Top 5 Money Making Tips For Landlords

I am a big fan of holding property with a long horizon. Whether you like rentals or not, it is one investment, that given enough time, will always produce for you. There are limited amounts of it, and people need a place to live. All real assets will do well over time, which is why I believe it is much safer than stocks, bonds, or other paper assets. With that said, it is good to diversify, and I am not saying pour all of your money into rentals; but I am saying if you are not in the game you are making it tougher on your future.

If you are going to hold rentals, or you already are, it is important to do the best you can to get the most benefit you can. Here are 5 tips I have learned over the years to improve your profits.

1. Negotiate with the deposit

2. Make the tenant pay the water

3. Use rent to own to reduce maintenance costs

4. Use an off-white semi-gloss paint

5. De-carpet your units

Negotiate with the deposit

When a qualified tenant prospect needs to negotiate to move into your rental, always negotiate the deposit and never the rent. The deposit is their money, so if you end up taking a little less it won’t affect your profit. Most tenants worry about how much money they need, not how the money is applied, so if you take the deposit in payments or take less, they are normally thrilled and grateful. This is also a great way to increase cash flow on a rent to own. Always ask for more option money than the tenant has so you can take some of it in payments. This should increase your monthly cash flow on each rent to own by $100 or more.

Make the tenant pay the water

This has been a tough one for me because I was taught, and always believed, that tenants expect the landlord to pay the water. I think I was taught this because the water company is the only utility provider that can place a lien for non-payment. The truth is most tenants will pay their own water, even if it is not a rent to own. It is becoming more common and will be a huge difference to your bottom line. The fact that the water company can lien your property should not scare you. Think about it… what is the worst that can happen? You need to pay the water bill?

Use rent to own to reduce maintenance costs

I love rent to own. One of the reasons I love rent to own is because it can almost eliminate maintenance costs and headaches. The gurus will tell you that it doesn’t eliminate maintenance issues, but that is just not true. There is always a chance the tenant will ask for your help to pay for something, but it does eliminate a lot of the problems and the tenant will take better care of the property so there will be less damage.

Use an off-white semi-gloss paint

When I was going through the process of building my home, I did not even think about what kind of paint the builder would be using. I picked out the color I wanted and that was that. Well, once I moved in I realized the entire house is painted with a flat paint. It makes sense because it is the cheapest to buy, but with two little girls running around it was the wrong paint to use. My youngest, Lexi, loves to draw on the walls. I cannot figure out how to stop her from doing this, or how she is finding the markers she uses. Maybe her older sister is in on the game? The point is, even washable markers do not come off of a flat paint. When you try to clean it you rub the paint right off. Had it been semi-gloss or even an eggshell, the markings would wipe right off and we would not be forced to touch up the paint. Think about how nice it would be to go into your rental once a tenant moves out and just clean the walls and not worry about repainting each time. Semi-gloss is the easiest to clean.

De-carpet your units

I have heard this over and over. The idea is to make your rentals as hard to damage as possible. Carpet is easy to damage and it is not uncommon to get one or two years out of a seven year carpet with heavy tenant use. Wood will last forever. Even when wood is scratched, it still looks nice and does not normally need to be repaired. If it is solid wood, even if there is damage, it is cheaper to sand and stain it than to re-carpet. It is a higher cost going in, but is well worth it in the long run.

Best Three Tips To Find Your Rental Property

With the rising cost of properties, It has been harder than ever to buy a new home. Of course, people cannot do without a roof, and there comes the choice of rental properties. Finding the right home isn’t going to be easy, especially in US and Canada, where landlords are charging insane prices for almost every single home. As a smart tenant, you have to go a step ahead and decide on certain things before narrowing down to certain choices. In this post, we will talk of some of the things worth considering before you find your rental property.

Start with an online check

Gone are times, when you would need to spend hours on the weekend trying to find ads for rental homes! Thanks to the internet, things are much easy today, and you can find some amazing sites that enlist rental properties for most states and areas of US. You can check properties based on your needs, and it is very easy to sort a few options. Some of the sites connect the tenants with the landlord directly, which makes the process of negotiation and discussion much easier. Just make sure that you choose the right website, which has plenty of properties.

