Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Importance of Regular and Organized Property Inspections

The implementation of a regular inspection process during the tenancy is an item that many landlords overlook. However, this is an important part of the tenant cycle.

We conduct thorough and standard property inspections at our managed rentals throughout each tenants rent cycle. 

Doing this helps us a great deal in the overall management process of a property. Here are a couple of reasons the inspection is valuable and a few things you can do to have a successful inspection process.

A regular, in-tenancy property inspection is key for two reasons:

1) It keeps you fully informed of the property condition so you can anticipate needed repairs.
2) It shows the tenants that they will be held accountable for the properties condition during their tenancy.

There are many ways to handle the property inspection. We suggest you have a full inspection three times per year. It is best to conduct the in tenancy inspection the same way you would handle the move in.

By full inspection, we mean a detailed, logical, formal and consistent procedure. It is important that you establish a set time with the tenant and make sure that they know that you will be taking photos. Then, you basically handle the in-tenancy inspection the same way you would handle the move-in inspection.

For help regarding how to conduct the in-tenancy inspection, you can read our Move in Inspection  tips or check out the RPM YouTube Move In Video.









Monday, 22 December 2014

The Reward Time Of The Tenant Cycle

Over the last couple of months, we have covered several elements of the tenant cycle. We have reviewed tenant qualification, the lease signing, move-ins and the first month. At this point, you have done a great deal of work.

OK, so  the next part of the tenant cycle is the accept the rent check and smile part. Right?? Well, not exactly. While this is time the in the tenancy that should be easiest, there are a couple of steps we recommend you take.

The first step is to conduct regular inspections. We recommend having an inspection three times during a 12 month tenancy. We suggest taking pictures and completing a checklist to detail any issues you may see.

The main thing the property inspection does is give you a clear view of how the tenants are treating your property. With this information, you can anticipate repairs that will be needed, take action to fix a problem, or you can decide if you want to extend a lease renewal to the tenants when the time comes.

The regular inspection also sets up a form of accountability for the tenants. It is important that they know that you will be evaluating their performance as a tenant as much as you expect to be evaluated by them.

The next suggestion we will give you is to respond to your tenants requests and concerns in a timely manner. The goal is to keep a good tenant in your property as long as you can.  

If your tenant calls you because something is broken, attempt to have your vendor contact them within 24 hrs. If you are responsible for landscaping or pool services, make sure your guys are showing up and doing a good job.

If you implement the above suggestions and you have done a good job with the previous steps of the tenant cycle, this time should be smooth sailing.






Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Rent Collection Advice: Part 2

Last week, we went over some important aspects of rent collection.Today, we will go over three common situations we see regarding late paying tenants. We will also give you some strategies that you can take when faced with these situations.

Situation #1 - The tenant constantly pays late and won't change their behavior.

We mainly see this happen when we acquire a property and the owner's existing lease has low late penalties.

We have actually had tenants tell us that a $50 late fee is no big deal and they continue to pay late every month until they are required to sign a new lease.

The simple solution to avoid this problem is to set stiff late fees in the lease. We suggest 5% of the rent after it is deemed late and $20 per day each day after that. This step will eliminate most chronic late rent payers. Those that still miss the on time window because they are disorganized or can't remember will pay you a hefty late fee.

Situation #2 - A continually late paying tenant has not paid the current month's rent. This is the situation that is usually the worst for the owner. 

The solution here is as follows: make sure you communicate with these tenants immediately. If they don't answer at home or on the cell, call their work, references and stay on it. You can also call from a blocked number or your friends number so they will not dodge you.

The goal is to assess the situation and determine whether they have the funds or not. Interestingly, we have found that if the tenants do have the funds they will engage with us in with angry demeanor and give us a date when they will be in to pay.

If you determine that the tenants do not have the funds and have no chance of getting them, the goal is to get them out of the house as quickly as possible. We find that when the tenants fully understand the negative implications that an eviction will have on them, they will be cooperative about just turning the keys in and moving their stuff out.

As a landlord, if you can avoid going to eviction, you will save yourself a good deal of money, lessen your aggravation, and get your property back into the rental market sooner.

We have actually found that if the above situation is handled correctly, some tenants can be very agreeable. We have had tenants move out fast and when they got back on their feet, paid back the rent the landlord lost while the property was vacant.

