4 Renovations To Keep Your Tenants Happy & Complaint-Free

Renovations to Keep Your Owings Mills Tenants Happy & Complaint-Free

Keeping your tenants happy is the best way to continue collecting a consistent stream of rental income, prevent an unnecessary vacancy, and of course, build your Owings Mills rental property business into one that is reputable and successful.

That said, how you keep your tenants happy can be challenging at times.

There are so many ways to keep tenants satisfied, and each tenant you encounter will have their own individual needs, and complaints, that you need to address.

If you are looking to secure more lease renewals, and genuinely provide quality customer service to your tenants, take a look at these common renovations you can make to your rental property to help lower tenant complaints.

 

Lower Tenant Complaints with These Rental Upgrades

As a property owner, you cannot possibly anticipate every issue your tenants will have.

However, with these Owings Mills rental property renovations, you can definitely lower the number of complaints you receive from tenants, and boost their overall satisfaction.

 

1. Appliance Upgrades

Upgrade Appliances to Keep Owings Mills Tenants Happy and Complaint-Free

Your tenants will always have maintenance and repair issues that need dealing with throughout their tenancy.

In fact, some of the most common maintenance complaints you are going to face will be associated with your property’s appliances.

The last thing you want is to have multiple grievances about your property’s appliances put in by your tenants during their tenancy.

Not only will this begin to cost you, since it is your responsibility to handle all maintenance and repair issues, this is sure to grind on your tenant’s nerves – even if you handle every repair quickly and efficiently.

In short, tenants want the appliances in their home to work. What they don’t want is to have to call your property management company on a regular basis to inform you of another appliance that has burnt out.

If you have room in your budget to upgrade your rental’s appliances to newer, more energy efficient ones, you should.

This will not only allow you to command higher rent rates, new appliances are bound to last longer without needing repair, which is something every tenant will appreciate.

 

2. New Flooring

In the past, we have discussed the various flooring options you have when it comes to your rental property.

And, while flooring such as hardwood or laminate garner you a higher ROI on your rental property, the truth is, they don’t do much for one major tenant complaint – noise.

 Noise problems can wreak havoc on your tenant’s daily life, especially if they lease an apartment or townhome from you, where shared walls are common, and neighbors become an issue.

What’s worse is that typical noise complaints don’t usually break the threshold designated by local authorities as a violation of the city’s noise ordinances. This means your tenants have to deal with neighboring animals, music, or children, and there is usually no legal remedy available to stop it.

This is when noise complaints become your problem.

As the landlord of your tenants, it is your responsibility to maintain their surrounding peace and quiet. And, if noise is something your tenants complain about consistently, it is your job to handle it.

One renovation that helps keep noise at bay, and your tenants satisfied, is carpeting the floors.

Though not always the number one option when it comes to your rental property’s flooring, it helps keeps noise under control, especially in apartments.

This is especially true if you budget in a noise-blocking carpet underlay.

In addition, you can install some high quality carpet choices in your rental if you are looking to rake in higher rent rates. No one ever said the carpet in your rental had to be cheap.

If, by chance, you are not a fan of carpet, there is always the option of installing cork in your rental property. Cork floors absorb sound since they are soft and dense, much like carpet is.

This flooring type will do wonders for controlling outside noise, and look great in your rental property, which is something all property owners aim for.

 

3. New Windows

New Windows Keep Owings Mills Tenants Happy

If your Owings Mills rental property is near a busy area that conducts a lot of excess noise (think New York City during morning rush hour), your tenants may start to voice their problems with this.

What many property owners don’t realize is that the windows on their property have a tendency to exacerbate outside noise.

This means children playing in the street, cars honking, or nearby construction zones may project noise directly into your property, disrupting your tenant’s peace and quiet.

This is because windows conduct light, heat, and noise, and can make all three things worse if not installed properly.

One renovation you can make on your rental property to lower the chances your tenants will complain of outside noise is to install double or triple paned windows.

You can also provide thick, noise projecting window treatments such as drapes to keep out the light, heat, and noise.

Lastly, it is important you make sure your window seals are not cracking, as these tiny gaps have the potential to allow unwanted noise inside the property, without you even realizing it.

 

4. Landscaping

If noise complaints are still something you are receiving from tenants, you can always take your renovations outside to help eliminate some of the problem.

Landscaping your backyard with large trees and shrubs can help block noise from the surrounding businesses and street traffic.

