Philadelphia Neighborhoods – The Hot and the Up and Coming

 

 

Like most large cities in the U.S. Philadelphia has its own neighborhoods and niche areas that offer a variety of entertainment, education and employment opportunities. In Philadelphia, some of the hottest areas are right on the water and provide not only spectacular views but great nightlife and a variety of other amenities that appeal to a wide range of people.

One of our favorites is Manayunk- located on the Schuylkill River was once known as the local college drinking town but is now quickly transforming into a thriving 9,000+ resident “Urban small town.” It is still well known for its nightlife but has a wide variety of activities for all residents. The commercial section of this town is one of the first to be entirely open for dogs and is centrally located allowing for all modes of transportation and quick commutes to and from the city centers. This neighborhood is ranked 10th on the Philadelphia list of best places to purchase a house and makes the best places for Millenials list, falling in at #25.
A+ for Nightlife
B for Housing
B+ for Raising a Family
B for Diversity

Check out Bay Management’s hottest rentals in Manayunk.

Gorgeous 3 BR Townhouse – https://bit.ly/2uILi65
Beautiful 2 BR Townhouse – https://bit.ly/2LkopzS

Another great neighborhood, with a fun, funky atmosphere, is Spring Garden. Ranked #12 in the best Philly neighborhoods, this neighborhood has lots of history. It used to be home to automobile manufacturers. Many of the buildings that were once used in the industry have been converted to lofts and apartments. Multiple museums and culturally rich events and places call this cute neighborhood home. People say it is a beautiful neighborhood to live in, up and coming and full of life and history. Many different religious institutions and architectural styles can also be found in Spring Garden.

A+ for Nightlife
C for Housing
A- for Raising a Family
A for Diversity

Check out Bay Management’s hottest rentals in Spring Garden –

Renovated 1 BR Loft in Old Schoolhouse – https://bit.ly/2NvnNF1
Magnificent 1 BR, 1.5 Bath – https://bit.ly/2JAAD2H

Fairmount, also known as the Art Museum Area due to its proximity to Philadelphia’s Museum of Art and is #5 in the list of best places to raise a family in Philadelphia. Additionally, its proximity to Temple University makes it a great area to obtain affordable student housing and a hot spot for young families. Most city attractions are located in this neighborhood, including the following:
Rodin Museum
Philadelphia’s Central Library
The Franklin Institute of Science
The Academy of Natural Sciences
Barnes Museum

The Spring Garden neighborhood hosts a number of Philadelphia’s significant events, parades, concerts, and races.

A+ for Nightlife
B- for Housing
A- for Raising a Family
A for Diversity

Check out Bay Management’s hottest rentals in Fairmount. –

Updated 1 BR – https://bit.ly/2Lw5O0P
Updated 1 BR – https://bit.ly/2zRk2I3
Recently Renovated 3 BR – https://bit.ly/2zNd9aV
Charming 2 BR 1 Bath – https://bit.ly/2uvWGTc
Spacious 2 BR – https://bit.ly/2O1IZE0


12 Questions to ask your Property Management Company Before you Hire Them

When choosing a potential Property Management company to help you out with your investment properties, there are a few things you should always consider?

Small house with rental label

Here are 12 questions you should probably ask any company before you make a decision.

  1. The first thing you will want to find out is how long the company has been in business. If the company is just starting out, they will most likely experience some hiccups. However, they may also be very motivated to get the job done correctly.  Making sure the property management company has several years of experience is almost always a good box to have checked.
  2. Another thing you should find out is how many properties are they currently managing and what is their staff allocations to those properties.  You always want to look for a balance of a professional organization that hires and staffs appropriately for the number of units they have under management. We believe having at least 500 units under management is a good sign the current management company you are interviewing has a good base.
  3. What type of software are they using? You want to make sure they have a software that you can log into anytime to check your statements. Many older companies that have not kept up with the technological advancements do not have a cloud based software system for their clients. We would advise going with a company that has this type of technology. Appfolio is one of the latest softwares that property management companies are switching over to.
  4. What types of warranties do they provide their clients when renting their property? For instance Bay Management Group provides a 6 month tenant warranty when they place a tenant in one of their units. This can help put the homeowner or investor at ease. If a property management company is going to warranty their tenant for 6 months or longer they are most likely going to be doing a great job screening the tenant before they move them in into the property.
  5. Are you allowed to use your own contractors? Some property management companies allow you to use your own contractors, while others will only allow you to pick from their pool of vendors. We do not believe there is a right or wrong way, however you will want to ask this question because if you are someone who has a lot of good relationships with vendors, you will want to know this before you enter into an agreement with a property management company.
  6. What is the monthly fee? Are there add-ons or extra charges for specific services? You will want to read the property management agreement very carefully because most property management companies will have a lot of EXTRA fees tacked into their contract. Extra fees like filing your 1099 forms at the end of the year, inspecting the property on a somewhat frequent basis, an extra few dollars for sending your money electronically each month, vendor markups, renewal charges on lease renewals, etc..
  7. Who is on the lease? Is the management company on the contract with the tenant or the owner? This is good to know in case issues arise and legal action is needed. You will want to make sure the lease is reviewed so you understand where you liability falls.
  8. How are after-hours emergency handled?  Does the management company take care of all damage, repairs, and complaints and how do they get your approval for certain types of repairs?
  9. What is their policy for move-outs and how much notice is required? Are they able to show the property to the next tenant before the old tenant moves out? How far in advance do they start marketing for the upcoming vacancy?
  10. What is the renewal policy? Is it done automatically and are there extra charges for the owner or tenant if a new lease is requested?
  11. What is the eviction process? How long does it take, what additional fees are assessed, if any?  Do they have experience with evictions? Have them walk you through the entire eviction process and make sure you are not going to be charged any additional fees.
  12. Does the management company do regular inspections on your property for damage and wear and tear? Are there charges added when the tenant is responsible? How do they assist with repairs? Is there a monetary limit they will pay for or does it all come from you as the property owner?

