What Fees to Expect When Financing a Rental

What Fees To Expect When Financing a Rental Property in Montgomery County

You may look at the price of a potential Gaithersburg investment property, and think you’ve got a fairly good deal.

However, do not be fooled – more lies beneath the surface.

Besides the price tag of a rental property, there are numerous miscellaneous fees you can expect to pay when financing a rental.

But do you know what those fees are?

If you are looking to invest in a rental property in the Montgomery County area, and are curious about what fees to expect while financing that property, keep reading.

Today we are going to give you the lowdown on what you can anticipate paying while financing a Gaithersburg rental property, so that you don’t walk away more empty-handed than you expected to after this major purchase.

 

10 Common Fees to Expect While Financing a Rental Property

 

1. Private Mortgage Insurance

If you put a small down payment on a rental property (typically less than 20% down), it is likely you will need to purchase what is called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

This policy will protect your lender from losing money, should you end up foreclosing on the property.

The problem with this added fee is that sometimes the private insurer providing you PMI requires you to pay an entire year’s worth before closing on the property you are purchasing.

This can add up quickly, and adds a sizeable amount to an already expensive purchase.

 

2. Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners Insurance Is a Fee To Expect In Your Montgomery County Rental Property

Another common type of insurance that is typically required while purchasing a rental property (and is recommended even if it’s not required), is homeowners insurance.

This policy will protect you should your tenants, or some unforeseen disaster, damage the structure of your property in any way.

While homeowners insurance can be paid monthly throughout the year, thus reducing your upfront costs at the time of financing your property, you will still need to have a policy in place before closing on the rental, which means some sort of payment will need to be made right away.

 

3. Title Insurance

Title insurance is a way to protect yourself in the event the seller of the property you are purchasing did not in fact own the property, yet sold it anyway.

This kind of insurance protects both you and your lender from any losses arising from ownership disputes.

 

4. Processing Fee

Another Common Fee is the Processing Fee With Your Montgomery County Rental Property

When you apply for a mortgage with a financing company, there are application fees that you are expected to pay.

These fees do not typically surpass $500, though it is important you keep track as you continue through the process.

 

5. Origination Fee

In addition to paying a processing fee, you will be responsible for paying an origination fee to the bank or lender you are financing your Gaithersburg property through.

This is your way of paying them for creating the loan you are being approved for.

 

6. Credit Report Fees

Include Credit Report Fees With Your Montgomery County Rental Property

Just like other major purchases people make that come with loan terms (e.g. cars, boats, and major appliances), your lender will want to run a thorough credit check on you before even thinking about loaning you money to finance a rental property.

This also includes any courier or postage fees. Do not expect the bank to pay for all of this for you.

 

7. Survey Fee

Drawing up a precise legal boundary of the property you are trying to purchase, as well as including other details related to the property’s land, must be done before the closing of an investment property, if an existing survey does not already exist.

 

8. Appraisal Fees

An appraisal consists of a professional appraiser evaluating the property you are purchasing, and estimating its market value.

You must have an acceptable appraisal before you can finance a rental property.

Why?

A good appraisal is in place so that lenders do not give away too much of their own money.

In short, lenders need to know that the property you are purchasing is worth more than what you are paying for it. This way, should housing prices drop, lenders can easily recover their money.

 

9. Inspection Fees

Not all lenders require a general inspection of the property you are about to finance.

However, with things such as mold and pests being such a costly problem to deal with later on, it is sometimes worth the money to have a thorough inspection performed at the rental you are about to finance.

The last thing you want to deal with is a landlord-tenant dispute over who is responsible for pests in a rental.

In addition, it is your legal responsibility in Maryland to ensure that your tenants have a safe and habitable home to live in, free of mold or lead paint.

 

10. Recording Fees

Recording fees are fees you will pay the county or city to officially record all of the real estate documents that are drafted during your investment property purchase.

In Montgomery County, you will pay $6.90 per thousand dollars financed, $10.00 per thousand dollars financed over $500,000, a 1.5% transfer tax (1.0% to the county, 0.5% to the state), and a property tax of $0.883 per hundred dollars assessed.

 

Financing a rental property in Montgomery County is no easy feat.

You do not simply look at the price tag of the property and pay that amount.

Unfortunately, many first-time buyers do not understand this process in full, and can become very surprised, and discouraged, during the closing process.

Do not let this happen to you.

If you are looking to invest in a Gaithersburg rental property, or perhaps have just invested, and are facing not only the reality that you now have a mortgage to pay, but also that you have no tenants in your property, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can place a tenant in your rental property within 30 days or less of being hired on to help you.

In addition, we charge a low 8% monthly management fee, which is amongst the lowest in both the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metro areas.

 

Self-managing a rental property is a tough gig after just going through the exhausting process of financing a new property.

Let us at Bay Management Group help you manage your property for a low monthly management fee, and place high quality, high paying tenants in your rental so you can start to recoup some of those fees you paid during the financing of your property.


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.


5 Mistakes You Could Be Making With Your Lease Agreement

5-mistakes-you-could-make-with-lease-agreement

Becoming a successful investment property owner in Chevy Chase, MD takes a lot of real estate expertise.