In addition, this renovation will create a backyard oasis for tenants to enjoy, help reduce energy bills thanks to the shade they provide, and help keep drafts out during the cold winters.

 

In Closing

It is impossible to eliminate all tenant complaints with renovations to your rental property.

And, while there are some decent options for helping to reduce tenant complaints, especially when it comes to appliances and noise, there is much more to keeping your tenants satisfied and complaint-free.

If you own rental property and want help boosting tenant satisfaction through not only renovations, but also exceptional customer service, contact the leader in Owings Mills property management − Bay Management Group.

We provide superior customer service when it comes to tenant complaints we receive. With years of experience dealing with every type of tenant issue you could possibly imagine, we know the best way to alleviate problems, provide excellent maintenance and repair services whenever there is even a minor issue, and can help advise tenants of the best ways to make their residency in your rental property one that they enjoy.


The Top 5 Pro Tips For Long-Term Essex Resident Retention

Pro Tips for Long Term Tenant Retention In Essex

Learning how to retain your Essex tenants, and encourage them to sign lease renewals at the end of their lease terms, is something all successful property owners do at some point during their career.

In fact, learning this skill early on will save you the time and money it takes to advertise a vacant property, screen for new tenants, draft a new lease agreement, and prepare your property for new tenants.

Not to mention, retaining tenants grants you a consistent stream of income, and helps you keep your vacancy rates low.

Whether you employ an Essex property management company to help boost your property retention rates, or you self-manage your rentals and approach tenant retention yourself, there are always new tips to add to your arsenal for satisfying your tenant, and making them want to stay year after year.

Keep reading to find out some of the best tenant retention tips both you and your property manager can implement to secure long-term resident retention in your investment property.

 

The 5 Essential Ways to Boost Retention Rates in Your Rental

1. Build Strong Landlord-Tenant Relationships

Build a Strong Relationship With Your Essex Tenant

Property management companies always stress the importance of first impressions when it comes to the landlord-tenant relationship.

And there’s a reason for that: how you begin a lease term with new tenants sets the tone for the rest of the tenancy.

That said, it is easy to forget to build on those relationships as your tenants settle into your property. This is especially true if your tenants always pay their rent on time, rarely complain or cause problems, and take care of your property the way they are supposed to.

But remember, when it comes to higher retention rates, it is this relationship with your tenants that matters most.

Do not spend all of your time and resources marketing vacant properties, dealing with problem tenants, and seeking new investment properties.

Instead, take the time to solidify relationships with good tenants that you hope to keep on for another lease term.

 

2. Say “Thank You”

Expressing your gratitude towards tenants that are worth the lease renewals you send out at the end of each lease term is another way to encourage high quality tenants to stay.

Try giving your best tenants something meaningful when it comes to rewarding them for their great tenant behavior.

Of course, a discount on rent is always welcome, since 58% of tenants prefer lower rent rates when it comes to incentives.

However, here are some unique ideas you can try should your budget allow:

  • Reserved Parking Spaces. Loyal tenants are sure to appreciate a reserved parking spot. Perhaps a covered spot or one that is closer to the property is something you can offer as an incentive. This works especially well for properties in urban areas where parking space is limited.
  • Deep Clean. Many property owners offer an annual carpet cleaning for tenants that sign lease renewals. However, taking it one step further and offering a house-wide deep clean is sure to make your tenants that much more satisfied.
  • Buy a Gift. Depending on your budget, and how much you value your tenant, consider buying them a unique gift that you wouldn’t normally purchase for an adequate tenant. For example, annual passes to the local zoo or amusement park, new furniture, or even something electronic such as a TV can go a long way when it comes to tenant satisfaction.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to reward your tenant for being a good tenant and signing lease renewals with you. Sometimes, all it takes is a small incentive to push them in the right direction and convince them to stay.

 

3. Make Tenant Satisfaction a Year-Round Priority

Just as it is important to work on your tenant-landlord relationship throughout the lease term, it is important you check on the level of your tenant’s satisfaction throughout the lease term as well.

If you wait to find out your tenant does not want to renew with you come lease renewal time because they were not happy with some of the things you or your Essex property management company did or did not do, it’s too late.

Check on your tenants year-round to make sure any minor issues they are having are addressed immediately.

This proactive approach may be just enough to show your tenants that it’s worth their while to stay in your property for another year.

