Top 4 Reasons Why Detailed Move-In Inspections Are Essential

Why Move-In Inspections Are Essential For Your Rental Property

Any time you place a new tenant into your Bel Air rental property, you must conduct a thorough move-in inspection – even if you think that your rental is in tip-top shape.

But you and your property management company tirelessly prepared your rental for new tenants, made sure that everything was clean, in good working order, and was visually appealing – that’s enough, right?

Wrong.

In an effort to protect both you and your tenants, as well as the investment property itself, a move-in inspection documenting the original condition of the rental at the time your tenants move in is absolutely necessary, despite how “perfect” the condition of the rental may seem.

To learn more about what a move-in inspection is, and why they are the key to starting a satisfying your renters (as well as one of the best ways to protect your rental property business), keep reading.

 

What is a Move-In Inspection?

Before physically moving into your Bel Air rental property, your tenants, alongside you and your property manager, must take part in what is called a move-in inspection.

Move-in inspections are designed to document, in both writing and visual proof such as photographs or video, the original condition of your rental property at the time your tenants move in.

This way, any existing damages will not become the responsibility of your tenants come the end of their lease term.

In addition, any new damages that do appear at the end of the lease term can be attributed to your tenants, should the damages extend beyond that of normal wear and tear.

The most important part of the move-in inspection is the signature section, where both the landlord and tenants sign in agreement to the original state of the property at the time the tenant takes possession.

 

4 Reasons Why the Move-In Inspection is Important

According to Maryland law, the move-in inspection should be performed with both the property owner and tenants present. This way any damages found in the property at the time the tenant takes possession are seen and agreed to by both parties.

There are very specific reasons why you and your property manager should conduct move-in inspections every time a new tenant moves in.

Let’s take a look.

 

1. Easily Recover Repair Costs

Move-In Inspections Easily Recover Repair Costs Of Your Rental Property

Your Bel Air property management company is going to recommend you collect a security deposit from your new tenants at the start of their lease term.

This is to cover any costs associated with damages to the property, an early lease termination, and any unpaid rent on the part of your tenants.

However, in order to use your tenant’s security deposit to cover the costs of damages that go beyond normal wear and tear, you will need to have proof those damages didn’t exist at the time your tenants moved in.

This is where a detailed move-in inspection checklist comes into play.

If you and your tenants sign a document agreeing to the original state of the property at the beginning of the lease term, and the property looks very different from that original state at the end of the lease term, you now have legal proof that you can collect from your tenant’s security deposit to make necessary repairs.

 

2. Maryland Law Requires It

Every landlord needs to follow all federal, state, and local landlord-tenant laws when it comes to disclosing specific information to tenants at the time they move in.

These disclosures either need to appear in the lease agreement itself, or be attached to the lease agreement as a separate document. Either way, the original state of the property must be revealed to those moving in.

One of the most important things to disclose to your Maryland tenants, which may end up on your move-in inspection checklist, is the certification that your property is free of any lead paint hazards.

According to Maryland’s Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing law, all properties built before 1978 must be registered as having potential lead paint hazards. In addition, landlords must distribute educational materials regarding lead paint hazards, and meet specific inspection requirements that certify the property is safe for living.

As a rental property owner, it is your legal duty to include this information in the move-in inspection so that your tenants are fully aware of what type of rental property they are about to reside in.

This not only protects them from the hazards of lead paint (since your property must be certified as safe to live in), it also protects you from a lawsuit at the end of the lease term should your tenant make the claim you failed to disclose this information to them.

Make sure that you and your Bel Air property management keep your rental property updated with its lead paint certifications. At any time, your tenants may request a copy of your most recent passing lead paint risk reduction inspection certificate that is on file with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

If you do not have this on file, you may find yourself in some legal trouble that you and your property manager may not be able to get out of without paying a hefty amount of fees and fines.

3. It Holds Parties Responsible

Move-In Inspection Holds Parties Responsible In Your Rental Property

Move-in inspections are designed to hold all parties – the landlord, property manager, and tenants – responsible for the condition of the rental property at the time of move in, during the lease term, and at the end when the tenant moves out.

By having your tenants sign the move-in inspection, you set a very clear message that you expect them to care for your property in a certain way, and that if they fail to do so, they will be held accountable.

On the other hand, the move-in inspection, as well as the lease agreement, holds you responsible for detailing the damages at the end of the lease term as an itemized list of security deposit deductions. This ensures that you do not wrongfully take your tenant’s security deposits to fix things in the property that are considered normal wear and tear items.

 

4. It Protects Your Property, Business, and Bottom Line

Here are some of the biggest complications that can arise from not conducting a move-in inspection of your rental property before the tenant moves in:

  • If you wait until after your tenant has moved in to ask them to complete a move-in inspection, you may have trouble compelling them to finish it properly
  • Once a tenant starts to move-in, the original condition of the property has become altered, perhaps even damaged, with no proof of when the damage occurred
  • If you let your tenant complete the inspection without you or your property manager, you run the risk of additional things being added to the list that are not there
  • Simply failing to complete a move-in inspection altogether (or failing to have the tenant sign the inspection) makes collecting the security deposit for repairs nearly impossible

 

These are just some of the scenarios you face if you don’t have a detailed move-in inspection process in place when new tenants move into your rental.

 

In Closing

If you own an investment property in the Bel Air region, and want help ensuring that all parties are fully protected from the start of any tenancy, get in touch with Bay Management Group today.

We can help draft legally compliant lease agreements addressing the issue of both move-in and move-out inspections and security deposits, set up time to thoroughly inspect your rental with both you and your tenants at the start of the lease term, and make sure your property is well cared for throughout the tenancy.

And, in the case excessive damage has been incurred during the lease term, we make sure you collect on your tenant’s security deposit to make proper repairs, so that the next tenants that move in have a pristine rental to call home.


Top 7 Ways to Guarantee Success in Your First Investment Property

Ways to Guarantee Success in Your First Investment Property

Investing in rental property is a great way to boost supplemental income, or even replace your traditional 9-5 day job.

In fact, getting into the rental property business can be extremely lucrative, if approached the right way.

However, it’s important to note that many first-time investors can mistakenly get caught up in the excitement of buying a rental property – and this excitement can easily get in the way of making sound financial and business decisions.

Taking the step from the decision to invest in Abingdon rental property to actually doing it is a big one that warrants a lot of thought.

It comes with risks that you may not be aware of – ones that have the potential to affect the success of your rental property business for years to come. This is a decision to take very seriously.

If you want to avoid major mistakes when you set out to invest in your first piece of rental property, read on to find some helpful tips that are designed to guide new investors in the right direction, right from the start.

 

Helpful Tips for Investing in Your First Rental Property

1. Have a Plan

Before you jump into investing in your first rental property, you should take the time to devise a solid plan of action.

This will help prevent many unexpected issues that tend to pop up during the purchasing process.

Here are some things experienced property management companies suggest:

  • Pay Down Your Debt. Paying down your existing debt does more than help you qualify for a loan. It also creates a buffer once you own the rental property for things such as emergency maintenance issues, unexpected vacancies, and times when your tenant fails to pay rent.
  • Create a Budget. This is something any experienced property owner will tell you. Making a strict budget, before you invest in a rental property, will prevent you from getting in over your head. Factor in purchase price, maintenance and renovations, an emergency fund, and the cost of placing a tenant in your property.
  • Save for a Down Payment. Even if you have purchased a home in the past, it is important to realize that investing in rental property is much different. You will typically need at least 20% when it comes to a down payment, because there is no PMI available to protect the banks in case you default on the loan.
  • Watch the Market. Knowing when to invest is almost as important as having enough money to invest. You should take care to watch the market and see what interest rates are doing at the time you want to invest. Remember, investment property loans will usually have higher interest rates than traditional homes, which can kill your bottom line, even if you warrant high rent rates from quality tenants.

