Top 5 Renovations To Improve Your Income Property’s ROI

Top Renovations to Improve Your Rental Property's ROI

Part of becoming a successful landlord in Annapolis is making your rental property more valuable through renovations and upgrades.

This will not only help you justify asking for higher monthly rent rates, but allow your property management company to place higher quality tenants in your property.

Adding to that, renovations are known to increase your property’s resale value should you decide to sell your property in the future.

Lastly, performing the right renovations on your rental property will increase your overall return on investment (ROI), so you can profit more, and possibly pay off your mortgage quicker.

Understanding your rental property’s ROI will help you understand how well your property portfolio is working for you. That’s why it is crucial to know which renovations will generate a high ROI.

Knowing this will keep you from dipping into your profits and renovating something that will end up hurting you financially in the long run.

Today we are going to look at what ROI is, how to calculate it for your Annapolis rental property, and the ways in which the most common property renovations can help boost your ROI.

 

What is ROI?

Return on investment (ROI) is a metric used by real estate professionals to estimate the performance of an investment property.

In short, your property’s ROI will reveal how profitable your property is.

ROI is calculated by dividing the net profit of your investment by the amount of money invested thus far. The end result is then expressed as a percentage or ratio of how much return on your original investment you are making as a profit.

 

Calculating Your Annapolis Rental Property’s ROI

How to Calculate Your Annapolis Rental Property's ROI

To calculate your rental property’s ROI, follow these simple steps:

  • Calculate your rental property’s total annual rental income
  • Subtract all expenses (this is considered your annual cash flow)
  • Add any equity you have to build your annual cash flow (this is considered your net income)
  • Divide your net income by your total investment to get the ROI

For instance, let’s say you purchase an Annapolis investment property for $100,000. You charge $800 a month in rent, spend $200 a month on expenses, and have zero equity built up.

Here’s the calculation:

$800 rent – $200 in expenses = $600/month cash flow ($7,200 annually).

With zero equity built in, your ROI becomes $7,200/$100,000 = .072, or 7.2%.

Of course, things become more complex when you have built up equity, and you have financed your rental. Luckily, there are plenty of online ROI calculators to help you with the calculations.

Though there is no exact number to aim for, in general you should hope for an ROI between 6% – 10% (or higher) to truly know your investment is working for you, not against you.

 

Ways to Increase Your Rental Property ROI

If you are looking to boost your rental property’s ROI (and thus your positive cash flow), consider investing in some of the following renovations.

1. New Roof

Increase Your Rental Property's ROI By Putting In a New Roof

In the past, we have discussed the importance of having a basic understanding about your rental property’s roof, including how to assess it for damage and make the appropriate repairs.

This is not only for the safety and convenience of your current tenants, but for aesthetic appeal as well.

One of the first things anyone will notice when they visit your property is the exterior of the property, and that includes the roof.

Curb appeal is one of the best ways to entice potential tenants to lease from you. The better the exterior of your property looks, the higher you can charge when it comes to the monthly rent.

 

2. Landscaping

Speaking of exterior appeal, the way both the front and back yards of your rental property are landscaped will significantly influence how much you can ask for in monthly rent rates.

If you are looking to increase the value of your property’s landscaping, in an effort to boost ROI, consider the following renovations:

  • Add flowers, shrubs, and trees for added visual appeal and shade
  • Install a custom walkway, deck, or porch
  • Consider investing in a pool or hot tub
  • Design an outside kitchen area, complete with BBQ and food prep station
  • Include outside furniture such as lawn chairs and a table set
  • Add exterior lighting so tenants can enjoy the evenings outside

Many prospective tenants place a lot of emphasis on what they want to see in a rental property’s landscaping, whether it be in the front or back yards.

And, since some of these upgrades are relatively inexpensive, most landlords will have no problem adding a few exterior landscaping renovations to their rental property in an effort to get more return on their investment.

 

3. Flooring Upgrades

Improve Your Rental Property's ROI by Updating Flooring

The flooring in your rental property is the one thing your tenants will make the most use out of while leasing from you.

And, while it can be tempting to place the cheapest carpet possible throughout your rental as a way to reduce costs due to natural wear and tear, there are some affordable and much more effective options that will also add to the value of your rental.

Take the time to research what kind of flooring you want to upgrade to – hardwood, tile, higher quality carpet, laminate, concrete, or vinyl – before spending any money.

But remember, no matter which style you go with, a newly upgraded floor throughout your rental is sure to garner you a higher ROI immediately.

New floors are sturdier, better looking, more functional, and more appealing to anyone looking to lease a rental home.

 

4. Additional Square Footage

Adding more space to your Annapolis rental property is one of the best ways to increase the value of your investment.

This is especially true if you own property in a competitive housing market.

Consider adding an additional bedroom, sunroom, basement or attic, or even just opening up an existing room by removing a wall that is taking up space.

Additional square footage can help in a variety of ways. It makes for a larger living space, allows for additional family members or roommates to live with your tenants, and even gives those that work from home a way to enjoy a dedicated workspace.

No matter what you do, expect the value of your property to jump and your rent rates to increase accordingly if you renovate your property to have additional square footage.

 

5. Green Appliances

Improve Your Rental Property's ROI By Installing Eco-Friendly Appliances

With more people looking to do their part when it comes to helping the environment, renovating your rental property to be more eco-friendly is an excellent way to increase the value of your property.

Things such as green appliances are not only appealing to those looking to make a difference in the world (which drives tenant competition up), they also help lower your tenant’s power bills – which is always a bonus amongst those looking to rent.

What’s better, there are plenty of incentives offered by states and cities to help offset the cost of going green in your rental.

This means even more savings for you, happier tenants, and a higher ROI.

 

Renovating your Annapolis income property to increase your return on investment is always a good idea if your budget allows for it. Especially because after the upgrades are successfully finished, you will be able to instantly recover all of the costs you put into them.

If you are in need of a high quality property management in Annapolis company to help you with things like rent rates, good renovation ideas, and placing high quality tenants in your property that will pay what your investment is worth, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help you determine which renovations will generate a ROI boost, steer you clear of upgrades that do not make financial sense, and make sure you keep your rent at a reasonable and competitive rate.


10 Words To Avoid Using In Your Rental Property Listing

Top Words to Avoid In Your Anne Arundel Rental Property Listing

Facing the fact that your Anne Arundel rental property has recently become vacant is never fun.

However, vacancies are a part of being in the rental property business, and must be dealt with swiftly.

We have previously discussed on our blog some of the best advertising tips for filling your vacant rental property.

First of all, you should always use catchy headlines that describe your property in a unique way. In addition, you should include clear images that portray your rental in its best light, and always make sure that you accurately describe your property so interested tenants know exactly what you are offering.

However, when it comes to advertising your vacant property, you should also pay close attention to the words you use to describe your vacancy.

You don’t want to use words that are overly dramatic, but you also don’t want to find your vacancy ad lumped together with all of the other ads using words like “charming” and “nice.”

That’s why today we are going to take look at the most common words to avoid in your Anne Arundel rental property listing, in hopes that you garner the right kind of attention from high quality tenants interested in leasing your rental.

 

Vacancy Ad Words and Shortcuts to Avoid

There is more to a vacancy ad than simply describing the general specifications of your rental – square footage, location, number of bedrooms, etc.

In fact, writing an advertisement takes some skill if you want to attract the right people.

Thus, taking care to avoid using this list of words in your vacancy ad is going to help you fill your vacant property that much quicker.

 

1. Quality

Whether good or bad, everything holds a measure of quality.