 

4. Get Feedback from Tenants and Make Improvements

Get Feedback From Tenants and Make Improvements

One thing all our property managers in Essex encourage their clients to do is collect feedback from current tenants to find out what improvements, if any, can be made.

Again, waiting until lease renewal time to find out your tenants are unhappy is too late.

Chances are they have already made their mind up and are on the way out, no matter what you do to try to stop them.

Here are some helpful feedback tips:

  • Attempt to meet with your tenants face-to-face for a more personalized meeting
  • For tenants that cannot meet in person, make an online or mail-in survey available so they can participate at their own convenience
  • Consider offering a small incentive to get tenants to complete the survey, such as a one month rent discount
  • Take the time to work with your property management company once results come in to make needed improvements

 

In addition to maintaining an open line of communication with your tenants throughout their lease term, implementing an annual satisfaction survey can help you lower tenant turnover rates, and make your rental property business more successful.

 

5. Offer 24/7 Rental Property Maintenance

Offer Around the Clock Rental Property Maintenance

Around the clock maintenance is something that all tenants appreciate when it comes to leasing a rental property.

When you fail to pay attention to the overall maintenance and repair procedures you have in place, and problems ensue, tenants are sure to look elsewhere to live once their lease is up.

Make sure your tenant knows from the start what to do in the case of an emergency versus a minor repair issue.

Give them all of the appropriate contact information – property manager, contractors, emergency maintenance, and the after-hours call center – so that when they need something, they know exactly what to do and who to call.

In addition, it is crucial you stay on top of the relationship your property management company and vendors have.

If that relationship is broken, this will surely carry over into any work performed on your investment property for your tenants. This can bother tenants to the point they do not want to sign a lease renewal with you.

 

In Closing

Your tenants need to feel good about where they live, especially if they are going to sign lease renewals come the end of their lease terms.

And as the property owner, whether you enlist the help of a property manager or not, it is your responsibility to make sure they are nothing short of satisfied.

If you own rental property in the Essex region, and hope to reduce your property vacancies, get in touch with Bay Management Group today. We provide superior customer service to both property owners and their tenants, and believe that how we treat our customers is the most important aspect of our business.

With effective maintenance procedures in place to guarantee tenant satisfaction, the ability to regularly check in on tenants to ensure they are not having any issues, and the desire to collect and utilize any feedback we receive from your tenants, we can help you improve your property retention rates. It is our job to place long-term tenants in your rental and make certain they are happy.


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

Ways to Get Your Catonsville Tenant to Pay Rent On Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

1. Clear Communication

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is especially helpful if you require online rent payments.

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

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

 

2. Enforce a Late Fee

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

3. Offer a Discount

Offering Tenants a Discount Will Help Them Pay Rent on Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

4. Report All Late Payments

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

Well, you can.

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

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

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

 

5. Be Consistent

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


How Can a Catonsville Landlord Break a Tenant’s Lease?

How Can a Cantonsville Landlord Break a Lease?

In the past, we have discussed the various reasons why your Maryland tenants maybe able to legally break their lease agreement with you.

Things such as being called to active military duty, being a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, and even things you do such as harassing your tenant, or failing to provide a safe and habitable place of living, are all legitimate reasons your tenant may initiate an early lease termination.

But have you ever thought about it the other way around, with landlords as the ones to break the lease agreement?

Today we are going to discuss the legal reasons a Catonsville landlord may break the binding contract they agreed to with their tenants at the start of their tenancy.

 

3 Legal Reasons a Catonsville Landlord May Break a Lease

Catonsville landlords should seek advisement from their property management company if they want to terminate a lease agreement early.

Since every state has their own set of rules and regulations, in addition to the federal landlord-tenant laws all property owners must abide by, it is important to consult with your property manager before quitting a lease agreement early, in order to avoid legal troubles.

That said, there are some general reasons why you may be able to initiate an early lease termination in Maryland that apply whether you own property in Catonsville or not.

 

1. Violations of the Lease Agreement

If your tenant repeatedly violates any terms of their lease agreement, you may legally terminate the lease with proper notice.

Here are the major violations that tend to force landlords to initiate an early lease termination:

 

Failure to Pay Rent

Failure to Pay Rent Allows Landlord to Break The Lease

If you use an experienced Maryland property management company, you should know by now that failure to pay rent on time, every time, is a major breach of the lease agreement.

And, if your property manager cares about the status of your rental property business, they will begin the eviction process as soon as your tenant fails to pay on time.