Situation #3 - A routinely prompt paying tenant suddenly does not pay the rent.

Again, the key here is to talk with these tenants immediately. We have found that this situation is not as bad as situation #2. This situation usually happens because of a sudden job loss or other unusual financial issue.

In the past, we have had success with tenants in these situations by explaining ways they can get the money until they can find work again. We make suggestions to the tenants like taking a cash loan with their car as collateral or getting city assistance or asking for help from their family.   

In summary, when a tenant pays late, the main thing is to reach out quickly. When you make contact, get to the root of the problem and come up with a resolution that minimizes negative consequences for both parties.








Monday, 8 December 2014

Rent Collection Advice: Part 1

Last week, we went over some of the situations that occur during the first month of tenancy. Today, we will review a few aspects of rent collection. This is another part of the tenant cycle that a property owner should have a decent grasp on.

If every one of your tenants paid on time every month, there wouldn't be much to review. However, even when this occurs, we still see many landlords that will accept cash or personal checks.

Taking cash from a tenant that consistently pays on time seems innocent enough. However, if the tenant can’t pay and taking cash has been the precedent during the lease, this innocent procedure will really cloud up facts during court proceedings to evict the tenants.

We have seen instances where the tenants say they gave the owner cash (never did) to buy themselves more time at the property when they can’t pay.  The worst thing is that some of the courts will side with the tenants in this situation even though they can’t come up with a receipt.

Accepting personal checks is a bad idea.  Also, surprisingly, most bank's online auto pays are not guaranteed.

As an owner, it is best to insist on a money order or cashier’s check. Yes, it will put the tenants out a bit but this type of required payment is a condition of a lease that a good tenant will completely understand.

Another thing that is a critical regarding rent collection is to have a clearly defined process regarding late payments and when the rent is due.

If you have a grace period of a couple days, make sure during the lease signing that the tenants know that this is a grace period and not when the rent is due. We hear the following all the time on the 5th (when the rent is due on the 1st with a three day grace period): “I’m only one day late, what’s the deal with the late charge??” If you cover this, you can gently remind them with a “remember at the lease signing we said…….”

Also, stick to your policies regarding late fees. Waiving late fees is a bad precedent to set to the late paying tenants and it is not fair to other tenants you have (with the same policies) that do pay on time.

Next week, we will review rent collection a bit more and feature situational advice and knowledge from RPM’s West Valley’s tenant relations guru. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Important Notes About First Month of Tenancy

Last week we went over some key points regarding the move in procedure. At this point in the tenant rental cycle, you have completed several elements. You have screened the tenants, showed them the property, ran the background and credit, conducted the lease signing and moved the tenants in.

Now it is time to kick back and collect the rent. Well, not exactly. After the move in, while most of the heavy lifting is done regarding this tenant cycle, we have found that the first month of tenancy is sometimes disappointing for the owner.

The main reason for this disappointment is that the first month of tenancy usually is the month that has the highest tenant maintenance costs.

One reason for this is that the home has been vacant since the last tenant moved out. Vacancy sometimes has a negative effect on household systems that are not used while the property is vacant. An example of this would be the seals or flappers going bad on a toilet that had no problem before.

Another thing we observe regarding maintenance in the first month of tenancy is that items that may have been ignored or not called in by a previous tenant are now noticed and reported by the new tenant. Items like a toilet running, garbage disposal not working or windows not locking.  

It is important to adhere to items 2 & 3 on our tenant retention  post. It might be frustrating to use some of the first month's rent on maintenance items but the tenants will notice how you respond since this is also the first month you will be their landlord.

This is a good time to make sure the tenants use common sense regarding simple fixes and for you to draw the line on what a needed fix is and what is petty. The tenants also need to be advised that if they are causing items to break, they will be held responsible.

As an owner, you should be responsive to needed fixes at the property but shouldn't have to be called constantly regarding trivial matters. Also, keep in mind that monthly maintenance costs are normally much lower after the first month.






  

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Pro Tips for Successful Move Ins At Your Rental Properties

Last week, we reviewed three items regarding the lease signing. The next step in the tenant rental cycle is the move in.

