Top Addendums to Include in a Lease Agreement in Columbia, MD

Top Addendums to Include in Your Maryland Rental Property Lease

Drawing up an airtight lease from the very beginning is one of the most important things you and your Columbia, Maryland property management company can do.

Doing this prevents any confusion amongst the parties regarding what is to be expected throughout the lease term, and helps to protect both property owner and tenant.

If you are currently self-managing your rental property, you might want to consider beefing up your lease drafting skills.

In fact, unless you have a finely tuned lease template, now might be a good time to enlist the help of a professional property manager in Columbia to put one together.

Knowing what to include in your lease agreement can be challenging, especially at first. And, the truth is, basic lease agreement templates found on the internet do not always address your most pressing needs.

This can lead to a lot of confusion and heated discussions between you and your tenants throughout their lease term.

That’s why today we are going to examine what a lease addendum is, and some of the top ones all property owners should include in their lease agreements.

 

What is a Lease Addendum?

Typically speaking, a lease addendum is a lease provision that changes, clarifies, or nullifies a part of an original lease document. Once added, it becomes a legal part of the signed contract, and is enforceable.

That said, there seems to be some confusion between the terms lease addendum and lease amendment. We are here to clarify.

 

Lease Addendum

This is an additional lease clause or provision attached to the lease agreement template that adds or excludes certain terms.

At the time of signing, the lease addendums are included and agreed to by all parties.

A great example of a lease addendum is a provision outlining the right of entry by the property owner. Entry by a landlord throughout the lease term is not unusual, and needs addressing in the lease agreement.

Sometimes, a separate clause is drafted and added to the back of the general lease agreement so both the property owner and tenant understand what constitutes a legal entry of the premises.

 

Lease Amendment

On the other hand, if you and your tenants have already agreed to sign a lease agreement, and then want to add a provision or clause altering the original document, this would be considered a lease amendment.

A perfect example of this is a pet policy.

Keep in mind, this can be included during the initial drafting of the lease agreement as an addendum.

However, if the original lease made no mention of a pet policy, because your tenants did not have any pets, and halfway through the lease they decided to adopt a dog, an amendment to the lease agreement will be needed.

This will outline any rules you have regarding pets in your rental, and will be signed and attached to the already-finalized lease agreement.

 

Top Addendums to Include in Your Columbia Lease Agreement

1. Smoking

No Smoking Addendum is Popular With Maryland Rental Property

Whether you decide to make your Columbia rental property smoke free or not is a personal decision. However, if you wish to prevent smoking in your property, make sure to include a no-smoking addendum to the lease.

Clarify whether this policy applies to guests, and what the consequences are (including loss of security deposit) for breaching the agreement.

 

2. Pest Control

Pest control is a huge point of contention between landlords and tenants. There is plenty of debate over who is responsible for pest control, who is in charge of resolving a pest infestation, and who decides what constitutes an inhabitable living condition.

That’s why including a detailed pest control addendum is crucial to avoiding a landlord-tenant dispute. Just make sure to investigate your local laws regarding pest control, and clearly outline each party’s responsibilities.

 

3. Renters Insurance

Another critical lease addendum all Columbia property owners should include in their lease agreements is the requirement of renters insurance. It’s inexpensive, easy to get, and covers your tenants in a variety of situations, so you don’t have to.

Renters insurance typically covers the loss of your tenant’s personal property in the case of an emergency. It also takes some, if not all, of the liability off you if someone is injured while on your property.

Paired with your homeowners insurance, this provision is great for protecting your investment.

 

4. Roommates

Roommate Addendum Popular in Maryland Rental Properties

Your tenants need to understand your stance on roommates.

It is important you outline details regarding short- and long-term guests as well. After all, you don’t want to end up with adult tenants in your property that have not been screened, or are not paying rent.

In addition, you may want to include a separate lease addendum addressing the issue of subletting your rental. This way, you don’t end up with brand new tenants you have never met in your property mid-term.