This not only reminds your tenants that you are serious when it comes to paying rent; it also protects you from losing too much rent income.

In addition, the minute a tenant feels you will not enforce the rules, they will begin to take advantage of you. That’s why administering the consequences, regardless of the reason rent is late, is so crucial to your success as a rental property owner.

 

Lease Provision Violation

There is a reason you and your property manager go through every line of the lease agreement with your tenant prior to move-in day.

This way, all involved parties fully understand what is expected of them throughout the lease term.

Lease provisions include things such as:

  • Rent collection
  • Pet policies
  • Maintenance and repair responsibilities
  • Rules regarding a tenant’s ability to alter the interior of the property
  • And more

If your tenant signs the lease agreement understanding the rules, and breaches that agreement, you have grounds to terminate the lease early.

 

Breaking the Law

Another common reason you may feel the need to terminate your Catonsville tenant’s lease agreement early is if they break the law on the property they lease from you.

Though your property manager should have included terms in the lease agreement addressing your zero-tolerance policy for things such as illegal drug use or any other criminal activity, you can still consider early termination without those provisions.

Again, consult with your property manager to ensure state and local laws support your reason for wanting to break the lease.

 

2. Property Damage

Tenant Damaging Property Allows Landlord to Break Lease

If your tenant damages your rental property, you may have the right to break the lease agreement with them early. However, be sure that the type of damage inflicted is grounds for an early lease break.

You cannot terminate a lease agreement for just any type of property damage.

Tenants are not responsible for damage to your property that is a result of normal wear and tear.

However, whether by accident or on purpose, any excessive damage, such as broken windows or flooded flooring due to negligence, is the responsibility of your tenant.

And, depending on the circumstances surrounding the damage, you might want to break the lease early with your tenant if the damage is serious enough.

 

3. To Sell the Property or Move-in

The Landlord Can Break the Lease to Sell or Move In

There are times when a landlord feels they need to sell their rental property, or move back into it and make it their primary residence.

But what if these feelings happen halfway through a tenant’s lease term? 

The only way you can break a lease early with your Catonsville tenant to sell your property or move back in, is to have this outlined in the lease agreement you both signed.

So long as your tenants agree to all of the lease provisions, and sign on the dotted line, you are legally able to enforce those provisions throughout the lease term.

This can apply to your wanting to sell the property mid-tenancy.

However, as mentioned before, it is important you know exactly what you are doing before initiating this process. The last thing you want to do is illegally break the lease term and reap the consequences of it.

 

Breaking the Lease the Legal Way

If you run into a situation where you want to initiate an early lease termination with your Catonsville tenant, make sure you have the help of your Maryland property management company so it is done properly.

Breaking a lease with your tenants is a process. And, it typically begins with proper notice of termination:

  • Pay Rent or Quit. For those times when your tenant refuses to pay rent on time, you can send them notice to pay rent within a certain period of time, (usually 3-5 days) or ask them to vacate the premises.
  • Cure or Quit. When your tenant is breaking a lease provision outlined in the lease agreement, and you want to break the lease early, you must first send them a notice with the option to cure the problem, or vacate the premises.
  • Unconditional Quit. This means there are no options for your tenant to pay up or fix the problem they are causing. Instead, they simply must vacate the premises within a certain period of time.

If you are a Catonsville landlord looking to break a lease early, chances are you will want to use an Unconditional Quit notice. That way, you can break the lease immediately, and move forward with finding new tenants to lease your rental.

In Maryland, the following amount of notice is required when delivering an Unconditional Quit notice to your tenants:

  • 14 days’ notice is required for tenants that breach the lease in a way that is dangerous to themselves, others, the landlord, or the property
  • 30 days’ notice is required for tenants that pay rent late 3 times in a 12-month period (though you must have won an eviction lawsuit for each instance of nonpayment)

 

As you can see, breaking the lease with your Catonsville tenants is possible, but there are things to consider before initiating the process.

If you own a rental property in the Catonsville region, and need help drafting a legally compliant lease agreement that addresses things such as early lease termination, both on the part of your tenants, and yourself, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help you create a lease agreement that touches on all of the policies you want in place, help guide your tenants through the lease during the signing, and even offer tenant welcome packages to remind tenants of what they are responsible for while leasing your investment property.

When hiring Bay Management Group, you will know that your property is being well cared for, and that you have the legal backing to end a lease early, just in case.


