Upgrades to Improve Your Rental Property Value

rental property checklist, rental property maintenance checklistWhen it comes to adding upgrades to your rental property, it’s important to make smart choices to increase rent and your bottom line. Rental property improvements need to find that perfect balance between investing enough to increase the value, but also avoiding spending money on the wrong things. Avoid over-improving your rental property and pricing yourself out of the neighborhood.

Top Upgrades to Increase Your Rental Property Value

  1. Upgraded Plumbing Fixtures

Over time, bathroom and kitchen fixtures can become grimy and outdated. For a quick and easy update, consider changing out faucets and shower heads. Avoid the standard grade chrome and upgrade to a more modern finish such as brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze for a more refined look.

  1. Bathroom Remodel

While it may not be necessary to completely gut the bathroom, replacing the vanity and light fixture is a quick and easy upgrade that can bring new life to your outdated bathroom. Many home improvement stores offer complete kits with vanity, sink, mirror and lighting. Add the upgraded plumbing fixtures and matching towel racks for a completely new look!

  1. Kitchen Remodel

A new kitchen will add instant value to your rental property! Stock cabinets can be purchased from your local home improvement store and easily installed. However, if a whole new kitchen doesn’t seem affordable, freshen the cabinets with new hardware and possibly even some paint. The one place to spend a little extra in the kitchen is a nice new countertop. Laminate may be the less expensive option, but they just don’t hold up, as they are easily stained, discolored or even burned. Consider granite, ceramic tile or another solid surface. Not only does this provide a more expensive look, but they are also more durable and stand the test of time.

  1. Flooring

When considering flooring options, look not only at price but also durability. Carpet is often the less expensive option, but requires professional cleaning and generally more upkeep from both you and your tenants. An LVT, or luxury vinyl tile will cost a little more upfront but will prove to be more durable and last longer. Cleaning and maintenance are easier and will last longer, ultimately saving you money.

  1. Paint

When budget is a concern and there just isn’t enough money for upgrades, a fresh coat of paint throughout the home goes a long way to making a home look clean and inviting. Remember to keep the paint color neutral and consider a better grade of paint so that marks and stains can be easily wiped down. This will minimize painting between tenants.

  1. Lighting

Are your light fixtures from the 80’s? Swap out those dated fixtures for a more modern look! Add lighted ceiling fans to also increase comfort as well as provide increased energy efficiency. If your property is lacking light, consider adding some overhead lighting to brighten the space and make it more appealing to prospective tenants.

  1. Don’t Forget the Basics

While providing cosmetic upgrades is a great way to increase value, make sure basic maintenance items are addressed first. Granite countertops won’t matter much if you have a leaking roof or mold in the basement. Don’t forget cleaning! Always present a clean and fresh smelling home because first impressions make a huge difference in attracting the right tenants.

A professional property management company can guide you in making the right choices in improving your rental property value. Bay Management Group has professional maintenance technicians on staff to assist with all of your maintenance needs. We also contract with a variety of professional contractors to get the best rates and pass those discounts on to our owners.


What is a Security Deposit, and How to Make Sure You Receive Your Full Deposit Refund?

security deposit baltimoreAs a renter, paying a security deposit prior to move in, is something you should expect and prepare for. Though security deposit amounts may vary, depending on the rent amount, credit check, income and rental verification, as well as any move in specials your landlord may be running, you can anticipate your new landlord to require a security deposit in addition to the 1st month’s rent. In this blog post, we are going to touch base on exactly what a security deposit is, and what it’s used for, as well as go over the steps you can take, to ensure you receive all, or at least most of your deposit back at move out.

First things first, let’s go over what a security deposit is, and why you’re being asked to pay one. A security deposit is a sum of money that a tenant pays to their landlord prior to moving into a rental property. Typically, the security deposit amount is equivalent to one or two months of rent. In the state of Maryland, the maximum deposit amount a landlord can ask for is two months of rent. A security deposit can be used for one of two things; financial protection as well as property protection. If you vacate the property, owing a balance for rent and/or utilities, your security deposit will be applied to any balance owed. If there are damages to the property at move out, such as carpet stains, broken appliances, or numerous marks on walls, your security deposit will be applied to the costs of those repairs.