There may be other questions you can think of to ask when you are interviewing potential property management companies – go ahead and ask them, and it never hurts to know more about the company that will potentially partner with you in this endeavor.

 


The True Costs of Tenant Turnover

Property Management Cost SavingsThe actual cost of tenant turnover can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the notice given, the time the property is left vacant, the property condition and the amount of items that need to be replaced, cleaned or repaired to get the property back to its “move in” condition.

Vacancy Costs

Perhaps the most significant expense will be actual costs that accrue while the property is vacant. When you receive notice that a tenant is leaving, you should immediately start the process of finding someone to fill the vacancy. There is never any certainty with how long the process will take, and when the current tenant leaves, so does your flow of income for the property.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your reserves will start to dwindle, the moment your current tenant leaves. The longer you let the property sit without a tenant, the more you lose, as you have to cover the mortgage yourself. Which is why we recommended above to start looking for a new tenant the moment you know you will be losing one.

This isn’t where the proverbial “buck” stops though, remember there may be cleaning costs, repair costs and even when you do find a new tenant; there will be paperwork and man hours before the tenant can move in and get your cash flow moving again.

Marketing Costs

Many of the larger online, rental specific, directory sites now charge to list your property with pictures or video – so depending on your chosen site listing fees can range from free to a few hundred dollars. Signs, flyers, and letters/emails to real estate agents are also reasonably inexpensive ways to get the word out about your property – but all either cost time or money to get done. Every day the property is vacant, you are missing out on money you could be making – so even if it does cost a little money, get the word out as quickly and as widespread as you can!

Showing Costs

The vast majority of potential tenants want to see the property in person before signing a contract. You will want to make sure the property looks as good as possible before scheduling showings, which takes time. Additionally, keep in mind, scheduling showings will take time out of your day and can often create additional travel expenses.

If you still have a tenant in the property when you start showing it, you can cut down on travel expenses significantly, especially if the current tenant is willing to help you do the showings. Proper and constant communication is key to making this happen. If this can be done, it will help reduce your vacancy time, cutting down on utility and mortgage cost you will be covering while the property is vacant.

Application Processing

To ensure your chosen tenant is not in trouble with previous landlords, the law, is in good financial standing, and has a job, you will want to do some digging.

Order a background check on all prospective tenants. Remember, each report costs money, and these costs will add up quickly, especially if you are screening multiple clients. This is why an application fee is always recommended to recoup these costs.

Cleaning Costs

Clean the property before the new tenant arrives. Whether you only need to dust a little, take care of some other minimal cleaning or the property requires an entire deep clean – the tenant will be more likely to keep it clean if this is how it is presented at move in.

Cleaning costs can rack up quickly, especially if the carpet needs to be cleaned or replaced. Of course, some cleaning costs can be recouped with the security deposit, but carpet replacement and general cleaning costs are things you will take on entirely in most cases.

Repair Costs

Appliance and fixture updates should be done while there is no tenant in the property, so during this downtime without a tenant is an excellent opportunity to do this.

Whether you are just replacing light bulbs or the property needs a complete overhaul of the kitchen and bathrooms, these costs should be budgeted for.

Stop the Hemorrhaging

One way to stop your bank account from hemorrhaging funds due to loss of rental income is to find a long-term tenant who is looking for someplace to live for a few years or more. The best way to ensure this happens is by being very responsive and communicative from the moment a new tenant arrives.