You must be familiar with how to:

  • Finance and purchase rental properties
  • Place high quality tenants and collect timely rent payments
  • Maintain and repair your property whenever an issue arises
  • Keep your tenants satisfied so they will want to renew at the end of their lease term

However, one of the most important things to know and understand as a Montgomery County property owner is how to construct the perfect lease agreement.

Knowing how to protect the interests of you and your investment property via a signed lease agreement is crucial to avoiding legal problems in the future.

But do you know what common mistakes even the most experienced landlords make when drafting a lease agreement for their rental property?

If not, you are not alone.

Many property owners do not have the help of an experienced property manager to draft thorough lease agreements that touch upon everything that is important to the owners.

And, unfortunately, as a result, these mistakes cause harm to their rental property business.

Today we are going to examine some lesser-known mistakes you might be making with your lease agreement, in hopes that you can become the successful property owner you desire.

 

5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your Montgomery County Lease Agreements

So many things go into drafting into a solid lease agreement.

Whatever provisions you decide to add, be sure to always include the following basics:

  • Tenant names and personal information
  • Lease term start and end dates
  • Rent collection amount and procedures, including late-payment penalties
  • Security deposit and pet fee deposit amounts
  • Additional fines, fees, and charges your tenant is obligated to pay
  • Property access information
  • Proper use of the property and consequences for breaking the rules
  • Signatures of both parties

Failure to include any of the above is automatically considered a major lease agreement mistake. This is general information that all lease agreements should include, no matter what.

However, some things are more landlord-specific that can be considered a mistake as well, if not drafted correctly into your lease agreement.

Read on to find out if you are making any of these lease agreement mistakes so that you can fix them come the next time you place a tenant in your Chevy Chase rental property.

 

1. Using Outdated or Incorrect Forms

using-outdated-or-incorrect-forms-causes-problems-lease-agreement-chevy-chase-rental-property

For those that self-manage their Chevy Chase rentals, it is important you take special care when deciding which lease agreement forms to use in drafting a lease agreement for your rental property.

Found all over the internet, so-called “standard” lease agreement forms can be a dangerous thing to use without making sure they comply with your state’s laws.

Here are some of the problems you may encounter when using a cookie-cutter lease agreement form:

  • Lease provisions you want included may not be on the form you are using, and are thus unenforceable
  • Overly strict clauses may be included that place an undue burden on both you and your tenants
  • Incorrect rules and regulations may be written into the lease agreement unbeknownst to you or your tenants that can cause a dispute later on

If you are not using a reliable property management company that knows how to draft a legally compliant lease agreement highlighting all of the provisions you want, make sure the standard form you use is up-to-date and is compliant with federal, state, and local laws.

 

2. Not Including Insurance Requirements

Though not a legal requirement, Bay Management Group encourages all of our property owners to require their tenants to have renters insurance prior to moving into their rental property.

Here is a quick roundup of reasons why renters insurance is so important, and how not including this in your lease agreement can be a huge mistake:

  • It lessens your chances of losing a lawsuit if your tenant’s personal belongings are damaged, or a tenant or their guest is injured on your property
  • Renters insurance covers damages that may otherwise come out of your homeowners insurance (or worse, your own pocket)
  • It decreases the chances your tenant will leave mid-lease in the event of an emergency because everything including damages, temporary shelter, and food costs are covered
  • It helps you place higher quality tenants that are okay with paying the small monthly fee for added protection

 

3. Not Requiring a Cosigner

require-cosigner-chevy-chase-tenant-has-bad-credit

Not requiring a tenant to have a cosigner, and still approving them to reside in your rental property, can be a major mistake.

When you are screening tenants to place in your Chevy Chase rental property, it is important you ensure the tenant has the following attributes:

  • A verifiable income that meets your monthly demand
  • Creditworthiness
  • Proof of employment
  • Quality references including employers, personal, and prior landlords
  • No criminal history
  • No prior evictions

In an ideal world, every tenant that is interested in leasing your property will make plenty of money, have verifiable references, employment, and previous renting history, and will not have a criminal background.

However, in the case that only some of this is true, building a required cosigner clause into your lease agreement will better protect your interests in the long run.

By allowing your tenant to have a cosigner, you will have better protection should your tenant not be able to pay rent, incur damages beyond normal wear and tear, or have roommates that do not fulfill their part of the lease obligations.

 

4. Failing to Outline Tenant Responsibilities

While residing in your Montgomery County rental home, your tenants are responsible for the general maintenance and upkeep of the property. After all, they will be residing in it for some time and should care for it as though it is their own home.

However, failing to outline in the signed lease agreement exactly what your tenants are responsible for is a mistake on your part.

Sure, you are obligated to provide a safe and habitable home for your tenants. But what about things such as:

  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Pest extermination
  • Simple maintenance such as light bulb replacement, air filter changes, and smoke alarm batteries
  • Landscaping
  • General cleanliness both inside and outside of the property

These are all things that many tenants will take care of without you asking.

However, in order to protect yourself from a dispute in the future, it is best to spell it out for your tenants in the lease agreement.

Additionally, consider adding some general maintenance tricks and tips into the tenant welcome package you should provide your tenants upon move-in.