Making a plan before you get into the excitement of purchasing a rental property will help keep you on track during the investment process.

 

2. Take Your Time Choosing an Investment Property

Take Your Time Choosing an Investment Property

Again, closing on your first investment property is an exciting time that can cloud your judgement if you are not careful.

Avoid buyer’s remorse by taking your time to find the rental that will work best for your pre-defined budget. Check out any property you are interested in buying before entertaining any negotiations, and don’t take the previous homeowner or real estate agent’s word for it.

Ensure that the property has all the amenities you wish to offer to your tenants. Find out what makes this property stand out from others in the area that are being leased, and take note of all the things you may need to renovate before placing a tenant to make sure it fits into your overall budget.

In any business deal, jumping in too soon harbors room for problems that can have lasting effects on your rental property business.

Give yourself time to find the right one; it will be worth it in the long run.

 

3. Avoid Fixer Uppers

In the past, we have discussed how investing in a fixer-upper rental property can be a good idea. However, for those that are new to investing in real estate, this may not always be the best idea.

A great purchase deal on the surface often indicates that there is a lot of work needing to be done after you purchase the property in order to make it rent ready.

And, unless you have budgeted this into your overall plan, and are handy when it comes to repairs, chances are a fixer upper is not what you are looking for in your first investment property.

 

4. Choose a Reliable Real Estate Agent

Choose a Reliable Real Estate Agent For Your First Investment Property

The real estate agent you choose to help you with your property purchase can make or break your longtime success.

To avoid getting mixed up with a less-than-stellar real estate agent, take note of these helpful tips:

  • Don’t get caught up in negotiations with other interested buyers if the purchase price or other details begin to extend beyond what you originally planned for
  • Choose an agent that you trust, that has a reliable reputation, is patient and understands your needs, and is communicative throughout the process
  • Never let an agent rush your purchase decision, even if that means you lose out on a deal
  • Try to get referrals from those close to you that have had success with a real estate agent in the past

If at any time you begin to feel your agent is not being helpful, simply walk away and get a new one.

 

5. Decrease Expenses

Being successful with your first investment property does not stop after you finalize your purchase.

In fact, closing on a property is only the beginning.

From the start, think of ways you can decease expenses and boost your positive cash flow once you place tenants in your property.

For example:

  • Make sure all utilities are the tenant’s responsibility
  • Build extra costs, such as HOA fees, into the rent rate if you can
  • Shop around for homeowners insurance, and require your tenants to get renters insurance
  • Make your rental eco-friendly, especially when it comes to major appliances
  • Challenge your property taxes if you feel they are too high
  • Interview property managers to make sure you are getting the best deal for the services they offer

These small considerations have the potential to save you a lot of money as you lease your rental property, and are easy for new investors to handle.

 

6. Learn the Laws

Learn The Laws For Your First Investment Property

Whether you self-manage your rental or employ Abingdon’s best property management team, it is ultimately your responsibility to know and understand the federal, state, and local laws surrounding the landlord-tenant relationship.

Even if something illegal happens under the care of your property manager, you could find yourself in a lot of hot water.

Court fees and fines, a ding on your reputation as a property owner, and the loss of your property if your bottom line is damaged enough, can all result from not knowing the laws.

Educate yourself so that you know how to properly handle any legal situation that comes your way. And, if you have a knowledgeable property management company backing you, think of that as an added bonus.

7. Consider Hiring an Abingdon Property Manager

Getting into real estate and leasing your first investment property can be daunting at first.

You may not know what to do after you have purchased your property, or maybe you are not keen on the idea of self-managing your rental.

No matter the case, the solution resides in hiring a trusted property manager to help you out with everything from advertising your available property to tenant placement; tenant complaints to the lease renewal process.

If you are looking to invest in your first rental property in Abingdon, consider getting in touch with Bay Management Group from day one. With years of experience in the rental property industry, Bay Management Group has the staff on hand to answer all of your questions about being a successful rental property owner.

This way, once you invest in your first rental property, you will already have a qualified property manager in Abingdon ready to help you with setting rent rates, conducting inspections, providing 24/7 maintenance and repair services, and more.


3 Ways to Help Your Tenants Calculate Renters Insurance Coverage

How to Help Your Abingdon Tenants Calculate Renters Insurance Coverage

Requiring your tenants to have renters insurance is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your Abingdon rental property, and your tenants.

Unfortunately, many tenants feel that having renters insurance is not necessary.

In fact, a 2016 Insurance Information Institute poll reports that only 41% of renters have renters insurance, compared to 95% of homeowners that have a homeowners insurance policy.

Many tenants say that their belongings are not worth enough to have renters insurance. In addition, they feel that the property should already be insured by the landlord, and that renters insurance is an additional expensive that is too costly.

However, the truth is, tenants largely underestimate the value of their belongings and, thus, the value of having renters insurance.

It’s important to know that your homeowners insurance does not cover the cost of tenants’ belongings or tenant displacement.

And, despite what some people may say, a renters insurance policy is fairly inexpensive.

That’s why requiring your tenants to have a renters insurance policy in place before they move into your rental property is crucial to your success as a rental property owner.

And, it just so happens that there are ways you can help your tenants determine just how much renters insurance they need so that, should the unthinkable happen (think fire, flood, theft, or injury), they are properly covered.

Renters Insurance: A Quick Review

Renters Insurance Covers Furniture and Personal Belongings

Renters insurance is an insurance policy that protects tenants and their personal belongings in the case of an emergency.

It also covers personal liability issues should anyone be injured while on your property, or damage something while on the premises.

Lastly, a good renters insurance policy will cover additional living expenses should your tenant become displaced due to an emergency, or uninhabitable living situation.

According to Liberty Mutual, here are some of the key things renters insurance will cover:

  • Personal property such as furniture, clothing, and electronics
  • Valuable items up to a specified amount
  • Any personal belongings stolen from your car
  • Medical bills related to any injuries that occur on the property
  • Legal costs should anyone sue your tenant
  • Accidental damage done to your property
  • Reimbursement for housing and living costs in the case the property becomes unlivable

 

It is important to remember that some things will not be covered under a traditional renters insurance policy.

That’s why it is recommended your tenants talk to an insurance professional, in addition to speaking with you, before purchasing a policy to ensure they are properly covered.

 

Helping Your Abingdon Tenant Calculate Renters Insurance

Helping your tenants determine how much renters insurance to invest in is as simple as following these three tips.

 

1. Have Your Tenants Calculate the Value of Their Possessions

Have Your Tenants Calculate the Value of Their Possessions

The first thing you are going to want to help your tenants with is the overall value of their personal belongings.

This will include every personal item they own, not just the expensive items like furniture and electronics.

Remember, renters insurance is there to replace personal belongings.

If your tenant estimates they have $5,000 worth of personal items, and lose everything to a fire, only to find out they really had upwards of $10,000 in personal belongings, your tenant is going to be in financial trouble.

That’s because any purchases that exceed the insurance payout amount will fall upon the tenant to cover.

There are several that can help your tenants determine approximately how much all of their personal items are worth.

From there, the key is to insure belongings for more than the cash or depreciated value of the items, so that there will be enough coverage to actually replace everything.

 

2. Recommend Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is not always included in a standard renters insurance policy.

