Category Archives: Property manager

Do you have different leases for different tenants?

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Tenants moving out is always stressful. Landlords worry about how the rental will be left, and tenants just want to get their bond back.

Your lease agreement states that the tenant should leave the property how it was when they moved in, except for ‘normal wear and tear.’

But what does that mean?

Tenants think that landlords charge for every little scratch and owners believe that tenants aren’t careful enough and should pay for the damage they have caused.

The problem is there is no precise definition of ‘normal wear and tear.’

The easiest way is to hire a Property Manager who has experience with all aspects of working with tenants, and they will be able to give you clear guidelines on what to expect.

But if you do not have a property manager, there are some things you can do to protect yourself as a landlord and as a tenant.

Put it in your lease

The best way to avoid issues is to document it in writing. Make sure you have this clause in your rental agreement and write in detail what is considered normal.

For example, worn carpets, paint chips and nail holes from hanging pictures are considered normal.

But provide some examples of what you would expect tenants to pay for, such as; stains on the carpets, gouges out of the wall (where hanging pictures went wrong), chunks out of the wooden floors, broken windows – or broken anything.

If you have a range of options, then the tenants can see what to expect. If there will be pets, make sure you clarify how you want the rental left when they move out. Are scratches on the floor or walls acceptable?

Take lots of photos

When new tenants are moving into the property, take lots of photos or video of the property to minimise any disputes when they move out. Walk through the house together and point out any areas that you are aware of. Encourage the tenant to add to the list.

At True Property Management, we do regular inspections of all of our rentals, and we take lots of photos of every room in the house. We then send it to the landlord in a report.

Repair as soon as possible

Tell your tenant to call you if anything breaks. Small things can quickly add up. If repairs aren’t urgent, the tenant should document it and take photos, so you have a record of it.

Have various agreements for different situations

Something that most landlords don’t take into consideration when writing their contracts is who will be living in the property.

This can drastically affect what condition the property will be in when they move out. What is ‘normal wear and tear’ for a single professional will be radically different to what is ‘normal wear and tear’ for a family of 5 with a cat and a dog.

You mightn’t expect the walls to be painted, but you will probably get a few more dents on the wall and maybe some stains on the carpet. It’s worth the extra effort have an agreement that covers different situations.

Normal wear and tear

So in the end, normal wear and tear it comes down to someone’s word against another. Repainting, cleaning the carpet and a few nail holes and marks are normal, but if it’s more than that, it could be a problem. So take precautions, write it clearly in the contract, or ask for it to be written out, taking pictures, even ask questions about what to expect, then write it down and sign it.

Contact True Property Management to take care of all of your inspections, find great tenants and determine what is ‘normal wear and tear’ when they move out.

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What does a property manager actually do?

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Many new landlords buy their first rental and think they can manage it themselves. And they often do, but then life gets in the way, and you start to fall behind. Or maybe, you buy a second rental and the workload piles up. Property management is a full-time job. We know! We live and breathe it every day.

If you are a business person, you’ll know that success comes when you start outsourcing/delegating. Focus on what you are good at and outsource the rest to professionals who are experts in the field. But, many you’re wondering: how will a property management company actually help me?

Property Inspections

Regular inspections of your rental is an essential part of property security and peace of mind. If your property is vacant, then we endeavour to visit the property each week to ensure all is secure and in tip-top condition. Once there are tenants in the property for 3 months, then we start regular house inspections every 6 months.

During the inspection, we look at everything and let you know if there are any issues like:

  • Any short-term maintenance that needs to be done
  • Any large renovation jobs that may be required in the future (giving you options of how to handle it)
  • We will let you know if the tenants are looking after the property, and that nothing neglectful is happening, or likely to occur.
  • We organise your annual servicing of heating, cleaning gutters and check the gardens – pruning back large trees is an easier job when you keep on top of it.

Vacancies and Tenants

We advertise your vacancy, screen potential tenants to make sure they are suitable and contact their references. We know all of our tenants well, and we can match them with the best possible rental for their needs. If they are happy that the property is close to work, shopping and desired schools, they will stay there for longer.

Other things we love to do

We make sure you are getting the maximum market rent for your area, and we spend time looking for quality tenants, which often means long-term tenants. Your vacancy periods are reduced, which then increases your income. We also collect your rent for you each week, deal with tenants who don’t pay and provide you with rental statements.

If you need help managing your rental property, contact us at True Property Management.

What should I look for in a property management company?

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Having excellent property management is essential for your investment. The owner should not need to worry about their rental at all when they hire a property manager. Here are some things to look for to make sure your property is in good hands.

Tailored fee structures

Most property management companies have a fee schedule in place. The ability to tailor this feed to meet your individual requirements is critical.

Avoid add-on fees

Many property managers are looking to make money at every opportunity and add-on fees wherever they can. These include occupancy charges, marketing fees, advertisement fees, and so on. A good property manager will give a landlord a flat rate for their costs and then stick with it. Doing this provides stability, predictability and impacts your ability to manage your investment portfolio.