When selecting a tenant you will need to follow all fair housing rules – however, if red flags appear in a tenant application – take these flags seriously when making a final decision on whether to rent to the tenant or not.

Professional Property Management firms can always help with these tenant turnover situations – and other day-to-day property/tenant issues.


9 Sneaky Expenses of Owning a Rental Property

Cash Flow - Property Management and Rental Property Expenses.

9 Sneaky Expenses of Owning a Rental Property

Owning an investment property can be a great way to create some additional monthly income and create equity in an investment long term, but something you don’t want to forget are some of the obvious and not so obvious costs of dealing with tenants and the problems that can arise from normal wear and tear on a rental home.  This article points out some common expenses of owning a rental property you would want to consider when estimating your future cash flow.

 

  1. Seasonal Maintenance: No matter where the property is located, there will probably be something you need to do for seasonal maintenance at least a few times a year.  Lawn care, gutter cleaning, snow & leaf removal, and maybe even tree pruning are things you will need to budget for. These budgets can run from $100 to $300 a month depending on your situation and the amount of required maintenance.
  2. Appliance Maintenance: Big ticket items, such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, HVAC systems, stoves, and refrigerators will need to be replaced on occasion. Landlords with lots of experience will tell you to keep these items maintained regularly so that you won’t need to do the big repairs and replacements quite as often. Regular maintenance usually costs a lot less than replacement, but either way, you will want to budget some reserve for when something needs repair or a full replacement.
  3. Pest Control: Preventative maintenance includes spraying around the perimeter of the home to keep pests out. If an infestation does occur, it will need to be remedied immediately to keep your tenants safe and healthy and neither of these is cheap.
  4. Cleaning Costs: Cleaning costs can ramp up quickly after a particularly messy tenant’s departure. In order to keep cleaning costs low, you want to do periodic cleaning checks to ensure the property is being kept in reasonable condition.
  5. Property Damage: Property Damage is more than just being messy or inconsiderate. Replacing a carpet, repainting or even replacing holes in the wall is not something you want to have to do frequently, having regular cleaning checks and inspections can possibly help you avoid some of those expenses. While damage to the actual property can be accidental or intentional – and while much of the repairs should come out of a security deposit – this is another expense to consider.
  6. Flooring: Depending on the type of flooring you purchase for the property – you may have to replace it or repair and clean it every time a tenant turns over. Carpet can be cleaned to keep it maintained, but many other types of flooring will need to be resurfaced or replaced altogether. We recommend sticking to a flooring type you know will last you more than one tenant, and is easy to maintain, such as wood, tile or concrete.
  7. Paint:  A great way to refresh your rental before a new tenant arrives is to paint it. The walls may be scuffed by furniture coming in and out or have holes from nails.  Most tenants will expect the property to be painted before they move in.
  8. Taxes and Insurance:  These are obvious ones that most landlords are used to from having to pay them on their primary homes.   However, they tend to go up each year and can jump up considerably depending on property appreciation and zoning changes that can be unexpected.
  9.  Homeowners Association Fees or Condo Association Fees:  Another typical fee if the home you are planning on renting falls into a neighborhood or area where there are amenities or management that helps manage the area their property is located.  These also have a tendency to go up over time and in some cases can levy additional fees and expenses for various things including where tenants are not keeping the property in the manner agreed to by the HOA rules or breaking other rules like noise or traffic rules.  Since as the landlord you are the legal owner you would – in most cases – be legally responsible for any of those fines or fees.

Rental properties can become amazing investments over time, but before you go into buying up property make sure you know ALL the potential expenses that could come up over the life of the property.

In talking with Dana Anderson, a Philadelphia Property Management expert, he suggests to plan or budget spending about 2-3% of the purchase price of their property on yearly management, maintenance, and reserve allowance expenses.


Six Tips to Manage Recurring Rental Property Maintenance.

Property Maintenance is both the tenant and the landlord’s responsibility. What they’re each responsible for depends on what is outlined in the lease and the extent of the repair/maintenance needed. Typically, tenants are responsible for the regular upkeep of their rented property; This includes things like changing light bulbs and keeping their yard trash-free. Landlords are usually responsible for more big-ticket maintenance, such as HVAC repairs, roof leaks, electrical, and structural issues.

If a property is well-maintained by the tenants and the landlord, it is more likely to attract interest in future renters and will lessen the amount of recurring large-scale maintenance problems.

Here are six tips to manage recurring rental property maintenance that will help to keep your properties well-maintained.

1. Communication is Key.

It will only make things easier for you and your tenants if there are established lines of communication. If tenants know their landlord cares about their maintenance issues, they are more likely to take care of their property too. Now, this is a two-way street.