Once your lease has come to an end, and you have decided to vacate the property you are renting, chances are, you’re going to want your security deposit to be returned to you in full. In order for that to happen, there are certain steps you will want to take to ensure you receive your full deposit, or at least most of it. Some of these steps should be taken prior to move in, while others will take place during your tenancy, and leading up to your vacate date. Continue reading to find out what steps Bay Management Group recommends taking for your maximum deposit refund.

Step One:

Read your entire lease agreement: While this may sound like a pretty obvious thing, sometimes we’re all guilty of not reading important documents in full. We skim through agreements, and only focus on the sections that asks for our initial or signature. However, a lot of important information is in that lease agreement, and you’ll want to be familiar with all of it. Your rental lease agreement is where you will find information pertaining to what, if any changes can be made at the property; such as painting or hanging items on the walls. Knowing what changes are and are not allowed to be made to the property, will help to ensure you’re not doing anything that would result in a charge at move out.

Step Two:

Ask questions: When reading your rental lease agreement, do not be afraid to ask questions, if you’re unsure of a certain statement or section within your lease. It is extremely important to make sure you fully understand and are clear of the terms of your rental lease agreement. Bay Management Group has a team of qualified leasing agents, who are here to  help answer any questions you have during your leasing process!

Step Three:

Ask what charges can be deducted from your deposit at move out: Prior to moving in, ask your landlord or leasing agent what potential charges can be deducted from your security deposit when you vacate the property. Having a clear understanding of what items may be deducted from your deposit, will allow you to plan ahead and avoid any potential damages during your tenancy. At Bay Management Group, we provide all of our tenants with a list of standard move out charges prior to moving in. This is great for rental tenants to refer to when preparing to vacate. Always ask if information like this is available to you.

Step Four:

Provide a move in report and take photos: Every property and landlord is different. What is considered “rent ready” to one landlord, may be completely different to another. As a new rental tenant, one of the very first things you will want to do is document the condition of your property at move in. Walk through each and every room, as well as the front and rear exterior, and document your findings. In addition to a written report, take tons of photos as well. Make sure you report all findings to your landlord, as well as keep copies of your report and photos for yourself. Bay Management Group, provides our tenants with a move in report on move in day. The move in report is always referred to, when completing the refund of a security deposit. This is a great way to ensure you’re not held responsible for damages that may have been present when you moved in.

Step Five:

Provide your forwarding address: In the state of Maryland, a landlord is to send deposit refunds, and all information pertaining to a security deposit to the last known address on file. When providing your notice to vacate, you should provide your landlord with your forwarding address at that time. If you are unsure of your forwarding address, just make sure you provide it to your landlord as soon as possible. Otherwise all deposit information will be sent to the property you are vacating from, which can result in a delayed deposit refund.

Step Six:

Make sure all rent and utilities are paid prior to vacating: It is important to check your rental tenant account, and make sure all rent, including utilities are paid in full prior to vacating the property. Keep in mind, any balance owed will be deducted from your security deposit. Depending on your deposit amount, this can lead to you owing a balance to your landlord. Owing a balance at move out can lead to having your account filed in collections, if left unpaid. The best way to avoid this, is to ensure all money owed is paid in full, leaving no balance due.

Step Seven:

Ask to be present during the move out inspection: In the state of Maryland, landlords are required to notify every tenant the date and time a move out inspection is scheduled to take place. As a rental tenant, you have the right to be present during the inspection, though you do not have to be. While most inspections are completed by maintenance personnel, who are not able to provide information with regards to your deposit refund, it is a good idea to be present during the inspection, so that you can see exactly what is being documented.

While sometimes damages to a property are inevitable, following the steps above will not only show your landlord that you are a rental tenant who cares about their property, this will also ensure you are getting the maximum deposit refund at move out. Don’t throw your money away to avoidable charges! Gather information, ask questions, and prepare accordingly. After all, moving is expensive, and receiving that security deposit refund will help with those costs!