Ultimately, what type of quality your rental property has – no matter how you phrase it – all comes down to what the prospective tenant thinks.

For example, if you state your rental has “high quality appliances,” what exactly does that mean?

Perhaps you mean they are all matching, they are energy efficient, or maybe they are just new, regardless of how they operate.

Avoid this word to avoid confusion, and instead use more specific words to describe your rental.

 

2. Abbreviations

Avoid Using Abbreviations For Your Rental Property Listings

As tempting as it can be, try to avoid using any kind of abbreviations.

This can confuse someone that is unfamiliar with them, and cause them look elsewhere for a rental that interests them.

Here are some of the most common abbreviations that relate to the rental property business that should not find their way into your vacancy ad:

  • Util: Utilities
  • Appl: Appliances
  • Sec: Security Deposit
  • Nwly Ren: Newly renovated
  • D/W: Dish washer
  • Balc: Balcony
  • FMR: First month’s rent

 

As you can see, all of these abbreviations closely relate to descriptions you might include in your rental property’s vacancy ad.

However, for the average person not in the property management business, some of these might be downright confusing.

If potential tenants don’t understand the lingo you are using, and don’t know what they will be getting out of your rental property, chances are high they will move on to the next ad they do understand, no matter how great your rental is.

 

3. Clean

Of course, your rental property is clean.

Why wouldn’t it be?

If this is the strongest descriptive word you have for your vacant property, you need to take a step back and wonder why that is.

Find something unique to say that expresses how your property is well taken care of.

 

4. Needs Repair

Never Use "Needs Repair" In Rental Property Listing

It is never a good thing to lie to potential tenants about the true status of your rental property.

Nor is it a good thing to come right out and say your rental “needs work.”

Before advertising your rental property as available, you should invest in repairing anything that needs repair. No high quality tenant is going to agree to move into a rental that needs a lot of fixing.

And, if you have an experienced property management group on hand helping you with your vacancy ad, they are likely to advise you to fix everything before advertising.

 

5. Cheap

This word immediately downgrades the quality of your rental.

If you are aiming to make your Anne Arundel rental seem like something more than a money pit, avoid using the word “cheap.”

If you are looking to promote the fact that your rent rates fall below that of your competition, consider using a gentler word such as “affordable.”

 

6. Unique

Avoid Using The Word "Unique" In Your Rental Property Listings

There is nothing inherently wrong with your rental property being described as “unique.”

In fact, it very well may be the most unique rental on the block.

However, this word is overused, and leaves much to the imagination.

Rather than state that your rental is “unique,” explain using more concise terms what makes it unique.

Your prospective tenants will appreciate the detail, and will become more interested once they find out why your rental is different from all of the rest.

 

7. Modern

This term is also overused in modern day rental listings, and as a result has lost a lot of its meaning.

If you are using the word “modern” to describe newly renovated sections of your rental’s kitchen or bathroom, instead say your rental’s kitchen or bathroom has been recently renovated.

Then go on to explain what makes your rental modern, according to you.

Using the word “modern” and leaving the details out is subjective, and may turn some interested tenants away unintentionally – their idea of what “modern” is may not be what your idea of it is.

And, if they don’t like “modern” things, your vacancy ad will be quickly dismissed.

 

8. Original

Do Not Use Word "Original" in Rental Property Listing

Just as you shouldn’t use the term “modern” to explain that your rental has been recently upgraded or renovated, you should not use the term “original” either.

Using a word like “original” has the potential to make interested tenants think your rental has never been updated, is likely falling apart at the seams, and is just plain old.

 

9. Fair Housing Act Terms

This is a touchy subject and can land you in some hot water if someone, somewhere becomes angered by the terms you use in your rental property ad.

Many advertisement platforms, such as Craigslist, have specific rules about the types of terms you are allowed to use in listings of any kind. And, your vacancy ads are no different.

In order to steer clear of violating the Fair Housing Act, avoid using these terms in your advertisements:

  • Walking Distance. This can be considered discriminatory to those who are unable to walk. If you are describing popular hotspots that are within walking distance of your rental, consider using terms such as “nearby” or “close to.”
  • There are many different types of people looking to lease your rental property. Some are groups of friends, others are students that just met and are trying to save on housing costs. And yes, some consist of a mother, father, and two children. Don’t alienate an entire population of people (and possibly discriminate against them) by using the term “family home” when describing your available rental property.

 

When it comes to drafting up a vacancy ad for your Maryland investment property, it is critical you don’t break the law in doing so, even if unknowingly.

This is where a knowledgeable Anne Arundel property management company comes in handy. They will understand the Fair Housing Act as it relates to rental properties, and know how to avoid illegally discriminating against a protected class.

 

10. Cozy

Stay Away From Using the Word "Cozy" In Your Rental Property Listing

“Cozy” emits a feeling of tiny and small, which many tenants are not interested in when it comes to their home.

This is especially true if the rent rate for your “cozy” rental property is not small.

Include the dimensions of your rental in square feet, and let interested tenants decide if the property is the right size for their needs.

In the meantime, come up with some other descriptive words to enhance your rental, not bring it down in size.

 

There is a lot that goes into drafting the perfect vacancy ad for your Anne Arundel rental property.

And, with a property management company like Bay Management Group helping you, your chances of placing a tenant in your property sooner rather than later increase dramatically.

We can help draw up an exciting vacancy ad that gets the right tenant pool interested in seeing your property. In addition, we advertise across multiple platforms – Craigslist, MLS, online classifieds, direct mail, and more – and boast an average tenant placement within 30 days or less of making your property available.

Contact Bay Management Group today and forget about the stress your vacant property has placed on you.

True, vacancies are a part of the rental property business, but at Bay Management Group, our aim is to lessen that stress as much as possible by promoting your vacant property and placing a good tenant in it as soon as possible.


What To Do if a Tenant Breaks the Lease and Moves Out

What To Do If a Tenant Breaks The Lease and Moves Out

Your Maryland tenant may have a perfectly legitimate reason for wanting to break their lease agreement and move out.

However, as a property owner that earns a living on the monthly rent you collect from your tenant, this type of situation is beyond an inconvenience, regardless of the reason your tenant wants to leave.

When you place a tenant into your investment property, there is a legally binding contract in place outlining the terms of the lease.

Included in this lease agreement are the exact details outlining what constitutes the lease term, what kind of notice must be given should your tenant wish to forgo renewing the lease agreement at the end of their tenancy, and most importantly, the consequences for breaking the lease.

But what happens when your tenant notifies you that they will be breaking the lease and moving out, despite the airtight lease agreement your Maryland property management company drafted up for you?

As a Maryland property owner, it is important you prepare yourself for the sudden vacancy you will face if a current tenant informs you they will be breaking the lease.

That’s why today, we are sharing with you what happens when your tenant initiates an early lease termination, and some of the top property management tips for how best to manage this problem.

 

What Does it Mean to Break a Lease?

A lease, typically drafted up by an experienced property manager, is a legal contract defining the terms of a tenancy. It includes provisions such as the rent collection procedures, pet policies, ways the property can be used during the tenancy, and whether your tenant is allowed to make temporary alterations to the property.

In addition, a lease agreement will have a section dedicated to what can happen at the end of the lease term.

Your tenant likely has the following options, come the end of their tenancy:

  • Move out before the last day of the lease term
  • Sign a new lease with either the same, or altered, lease terms
  • Stay on as a month-to-month tenant
  • Face eviction proceedings, should you want them to vacate the property

 

However, there should also be a dedicated section detailing what will happen should your tenant decide to break the lease.