At RPM West Valley, we have a detailed, logical, formal and consistent move in procedure. This relates to all of the elements of our move in including our policies, process and documents.

A consistent and effective move in process is key for a rental property owner. If you conduct each move in the exact same way, you will record accurate and reliable details of your properties condition at the time of the move in. You will also avoid most uncertainty regarding security deposit issues at move out.

Here are a few important items regarding the move in that will help. 

1) Develop a specific checklist that includes each item of concern in every room. For example, for the living room would have a line item for the floor. On this item you would include a line where you can write down issues as well as three checkboxes. On the line you can detail if there is a condition problem such as a scratch or ding. On the three check boxes you can have N for New, S for Satisfactory, and O for Old.

2) Make sure that the tenant understands that this formal move-in is an important process of their tenancy and any items of concern are their responsibility to note, not yours.

The move in day will be a hectic for them. The new tenants will be primed at a high cadence and will be mainly concerned with trying to get their things unloaded and set up in the house.

However, they need to be fully aware that the move in documents will be what you will referencing to at move out. If they miss something, it might cost them when it comes to the deposit disposition is calculated down the line.

3)  Have the tenant sign off on all key sets and remotes.

4)  Write down a list of maintenance items that can be quickly fixed by using common sense. Make sure that the tenants know that if you have to send a guy out to fix something, and the “fix” is simply a common sense issue, they will be charged for his service call. For example, items “like flipping a fuse or turning the water heater temperature button up”.

5) Take as many pictures as necessary to fully show the property's condition. We highly recommend getting a 14-16 megapixel camera.

Take a picture of at least every room. Also, take a picture of the outside of the house, landscape and roof. If there is an item of concern that is noted, make sure you capture it at a couple of different angles.


For additional assistance regarding the move in, you can check out our RPM West Valley move in video tutorial.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

3 Quick Tips Regarding Your Lease



Last week, we went over how to review the application and three most important details in making a decision on qualifying the tenant. The next step  is a formal offer to rent and (assuming acceptance)the lease signing. Today, we will give you three tips regarding the lease signing.

To go over everything an owner needs to include on the actual lease would be a long and extensive article. In fact, we would have to detail the whole lease and all required addenda.  

We can tell you that it is a poor idea to buy a generic lease at Office Depot and use that form. At RPM West Valley, we have a proprietary lease agreement that provides the owner more protection than a standard lease. All required addenda is included and all lease documents are constantly updated.

Here are three tips regarding the lease signing that will help. 

1) Conduct the actual lease signing. Sit down with the tenant and go over the lease rather than e-mailing it. This will clear up any ambiguity and you will have the opportunity to go over all expectations with them.

2)  Have the tenant pay the full security deposit and first months rent at the signing. If the tenant is trying to negotiate a payment plan on the deposit right off the bat, this is a bad sign. If they can't afford the deposit, it is much better to part ways than to proceed.

3) Get all contact information and payment references as possible. If the tenants can't pay down the line, this will help you get a hold of them. Get cell, home and work phone numbers of all occupants and as many references as you can. We have found that if friends and family know the tenants are late on the rent, the chances are better that we will receive it.


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Reviewing a rental Application


Last week, we went over how to have a productive showing and what information regarding the prospective tenant is essential to get on the application. Today, we will point out how to review the application and three most important details in making a decision on qualifying the tenant.

Earlier in the year, we went over the high 5 of tenant screening http://bit.ly/1mUOJhB. This is a quick over view of tenant qualifications and summarizes 5 of the important factors in this process. Today we will drill down a bit further. Here are three of the most important elements we think are critical in tenant qualification along with some links to detailed videos we have produced on these topics.

1. Housing History - It is extremely valuable to get positive feedback from another property management company or a company that rents apartments. A good reference from a private party may have no relevance. This is because many people will use their friends or family members to fake a good reference. http://bit.ly/1wwgboj

2. Credit Screening for evictions - This is an important step to take. At RPM West Valley, we pay an additional fee to our reporting agency to get this information. For further details regarding credit analysis you can review this http://bit.ly/1vJEGiP .Also, check out this little trick in analyzing the credit report we go over on our podcast http://bit.ly/1vJEGiP

3. Income Verification - http://bit.ly/1oRMGxx This is a good resource that goes over what to look for in regards to income. Once this that is important is job history. In our experience, the most reliable tenants are the ones that have a good length of time on their job. Make sure you get two full years of employment and be leery of job hoppers.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Good Ideas for Property Showings


Last week, we detailed some elements of first component of the tenant rental cycle, tenant qualification. This week we will continue with this component. Today's blog will focus on how to show your property correctly and detail what the right information is to get from the tenant at the showing for qualifying purposes.