 

5. Maintenance

Maintenance is a hot issue for tenants that lease your rental from you.

They want to know that at any time, no matter how minor the issue is, you are going to be available for maintenance and repairs.

Outline exactly what you will be responsible for, who to contact in the case of minor and emergency matters, and what type of maintenance and repair service they can expect.

In addition, do not fail to mention financial responsibilities of both parties, as well as maintenance issues that will be the responsibility of the tenants to handle (such as landscaping, filter changes, etc.).

 

6. Utilities

Include a Utility Addendum for Your Maryland Rental Property

Some property owners may offer covering the costs of some utilities as an incentive bonus for their tenants.

Or, you may choose to make your tenants responsible for all of the utilities.

Regardless, ensure your tenants know exactly what utilities they are to have placed in their own name.

In addition, any utilities that must remain under your name as the homeowner, but that you would like the tenant to pay, should be explained in this addendum.

This way, there is never any confusion as to who will pay for what, and when.

 

7. Move-Out Instructions

As much as you would love to have your existing tenants renew their lease with you forever, this is not a reasonable expectation.

That said, having clearly defined move-out instructions is the key to a smooth end of lease transition. Here are some things to include:

  • Forwarding address requirement
  • Key turn-in process
  • Cleaning procedures
  • Charge estimates for incomplete tasks
  • Charge estimates for broken or missing items
  • Supply costs and labor charges
  • Utility statuses
  • Move-out inspection process

 

Make sure your tenant understands the entire move-out process so that you don’t end up with a tenant that has disappeared with all of your keys, and has left a filthy rental behind that you have to take care of.

 

8. Early Termination

Early Termination Addendum Maryland Rental Property

Speaking of the end of a lease term, another lease addendum that is strongly suggested you include in your Columbia lease agreement is the early termination clause.

There might be an instance where your Columbia tenant needs to break the lease agreement early.

And, while this is not ideal, it is in your best interest to outline the terms regarding an early lease termination to preserve your losses as much as possible.

 

Other Important Lease Addendums

As you continue building your rental property business, and you gain experience, you will quickly build a solid list of lease addendums to add to every lease agreement that gets put into place.

Here are some other important ones to consider:

  • Appliances (including maintenance)
  • Lock changes
  • Fees and violation consequences
  • Use of rental for home business
  • Alterations
  • HOA terms
  • Right of entry
  • Extended absence procedures
  • Pet fees
  • Rent collection procedures

 

Many of these lease addendums may very well be a part of your basic lease agreement.

However, for those times when you need to add something specific onto an existing lease agreement before you and your tenants sign and begin the move-in process, it’s good to know what types of things can easily be turned into lease addendums.

 

If you own rental property and are in need of an experienced property management company in Columbia who knows exactly what should be included in a lease agreement, contact Bay Management Group now.

We have the expertise to draft airtight lease agreements, complete with every lease addendum you could possibly need. We guarantee that both you and your tenants will know exactly what is expected of each other, and that you and your investment property will be protected to the fullest extent of the law.


What You Need to Know About Security Cameras For Your Rental

What You Need to Know About Installing Security Cameras in Your Rental Property

Being the owner of a rental property comes with many challenges. You’re not always sure if your tenants are going to pay their rent every time, if they are going to treat your investment property right, and if they are going to conduct illegal activities in your residence.

And, while thorough tenant screening does a lot to reduce these risks, nothing is guaranteed.

One concrete way of better protecting your Baltimore County rental property from things like theft and vandalism is to install security cameras on the property.

Many retail stores use security cameras on their properties as a way of protecting their business.

And, we always suggest you look to your rental property as a business.

However, there is some growing concern from tenants over the presence of security cameras, both outside and inside of your property.

That’s why today we are going to look at some of the most important things to consider before installing a security system, complete with cameras, on your Baltimore County rental property.

 

Can You Install Security Cameras on Your Baltimore Rental?