That’s why, as a landlord, it is helpful to either require liability coverage up to at least a certain amount, or strongly encourage tenants to add that type of coverage to their policies.

In fact, if you are working with an Abingdon property management company, chances are they are going to suggest you require liability insurance in additional to renters insurance before a tenant can move in.

Liability insurance typically covers things like bodily injury, medical bills, and property damage done by your tenants or guests in your rental property. This additional coverage is usually inexpensive and worth it to add on.

The last thing you want is your tenant to become financially responsible for an injury on your property.

This kind of financial strain may cause them to be unable to pay the monthly rent, and ultimately break the lease agreement early.

This leaves you without a monthly rent collection and with a vacant property that now has to be filled.

 

3. Encourage Documentation

Encourage Documentation of Purchases for Renters Insurance in Harford County

It is important to encourage your tenants to document their personal belongings via receipts and photographs.

This documentation, to be held outside of the rental property in an accessible and secure place, serves as proof that the amount of coverage owed in an insurance claim is legitimate.

Plus, taking the time to document every personal belonging helps your tenants calculate the actual value of their belongings, so the right amount of renters insurance is purchased.

For instance, you cannot claim you have a million dollars in personal belongings, and collect that amount after an emergency, without proof the belongings actually existed.

Insurance fraud is a big problem, and is something that is very carefully monitored.

It would be nice of you to remind your tenants that, in the event of an emergency that results in significant property damage, the insurance company is going to demand to see proof of their belongings before paying out on the policy.

 

Helping your tenants understand the importance of renters insurance should be one of your biggest priorities.

This is not only because it is helpful to your tenants, but because it is helpful to you as well.

Should an emergency, injury, or property damage occur, anything not covered by renters insurance may carry over to your homeowners insurance.

By requiring your Abingdon tenants to have renters insurance, you protect your bottom line and save yourself from higher premiums should something terrible happen to your property or the people inside of it.

If you own rental property in Abingdon or anywhere in Harford County and want help with structuring a lease agreement to require renters insurance, contact Bay Management Group now.

We have years of experience in the rental property industry, and know that renters insurance is necessary when it comes to placing new tenants in your investment property. We can draft lease agreements that require renters insurance, help your tenants determine how much they should be insured for, and help you maintain your bottom line should anything happen to your rental.


5 Aberdeen Rental Property Repairs That You Should Not DIY

Rental Property Repairs Do Not DIY

These days it may feel like any do-it-yourself projects is possible to undertake.

With internet videos showing you step-by-step how to complete even the most complicated home repairs, it all looks so easy, not to mention more affordable than enlisting the help of a professional.

While the thought of saving money is definitely tempting, the truth is, there are certain DIY rental property repair jobs that are too complicated, too dangerous, and oftentimes just as pricey (if not more) to do yourself.

And, while you are responsible for most of your Aberdeen rental property’s maintenance repairs, that doesn’t mean you actually have to do the work yourself.

Let’s take a look at some common do-it-yourself home repairs that should not be handled by inexperienced DIY-ers.

Rather, the below projects should be left to those that, without a doubt, know what they are doing.

 

5 DIY Projects Better Left to Professionals

DIY Projects to Leave to Professionals

Your Aberdeen property manager is sure to tell you there are some DIY repairs that any successful rental property owner should know how to do.

For example, repairing a hole in the wall, being able to fix your property’s gutters, and even being able to handle common toilet issues are all good skills to have as a landlord.

That said, there are some property repairs that are better left to the professionals because they are typically more than you can handle, and dangerous to both you and your tenants if done incorrectly.

1. Electrical Issues

Small DIY projects, such as installing a ceiling fan and changing out a light switch, are typically okay for the average DIY-er.

Just make sure to always turn the power off before starting an electrical repair to avoid shocking yourself.

However, when you get into electrical repairs that require extending circuits, or running new electrical cables, you face some serious issues if you don’t know what you are doing.

With electrical projects, the safety risks heighten.

You can easily start a fire instantly, create a fire hazard that may spark later and threaten the safety of your tenants, or even electrocute yourself in the process of completing the work.

You may also be performing electrical work that requires a permit. Without the proper permit, not only do you face severe penalties and fines that will affect your rental property business, you become liable for performing work not completed by a professional.

Lastly, trying to carry out electrical work in your Aberdeen rental without truly knowing what you are doing can be trickier than you might expect.

You can easily overload your power outlets and create more electrical issues throughout the property, or even wire something incorrectly, adding to the fire and safety concerns.

The Electrical Safety Foundation reports that 140,000 electrical fires happen each year, with 400 deaths resulting from electrical issues.

Therefore, as tempting as those do-it-yourself YouTube videos can be, it is not recommended you attempt to handle any major electrical repairs in your rental property without the help of a certified electrician.

 

2. Roof Repairs

Roof Repairs Are Better Left to Professionals

In the past, we have discussed the necessary steps to take, should your rental property need roofing repairs.

And if you recall, we recommended enlisting the help of your property manager and professional roofing contractor when it comes to dealing with significant roof damage.

Repairing your rental’s roof takes a lot of experience and knowledge that the average person just doesn’t have.

In fact, what seems like a simple roof leak may actually be more serious than you originally thought.

You need to identify the source of the roof leak; repair the shingles, flashing, and vents; match materials to your existing roof; and utilize expensive equipment to get the job done.

In addition, you need to avoid creating more damage in the process, which will lead to more repairs, more expenses, and more time to get the roof repaired.

And don’t forget the danger that working on the roof of your rental property poses, especially to a novice DIY-er.

One small misstep or slip, and you might come tumbling down off your roof, with roofing materials and tools following.

The injuries you can expect to sustain from a roof fall are just not worth the risk.

 

3. Floor Refinishing

Leave The Floor Refinishing To The Professionals

Improving your Aberdeen rental property’s existing hardwood flooring is always a good idea, especially if it has been a while since you gave your property’s flooring some TLC.

Plus, tenants love the thought of having beautiful, sturdy, and long-lasting hardwood flooring in the property they are leasing.

You may think that sanding your property’s wood flooring is a simple process: Rent the sanding machine, get to sanding, and voila, good as new, right?

Wrong.

There are licensed carpenters that won’t go near even their own home’s hardwood floors with a sander, preferring to leave it to the flooring professionals.

All it takes is a little extra sanding on one spot to create a severe divot in your stunning hardwood flooring.

These divots are nearly impossible to fill, and if you do this in several spots across the floor, you are looking at having to re-do the entire space with new flooring.

 

4. Wall Removal

It may seem like a fun weekend project to knock out an existing wall in your rental property in order to open up the living space, combine two rooms to create one bigger one, or even get rid of an awkwardly placed wall that makes your rental seemed cramped.

However, removing a wall in your rental property is anything but a simple DIY weekend project.

If you don’t know what you are doing, and you attempt to take out a wall in your rental property, you could bring your entire rental property down instantly.

Worse yet, you may unknowingly create an unstable foundation that can come crashing down later, perhaps on your tenants.

Not only can removing a wall on your own ruin the framework of your property, but you also risk tapping into a water or gas line, which adds to the danger – and expensive renovation bill – you will face.

 

5. Tree Cutting and Trimming

Tree Cutting and Trimming Is Better for Professionals To Do

Do-it-yourself home repairs are not limited to the interior of your rental property.

In fact, tree cutting and trimming is something that many DIY-ers attempt to master themselves.

Although it is tempting to forgo hiring a professional landscaper to handle your rental property’s tree growth, there are several reasons to rethink this DIY project before even getting started.