After the initial call, if the tenants pre-qualify and they are still interested in the property,it is now time to schedule a showing.

Before you do this, it is important that you disclose any significant, obvious and relevant information regarding the property that may be different from normal. This is because unusual circumstances could deter some prospects from renting your property. However, it is smart to disclose potential issues up front to save your time.

A common example of smart disclosure would be letting a prospect know if the rental property does not include a refrigerator. This could be a deal breaker to a prospective tenant. However, if you disclose this up front, at least you know it’s a no go before you waste time driving out to the property and waiting there while the people look at it.

If you have more than one group interested in seeing your property (or anticipate enough interest that you will be showing to a multiple groups), we have found that it is much better to schedule group showings. Group showings will not only save you time but it will also show the prospects that this is a hot property and if they snooze, they may lose out on it.

It is also a great idea to e-mail an application over to the prospect(s) for them to fill out prior to the showing and let them know if they need to have cash or a money order for the application fee (if applicable) and appropriate income documents. There is no point in waiting at the showing for people to slowly fill out the application or for them to go to the bank to get the application fee.

Make sure that the person you schedule the showing with has your phone number in case they need to cancel. Also inform them that you will be calling one hour to confirm the showing and it is important that they confirm. Let them know that and if they do not answer your call or give you a call back of your message within 10 minutes that you will not be showing up. Arrive at the property 10-15 minutes prior to the showing.

Once you arrive at the property, make sure the temperature is acceptable. In the summer in Phoenix, there is nothing worse than driving in 110 degree heat to see a property where the a/c is not running or set to an uncomfortable setting. As a rule, keep the property 85 degrees while vacant and kick the a/c down a bit for the showing. If you want to keep the temperature at the property higher while vacant, you’ll have to arrive much earlier to get it to an acceptable show temperature.

It is a good idea to open the blinds and turn on the lights. If they property has any kind of an off smell, open the windows (if weather permits) and spray some air neutralizer. We have found that being pleasant without being over-bearing is the right approach. It is important that the prospect feels comfortable and knows they can ask you questions.

If the prospects don’t like the property or appear disinterested, you are not out of line to ask them what they don’t like about the property or why they don’t want to move forward. They may not want to apply simply because of personal preference but they may point out something that could be valuable to get the property rented to another party.

If the prospect likes the property, they can now give you the application, employment documents and application fee. It is important that the application is completely filled out and signed by all prospective tenants over 18. Make sure you have the following information on the application:

1- Applicant Information- Name, cell #, e-mail, SS#, Driver’s License#
2- Employment History- Current employer and previous employer if first employment is less than 2 years.
3- Residential History- Last two years landlords, rent amount and phone numbers.
4- Bank Account #
5- Ask on app whether they have ever been evicted or didn’t pay rent
6- Ask on app if ever asked to move out by landlord or broken a lease.
7- Signature to obtain credit report and rental history.

The other documents that you will need are last two period pay stubs if they are W-2 employees and bank statement (2 months) and tax returns (2 years) for self-employed people. It is up to you if you will accept a check for the application fee. We won’t. We only take cash or money orders.

An application fee is a good idea as it helps you recoup the cost of running the app. It also helps ensure the people are serious about being a potential renter. Once you get the required information it is important to communicate when you will get back to the tenant with an answer and what the next step will be if they qualify.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Ins and Outs of Tenant Qualification



Last week, we went over 5 main components of a tenant rental cycle. Today, we will go into a little more depth regarding the first component, tenant qualification. We will also include some more links to our resources about this component of the rental cycle.

Tenant qualification begins with the first inbound phone call from a prospective renter. Although this is usually a quick call, much can be assessed during the call and asking the right questions in the right way can save you time and spare you grief.