Make sure to keep tenants informed about how maintenance repairs are going and if there are unexpected roadblocks that may cause it to take longer than you thought to finish the repair. You should respond to tenants’ reports and concerns as quickly as possible, even if you can’t immediately fix the problem, let them know you hear their concern and will take care of the situation promptly.

2. Practice preventative maintenance.

Preventative maintenance is preparing for a maintenance issue before it occurs.
This can be done by creating a schedule of inspections and maintenance. This schedule can be designed by week, month, or even season; depending on your unique set of properties. For example, you may schedule pipe maintenance right before the winter months to make sure they are prepared to sustain colder temperatures and won’t freeze or burst.

Even with a preventative maintenance schedule, always try to expect the unexpected. Maintenance repairs that don’t fall into the predetermined inspection schedule will probably still happen but are less likely to occur if everything is routinely checked.

A maintenance schedule can save you time and money in the long run, and a well-maintained property will only increase property value.

3. Everything has an expiration date.

During these inspections, remember that everything has an expiration date. This includes appliances, paint, and even built-in fixtures like rugs and wood flooring. Be sure to take into consideration the age and condition of what you are repairing, the expected lifespan, how many times it has been fixed previously, and if there are any safety concerns or price disparities involved with repairing it rather than replacing it.

Also, try and make good notes of larger potential projects that are in the medium to long-term future for each property. Items like the removal of large trees that may be creating a hazard on the property or the replacement of decks and porches or the resurfacing of driveways at some point will likely need to be taken care of, and these projects can come with both hefty expenses and inconveniences for the tenants.

These considerations can be help with tenant relationships and retention and can help to spread out expenses over time and manage a more even month to month cash flow situation for you as the investor.

4. Standardization and automation keep things simple.

By using the same maintenance materials, like colors of paint and brands of appliances and hardware, you can save time and money on trying to remember what property needs what. This will also allow you to provide the same, smooth transition to a move-in ready property every time you’re looking for a new tenant for each of your properties.

You can also work at automating some changes in your properties as well like have all of your air and/or water filters changed out the same months or do all of your leaf removals and clean up the same week.

You can also invest in appliances that have longer expected lives, are tamper resistant or automatically turn on or off. Automatic exterior lights or hardwired fire alarms with rechargeable batteries are examples of nice additions that tenants will likely appreciate.

5. Keep a list of repairs made and expenses paid.

Be sure to keep a full list of repairs that were done and the time it took to complete them. Holding on to receipts from every repair will help this process. This information can be used to adjust and optimize your maintenance schedule. If you find recurring maintenance was needed on a particular property or type of appliance, consider increasing the number of inspections accordingly or replacing as needed.

Also, keeping track of what you spend on inspections and repairs will enable you to create a maintenance budget and organized files come in helpful at tax time or for annual reviews of property income performance.

6. Be prepared no matter what the situation.

Be prepared in any situation by noting a few things. Know where your property’s electrical panels, gas, and water shut-offs are located not only to direct whoever is conducting inspections and maintenance but also in case of emergency situations. Making sure your tenants know where the water cut off valve is can save you thousands of dollars in the case of a frozen or broken pipe. It takes virtually no time to flood an entire house with a badly broken pipe.

Know what kind of work is required to be conducted by a licensed professional. This can differ from state to state. Check with your local building authority to ensure you stay on the right side of their guidelines.

Conclusion

Recurring maintenance on any property can be time consuming and expensive. Ignoring maintenance items and you run the risk of having larger more costly and time-consuming issues that may appear unexpectedly while no one wants to purposefully fix things that aren’t 100% necessary for the upkeep of a home.

Professional help and management can typically help in these situations as Property Management Companies will usually have the experience and contact to quickly and affordably take care of exactly what needs to be fixed or maintained without spending more than is necessary.


The 6 Best Websites to Advertise Your Rental Property in 2018

 

Online rental property sites are virtually everywhere nowadays.  You can easily find tiny, local sites that are typically associated with one of the community news publications all the way up to the larger national sites that cater more to real estate professionals.  

To help you sift through all the websites out there, we put together a quick list of the Top 5 (with a bonus site at the end) that we feel like the majority of renters will likely hit on their search for a new rental property.

Craigslist

The “granddaddy” of online classified sites still holds a place in anyone’s top 5 or 10 sites to list your rental property.  On Craigslist you can find anything from a rental property to a used lawn mower ALL on the same site. This is both a blessing and a curse as in some cases you will get way more tenants (of varying qualifications) from Craigslist than any of the other online sites out there.