What You Should Know Before Investing in a Rental Property

Things to Know Before Investing in a Rental Property in Owings Mills

The current state of real estate purchases in the United States is showing that the trend to invest in rental properties is still going strong.

According to the National Association of Realtors, despite a recent dip in vacation home investments, investor sales in 2016 remained at 19%.

Buying a rental property, especially in the coveted region of Owings Mills, can be extremely lucrative. With a high livability score, plenty of entertainment and shopping, and relatively high-income residents, the chances of you scoring a high-quality tenant are good.

However, before you invest in an Owings Mills rental property, you should know a few things.

Investing in rental property can be extremely profitable, but that profit doesn’t come without its share of risks.

 

4 Things to Know Before Investing in an Owings Mills Rental Property

 

1. Whether You Can Financially Handle an Investment Property

Determine Whether You Can Financially Handle an Investment Property In Owings Mills

Purchasing a rental property is no small feat.

Not only do you have to finance the funds to finalize a property purchase, you need to have enough money to continue paying for your primary residence, and all associated costs of living.

In addition, you should have extra cash on hand to take care of any repairs or upgrades your investment property will need, as well as have an emergency fund stashed away that is to be used for your rental property business only.

Here are some key property management tips to becoming financially secure, and beginning the process of investing in a rental property:

  • Maintain a steady stream of income, even if your goal is to replace your 9-5 job with being a landlord
  • Save for a sizeable down payment, and factor in paying the mortgage for a certain length of time until you place tenants in your property
  • Lower all of your high interest debt, including credit cards and school loans
  • Enlist the help of a reliable financial planner to get your affairs in order
  • Have short and long term financial goals in mind, such as whether you will quit your day job, fund your retirement, or just earn extra cash on the side with your investment property

 

Understanding the state of your finances before investing in a rental property will prevent a lot of stress that results from an emergency happening, and finding you are strapped for cash.

 

2. How Much Rent You Can Expect to Garner

Before deciding to purchase the “perfect” rental property, experienced Owings Mills property managers suggest you research how much rent you can expect to ask from tenants you plan to lease your rental to.

In line with being financially stable before buying something as major as an investment property, this knowledge will help you understand what you can expect your financials to look like after you have purchased your property.

Consider the following as you conduct your research:

  • The location of your property
  • The local amenities you can advertise to prospective tenants
  • What similar properties are asking for in terms of monthly rent rates
  • The state of your property in terms of renovations and upgrades
  • The demographics of the region you are investing in

 

Knowing all of this beforehand will give you insight into whether your purchase price is reasonable as far as positive cash flow is concerned. After all, the whole point of investing in rental property is to make money.

 

3. The Value of the Investment Property

Know the Value of The Rental Property Before Investing in Owings Mills

There are many tips out there regarding the value of the investment for property owners looking to invest in rental property.

For example, some say that if one month’s rent is equal to or greater than 1% of the property’s value, it’s probably a good deal.

Others say that as long as the rental income is high enough to pay off the mortgage, and all property related expenses within 15 years, the property is valued at a reasonable price and you should invest in it.

However, what it all boils down to is how much income you can expect to collect each month in relation to the mortgage value.

Here are some key things to ask yourself about property value and income expectations:

  • How much monthly cash flow can you expect each month?
  • What can you expect to spend each month on the mortgage and expenses?
  • How much in excess fees can you expect to pay out – HOA fees, insurance, utility costs you are covering, landscaping services, etc.
  • If a tenant were to move out of your property, how long do you suspect you’ll have to cover the mortgage until a new tenant is placed?

 

Planning for the future will help you avoid costly expenses down the road.

After you determine the answers to all of the above questions, you will have a firm grasp on whether to move forward with your investment decision.

 

4. The Benefits of Using a Property Manager

Knowing before you invest in an Owings Mills rental property the advantages of enlisting the help of Maryland’s leading property management company is crucial to living a stress-free landlord life.

By employing an experienced, reliable property manager to handle the day-to-day tasks of managing your rental property, you will avoid the following costly mistakes:

  • Paying to advertise your vacant rental on poorly trafficked sites that garner interest amongst the wrong tenant pool
  • Legal issues that could cost thousands in court and attorney’s fees, as well as settlements
  • Placement of low quality, problem tenants that break the rules, don’t pay on time, and damage your property
  • Attempting to handle all maintenance and repair issues yourself, which could result in more costly issues, as well as a loss in personal time
  • Loss of security deposit because of improper collection, documentation, or use
  • High turnover rates because of a lack in communication and customer service
  • Missing rent payments because of unorganized collection procedures

 

Having a property management company, such as Bay Management Group, handle all of your property management needs, such as vacancy advertisement, lease drafting, rent collection, and tenant screening, can help significantly reduce your chances of losing money on your investment.