Placing Qualified Tenants in Your Rental Property

placing qualified tenantsPlacing quality tenants is one of the most important aspects of renting your home. The goal is to find qualified tenants who will pay rent on time, follow lease terms, and take care of the home to avoid damages to the property as well as being respectful of the neighbors. While you may feel in a hurry to place a tenant to begin collecting rent, placing the RIGHT qualified tenant is more important. The non-qualified tenant is far more expensive than the cost of vacancy.

An important aspect of tenant placement is to have a solid set of application qualification guidelines. Applying these guidelines consistently ensures that every application is reviewed in the same manner and each applicant is held to the same standard of qualification. This practice will protect you as the landlord in making sure you are following all Federal Fair Housing Laws as well as any additional state and local laws. 

Each landlord or management company may have slightly different standards, but should generally be reviewing the following:

Credit Score

While a low credit score does not necessarily mean the applicant will be a bad tenant, there are certain factors to consider

  1. Set a minimum credit score for all applicants
  2. Review the amounts and types of debt on the report
  3. Look at the overall history of the accounts and what is affecting the overall credit score

Rental History

A strong rental history is often a sign that the applicant will be a qualified tenant

  1. Ask for the current/previous landlords contact information to do a rental verification
  2. The number one red flag is a previous eviction, which will likely disqualify most applicants
  3. Check for a history of late filings
  4. Always check to see if the applicant owes money to a previous landlord

Income

You want to make sure the qualified tenant has verifiable income to be able to make their monthly rent payments

  1. Applicants need to submit proof of income: this can be their two most recent pay stubs, most recent tax returns or sometimes a verifiable offer letter from a new employer
  2. Minimum combined household income should be no less than 3 times the monthly rent
  3. Consider the applicant’s other financial responsibilities when considering their ability to pay

Criminal Background

Keep in mind that having a broad policy of denying housing to a prospective tenant with any type of criminal history would be considered discriminatory under the Federal Fair Housing Act. Things to consider:

  1. Length of time since conviction
  2. Number of offenses
  3. Would the applicant put other tenants/neighbors at risk?
  4. Would the applicant put the property at risk?
  5. Does the conviction influence the applicant’s ability to pay?

 

Bay Management Group’s dedicated team of application processors ensure that each application is thoroughly reviewed in accordance with Federal Fair Housing Laws, State and local laws, as well as BMG policy. Additionally, we ensure that applicant information is kept confidential and secure in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. As a property owner, you can trust Bay Management Group to search for the most qualified renter to protect your investment.


Employee Spotlight: Andrew Fussell, Director of Business Development

property management professionals, property management companyAt Bay Management Group, we are property management professionals focused on customer service. Furthermore, our goal is to make property ownership both a pleasurable and profitable experience for our clients. We know that our success is due to our awesome team members, and how they each contribute something special to our property management company.

 

Therefore, we are initiating our Employee Spotlight to help you get to know more about our talented employees, and how their unique backgrounds and expertise help us stay a “cut above the rest.” Today, we are proud to introduce Andrew T. Fussell, Director of Business Development. Read on to discover all about Andrew, his professional background, and what he enjoys most about working here at Bay Management Group.

Andrew T. Fussell, Director of Business Development

Andrew came to Bay Management Group five years ago, working as a leasing agent for about four years before he transitioned into his current role 18 months ago. He’s worked in sales and customer service throughout his entire professional career, working in every capacity from bartending to managing a clothing store.

Andrew’s been a licensed real estate agent in Maryland since 2014, and before coming to BMG, he was a Realtor at Keller Williams. With so much real estate experience under his belt, he decided he wanted to get into the property management side of things.

A Day in the Life of Andrew T. Fussell

Andrew is responsible for bringing on all the new properties for the Baltimore office. From the very first phone call until they are assigned a dedicated property manager, he’s the point-of-contact. Andrew spends his days responding to new leads, reaching out to clients, and meeting with owners at their properties to explain how BMG’s property management services will benefit them. He’s also the guy in charge of sending out and entering new management agreements in the Baltimore area.