You Can Install Security Cameras on Your Baltimore Rental

In short, yes you can install security cameras on your Baltimore rental property.

However, this does not come without its limitations.

In Baltimore County, you are not allowed to install a visual surveillance camera in any areas considered private places without a person’s consent. This may include places such as dressing rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The same rules also apply to still shots being captured via a camera.

In addition, you are prohibited from using a camera to spy on people inside of a private property. The only exception to this is if the area is being used to conduct business.

That said, you are allowed to legally install visible security cameras that monitor places such as your rental’s driveway, front and back doors, backyard areas, and garages. Any place that is considered a public place, where a reasonable expectation of privacy is not expected, you can monitor via video surveillance.

However, if you are secretly recording your tenants in any area, you may find yourself in some legal hot water.

Not only does Baltimore law forbid recording anyone without their consent within a private residence, most tenants have a reasonable expectation of privacy while in the home they are leasing from you.

As a result, most states have strict privacy laws in place to protect tenants from video surveillance within a property.

That’s why it is important to discuss surveillance laws with an experienced attorney before installing surveillance cameras on the inside of your rental.

In addition, it is important you discuss these things with your potential tenants before they sign a lease agreement with you.

Although you may have sufficient justifications for wanting to install security cameras on the inside of your rental home, outside security cameras should be enough when it comes to protecting your Baltimore County rental property.

 

What About Audio Recording?

Audio Recording is Illegal Inside Your Baltimore Rental Property

Many security cameras come with audio recording as well.

However, most states have strict wiretapping laws in place preventing the secret audio recording of private conversations, such as the ones you would expect to take place within a rental property residence.

In addition, Baltimore County takes it one step further, and states that it is illegal to record conversations, regardless of where they are taking place, unless you have the consent of all involved parties.

Even if you decide to install security cameras on the outside of your rental property, which is legal to do, it is best you do so without capturing any audio.

 

Why Use Security Cameras?

Reasons to Use Security Cameras In Your Baltimore Rental Property

There are plenty of benefits to using security cameras on your rental property, whether it is occupied or not.

Take a look at some of the best reasons why, despite the complex legalities you must familiarize yourself with, using a surveillance system is helpful:

  • Monitor Nuisances. Loud parties, over-staying guests, and other disturbances on your property are easily caught on security camera footage. Since these activities can wreak havoc on your rental property business, or can be considered a breach of the signed lease agreement, having the proof it is happening can help protect you and your property.
  • Unauthorized Maintenance Workers. There are plenty of stories floating around about suspicious maintenance workers spying on rentals so they can later burglarize them. If you use a Baltimore County property management company that has their own maintenance crew, there should be no other contractors entering your property without your consent. This is something video surveillance can capture as it happens.
  • Vacancy Protection. When your property is vacant, it is vulnerable to theft and vandalism. Taking surveillance of your rental property can help deter or prosecute these activities. In addition, it helps reduce the costs associated with vacant property issues, such as property damage, theft, or illegal use of the residence.

 

Altogether, using security cameras in your Baltimore rental property can be a good idea.

If you are looking to add security cameras to your rental property, and need some help in dealing with the legal issues surrounding both visual and audio surveillance, enlist the help of Bay Management Group.

 

Experienced and knowledgeable about all rental property housing laws, including those related to video surveillance, we can help ensure you are not breaking any Baltimore County laws with your security camera system.

 

In addition, we help protect your property in other ways by conducting thorough tenant screening, routine inspections, and drafting airtight lease agreements strictly outlining what is, and is not, allowed during your tenant’s stay.

 

Let us help you keep the peace of mind that your investment property is safe from things such as theft, vandalism, and structural damage so that you can enjoy the better parts of being a Baltimore County property owner.


5 Easy Ways to Childproof Your Maryland Rental Property

Easy Ways To Childproof Your Maryland Rental Property

With the growing rental market, property owners all over the country find that families are stepping away from buying property, and are looking to rent instead.