In addition, at Bay Management Group, we help with things like routine inspections to ensure your property is being cared for properly, around-the-clock maintenance and repair issues, complete with our own maintenance crew and list of reliable contractors, and even eviction proceedings should the unthinkable happen and you land in court facing your tenant.

So, contact us today and see how we can help you with your Owings Mills rental property.


3 Secrets to Being a Profitable Investment Property Owner

Secrets to Being a Successful Property Owner in White Marsh, Maryland

America has experienced a solid growth in housing prices over the last five years, and it is safe to say the demand for housing is continuing to rise, thus driving housing prices higher and higher.

For many people, these price increases are making it so that purchasing a home is no longer an option, and they are turning to renting instead.

But if you’re looking, and able, to invest in rental property, then you are in the sweet spot for purchasing more homes to add to your portfolio.

Since the housing bubble is still on the rise (and hasn’t topped out at exorbitant prices yet), and the number of people renting is still increasing, those looking to invest in rental property in the Baltimore area can still afford to make sound purchases, and continue to make a profit from their rentals.

However, what property investors cannot afford is to make mistakes during this delicate time.

That’s why today, we are going to explore some of the top secrets to becoming a profitable investment property owner.

 

Top Ways to Guarantee You Are a Profitable Baltimore County Property Owner

1. Calculate the Numbers

Calculate the Numbers to Find Success as a Property Owner in Maryland

In order to turn a profit on your Baltimore County rental property, it is crucial you crunch the numbers, not once, but twice, to ensure you are making a sound financial decision.

Gather information about your property, properties surrounding yours, and the overall housing market in your area. Analyze what the housing market is doing right now, how much similar properties are going for, and what you can expect to garner in monthly rent amounts.

Then, take a look at the state of your financials. Include things such as an emergency fund, maintenance and repair fund, and miscellaneous expenses such as insurance, upgrades, and the enlistment of Baltimore County property management, and see if the entire equation comes in at, or below your budget.

Only then, after all the numbers come out in your favor (with a little wiggle room accounted for), should you even consider making an investment in a particular property.

Sound like a lot of work?

Being a property owner is no small feat. And, if you want to be a profitable rental property owner, it is going to take serious dedication.

 

2. Understand the Unethical Real Estate Agent

There is no denying that there are shady people in all industries throughout the world.

And, real estate is no different.

With real estate being such a lucrative business for all parties involved, especially in the current market, there are unethical practices going under the radar everywhere.

As a rental property investor, it’s important you understand the types of unethical practices sneaky real estate agents can pull on people that are unaware that real estate scandals even exist.

And, just because you have a few properties in Baltimore does not mean you are an expert at investing. After all, the only way to grow your business is to continue to learn.

Take it from some of the best property management companies in Baltimore – real estate agents have been known to do the following:

  • Convince buyers that a property will sell for a specific price point, only to find out the seller had no intention of selling it for that low
  • Have buyers spend upwards of a thousand dollars on needless inspections, knowing full well the seller was never going to sell
  • Dummy bid at auctions that they convinced a buyer to attend, forcing the buyer to walk away with nothing, or be pressured into paying above their price limit for a property they really want
  • Sell a property to an investor, knowing that another buyer also paid for the same property, but at a higher price
  • Encourage investors to over-pay, because the end profit will far surpass the extra cash being spent on the property’s sale price

 

Some of these tactics simply cause a lot of unnecessary stress on investors looking to add to their portfolios, while others are more serious. And, while some of these practices may not directly affect a real estate agent, the lack of empathy and concern for their client is unethical in itself.

Additionally, some of these unethical practices do financially benefit real estate agents, and harm the buyer, which causes a general distrust of agents across the board.

Make yourself aware of the types of scams real estate agents are capable of conducting, so that you do not fall victim to one, and end up losing a lot of your time and money.

 

3. Hire a Baltimore Property Management Company

Hire a Baltimore Rental Property Company

Although the first two tips focus on the actual acquisition of your investment property, profitability will play well into the leasing of your property.

After all, you wouldn’t want to purchase a great property and ruin it by self-managing it, and making rookie mistakes that tank your positive cash flow, would you?

