Bay Management Group’s Top Property Management Tips of 2017

Top Property Management Tips for 2017

Becoming a successful landlord takes time, money, and patience. But most of all, it takes knowledge and experience to build a successful Maryland rental property business.

Here at Bay Management Group, we have what it takes to make it in the rental property industry – years of experience and a knowledgeable staff, complete with Maryland property managers that excel at providing superior customer service, garnering clients the highest rent rates possible, and making sure that tenants never go without what they need.

But something we also strive to do here at Bay Management Group is educate fellow rental property professionals.

Whether you employ us to manage your rental properties, are considering hiring a property management company to aid you in your efforts to become the most successful landlord possible, or are simply looking for tips and tricks to making it in the rental property business, we have you covered.

As the year comes to an end, and we all take a step back and evaluate our progress, we would like to remind you of some of the most important things you can take with you into 2018.

Keep reading to find out what our most favored tips and tricks from 2017 are for making it in the competitive rental property world, and find inspiration to make this upcoming year even better.

 

Our Top Property Management Tips in 2017

1. Know When to Raise Rent Rates

Property Management Tips Know When Raise Rent

We started the year off with a bang by focusing on the things you could do right away to make 2017 your most profitable year yet.

Knowing when to raise rent rates is a tricky thing that sometimes needs a property manager’s insight. However, with some help from the pros, the oftentimes difficult process of raising rent is made much easier.

 

2. Make Sure Your Pet Policies Are Legal

Something we recommend to all property owners is placing a distinct pet policy in their lease agreements.

After all, whether you want to allow tenants to have pets or not is a personal choice.

However, what is not a personal choice is whether to allow your tenants to have service animals in your rental. Knowing common landlord-tenant laws is key to avoiding legal trouble.

 

3. Stay On Top of Income Boosting Opportunities for Your Rental Property

Something income property owners never tire of is tips and tricks for boosting their rental income.

After all, that’s why you get into the business, right?

We at Bay Management Group always jump at the chance to share new tips on how to garner more income from your rentals. From lowering vacancy rates to tracking expenses and collecting every late fee that crosses your path, we are here to guide you along your path to success.

 

4. Set Goals as an Income Property Owner

Set Goals as a Maryland Property Manager

It would only seem appropriate that we remind you of the importance of setting goals each New Year.

It is not enough to set short and long-term goals just once during your career as a property owner. In fact, consistently re-evaluating your goals is going to bring you more success than you’ll find in setting goals at the beginning, and later forgetting them.

Take the time to re-assess your goals from 2017. See what you have accomplished in one year, and then find ways you can improve. This is the only way you will continue to grow and succeed as a landlord.

 

5. Keep Your Rental Secure

Rental property security will always be an important topic.

After all, your investment property is what makes you money. If it is damaged in any way, you lose money. Not to mention the nightmare it would be for your tenants to experience something as scary as a break-in.

As a property owner, it is your job to protect yourself, your property, and your tenants. That’s why we love sharing security tips with you, such as securing entryways and installing a security system.

Did we mention the more secure your property is, the more appealing it will be to potential tenants? That’s a great added bonus.

 

6. Opt for Online Rent Collection

It’s no secret that your tenants want convenience.

And, it just so happens that allowing tenants to pay their rent online is one of the most convenient things you can do for them.

Online rent collection saves you time, is a secure way to collect payments, makes bookkeeping easier (whether it’s on our end or yours), and best of all, prevents any disputes when it comes to whether a payment was made.

Take it from us – your tenants are not the only ones that will appreciate this convenient way of collecting rent.

 

7. Go the Extra Mile for Your Tenants

Go Extra Mile For Your Tenants Property Management Tips for 2017

Tenant retention is something even the best property owners contend with sometimes.

There are many reasons why tenants move, and they are not all attributed to a poor lease experience.

That said, recognizing when you have a high quality tenant, and appreciating them for being so great, can go a long way when it comes to lease renewal time. That’s because not all tenants need to move out of your rental after one lease term, though they have the option to do just that.

Encourage tenants to stay by forging solid relationships, renovating your property in ways they might not expect, or even giving them a discount on their monthly rate to show them how much you enjoy being their landlord.

 

8. Avoid Common Landlord Mistakes

If you just got into the rental property business this year, it is likely you learned a lot from your experience.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes new landlords make and see how you fared in 2017:

  • Not screening tenants thoroughly
  • Underestimating the cost of maintenance and repairs
  • Not being legally compliant
  • Failing to put it in writing, whatever “it” may be
  • Overcharging tenants for rent

 

Did you make any of these mistakes?

If you did, it’s okay. Everyone in the rental property industry learns from past mistakes.

And you have another opportunity to make things better just around the corner with the new year.

 

9. Airtight Lease Agreements Are Essential

Airtight Lease Agreements are Essential Rental Property Management

Drafting a solid lease agreement is one of the most important things you can do for your rental property business.

