeal again.

The quicker you get non-paying tenants out, the quicker you can get paying tenants or be able to sell your home.

Don’t bother with a “constructive eviction.” That’s when you turn the utilities off on a non-paying tenant to get them to leave. This is illegal in every state and doing this will have negative repercussions.

Remember: You Are The Landlord

It is your responsibility to hold your tenants accountable for unpaid rent. After all, it’s your money!

Only you know what actions are best to take in your situation.

Contact an expert to learn more about rent, eviction, and all that jazz. You won’t regret it.

What’s Involved in Vacation Rental Property Management?

vacation rental property management

The vacation rental market used to be a small cottage industry, relatively speaking. If you wanted to rent a vacation home for a certain period of time, you either had to be uber-rich or get a time-share.

Recently though, with the creation of sites like Air B&B and Trip Advisor, the industry exploded. In 2008, the industry was worth $24.3 billion, but by 2019, it is expected to reach over $169 billion.

It’s clearly become a very lucrative business. If you own a property, and you’d like to get some skin in the game, you’ll need to know the ins-and-outs of vacation rental property management.

What You Need To Know About Vacation Rental Property Management

In order to make your property attractive to prospective renters, you need the home and the grounds to be in tip-top shape. Thanks to Air B&B and other sites the rental market has gotten very competitive and you need to stand out.

Here’s what you should know about properly maintaining a vacation rental.

You’ll Need A Property Manager

If the property you’re renting out is your second-home or even one of many properties you own, you’ll understand that you probably won’t have time to maintain the property on your own.

It’s hard enough staying on top of all the tasks you need to handle when it comes to your own home, managing your vacation property from potentially thousands of miles away is a non-starter.

So get a property manager that can do all the annoying legwork on your behalf.

You’ll Want A Well-Connected Property Manager

A property manager isn’t just some guy that comes around every once in a while to cut the grass. He needs to be able to manage all of the tasks required to maintain a house.

This means your property manager should have knowledge of all the best housecleaning, lawn, repair and other services in the area and be able to coordinate with them to make sure your home is in pristine condition.

Give Your Property Manager A Budget

Your property manager isn’t just responsible for the obvious maintenance requirements and common issues, but more minute ones as well. Your guests shouldn’t have to worry about the house being stocked with basic items like garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towels, and things of that nature.

You should speak with your property manager about what you want to have stocked and available in your home at all times. You might want to even consider giving the manager control over a bank account with money specifically for managing that property.

Ready To Rent?

Once you’ve got your vacation rental property management services in order, you’ll be ready to join this rapidly growing industry. A piece of that $169 billion pie is yours for the taking.

If you need more information on property management, consider checking out our article on the three things to look for when selecting a property manager.