Zillow

Zillow does cater more to the real estate professionals and arguably more to the home buyer/seller than renter markets, but in most areas, they do have a healthy rental listing pool as well.  Like a few of the others on our list, it will depend somewhat on your area as to how active the rental listing section will be for your specific neighborhood. They allow for high-quality photos with a very easy to use interface for prospective tenants to browse through images and information about each rental property.

HotPads

HotPads focuses on only rental properties.  They have a great follow up system for users who enter their email addresses where they email out listing each day to remind the user of properties they had viewed and new listings that they may be interested.  HotPads does tend to have more apartments and multifamily units and appears to be used actively by professional property management groups and apartment companies.

Realtor.com

Like Zillow, this site leans more towards the buyer and seller’s market than the rental market, but they still have a healthy number of rental listing especially in larger metro areas.   They also send your listing to a few other sites that they own including Moving.com and DoorSteps.com all for free.

Rentals.com

Rental.com is now a group of rental sites that includes Rent.com and Lovely.com, and they now claim over a million searches each month for properties and specialize in only rental properties.  There are costs associated with listing your properties on these sites and as of 2018 range from the low end of $49.99 per property per month to upwards of around $80/month depending on the listing features.

BONUS IDEA

List your property with Bay Management Group, and then you don’t have to worry with all these sites – keeping up with which listing is still posted and which one is generating the best-qualified tenants.  We are confident that we can rent your property in 30 days or less AND if we place a tenant in one of your properties and they get evicted in the first six months we will release your property for FREE – no other company offers this kind of ironclad guarantee.

 

Give us a call today and let us take the marketing and management off your hands.


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.


The Top 5 Ways to Collect Rent From Your Bowie Tenants

Top 5 Ways to Collect Rent From Your Bowie Tenant

Collecting rent from your tenants in Bowie, MD is one of the most important tasks assigned to your property management company.

After all, once rent is collected from your tenants, you get paid.

Today, we are going to look at some of the steps required to collect rent from your tenants, as well as some ways to go about collecting rent.

But first, we will review the more traditional ways of collecting rent, for a quick refresher.

 

How to Collect Rent From your Tenants

How to Collect Rent From Your Bowie Tenant

Here is a look at some of the best ways to collect rent from your tenants:

  1. Online. Allowing tenants to access an online portal to pay their monthly rent is typically considered the best way. It is convenient for your tenant, is secure, and it guarantees that the funds submitted are going to be deposited into your bank account.
  2. Check or Money Order. Though some Bowie property managers prefer not to accept personal checks (unless mailed in), a large majority of tenants still prefer to pay with paper checks. If you do not accept paper checks, money orders are a safe and simple alternative.
  3. Direct Deposit. There may be instances where you want your tenant to transfer their rent from their bank account directly into your bank account. Though not very common, it is definitely secure.
  4. Mail-in Payments. You can always go the more traditional route, and allow your tenants to mail their rent to either you or your property management company. However, the risk of your tenant’s check getting lost in the mail exists, and can cause a delay in your getting paid.
  5. In Person. There is also the option of having your tenants drop their rent off in person at your house (which is always risky) or at your property management company’s office. Again, this requires a personal check, a money order, or cash (which is never recommended).

 

As you can see, there are a number of ways to collect rent from your tenants.

But the question still remains: what are the steps to collecting rent from your tenants?

 

The Rent Collection Process

Rent Collection Process in Bowie, Maryland

The process of collecting rent from your tenants is rather simple if you employ Bowie’s top property management company to do it for you.

Here is a rundown of how your property manager should approach collecting rent from your tenants:

  1. Draft an airtight lease agreement outlining the rent rate, due date, and consequences for paying late
  2. Inform the tenant prior to move-in of the rent collection procedures, including the methods for submitting payment
  3. Collect rent each month through the approved methods
  4. Properly document all rent payments collected each month for tenants, property owners, and the IRS to see
  5. If a rent payment is late, begin the eviction process immediately – serve proper notice, file eviction paperwork, and prepare for legal proceedings if necessary

 

Although the process for collecting rent from your tenants is relatively simple, it is critical to not underestimate its importance.

This is especially true when it comes to dealing with late rent payments.

If, by chance, your tenants fail to pay their rent on time, your property management company should step in and handle the situation right away. You should not let your tenants feel that they can get away with paying their rent late.

After all, this is your rental property business, and you should treat it as such.

 

Additional Rent Collection Methods

Pay Rent Online Via ACH

There are several ways you can collect rent from your tenants during the course of their tenancy.

And, while some ways are recommended, such as collecting payments online, there are additional options that you can provide your tenants, if the situation arises.

 

Local Drop Box

This method is similar to allowing your tenants to drop their rent payments off in person to your property management company. However, this method affords both your property manager and tenant some convenience when it comes to the actual time of day that the payment is dropped off.