Breaking the lease means that for whatever reason – a job transfer, a marriage/divorce, the addition of a new family member, or they simply don’t like the property anymore – your tenants are backing out of their agreement with you to stay for X amount of time.

 

What Should You Do If Your Maryland Tenant Breaks the Lease?

What To Do If Your Maryland Tenant Breaks the Lease

If your Maryland tenant signed for a one-year lease agreement, and decides to break the lease before that year is up, you have a problem on your hands.

Luckily, with the help of your Maryland property management company, and the airtight lease agreement they helped you draft at the start of your tenant’s lease term, there are some things you can do both before and immediately following notice that your tenant is breaking their lease.

 

1. Be Proactive

Be Stringent With Breaking the Lease Clause In Your Maryland Rental Property

Before your tenants ever step foot into your rental property, they should know exactly what it means to break the lease, and what happens if they decide to do so anyway.

This means that at the time of the lease signing, you or your property manager must diligently go over every provision in the lease agreement in detail, ensuring that all involved parties understand.

Here are some tips even the most novice of property management companies will tell you:

  • Inform your tenant that the lease agreement is legally binding
  • Explain the legal ramifications for breaking the lease agreement
  • Clearly define the lease term start and end dates
  • Show the tenant where the lease outlines what happens if an early lease termination is initiated
  • Provide the tenant with options – subletting or a lease buyout – to avoid any further penalties

 

2. Be Stringent With the Break Lease Clause

 

If you decide to include a Break Lease Clause (sometimes referred to as the Buyout Clause), it is crucial you make sure it entails everything you want regarding breaking the lease.

A typical Break Lease Clause states that either party can break the lease, for whatever reason, with a 60 days’ notice and a two month Break Lease Fee.

This, in turn, will void the rest of the lease agreement, and release both parties from their future financial obligations.

The reason this type of provision is so appealing to property owners is twofold.

To start, it provides a simple solution to a bad situation that can crop up at any time.

Tenants want to break lease agreements for all sorts of reasons. In order to minimize the surprise and costs associated with a sudden early lease termination, the Buyout Clause is a solid, proactive solution that tenants are aware of from the start of their lease term.

In addition, it makes preparing to place a new tenant in your rental easier when you know 60 days ahead of time that your property is going to be vacant, rather than the day of.

This way, you can have your Maryland property manager begin advertising your property, and start the tenant screening process.

 

3. Re-Lease the Property

Re-Lease Your Maryland Rental After The Tenant Breaks The Lease and Moves Out

Regardless of how inconvenient it is that your tenant has broken their lease agreement early and moved out, as a property owner, it is your responsibility to do your due diligence to re-lease the property as soon as possible.

True, you can use your tenant’s security deposit to cover the loss in rent, and you may even be able to charge a few months’ rent until you can place a new tenant in your property.

However, if you do not actively try to place a new tenant in your rental by way of advertising, showing the property, and conducting tenant screenings, you may find yourself in some legal trouble.

With that in mind, there are some important stipulations your tenant should be aware of:

  • Tenants may be responsible for the costs associated with advertising and showing your property
  • You do not have to lower the rent rate on your property in order to re-lease it to a new tenant
  • Tenants may refer high quality tenants to take their place, but you are not obligated to accept them, or any other prospective tenant that does not meet your criteria

 

Though it is your duty to re-lease your rental within a reasonable amount of time, you do not have to give the place away in order to achieve this.

No Maryland property owner wants to find out their tenants are breaking their lease. Unfortunately, it does happen sometimes, and is something that needs to be handled properly to avoid further complications.

 

If you own Maryland rental property, and want help with drafting solid lease agreements addressing early lease terminations, tenant screening that diminishes the chances of your tenant breaking the lease, and other property management services such as rent collection, routine inspections, and maintenance, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help you with your lease provisions so that every tenant that resides in your rental property is fully aware of what happens when an early lease termination is initiated. In addition, we can help place only the highest quality tenants in your rental property so that the chances of your tenants breaking their lease and moving out are slim to none.


9 Simple Updates to Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Rental

Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency For Your Fort Meade Rental Property

You may feel that investing in energy efficiency for your Fort Meade rental properties is not the best use of time and money. After all, you are not the one living in the property, and therefore will not reap any of the benefits.

Well, think again.

Energy efficient updates to your rental become very appealing selling points when it comes to advertising your vacancy to interested tenants. And, chances are good you’ll be dealing with fewer vacancies if you make an effort to increase energy efficiency in your rental.

There are several simple and cost-effective ways you can update your rental properties to achieve the energy efficiency that tenants love.

In the past, we have looked at some easy energy-saving tips for landlords looking to lower their tenant’s utility costs.

Today, we are taking that a step further and offering simple updates that will not only lower utility costs, but drastically reduce your tenant’s carbon footprint.

 

9 Energy Efficient Updates for Your Fort Meade Rental Property

1. Window Treatments

Caring for your property’s windows by re-sealing cracks can help keep the heat in during Fort Meade’s cold winter months, and thus save on energy bills. However, if your windows are outdated or not working properly, it is important to update your rental property’s windows.

Not only does this help lower the energy bill, it makes your tenants more comfortable during the winter. No one wants to live in a drafty rental property.

 

2. Power Strips

Power Strips Increase Energy Efficiency In Your Fort Meade Rental Property

Though including these in your rental home is definitely not a necessity, doing so is a simple and inexpensive update that has the potential to go a long way with your new tenants.

Most tenants may not realize just how much energy their dormant electrical devices (think appliances, televisions, computers, etc.) use throughout the day, even when not in use.

By providing power strips for those areas in your rental that have multiple devices plugged in at once (whether they are being used or not), you can significantly reduce energy usage, and your tenant’s power bill.

Plus, making your tenants aware of such a simple energy efficiency strategy will surely be appreciated.

 

3. Air Conditioning Shade

If your rental is the type that has a window-mounted air conditioning unit, create a way to keep it shaded at all times. This shade will ensure the unit stays cool even in the middle of summer, thus allowing it to run more efficiently.

Shading your air conditioner will also make sure that the unit only runs when the rental needs cooling, not when the air conditioner itself does.

 

4. Exhaust Fan Covers

Exhaust Fan Covers Increase Energy Efficiency in Fort Meade Rental

Retain more heat during the winter and keep the heating bill lower for your tenants by installing inexpensive exhaust fan covers in your rental’s kitchen and bathrooms. Not only will you lower the drafts of cold air coming in, you will also prevent warm air from escaping.

 

5. Door Sweeps

If your Fort Meade rental property doesn’t already have them, or they are long overdue for a change, consider installing fresh new door sweeps to all doors leading to the exterior of the property. This includes the front and back doors, as well as the door leading to the garage, and the garage door itself.

Again, preventing drafts of hot and cold air from entering the property in the dead of winter or the midst of summer will reduce energy costs, which are already soaring during those prime times of the year.

 

6. Programmable Thermostat

Programmable Thermostats Increase Energy Efficiency In Your Fort Meade Rental

Many tenants, whether they are searching for an eco-friendly rental property or not, love to see programmable thermostats in a rental property.

That’s because it is a well-known fact that over 40% of a tenant’s monthly utility bill money will go towards heating and cooling the rental property they reside in.

Programmable thermostats make reducing tenant energy costs very simple. All your tenant has to do is program the thermostat to work around their schedule, so that the air or heat units do not run when no one is home.

And, as a way to feel extra cozy or cooled off right before returning home, the thermostat can be scheduled to turn on just before your tenants enter the door.