On the first call from a prospective tenant, you are mainly attempting to quickly survey these three important factors:

1.    Rental History
2.    Income and Job Security
3.    Credit History

It is best to ask the prospect in a series of questions. How you ask each question is as important as what you are asking.

For rental history, you could ask “How is your rental history? “. However if you phrase it like this, you will probably get a lot of general responses like “ok” or “good”.

We have found it much more effective to ask the rental history question in a way like this: “When we call your previous landlords, will we find a record of any late payments in the last 3 years”? Asking the question like this makes the person be specific with you and it also shows the prospective tenants that we will be checking on them (in case they have any thoughts BS’ing us).

Once you get an answer for this question you can then evaluate the response. For a good explanation of what you should be considering, you can refer to this video http://bit.ly/1wwgboj.
The same questioning approach applies to the Income and Job Security question. You may be tempted to say something like “Do you have a job and do you make 2 ½ times the rent price“? You will find that if you ask the question this way you will get a bunch of “yep” or “uh-huh” responses.

The best way to phrase the Income and Job Security question is something like the following: “Can you tell me how long each person on the lease has been with the same employer and can you ballpark the combined gross amount that we will see on the W2’s of all of the tenants that will be on the lease?”

It may take a few seconds for the prospect to do the math, but this will help you get the most accurate information you can and also show the tenants that you will be checking on this as well. We go over what is acceptable regarding income at http://bit.ly/1oRMGxx.

If you have proceeded as suggested above and at this point in the conversation the person starts to object your line or the detail of our questioning, they probably are hiding something and would be wasting your time if we took things further.

If we get to the next step, the credit question is asked in a similar manner. If you ask a general question like “How’s your credit” you will get a lot of “good” or “ok” responses.

It is better to phrase the credit question like “When we run your credit report, will we see that you are paying on time on a car or credit card and that there are no late payments or outstanding debts?” You will find that phrasing the question like this will engage the prospect and they will be more likely to giving you the truth and the details of their situation.

The credit report is the most complex and subjective piece of the tenant qualifying triple, but we give you an analysis trick here http://bit.ly/1vJEGiP.

You will find that if you handle the tenant qualifying stage correctly and start on that first phone call in, you will get the best information you need to analyze the prospective tenant’s worth. If you follow our advice, you will save yourself a great deal of time and stave off potential problems by ensuring that you are showing and renting your property to the right people.   

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Check out our New Podcast

Check out our new podcast. Our monthly podcast will have information about how to successfully manage rental properties.  The pod will cite actual real life examples of situations that landlords will encounter as well as solutions.

On our introductory show, will look in detail at how to screen your tenant for your Phoenix rental home.  We uncover a common oversight regarding tenant credit analysis and address possible security deposit options.  



Monday, 20 October 2014

Develop a Consistent System to Make Your Landlord Life Easier


At RPM West Valley, we manage hundreds of rental properties. We have a great staff and advanced software systems that help us do this. However, perhaps what has helped the most is that we have implemented consistent systems and procedures regarding most management aspects we tackle.

We have a defined and detailed process for items like leasing, tenant behavior and maintenance. Because we have done this, most management ambiguity is answered we are set up to function quickly and efficiently. As an owner, having a consistent system and process is something you can do whether you have 1 or 100 properties.

Developing a repeatable process will take some time to start off with. However, once you have the process in place, you will find that the whole management process will be quicker, easier and less variable.

Let’s outline some of the items in the cycle of the rental process to get you started with your system. We have included some links to some of our material and recommendations that should help.

1. Tenant Qualification- Being consistent and correct on this will give you a good start on having a successful tenant experience. http://bit.ly/ZD31Kd 

2. Move In – Making sure this is done correctly will save you a possible headache down the line. http://bit.ly/1rYqfBd

3. Maintenance- Have a consistent policy at all properties regarding as is items, items you will fix, items that the tenant will be held responsible for and emergency items. Make sure your vendors are skilled, responsive and comfortable with tenants. Institute a process with your vendors regarding tenant communication, response time and payment.

4. Move Out – Along the move-in a consistent process here will save you when it comes to security deposit disputes. http://bit.ly/1r267Pf

5. Turnover – Being consistent with this at all of your properties will not only save you time but also allow you to forecast expenses with more accuracy.  http://bit.ly/1Dthojv

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Landlords Beware of an Eviction in Buckeye






As a Property Manager we have helped owners facilitate evictions for many years and thought we had seen it all; until that is we had to process an eviction for a home in Buckeye at the White Tank Justice Courts! BEWARE!!!