 

5. Rules Regarding Roommates

set-roommate-rules-lease-agreement-chevy-chase-rental-property

If you are going to allow roommates in your Montgomery County rental property, it is imperative you draft the lease agreement to include some of the following information:

  • Adult Tenant Screening. Require a full background check on any adult that will be residing in your property, regardless of whether they contribute to the rent each month or not.
  • Security Deposit Information. In addition to the general language that goes into a basic lease agreement concerning a security deposit, include additional information outlining that any unpaid rent or damages to the property, regardless of who is at fault, will be taken out of the security deposit at the end of the lease term.
  • Liability Clause. Failing to add a clause concerning joint and several liability is a big mistake on your part if you allow roommates in your property. You want to ensure that if one roommate disappears, the other will be held fully responsible for rent each month, as well as damages at the end of the lease term.
  • Breach of Lease Provision. Your tenants must be aware that the behavior of one roommate affects the entire group of people living in your property. Include in your lease agreement that you have the right to terminate the lease for all tenants residing in your property, even if only one person breaches the lease.

 

In the end, drafting a lease agreement is a large task. And, for those that are unaware of the complexity that comes with lease drafting, it is easy to make mistakes that carry far into the lease term and actually harm your rental property business, investment property, and bottom line.

If you own property in the Montgomery County area and need an experienced property management company to help you draft the perfect lease agreement for your rental property, contact Bay Management Group today.


How to Recognize and Handle Landlord Stress

how-handle-landlord-stress-takoma-park-rental-property

Being a property owner comes with a lot of stress. In addition to managing your rental property, as a property owner you must balance your work with everything else in your life.

This includes family and friend obligations, other work commitments, and free time. Not to mention, property related tasks such as rent collections, routine inspections, maintenance and repair requests, eviction procedures, and so much more.

Talk about a lot of things to handle at once!

If you own rental property in Takoma Park, and feel you may be falling victim to the stress that comes with being a landlord, keep reading to find out how to recognize and handle this issue.

Not only will these tips help you succeed in your rental property business, they will help you manage your work in a way that allows you to maintain a balanced and healthy life.

 

Are You a Stressed Out Landlord?

recognize-landlord-stress-prince-georges-county-maryland

Before we discuss how to manage the stress that comes with being a property owner, let’s first take a look at whether you are actually stressed.

What exactly is stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to a threat. This threat may be purely physical, or may cloak itself in the form of high demands that life regularly places on you.

In any case, as a way of protecting you, your body will begin to act differently in response to these threats.

However, if you remain stressed for too long, your health may begin to suffer and your body will not be able to protect you anymore.

Here are some of the most common signs you are a stressed out landlord:

  • Headaches
  • Memory issues
  • Aches and pains
  • Frequent colds or flus
  • Anxiety and irritation
  • Moodiness
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Eating more or less
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Nervous habits (g. nail biting)

If you feel any of the above-mentioned symptoms on a regular basis, chances are you might be a stressed out landlord.

Unfortunately, denial often also comes with being overly stressed, thus making it difficult to recognize that changes in our behavior or moods are stress-related.

Also unfortunate is that it is sometimes considered a weakness to take a step back from the high demands of life and take a break due to increased stress.

In addition, we all have responsibilities that must be handled, and sometimes stress is not reason enough to forgo these responsibilities.

This is why learning how to manage landlord stress is a good tactic for staying the course without making yourself physically ill, or bailing on obligations.

 

How to Handle the Stress of Being a Takoma Park Property Owner

There are many ways you can handle the stress of being a landlord. And truthfully, what works for you may not work for another, and vice versa.

That said, here are some of the top ways to relieve the stress of being a landlord.

1. Make a To-do List…and Stick to it

handle-landlord-stress-make-to-do-list-takoma-park

There are a lot of things you need to do when it comes to managing your Takoma Park rental property.

Even if you have an incredible memory, you are bound to forget something at one point or another. In fact, trying to remember everything you need to handle can become a stressor in itself.

One of the best solutions for this type of stress is to keep a to-do list.

With a to-do list, you can easily write down the things you need to take care of, prioritize them accordingly, and mark them off as you complete them, so you know that everything has been taken care of.

2. Handle Repairs Immediately

No property owner wants to jump right in and handle every maintenance and repair request made by their Prince George’s County tenant.

However, the longer you put those requests off, the worse the situation will become.

First of all, ignoring a tenant’s request will only anger them. They pay to lease from you, and expect all maintenance and repairs to be handled promptly by you, or your property management company.

In addition, a repair that you put off may turn into a bigger problem and end up costing you more time and money to fix. That alone can become the source of a great amount of stress.

Luckily, preventing this is easy, so long as you handle issues right away.

 

3. Have an Emergency Fund

keep-emergency-fund-landlord-takoma-park-rental-property

In line with efficiently handling all maintenance and repair requests is the idea that you should have a sizeable emergency fund on hand to handle such emergencies.

Money can be the source of stress in all areas of life. It is no different in the rental property business.

If you have ever encountered a major repair in your rental property, one that you did not have the money to repair right away, think about how that made you feel.

Stressed, right?