To start, the equipment needed to bring down large trees and branches is expensive to rent if you don’t already own it.

And then there’s the element of danger.

The fact that you will need to climb up a large ladder to reach the areas that need pruning poses a serious fall risk.

A small misstep, slip, or branch firing back at you with a vengeance can land you in the hospital with serious injuries.

A professional landscaper experienced in tree pruning should handle any tree that requires cutting or trimming. This is especially true if the trees exceed 20’, or are near roads, other properties, or electrical wires.

 

If you have a repair that seems like too much to handle, even for an experienced DIY-er, it probably is.

That’s why it is best to enlist the help of an experienced professional.

Professionals are liable for their work and any additional damage they cause, and are prepared to make the end result look flawless, so your Aberdeen rental property only benefits from the repairs.

It is also a good idea to receive help from a property management company, such as Bay Management Group, for all your maintenance needs.

We handle issues ranging from minor property repairs to serious emergencies, such as floods or electrical issues. And, we do so using our 24/7 maintenance crew.

Benefiting from our licensed and insured contractors, you can rest assured any rental property repairs you need performed will be done safely, timely, and affordably.

Contact Bay Management Group today so you and your tenants don’t have to worry about costly maintenance problems, safety, or health issues.


7 Fall Maintenance Tips For Your Abingdon Rental Property

Fall Maintenance Tips for Your Abington Rental Property

For those in Abingdon, the smell of pumpkin spice, the changing of the leaves, the crisp cool air, and a hint of the holidays have already made their big debuts.

And, for rental property owners, this means it is yet again time for your annual fall rental property maintenance inspections.

Whether you are the type of property owner who takes a proactive approach to property maintenance, or the kind that leaves some summer maintenance issues for the cooler months, now is the best time to get your rental property inspected, maintenanced, and repaired before the snowy days are upon you, and doing these things becomes a much bigger challenge.

Today we are going to explore the best tips for keeping your investment property in tip-top shape as fall quickly approaches.

Keep in mind – regular inspections are the key to preventing costly repairs in the future.

 

Fall Maintenance Guidelines for Your Abingdon Rental Property

1. Check in With Your Tenants

Check In With Your Abingdon Rental Property Tenants

One of the most important things you can do during your annual fall property inspection is check in with your tenants.

Your tenants will be able to tell you firsthand what things need attention (assuming they haven’t already made maintenance or repair requests with your Abingdon property manager).

The information they tell you is perfect for getting your priorities in line during the inspection.

Additionally, checking in on your tenants gives you an opportunity to make sure they are fulfilling their lease obligations.

In the beginning of the lease term, right before your tenants moved into your rental property, you and your property management company should have thoroughly outlined each lease provision that was included in the agreement.

Your tenants may have agreed to things such as changing the HVAC unit filters, monitoring smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries, and even maintaining the exterior landscaping. Now is the time to check up on those obligations, and make sure your property is being well cared for.

Now is also the time to get a handle on tenant issues that are beginning to become problems.

 

2. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

We mentioned above that your tenants might be in charge of replacing the batteries in both the smoke and CO detectors.

Though that may be the case for your rental, it is still your legal responsibility in Abingdon to provide working detectors in your rental properties.

If you didn’t check the detectors during summer, follow up on the batteries and make sure they have been switched out.

In addition, run some tests to make the detectors are in good working order.

Lastly, provide your tenants with a gentle reminder to check the detectors regularly throughout their tenancy.

 

3. Fireplace

Clean the Fireplace During Fall Maintenance of Your Abingdon Rental

Before the winter months hit and the warmth of a fireplace becomes necessary, ensure that your rental’s fireplace is swept clean and is free of debris.

Blocked chimneys are fire hazards that cannot only harm your tenants, but the structure of your property as well.

In addition, now may be a good time to consider installing an animal-proof chimney cap.

When the cold winter months come, small critters have a tendency to seek out warm places to live. A fireplace that goes unused all winter can be a great hiding spot for animals seeking shelter from the cold, wind, and snow.

 

4. Irrigation Systems

Fall weather typically brings a lot of rainfall to Abingdon.

This means that resetting your rental’s sprinkler system may be in order, since the weather will not be hot, and your landscaping will not require excessive watering.

In an effort to save on water, as well as prevent your property’s pipes from freezing as the outside temperatures start to drop during nightfall, you should do the following:

  • Begin winterizing your irrigation systems
  • Change your landscaping’s watering schedule
  • Inform your tenants of what to do in the case of a frozen or burst pipe

 

5. Roof Inspections

Inspect Roof of Your Abingdon Rental Property During Fall Maintenance

Roof repairs are one of the most costly repairs you will deal with as a rental property owner. That’s why conducting a roof inspection every season is so critical.

Not only can the hot summer months wreak havoc on your roof – think heat and humidity – the upcoming fall months, which will quickly turn into winter months, can ruin your roof too, especially if there is prior damage.

Ice, wind, sleet, snow, rain – you name it. All of this can damage roof shingles, leak into the insulation, wood, and drywall of your roof, and expose your property’s plumbing and HVAC systems to water damage.

If you are not sure how to inspect your roof properly, enlist the help of a professional to do it for you.

The cost of having your roof properly maintained by an expert will save you a lot of money in the future.

 

6. Inspect Safety Issues

Another major concern that property management companies warn property owners about is fall safety.

And no, we don’t mean “fall” as in autumn safety – we mean “fall” as in slip-and-fall.

As a rental property owner, you may be liable for damages and safety.

Rain and snow, paired with major drops in temperatures with the potential to freeze water left on sidewalks, driveways, and railways, can be very dangerous to tenants leasing your Abingdon rental property.

And, while you may not necessarily be liable for an icy slip-and-fall, if your tenants can prove you were negligent in some way, and that your actions created an unsafe environment for them, you might find yourself dealing with some legal troubles.

This is just another reason why having an experienced Abingdon property management team is important. They can help you with landlord-tenant disputes such as these and of course, help you to prevent these situations from ever happening in the first place.

 

7. Prepare for Snow Removal

Though snow removal typically falls on your tenant to handle, you may offer to take care of snow removal for your tenants as an added bonus for being good tenants that pay on time, treat your property right, and don’t cause any problems for you.

If this is the case, it is time you get your snow removal services in line – before the first big snowfall. This will prevent your tenants from being snowed in, or falling and suing you for damages.

If your tenants are responsible for snow removal, fall is the best time to remind them of their duties. Point out in the lease agreement where it states they are in charge of snow removal, and remind them of the consequences for failing to do so, especially in the case that someone gets hurt.

 

Your Abingdon property management company is going to be your best resource when it comes to how you should prepare your rental property for the upcoming fall season. If you own rental property in the Abingdon region, contact Bay Management Group today and see how we can help you.

We understand the need for seasonal rental inspections. We also understand how valuable your investment property is, and how important it is to stay on top of any maintenance or repair issues throughout the year, not just as the seasons change, so that you can continue to generate as much income as possible.

Get in touch with us today, and find out how our property management services can help you with property inspections, and so much more.


How to Show an Occupied Rental in Harford County, MD

How to Show an Occupied Rental in Harford County Maryland

Minimizing the time your Harford County rental property sits vacant between tenants is the goal of any successful landlord.

That’s why, once you find out your current tenant will not be signing a lease renewal, it is a good idea to start the search for a new tenant right away.

But what should you do when your prospective tenants want to see your rental property, and your existing tenants are still residing there? 

Showing an occupied rental property is a tricky thing to do.

On the one hand, you do not want to disrupt the life of your existing tenants, since they deserve to live out the end of their lease term in peace and quiet.