In all of the evictions we have processed over the years this is the first for us! We worked hand in hand with the property owner to complete an eviction with a problematic habitual late payer. All of the necessary steps were taken, the letter of law followed to evict the tenant out when September 2014 rent was not paid. The eviction proceedings were filed September 17th and the pretrial was set for September 23, 2014. The tenant appeared in court at the pretrial on September 23rd and was in dispute of the amount owed, not that the September 2014 rent was not paid. It is not uncommon, that if the tenant does not plead guilty a trial date will be set. In this case our trial date was set for September 30, at that time the tenant produced a copy an uncleared payment that she claimed was sent in to to pay down the past due balance, again admitting that she had not paid September rent. The judge granted the tenant a 7 day continuous for tenant to provide the additional payment was accepted and cashed. All parties returned to court on October 7th, at which time the tenant produced fraudulent proof that the payment was cashed. The judge gave the owner two options: take another 7 day continuous to dispute the payment was cashed OR accept a dramatically reduced judgment. We opted for the judgment as the continuous would have basically given the tenant the month of October in additional to September before a lock out could have been completed. It is unfortunate the judge did not see both sides of the case, be it the home owner paying the mortgage as they were drawn in by the tenants lies, sad, sob story and ultimate fraud. This again shows the importance of screening your tenants!!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Rentals Pet Policy


You have now completed all repairs on your home to get it rent ready and set the price. As you think about the funds you just spent getting your home into rent ready condition the thought of a potential pet in your home sends shivers down your spine. As a Phoenix Property Manager, we know the thought of allowing pets in your home can be scary however about 75% of all renters have at least one or more pet. Most of those pet owners are found to have cats or dogs with only a very small number having fish, reptiles or other types of pets. Most pet owners understand they are required to put down an additional pet deposit, the most common deposit is about a $250 / $350 in addition to the security deposit. Apartments may charge a pet rent however that is uncommon in a single family home. We do understand that it can be worrisome to allow pet in your home but if you’re not allowing pets, you’re turning away a large subset of renters. Limiting the number of pets, pet types and requiring a professional carpet cleaning receipt every so often are a good way to set your mind at ease when listing your property as pet friendly. WITH PET OWNERSHIP TRENDING UP, Having a pet friendly property is now, in addition to pricing and condition could put your property at a competitive advantage over those that are not pet friendly.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Avondale licensing


Now that your offer on the rental home in Avondale has been accepted it is important that you check into the licensing requirements in that city a little known fact about the city of Avondale, in addition to the city rental taxes of 2.5%, the city also requires that all owners of rental properties have a transaction privilege tax license. These little unknown requirements by cities in Arizona can be quite costly if the rules are not followed. As a Phoenix Property Manager, we have been working with the cities for years to insure all our clients are in compliance and the good news about the City of Avondale you do not need an individual license if your property is being professionally managed.

In order to obtain a business license in for a residential rental in any Arizona city you will need to be register your home as a residential rental with the county Assessor. This can be done online or by filling out a form and mailing it into your local assessors office. For Maricopa county can be found on Maricopa County Assessor site. Failure to register as a rental with the county could be extremely costly with fines up to $150 per day in addition to city fines for not being properly licensed. Once you are registered as "Residential Rental" you can apply for a your city business license. Failure to obtain the proper licensing could result in ordinance violations with hefty fines attached in any city that requires a license. So be sure to research all of the licensing requirements in the city that you purchase your investment property in or contact a local Property Manager to help you navigate smoothly through the process!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Do you have the right insurance coverage for your Rental Property?

It is very important that you understand what your homeowner’s insurance covers at your Phoenix rental property and be sure to fully discuss all options with your insurance agent to be sure you have the appropriate coverage at all times.

Another important step to take is to double check that your insurance will cover your Phoenix rental property if the property is vacant for more than 30 days.  Unfortunately many policies will not because the property will be exposed to more issues the longer it is vacant.  The good news though is if your policy does not cover your rental property after 30 days, you can usually add a rider or purchase additional coverage that will protect you but be sure to do that prior to the 30 days expiring.