Why Andrew Loves Being Part of the BMG Team

Andrew loves getting to meet new people and seeing all the different types of beautiful architecture Baltimore has to offer. As a natural people person, Andrew has stepped right into his role and spends his days making sure our clients and prospective clients are happy and well cared for.

Andrew appreciates the fact that Bay Management Group is a local company that truly does care about the future of Baltimore. He says BMG is a family, and even as we’ve grown in size, we’ve never lost the closeness between employees. He enjoys the fact that BMG builds great relationships with our clients. In his eyes, you should have more than just a business relationship with clients; they should trust you like a friend. Andrew strives to be that trusted advisor to every property owner who reaches out to Bay Management Group in Baltimore.

Andrew’s Advice for Anyone Wanting to Get into Property Management

Andrew says people should take everything with a grain of salt. A lot of times, the people property managers come in contact with are frustrated, but they’re not always frustrated with you. Sometimes, they just need to vent and feel like they’re being heard.

Outside of BMG

When Andrew’s not in the office, he’s finding things to keep himself busy one way or another. He can’t stand idle time, so you might find him working on his house, spending time outdoors, or working on his ’66 Mustang.

Here’s Five Fun Facts About Andrew:

  • Name something off your bucket list.
    • Fish the White Marlin Open.
  • If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
    • Steve McQueen, I love his movies.
  • If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
    • Play the Piano.
  • If you could dis-invent one thing, what would it be?
    • Social Media, I think we all spend too much time comparing our lives to others and not living our lives fully.
  • Pick three words to describe yourself.
    • Honest, Loyal, Hardworking

 

Bay Management Group is a full-service property management company here to help you with all your residential and multi-family property needs. Our business is strictly property management, so our specialization enables us to serve you better. For more information on our range of services, contact us today.


Pricing Your Rental Property

pricing your rental property baltimore

When deciding to list your home as a rental property, deciding on a listing price can be a very important part of that decision. While it’s important to consider your mortgage payment and all other costs associated with the home, you will also need to think of the cost of vacancy and turnover. Keep in mind that many homeowners, especially those with high mortgages, will not make a profit for the first few years.

There are many factors that will directly affect your homes rental value and the first step is to look at comparable homes in your area. Focus on rentals that are as similar to yours as possible and consider the following:

  • Neighborhood: the area in which your home is located plays a huge role in determining value as a highly desirable neighborhood will bring in a much higher rental rate than a similar home in a less popular area of town
  • Size: you will want to look at rentals that are similar in size with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • New Construction vs. Old: many renters are willing to pay a little more for a newer construction property as the amenities that are often higher end
  • Amenities: renters will often consider the amenities below when looking for a rental property
    • Updates: newer kitchens and baths with high-end appliances as well as hardwood floors are more desirable than units without
    • Square Footage: the size of your home will play a big part in the value
    • Layout: open floorplans are more sought after than more traditional homes. Also, a 3rd bedroom in the basement is not as desirable as having all three bedrooms above ground level
    • Bonus Features: amenities such as decks and a fenced yard or finished basements bring higher rental rates than a home without

Are you getting enough interest in your listing? If not, you need to reconsider the price as a lack of leads is almost always related to price. Once you’ve determined your initial listing price, you’ll need to remain flexible and consider market fluctuations, the overall economy, and supply & demand in your area. A low economy may bring more renters to the market as homeownership becomes more difficult. However, a huge supply of rental on the market will give prospective renters more options and room for negotiations.

The leasing team at Bay Management Group takes time to consider all of these factors when recommending a listing price for our owners. We use a variety of industry websites to compare rentals as well as our extensive knowledge of the market. With properties listed all over the Baltimore Metro area and surrounding counties, we are constantly watching the markets and work with owners to find quality tenants at the best possible rental rate while also trying to minimize vacancy time and turnover costs.


The Importance of Hiring and Working with Licensed Contractors

The Importance of Hiring and Working with Licensed Contractors
Here at Bay Management Group, we have the pleasure of working with a multitude of property owners, who have chosen to rent their property or properties out for various reasons. Whether your job is relocating you to a different area, your family is growing and more space is needed, or you’re a property investor, with numerous properties in your portfolio, having a rental property is a good way to bring in additional income on a monthly basis.