 

7. Plant Trees and Shrubbery

Providing a backyard oasis is something many Fort Meade property owners have in mind when it comes to drawing in high-quality tenants searching for the best looking properties full of amenities.

Take advantage of the fact that your tenants want greenery in the backyard, and work to strategically place trees and shrubs in areas that will help shade your property. This greenery will help insulate your rental from wind, cold, and heat.

 

8. Go Tankless

Installing a tankless water heater in your Fort Meade rental is a great way to save on water usage, energy usage, and space. And, while some models are not inexpensive per se, the long-lasting benefits and savings of going tankless might convince you to invest a little more upfront:

  • They only heat and deliver water when requested by tenants
  • Many states offer rebates for going tankless, since it’s a green option
  • Lifespan far surpasses that of traditional storage tank water heaters

As you can see, many benefits accompany the installation of a tankless water heater in your rental property.

 

9. Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling Fans Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Fort Meade Rental

While ceiling fans do not change the temperature of the room your tenants are in, fans definitely circulate the air enough to provide a cooler sensation.

Ceiling fans also give rental properties a boost when it comes to visual appeal.

Because ceiling fans are able to cool off your tenants during the hottest summer months, without wasting energy (like an air conditioner might), they are great for increasing energy efficiency in your rental.

 

Altogether, making your rental property energy efficient is not tough to do. It doesn’t always require a lot of time, effort, or money. Energy efficiency benefits your tenants, and gives you more leverage when it comes to advertising your property when it’s vacant.

If you own a rental property in Fort Meade and need help devising simple ways to make your property more energy efficient, or want an experienced property management group to professionally advertise your vacancy, contact Bay Management Group today.

Not only can we help with staging your rental to be as energy efficient as possible while keeping overhead costs under control, we can help cater to prospective tenants that are looking for environmentally friendly rentals.

With the right platforms to advertise on, and the knowledge of what it takes to make a strong rental property ad, you will find that enlisting our help is something worth doing.


5 Steps to Becoming an Organized Landlord in Annapolis

Steps to Becoming an Organized Landlord in Annapolis

It seems that we all suffer the frustrating feeling of losing something one time or another. However, some of us are worse about keeping track of our things than others.

Simply Orderly shared some statistics about just how bad some of us are at staying organized:

  • The average American will spend 1 year of their life looking for lost items
  • More specifically, the average American will spend 55 minutes a day looking for lost items
  • The average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day looking for things
  • The average executive spends nearly 150 hours a year looking for lost information

 

In addition, Simply Orderly goes on to state that more than 1 in 4 Americans want to be more organized.

These statistics show us that no one is immune to losing things on a regular basis.

However, these statistics also show us that people genuinely want to become more organized.

As an Annapolis landlord, you should make organization of your rental property business a priority.

With all of the important documents you need to keep on hand, it is imperative you develop a system so you can collect, update, and retrieve information easily.

After all, losing your investment property information is going to make things difficult for everyone involved.

If you self-manage your Anne Arundel County rental property, and are seeking ways to get organized, keep reading to find out some of the best ways to do just that.

The success of your rental property business might depend on it.

 

5 Steps to Take to Become a More Organized Annapolis Landlord

 

1. Document Everything

It should go without saying that documenting everything related to your rental property, and the tenants that lease from you, is crucial to your rental property business.

This includes all communication – email, text, and written correspondence – as well as formal documents related to the purchase of your rental property, the lease agreement signed between you and your tenants, and any rental applications you have received for your rental property.

Keeping these documents safe and secure, as well as easily accessible, will help smooth out any misunderstandings you may have in the future. This is especially true if a landlord-tenant dispute arises.

The more you can prove with physical documentation, the safer you will be.

 

2. Create a File for Each Property

Create a File For Each Property You Own in Annapolis

It is not enough to keep all documents related to your rental properties and the tenants that lease from you in one huge and unorganized pile.

One of the best things you can do from the very beginning (as in the first time you ever lease your investment property to a tenant), is to create an organized filing system for each property.

In addition, you may want to consider creating sub-folders as a way to stay ultra-organized, and prevent the misplacement of any documents.

If you only have one property in your rental property portfolio, that’s okay.

Create a folder anyway with the documents mentioned above, as well as anything else that relates to the rental property throughout the lease term.

This may include things like:

  • Inspection Reports. Document both the move-in and move-out inspection reports, photos and video of the property’s condition, and any maintenance issues addressed prior to move-in. Don’t forget to add in any routine inspections you conduct throughout the lease term, either.
  • Tenant Information. The rental application, background check, ID copies, lease agreement, references, employment history, and vehicle information for each tenant you lease to should be saved in a secure location. This is personal information you tenant does not want others to have access to.
  • Tenant Financials. Keep record of the security deposit you collect, and any additional fees you charge your tenant, the rent amounts you collect each month, and photocopies of checks that you deposit.
  • Property Expenses. This can include things like advertisement costs, maintenance and repair costs, upgrade or improvement expenses, service agreements made with contractors, and invoices for repairs made to the property by someone other than yourself.
  • Notices, emails, texts, and written correspondence between you and your tenant should be documented at all times for resolving future disputes.
  • Rental Property Information. Again, anything related to the purchase of your investment property should be saved. This means the property deed, insurance policies, tax information, inspection certifications, mortgage agreement, and loan information. In addition, you should keep copies of your Maryland rental registration paperwork as well.

 

By keeping everything in one designated place, you will be able to access any information you need, at any time, without having to worry that something is missing.

 

3. Go Digital

Creating a physical filing system of your rental property business is an excellent idea.

However, things happen (e.g. floods, fires, or worse, thievery). And, once physical paperwork is permanently destroyed or lost, it is gone forever.

That is, unless you have saved copies elsewhere.

Saving all of your business documents online as a backup to your printed paperwork is critical to avoiding problems that result from lost information.

Invest in an efficient scanner, and scan all documents you need to save into a secure place.

One great place to save your digital folders is in the “cloud.” This way, they are accessible at all times, from any device.

 

4. Keep a Calendar

Keep A Calendar to Stay Organized With Your Annapolis Rental

Running a business is a tough job.

And, with tough jobs come lots of appointments, meetings, and deadlines.

Whether you like to stay traditional and use a pen and paper calendar, or invest in an online time management system, complete with calendaring capabilities, be sure to find a system that works for you and jot down any important dates.

Here are some important dates all Anne Arundel County property owners should remember:

  • Routine inspections work well if you conduct them seasonally. This way you can ensure your tenants are caring for your property throughout their lease term, and handle any minor maintenance issues before they become major.
  • Speaking of maintenance, any responsibilities that you agreed to at the time of the lease agreement signing (e.g. air filter replacement, landscaping, pool maintenance, appliance inspections, etc.) should be calendared so you don’t forget to fulfill your obligations to your tenant.
  • Vacancy Showings. No landlord wants to deal with excessive vacancies, however sometimes it happens. If you have a rental property that needs a tenant, schedule property showings so you can get your property filled as soon as possible.
  • Lease Renewals. One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a lease renewal is to be proactive about it. Make sure you give your current tenants plenty of time to decide whether to renew or not, especially if you are considering a rent increase. This professional approach is also a great way of showing your tenants you care about them and want them to stay with you.

 

These are only some of the things you should calendar as a way to become a more organized landlord.

There are plenty of other important reminders you should make note of, and using a calendar is one way of staying organized.

 

5. Employ an Annapolis Property Management Company

One of the best ways to stay on track as an organized landlord is to enlist the help of your trusted Annapolis property management company.