Communication is essential

A good property manager regularly updates their client and lets them know immediately about any issues with the rental property. They recommend steps to stop the problem quickly. Additionally, a good manager also provides regular contact information for 24/7 access. From your initial conversation regarding the fee structure, through to regular contact concerning your investment property; you should feel comfortable asking questions, relaying instructions and receiving advice.

Not all investment properties are created equal

There are those who are general property managers and others who understand rentals with specific needs. A good property manager is one who has the experience to identify and meet the unique requirements of a property that won’t be completed by general services.

Frequent and timely financial reporting

A property investor wants to know where his income is and if there are any problems. Good property management involves coordinating and tracking the financial information for your investment property and providing this to you in an accurate, regular and easy to understanding format; keeping the value of the business safe and transparent. Many property managers now provide secure online information, allowing you to log on and look at your reports as little or as often as you required.

Provide a comprehensive service

A good property management company will understand the concept of complete management and take care of multiple services for your investment property. Beyond just collecting the rent, your chosen property manager should provide legal assistance, screening, background checks, collection services, and organising maintenance requirements through their network of tradespeople.

In summary, choosing a good property management will provide you will peace of mind knowing your investment property is protected and providing you with the best return on your investment possible.

If you are looking for a property management company to take care of your rentals, contact us today.

Do I really need to hire a property manager?

Congratulations! You are now the owner of a brand new, shiny rental, and now you’re excited to get things going. It’s likely you’ve overspent your budget, or perhaps you need to take care of a few renovations before your tenant can move in, so you figure you don’t need a property manager, you can save money and do it yourself. How hard can it be?

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Most landlords assume the toughest part will be dealing with the day-to-day side of things: Tenants not paying rent, phone calls in the middle of the night, having conflicts with neighbours. For sure, those things can be frustrating, but the hardest part that most DIY Property Managers don’t even think about is the legal side of things. If you’re not familiar with tenancy legislation and getting the right paperwork sorted out, you may find yourself in trouble.

There are lots of areas to look out for, but here are a few common problems that may arise with new DIY Property Managers.

Waiving the Lease

A handshake is not a legal agreement. You need to have a legally binding contract that outlines who is responsible for what. Outline what you as the landlord is responsible for and what the tenant is responsible for. What it should at least cover is the length of the lease, how much rent is due and when the tenant will pay it, as well as the condition the property is currently in and how it should be when vacating.

Not asking for a Bond

Not handling the bond correctly, or worse, not even asking for one at all, can set you up for heartache down the line. Asking for a bond and putting it in your bank account is not the correct way to deal with it. What will you do if your tenant damages your property and you have no bond to cover the cost?

Be aware of Local Tenancy Laws

How much do you understand about tenancy law in your area? Not knowing tenancy legislation is not a valid defense, so you may receive a fine if you don’t comply with all the rules and regulations. So make sure you understand the law in detail, or you get help in this area.

Entering the Property

Most new landlords don’t realise that even though you own the property, your tenants live there, and they have rights. You have to give them 24 hours notice before going there.

Are you ready to manage your own rental? It is a lot more involved than most people think. Contact us at True Property Management to find out how we can manage your property for you and take all the legal stress off your hands.

4 things you’re doing wrong as a new landlord

When you are a new landlord, it can be hard to know what to expect and what you need to do to maximise your income.

Here are some common pitfalls that many new landlords find out about the hard way.

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Not charging the right rent

When you buy a property, do some research on similar properties in your area. If you set the rent too high, no one will want to rent it and it will sit vacant while you lose money. On the other hand, if the rent is set too low you won’t make any profits and not only that, you may attract undesirable tenants.

A property manager will be able to inform you on similar rentals and advise you on an acceptable price.

Not keeping track of payments

Money should always be on your mind. If your tenant doesn’t pay their rent, it can be a very lengthy process to resolve and could leave you considerably out-of-pocket.

Keep tabs every week or month when rent is due and if your tenant doesn’t pay on time, you can send them a notice. This process varies from state to state so be aware of your local laws.

Monitoring rent payments and contacting tenants sooner rather than later may help resolve issues and mitigate any financial loss.

Not doing regular maintenance

The #1 complaint from tenants is that their landlords take too long to do repairs. Not following through can put unnecessary strain on your relationship.

If a maintenance issue arises and you don’t fix it, you may be liable if your tenant injures themselves.

Sometimes, the tenant may decide to fix it himself or hire a shoddy contractor, which can cause more damage to the property. Make repairs a priority and ensure they are completed to a satisfactory standard.

Trying to self-manage a property

It can be stressful for landlords to manage their investment properties. Most of them simply don’t have time to do it. Yes, you can save money by doing it yourself, but the benefits of having someone take care of everything for you can outweigh the costs.

Property managers will check the property on a regular basis to see what maintenance needs to be done. They also find and screen tenants, and they have a list of tenants who are known for not paying rent, damaging their rentals and being evicted.