Check the budget

It is essential to have a budget for your home, but don’t set an amount based on your whimsies. There are always a few trends in the rental market when it comes to prices, and hence, you should spend some time researching on the same. Make sure that you check for the actual rent, added expenses if any and other long and short term expenses. Typically, rental sites can give you a good idea of how much you may need to shell for a particular type of house, but you can also check on other sites too.

Know what the lease means

Many tenants don’t read rental agreements in detail, and that can have serious consequences. There are usually a few things that you should note. The first thing is the length of the lease, which should be clearly mentioned. Secondly, you need to check for deposit requirement, and how the landlord is going to deal with the refund when you move out. The third part is property maintenance, and you should know if there are any expenses that are payable every month.

Also, not all home owners allow pets, so if you intend to bring your pooch home, always discuss the same. Sometimes, homeowners and landlords don’t allow changes in the house, like adding of special lights and painting, and hence, you should talk on the same. If you are going to have roommates, you need to know the arrangements with them, and the lease sharing clauses, if any.

If you can check for these aspects, it would be pretty easy to find a house that would eventually become a home. Always make sure to talk to the landlord directly, so that there are no misleading facts and talks. Start checking online right now!

Tips To Get The Perfect Tenant Mix for Your Retail Property

The ultimate goal for any landlord is to achieve maximum income from their retail property. However, that does not imply that they must lose focus on the bigger picture and let their space to any retailer who is interested in the property. Maintaining the perfect tenant mix in the property leads to increased foot traffic, greater spend, delighted tenants and ultimately more demand and better rates for the property.

Read on to find out the five ways to create the ultimate blend of tenants for a retail center.

Study the demographics of the environment

The demographics of the nearby locations play a vital role in determining what kind of retailers will best tick among the shoppers. Conduct surveys and collect information pertaining to what your target customers would like to see in the area around them. For instance, pharmacy stores may be a valuable addition for an aging population.

Talk to your existing tenants

Existing retail tenants may be a good source of providing insight into what brands and products can add more value to their own store and ultimately to the landlord. Analyze the performance of the stores and take a deeper look into their strengths and weakness and build ways to overcome or enhance them.

Mix brands and categories

A retail center that draws a balance between the big and the small brands and has a wider collection of product categories than simply focusing on part of the demographics enjoy better foot traffic. Choose tenants from various product categories and be sure to include local retailers who always have something new and fresh to offer. Look beyond the retail line up and set up service facilities like ATMs to optimize the time and effort spent on creating the perfect tenant mix.

Make market assessment a part of the responsibility

Tenants come and may go at the end of the lease. This may interrupt the existing interconnections within the retail space. For instance, men visiting your retail center to buy baby diapers in one outlet tend to grab a few drinks at the next one. Retail centers must continually invest time and effort to assess the market and ensure that their tenant mix is optimizing the overall performance.

Hire a good commercial real estate property company

Commercial real estate property management services have mastered the art of using several proven techniques in finding the right mix for any kind of retail property. They study the area around the property, analyze the geographical pros and cons of the place and have seasoned real estate experts to work on the tenant mix. They perform competitor analysis to check what products and services are missing in the area and also work towards acquiring high quality tenants for the property.

Landlords and real estate companies can use real estate property management services to manage tenant relationships from the start till the end while they focus on other core activities.

Tips For Hiring a Probate Attorney For Estate Planning and Estate Management

A probate attorney specializes in establishing estate planning and managing probated estates. Probate is mandated in the United States unless decedents establish trusts. The process is necessary to validate decedents’ last will, settle the estate, and distribute assets to named beneficiaries.

A Transactional probate attorney is used to handle estate administration duties. Transactional lawyers open the probate case and present Wills to the probate court. They provide assistance to the appointed probate personal representative and file legal documents according to protocol.

Probate Litigators are lawyers that specialize in managing estates enveloped in family discord. This type of attorney is required when heirs contest the last will, or are fighting over distribution of inheritance assets. Probate Litigators can mediate and negotiate on behalf of the estate administrator or can be appointed to manage the estate.