With a professional, experienced, and established property management team helping you along the way, your chances of becoming disorganized are slim-to-none.

This is because with the right property manager, every document you need that relates to your rental property business will be safe, secure, and accessible at all times.

If you are looking for a property management company to help you with your bookkeeping needs, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help with saving documents related to your rental properties, tenants, and lease agreements. In addition, we can help you schedule routine inspections, property showings, and anything else you can think of.

At Bay Management Group, we pride ourselves in providing the utmost in customer service. This applies to tenants in your rental property, and you as well.

We keep records of your property’s monthly and yearly profits and expenses, ensure all communication is recorded to prevent disputes, and even encourage online rent collection procedures so that you always have records of when rent was paid, by whom, and for how much.

There is so much to that goes into being a successful Annapolis landlord, and losing things should not be one of them.

Let Bay Management take care of the administrative side of your rental property business, while you simply enjoy the positive cash flow and extra free time.


How to Go Paperless With Managing Your Rental Property

How to Go Paperless With Your Rental Property Business

Proper bookkeeping is crucial to the success of any landlord.

And, as portfolios begin to build, one tenant turns into ten, and the amount of documents you must keep on hand for not only your rental properties, but those occupying them, continues to grow.

The next thing you know, your need for a paperless solution becomes dire.

You may have been toying with the idea of going paperless with your rental property business for some time now.

After all, there are many reasons why going paperless is a good idea.

Or, perhaps you are just beginning to grow your Severna Park portfolio, and have yet to think about going paperless because you simply have too many other things going on.

No matter what stage you are in with your rental property business, now is as good a time as ever to think about going paperless with regards to managing your rental property.

Regardless of how many rental properties you own, going paperless will get you one big step closer to being more organized, efficient, and as a result, more successful.

Keep reading to find out some of the key reasons making management of your rental property paperless is a good idea, and along the way learn some exceptional tips for how to get started.

 

Why Should You Consider Taking Your Rental Property Management Paperless?

Why Taking Your Rental Business Paperless is a Good Idea

It has been suggested that those taking their rental property businesses paperless have gone on to out-perform their competition.

Here are several convincing reasons why taking your business paperless is a good idea:

  • Cost Effective. Sure, you will need to invest in some equipment when it comes time to make the switch to a paperless business. A computer, scanner, and software meant for bookkeeping are all required to keep paperless documentation in order. However, no longer having to pay for printers, toners, fax machines, and paper far surpasses your initial paperless business equipment costs.
  • Environmentally Friendly. As paper consumption decreases and recycling of paper increases, the environmental effects of going paperless in America are easily seen. With each office worker using approximately 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year (that’s a whopping 4 million tons of copy paper amongst all office workers!), it is no wonder more business are striving to do their part and go paperless.
  • Data security is more important than ever. Your tenants want to know that the information you collect about them is secure from thieves looking to steal identities. By going paperless, you greatly reduce the risk of paper documents getting into the wrong hands.
  • Easy Retrieval. With the advancement of things such as cloud storage, it is not likely you will lose an important document forever. Unlike paper, which can be destroyed, lost, and never returned, so long as you conduct proper backups of your business documents, retrieval of most any document is possible.
  • Better Communication. Not only can you communicate with more people and quicker than ever with modern technology, when you communicate electronically, you also save on things such as paper and postage costs.
  • Increased Organization. Say goodbye to mixed up file cabinets stuffed with manila folders, locked boxes with lost keys, and piles of paper crowding your desk. Instead, say hello to easily organized electronic folders, all neatly tucked away in computer software that is retrievable with a quick and simple query. Being organized with a paperless system will help ensure your status as a successful landlord.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to consider taking your Anne Arundel County rental property business paperless.

 

How to Go Paperless with Managing Your Severna Park Rental Property

1. Electronically Share Important Documents

For documents that you need to share with your tenants, try doing the following:

  • Scan Using Your Computer. Scan and send a paper copy of the lease agreement to your tenant. Just make sure it is in a PDF file to prevent any chances your tenant may have to edit the document before signing and emailing it back to you.
  • Get a Fax Software Installed. Sometimes faxing documents is the only way to communicate. This is especially true with tenants. After all, not everyone has access to a scanner. However, faxing information is a cinch, and can be done at any local office supply store. If you prefer not to use an actual fax machine, just have the software installed onto your desktop so you can send and receive faxes via your computer.
  • Use an E-Signature Service. Uploading PDF files to specific software, complete with e-signature fields for signing, is an easy alternative to having a paper copy of a signed lease agreement. This may be especially helpful for those signing lease renewals since the tenant is already aware of what the lease agreement contains, and needs no additional explanation.

 

2. Store Electronic Documentations

Store Electronic Documents For Your Rental Property Business in Severna Park

In addition to sharing and signing documents electronically, you can easily store all of your business’ most important paperwork locally and via the cloud. Take for instance the following:

  • Store documents locally on your computer, backing up all files to an external hard drive just in case
  • Use a storage service such as Dropbox or Google
  • Save in other cloud storage services, complete with password protection to boost security measures
  • Utilize the help of your property management company’s paperless interface for collecting e-signatures, saving important documents, and sharing paperwork with tenants, all from one convenient location

 

3. Avoid Printing Everything

It is an “old habits die hard” kind of thing when it comes to making the switch from a paper business to a paperless one.

Your instinct to print everything will be strong at first. This is usually because trusting electronics to keep everything secure is a scary thought.

However, once you begin to trust the system, you will see that there is very little that needs to actually be printed and kept on hand.

Everything else can stay safe, secure, and organized in your computer, freeing up tons of office and desk space.

 

4. Develop a Filing System

Just because you are not dealing with physical paperwork anymore does not mean you don’t need an efficient filing system in place. After all, you still have to organize all of the scanned, e-signed, and shared documents.

Here are some key tips:

  • Invest in software geared towards property managers, so you have the right functionality to handle everything related to your rental properties and tenants
  • Define a naming system when it comes to your folders, files, and individual document names – consistency is key
  • Create an easy to understand subfolder system for your rental properties, individual tenants, and everything in between, such as rent collections, maintenance requests, and legal issues
  • If you work with a team, define roles and responsibilities clearly so everyone knows who is responsible for what

 

5. Deal with Online Payments

Deal With Online Payments For Your Severna Park Rental Property Business

If you are going to go paperless with your rental property business’ documents, you might want to consider going financially paperless as well.

  • Online Rent Payments. This is one of the most convenient and secure ways of collecting rent payments. Most tenants will be familiar with making payments online, as this is how many businesses operate these days.
  • Pay Vendors and Contractors Online. In addition to collecting rent online, it is a good idea to make your own payments online as well. This way, you remain consistent with your goal of being paperless and prevent issues in the future with vendors and contractors that do work for you.

 

In addition to dealing with all payments online, it is also smart to invest in some accounting software to help you balance the books more efficiently.

Utilizing a spreadsheet leaves a lot of room for errors, and leads to an auditing nightmare come tax time.

Entrust the software to help you out, and make your life easier.

 

In the end, there are many benefits to going paperless in the management of your Anne Arundel County rental property.

From saving you time and money, to keeping you extra organized and more efficient, both you and your tenants will appreciate the reward of going completely paperless.

That said, going paperless can be a huge transition, as beneficial as it may be.

 

For those looking to have someone else complete the paperless transition for them, contact Bay Management Group today. Not only can we keep all of your accounting and bookkeeping in order, we implement a paperless friendly environment when it comes to many things such as rent collection and maintenance requests.

Get in touch today and see how we can help you get your documents in order and online, while you enjoy the finer parts of being a property owner, such as a cleaner office space, positive cash flow, and more free time.