If a dispute arises with a tenant, property managers know the correct procedures to help resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

 

Hiring a property manager eliminate these mistakes for you. Contact True Property Management for more information.

How to expand your investment property portfolio

You have one rental property and it’s working out well for you.

Now, what do you think about expanding on that?

It’s the key to achieving financial independence.

One rental property gets you on the ladder, but climbing the ladder is the only way to make any real passive income.

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Once you have the hang of it, you may want to take on more properties because your first property was such a success.

You have a great tenant, the maintenance issues under control, and the income you get is a nice bump each month – maybe not as big as you’d like, but it’s nice to see all the same.

Now you’ve settled into being a landlord you want to climb onto the next rung of the ladder.

Building it’s a challenge at first, but once you’ve settled into a routine, it becomes second nature.

It may feel overwhelming making that leap, but now that you’ve done it once, you can do it again.

Here are the biggest things to think about:

Finances

Getting a mortgage is the biggest barrier when it comes to expanding your property portfolio.

Taking out a mortgage is a possibility, but you are likely to get stung with extra fees, payment requirements, and approval process will probably be tougher.

Make sure you research what the rules are.

It’s important to have an accountant on your team that is familiar with property investing, as they will help you with finding the best way to go about it.

Another option is refinancing your first investment property to fund your second, or maybe consider bringing an investor on board.

Someone who doesn’t want the hassle of dealing with the property, but wants a cut of the proceeds.

Maintenance

Dealing with maintenance and repairs on one property is manageable, but once you start expanding your empire, things start to look different.

If you have two properties that are in good shape and don’t have major issues, then you’ll be busy but it’s not out of reach.

However, if your properties are older and need more work, or if you add a third or fourth rental property , then it can be too much.

Employing the services of a property manager to help you is a good idea.

On the other hand, if you’re committed to doing it yourself for a while longer then you need good contractors.

The last thing you want is for a water main to burst and you are not being able to get over there to take care of it.

Ask around for recommendations of contractors; they are worth their weight in gold!

 

Operations

Collecting the rent on time, having the right lease available, organizing open home and house inspections, paying taxes, mortgage payments.

Who’s going to take care of all these tasks?

What about when you have 5+ properties to keep an eye on?

Do you have a watertight system, so nothing falls through the cracks?

Make sure you have a good property management system at this point, or again think about hiring one.

Tenants

Along with all the above, one of the big ones is finding and keeping tenants.

Without good tenants all the other aspects of managing properties become useless.

You can’t pay the bills without tenants, so this has to be a big focus – especially initially.

Finding good tenants is hard, but once they are in the property, really all it takes is being responsive to them. Follow up on maintenance and repairs, and stay out of their way apart from ‘Thank you’ every so often.

But marketing your properties to find those tenants can take a little bit of getting used to.

Once you know how to present and sell your property and choose great tenants, it becomes fun.

Until that point, it can be a hard slog.

Don’t give up too soon.

Now you know what’s involved in taking on that second rental property it’s an excellent time to consider involving a property management company.

One investment property is easy to manage on your own, but once you start to expand your portfolio it does get more difficult.

You don’t have to use property managers for everything; you can pick and choose what tasks you would like them to do for you – just ask!

How to keep your tenants long-term

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Good tenants are hard to come by and it costs somewhere between four and ten times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.  So the key to being a successful landlord is to keep costs down by having a low tenant turnover rate.

The most effective way is by building a good relationship. It costs you money when a tenant moves out so it would make sense to retain your tenant for as long as possible.

Respect their Needs

If they have young children and the property isn’t fenced, would it make sense to add a fence (investigate if this would add value to your property). Or if you have a professional single woman in your property, adding security lights might be a nice touch. You don’t have to go all out. Have a conversation with them to find out what they need. Perhaps they simply want to make the home their own, by adding their own personal touches.

Be aware of who they are

When you are scheduling a house inspection, arrange a time that would be convenient for THEM. If they have children at school, don’t schedule an inspection during the school holidays. If they are professionals, then 10 am on a Monday morning probably wouldn’t be convenient.

Keep the property fresh

Winter is a miserable time of year and when mildew and mould turn a cosy house into something that looks less appealing and has your tenants considering other options. You might be surprised to find that tenants often will move because they think the property is dirty and unpleasant looking.

Consider once a year to help out with a bit of a ‘spring clean’ – attacking the garden, cleaning the mould and mildew and laundering the curtains. Cleaning these things can go a long way for good will. It also gives you the opportunity to get in there and perform any regular maintenance.

It really doesn’t take too much to encourage long-term tenants. These things won’t guarantee they will stay – circumstances out of their control may make them move on. Treat every tenant like a long-term tenant and they may just well turn into one.

We always strive to find the best possible long-term tenants for all of our clients. If you need advice on how to keep your existing tenants on long-term, please contact us for ideas.