And, if you don’t use our expertise when it comes to lease drafting, you may find yourself in some hot water time-wise, financially, or even legally if you make some of these common mistakes.

Understanding how to write up a thorough lease agreement is in your best interest.

 

10. A Fresh Coat of Paint Can Go a Long Way

Knowing how often to paint your rental property can be difficult to determine.

This is especially true if you have long-term tenants leasing from you.

However, your tenants – whether old or new – want to enjoy living in the rental you are leasing to them. And, it just so happens that one of the best, and most affordable ways of doing this is to regularly paint the interior of your rental.

Know your paint types, find a neutral color, and plan how often you want to invest in a good ol’ paint job. It will make a world of difference.

 

11. Eco-Friendly Rentals Are In-Demand

We have discovered that more people than ever want eco-friendly rental properties.

In an effort to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and have newer looking appliances, tenants want everything to be energy efficient in the place they lease.

Luckily for you, we rounded up some great energy efficient updates you can make to your rental property that won’t break the bank.

These updates will not only allow you to do your part for the environment, but they’ll also help boost your rental’s ROI, since eco-friendly places are what tenants are after.

 

12. Stay On Top of the Latest Investing Advice

Stay on Top of the Latest Investing Advice Rental Property Management Tips

Here at Bay Management Group we are not only dedicated to helping you become a successful landlord.

In fact, we want you to become a successful investor as well. That’s why we regularly share information about investing in rental property that you may not already know.

Understanding the process of purchasing a rental property, and the associated fees that come with that process, is important for anyone getting into the rental property business to know.

Don’t get caught going over budget because you didn’t know about the fees that come with buying a rental property.

 

13. Hire a Property Management Company Like Bay Management Group

Self-managing your rental properties can be difficult.

You may not be cut out for after-hour maintenance calls, educating yourself about landlord-tenant laws, or evicting tenants when they fail to pay the rent on time.

But we are.

That’s why investing in a high quality Maryland property management company is something you should consider in 2018, if you haven’t already.

We at Bay Management Group are convinced that anyone who wants to become income property owner has the potential to become a highly successful one – with the right knowledge and resources.

If you are looking to take your rental property business to the next level in 2018, contact Bay Management Group today and see how our Maryland rental property managers can help aid you in those efforts. With our combined knowledge and experience, you are sure to make the most of your rental portfolio and have the most profitable year to date.


5 Ways a Property Management Company Saves You Time And Money

Hiring a Property Management Company Saves You Time and Money

Self-managing your Laurel rental property may sound like a good idea initially.

However, what you may not realize when you get into the rental property business is how much work is involved, and how much money needs to go into properly managing every aspect of your tenant’s stay in your investment property.

Not understanding the true time and money commitment involved with managing rental properties can kill your rental property business before you even get started.

You may feel you are maximizing your profits by taking on everything yourself, and not paying a property management company to do it for you. However, by not outsourcing your property management tasks, you may actually be doing yourself a financial disservice and making things much worse, without even knowing it.

If you want to become a successful property owner, you might want to consider hiring a property management company to help you.

Their experience, professionalism, and expertise can save you loads of time and money, and actually garner you more profit in the end, without you having to work so hard.

 

How Investing in a Property Management Company in Laurel Will Save You Time and Money

1. Reduced Vacancy Rates

Property Management Company Helps Reduce Vacancy Rates

If your rental property has no tenants, you are not collecting any money.

That’s why reducing vacancy rates is something most property owners prioritize.

According to Brenton Hayden, founder and chairman of the board of Renters Warehouse, vacancies are often listed as the number one reason people give in and hire a property management company.

The time and money spent on advertising, tenant screening, placing tenants, and drafting lease agreements is much better spent on an experienced property manager that is familiar with the area your property is in, the market trends, and the demographics likely to lease from you.

Plus, a good property management company can get your property leased within a few days or weeks, as opposed to months, which is a hang-up inexperienced, self-managing property owners often deal with.

 

2. Legal Compliance

Imagine the time it will take you to learn every federal, state, and local landlord-tenant law.

Now, imagine hiring a property manager that already knows every rule and regulation related to leasing rental property.

That’s a lot of saved time.

In addition, by hiring a Laurel property manager that is up to date on all rental property legal compliance, you eliminate the risk of unknowingly breaking a law, and ending up in a landlord-tenant dispute.

Things such as rental property inspections, taxes, fair housing, and anti-discrimination laws are all covered when you employ a property manager to handle your rental property.

Not to mention the complex eviction procedures that self-managing rental property owners find themselves getting involved in from time to time – without a clue as to what to do.

By entrusting a property manager to handle the legal aspect of your rental property, you significantly reduce the chances of getting into a legal dispute that will result in a financial loss.

 

3. Higher Quality Tenants

Get Higher Quality Tenants With a Rental Property Management Company

Your property manager will have the resources to attract only the best tenants for your rental property.

