Finding new tenants before the new year

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It’s already the end of November, how this year has flown by! Are you thinking about your new year’s resolutions for 2017? Landlords often find that new years equal new beginnings and tenants will be moving out during the summer holidays so they can get settled in their new area before the kids go back to school.

If you’re organised, you can get your next tenant lined up and ready to move in before the previous one has left. This will depend if you have maintenance issues to sort out first, but the quicker you can get a new tenant to move in the better on your bottom line.

Have you thought about holding an open home to show prospective tenants around all at once and you won’t have to be on call to show people around individually?

How can you make sure your open home is a success?

Be prepared. Be confident with your property and the open home will go a lot smoother.

Make sure you arrive at least 30 mins early. You can guarantee that people will show up early if the property is in the right location and ticks lots of boxes. So be there before everyone else. Maybe even get there an hour before, just to be safe.

Telling prospective tenants to ‘go online and download the forms’ may put them off. Have all of your application forms on hand, and more than you think you may need. It’s always better to have too many than not enough.

First impressions matter so walk around the property and see things with fresh eyes. People will be put off if the carpet is rolled up along the wall and paint cans lying around. It doesn’t matter if you promise that the carpet will be in and the place repainted before they move in. Complete all of your tasks before you hold the open home.

Is the garden tidy and the lawns mowed? Is everything working inside? Does it need new carpet put down? If your previous tenants have moved out already, now’s the time to do all of your repairs.

You can employ a property manager to take care of all these things for you. It is wise to be still involved in this process, but a property manager can take the brunt of all of these tasks. Remember that investing in property doesn’t mean that you set it and walk away.

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Is it time to hire a property investment advisor?

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The most successful people know that to achieve their goals, they must have a strategy in place. Being a landlord is no exception. If you want to achieve your investing goals, whether that’s owning one property or 5, start with the big picture plan and break it down into annual, monthly and weekly tasks.

If you are new to property investing, you may need to connect with an expert and employ the services of a property investment strategist to help you.

A good property investment advisor will be unbiased. They will not be trying to sell you something. They will give you honest feedback, and develop a strategy that is aligned with your financial goals, your risk profile and also aligned with your current bank balance.

Here are a few things to think about that will help you determine who will be the best fit for your needs.

Most advisors probably have their own investments so start by asking them about their track record. Find out when and how they started, what they like to invest in, how many properties they own, what mistakes they made etc. Finding out this information should provide you confidence and encouragement about their abilities.

Having their own investments is not essential, however. Regardless of whether they do this for themselves, you’ll want to see testimonials of other clients they have helped. Do your research and find out what other people have to say about them.

Investment techniques change over time as markets change. Find out how they recommend structuring investments and the techniques they use for maximising equity and cash flow for their clients.

Hiring an advisor is a big step in your investing success. What tips do you have when choosing the person who is the right fit for your unique situation?

Vacant rental? It’s time to get to work!

Vacant rental? It's time to get to work!

Finding your dream tenant is very much like finding your dream client in business. The more you can do up front, will save you a lot of time and headaches down the track. When tenants move out, there is always some wear and tear so spending time getting your rental up to scratch before renting it out again is always worth it.

A well looked after property gives the impression that they will have a landlord or property manager who will look after them. New tenants will feel like they will be able to reach out if they have problems or maintenance issues which need to be dealt with quickly.

Here are some tips to make sure your rental property is rented again as soon as possible.

Update your rental

Take advantage of the vacancy to refresh the property. Whether you just need to do something simple like building a deck, re-painting or replacing the kitchen or bathroom, it much easier to get it done before you rent the property out again. Use the downtime between tenants to your advantage and get any planned upgrades completed during this time when the work will not disturb your tenants.

With your property well maintained, clean, and fresh, you’ll be ready and make a good impression on your next client. A little extra care applied to these simple things will help you start off your next landlord-tenant relationship on the right foot.