Avoid the stress of having to dip into your personal bank account to pay for rental repairs by building up and maintaining an emergency fund to be used specifically for your rental properties.

 

4. Become Educated About the Business of Owning Rental Properties

Sometimes you may become very stressed when a situation with your rental arises that you do not know how to handle legally.

If you want to avoid things such as housing discrimination and improper eviction procedures, consider educating yourself on the federal, state, and local rental property laws.

Take advantage of the wealth of free resources aimed directly at property managers, and learn from others’ past mistakes.

Educating yourself on how to save time, energy, and money in the rental property business can make you feel more confident as a landlord, and less stressed when a problem pops up.

 

5. Employ a Property Management Company

ease-landlord-stress-hire-property-management-company-maryland

One of the best things anyone with stress can do is to ask for help.

It is okay to admit that you are a stressed out property owner.

In addition, it is okay to ask for help from a professional that is experienced in managing rental properties.

By hiring a Prince George’s County property management team, you will save yourself time and money.

Best of all, you will lessen the stress that is placed on your shoulders when trying to self-manage a rental property, and will be able to attain that work/life balance.

A quality property management company can do the following for you:

  • Advertise your rental immediately upon vacancy
  • Screen potential tenants and weed out problem tenants
  • Draft legally compliant lease agreements that address everything you want
  • Routinely inspect your property to ensure maintenance
  • Handle all maintenance and request calls, no matter the day or time
  • Properly evict a tenant, if necessary
  • Back you in the case of a landlord-tenant dispute that lands in court
  • Provide affordable management fee prices so that you can afford help

If you are in the market for an exceptional property management company to help you manage your Takoma Park rental property, contact Bay Management Group now. Not only can we handle everything listed above, we can take away the stress of being a landlord from you.

In the end, we believe that you should not take on the bulk of the stress that comes with being a property owner; rather, we should.

You should focus on enjoying the benefits of owning Takoma Park property, collecting monthly rent payments, and working your way towards a happy, and healthy life, free from stress.


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.


7 Ways to Prevent Mold in Your Rental Property

how-prevent-mold-montgomery-county-rental-property

There is no way to avoid the fact that mold spores are floating around your Montgomery County rental property at any given moment.  It’s natural for mold spores, among many other contaminants, to be present in the air we breathe.

However, when the humid Maryland weather hits and the climate begins to dampen, these mold spores tend to flourish, if not handled properly.

While the health hazards mold can present to someone with a weakened immune system are not to be taken lightly, the truth is, mold contamination in rental homes has become one of the most controversial, settlement driven, lawsuit types this country has ever seen.

And, with million-dollar lawsuits being served on property owners all across the country, it is no wonder you might worry about how to control the presence of mold in your Maryland property.

Today, we are going to look at the best ways you can prevent mold from rearing its ugly head in your rental property.

Being proactive about mold will keep your tenants safe from a potentially hazardous health condition, as well as keep your pocketbook safe from a life-changing lawsuit that could ruin your entire rental property business.

 

7 Ways to Effectively Prevent Mold in Your Montgomery County Rental Property

As of now, the federal government has yet to take a firm stand in determining a property owner’s responsibility when it comes to mold in a rental property.  However, Maryland is one of few states in the country that has made it clear that property owners have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and habitable place for their residing tenants.

That means, should your Montgomery County tenant inform you of the presence of mold in your rental property, you have a legal duty to remedy the problem, or else you may find yourself smack in the middle of a landlord-tenant dispute, which could land you in court.

Thus, it is in your best interest to avoid mold popping up in the first place.  So, let’s look at some of the top ways to prevent mold from appearing in your rental property.

 

1. Fix All Leaks As Soon As Possible

Mold loves to grow where there is moisture.  Any tiny leak present in your rental property may yield just enough moisture for mold spores to begin their growth cycle.

Here are some things to remind yourself of, as well as your tenant, when it comes to leaks and mold:

  • Always inspect your property thoroughly before allowing any tenant to move in, to ensure there is no mold growth
  • Tell your tenant to place a maintenance request immediately, should they find a leak in the property during their tenancy
  • Check under cabinets and around all water fixtures regularly for any leaks or water damage
  • Any mold growth should be dealt with as soon as it is found to prevent further growth and possible health complications

 

2. Take Advantage of Fans and Windows

using-fans-helps-prevent-mold-montgomery-county-rental-property

After a long hot shower, there is a lot of moisture left over in the air from the shower’s steam.  This moisture can easily attach itself to the ceilings and walls (and any tiny cracks), and attract mold spores that would be more than happy to start growing.

Since bathrooms do not tend to get much airflow going through them, have your tenants open the windows regularly to get rid of the moisture in the air.  If there are no bathroom windows, have them blow a fan through the bathroom for a short period of time post-shower to achieve the same effect.

The less moisture that exists in the rental property, the less likely the mild spores will be able to start growing.

 

3. Keep the Humidity Levels Low

Any rental property that experiences high levels of humidity in the air is susceptible to mold growth.  Encourage your tenants to keep the humidity level in your rental property as low as possible to discourage spore growth.  This can be done with an air conditioner or a dehumidifier.