This is because they understand the market, the need for thorough (and legally complaint) background checks and tenant screening processes, and they also know how to advertise available properties to those that are likely to be high paying quality tenants.

As a property owner with little experience marketing your rental, there is a good chance you will advertise on the wrong platforms (at higher costs than your property manager would), and possibly attract the wrong tenant pool.

In fact, you may not even know how to properly screen for tenants according to their ability to pay, which can have dire effects on your bottom line when halfway through a tenancy your tenant stops paying their rent.

Trust a property manager to handle these details for you.

Not only does this free you up to do other things, it relieves you of the pressure to find perfect tenants for your property that can pay the rent rate you “think” you deserve.

(Yes, your property manager can also help you set the right rent rate for your property so you receive the highest ROI possible.)

 

4. Maintenance and Repairs

When it comes to maintenance and repairs, many self-managing property owners feel they can tackle all complaints that will arise during their tenant’s tenancy.

Come to find out, however, many property owners don’t like midnight calls, have no idea how to handle most repairs on their own, and do not have a list of reliable contractors that are licensed and insured to perform timely, affordable, and quality work on their investment property.

All of this adds up to a huge waste of time, and an even bigger waste of money.

However, if you enlist the help of a reputable property management company that has a 24/7 maintenance crew on hand, suddenly all of these time and money problems disappear.

With the right property manager, you no longer have to answer tenant maintenance and repair requests, and you save money thanks to the Rolodex of contractors your property manager has on hand to handle any repair, no matter how serious.

 

5. Rent Collection Enforcement

Rent Collection Enforcement Is Guaranteed When You Hire a Rental Property Management Company

Collecting rent from your tenants is how you make money.

However, what you may not realize is that collecting rent from your tenants can be challenging at times.

Even if you place the highest quality tenants in your property every single time, there is bound to be an issue or two with rent collection during your career as a rental property owner.

With a property manager on hand, you make rent collection easier in the following ways:

  • The lease agreement, drafted by your property manager, will strictly outline everything rent collection related
  • Your property manager will discuss with your new tenants the rent collection process so they thoroughly understand their obligations
  • There will be convenient ways for your tenant to pay their monthly rent
  • Any failure to pay rent on time will be met with swift consequences, again outlined in the lease and explained to your tenants
  • The legal procedure for evicting non-paying tenants is understood by your property manager so there are no illegal proceedings you have to account for
  • Your property manager will likely stand behind you in court if necessary, helping you to recover all costs related to a non-paying tenant

 

In Closing

As you can see, having a knowledgeable property management company by your side to ensure you get paid, no matter what, is helpful in saving you time and money.

With the right property manager on your side, helping you with tasks like tenant placement, lease agreement drafting, rent collection, and maintenance, you will have time to focus on building your portfolio, taking that extra vacation, or focusing on your day job.

If you are looking for a Laurel property management company to help you save time and money in the long run, get in touch with Bay Management Group today.

With years of experience in the rental property industry, we take care of every little detail related to your rental property so you don’t have to. Avoiding one bad eviction process, one lost lawsuit, one major repair request, or one less vacancy, more than makes up for the cost of investing in a property manager.


Top 5 Renovations To Improve Your Income Property’s ROI

Top Renovations to Improve Your Rental Property's ROI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What is ROI?

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

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

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

 

Calculating Your Annapolis Rental Property’s ROI

How to Calculate Your Annapolis Rental Property's ROI

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

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

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

Here’s the calculation:

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

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

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

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

 

Ways to Increase Your Rental Property ROI

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

1. New Roof

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

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

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

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

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

 

2. Landscaping

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

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

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

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

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

 

3. Flooring Upgrades

Improve Your Rental Property's ROI by Updating Flooring

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

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

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

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

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

 

4. Additional Square Footage

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

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

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

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

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

 

5. Green Appliances

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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


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 Avoidable Mistakes Landlords Make with Rental Agreements

Landlord Mistakes to Avoid in Your Rental Property Lease Agreement

Though having one universal lease agreement satisfying every type of lease term possible would be great, in reality, every lease is different.

And, while using a universal lease form is possible, it is important to note that whether you self-manage your Dundalk rental property, or enlist the help of a property management company, there are going to be specifics that you need to address while drafting your property’s lease agreement.

As a landlord, there are many things to think about while filling a vacant rental.

To name a few, you must consider: advertising the property as available, performing the tenant screening process, conducting move-in inspections, and of course drafting the lease agreement.

Unfortunately, with all of the things you need to tend to, and the desire to rush the process of filling a vacant rental property, some landlords make dire mistakes in their rental agreements that can wreak havoc on their rental property business.

Don’t let these common mistakes plague your rental agreement while trying to quickly place someone in your vacant property.

Instead, learn from these mistakes (that others before you have made), and find out what makes a lease agreement one that protects you, your investment property, and your tenants.