In fact, according to the New York Times, every year since 2004, 770,000 new rental houses have come onto the rental market.

While not every one of those rental homes goes on to be filled by families, the chances of a family renting your Maryland rental property is continuing to increase.

And, if you’re looking to keep vacancy rates low on your property, you’ll want to make your property more appealing to families.

What is a great way to do that?

If you’re looking to rent to families, it is a good idea to childproof your Maryland income property.

And, if you’re not sure how, you’re in luck. Today we are going to look at some of the most common ways you can adapt your rental property to make it safe for children.

 

Helpful Ways to Childproof Your Maryland Rental Property

 

1. Window Treatments

Don't Use Window Treatments That Hang Down In Your Maryland Rental Property

Many windows in rental properties have window treatments with long cords that hang down and are used to open and close the curtains or blinds. Unfortunately, the cords often lay close to the ground, or at least within reach of a small child.

Luckily, there are some simple ways of preventing a child from ever grabbing ahold of the cord, and endangering themselves:

  • Avoid using window treatments that require long cords
  • Install a small hook near each window with corded curtains or blinds, where adults can hang any excess that hangs down
  • Give your tenants the ok to change out the window treatments if they have small children, or plan to have visitors with children over
  • Provide curtain cord covers that clip together excess cordage and retract out of any child’s reach

These are some inexpensive ways you can proactively approach the issue of long window treatment cords in your rental property that tenants with small children will appreciate.

 

2. Falls

As one of the leading causes of injury amongst children at home, it is important to consider any heights you have in your Maryland property that may be deemed a safety hazard.

For example, if your property is a two-story home with a sliding glass door leading out to a balcony, consider doing the following:

  • Install pin locks near the top of the door to prevent tiny hands from sliding the door open unsupervised
  • Add thick fly screens to the sliding glass door entryway, because they can often withhold the weight of a child that falls through them
  • Make sure the balcony fencing is vertical to prevent a child from easily climbing up and falling over the edge
  • Ensure the balcony fencing does not have enough spacing between bars that a small child could slip through

In addition, mention to your tenants that they are free to install their own personal baby gates on the stairs inside the house to prevent falls.

 

3. Drowning

Install a Fence Around the Pool to Childproof Your Maryland Rental

If your rental property has a pool, there are many ways you can make accidental drownings a non-issue for tenants with children.

  • Pool Surroundings. Your investment property’s pool should have a fence with a locked door surrounding it to prevent children from trying to swim unattended. In addition, the fence should be tall enough so that small children cannot climb up and over it, and should not consist of gaps that children can easily slide through.
  • Pool Alarm. An interesting feature that may entice tenants with small children is a pool alarm. Designed to alert adults when the pool water is disturbed, this feature may make parents feel safer about having their child living in a home with a pool.
  • Pool Covers. Not only is covering your pool with a sturdy, hard covering going to ensure less damage from the weather and normal wear and tear, it may also help prevent children from accidentally falling in.

Having a pool as an amenity that tenants can enjoy is going to allow you to command much higher rent rates.

However, childproofing your pool is going to be even better for those that are looking for a safe place for their family to live, in addition to the fun a pool provides.

 

4. Outlets

One of the easiest ways you can childproof your Maryland rental property for tenants with small children is to provide outlet covers for all electrical outlets throughout your property.

It’s cheap to do, does not affect the overall aesthetics of your property, allows for regular use of all outlets, and saves your tenants the hassle of doing it themselves.

And, while it would be easy for your tenants to childproof your property’s outlets themselves, this kind of customer service is just what high-quality tenants are seeking.

This, in turn, can lead to a more satisfying rental experience, and possibly result in more lease renewals.

 

5. Get the Right Insurance

Get the Right Homeowners Insurance to Protect Children in Your Maryland Rental

Requiring your tenants to have renters insurance can significantly decrease the liability you have for bodily injuries suffered while on the premises of your property.