Sort out any maintenance issues

Some tenants will report every minor problem during their tenancy while others will let things slide. See what needs some attention and before your next tenant moves in, make sure any required repairs are taken care of.

Walk through the entire property with a checklist and fix anything that needs it.

  • Check that the smoke detector is working and has new batteries
  • Check for dripping taps and fix any that are.
  • Make sure every door has the proper knob or handle.
  • Check for cracked window panes and replace.
  • Check all screens (doors and windows) to ensure they open and close and have strong locks on them.
  • Look at the paint on the walls and ceilings. It depends on when it was painted last; you may get away with just wiping them clean.

Sometimes you’ll get lucky and have great tenants who leave the place in better shape than when they got it, but even with great tenants, there are always a few things to clean up upon move-out.

  • Air conditioner filters – these need to be done on a monthly basis so make sure your new tenant knows how to do this, moving forward.
  • Exhaust vents and fans. These get very dirty, so they also may need a thorough clean if the previous tenants haven’t kept up with it – especially the kitchen range hood.

What other things do you do to get your rental ready for the next tenant?

How can a property management company help you?

 

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If you own a rental property, someone has to manage it. Yes, you can do it yourself, but let’s be realistic here, do you really have time to do it? This is where hiring a professional management company can save you time and energy.

What is property management?

It’s the managing, or handling, of real estate property by someone other than the owner. Most often, it is handled by a management firm that might handle more than one client’s real estate properties.

It goes without saying that quality is a big issue with this service. A sound management firm will act as a go-between for the property owner and the tenants, handling any questions and complaints that the tenants might have so that the owner does not need to deal with them. This kind of service can include collecting rent to hiring gardeners and maintenance contractors. They can keep an eye on repairs that need to be done, and suggest improvements on the property to the real estate owner.

Property managers can also be essential in keeping an eye on your property – making sure that no one is vandalising your investment, and taking care of problem tenants as well. The actions that manager may have to take can include eviction, as well as involving the authorities, tasks that a real estate investor may not want to do. They can also be used as arbitrators between tenants, when disputes arise that are not severe enough to involve the police or other authorities.

When done well, property management is the answer to a lot of issues that real estate investors might face. The management team can do the hands on work while the investors reap the profits.

Visit us for more information on how a Property Management company can assist you with your rental property.

What do tenants actually want in a rental?

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The thing about being successful in business is giving your customers what they want.

Being a landlord is no different.

Every city and suburb are different, so tenants will be looking for various things.

Warm areas want A/C and cold areas want a fireplace or sufficient heating in winter.

Backyard entertaining area

We all love the outdoors and having a great entertaining area in the garden will delight tenants.

This will be more important from now on with summer on the way.

If you are looking for new tenants now, spend some time making the garden gorgeous for summer.

Sufficient storage space

Storage is always going to be a problem for everyone. We all have way too many belongings, and there is never enough room to put our things so it’s no surprise that having sufficient storage space what tenants are looking for.

If your rental has no built-in wardrobes and you only have one cupboard to store everything, you’ll need to get some extra storage space added. This will be vital to attracting the right tenants.

What are tenants looking for?

Tenants are like house buyers, they are looking for the similar things in a property. They want a safe, well-maintained property in a good area that is close to amenities. Different demographics will want different things. A family will need enough bedrooms and decent size living area while a young professional will need a secure building with parking close to the CBD. When you are looking at purchasing an investment property, how do the features compare to other rentals in the area?

Would you live there?

Look at the property from your tenant’s perspective, would you live there? You don’t have to love the style of the house, but would you live there as a person renting? Is there a good heating/cooling unit? Is there a place to enjoy a beverage outside on a balmy evening? Is there a place to park your car? What about storing camping gear, bikes and other equipment? Is there are sensible layout? Do you have to walk through a bedroom to get to the only toilet in the house?

What other features have you heard tenants say are non-negotiable?

Tenant not paying rent? Here’s what to do.

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When you go to a job every week, you can expect to get paid. And the same applies when you rent our property out.