 

Avoid These Mistakes While Drafting Your Lease Agreements

1. Not Properly Identifying the Tenants

Although this may seem obvious, you would be surprised how many landlords fail to address their tenants correctly in their lease agreements.

Remember, a rental agreement is a legal document, and should refer to your tenants by their full legal names.

No nicknames, shortened names, or names other than what are listed on driver’s licenses or identification cards should be allowed in the lease agreement.

In addition, you should have your tenants names located somewhere in the beginning of the document (typically in the first paragraph), as well as at the end of the document where the signature blocks are placed.

If you fail to name your tenants correctly on the lease agreement, you may find it difficult to enforce your lease agreement.

This is especially true if you land in court due to a landlord-tenant dispute.

If your tenants make claims that the people listed are not really them, you are going to have a hard time winning your case.

 

2. Not Researching Rent Rates

Research Rent Rates for Your Dundalk Rental Property

One of the key elements in a lease agreement is the monthly rent rate that your tenants are responsible for paying each month.

Failing to research the market rent rates properly and instead placing a random rent rate in your lease agreement will is something you want to avoid.

This mistake may cause you to over- or underprice your rental property.

If you overprice your rental, your tenant pool will shrink sizably, and any tenants that you have currently residing in your property are not likely to renew if you continue to raise the rate sporadically.

On the other hand, underpricing your rental property will harm your bottom line.

A great way to ensure you name the right rent rate in your lease agreement is to talk to your Dundalk property manager.

They will have insight into things such as current market trends, demographics of the area your property is located in, and the rates that similar properties are going for so you remain competitive.

Lastly, in order to avoid another mistake some landlords make, you should re-evaluate your rent rates every time you place a new tenant in your property to make sure to keep in line with current trends.

 

3. Not Personalizing the Agreement

Universal lease agreement forms don’t come with every lease provision you can think of. That’s why simply filling in the blanks is a bad idea, and is one that your Dundalk property management company will discourage.

Now is the time for you to be specific about the rules as they pertain to your rental property.

Take a look at some of the specific clauses you might want to include in your rental agreement:

  • Whether your tenants can smoke in the property
  • What type of interior alterations (temporary or permanent) tenants can make
  • If your tenants can have pets, and if so, which type, how many, what size, and what the deposits will be
  • Which maintenance responsibilities your tenants will be responsible for

 

All of this lease agreement personalization will ensure your tenants know exactly what is (and isn’t) expected of them while residing in your property. It will also outline the consequences for not following your rules.

However, as important as personalizing your lease agreement is, make sure you follow your state’s rental property laws.

For example, make sure you don’t overcharge on the security deposits and fees.

In addition, don’t ask your tenants to violate their tenant rights, such as forfeiting the notice of entry, so that you can do as you please.

Avoid these mistakes at all costs, as they will land you in some serious legal trouble.

 

4. Not Addressing Late Rent

Address Late Rent in Your Dundalk Rental Property

Earlier we mentioned the importance of setting an appropriate rent rate and placing it in your lease agreement.

That said, it is equally important to mention what will happen should the rent not get paid on time.

Failing to detail the consequences for late or non-payment of rent is a huge mistake.

This not only sets you up for continuous late payments, it makes it very difficult for you to receive compensation in court for non-payment of rent, should your tenant stop paying altogether.

Make sure to include the rent rate, grace period, late fees, and eviction process for non-payment of rent in your lease agreement, so that should you run into an issue with a tenant, you have the legal document backing you up that states both parties agreed to the terms and your tenant owes you money.

Late payment lease provisions are used to inform and motivate your tenants to pay their rent on time.

After all, you rely on their timely payment and often cannot afford to wait for them to pay when it is convenient for them.

In addition, this section not only protects you in the case of non-payment, it protects your tenants from illegal eviction proceedings.

 

5. Not Setting a Lease Term

In your rental agreement, it is crucial you designate a lease start and end date.

This way your tenant knows exactly when they can move in, and when they have to be out of your property, should they choose not to renew their lease with you.

In addition, there are some lease renewal options that some see as mistakes, that you and your Dundalk property manager should carefully consider while drafting a lease agreement:

  • Allowing for automatic lease renewals (how can you be sure you will want your tenants to renew one year from now?)
  • Including a month-to-month renewal option (both parties have the option to break a month-to-month lease with 30 days’ notice, leaving you little time to find new tenants)
  • Not requiring a 60 days’ notice of intent when it comes to renewals (leaving it to the last minute might leave you with no time to fill a vacancy, should your tenants decline your offer)

 

The Importance of an Airtight Lease Agreement in Dundalk

Altogether, none of these options are necessarily dire mistakes. However, they may cause you extra stress that can be avoided with a well thought out and thorough lease agreement.

Having an airtight lease agreement that addresses all of your concerns is important for everyone involved.

After all, the lease agreement is the document that both you and your tenants will refer to when there is an issue.