This will also help keep your homeowners insurance premiums lower, since payouts will typically come from the renters insurance in the case of an injury.

However, for those times that you are found to be responsible for the injury of a child (or anyone for that matter), it is wise to have enough insurance to cover your losses.

 

In the end, you are legally liable for providing your Maryland tenants a safe and habitable place to live. However, this does not mean you need to childproof every square inch of your property.

After all, you are not legally responsible for the well-being of your tenant’s child, beyond what your homeowners insurance requires.

That said, taking the time to provide extra precautions, and thus some childproofing strategies, throughout your rental property can have a positive effect on your potential tenant’s desire to lease from you.

If you want some help with childproofing and staging your Maryland rental property to appeal to a large tenant pool, families with small children included, enlist the help of Bay Management Group today. We know what prospective tenants are looking for when it comes to a safe rental property.

Plus, we can help with cost effective ways to appeal to families with children that will widen your tenant pool, garner you higher quality tenants that are more likely to renew, and who also appreciate the time and effort that went into your childproofing efforts.


9 Simple Updates to Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Rental

Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency For Your Fort Meade Rental Property

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

Well, think again.

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

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

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

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

 

9 Energy Efficient Updates for Your Fort Meade Rental Property

1. Window Treatments

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

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

 

2. Power Strips

Power Strips Increase Energy Efficiency In Your Fort Meade Rental Property

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

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

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

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

 

3. Air Conditioning Shade

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

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

 

4. Exhaust Fan Covers

Exhaust Fan Covers Increase Energy Efficiency in Fort Meade Rental

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

 

5. Door Sweeps

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

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

 

6. Programmable Thermostat

Programmable Thermostats Increase Energy Efficiency In Your Fort Meade Rental

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

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

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

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

 

7. Plant Trees and Shrubbery

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

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

 

8. Go Tankless

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

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

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

 

9. Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling Fans Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Fort Meade Rental

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


Should You Charge An Application Fee For Your Rental?

Should You Charge An Application Fee For Your Maryland Rental Property?

If you own rental property in Maryland, you may be wondering whether to charge an application fee for prospective tenants looking to lease your property.

After all, plenty of landlords do it, so there must be a good reason why.

But what are those reasons?

If you are considering charging an application fee for your Maryland rental, read on to learn the specifics behind charging application fees in the state of Maryland, the benefits of doing so, and some things to consider if you do decide to charge potential tenants an application fee.

 

Maryland Rental Applications Fees: A General Overview

In Maryland, property owners are allowed to charge tenants no more than $25 for an application fee. This fee can be non-refundable, and you should inform tenants of this from the start.

If you charge prospective tenants more than $25, you must refund any amount not used in the actual processing of the application, or become liable for up to twice as much as the charged fee in damages to the tenant.

This refund must be returned to the tenant within 15 days after they move into your property, or 15 days from the time either party has provided written notice that a tenancy will not occur.

Keep in mind that your potential tenant has the right to request a written explanation of expenses that are incurred during the processing of their application.

Application fees are not intended to be for-profit, and should not generate the property owner any type of positive cash flow.

Application fees are simply to cover the costs of completing the application process.

 

The Benefits of Accepting an Application Fee

The Benefits of Accepting Application Fees For Your Maryland Rental Property

Though you can only charge $25 per application when it comes to leasing out your Maryland rental property, there are plenty of benefits that come with doing so.

Let’s look at some of the most compelling reasons why you should strongly consider charging every prospective tenant an application fee.

 

1. They are Great Pre-Screening Tools

One of the best ways to find out if a potential tenant is serious about leasing your property, is to inform them that you charge a non-refundable application fee.

People who are looking to lease your property that know they have prior evictions, a criminal history, a poor credit score, or not enough income to cover the monthly rent expenses are less likely to apply if they know they have to put their own money into an application fee.

Why?

Because their chances of being denied a tenancy are higher, and they know it.