Rather than hand in a rent payment in person during regular business hours, having a drop box available makes dropping off rent at any time of the day possible.

Many of your tenants may work during the day and may need to drop rent off after-hours. Allowing them this option of a drop box may reduce late or delayed payments.

 

ACH Payments

ACH stands for Automated Clearing House, and involves the automatic collection of rent payments online.

Using an ACH payment service allows you to collect payments from your tenants electronically either as one-time payments, or as recurring payments by directly debiting your tenant’s savings or checking account.

This method is secure and prevents your tenants from having to use e-checks or credit/debit cards.

In addition, this method can be more cost effective than collecting payments via credit or debit card.

Why is that?

Because accepting credit and debit cards usually involves additional transaction fees in exchange for using the online rent collection service.

Lastly, collecting rent using the ACH payment method is typically faster than any online method, because payment is directly debited from your tenant’s bank account.

Processing this type of transaction is quick and easy.

 

PayNearMe

If your tenant does not have access to a computer, or prefers to pay in person but your property management company does not accept drop-off rent payments or does not have a drop box available, you can always consider offering them a PayNearMe option.

PayNearMe is a way to let your tenants pay their rent in cash to a local 7-Eleven or other business that collaborates with the PayNearMe program.

Using a unique card assigned to them for making rent payments, your tenant simply goes to the local PayNearMe business, pays their rent at the counter, and receives a receipt for payment. In response, you are immediately notified that your tenant has paid their rent in full.

This option is often much easier than getting a money order and delivering it, or mailing a check (complete with envelope, address, and stamp), and is a great solution for those that do not have online payment access.

 

Collecting rent from your tenants is one of the most important things you will do as a property owner.

And, if you enlist the help of Bowie’s best property management company, you will be placing the responsibility of rent collection in your property manager’s hands, which is a big weight off of your back.

If you own rental property and need a reliable property management company to aid you in the collection of rent from your tenants, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help you with every step of collecting rent – from the drafting of the lease agreement, complete with rent payment details to the eviction process (if need be) – so that you don’t have to worry about any of the stresses involved in collecting money from your tenants.


What Are the Responsibilities of a Property Management Company?

What Are the Responsibilities of Your Gaithersburg Property Management Company?

If you own rental property in Gaithersburg and self-manage your rental property business, you may be finding that there is a lot more to being a landlord than you originally anticipated.

And with that in mind, you may be thinking it is time to enlist the help of one of Gaithersburg’s top property management companies.

You may also be wondering to yourself what exactly a property management company is responsible for when it comes to your investment property. 

For those that are unsure whether investing in a property management company is a good idea, or for those that simply don’t know what a property manager is responsible for, keep reading.

Today we are going to give you the rundown on what an experienced, highly qualified property management company should offer you in terms of services.

 

What a Qualified Gaithersburg Property Management Company Should Do

1. Property Advertising

Property Management Company Should Advertise Property

One of the most important responsibilities your property management company has is advertising your vacant property to a high-quality tenant pool.

They should utilize a diverse set of platforms such as Craigslist, MLS, online classifieds, and even direct mail to expose your property to a wide group of prospects. They should also be available for those reaching out with interest.

 

2. Tenant Screening

All potential tenants should be thoroughly screened by your property manager. This includes background and credit checks to make sure they have no criminal background, previous evictions, or outstanding debts.

Additionally, your property management company is responsible for avoiding any discrimination when it comes to fair housing laws and screening potential tenants.

This is a key reason to enlist the help of a property manager. The last thing you want to do is be sued for unintentionally discriminating against an interested tenant.

 

3. Tenant Move-In

Property Management Company Handles Tenant Move-in

Here are some of the things your Gaithersburg property management company will handle at the time your new tenant moves into your investment property:

  • Legally compliant lease drafting according to your specific needs
  • Evaluation of local rent rates so your rent will generate income
  • Lease term start and end dates
  • Detailed move-in inspection with all parties, complete with photographs
  • Collection of security deposit and first and last month’s rent

Lastly, your property manager will provide your tenants with the keys to your property, as well as a welcome tenant package, complete with pertinent contact information, maintenance responsibilities, local area information, and possibly a small gift welcoming your tenant to their new home.

 

4. Maintenance, Repairs, and Complaints

Anytime your tenant has a maintenance or repair request, your property management company is the one to handle it.

And, if you choose one of the top property management companies in Gaithersburg, your tenants will have access to an on-call maintenance crew that is available 24/7.

Not having to take after-hours calls from tenants is one of the best benefits of enlisting the help of a team of property managers. Not only do they have the resources to handle emergencies, they take the pressure off of you and having to be available all the time.