Therefore, the more thorough it is, the less confusion you and your tenants are bound to encounter.

If you own rental property in the Dundalk region, and want help drafting a comprehensive and legally compliant lease agreement, contact Bay Management Group today.

With years of experience drafting lease agreements for property owners, and extensive knowledge of the landlord-tenant laws, you can rest assured that every provision you want included will be integrated into each rental agreement so they you, your investment property, and your tenants are fully protected.


The Ultimate Safety Checklist for Your Bethesda Rental Property

Ultimate Safety Checklist For Your Bethesda Rental Property

Tenants expect, and have a legal right to, a safe, secure, and healthy place of living when they lease from you.

This means you have an obligation to keep your tenants safe inside your investment property, secure from outside intrusions, and protected against any health concerns.

Unfortunately, if you don’t take the time to thoroughly inspect your Bethesda rental property regularly, issues tend to creep up and accidents happen.

However, a lot of that is preventable with routine property inspections, and a little bit of knowledge about how to keep your property safe for your tenants.

Enlisting the help of Bethesda property management is one great way to tackle rental property safety.

However, there are things you can do on your own to ensure your tenants feel safe while leasing your property.

 

Rental Property Safety Checklist

In the past, we have discussed extensively how to keep your tenants safe while residing in your rental property.

In fact, we even suggested that using the knowledge, experience, and maintenance crew a high quality property management company provides is the best way to keep your tenants safe, secure, and happy.

That said, empowering yourself with the details can be helpful when it comes to rental property safety.

And, while your property manager is well equipped with information regarding Maryland rules and regulations as they pertain to rental property safety, brushing up on your knowledge using this helpful rental property safety checklist is highly recommended.

 

1. Exterior

Check the Safety Of The Exterior of Your Bethesda Rental Property

The exterior of your rental property is not normally the first place that pops into mind when you think about tenant safety.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the safety of this part of your rental.

Here are some of the most crucial safety issues you and your property manager should concern yourselves with when it comes to the exterior of your rental:

  • The entire framework of your property should be sound and secure
  • All exterior portions of your property – the roof, foundation, and other exterior surfaces – must keep rodents and pests out at all times
  • Walls should have no visible holes, breaks, or rotting timber that would allow dampness to enter the property during rainy seasons
  • Roofs must have adequate drainage of rainwater to prevent structure wall deterioration
  • Any exterior surfaces made of metal or wood must be painted, weatherproofed, and sealed to prevent deterioration
  • Awnings, stairways, and overhangs must be secure at all times to keep them from falling, and also to protect them from decay and rust
  • Stairs, porches, balconies, and fire escapes must be able to handle their anticipated loads without collapsing
  • Windows, doors, and frames must prevent wind from entering the property, as well as rainwater and rodents, or other pests
  • Any windows used for ventilation and/or emergency escapes must easily open from the inside and be held in place using proper hardware
  • All exterior stairways and exits must be illuminated to discourage intrusion
  • Lighted pathway to the house for your tenants
  • All exterior door locks must be tightly secure and in good repair
  • From April 1 to December 1, it is your duty to provide tight-fitting screens for all doors, windows, or other openings used for ventilation

 

In addition, your Bethesda rental property may undergo inspection by the County Building Engineer.

If that happens, inspectors will require you to fix the following issues if anything is missing or deteriorating:

  • Any exterior features that create an unsafe condition for your tenants
  • Rotting of exterior walls or vertical supports that hold the property together
  • Deterioration of roofs or other horizontal features, such as balconies
  • Issues with exterior chimneys
  • Plaster or masonry that is crumbling, falling off, or otherwise deteriorating
  • Degraded weatherproofing on any exterior walls, roofs, or foundations
  • Any broken windows or doors

 

As you can see, Maryland does a good job of ensuring that your tenants will be safe from both the obvious safety and health issues that threaten the exterior of your rental property, as well as the lesser-known issues landlords may not know to look for during property inspections.

 

2. Interior

Check the Safety of the Interior of Your Rental Property

It can sometimes be easier to spot safety and health issues on the interior of your rental property.

However, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the things the authorities are going to look for during property inspections, to make sure everything is safe and secure.

While there are many places to check on the interior of your rental, today we are going to focus on the plumbing, as there are plenty of rules and regulations concerning the plumbing:

  • Kitchen, bathroom, and toilet floors must be significantly waterproof, for sanitation reasons
  • All interior structures found with rodent or pest infestations must be treated in a way that is not harmful to your tenant’s health
  • There must be a separate room with a toilet and cold running water that affords your tenants privacy
  • Nearby each toilet there must be a sink with hot and cold running water
  • Each property must have at least one room equipped with a bathtub or shower that has hot and cold water running water that affords your tenants privacy
  • All fixtures, vents, drains, and water supply lines must work properly and be free of any leaks or defects
  • Plumbing fixtures must not only work properly, but must avoid inviting rodents or pests in, as well as never emit dangerous or offensive gases and odors
  • Hot water must run from each faucet at a temperature of at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit

 

Although this may seem tedious, it is important to know what is expected in your rental property when it comes to plumbing issues.

3. Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Check the Safety of Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors In Your Rental Property

There is sometimes confusion over whether maintenance of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are the responsibility of the landlord or the tenant.

 

Smoke Detectors

Property owners in Bethesda must install at least one electronic smoke detector in each residential property or unit.

Additionally, properties built before 1976 must include a battery-powered backup.

Every three years, property owners must submit written verification by a licensed electrician or the County Fire Department and Licenses that the smoke detector has been installed as required by law.

This verification will also certify that the detector is in good working order.

 

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

When it comes to carbon monoxide alarms, Maryland takes a hard stance.

To start, all rental properties that have fuel-burning equipment installed must have a working carbon monoxide alarm.

Each alarm must be installed in the common area of the property.

In addition, your tenants must be able to hear the alarm that is installed in the bedroom areas.

It is important to note that the carbon monoxide alarm sound must be easy to distinguish from the smoke detector’s sound.

Lastly, upon installing and testing each carbon monoxide alarm in your rental property, you are required to provide written documentation to at least one adult tenant in your rental instructing them how to maintain and test the alarm.

Have this tenant read and sign the document and keep it for your records.

Tenants leasing from you must do the following:

  • Test and maintain carbon monoxide alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Replace batteries when needed
  • Notify you, via written certified mail, of any malfunctions

 

If you receive written notification that the carbon monoxide alarm is malfunctioning, you are then responsible for the repairing or replacing it.

 

Ensuring the safety and health of your Bethesda rental property and, more importantly, your tenants is serious.

It is your legal responsibility to make sure that your investment property is up to code and does not present any safety issues to those leasing from you.

And, one of the best ways to do this is to educate yourself about the state and local laws.

In addition, by regularly inspecting your rental property, you will be able to make sure that any maintenance, safety, or health concerns are addressed quickly, and do not affect your rental property business.

Better yet, by contacting a property management company such as Bay Management Group, you will have access to knowledgeable property managers and a reliable maintenance crew that can help you prevent any major safety issues, and can repair any minor maintenance issues that pop up during your tenant’s lease term.


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.


Top 4 Tips To Smoothly Handle Your Rental’s Emergency Maintenance

How to Handle Rental Maintenance Emergencies

Being a rental property owner leaves very little time for dull moments.

To start, you search out and purchase the “perfect” property, perform upgrades and renovations so your investment becomes a hot commodity, and then interview interested tenants until you find the ideal one.

Once all of that work is done, you may feel ready to rest.

However, after you place tenants in your property and start collecting monthly rent payments, there is always a chance that your tenants are going to call you with an emergency rental maintenance issue. 

In the rental property business, whether you enlist the help of Columbia property management or not, it is your duty to keep your tenants safe, as well as protect your investment.

And, despite your property being in tip-top shape, things can happen when you least expect them to.

Knowing how to handle emergency maintenance issues in your rental property is something all property owners should learn.

Today we are going to outline some of our best property management tips for handling emergency maintenance request so, should the unthinkable happen, you have an idea of what to do.

 

What is Considered a Rental Property Emergency?

What is Considered a Rental Property Emergency

What you consider an emergency situation, and what your tenants consider an emergency situation, are often very different things.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most serious emergency scenarios your tenants can experience while leasing from you:

  • Loss of heat during the cold months, and loss of air during the hot months, depending on where your property is located
  • Gas leaks
  • Water leaks or floods
  • Broken windows
  • Exterior doors that will not lock
  • Fire
  • Loss of power
  • An intruder break-in

 

As you can see, all of these situations are very serious in nature and not only require your help, but the help of professionals as well.

If any one of these situations occurred in your rental property, your investment is at risk for damage, as well as your tenants’ health and safety.

 

How to Handle an Emergency Maintenance Request

If your Columbia tenant contacts you with an emergency maintenance request, there are things you can do to help resolve the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible, no matter how serious it is.

Additionally, there are proactive steps you can take to minimize the occurrence of an emergency maintenance issue at your rental.

 

1. Inform Your Tenants About What to Do During Emergencies

Informing your tenants at move-in about emergencies is one of the best things you can do to reduce the number of emergencies that occur, and resolve them as quickly as possible if they happen anyway.

Here is some key information you should include in your tenant welcome package that will help tenants know what to do in the case of an emergency:

  • Provide a detailed list outlining what a true emergency is
  • Explain the procedures for putting in a general maintenance request versus an emergency request
  • Include any pertinent contact information (e.g. you, your property management company, the after-hours call center, the maintenance crew, and any emergency vendors you have approved to work on your rental)

Prepare Your Tenants for Emergencies in Your Rental Property

In addition, it’s a good idea to give your tenants some emergency tips for things such as

  • Turning off the main water line to your property
  • How to reset breakers
  • Who to call in the case of extreme emergencies such as fires or home intrusions
  • How to get to safety should an emergency threatening their health or safety occur

 

2. Discuss the Issue with Your Tenant Before Taking Action

If you self-manage your Columbia rental property, and you receive an emergency call from your tenant, be sure to discuss the issue in full before jumping into action.