There is no sense in wasting anyone’s time, or more importantly money.

 

2. They Serve as Compensation

Application Fees Serve as Compensation for Your Maryland Rental Property

As mentioned before, application fees are designed to compensate property owners for the costs incurred during the tenant screening process.

Credit checks, background checks, and the basic administrative processing fees associated with tenant applications all cost money.

By charging your tenant the fee to cover costs, you avoid having to dip into your own pocket to place a tenant in your rental property.

Can you imagine paying for every tenant screening that you process while placing tenants in your Maryland rental home?

If you did pay out of pocket for all screenings, you would likely be more apt to place the first decent tenant that walks through the door into your property, merely because it would save you money.

Unfortunately, rushing a decision like this can lead to more problems down the road.

Insufficient tenant screening, or simply placing a bad tenant in your property, can later lead to non-payment of rent, increased damages to your property, breach of lease behavior, or worse yet, an eviction.

In knowing that you do not have to pay to screen prospective tenants, you have the peace of mind that you can take your time, and place the perfect tenant in your property when you find them.

 

3. It Sets the Tone

Tenants do not necessarily want to pay an application fee.

Especially knowing that it is non-refundable, and is by no means a guarantee that they will be approved to lease your coveted Maryland property.

However, by charging an application fee, you set the tone from the very start that you are serious about your rental property business.

Charging application fees portrays you as a professional landlord that means business.

It lets any potential tenant looking to lease from you know that you can handle paperwork appropriately, that you will only place high-quality tenants in your property, and that you will not tolerate problem tenants.

It shows prospective tenants that while you do provide tenants a service, you have certain expectations of them as well.

 

Things to Consider When Charging Application Fees for Your Maryland Rental

As you can see, charging application fees to all tenants interested in leasing your Maryland rental property is a good idea.

However, there are things you should carefully consider before doing so.

 

Never Misuse Fees

Never Misuse the Application Fee For Your Maryland Rental Property

It is illegal to charge potential tenants an application fee, and then never process their application.

In fact, doing this is considered fraud, and you will quickly find yourself with lots of legal trouble if caught.

If you do not screen a tenant and simply deny their application, make sure you refund the application fee in the process of informing them they will not be residing in your property.

 

Consider Allowing Checks

Many property owners will only accept cash application fees.

However, there is a lot of information on a tenant’s personal check that can be used to aid you in the screening process.

Plus, a check serves as physical proof you did not overcharge a tenant, should they try to claim so in the future.

Just remember, no matter what method your tenant uses to pay for an application fee, always provide a receipt, and keep a record in your own books, just in case.

 

Charge Every Adult

Any good property management company will tell you that you should thoroughly screen any tenant over the age of 18 that will be residing in your property before approving them to lease from you.

This means multiple background and credit checks, all of which must be paid for.

By charging each adult tenant an application fee, you will more than cover the costs associated with screening more than one tenant.

 

In the end, charging prospective tenants an application fee is a very useful way of ensuring you properly screen every single adult tenant that will be living in your investment property.

And, since the fee covers all of the costs associated with a thorough screening, there is no excuse not to take advantage of them.

Lastly, any serious tenant will understand the reasons for charging an application fee, since this is a widely known practice amongst many property owners.

It is important that you follow all of Maryland’s rules and regulations when it comes to charging application fees, processing tenant applications, and properly informing potential tenants how their application fee will be used.

 

If you own rental property in Maryland and feel you need help with the tenant screening process, contact Bay Management Group today.

At Bay Management Group, we are proud of the strict tenant screening process we have in place. In fact, we are so convinced we can find the perfect tenant for your rental property the first go-around, that if your tenant needs evicting within the first 12 months of their tenancy, we will re-lease your property for free.

We are the only property management company in the Maryland region that has this type of warranty.

Why?

Because we know what it takes to place high-quality tenants in your rental property and keep them there for the long haul, and we are willing to go the extra mile.


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.