Having a rental property with tenants in place, however, also comes with the responsibility of making sure maintenance requests are completed properly, and in a timely manner. While a rental property can provide a positive cash flow each month, it is important to expect and be prepared for maintenance issues to arise, and paying for someone to repair those issues within a reasonable amount of time.

Now, if you are someone who specializes in HVAC, plumbing, roof, or electrical repairs, then you may be able to handle some of these maintenance items on your own. But, if you’re like many homeowners of rental properties, you will be relying on another individual to handle the job for you. In this month’s blog post, we are going to discuss the importance of hiring a licensed contractor to complete maintenance requests, and how doing so, can potentially save you money in the long run.

For example, your tenant just reported their A/C is not working. The system is not blowing cool air, and there seems to be a lot of condensation on the system itself, causing water to leak from the vents. Your friend, who is a handyman has offered to go out and take a look at the system. Having him go out will be far less expensive than sending a licensed HVAC technician out to inspect, so it makes sense, right? Not necessarily.

Fast forward to a week later, your friend thought he fixed the issue, but the tenants are reporting it has not been resolved. The water that was leaking from the vents has now caused interior damage to the ceilings and drywall, which will result in you having to repair that as well. In addition, you still have a HVAC system that is not functioning properly, on top of upset tenants who haven’t had a working A/C in over a week. That’s not all, the current lease with these tenants is up for renewal, and now they’re not so sure they want to commit to another year at this property. If your tenants vacate due to unresolved maintenance issues, you’re now looking at the possibility of paying for turnover expenses as well.

Let’s say instead of having a handyman go out for this repair, you chose to have a licensed HVAC contractor go out instead. Would the outcome be different? Most likely, yes. While the cost may be more expensive, you are paying for quality service from an expert of the trade. This individual will be able to diagnose the exact issue, as this is what he/she does day in and day out. They’ll provide a quote for repair or replacement, a timeline as to when you can expect the work to be completed, and that work will probably come with a warranty for parts as well as labor.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some jobs require permits to be pulled, and typically a licensed contractor is going to know exactly what is needed for that permit and how to successfully obtain it. Licensed contractors know the codes, have a crew of professionals ready to complete work properly, and will generally have a supervisor on site, overseeing each job.

Another thing to keep in mind is the paper trail. Nine times out of ten, a licensed contractor is working for a professional company, one who works off of work orders, provides written estimates, as well as detailed invoices. Documentation for each job is extremely important to keep for your records, especially when owning a rental property. Rent escrow is a real thing, and if you ever find yourself in a situation, where your tenant has taken you to court, you’re going to want comprehensive documentation.

If you have a third party management company managing your property, chances are, they already work with a good amount of licensed contractors, who they trust to get the job done. The best thing you can do, is allow your management company to coordinate all repairs with their contractor(s). While your friend, Jim may offer to handle repairs for far less money, that doesn’t always mean it’s the best route to take.

If you are an owner of a rental property who takes on the task of hiring contractors to complete different jobs, you are going to want to do a ton of research first. Read the online reviews, check the company status with the Better Business Bureau, ask for photos from previous projects, ask to see their contractor license, and make sure they have contractors’ insurance.

Lastly, if you’d rather have someone else do this for you, contact Bay Management Group! If you’re a property owner with rental properties in our areas of management, we’d love to discuss what we offer, and what sets our company and contractors apart from the rest.


Rental Property in Federal Hill, Baltimore

Baltimore's Inner HarborBooming nightlife and culture abound, Federal Hill is an attractive place to live for young renters looking to move to Baltimore, Maryland!

Located on the south side of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Federal Hill encompasses approximately 24 city blocks with Federal Hill Park rising above at the northeast corner, offering the best view in the city. The neighborhood is rich in history dating back to before the Wars of Independence, where the hill played a vital part in both military and maritime use. Today, the neighborhood is part of the National Register of Historic Places and the Baltimore City Historic District Ordinance.