When you own a rental property, a tenant not paying rent is one of the most severe issues you may face. It is important that you deal with it as early as possible.

Give them the benefit of the doubt

If your tenant is a few days late in paying their rent, send them a reminder letter of the overdue payment. Maybe they had personal issues and forgot to pay that particular day. Give them the benefit of the doubt that there is a genuine reason. Call them to talk about it rather than jumping to conclusions. Set up a process moving forward that they need to call you if they are going to be late paying. Set clearly in your contract what will happen i.e. a late charge so everyone is on the same a page. Use your discretion of what you will allow and not allow. Maybe you will let it occasionally go if the tenants phone you in advance.

Take action if it happens often

If the tenant is late paying all the time, you might want to change the method of payment to one that provides more certainty, such as a direct debit.

Your tenancy agreement outlines that the tenant will pay rent on time. If they don’t, you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order to make sure the tenant complies with the terms of the agreement. It’s best to do this when a tenant is often late paying their rent. However, it is important to note that such a request cannot result in the termination of the tenancy if the non–payment of rent continues.

Final step: Eviction

If the tenant is more than 14 days behind with the rent, you can serve them with a termination notice. This will give them 14 days to leave the property. Your notice needs to be in writing and properly addressed to the tenant. You need to state why they have to go and by when. Also, mention that they won’t have to leave if they pay the outstanding rent or set up a repayment plan.

Applying to the Tribunal

You can apply to the Tribunal at the same time as or after serving the notice to the tenant or you can wait until after the termination date of your notice before applying to the Tribunal. This way you will know if you need a hearing because the tenant has not moved out or has not paid the rent owed. However, this could add up to 2 weeks before obtaining a hearing date compared to applying at the same time as giving notice. The application cannot be made more than 30 days after the termination date of the notice unless you ask for an extension.

By enlisting the services of a property management agency, you can save yourself the unpleasant job of dealing with tenants in arrears.

Tenants giving you headaches? It might be time to evict them

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As a landlord, you will have the best tenants who pay their rent on time and respect you and your property most of the time.

Every now and  then, you may have genuine reasons for ending your contract, such as you have sold the property and the new owners plan to live there themselves.

But what is not acceptable, are those tenants who don’t pay their rent, trash the property, are disrespectful to you and their neighbours.

What can you do in this case?

If you have tried every other avenue, it may be time to evict them.

The sooner you start the process, the better it will be for everyone. In some situations, you may want to be mindful of timing, but that is entirely up to you, as long as you follow the rules. In general, if there is an issue with your tenants, rather than sitting on the problem, it’s better to deal with it straight away rather than let the problem fester.

Regardless of whether they are right or wrong, they won’t be happy to leave, so your tenants will most likely be upset and emotional which means you need to take caution. Follow the eviction process set out by Consumer Affairs Victoria accurately. If you don’t, you could get a fine.

What do you need to do first?

First of all, you need to send your tenants a notice to vacate. Make sure it meets all the necessary criteria. Allow enough time for it to be delivered, make sure you fill all the information out correctly. Use the proper form. Get the form from the website HERE.

What are your next steps?

Once the notice to vacate has been served, the next step is to apply for a possession order. You have 30 days from the date specified in the notice to vacate to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in which they will tell you the hearing date.

What can you do with their belongings?

If the tenant doesn’t show up to the hearing, you can apply for a warrant of possession. The Principal Registrar of VCAT will send a letter to the Police outlining the possession order. This letter gives them permission to take possession of the property however they can.

The police can remove people from the property, but they can’t remove belongings. The tenant must take their things with them. Otherwise, there is an another process you must follow to remove the belongings. You can remove items if they are of no value, perishable or dangerous. You must store what’s left for at least 28 days and inform your tenant on how they can get them back.

Having to evict a tenant is when having a Property Manager can take the stress out of this issue for you. They know the system and know how to handle it correctly. Contact us at True Property Management for help with your eviction process.