5 Business Skills You Need as a Landlord

Anne Arundel County Business Skills Landlords Need

Many Americans have the dream of starting their own business. In fact, freedom from the corporate world, being your own boss, and making a lot of money, are the thoughts that dominate your mind when you’re feeling that entrepreneurial spirit.

But running a business is a lot of work.

Launching a rental property business and becoming a successful landlord does not come easy. Even in Anne Arundel County, which County Executive Steve Schuh says is “The best place to live, work and start a business in Maryland,” having a successful property business is not going to come without its fair share of experience, knowledge, and most of all, work.

That said, not all hope is lost.

Deemed the heart of Maryland, home to over 500,000 thriving residents with good jobs, growing families, and a desire to enjoy all that the region has to offer, Anne Arundel County has the potential to make you a profitable property owner.

With a few key business skills backing your property investment ventures, and a solid property management company helping you along the way, reaching success in your rental property business may not be as hard as you think.

Take a look at these essential business skills you should have prior to investing in your first rental property, so that you can start with your best foot forward.

These skills will ensure you are best prepared for all the unknowns that your landlord business will inevitably throw your way. In addition, working to obtain these skills will help increase your chances of achieving your dream as a business owner.

 

Top 5 Business Skills Every Anne Arundel County Landlord Should Have

 

1. A Business Plan

Anne Arundel County Landlords Need a Business Plan

Before starting any business, you should have a business plan in place outlining your short and long-term goals.

Without a business plan, you risk losing money before you even get started.

Here are some key things to ask yourself when you start thinking about getting into the rental property business:

  • How much money do you realistically expect to pay out for your first investment property?
  • How can you make your financial situation the best it can be before purchasing a property?
  • How many rental properties do you plan to own?
  • What types of risks are you willing to take to secure the perfect rental?
  • What areas are you looking to invest in?
  • Who will manage your rental property after tenant placement?
  • How much positive cash flow can you expect to make?
  • What will you do if your property is vacant for long periods of time?

Though you may not have complete and exact answers to all of these questions, or whether you may your find that your answers evolve over time, it is a good idea to figure out the basics before jumping in blind.

Any successful business owner will tell you that not planning is a recipe for disaster.

 

2. Market Expertise

Along with having a solid business plan to follow as you start your rental property business comes the idea that you should have real estate market expertise before purchasing any property, no matter how great a deal it is.

Market research, one of the most important business skills a landlord can have, will reveal whether an investment is sound or not.

Identifying which areas bring in higher rent amounts, have the lowest vacancy rates, and have a highly qualified tenant pool searching for rentals, is going to set you up for success from the start.

In addition, knowing what your competitors are doing to become successful, how appealing the area you are looking to invest in is for potential tenants, and what types of renovations you can expect to make, will help you make wiser investment decisions.

 

3. Organization

Organization is Key to Anne Arundel County Landlords

All businesses require high levels of organization to become, and stay, successful. This means developing a secure filing system, complete with important property related documents, including:

  • Property investment paperwork
  • Property certifications
  • Completed tenant applications
  • Invoices related to property maintenance, repairs, and upgrades
  • Rent collection receipts
  • Vendor W-9 forms
  • All tax related forms and returns
  • Lease agreements
  • All notices and communication given to tenants
  • And much more

Proper bookkeeping is going to make sure you stay out of trouble with the law, appear professional to every tenant you work with, and keep your life much less stressful.

Since owning a business comes with plenty of unplanned and stressful times, worrying about important documents that you could have properly organized (but didn’t) should not be one of the reasons you are stressed.

 

4. People Skills

Working with people on a regular basis is part of what it means to be a property owner.

Prospective tenants, existing tenants, vendors, contractors, property managers, and even your accountant are just some of the different types of people you will work with as a landlord.

And, while it may not be the same as your office job once was, your ability to get along with people, even in times of trouble, will significantly impact your success as a landlord.

You must work to find the perfect balance between offering exceptional customer service to your tenants, and becoming too friendly with them.

Remember, being polite is okay, but bending the rules to accommodate tenant mistakes is not. You are running this business, not your tenant.

This means you need to have zero tolerance for things like late payments, roommates that have moved in without background checks, pets that have been staying in your property despite the no pet policy, etc.

Be firm, set your expectations from the start, and stick to your guns.

However, don’t be mean, intrusive, or too picky.

Sounds easy enough, right?

It can be, as long as you practice your people skills. Having good, professional relationships with all those involved in your rental property business will take your business far.

 

5. The Ability to Delegate

Landlords Must Delegate Within Their Anne Arundel Rental Property

Bosses love to be in charge – it’s what they’re there to do.

And, it will probably be no different for you when you become your own boss, and start running the show.

However, a good business owner knows when things become too overwhelming, and knows when to relinquish some control.

This is when employing the help of an experienced property management company can help make your business a real success.

By hiring the right kind of property manager in Anne Arundel County to help you handle some of the responsibilities that come with running a rental property business, you will still maintain all of the control over your property, just without all the extra stress.

A good property management company will be able to do the following:

  • Property advertisements
  • Tenant screening and placement
  • Rent collections
  • Maintenance and repair requests
  • Routine property inspections
  • Proper bookkeeping of all important documents
  • Management of pending evictions

Delegating these jobs to a property manager is not giving up on your rental property business. Instead, it is a way of nurturing it to become more successful.

 

If you are in the Anne Arundel County region and are thinking about starting your own rental property business, have Bay Management Group help you from the very start.

Not only do we have the expertise to help you garner high quality tenants, we have the business skills to accompany yours when it comes to your rental property business.

Contact us today, and see all the ways in which we can help your rental property business thrive.


The Landlord’s Guide to Rent Increases

landlord-guide-rent-increases-anne-arundel-county

Raising the rent on your Severn rental property is a normal part of the rental property business − your tenants surely expect it to happen at one point or another. And, unless your specific area has rent control policies in place, you are free to increase the rent on your property as you see fit.

After all, you are in the rental property business to make money, right?

If you are interested in learning about how to increase the rent on your Anne Arundel County rental property, read on for our landlord’s guide to rent increases.

In this guide, we will look at how to determine your property’s new rent rate, as well as things to be cautious of when it comes to increasing rent, so that you do not find yourself in any legal trouble.

 

How to Determine Your Severn Rental Property Rent Increase

how-to-determine-amount-rent-increase-anne-arundel-county

You should consider several things before making the jump and increasing your Severn rental property’s monthly rent amount. Let’s look at some of the most important factors.

Compliance with the Law

Before deciding to increase your property’s rent, make sure your property is not located in a rent-controlled area. Though it may be in a seemingly small area, always double check to avoid any legal disputes.

Some states have legislation in place that limit the amount a property owner can charge for rent. In addition, these statutes may do any of the following:

  • Limit the frequency of rent increases
  • Regulate the timing of rent increases
  • Determine reductions in services
  • Permit special rent increases
  • Limit the eviction process of some tenants

Maryland is no exception.

Before making a rent increase on your rental property, always make sure you are allowed to do so in the first place.

 

Calculate the Rent Increase

Since Anne Arundel County is not part of a rent-controlled region in Maryland, it is relatively safe to say you can increase the rent on your property when you feel the need to.

If this is something you are interested in doing, start by calculating the amount of the rent increase you want in order for it to benefit you. However, make sure to take into consideration how your tenant will feel about such an increase. By raising the rent too high, you run the risk of raising your rental’s vacancy rates.