The main thing is that you understand your policy and communicate to your insurer when the property is vacant.  It is much better to pay a little bit more for the right coverage then to assume you are protected and find out the hard way.

One other thing to consider is your liability limit.  Because of the many risks involved in owning a Phoenix rental Property, it may be a good idea to get the highest liability limits that the policy will provide.  If you're not comfortable with the liability limit or if you have multiple policies, you may want to consider purchasing an umbrella policy. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

3 Cheap and Easy Property Updates That Will Help Rent Your House Quickly

Getting your house rented quickly does not have to be difficult. The main thing to do is to price your house correctly. Your asking rental price should correlate with the market. This concept is simple but seems to be missed more often than it should be.

The next thing to do is to make sure your house shows well. Here are three easy things to do to accomplish this. Again, they are simple but are surprisingly not done by many.

If you do these three things, you can increase the odds of getting your property rented fast.

1) Clean Up The Landscape- Nothing says “Landlord doesn’t care” more than a prospective tenant driving up and seeing weeds and a front yard that looks terrible. Cleaning this up is easy and relatively cheap.

2) Don’t Skimp On The Housecleaning- Make sure you pay enough or spend enough time to do this right. Make sure your carpets, floors and surfaces are clean and your house does not smell like the last tenants. Showing a house that stinks or is dirty is a sure way to turn off prospective tenants.

 3) Paint The Walls- This is relatively easy and really makes a difference when showing the home to prospective tenants. A good color to use is neutral tan. Avoid any bright colors as people have different tastes and you wouldn’t want to lose on a potential lease because of a color choice.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Communation & Expectations


As a, Phoenix Property Manager, we understand that as the owner of an investment property your goal is to see your rental home bring you in not only the cash you invested in the property but also to earn a profit. With that being said, to maintain any return on investment it is vital that you keep your rental property rented and properly maintained. One of the most common mistakes we see owner-landlords make is NOT setting up clear expectations with the tenant.Without setting clear lines of communication and expectation you may be going down a long difficult road.

Once the tenant has been screened and you, as you prepare the tenant to sign the lease it is imperative that he or she understand what you expect from them as tenant. You need to clearly communicate the rules that govern the lease, what you expect from the tenant and what happens when the rules are not followed especially if your home is in an HOA. Since the lease agreement is the document that will convey all of the rules that will determine how the tenant will behaves it is imperative it is correct at time of signing. If you have ever evicted a tenant, then you know that the contents of the lease agreement may determine the decision of the court. This means that you need to make your lease rock solid and clearly lays out your expectation and rules including late payments, HOA violations, notices of non-compliance, maintenance, and other items such as health and safety. You need to communicate to the tenants what they will owe you right from the start. Inform the tenant of the monthly reoccurring payment including and applicable taxes that are included. Since some tenants do not treat rent their rent payment as a priority it is a good idea to send a reminder email or statement as this may help with prompt payment. By setting clear expectations and not making exceptions to the rules you should be able to successfully manage your tenants. However if you if you still having difficulties with your tenant contact Real Property Management West Valley Phoenix and we can help you!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

3 Simple Reasons Why Using a Property Management Company Is a Good Idea


Here are three simple reasons to use a Property Management Company.

1-Experience- This is perhaps the most important reason. As an individual property owner, it is not possible to create the real life experience that a Property Management Company has.

With experience comes a great knowledge base. This knowledge base usually will result in good decisions as they relate to placing and managing tenants. Experience is also a plus when it comes to maintaining and keeping your property at the most profitable level.

2- Tenant Buffer - Unless you want an intimate relationship with your tenant, this is also a good reason to let a property manager handle things. If your property manager is good, they will have a clear lease and policies in place and there will be no need for you to get involved.

You will only be consulted if needed on things like large maintenance repairs, property turnovers and rent increases. Then, you will have the privilege of an objective third party to consult with on the above items.

3- Profit - Property Management Services can be a profitable choice if you apply some simple math.

We have found that on average, one property takes about 5 hours a month to manage (this is just an average - some months there will be more hours, some less). The normal management fee is $75 a month. So if you manage the property yourself, you could tell yourself that you are saving $15 an hour for 5 hours.