In addition to the neighborhood’s rich history, Federal Hill in Baltimore offers its residents a neighborhood saturated in culture and art to include the Baltimore Museum of History and the American Visionary Art Museum as well a locally owned boutiques and galleries. A foodie’s dream, the neighborhood offers a variety of shops and restaurants and at the heart of historic Federal Hill is the Cross Street Market. Originally opening in 1846, Cross Street Market began a $7.3 million renovation in early 2018. In the spring of 2019, 6 vendors re-opened in the revitalized structure with an additional 10 vendors expected to open by Labor Day.

The amenities offered in this neighborhood rich in history and culture are a huge draw to young professionals, with more than 85% of Federal Hill residents having a college or advanced degree. In early 2013, developers took notice of the demand for rental properties and new construction took off. With the new market, rental property rates rose steadily through 2017 before the supply of luxury rentals far outweighed the demand. The resulting oversupply had a huge effect on the vacancy rate which currently sits near 10% in Federal Hill as opposed to Baltimore city which is less than 4%. This increased vacancy rate throughout Federal Hill caused fierce competition among developers as they dropped their expected rental rates and offered huge incentives to bring in tenants.

In spite of the oversupply and drop in rental rates over the past year, Federal Hill in Baltimore has remained one of the most sought after and pricey neighborhoods in the city. It is currently ranked as the the 4th most expensive neighborhood in Baltimore city, falling just behind Canton and Fells Point. There are certainly plenty of options available to renters ranging from luxury highrise apartments to refurbished historic townhomes. However, renters can expect to pay anywhere from $1600 to $2400 for a 2 bedroom unit.

Throughout the rise and fall of rental property rates, and the increased vacancy rate, Bay Management Group has maintained a steady supply of available rental units in the Federal Hill and South Baltimore area. We have been able to guide our owners in pricing effectively to avoid losses due to extended vacancy and make upgrades to keep their properties fresh and attractive for prospective renters. If you are a property owner, you can turn to Bay Management Group to assist with pricing, marketing and leasing your Federal Hill home.


Home Warranties and Rental Properties. Are They Worth It?

House key in home Insurance agent's hand protectionThere’s no way to get around it, being a homeowner can be pretty expensive at times. Between the cost of preventative maintenance, and having to pay out of pocket for those unexpected repairs; making sure you’re financially prepared for maintenance expenses, whether preventative or unexpected, is a must for every homeowner.

As a homeowner, you’re probably also looking for ways to minimize any out of pocket expenses, and one way many homeowners attempt to do that, is by signing up with a home warranty company. In this post, we’re going to discuss what exactly a home warranty is and what home warranty companies do, the pros and cons of those companies, and if it’s a good idea to hire a home warranty company when you own a rental property.

What is a home warranty? A home warranty (not to be confused with a home insurance policy) is a plan that pays for repairs and sometimes replacements of household appliances and systems. Things such as plumbing leaks, drain clogs, HVAC issues, and even appliance repairs, may be covered under your home warranty policy. In addition to repairs, your home warranty policy may also cover the cost of replacement of major appliances within your home.

What are the pros of a home warranty? Many home owners would report the number one reason for hiring a home warranty company, besides attempting to save money, is peace of mind. If something breaks in your home and you’re unable to fix it, what is the next thing you do? If you’re like many homeowners, you start researching different contractors to come out and take a look at the problem. With a home warranty, you don’t have to. You simply call up the home warranty company, or go right online, and report the issue. They will reach out to one of their preferred contractors, who will then be in touch with you to schedule an appointment.

In addition to peace of mind, there’s also the money saving aspect of a home warranty. When you sign up with a home warranty company, you will be made aware of your premium costs upfront, as well as any deductible for repairs that are covered under your policy. This allows you to budget accordingly, and be much more prepared financially for the unexpected.

As with anything, there are also some drawbacks to having a home warranty. One of the biggest drawbacks is the fact that not everything is covered under a home warranty. It is very important that you read the fine print of your policy, so that you know exactly what is and what is not covered. Otherwise, you’ll be in a position to pay out of pocket for repairs that you were not expecting to.