Here are some handy tips for determining your rental rate increase:

  • Know the Area. Research the local area and see how much other rentals are going for. More specifically, measure your rental’s rates up against properties that are similar to yours in terms of features, age, structure, and visual appeal. You want to remain competitive, but not overly priced. However, you do not want to underbid yourself either.
  • Understand the Market Rates. You can never be totally sure what property owners in your surrounding area are thinking when setting their rent rates. This is why you should also look into the overall market rates to help set a competitive rent increase. Look at the national rent averages for similar properties, as well as trends in the rental market, to help you set a fair, yet profitable, rent rate.
  • Use a Calculator. Another great tip for calculating a successful rent increase is to multiply the consumer price index by your current property’s rent rate. This will give you a good idea, in national terms, how much your property’s increase should be. Keep in mind, that while an average rent increase of 3 to 5 percent annually is considered normal, some places are expected to exceed that percentage by as much as 3 additional percentage points.

Blindly increasing your Severn rental property’s rent by an amount you think is sufficient is not going to get you anything but a vacant rental, or a negative cash flow (unless you are very lucky).

Don’t take any chances. Do the work and calculate a rent increase the right way.

 

Rent Increase for a Vacant Anne Arundel Property

rent-increase-for-anne-arundel-county-rental-property

If you own a vacant Anne Arundel County rental property and want to implement a rent increase before placing a new tenant, start advertising your property at a rent you think is appropriate for the market, and see what happens.

  • Nobody Is Interested. If you find that your property is not receiving the attention you want at the rent rate you have set, chances are you have increased the rent by too much. People looking for a place to live understand the market, and know when they are paying too much.
  • Everyone Wants In. If you find yourself flooded with interested tenants, you may start questioning whether you are charging enough. While there is not much you can do at this point, since the rent rate is set and that is what potential tenants are expecting to pay, you can always consider a rent increase come lease renewal time.
  • Lots of Interest, But No Bites. Lastly, if you find that there is a lot if interest buzzing around your rental property at the rate you set it for, yet no applications are coming in, you may want to consider the way in which you advertised the property, the price you have set it at, and whether it matches up to the hype.

Determining whether to increase your Severn rental property’s rent rate can be a difficult task that should not be taken lightly.

Do your research, understand the market, and aim for the best rent rate possible, without turning away high quality tenants.

 

Legal Issues to Consider When Increasing Your Rent

consider-legal-issues-anne-arundel-county-rental-property-rent-increase

So long as you do not raise the rent on your Anne Arundel County in a discriminatory or retaliatory way, you are allowed to increase the rent as you please. That said, look at some of the legalities behind rent increases that you should concern yourself with before getting into trouble.

 

Discrimination

If you increase the rent on your Severn property immediately after something has changed in regards to your tenant’s gender, race, national origin, religion, disability, or familial status, you can bet you will find yourself facing a lawsuit.

For instance, if you notice that your tenant recently had a baby, and you raise the rent shortly thereafter, your tenant may have a discrimination case against you. Avoid problems such as these by raising the rent according to the law, increasing the rent moderately, and ensuring that it in no way looks connected to any type of discrimination against your tenant.

 

Retaliation

If your tenant exercises their rights, and you immediately raise the rent, this may look suspicious. For example, if your tenant requests repairs be made, or forms a tenant rights group in your community to combat poor management, and you increase the rent, your tenant may have a case for retaliation in the form of rent increases.

Make sure any rent increases you enact are within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. at the time of renewal) to avoid looking like you are trying to force a tenant out based on their actions.

 

Deciding to increase the rent on your Severn investment property is a big step. It can make a huge impact on not only your life, but the life of your existing tenant as well.

Make sure to consider all of your options, research the surrounding area, and evaluate each tenant on a case-by-case basis before making this big change.

If you own Philadelphia, Laurel, or Washington DC rental property and are looking for an exceptional property management company to help you with things like market rates, advertisement best practices, lease renewal drafts, and tenant placement, contact Bay Management Group today.

At Bay Management Group, we have knowledgeable property managers experienced in handling rent increases. In addition, we can help with everything else property related such as collecting your increased rents from tenants, backing you in court in the case of a discrimination or retaliation lawsuit, handling maintenance and repair requests, conducting routine property inspections, and much more.


Should You Offer Move-In Specials to Entice Tenants?

should-you-offer-move-in-specials-tenants-annapolis-property-management

Staying ahead of the competition is tough when you are a property owner in Annapolis. As the capital of Maryland, and home to the United States Naval Academy, there are plenty of tenants looking for a great place to live here.

And other property owners know it.

If you are wondering how to stand out from the crowd of property owners looking to capitalize on the appeal Annapolis provides tenants from all around – think rich cultural history, beautiful architecture, and perfectly maintained landscapes – it is time you consider offering move-in specials to entice renters to lease from you.

Move-in specials have the potential to attract a lot of attention to your vacant property, making sure that you have the largest tenant pool to choose from.

In addition, a good move-in special may convince a tenant deciding between two properties to choose yours over the alternative.

Today, we are going to look at several types of move-in specials to help you decide whether you should consider offering them to your Annapolis tenants.

 

When a Move-in Special is a Good Idea

when-move-in-special-good-idea-annapolis-tenants

Before looking at the various move-in specials you might want to offer your Annapolis tenants, let’s take a look at some of the conditions that, according to RentPrep, affect whether you should offer a move-in special or not:

  • Market Conditions. When the competition is tough, and property owners in the same area are racing for the same tenants, consider offering a move-in incentive. This way you can attract the largest tenant pool possible, and be pickier when it comes to tenant placement.
  • Less people tend to move during the winter season. Not only is it cold and less desirable to move, the holidays play a role in people’s financial decisions, and school is still in session. All these things cause many people to avoid moving, which means filling your vacant property will be more challenging. Offering an enticing move-in special can help.
  • Nearby Construction. If your investment property’s area is experiencing a boom in construction, this will be a good thing for your tenants – after the fact. However, during construction it will be harder to find tenants willing to deal with noise, blocked off areas, increases in traffic, and unfinished buildings near their home. Try offering them a move-in special and convincing them that the construction will be worthwhile.

These are just some of the most common reasons a property owner might consider offering prospective tenants a move-in special.

If this sounds like something you are dealing with right now, keep reading to find out what kind of move-in specials you can offer to boost tenant placement.

 

Top 7 Move-in Specials You Can Offer Your Prospective Annapolis Tenants

1. Flexible Lease Terms

It is important you draft airtight lease agreements that your tenants understand from the day they move in.

However, if you and your Anne Arundel County property management company work together, there are surefire ways to bend the lease terms just enough to entice prospective tenants, without sacrificing your rental property business.

Here are some great examples of lease provisions you can change to encourage an interested tenant to sign a lease with you:

  • Include an early lease termination clause, with a 30-day notice
  • Allow tenants to have pets
  • Permit tenants to temporarily decorate your property
  • Provide the ability to sublet the property under your direct approval
  • Make room for roommates to add themselves onto the lease agreement
  • Allow for a cosigner

If you can be slightly flexible when it comes to lease terms you are normally very strict about, you will open up the tenant pool significantly, and find someone to lease from you much quicker.

 

2. Waive the Application Fee

waive-application-fee-annapolis-tenants-rental-property

Moving is an expensive endeavor. From moving trucks to security deposits, and application fees to utility deposits, your tenant is going to be spending a great deal of money from the get go.

Try lessening the financial burden by waiving simple things like the application fee. This is especially helpful if your property management company requires every adult in the property to submit an application.