But what if you have another job or business where you make $40 an hour? Let's say you take those 5 hours and invest that time into your $40 an hour endeavor. You will be effectively be making and additional $125 just by hiring a property manager (5 hrs.x $40 - $75 management fee).




Monday, 25 August 2014

3 Steps to Tenant Retention



3 Quick Tips To Retain Your Tenants

1) Keep Your Rental Price in Line With The Market - 
This may seem obvious. However, we have seen instances where an owner will try to get too aggressive at renewal and ask for a price increase that is way out of line with the market. Most often, the tenants will recognize that the proposed rent increase is too much and they will bail. This can result with a loss of a good tenant.

2) Listen to Your Tenant's Concerns- 
Again, another obvious one but one would be amazed at the number of owners who do not do this. You can listen and not agree but you can at least consider what they are saying.

We see lack of listening by owners frequently in this situation.

The owner hires a cheap pool vendor to save 10-20 bucks a month. The vendor is terrible at maintaining the pool (frequently not showing up, not communicating with the tenants and letting the water get foul).

The tenants tells us what is going on. We relay this to the owner and let them know we can refer them to a reliable pool service. The owner does nothing and continues to use the same lousy vendor and aggravates the tenants.

3) Respond quickly to a needed repair-
Tenants get frustrated when needed repairs are not addressed quickly. 

90% of our owners are great about getting back to us when a large problem needs to be fixed. However, we have managed properties where the owner will delay a repair. Maybe this is due to financial issues or maybe even the owners are thinking if they avoid a response, the problem will magically disappear. 

This does nothing but agitate the tenants and these are typically the owners who get upset when the tenants do not renew their lease. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

CC&R's and Tenants

As the Arizona weather heats up the landscaping drys out and HOA violations occur! Be prepared, be sure that your tenant is well advised of the HOA restrictions. But let's be honest we all know the tenant is not going to read the 90 page CC&R booklet. As a Phoenix Property Manager we have found that if you advise the tenant of the common sense violations such as weeds, over night parking and visible trash cans on a non-service day that is a long way towards prevention. The next step is to be sure the tenant is advised of any violations or warnings as they occur. The tenant should be immediately notified in writing and advised that a violation has occurred even if it is just a warning. If repeat violations are received a firmly worded letter should accompany the violation so that the tenant knows this is unacceptable. If your lease permits charge the tenants for any fines that may occur. It is a good idea to stay on top of both the HOA dues and any fines that occur to avoid any added late fees.

So again, be proactive advise your tenants of the common HOA violations such as trash cans visible on a non-service day, weeds, over-night parking in the street and stay in communication with both the tenant and HOA when an violations occur. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Landlords BEWARE!!!!


For the most part I never look at or read ANY online reviews....for RPM West Valley Phoenix or any other business for that matter because typically the happy customers are the ones that are too busy to be bothered by writing a review AND because a lot of companies (KYKO Roofing to name one) offers to discount customer's invoices after work has been completed if they are willing to write a good review about them either on google or the Better Business Bureau.  But the other day while doing market research for our current clients I came across the following RPM West Valley Phoenix review from our tenant A. Hall:

"RUN! These people are horrible and will nickle and dime you poor! Most unprofessional property management company I've ever had the displeasure of dealing with. They do not value or respect anyone as a renter,or as a human being. I would rather eat broken glass then have to put up with there rude,unprofessional ways any longer. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. Nothing but lies,fines,penalty's ,Hidden charges. Do your self a favor and save the headaches. DON'T TRUST THIS COMPANY!"

So I am writing this blog so that all landlords can beware of this tenant and many like them.  A. Hall wrote this blog while sitting in his rental property of which he hadn't paid rent and was in the middle of being evicted. Apparently A. Hall didn't have the money to pay his rent to the property owner BUT he did have the money to keep his phone and internet going and instead of being out looking for a job he was spending his time writing non-factual reviews about a property manager who did their job by enforcing the lease agreement and swiftly moving for eviction when it became apparent that the tenant wouldn't be paying rent.....but I forgot these types of tenants think they should get to live for free as long as possible with the property owner covering the cost.  Also, I should mention that Aaron was a tenant with us for 18 months prior to be evicted but funny no online reviews from him until the day he is in court to be evicted!