It is also a good idea to look into a property management company that has a 24-hour hotline for tenants that have complaints or non-emergency issues. Again, not having to field these calls all night long is something you’ll love.

 

5. Rent Collection

Property Management Company Should Collect Rent

Receiving rent payments, tracking down those that haven’t paid, sending out rent reminders, and disbursing payments to you are another huge responsibility you place in the hands of your property management team.

In addition to collecting your rent money and handing it over to you, your property manager is also tasked with the job of initiating eviction proceedings, should your tenant fail to pay rent on time.

This includes filing paperwork to start an eviction, sending out proper notices, representing you in court, and even aiding in the removal of tenants, should the need arise.

 

6. Property Inspections

Making sure your property is being well cared for throughout the lease term takes a lot of effort.

That’s why having a property manager to conduct seasonal inspections is so helpful. Not only can they check to make sure everything is okay with your tenants (which is a great customer service method), your property manager can make sure your tenant is fulfilling their lease obligations.

Finding small maintenance issues and fixing them before they turn into bigger issues, reminding tenants of their tenant responsibilities, and finding out what would make your tenants happier are all things that will ultimately aid you in your quest for success as a property owner.

 

7. Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping Handled by Property Management Company

Property management companies have a duty to maintain all financial documentation as it relates to your rental property business.

Here are some things your property manager will likely handle while managing your rental:

  • Proper accounting of all rent payments collected, including receipts
  • Annual reporting of all financial statements, including a 1099 form
  • Monthly income/expense reports
  • Documentation of any payments made on your behalf (utilities, HOA, insurance premiums)
  • All maintenance estimates, work orders, and invoice/payment receipts
  • Yearly tax information for the property itself and the rental property business

While it can be helpful to hire on a separate accountant to help you with your yearly financials as they relate to your rental property business, know that an experienced property management company can handle most, if not all, of that documentation for you.

In fact, some property managers will even help you file your annual taxes so that you don’t have to hire external services.

 

8. Tenant Move-Out

Just as your property manager helped move your tenant in, they are responsible for helping your tenant move out as well.

When a tenant gives their notice to move out of your property, you property manager will likely inspect the unit as a whole to determine what damages the tenant has incurred.

From there, the following will happen:

  • Provide tenant with a detailed list of estimated damages
  • Return the remaining balance of your tenant’s security deposit
  • Re-key all locks and make any repairs
  • Clean rental property for next tenant that will move in
  • Place vacant property back on the market

 

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of Gaithersburg property management responsibilities.

Rather, it gives you a good idea of the scope of tasks a high-quality property manager will gladly take on while managing your rental property.

If you own rental property in Gaithersburg and have realized that self-management of your investment property is not right for you, get in touch with Bay Management Group today. We take great pride in our customer service-oriented approach to property management, and strive to provide you and your tenants the best experience possible.


5 Rental Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Property in Top Shape

Rental Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Philadelphia Rental Property in Good Shape

Taking care of your Philadelphia rental home is just as important as caring for the home you actually live in.

Yet, time and again, property owners either fall behind on general maintenance of their rental properties, or expect their tenants to handle everything – both of which are a bad idea.

Keeping your investment property in tiptop shape is one way of extending the life of your property, as well as avoiding any major repairs.

If you want your property to last, despite people of all kinds moving in and out of it over time, you must commit to implementing a routine maintenance plan.

Take a look at some of the very best ways you can handle rental property maintenance, so that your Philadelphia rental property withstands the test of time, and continues to generate a positive cash flow for you each year.

 

Maintenance Tips for Keeping Your Philadelphia Rental Property in Exceptional Shape

 

1. Take Advantage of Pest Control

Take Advantage of The Pest Control For Your Philadelphia Rental Property

There has been a longstanding serious debate as to whether pest control is an issue for property owners or tenants to handle during a lease term.

However, the consensus is that prior to move-in, a property owner is responsible for providing a safe and habitable place for tenants.

This means you must ensure your Philadelphia rental is free of all pests and rodents before a tenant moves in.

From there, it is your tenant’s job to ensure that a pest or rodent infestation does not take over.

 

Seems fair enough, right?

 

Of course it does.

However, just because it is your tenant’s responsibility to make sure pests haven’t overtaken your rental property, does not mean they are being proactive about pest control.

And, when it comes to pests, being ahead of the game is the key to winning.

If you want to avoid dealing with the excessive damage that a major pest or rodent infestation can have on the structure of your rental property, consider having an exterminator regularly visit your property (approximately every two months), regardless of whose job pest control is.

Though with this approach there is a cost involved that eats into your bottom line, it is worthwhile in the long run.