Unlike opening the windows in the bathroom after a steamy shower to disperse the humidity in the air, if your rental property is in a region that has humid weather, it is best to keep the doors and windows closed so that the humid air does not enter while you are running the AC or dehumidifier.

 

4. Clean Up After a Spill or a Flood

clean-up-after-flood-prevent-mold-maryland-rental-property

Whether a bucket of water spills on the carpet or a huge rainstorm floods your property’s living room, the key to avoiding mold growth is to clean up fast.

In fact, one often-overlooked area for mold growth is underneath the carpet, in the padding of the flooring.  If seriously wet, the carpet and padding need professional fanning and drying to stop the growth of any mold.

Even a tiny bit of damp padding placed back on the floor can cause the development of a great deal of mold in a short amount of time.

 

5. Check Insurance Policies

Though not always the case, sometimes homeowners or renters insurance policies will cover damages related to mold growth.

It is important that you check your homeowners insurance policy for coverage regarding mold growth.

In addition, it is wise to encourage, or better yet require, your tenants to have renters insurance.  This way, should the mold growth be the tenant’s fault, with proper insurance coverage your investment property will remain protected, repaired, and paid for by your tenants.

 

6. Routinely Inspect Your Property

regularly-inspect-montgomery-county-rental-property-prevent-mold

Part of a being a successful landlord is monitoring your property for damages throughout your tenant’s lease term.

By routinely inspecting your property during the year, you ensure that your tenants are doing what they are legally obligated to, as far as home maintenance is concerned, and that any damages that may have gone unnoticed can be repaired quickly to prevent further damage.

Consider creating an annual rental property inspection checklist and adding leak inspections, moisture damage, and mold growth to the list.  That way, you never forget to check the small things that can lead to a large mold problem.

 

7. Use Mold Inhibitors in Your Property’s Paint

Since mold spores are always present, and they grow so quickly with even the smallest amount of moisture, consider adding mold inhibitors to your paint when you spruce up your property for the next tenants.

By adding specialized mold inhibitors to the paint used on the interior of your rental property, you effectively prevent any mold spores from attaching to the painted surfaces and growing.

Mold is a serious health issue, regardless of the seemingly frivolous and excessive lawsuits running through the court system today.  And, while there are not many specific laws regarding the disclosure and handling of mold in your Montgomery County rental property, you are still obligated to always provide your tenants with a safe and habitable place of living.

By preventing mold growth from starting in the first place, you protect yourself and your investment property.  In addition, by employing Maryland’s finest property management company, Bay Management Group, you lessen the hassles that come with having mold in your property.  So contact us today to learn how we can help keep you and your tenants safe.


6 Best Ways to Add Square Footage to Your Rental Property

best-ways-add-square-footage-rental-property-anne-arundel-county-maryland

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

build-into-backyard-add-square-footage-anne-arundel-rental-property

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

building-small-patio-add-square-footage-anne-arundel-rental-property

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

make-rental-tall-add-square-footage-anne-arundel-rental-property

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.


How to Deal with Late Paying Tenants

how-deal-late-paying-tenants-prince-georges-county-rental-property-management

One of the biggest challenges property owners in Prince George’s County face is collecting rent from tenants.

Though ideally every tenant will pay rent in full and on time every month, all property owners know that this is not always realistic.  There will be a late paying tenant at one point or another; it just comes with being in the rental property business.

So, how do you deal with late paying tenants?

To learn how to handle non-paying tenants before it becomes an issue for you, keep reading.

We are going to reveal some of the most effective ways to handle tenants that do not pay their rent on time, because the truth is, this is very much a part of being a property owner.  Equipping yourself with ways to take care of late rent payments will ultimately lead to the best outcome for both you and your tenants.

 

Top 5 Ways to Handle Late Paying Prince George’s County Tenants

Late rent payments come with the territory of being a property owner.  And, while some property owners and their property management companies can be quite forgiving when it comes to late paying tenants, you do not want this to become a recurring issue.

Here are some of the best ways to handle late paying tenants, along with a few important considerations, when you are faced with the fact that your rent payment will not be deposited into your bank account on time.

 

1. Set Clear Expectations from the Start

set-clear-expectations-rent-due-dates-tenants-prince-georges-county-rental-property

Before diving into how to handle a late paying tenant, it is important to understand the proactive approach to preventing late payments in the first place.  Although not foolproof, setting clear expectations at the time of move-in is going to be one of the best ways to get your tenants to pay on time every month.

  • Set a clear payment date. In the signed lease agreement, you should have a designated rent payment due date clearly outlined for your tenant to see.  This often fits best in the same section that details how much the monthly rent rate is and what the acceptable forms of payment are.  If your tenant knows very clearly beforehand when rent is due, they may be less likely to miss the payment.
  • Dictate a “late payment” date. If you or your Prince George’s County property management company want to allow a grace period for “late” rent payments, include that in the signed lease agreement as well.  This way, your tenants know exactly how many days past the rent due date they have to pay without penalty.  It is also important to designate on what date a rent payment will be considered “missed.”
  • Set a “missed” payment penalty. Clearly define in the lease agreement what the penalty is for paying the rent after the due date and grace period.
  • Consider sending out reminder notices. Sometimes, life gets in the way and tenants forget to pay their rent; it can happen even to the best of them.  Consider sending out email, text, or phone call reminders to tenants when their rent due date is nearing so that it is on their mind.
  • Implement an online rent collection process. Collecting rent online, especially when automated, helps high quality tenants that are not trying to miss payments stay on track.  It also gives tenants a more convenient way to pay.