Yet, on the other hand, showing your rental to interested tenants, and possibly securing one to move in immediately after your current tenants move out will drastically reduce the costs associated with a vacant property.

Today, we are going to look at the pros and cons of showing your occupied Harford County rental property to prospective tenants.

In addition, we will divulge some essential tips for showing an occupied rental, so that all three parties involved are satisfied.

 

The Pros and Cons of Showing Your Occupied Rental Property

Pros and Cons of Showing an Occupied Rental in Harford County Maryland

Showing an occupied rental property and securing a tenant ahead of time offers Harford County property owners several benefits:

  • Minimal Negative Cash Flow. The longer your property stays vacant in between tenants, the more money you have to invest in re-leasing the property. Advertisements, background checks, and the loss in consistent monthly rent payments all add up. Finding a new tenant to move in once your existing tenant moves out drastically reduces these costs.
  • Lower Vacancy Rates. If your rental is nearly move-in ready, chances are your new tenant can move into your rental property almost immediately after your old tenant moves out, thus lowering your vacancy rates.
  • Utility Savings. Showing a rental property without the utilities on is not a wise move. Interested tenants want to know everything is in working order before they sign a lease. If your existing tenant moves out, and you then proceed to show your rental, you will have to transfer utilities into your own name. By showing your property while it is still occupied, you can make use of the utilities that are currently on. You’ll avoid having to transfer them into your name, and then into your new tenant’s name later down the road.

 

While showing your occupied rental does have its advantages, it is also important to understand that this strategy does not come without some inconveniences.

  • It’s harder to show a rental property that is occupied
  • A vacant rental stages better than one that has a family living in it
  • You must provide proper notice every time you want to show the property to an interested tenant
  • You cannot ensure the property is in move-in condition while occupied – there may have been a pet there you didn’t know about, there could be excessive damage that needs repairing, and who knows how clean or dirty the place may be
  • You run the risk your current tenant does not move out on time
  • It can be uncomfortable to show a property while tenants are around, for you, your existing tenants, and prospective tenants

 

That said, if you do wish to show your occupied Harford County rental property in hopes of securing a high-quality tenant to move in right away, there are several things you can do to ensure a smooth showing.

 

4 Tips for Showing Your Occupied Harford County Rental Property

When showing your occupied investment property, try using these essential tips to make things easier on everyone involved.

 

1. Talk to Your Current Tenants

Reaching out to your existing tenants means you’re off to a good start if you’re looking to show your rental while they are still living in it. In fact, your current tenants are likely to be more open to the idea if you discuss this option with them in a friendly way beforehand.

  • Ask your tenants how they feel about you showing the rental
  • Provide multiple showing times, and let your tenants pick the most convenient one(s)
  • Find out whether they prefer to be present during the showings or not, and come to an agreement

 

It is also important you find out when you are legally allowed to enter your rental property while it is still occupied. Save for emergencies, landlords are typically only allowed to enter occupied rentals during normal business hours.

 

2. Always Provide Proper Notice

Provide Your Tenant with Proper Notice When Showing an Occupied Rental

Chatting with your current tenants about your intentions to show the property while they are still in it is not enough. Your tenants have a reasonable right to privacy while residing in your property.

Though Harford County does not have a required time frame for providing tenants a notice of entry, it is safe to say that a minimum of 24 hours notice is a good idea. This gives your tenants enough time to make arrangements, tidy up a bit, and be somewhere else, should they not want to be around during the showing.

And, since you have already spoken with your tenant about the times that are good for them and their family, this notice should not come as a surprise.

 

3. Write it Into the Lease Agreement

Have your Harford County property management company draft a lease provision into the lease agreement that states showing the property may be a possibility near the end of the lease term.

This doesn’t negate the fact that you should discuss with your tenant that you are intending to show the property beforehand. And, it definitely doesn’t void the fact that you need to provide proper notice. However, informing your tenants at the start of the lease that a property showing may occur will ensure that there are no surprises.

 

4. Ask Your Tenants to Prepare

Ask Your Tenants to Prepare Their Occupied Rental For Showing

Showing your Harford County rental property with tenants living in it poses plenty of challenges. One such challenge is ensuring that your rental looks inviting enough with people residing in it to encourage prospective tenants to want to lease from you in the near future.

Asking your tenants to prepare for a property showing can be difficult. After all, their lease is almost up, and they have nothing to gain from staging your property to look good for people interested in being the next tenants.

However, here are some things you can do to help make your property look the best it can, while still occupied:

  • Ask Tenants To Clean. Ask your tenants to tidy up before the showing, so that the prospective tenants are not turned off by a dirty home. Though the way your tenants live should have no effect on whether the property is a good fit for prospective tenants, the truth is, a dirty rental will affect a leasing decision. Consider offering your tenants an incentive, such as a free cleaning service, for cleaning up.
  • Make Sure Pets Are Secure. If you allow your Harford County tenants to have pets while leasing your rental, it is crucial those pets be secure during a property showing. Inviting strangers into your tenant’s home can turn even the nicest of animals aggressive. This is not something you want to contend with, especially if your current tenants are away during the showing.
  • Combine Showing Times. Take advantage of your tenant’s preparation, and save time while you’re at it, by combining showings into one day. This minimizes the amount of incentives you need to offer, notices you need to provide, and inconveniences you afford your current tenants.

 

If you own an income property and need the help of a property management company in Harford County experienced in showing occupied rentals, contact Bay Management Group today. Our customer service oriented property managers understand the challenges that come with showing occupied rentals for all involved parties.

We draft airtight lease agreements informing tenants from the start that showings may be a possibility.

In addition, we have extensive knowledge about the legalities of entering your rental property for non-emergency reasons, as well as the ability to forge solid manager-tenant relationships from the beginning of the lease term.

Because of this, we guarantee that showing your occupied rental property will go as smoothly as possible, with just a little preparation and full respect for everyone involved.


How to Interview Potential Tenants For Your Edgewood Rental

How to Interview Potential Tenants for Your Harford County Rental Property

We all know how important it is to interview tenant references when deciding whether to lease to a prospective tenant.

In the past, we have discussed how to do just that, as well as provided some tips for how to double check, and ensure a potential tenant’s references are even real.

But have you put much thought into interviewing the actual tenant?

With so much stress being placed on verifying a tenant’s references, property owners often forget to interview the actual tenant that will be living in their Edgewood rental property.

That’s why today we are going to look at some great ways to approach interviewing potential tenants, as well as some of the best questions to ask.

 

How to Interview Potential Edgewood Tenants

 

1. Follow a Consistent Tenant Screening Process

We always emphasize how important having a consistent tenant screening process is.

And, if you don’t currently enlist the help of property management services in Edgewood, the idea of having a strict tenant screening process in place may be foreign.

However, it is crucial you don’t wing the screening process.

You might unknowingly violate housing discrimination laws, and find yourself in a lot of trouble.

Or, you might place a terrible tenant in your rental.

Tenant interviewing is entwined in the screening process.

In fact, at every stage of the tenant screening process, there are perfect opportunities to conduct mini interview sessions along the way.