Another drawback of a home warranty is their service fees. Many home warranty companies charge a service call fee for every issue that is reported. Fees range from $50-100, and must be paid prior to the contractor even looking at the issue. Home warranties cover a wide range of repairs, however, these service fees can quickly add up.

Is a home warranty worth it when you own a rental property? This is something a lot of our home owners ask, and while the decision is completely yours to make, a home warranty may not be warranted, especially if you own a rental that is being managed by a Property Management company.

Like home warranty companies, most third party Property Management companies have a list of preferred vendors they work with. This still gives you that peace of mind you may be looking for, when deciding whether or not you want to purchase a home warranty. Most management companies will schedule any maintenance repairs with one of their preferred vendors, and ensure those repairs are completed properly.

When having your property management company handle repairs, you can potentially save a significant amount of money on service call fees. While some vendors may charge a diagnostic fee, others will provide a free estimate for repair costs. This will certainly be on a case by case basis, but you should not expect to pay a service call fee for every issue reported.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that a home warranty is only as good as the company that stands behinds it. While some home warranty companies offer great customer service, and speedy response times, we have found others leave a lot to be desired. If you have a dependable and trustworthy Property Management Company, it may make the most sense to allow them to coordinate all repairs on your behalf. After all, your management company should be handling everything with your best interest in mind. From choosing the best vendor for the job, making sure the job gets done for the right price, and ensuring the job is completed properly, these are just a few things you can expect when having your management company handle maintenance repairs.

If you’re still considering hiring a home warranty company, the best thing you can do is research as much as possible. Take a look at the reviews, ask questions, and always read the fine print. Make sure you feel 100% comfortable with a company, before signing any home warranty contract.


Employee Spotlight: Tony Cook, Chief Operating Officer

Tony Cook

Bay Management Property Management

At Bay Management Group, we are property management professionals focused on customer-service. Furthermore, our goal is to make property ownership both a pleasurable and profitable experience for our clients. We know that our success is due to our awesome team members, and how they each contribute something special to our property management company.

Therefore, we are initiating our Employee Spotlight to help you get to know more about our talented employees, and how their unique backgrounds and expertise help us stay a “cut above the rest.” Today, we are proud to introduce Tony Cook, Chief Operating Officer. Read on to discover all about Tony, his professional background, and what he enjoys most about working here at Bay Management Group.

Tony Cook, Chief Operating Officer

Tony graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY in 2010. He received a BS degree with a concentration in accounting. Tony comes to BMG with over five years of experience in accounting. His previous jobs ranged from accounts receivable to staff accountant to a controller – making him well-versed in each aspect of finance and accounting. And you might not guess it by looking at him, but Tony also managed a family-owned restaurant for ten years as well!

How Tony Came to Property Management

Tony is Bay Management Group’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), and he has been with our company for almost six years. He worked his way up the ladder, and he landed the COO role back in 2016. Tony feels his primary responsibility is to find solutions to problems (and to discover and prevent issues before they become them).

A Day in the Life of Tony Cook

All of our BMG managers and maintenance technicians report to Tony. Together, they implement new policies and procedures to help set our property management company apart from the competition. BMG’s collective number one goal is to provide outstanding service to both our owners and our tenants. Tony is continuously researching new and better ways to meet and exceed our owners’ and tenants’ expectations.

Additionally, Tony is also actively involved in BMG’s recruiting efforts (employees and vendors), compliance, insurance claims, financials, IT, operations, and other company endeavors. Plus, he works closely with the President of our Laurel office to ensure that both of BMG’s offices run in sync and meet their performance and financial objectives.

A typical workday for Tony includes running reports, following up on emails, meeting with managers, and game planning BMG’s future goals and objectives. His favorite part of his COO job is the satisfying and rewarding feeling that comes from making decisions or changes that end up working well. He also enjoys interacting with our staff and seeing them grow in their positions as he did.