By outlining in the lease agreement all details regarding rent collection, you establish with your tenant what you expect from them each month, and when.  That means your tenant should have no excuses for late payments.

Additionally, by taking that extra step, as well as reminding your tenants that their rent is due and offering convenient online payment options, you take the “I forgot” excuse out of their list of reasons why they didn’t pay on time.

 

2. Act Quickly

If by chance, after all of the above-mentioned prevention strategies do not work, and a tenant pays their rent late (that is, past the grace period), act immediately.

You or your property manager should issue a notice of non-payment right away.  This notice will outline for the tenant how many days (generally three) the tenant has to pay the rent in full before you start the eviction process.  It can also include any applicable late charges for paying the rent so far past the due date.

Every state has its own rules and regulations regarding notices of non-payment, so make sure you and your property management company understand the law in your area.  And, don’t forget to document in the tenant’s file that you reached out to them and informed them of their late payment.

 

3. Start the Eviction Process

eviction-process-prince-georges-county-tenants-rental-property

Though this seems harsh, the only way to protect you, your investment property, and your rental property business is to stick to your guns when it comes to rent that is so late it surpasses the grace period and extension-with-penalty period.

This means starting the eviction process right away.

In Maryland, there is no law requiring a notice of non-payment be given to a tenant that has missed a rent payment.  This means that as soon as the payment is considered “missed,” you can file a lawsuit right away to start the eviction process.  That said, your tenant can still stop the eviction process if they pay the rent in full, along with any late penalties and court fees, up until the day of the trial or hearing for their eviction lawsuit.

 

4. Stay Consistent

Staying consistent with all of your Prince George’s County tenants when it comes to late rent payments does a few things:

  • Establishes you as a firm, but fair property owner
  • Avoids the possibility of favoritism or discrimination accusations
  • Streamlines the rent collection process at all points
  • Enables you to strongly defend your actions in court, should you go to trial or face a judge

Consistency is key to maintaining a successful rental property business.  After all, your bottom line depends on rent collection.  If you don’t get your money, you are hurting yourself.

 

5. Considerations to Think About

consider-tenant-situation-prior-eviction-prince-georges-county-rental-property

Some property management companies have a zero tolerance policy for late payments, no matter the excuse.  And, while this may be the most effective way to handle the issue of late paying tenants, it is important to remember that each situation is different.

If you are a property owner who believes in assessing a scenario before immediately acting, consider the following when it comes to late paying tenants:

  • Is the tenant new or a long-term, good-standing tenant? If a new tenant is already making late rent payments, you might want to consider acting immediately, as suggested above.  After all, you have no way of knowing whether this is a one-time occurrence or a budding new reality.  However, if you are dealing with a tenant that has been leasing from you for some time, and this tenant has always paid on time, you may want to consider at least giving them a notice of non-payment.
  • What is the financial reasoning behind the late payment? In hearing your tenant’s excuse for a late rent payment, consider the financial reason for it prior to acting.  For example, a surprise car problem is not likely to affect later rent payments, whereas a lost job is.
  • What is the communication like with the tenant? If you are dealing with a tenant that is avoiding you and not paying their rent on time, it is time for you to act on this to prevent further issues.  This may include an aggressive reminder, a notice of non-payment, or even the filing of an eviction lawsuit.  However, if your tenant is openly communicating with you, is willing to work something out, and understands the severity of late rent payments, you may want to back off starting the eviction process right away.

Collecting rent from your tenants can be a difficult thing.  Not every tenant will pay in full and on time, which makes your job as a property owner that much tougher.

 

If you want to forgo the process of rent collection and the stresses that come with late paying tenants, contact Bay Management Group today.

We have streamlined the rent collection processes so that you get your money on time, every time.  And, when a rent payment comes late, Bay Management Group follows the lease agreement and penalizes accordingly, even if that means evicting a current tenant right away.

So contact us today and see how Bay Management Group can not only help you with the entire rent collection process, but everything else property related as well.


5 Things Landlords Should Know About Renting to Roommates

tips-renting-roommates-howard-county-rental-property

As the average rental rates continue to rise nationwide and the percentage of people living with someone other than their spouse or partner continues to rise as well, it is important for property owners in Howard County to understand what it might mean to lease their rental property to roommates.

Despite the fact that your tenant pool significantly widens when you allow roommates to enter into a lease agreement together and reside in your rental property, this type of situation does come with its share of concerns.  In fact, agreeing to lease to roommates puts you, your property, and your income at a higher risk.

That’s why today we are going to discuss five crucial things landlords should know about renting to roommates.  Proactively protecting yourself can help you avoid messy situations and make for a smoother lease term.

 

Top Things to Know Before Leasing Your Howard County Rental to Roommates

If two people enter into a legal agreement to lease your Howard County rental property, they technically become co-tenants.  This means that each tenant has the same legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to residing in your property.  This also means, however, that one bad tenant can affect the entire tenancy agreement and potentially bring you down with it.