When heirs contest the decedent’s last will and testament, they are initially responsible for legal costs. If a judge rules in their favor the estate must reimburse heirs or pay their legal counsel directly. Regardless of whether heirs win or not, contesting a will can tie up estate assets for months or years or bankrupt the estate, leaving nothing for beneficiaries.

When decedents own real estate their estate is responsible for maintaining the property throughout the probate process. Expenses can include home loan installments, property taxes and insurance, homeowner’s association dues, and necessary maintenance. These expenses can quickly cause financial hardship for the estate if proper estate planning measures are not in place.

Transactional lawyers are a good choice for handling intestate estates; meaning the person died without executing a valid will. Intestate probate is notorious for taking several months to settle. Transactional attorneys can help heirs organize documents, present documents to the court, appoint an estate executor, and represent the family in court.

It is best to interview three or more lawyers during the estate planning process. It is never a good idea to retain the services of probate attorney during the grieving process. However, if this cannot be avoided try to obtain referrals instead of scouting out lawyers on your own.

Estate management fees will vary depending on estate value, inheritance assets, whether the estate is testate or intestate, and how well family members get along. Another factor is state probate laws. Legal fees can be charged at an hourly rate, percentage, or gross value of the estate.

It is imperative to understand legal fees prior to signing a contract. Oftentimes, the majority of the work can be performed by the estate administrator. Executors are compensated for their time and must keep record of time spent working on estate related matters.

Administering an estate can be time consuming and emotionally draining. When designating an estate administrator it is important to choose someone who is good with finances, well organized, and able to work under pressure.

Probate attorneys can help individuals establish strategies to avoid probate altogether. Options include revocable and irrevocable trusts, life insurance trusts, and various other techniques which transfer financial assets and personal property to intended beneficiaries.

Helpful Tips For Better Real Estate Management

Managing rental properties can be a tedious process sometimes landing you into legal issues. As a property manager or owner, you should think about preventing problems even before they occur to have an easier time maintaining order. Apart from making your tenants feel worthy, you should also find ways of making the management process easy for you especially when handling large properties or multiple properties. When you are organized in how you handle your property, it becomes easier to keep everything in check and a few tips can help you put in the best measures into the management process.

Tip 1 – Get a professional property manager

If you are a property owner with little knowledge of how to go about management, you should consider getting a professional property manager to ease out the process for you. Professional managers with some knowledge and experience in the real estate industry will know exactly how to go about the process and find organizational solutions to ease everything out. When there is a manager in place, you will feel more at peace and have fewer issues to deal with.

Tip 2 – Embrace technology

There are very effective real estate management solutions available thanks to technological advancements. Real estate management software is among the best solutions you can find to make the process easy and organized. Such a solution can improve communications and payments and data maintenance for the property. With the right system you will have an easy time collecting, returning and holding security deposits, as well as inspecting and documenting rental unit conditions before move-outs. There is just so much you can do with real estate management software to streamline processes so look for the best solution.

Tip 3 – Handle tenants appropriately

First of all you should consider screening tenants before allowing them into your property. It is a simple way of keeping troublesome characters off your property. It is also important that you put tenant landlord agreement in writing to keep things clear and ensure that you treat all tenants equally and without any discrimination. Discriminating prospective tenants based on sex, race, origin, disability or even familial status can land you into trouble. It is also important to respect their personal privacy even if the property is yours by notifying them prior to entering their rental units. Handling tenants appropriately will save you from a lot of trouble especially legally.

Tip 4 – Keep the property in top shape

Regular inspections are very important so you can make any improvements and changes where need be. Recklessness on your part leading to safety and security issues can lead to hefty losses in terms of compensations. You should therefore make a point of making prompt repairs and consider having a security system in place to give your tenants the sense of security they deserve as well as ensure that their safety is not compromised in any way.

Tip 5 – Oversee managers

They should be competent enough to keep your property in check. It is therefore important that as a landlord you choose and supervise property managers. Background checks and clearly spelling out their duties will prevent issues cropping out later.