This will assure both you and your tenant that the situation is indeed an emergency, and make planning your next steps much easier, since you will both be on the same page about how to move forward.

  • Non-Emergency. If you and your tenant decide the situation at hand is not a true emergency, reassure them that the problem will be handled efficiently. Explain what the next steps are, and when they can expect someone to come by and fix the issue. Always ask if there is anything else you can for them – customer service like that is what makes tenants happy, and is what gets you lease renewals.
  • Emergency. If the situation is an emergency, you should immediately make sure your tenant is safe. Advise them to get out of the house immediately if their health or safety is at risk, and get alternate contact information such as a cell phone number so you can keep in touch. You should also remind them to call the authorities, if appropriate. It’s also a good idea to stop by your property to make sure the authorities, maintenance crew, or vendors are handling everything properly.

 

In situations like this, it is more important than ever to have the right insurance in place as well.

Homeowners insurance to protect the structure of your investment property is necessary when you own rental property.

In addition, requiring your tenants to have renters insurance prior to moving in to your rental will help mitigate some of the damages (specifically when it comes to their personal belongings), and will help house your tenant if the property becomes inhabitable.

 

3. Have Your Own Contact List Available

Provide Tenants Your Contact List for Rental Property Emergencies

It’s not enough to provide your tenants with a list of people to contact in the case of an emergency – you too should have your own Rolodex of vendors to call in the case of an emergency.

This is especially true if you don’t enlist the help of a property management company.

If you do employ a property management company, they will either have a maintenance crew for you to contact in the case of an emergency maintenance issue, or a list of approved contractors that you can contact to resolve the emergency.

Either way, having your own contact list readily available will lessen the stress once a call comes in that your property is on fire, flooding, or otherwise falling apart.

 

4. Stay Proactive

Lastly, as yet another way to help reduce the number of rental property emergencies you and your tenants experience, you should stay proactive.

Take a look at some of the easiest ways to do that:

  • Perform thorough move-in and move-out inspections with every new tenant so you always know the condition of your property, and can tend to small maintenance issues before they become emergencies
  • Conduct routine seasonal inspections to ensure your tenants are caring for your rental properly and no major maintenance issues have developed
  • Work with a property management company to help with anything maintenance-related – inspections, maintenance fixes, after-hours calls, tenant complaints, insurance requirements, and even lease drafting so everyone involved understands their role in preventing property emergencies

 

Many property owners struggle with maintenance in general, so emergency situations can feel entirely overwhelming.

That’s why having a property management company such as Bay Management Group on your side is so valuable.

We have a 24/7/365 maintenance crew on hand to take care of all maintenance issues – not just the emergencies. We also have highly qualified professional contractors that we work with on a regular basis that provide timely and affordable workmanship.

So, if you need help managing your Columbia rental property’s maintenance requests, contact Bay Management Group today.


5 Surefire Ways to Get Your Tenants to Pay Rent On Time

Ways to Get Your Catonsville Tenant to Pay Rent On Time

Dealing with late rent payments is not something any rental property owner wants to be faced with.

It can be challenging to confront those that owe you money, even if you are in the right position to do so.

You may find it is easy to give in and let a late payment slide, especially when your Catonsville tenant has a seemingly legitimate excuse for being late.

However, if you want to become a successful landlord, not only do you need to learn how to deal with late paying tenants, you need to learn how to get your tenants to pay their rent on time in the first place.

After all, late and non-paying tenants are one of the biggest costs facing rental property owners.

Your Catonsville tenant may not feel like paying rent on time every month is a big deal, but for you, collecting rent in full on time, every time, is one of the most important things you can for the success of your rental property business.

That’s why today we are going to share with you some of the best ways to encourage your tenants to pay their rent on time.

 

5 Ways to Motivate Your Catonsville Tenants to Pay Rent On Time

1. Clear Communication

Clear Communication is Key to Getting Your Tenants to Pay Rent on Time

One of the best ways to get your Catonsville tenants to pay their rent on time is to communicate the importance of paying rent when they move in.

As you and your Maryland property manager go over the lease agreement with your new tenants, it is a good idea to go over every lease provision in the agreement, especially the ones concerning rent, due dates, late fees, and consequences for late rent payments.

Better yet, to ensure your tenants understand what you are communicating with them, it is a great idea to have them initial each page of the lease agreement as you and your property manager explain the rent collection process.

From there, distribute a copy of the signed lease agreement to all parties that initialed the document so they can use it for later reference.