Look at Rentalutions’ five stages to a good screening process, to see what we mean:

  1. The Inquiry. An interested tenant calls you wanting to know more about your Harford County rental property. This is when you can run some quick screening questions by them to make sure they are serious about leasing your property.
  2. Property Showing. This is the first time you meet the tenant in person, and first impressions are a big deal. Your gut instinct will lead you in the right direction after meeting the tenant face-to-face.
  3. Rental Application. As your tenant prepares to fill out the required rental application, you can gauge their reaction as you explain what is required. For example, a security deposit, first and last month’s rent, employment and previous rental history verification, and even a background check are typical things to require during this stage. Tenants that are hesitant to provide the documentation and money upfront, aim to rush the process, or have a lot of “good excuses” as to why they can’t do one thing or another, may signal they are not a good fit for you.
  4. After deciding that the tenant is in fact a good fit, you can sit down and discuss their approval. Again, their willingness, or lack thereof, when it comes to actually handing over the funds to lease your property will reveal itself during this stage.
  5. Lease Signing. By now, the tenant should fully understand what is expected of them while leasing your property. However, if when you are going over the lease agreement in full (as any successful property owner will), the tenant starts to fuss over provisions in the lease agreement that you are not willing to budge on, you ought to back out and find a different tenant.

 

As you can see, every point during the screening process offers a prime chance to interview tenants to ensure they are a good fit.

 

2. Prepare for the Interview

Prepare For Your Tenant Interview in Harford County

Before diving into the interview, it is important to have a game plan.

Again, violating the Fair Housing Act is something you want to avoid at all costs.

You also want to appear professional, prepared, and serious about your rental property business.

It is a good idea to have a specific set of questions you want to ask while interviewing a tenant.

And, if you prefer to split the interview into parts, make sure you have specific questions for each stage of the tenant screening process.

If you are self-managing your Edgewood property, and are unsure about conducting actual tenant interviews, try practicing with a close friend.

This can help ease some of the nerves and help you stay on track during the real deal.

 

3. Be Strong

This is something almost all property managers will recommend.

Tenants are good at trying to convince property owners to lease to them. They know all the tricks in the book, can be smooth talkers, and may even straight out lie to get you to say “yes.”

Being aware of some of the most common red flags that appear during tenant screening will help you avoid falling victim to a problem tenant.

Also, try to remain consistent with all tenants that cross your path, and don’t rush a decision.

After all, placing a less than ideal tenant in your rental property is only going to lead to more problems down the road.

And, these problems are bound to turn into yet another vacancy that you will have to fill with a different tenant.

 

5 Common Questions to Ask Potential Harford County Tenants

Common Potential Questions to Ask Tenants During an Interview

Here are some of the most common tenant interview questions you should ask potential tenants:

 

1. Why Are You Moving?

We suggest learning the most common reasons why people move, and then catering to them so they stay in your rental for long periods of time.

However, sometimes a tenant’s reason for moving so much in the past, or so quickly in the moment, may raise some concerns with you.

Be aware of this and make your decision whether to move forward based on the tenant’s answer.

 

2. Do You Have Pets?

Depending on your rental property’s pet policy, this question is an important one.

It is crucial to get an honest answer from your prospective tenants in the beginning, in hopes that they will not sneak a pet into a no-pet rental, or violate the pet policies that are in place.

 

3. How Many People Will Be Residing With You?

This is important because you should thoroughly screen all adult tenants that will be living in your rental property for the duration of the lease term.

Knowing how many people will be living in your rental from the start will ensure there is enough room for everyone, without exceeding the legal limits.

Just make sure you do not violate any of fair housing regulations, and do not discriminate against potential tenants.

 

4. Can You Pay the Move-in Costs Upfront?

Can Your Tenant Pay Move in Costs Up Front For Your Harford Rental Property?

This is a big one.

Informing a prospective tenant what you require in terms of first and/or last month’s rent, application fees, and security deposits is a good way to weed those out who simply don’t have enough income to cover the move-in costs.

Those who have issues coming up with your requirements at the start of a lease term are bound to give you trouble at one point or another during the lease term when it comes to paying rent.

And this is not something you want to deal with. Ever.

 

5. Can You Pass a Background Check?

Many potential tenants may not be aware that you require a passing background check to lease your Maryland rental property.

Kindly explain to the tenant that you are more than willing to show the property, and discuss the lease terms, but that one of the conditions upon move-in is passing a background check.

Again, this question will effectively weed out anyone that fears they will not pass.

No tenant wants to pay the non-refundable application fee if they know chances of their application being approved are very slim.

 

The key to tenant screening and interviewing is consistency – consistency in the process, consistency in the questions, and consistency in your standards.

Do not let the fear of your property sitting vacant cause you to make a rushed decision.

 

For those that own rental property in Edgewood, and do not want to worry about violating fair housing rules, interviewing tenants on the phone or in person, or having to make the decision to approve or deny a potential tenant, contact Bay Management Group now to help.

At Bay Management Group, we have strict tenant screening processes in place that are not only legally compliant, but also effective.

In fact, on average, we lease most rental properties in 30 days or less.

And, the tenants placed in the properties we lease are high quality, meet all of your standards, and are guaranteed to pay rent on time for at least the first year of the lease term, or else we re-rent your property for free.

So get in touch with us today, and see how we can reduce your vacancy and tenant turnover rates, and get you the annual income you’re aiming for.


How to Determine the Amount of Your Rental’s Security Deposit

 

How to Determine the Amount of the Security Deposit or Your Harford County Rental Property

An important part of owning a rental property in Harford County is charging tenants a security deposit at the start of every new lease term.

This deposit serves as assurance that your property will be cared for during the course of tenancy.

And, if by chance your property is not cared for, this security deposit will help alleviate the financial burden that has now been placed on you to repair your property.

After all, you want to place new tenants as soon as possible, so as not to lose money. Using the security deposit includes covering things such as property damage, failure to pay rent, and expenses incurred if a breach in the lease agreement occurs.

But how do you determine the amount of your rental’s security deposit?

At some point, you will need to seriously consider how much to charge your tenants for renting your Havre de Grace rental property.

In addition, you will need to determine how much to charge them for a security deposit.

For those who are unsure as to how to determine the right amount to charge for a security deposit, check out some of these helpful tips to guide you to a final decision.

How to Determine Your Harford County Rental’s Security Deposit Amount

1. Check Maryland Law

Check Maryland Law for Your Rental Security Deposit

There is no denying there are many federal, state, and local laws applying to owning and leasing a rental property in Maryland.

Although there is no countrywide stance on security deposits as they apply to rentals, it is crucial you understand that how much you can collect in security deposits at the start of a tenancy is determined by the state where your property is located.

According to Maryland law, you are legally allowed to accept a maximum of two months’ rent from a tenant at the start of a lease term as a security deposit.

In addition, the following conditions apply:

  • If you overcharge a tenant, they are allowed to recover up to three times the amount you overcharged, in addition to reasonable coverage of attorney’s fees
  • A receipt must be given to the tenant at the time you collect the deposit
  • Failure to provide a receipt will result in a $25 fine
  • You must provide a list of existing damages, if requested by the tenant within 15 days of taking up occupancy, or else you will be liable for up to three times the security deposit
  • You must place the security deposit in an escrow account
  • During the lease, a simple interest accrual will be applied to the deposit at a rate, depending on the date the lease was initiated

It is very important that you and your Harford County property management company know that two months’ rent is the maximum amount that can be collected as a security deposit, in order to avoid legal trouble later down the road.

 

2. Evaluate Each Interested Tenant

Just because you can legally collect up to two months’ rent worth of security deposit from a tenant you are placing in your Havre de Grace rental property, doesn’t mean you have to collect that much.

Before setting an amount, consider the type of tenant you are trying to attract for your rental.

For example, let’s say your property is located in an area that boasts an average, middle class income at best.

Charging a tenant first and last month’s rent, plus a security deposit worth two months’ rent, in addition to any other miscellaneous fees that may come included with renting a property from you (e.g. pet deposits, cleaning fees, and application fees), may greatly limit your tenant pool.