Why Tony Loves Being Part of the BMG Team

Tony feels that it’s the people that set Bay Management Group apart from other property management companies. We are a group of organized, motivated, and intelligent people – and Tony thinks that is apparent to our clients as we interact with them. We are fast to respond to issues, follow up, and always do our best to deliver a positive experience.

For those considering going into the property management field, Tony says to prepare for things to happen daily that are out of your control – and that these “crises” typically will happen first thing on Monday morning, or the last thing on Friday afternoon. So, always expect the unexpected!

Outside of BMG

When Tony isn’t in the office, you’ll find him traveling, exercising, reading or watching sports – go 49ers and Knicks!

Here’s Five Fun Facts About Tony:

  • Name something off your bucket list.

    • To skydive!
  • If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?

    • John C Bogle – I am an index investor and truly admired this man’s unselfish approach with Vanguard.
  • What is the best book you have ever read?

    • Think and Grow Rich
  • If you could dis-invent one thing, what would it be?

    • This may sound crazy, but smartphones. I think they have done incredible things (too many to list) but they have taken away real connection and focus from people and it’s going to take a very long time for us to get used to that.
  • Pick three words to describe yourself.

    • Motivated
    • Organized
    • Funny (at least I am told!)

Bay Management Group is a full-service property management company here to help you with all your residential and multi-family property needs. Our business is strictly property management, so our specialization enables us to serve you better. For more information on our range of services, contact us today.


The York, PA Rental Market vs. The Baltimore, MD Rental Market

For Rent Sign

In the following article, we will take a brief look at two markets that are close in proximity but different in many other ways. These differences will sometimes determine the approach a homeowner will take if they are thinking about renting their home or if they are an investor looking into purchasing a rental property in either market.

What’s the Difference Between the Baltimore & York Rental Markets?

The York, PA and Baltimore, MD rental markets have some similarities as well as some significant differences, even though they are less than an hour apart from each other. The population in York City is just over 40,000 people while the population in York County, PA is near 450,000. In comparison, the Baltimore City population is just over 600,000 while the population for Baltimore County is in the mid 800,000 range.

Population Gap

The most glaring difference between the two markets, other than the population gap, would be the average rent an investor or homeowner will receive for the area. York will typically have an average rent in the low to mid $900 range while Baltimore has an average rent in the low to mid $1200 range. This may not seem like a lot, but we should remember that these are only averages. In the York, PA market, we can, in some cases, see rent dip into the low $400 range, which makes owning a successful rental property somewhat challenging given that the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI) for the property may exceed the net rental income. Each market typically will see rental increases of 1-2% per year, respectively.

Median Home Prices & Income Levels

Other differences are the median home prices and income levels for the two markets. York will have a median income level in the low to mid $60,000 range while the median income level for the Baltimore area is in the mid to high $70,000 range. York County, on the other hand, has a median home price of around $170,000 while Baltimore County has a median home price of $240,000 on average.

Public School Systems

The public school system will often be a huge factor for a prospective buyer of a home, and we have seen this translate equally into the rental markets in the York area. When tenants who are now parents begin to think about quality education for their children, they will look for areas that have public school systems with better than average ratings. For those that are longtime residents of the York area, they will already know the reputations of the various school districts. However, for people that are new to the area, they will typically rely on the internet, word of mouth, or their realtor of choice to guide them in choosing an area that may best suit their educational needs. Due to these factors, investors may seek rental homes in these perceived areas as well. They may also need to pay more for these rental home opportunities, and there may be times when the rental income vs. the cost of the home may not correlate equally.

The York, PA & Baltimore, MD Rental Market Remains Strong

While York, PA seems to have much lower rent, lower income, and lower home prices compared to Baltimore, the differences in the numbers seem to be relative in each respective market. The school districts in York are a driving factor for many people seeking housing and should, in turn, be a factor for investors or prospective landlords entering the market. Our knowledge of each market shows various differences, but one theme holds true in each; the rental market remains strong even though the regional and national mortgage rates are consistently low, and each market is typically seeing rental increases of 1-2% per year, respectively. Overall, we think that each market will produce success for investors and landlords if proper due diligence is performed.