This is why enlisting the help of a property management company, such as Bay Management Group, can be incredibly beneficial to your success as an investment property owner.

With the right property manager in Baltimore, you can reap the following benefits to help boost your profits:

  • Aggressive advertising of your newly acquired property through multiple platforms that will garner the attention of a high-quality tenant pool is the key to quick tenant placement. This reduces your vacancy times and, thus, the time you have to pay for the property’s mortgage. The quicker a tenant is paying rent, the less money you spend paying for your property.
  • Tenant Screening. Placing the right tenants in your Baltimore County property is the key to getting paid high rent rates, on time, every time. It also reduces the chances of property damage, breaches of the lease agreement, and, ultimately, evictions.
  • On-Call Maintenance. Having a property management company that supplies their own on-call maintenance crew to handle repairs and maintenance requests not only satisfies tenants (which can help with lease renewals), it also saves you money. Strong relationships with highly qualified, timely, and affordable contractors makes fixing your rental property less expensive.
  • Routine Inspections. Consistently checking on your investment property will reveal when a tenant is not fulfilling their lease obligation to care for your property, according to the lease agreement. In addition, it reveals minor problems, which if fixed early on, can save you a great deal of money and stress.

 

Having an experienced property management team on hand to help you manage your property, after all the hard work you put in to make a good investment, can further your chances of becoming a profitable investment property owner.

If you own investment property in the Baltimore County area, and are looking to increase your profitability, contact Bay Management Group today. With the lowest monthly management fees in the region, and the ability to provide all of the above, plus more, when it comes to managing your rental, you will surely garner a positive cash flow on any rental property you own with our help.


5 Tips for the Prospective Pikesville Rental Property Owner

Tips for the Prospective Pikesville Rental Property Owner

Investing in a Pikesville rental property is a great way to supplement your current income, build your retirement fund, or even just create some extra cash on the side for a fun vacation.

And, now is as good a time as ever to put your money into the real estate market, and start raking in the positive cash flow.

However, as a prospective rental property owner, there are some things to watch out for before putting all of your hard-earned cash into the “perfect rental property.”

And no, we are not talking about the run-of-the-mill advice that we see over and over:

  • Find a great location
  • Understand your financing options
  • Calculate prospective ROIs
  • Work with industry professionals
  • Get out of debt before buying
  • Determine going rental rates

 

Of course, these are all exceptional pieces of advice.

And, these tips should never be ignored when it comes to getting into the rental property business.

However, there is a lot more to becoming a successful rental landlord, especially in the beginning when you are looking for a property to purchase and lease.

That’s why today we are going to share with you some lesser-known tips on becoming a successful landlord. This way, when the time is right, you are fully prepared for what is to come.

 

5 Tips for the Prospective Pikesville Rental Property Owner

1. Avoid a Fixer-Upper

Avoid a Fixer Upper House as a Prospective Rental Property Owner

It is safe to say that this tip will not apply to every Pikesville rental property owner.

In fact, we have talked about investing in fixer-upper rental properties in the past, and have even claimed they offer property owners plenty of benefits.

Discounted prices, higher positive cash flow, and less competition are just some of the many benefits of investing in a fixer-upper rental property.

However, for those that are just starting out in the rental property business, this may not be the soundest advice.

Fixer-uppers tend to cost more money and take longer to renovate than initially expected.

Rather than wasting more time and money in the beginning than is necessary, it is best to purchase a rental property in as close to move-in condition as possible.

This way, you can place tenants in the property right away, especially with the help of your Maryland property management company, and start bringing in rent payments immediately.

 

2. Look for Simplicity

You know that beautiful Pikesville property you have been eyeing forever?

The one with a slate rooftop, crown molding, custom paint colors and window treatments, specialized lighting both inside and out, and a breathtaking pool in the backyard, complete with a cascading waterfall?

Well, as nice as all of this seems, for an inexperienced property owner without much equity or incoming cash flow, a property like this is bound to cost a lot more over the course of a tenant’s lease term than you would like it to.

Custom designed homes can rake in higher rent rates, that’s for sure.

But, they are also more difficult to maintain, and are harder to fix when it comes to replacing custom elements such as lighting, paint colors, and window treatments.

That’s why aiming for a more simply constructed rental property is often better.

You should also consider how easy it is to access the rental’s heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems.

After all, these are things you or your property management team will be responsible for, should anything break.