If you charge the maximum amount in security deposits every time you lease your property, you may find that you are excluding a group of tenants that may otherwise be perfect.

In addition, charging the maximum just because you can, may unknowingly spread your tenant too thin, leading to unpaid rent in the near future.

In order to keep your Harford County tenant turnover rates low, you might want to consider not charging quite so much up front if the tenant screening process you performed on a prospective tenant revealed an otherwise great tenant.

If their inability to come up with such a huge security deposit is the only red flag in your thorough tenant screening, they may still be a good long-term tenant.

 

3. Assess the Value of Your Property

Assess the Value Of Your Harford County Rental Property

Another consideration to make when determining the amount of security deposit you should charge your tenants is the overall value of your property.

Paired with this, you should consider how much money you might potentially have to come up with, should anything happen to your valuable rental property.

For instance, if your property has custom upgrades or comes furnished with expensive antiques or irreplaceable furnishings, you might want to charge the maximum amount in security deposits.

In addition, if your Havre de Grace property comes with lavish amenities such as major appliances, private parking, or a pool house in the backyard, again, you might want to consider charging the highest security deposit you can.

If, after evaluating the value of your property, complete with professional estimates if necessary, you feel that fixing minor damages such as a dent in the wall, scratched floor surfaces, or non-working (and top-of-the-line) appliances will cost you a large chunk of change, making sure you charge the highest security deposit will be in your best interest.

 

4. Know the Market

Nearly all tenants know the market they are entering when they are looking to lease a rental property.

This is why you too should know the market, to prevent interested tenants from going elsewhere to rent.

Knowing what other rental properties are charging in terms of rent and security deposits will help you stay competitive in the tough Harford County rental market.

After all, people want to take advantage of all that Havre de Grace has to offer, without spending a penny too much on monthly rent payments.

In addition, tenants don’t want to come up with thousands of dollars at the start of their lease term if they don’t have to.

To stay competitive and keep your rental property leased at all times, make sure you find the perfect balance of rent amounts and security deposits.

 

5. Market Demand

In line with the above-mentioned considerations is the fact that if there is a high demand for your rental property, it is probably safe to say you can charge the maximum amount in the security deposits, and still land a high-quality tenant.

If, however, your rental is not in high demand, – for whatever reason that may be – undercharging on a security deposit is one way of keeping your vacancy rate lower, and placing a tenant in your property quicker.

If you charge a lower security deposit than your competition, you effectively set yourself apart and make your similar rental more appealing to prospective tenants.

Sure, you might not have as much in the end to cover property damages, unpaid rent, and legal fees. However, the idea is to weed out problem tenants in the first place by conducting thorough tenant screening so that you don’t have to deal with property damages and other problem tenant issues.

 

If you own rental property in the Havre de Grace area and are concerned about how much you should charge tenants when it comes to a security deposit, get in touch with Bay Management Group today.

Bay Management Group’s talented staff has the knowledge and expertise to draft legally complaint lease agreements that follow Maryland’s laws regarding the collection, holding, and returning of security deposits to tenants.

As Harford County’s best property management company, we can help you with all considerations, and set your security deposit at a competitive rate that will also keep you covered, should the unthinkable happen.


How to Boost Tenant Retention by Addressing Maintenance Concerns

boost-tenant-retention-address-maintenance-concerns-harford-county

Addressing tenant maintenance concerns in a timely manner is often more important to your Aberdeen tenants that anything else you or your property management company can do.

Yes, even more important than reasonable rent rates, amenity packed rental homes, or move-in incentives that include cash, discounts, or other generous gifts.

With that in mind, it is important you make keeping your tenants happy a priority by providing fast and reliable maintenance and repair services. This will give them an important reason to keep renewing their lease with you at the end of each lease term.

Every property owner loves a strong retention rate, so today we are going to look at some of the best ways you can boost retention rates, and maintain satisfied tenants by attending to maintenance concerns in the most efficient way possible.

Additionally, we will take a brief look at what makes a maintenance crew exceptional, so that when it comes time to address a maintenance concern in one of your Harford County rentals, you have the most professional, cost effective, and customer service-oriented maintenance crew or contractor on hand.

 

Top 3 Ways to Boost Tenant Retention with Rental Property Maintenance

 

1. Take a Proactive Approach

proactive-approach-test-smoke-fire-alarm-harford-county-rental-property

If you or your property management company have agreed that specific routine maintenance services are to be taken care of for the tenant throughout the lease term (as dictated in the written lease agreement), you had better make sure you handle those services when they are due.

Some of the most common maintenance services you may find yourself responsible for include:

  • Testing fire alarms and carbon monoxide monitors, and changing their batteries
  • Changing out dirty air filters
  • Managing the exterior landscape come spring or winter
  • Routine inspections and upkeep on major appliances to ensure they work

Tenants love to know that they can rely on you to take care of the things you promise to handle throughout their tenancy. This is especially true if it is concerning a health or safety issue, such as the fire and carbon monoxide alarms.

Staying proactive with routine maintenance services will go a long way when it comes to tenant satisfaction.

At the end of your tenant’s lease term, it is highly likely they will remember what you did (and didn’t) do.

Stay ahead of maintenance issues, handle the responsibilities that you agreed to take on, and watch your retention rate go up.

 

2. Implement an Easy Maintenance Request Process

The last thing your tenant wants to do in the midst of a crisis is struggle to find out how to request a repair in your rental property. This will lead to lots of frustration and cause the tenant to feel unappreciated as a resident that pays for your investment property.

In short, a difficult maintenance request process may result in your tenant looking elsewhere to live.

Here are some of the best things you or your property manager can do to ensure your Aberdeen tenants always know what to do in the case of an emergency maintenance or repair issue:

  • Provide a tenant welcome package at the time of move-in, complete with how to submit maintenance requests, and who to call in the case of an emergency
  • Automate the process of submitting routine maintenance and repair requests online, if possible
  • Have a dedicated call service to take after hour calls from tenants
  • Always keep tenants informed of the status of their maintenance request
  • Work with a property management company that has a 24-hour maintenance crew on hand for all requests, no matter how minor

Altogether, this type of customer service shows your tenants from the start of their tenancy that you take their maintenance requests seriously, and are dedicated to handling them as quickly as possible.

 

3. Conduct Routine Inspections

conduct-routine-inspections-harford-county-rental-property

All good property owners know that routinely monitoring their rental properties throughout lease terms is a good idea. This is especially true if you want to make sure that your tenants are fulfilling their good-tenant obligations by properly caring for your property.

By conducting routine inspections throughout the lease term, you have the opportunity to identify normal wear and tear maintenance, and repair issues that will end up costing you much more should you wait to handle them at the end of the lease term.

In addition, a routine inspection gives your tenant a chance to speak up about issues they may not have felt warranted an actual maintenance request.

From there, you will be able to satisfy your tenant’s need and avoid a costly repair that may have resulted from issue going unattended.

This type of preventative maintenance can save you a ton of out of pocket costs, and boost tenant retention rates, which is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

 

Traits of a Good Maintenance Crew

traits-good-maintenance-crew-harford-county-rental-property

It is not uncommon that the face of your rental property business is the maintenance crew you have on hand to address tenant maintenance and repair concerns. This is especially true if you employ Harford County’s best property management company to take care of these requests for you.