The money you will be saving the interested tenant may be just enough to convince them to go with your property, rather than a nearby competitor’s property.

 

3. Give Tenants the First Month Free

This is one of the most popular move-in specials you can offer tenants, and is also one of the most appealing.

As mentioned above, moving is expensive. If a tenant knows that they do not have to pay for the first’s month rent, they may feel less stressed about leasing from you.

Although you lose one month’s rent by offering this incentive, the tradeoff can be worth it. Eleven months of rent payments on a one-year lease is far better than a vacant property generating zero rent payments.

 

4. Online Rent Collection

online-rent-collection-great-move-in-special-annapolis-tenants

Though an increasingly popular method for collecting rent payments among experienced Anne Arundel County property management teams, offering online rent collection is still considered a special incentive.

Many people will jump at the convenience of being able to pay their rent online. By saving time, checks, and the headaches that come with mailed rent payments, your potential tenants may be more willing to rent from you if you offer them the chance to pay their rent online.

 

5. Property Upgrades

Sometimes all it takes to get an interested tenant to move into your rental property is the promise of an upgrade.

Tenants move into rented properties in hopes of making them feel as close to home as possible. This means many will be excited to learn that a permanent and beneficial change will be made to the property upon move-in.

Here are some things you might consider upgrading in order to get a high quality tenant moved in as soon as possible:

  • New, modern, or matching appliances
  • A fresh coat of paint
  • Upgraded flooring
  • Additional parking spaces
  • Bathroom remodels
  • Paid landscaping services

These are just some of the many things you can offer potential tenants in hopes of convincing them to sign a lease agreement with you. And remember, upgrades don’t always have to break the bank.

Oftentimes even small changes are enough to make a tenant feel special.

 

6. Rent Decrease

offer-rent-decrease-annapolis-tenants

If you are in a tight spot and need to place a tenant quickly, one great move-in special you might offer is a decrease on the asking rent.

Again, you will lose some positive cash flow by lowering your asking rent; however, a leased property is always going to make you more money than a vacant one.

 

7. Offer a Welcome Package

Offering your tenants a welcome package is a great way to build a better relationship, make your tenant feel special, and even encourage them to renew their lease come the end of their term.

In your welcome package, you can offer some generous and thoughtful things such as:

  • Gift cards to nearby restaurants
  • Bathroom staples
  • Kitchen baskets with goodies
  • Tickets to a local sports game
  • Plants to decorate their home
  • Coupons to nearby attractions

Encouraging tenants to move into your Annapolis rental property can sometimes prove challenging. However, whether you’re faced with stiff competition, the wrong time of year, or nearby construction, there are ways around all of it to secure a tenant in your property.

Try offering your potential tenants some of the above-mentioned move-in specials and see how that changes their tune.

And be sure to get Bay Management Group on your side to help advertise your property via multiple channels, to draft flexible lease agreements that satisfy both you and your tenant, and even to collect rent payment online.

 

Contact us today, and see how we can get your Annapolis property leased in under 30 days on average.


6 Best Ways to Add Square Footage to Your Rental Property

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Anne Arundel County’s competitive market and wide appeal makes it a prime place to rent.

As the heartland of Maryland, Anne Arundel County offers tenants wonderful things, such as close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, educational and employment opportunities, and plenty of outside activities to enjoy with friends and family alike.

With this in mind, it is no wonder why those with Anne Arundel County rental properties are trying to appeal to the highest paying tenants.

Further, since the competition is so stiff, and people looking to lease in this area know that, your investment property is expected come with plenty of curb appeal and amenities.

So why not add a few square feet to your property and make it stand out amongst the crowd?

If you’re not sure how to expand your rental property upwards and outwards by way of square footage, check out our below suggestions.

By adding square footage to your rental, you are sure to attract a high paying, high quality tenant.

 

How to Add Square Footage to Your Anne Arundel County Rental Property

Before trying to add square footage to your Anne Arundel County rental property, it is best to gather some of your ideas and present them to a licensed and insured contractor that specializes in structural additions to a home.

To inspire those ideas, let’s look at some of the best ways you can add square footage to your rental property.

 

1. Build into the Backyard

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Adding square footage to your rental property via the backyard is a popular choice. Typically, property owners extend the kitchen out (who doesn’t want a bigger kitchen?) or expand upon the already existing family room.

This addition not only adds some serious room to your rental that can now accommodate more people, it leads itself right out into the backyard, which can be a haven of entertainment for Anne Arundel County families.

 

2. Add a Greenhouse

Sometimes referred to as a “jewel box,” a greenhouse is an excellent way to add square footage to your rental as well as an element of surprise; not many homes come with their very own greenhouse addition. And, if your rental property does, you will likely have some serious competition amongst interested tenants wanting in on that special amenity.

Here are some things to remember when thinking about adding a greenhouse to your rental property:

  • Ensure the greenhouse’s placement will provide proper sunlight
  • Consider the landscaping of the backyard – will you need to trim any large trees or brushes that block sunlight or to maximize the overall appeal of the greenhouse?
  • Make sure the foundation is secure and that proper drainage from the greenhouse can occur
  • Watch for material use – the best materials are not always the cheapest nor the most expensive, rather, they are the ones that will provide the right climate for your greenhouse
  • Be sure you aren’t in violation of any homeowners’ association rules, if applicable

If done right, a greenhouse can add a lot of appeal and bring in some seriously high rent.

 

3. Think Small

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Adding square footage is not always about adding a lot more space to an existing structure.

Sometimes, adding a small patio to the backend of the master bedroom or a front porch to accommodate a simple bench is enough to make a statement without overwhelming your rental. You can still get creative and not break the bank – or your rental property’s structure – by adding small accent statements to the exterior.

 

4. Or…Think Big

On the other hand, adding something large and bold, such as a pavilion, can make a huge statement when it comes to your rental property. Try adding a small pool house in your backyard where summertime visitors can change, shower, or cool off.

You have the option of making your pavilion freestanding or attaching it to the main structure.

Though atypical, a pavilion can also be used as a place of residence. Pavilions are so great because they’re versatile – they can offer the shade of a gazebo, the storage room of a backyard shed, and the feel of a cabana, all at the same time.

 

5. Make Your Rental Tall

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If your Anne Arundel County rental property is on a small lot, and there is not a lot of room to expand outwards, one unique way to expand your rental’s square footage is to raise the ceiling (and thus, the roof).

Though this strategy will not work on all rental properties due to certain restrictions you must adhere to, it can work for some. A higher ceiling gives the feeling of more space and a bigger home.

 

6. Add Another Level

This is an ambitious addition, and not one to be taken lightly in terms of completion time, stress, or cost. However, if you own the type of rental property that will benefit from adding an entirely new level, you will definitely gain some more square footage points with prospective tenants.

If you do opt for this addition, follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure to use only qualified architects and remodelers
  • Understand that your entire property may need moving and that the roof will be removed
  • A solid foundation is a must
  • Strong walls are necessary as well
  • Upgrades to electrical, heating, and cooling systems may be required
  • Staircase location is crucial and will affect your first floor square footage space

 

Tenants are always looking for bigger and better. And if they have the expendable income, they are sure to pay premium rent rates to lease your large property.

If you live in the Anne Arundel County region and have a rental property that has expanded upwards, outwards, or both, contact Bay Management Group to help you advertise your property appropriately.

With targeted techniques, a solid understanding of the market, and the resources to connect with the best pool of tenants, Bay Management Group is the property management company you want to employ.

Contact us today and see how our expertise of the rental property business can get your unique property leased to a high quality (and high paying) tenant within thirty days.