Below are some key things you should know before taking the plunge and allowing roommates to lease your rental property:

 

1. Tenant Screening and Lease Agreement Considerations

tenant-screening-important-roommates-howard-county-rental-property

Typically, when a family applies to lease your rental property, you require every tenant over the age of 18 to submit an application.  However, you do not always screen each tenant that will reside in your property.  For instance, if a tenant has adult children living with them that will not be responsible for the rent payment each month, you may forgo such a strict tenant screening on them.

However, if you are agreeing to lease your rental to roommates it is imperative you run thorough background checks on both parties, since both tenants will be agreeing to pay rent each month.  Make sure that each applicant has the right qualities you are looking for and does not exhibit any red flags that may harm your rental property business in the long run.

In addition, it is important that you employ the help of an experienced property management company when it comes to structuring a legally compliant roommate lease agreement.  Since each roommate will be legally responsible for residing in your property, you must set clear expectations from the beginning and ensure each roommate understands their role in the tenancy.

Joint and Severally Liability  

Adding this language to the lease agreement will ensure that each tenant is held equally, and fully, responsible for the terms and provisions outlined in the lease agreement as a single entity.  This way, should one tenant come up short on rent, damage property and leave, or breach the lease agreement in any other way, the other tenant can and will be held fully responsible if legally applicable.

 

2. Security Deposits and Joint Liability

When it comes to security deposits and roommates, all tenants are responsible for damage to the property at the end of the lease term regardless of who caused said damage.  In essence, you are combining both roommates’ portion of the security deposit, making it a “whole,” and using the correct amount of funds at the end of the lease term to pay for unpaid rent or damages incurred.

If one roommate leaves the property before the end of the lease term, you should not return his or her portion of the security deposit until another roommate signs a lease agreement with the remaining tenant. If a new roommate cannot be found, the departing roommate will receive his or her security deposit at the end of the lease term, as agreed to by all parties at the time of move-in, less any unpaid rent and repair costs.

 

3.  What Happens if One Roommate Refuses to Pay?

roommate-refuses-rent-payment-howard-county-property-management

Roommates living in your Howard County rental property can decide to split the monthly rent as they see fit so long as the full amount is paid to you by the due date.  Again, this is why adding the clause “joint and severally liable” into the signed lease agreement is so important for protecting yourself against non-payment by one of the roommates.

If one roommate refuses to pay his or her share of the monthly rent amount, the full amount will fall upon the remaining tenant, but only if the “joint and severally liable” provision is built into the lease agreement; this is a risk the roommates take when entering into a lease agreement together.  As long as everyone agrees to these terms and signs the contract, you are allowed to impose this provision on your tenant, regardless of how they feel about the situation.

 

4. Breach of Lease Terms by One Roommate

It is not uncommon to have one roommate violate the provisions in your lease agreement during a lease term.  And while thorough tenant screening is in place to help prevent this from happening, it does occur from time to time and it is good to know that you, as a property owner, have ways to handle these situations.

You are legally allowed to hold all tenants responsible for the actions of one, as well as terminate the tenancy of all roommates with appropriate notice if you see fit.  This means that you can legally evict all of your tenants even if only one seriously damages your rental property or violates the lease agreement

 

5. Recommend a Roommate Agreement

roommate-agreement-property-management-howard-county-maryland

One extra layer of protection you can afford yourself when allowing roommates to lease your Howard County rental home is to recommend they sign a roommate agreement at move-in time.  Though you will not be able to enforce any of the agreed upon terms, a roommate agreement can help your tenants sort out the details of their living arrangements on their own.

For instance, a roommate agreement outlines how each tenant will pay rent, who will be responsible for what amount, and how any disagreements or conflicts will be handled. This way, each roommate will have a full understanding of each other’s expectations about living together.

 

In the end, the decision to lease your investment property to roommates is a serious one.  And, with the increasing popularity of roommates looking to rent homes together continues, this is apt to be something most landlords face at one point or another.

If you are considering allowing roommates to enter into a single lease agreement and rent from you, but want some help managing the property and ensuring everything runs smoothly throughout the lease term, contact Bay Management Group.  We have knowledgeable staff on hand to draft legally compliant lease agreements that accommodate roommate situations as well as the ability to conduct routine inspections to ensure your property is being well cared for.

In addition, we have the experience to handle evictions, non-payment of rent, and all other property related issues.  Bay Management Group is here to help you with whatever you need in order to make your roommate rental experience a successful one.


Easy Ways to Go the Extra Mile for Your Tenant and Boost Retention

top-ways-go-extra-mile-tenants-rockville-maryland-property-managementWith over 41% of Rockville residents currently renting, it is no wonder people are jumping at the chance to invest in rental homes.  And, while there are certainly some established landlords in the market whose hands have been in the industry for a while now, there is no reason you cannot up your game and go the extra mile for your tenants to ensure they stay your tenants.  In fact, without your tenants, you wouldn’t have a rental property business.  Thus, it is worth recognizing the good ones and showing them some appreciation.