Here are some critical things you should ensure your maintenance crew and hired contractors understand before taking on one of your tenant’s maintenance requests:

  • Make sure that any repair person that enters your property exhibits complete respect towards your tenant. This means respecting their personal belongings, privacy, schedules, and any other needs that your tenant has.
  • Your tenants have come to rely on you and your property manager for everything. Maintenance requests should be no different, even if you have to outsource the job to someone other than your property management company’s maintenance crew. Being on time, solving the issue the first time around, and staying within reasonable rates are all important things to tenants. In fact, these very things can make or break a decision to renew a lease with you at the end of a lease term.
  • It is important that anyone you hire to enter your tenant’s personal space and handle a maintenance or repair issue looks the part. This does not mean the plumber must show up in a suit and tie. However, a proper name tag, clean clothing and shoes, and proper hygiene are all things your maintenance crew or hired contractors should have going for them every time they enter your rental property.
  • As the middleman between your tenant and maintenance crew, it can sometimes become difficult to relay important information to your tenant regarding a specific repair. Maintaining a solid line of communication between you and your crew, the crew and your tenants, and ultimately you and your tenants is going to have a significant impact on how your tenant feels when the repair is completed. These feelings, whether positive or negative, may spill over come lease renewal time. Don’t take any chances – make sure your tenants are happy all the time.

 

In the end, addressing your tenant’s maintenance concerns can really impact whether a tenant decides to renew their lease with you. By providing satisfactory maintenance service, your tenant is bound to be happier, and want to stay in your rental home. After all, a rental that experiences routine upkeep by its owners is a big bonus for any tenant.

If you are currently in the Aberdeen area and looking for a property management company to help you with your rental property’s maintenance needs, contact Bay Management Group today. We have a 24-hour round-the-clock maintenance crew to handle all issues, not just emergencies.

In addition, we pride ourselves in the strong relationships we build with our local vendors and contractors, so that should your repairs need outsourcing, you can rest assured you property is receiving the best work at the lowest possible price.


How Often Should You Paint Your Rental Property?

how-often-paint-rental-property-edgewood-maryland

The visual appeal of your Edgewood rental property’s interior is what makes your tenants feel at home in their place of temporary residence. A nice-looking rental also helps yield high rent rates and top-notch tenants that pay on time.

As a property owner, you will no doubt have to deal with painting your rental property at some point.

After all, you should want to keep up on the aesthetic appeal of your rental. Plus, you should also want to keep your rental property’s walls insulated and protected.

But, how often should you paint your rental property?

To answer this question, as well as other rental property paint-related questions, read on for some valuable information, starting with why fresh paint is important.

 

Why Do Your Edgewood Tenants Want Fresh Paint?

why-your-edgewood-maryland-tenants-want-fresh-paint

In short, a fresh coat of paint on your Edgewood rental property’s walls make your property stand out. The rental will appear brighter, cleaner, and newer, all with a few coats of nice paint.

Moreover, a few cans of paint have the potential to transform your rental’s entire interior. New paint can revive tired walls, showcase the architectural charm of your property, and even brighten dim hallways.

The bottom line is this: fresh paint appeals to prospective tenants looking to make your rental property their home because it makes them feel as if they’re the first, and only, people to live in your property.

 

What Tenants Look For in Paint Colors

It is easy to become overwhelmed with all the paint colors available at the local hardwood store. Luckily, there are people out there that are dedicated to unravelling the mystery of paint colors.

Here is a look at what NowSourcing, Inc. found out:

  • This cheerful and warm color is best suited for places like the kitchen. It brightens the area, and energizes those in it.
  • Preferred by men, this calming color is great for offices, as it is suggested to boost productivity, curb your appetite, and induce feelings of serenity.
  • Typically known to evoke strong emotions, you should consider painting your rental’s dining room red, if you wish to use such a bold color.

That said, when it comes to painting your rental property, it often best to remain neutral and avoid overly colorful paint.

Why is that?

Because you want to appeal to the largest population of tenants possible. And, even having just one bold accent wall that is not a neutral color (such as tan, beige, sage, or cream) can cause an unfavorable opinion among tenants viewing your property.

In summary, when painting your rental property, the point is to garner high quality tenants wanting to lease your property, not make an artistic statement.

 

Your Basic Guide to Paints

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Before jumping into how often you should paint your rental, it is a good idea to become familiar with the different types of paint available, so that you can get the right one for your property’s needs. Plus, choosing the right paint type will make a big difference in how often you need to paint your rental.

Take a look at the various paint finishes:

High Gloss

Durable and easy to clean, high gloss paint will dry with lots of shine. It helps repel sticky fingers and oils. Use this finish on places such as:

  • Cabinets
  • Doors
  • Trims
  • Kitchen areas

Keep in mind that the shiny finish will show every lump and bump on your walls, so it is best to avoid using this type on large wall spaces.

Satin

Though not as shiny as the gloss finishes, satin paints can withstand a lot of traffic and still maintain a nice look. For your rental property, satin paints should be used for:

  • Family rooms
  • Hallways
  • Playrooms
  • Kid bedrooms

Be careful using this paint finish. If you do not apply it properly, you will be able to see every brush or roller stroke.

Flat or Matte

This paint type has the most pigment, no shine, provides the most coverage, and is great at hiding lumps, bumps, and more. In addition, it is one of the most affordable paint types. Here are some good places for flat or matte paints:

  • Adult bedrooms
  • Ceilings
  • Other low traffic rooms

This paint finish is not easy to clean, easily rubs off, and needs repainting often.

Eggshell

The sheen on this paint finish is between that of a satin finish and a matte finish. It is great for covering up small scratches, and should be used in low traffic areas such as:

  • Dining rooms
  • Living rooms
  • Offices or studies

Though it is forgiving on wall imperfections, because it has a partially matte-like finish, eggshell does not always last as long you might want it to.

Semigloss

Semigloss finishes are great for places that need a little shine, take a lot of abuse, and are areas in the home that attract a lot of moisture. Take for instance:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Trim
  • Laundry rooms

There is no real downside to this type of paint finish. It is extremely durable, easy to clean, and offers just enough shine to make your painted area look stunning.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the varying paint finishes, you are better equipped to make decisions regarding your rental property’s interior paint.

However, if you are at all unsure as to what type of paint finish to choose, which color is best suited for your property, or how to properly apply the paint to your walls, it is best to employ the help of a licensed and insured paint contractor.

 

So, How Often Should You Paint Your Edgewood Rental Property?

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How often you paint your Edgewood rental property is a largely personal matter. However, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, you should aim to repaint your entire rental property every three years.

Whether you wish to paint your rental property yourself, or with the help of a professional, here are some things to consider before deciding if you should paint the interior:

  1. How Does the Property Appear? If a tenant has just moved out of your rental property, evaluate the property’s interior to see if there are any areas in need of repainting. Move-out time is ideal for evaluating your property and painting any areas looking worn, since it is empty at this time.
  2. What Does a Little Cleaning Do? Sometimes all your property’s walls need are a little TLC. If you have opted for highly durable and easy-to-clean paint finishes, maybe a little magic erasing is all your property needs to shine again.
  3. Take it Room By Room. Even if you have a set timeframe for how often you should paint your rental, evaluate each room separately. There is no sense repainting your entire property if only high trafficked walls need a touch up.

In the end, maintaining the visual appeal of your Edgewood rental property’s interior is crucial if you want tenants to lease from you, and become long-term tenants.

If you are need of help regarding the visual appeal of your rental property, and are looking for an experienced property management company that can provide sound advice on matters such as interior painting, contact Bay Management Group today.

With knowledge about all things rental property related, including how to best stage your property to get quality tenants, Bay Management Group can get you high returns on your Edgewood rentals.