Lastly, include the entire rent collection policy in the tenant welcome package you give your new tenants with information regarding how to pay, when to pay, and how much to pay in rent each month.

This is especially helpful if you require online rent payments.

By creating a document that details every step in the rent collection process, you guarantee that your tenants understand their obligations, and are not confused about the process.

Plus, signed documents give you solid proof you explained the process in the beginning, should you end up in a court dispute with a non-paying tenant.

 

2. Enforce a Late Fee

Although mentioned briefly above, enforcing a late fee is worth explaining further.

Late fees are strong motivators for getting your Catonsville tenants to pay their rent on time. After all, your tenants don’t want to pay more than they already have to in order to live in your rental property.

Have your Maryland rental property management company draw up a lease agreement provision that explains the late fee process. Make sure that the fee does not exceed 5% of the total rent due, as per Maryland law.

In addition, follow these property management tips for implementing a late rent payment fee:

  • Clearly define the grace period in the lease agreement, if you are allowing one
  • Avoid waiving the late fees if possible to avoid repeat late payments by the same tenant
  • Consider a progressive fee schedule so you get your rent, and any late payments accrued, as quickly as possible

 

Just knowing that a late fee will apply to any late payments can be a great motivator for getting your Maryland tenant to pay their rent on time.

 

3. Offer a Discount

Offering Tenants a Discount Will Help Them Pay Rent on Time

On the flip side of charging late fees for those that pay their rent late, another way to encourage timely rent payments is to offer a discount for those that pay their rent early.

If your Catonsville tenant has their rent ready to go a day early, giving them a discount is a nice way of appreciating that they pay their rent on time each month.

Plus, this may even help boost your lease renewal rate come the end of your tenant’s lease term – tenants that receive discounts may be more apt to want to continue to lease from you.

If you are worried about discounted rent rates affecting your bottom line, there is an easy solution: Set your rental property’s rent rate approximately $15-$25 higher than you would normally set it.

Then, when a tenant pays on time, the discount equals a normal rent rate, and you don’t lose any income in the process.

Keep in mind, however, that if you want to offer rent discounts to your early paying tenants, be sure to talk this strategy over with your Maryland property manager to ensure you are making a sound financial decision.

Setting rent rates is central to your success as a property owner, and the last thing you want to do is set a rent rate that is too low, and offer discounts on top of that.

 

4. Report All Late Payments

Did you know that you are now able to report all late rent payments to the credit bureaus in charge of calculating people’s credit scores?

Well, you can.

People do not like to mess with their credit scores if they can help it.

Credit scores are pulled for many things, such as leasing a home, buying a car, and applying for loans or credit cards. And, keeping a clean credit score is more important than ever these days.

If you inform your tenants prior to moving in that you will report them to the credit bureaus for any late rent payments, they may be less likely to miss a rent due date.

 

5. Be Consistent

Be Consistent With Rules to Get Tenants to Pay Rent on Time

The last thing to remember if you want to entice your Maryland tenants to pay their rent on time is to be consistent.

You must always remain professional, as leasing rental properties is a business, not a hobby.

In addition, you should enforce all of the rules you have outlined in your lease agreement consistently with all of your tenants, no matter the excuse a single tenant provides for paying their rent late.

Not only does staying consistent prevent repeat problems with late rent payments, it helps to preserve your reputation as a rental property owner and as always, will help you defend your actions should you end up in a legal battle with a tenant over late payments, late fees, or even non-payment of rent.

 

Motivating your tenants to pay their rent on time is not always an easy task, even if you follow the above-mentioned tips and tricks.

That’s why having a highly qualified Maryland property management company such as Bay Management Group on your side is so helpful.

We are knowledgeable about all of Maryland’s rental property rules and regulations regarding rent payments, late fees, and even the eviction process, should a late payment situation go so far as to require eviction proceedings.

In addition, we know how to structure lease agreements so that your Catonsville tenants fully understand what is required of them when it comes to paying rent, and what they face should they decide to pay late.

If you own rental property in the Catonsville area and need help with the rent collection process, contact Bay Management Group today. We have the resources and the knowledge to help make rent collection as easy as possible.


10 Words To Avoid Using In Your Rental Property Listing

Top Words to Avoid In Your Anne Arundel Rental Property Listing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Vacancy Ad Words and Shortcuts to Avoid

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

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

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

 

1. Quality

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

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

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

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

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

 

2. Abbreviations

Avoid Using Abbreviations For Your Rental Property Listings

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

3. Clean

Of course, your rental property is clean.

Why wouldn’t it be?

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

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

 

4. Needs Repair

Never Use "Needs Repair" In Rental Property Listing

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

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

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

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

 

5. Cheap

This word immediately downgrades the quality of your rental.

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

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

 

6. Unique

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

7. Modern

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

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

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

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

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

 

8. Original

Do Not Use Word "Original" in Rental Property Listing

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

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

 

9. Fair Housing Act Terms

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

10. Cozy

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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