A pest or rodent infestation can not only cause you to lose a tenant come renewal time, thus leading to higher turnover and vacancy rates, the damage pests such as termites can do to your property is astounding.

And, even with the best of intentions, your tenants may not be equipped to handle routine pest control on their own.

By helping them out a little, you provide your tenants extra customer service (which can go a long way with a lease renewal), and provide yourself the peace of mind your property is pest free.

 

2. Perform Routine Inspections

This is a major one.

Routine inspections can have a profound impact on the longevity of your rental property, no matter the time of year you conduct them.

Check for things like water leaks, broken windows, rotting wood, or full gutters while inspecting the exterior of your property.

Tenants are likely to miss these kinds of issues during the course of their tenancy, especially if they are not taking an active role in property maintenance.

After all, many tenants that do participate in property maintenance assume that “maintenance” includes just the interior.

By regularly monitoring the exterior of your investment property, you will be able to spot problem areas before they become major issues.

This will not only help ensure the structure of your property stays sound throughout the year, it will prevent costly repairs down the line that may displace your tenants, and dip into your monthly rent collection.

 

3. Hire a Landscaper

Hire a Landscaper to Care For Your Philadelphia Rental Property

Unless you are absolutely sure the tenant you have placed in your rental property is capable of maintaining both the front and backyard landscaping, consider hiring a professional landscaper to do the job instead.

Look at some of the benefits you reap by having a well-kept yard:

  • A visually appealing space you, your tenants, and neighbors can be proud of
  • Help cool your neighborhood from sweltering summer heat
  • Absorb surrounding noise
  • Improve drainage and prevent sidewalk cracking, foundation slipping, and flooded areas
  • Trap pollutants in the air, and create more oxygen
  • Increase property value
  • Create an inviting “getaway” that tenants can enjoy year round
  • Prevent major pest infestations
  • Create great curb appeal to attract future tenants

The truth is, no one wants to look at a yard full of overgrown shrubs, trees, and weeds.

And, the fact that your tenants would likely love to have a nice backyard they can enjoy throughout the year makes hiring a professional landscaper even more appealing.

 

4. Care for the HVAC System

One of the biggest repairs any Philadelphia income property owner can face is the repair (or replacement!) of an entire HVAC system.

This is why routine care is key.

Look at some things you can do year round to help maintain your property’s HVAC system, and prevent a major financial burden down the road:

  • Professional Servicing. Have the system professionally serviced at least once a year. This includes a full cleaning, and the maintenance of any parts that are outdated or worn. In doing so, you will save your tenants money each month on energy costs, improve the air quality throughout your property, and prevent emergency repair needs.
  • Help Your Tenants. It is not enough to simply tell your tenants they are responsible for maintaining something like the HVAC system. Instead, try providing them with replacement air filters so all they have to do is change them out each month. In addition, giving your tenant a welcome package upon move-in is a great way to slip in a routine maintenance checklist, complete with instructions on how to maintain the HVAC system and what to do in case something breaks.
  • Duct Sealing. Every few years consider having your property’s HVAC ducts re-sealed. This will ensure the system continues to work efficiently and prevent any “backdrafting” that may physically harm your tenants. In addition, it will prevent extreme temperatures from plaguing specific rooms, boost air quality, protect the environment, and of course, save you money in the long run.

 

5. Don’t Forget the Water Heater

Keep Up Maintenance On Your Philadelphia Rental Property Water Heater

Another rental property maintenance issue that is often overlooked is the water heater.

And, if you have ever had to replace the water heater in your Philadelphia rental, you know firsthand how expensive the actual heater is, as well as how damaging a flooded water heater can be to a tenant’s personal belongings, and the structure of your property.

Here are some easy ways to maintain your property’s water heater:

  • Adjust the thermostat to approximately 120 degrees to prevent scalding, and to save your tenant’s money on energy costs
  • Ensure enough clearance around the tank
  • Drain the tank a few times a year to remove sediment build-up and debris
  • Test the temperature-pressure relief valve yearly
  • Inspect the anode rod every few years
  • Insulate the heater, especially if an older model

Just remember, if you are uncomfortable with performing any of the above-mentioned maintenance tasks, call a professional to help service your water heater.

 

In the end, maintaining the shape of your Philadelphia rental property largely relies on your ability to work with your tenants when it comes to routine maintenance tasks.

There are also several things you can do on your own to guarantee your property lasts a long time without needing any major improvements or repairs.

If you own property in the Philadelphia area, and want help with routine maintenance of your rental, contact Bay Management Group today and have our professional, qualified, and affordable handymen and contractors help you out.

Not only can we handle any maintenance or repair requests your tenants make during their lease term, day or night, we can help you with maintaining your property in between tenants so that your property stays in great shape year round.