Providing your Rockville tenants superior customer service is what will set you apart from other property owners your tenants have experienced in the past. And if you employ Maryland’s leading property management company to help, you can guarantee even lower turnover rates, higher tenant satisfaction, and thus, more money in your pocket.

Let’s take a look at some easy ways that you can give back to your tenants.  By putting in just a little bit of extra effort, you may convince your tenants to stay in your property long-term. And as you know, high-quality, long-term tenants are the ultimate goal of property owners and property management companies.

 

Top Ways to Go the Extra Mile for Your Rockville Tenants and Boost Retention Rates

 

1. Build Good Relationships from the Start

First impressions are important when it comes to placing a new tenant in your Rockville rental property.  The tone that you and your property management company set is likely to follow you the entire lease term.  Here are some of the easiest ways to go above and beyond for your tenants before they even move into your rental property:

  • Handle all communication in a professional manner, thus making the tenant feel comfortable and convinced that leasing from you will be hassle free
  • Take the time to thoroughly explain all of the lease agreement terms and provisions without rushing your tenant to sign and move in
  • Give your tenant a move-in handbook that contains nearby amenities complete with contact information and addresses, common maintenance tips that will prevent unnecessary repairs, and how to contact the property management company in the case of emergencies, simple repair requests, and basic inquiries.

 

2. Keep Communication Open at All Times

keep-communcation-open-tenants-rockville-maryland-rental-property

One of the biggest complaints tenants have, regardless of the type of property they are leasing, the price they are locked in for, or the location they have landed in, is poor communication with property owners and their property management companies.  To avoid this, and what is likely to become high turnover rates, consider implementing these communication tips:

  • Provide tenants with contact information for all scenarios so they always know who to contact and when each person is available
  • Work with a property management company that employs a staff that is knowledgeable in all things property related, no matter what their position is in the company
  • Work with a licensed and insured maintenance company that is available on-call, every day, at all hours
  • Have an online portal where tenants can easily make maintenance and repair requests
  • Make follow-up phone calls after any maintenance or repair has been performed to ensure tenant satisfaction
  • Send regular email newsletters updating tenants about community happenings they can get involved in
  • Consider encouraging tenants to take tenant surveys to find out what you are doing well and what tenants feel you should work on

In the end, taking a proactive approach to communication with your tenants will help you build better relationships with them.  They will trust you more, feel comfortable approaching you about anything, and are more likely to sign a lease renewal come the end of their lease term.

 

3. Boost Your Rockville Property Security

Feeling safe in your home, whether you rent or not, is important for all families.  One of the best things you can do for your tenants, besides invest in rental properties that are in safe neighborhoods, is improve your rental home’s security measures.

Here are some ways you can easily reward your quality tenants with better security measures:

  • Install motion-sensor lighting on the exterior of the home to discourage burglars and light up dark paths for your tenants
  • Add keyless entry systems to all doors on the property
  • Outfit the home with thick window treatments that will stay closed throughout the night and maintain your tenant’s privacy
  • Conduct routine window and door inspections to make sure they close and lock properly
  • Add an alarm system, consider exterior security cameras, and even use an interior telecom system for easy communication throughout the home in the case of an emergency

Giving your Rockville tenants a reason to feel safe and secure is also going to give them a reason to sign a lease renewal and stay long term.  After all, a tenant that feels unsafe is not likely to live in your property for long.

 

4. Upgrade Your Rental Property

upgrade-rental-property-boost-tenant-retention

Getting in the habit of routinely upgrading your rental property not only increases the value of your investment in the long run, it means a lot to tenants that are currently residing there.  This is not to say you have to upgrade everything in your rental.  However, small upgrades such as the following can go a long way when it comes to tenant satisfaction:

  • Upgrade old or mismatching appliances
  • Change the flooring for long term tenants
  • Replace old and worn out light fixtures, faucets, cabinet knobs, and drawer handles
  • Have the interior painted with a fresh coat each lease renewal
  • Invest in professional landscaping services to spruce up the backyard living space and maintain it for your tenants
  • Change out older model windows and doors for more modern styles

These small changes show your tenants that you enjoy having them in your rental property and that they are worth the cost of a few upgrades.  In addition, it will allow your tenant to enjoy your property more and give them more reason to stay, which ultimately helps boost tenant retention.

 

5. Give Them a Little Surprise

Surprising your tenants with a special bonus may not seem like a lot to you, but can mean the world to your tenant.  For example, give them a one-month rent discount, pay for one of their utility bills, offer them a gift card to a new local hotspot restaurant, or even give them some cold hard cash.

Altogether, everyone enjoys random acts of kindness.  And a surprise coming from a property owner or property management company will be remembered come lease renewal time.

 

In the end, there are many ways you can foster a positive relationship with your Rockville rental property tenants.  If done right, the easy ways mentioned above not only show your tenants they are worth the extra effort, they convince your tenants that leasing from you is the best decision they ever made.  What a great way to stay ahead of the competition!

If you are in need of a property management company that can handle going the extra mile for your tenants and for you, contact Bay Management Group today.  As an experienced, knowledgeable, and friendly property management company, Bay Management Group has a solid understanding of what it takes to lower turnover rates, increase tenant satisfaction, and keep both our property owners and tenants headache-free.