Repairs on a plumbing system that is hidden deep within the walls and ground of your rental property are sure to cost a pretty penny.

Look to invest in a rental property that offers many simple amenities (because amenities do garner higher rent rates, and attract more tenants), but also a property that has a basic structure and uses standard materials.

 

3. Inspect the Property

Inspect Your Property As a Prospective Rental Property Owner in PIkesville

Before purchasing any real estate, it is critical you have the property inspected.

This is even truer when it comes to a Maryland rental property.

Why?

Because in Maryland, property owners have a legal responsibility to provide their tenants with a safe and habitable place of living.

A plea of ignorance will not sit well with the courts, should you face a landlord-tenant dispute because your rental ended up being unsafe and hazardous to the tenants living in it.

Electrical fire hazards, mold, lead paint levels, extreme rodent and pest infestations, and other safety and health issues will ruin your rental property business if you’re not careful.

Plus, it will not bode well in the community if your reputation precedes you as the landlord that didn’t care for his tenants.

If you are a prospective rental property owner, it’s important to have any property you think you may want to invest in inspected.

The small cost associated with a thorough inspection, as well as the inspection checklist you can provide your tenants upon move-in, will ease the mind of your tenant and prevent any disputes in the future about unsafe living conditions.

 

4. Watch the Utilities

Offering your Pikesville tenants an incentive to move into your newly acquired rental property is a great way to grab a high-quality tenant, and bring in a consistent flow of cash.

Many successful landlords offer to pay for a portion of their tenant’s utilities each month.

This added bonus is often enough to get a tenant that is on the fence about moving in the push to sign a lease agreement.

And, as a way to lower vacancy rates and keep lease renewals high, this incentive is very effective.

However, you should be careful when it comes to “paying for” your tenant’s utilities.

Oftentimes if the utilities you are paying for are in your name, you are financially obligated to pay those bills in full each month, regardless of whether your tenant is paying rent or not.

For a non-payment situation, this could mean you have to shell out cash of your own, despite not receiving a monthly rent payment, until an eviction goes through.

This is not wise.

If you are going to offer to pay for your tenant’s utilities such as water, sewer, trash, or gas, consider offering this bonus in the form of a lower monthly rent payment.

 

It will then be your tenant’s responsibility to have the utilities in their name, and pay them in full each month.

5. Create a Maintenance Crew List

Create a List of Maintenance Crew For Your Pikesville Rental Property

Property maintenance is a big part of being in the rental property business.

This is why all prospective rental property owners should take care to create a maintenance crew list before purchasing an investment property, so that maintenance and repair requests after a tenant moves in will not be an issue.

One great thing about enlisting the help of an experienced property management company in Pikesville is that they typically have a sizable Rolodex of licensed, insured, and bonded contractors for helping your tenants with all of their maintenance issues.

Not only does this save you the time of having to wade through endless contractor possibilities, it makes property maintenance simpler because someone else is handling it for you.

Timely, affordable, and reliable maintenance crews that work for your property management team around-the-clock will ultimately provide exceptional customer service to your tenants, and make your life much easier.

 

In the end, there are many things to think about when it comes to purchasing a Pikesville rental property.

And, for those that are looking to replace their day job with being a landlord, supplement their retirement income, or make life more enjoyable thanks to the extra positive cash flow from a rental, success is not optional, but mandatory.

If you want to boost your chances of achieving success as a rental property owner, get in touch with Bay Management Group today.

With us, you maintain complete control over your rental property, but receive all the help you need to become successful.

This includes advertisement of your newly-purchased rental property, tenant screening and placement, rent collection, move-in and move-out inspections, and of course, help with eviction procedures should that become an issue.


Landlord’s Guide to Student Tenants in Towson, MD

Landlord's Guide to Renting to Student Tenants in Towson, Maryland

Baltimore County is home to some of the nation’s top universities − Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, Maryland Institute College of Art, and of course, University of Maryland Baltimore County.

And, those are just a few of the most popular.

 

To say that Towson is a thriving community is an understatement.

For those that own rental property in the Towson area, or even the surrounding Baltimore County region, leasing to student tenants offers plenty of benefits, some of which we will share with you today.

However, in addition to reaping the benefits of leasing your rental property to student tenants, it is important to get an idea of what student tenants are like, what they look for in a rental home, and the best ways to attract them to sign a lease with you.

That’s why today, we are going to share with you the ultimate landlord’s guide to leasing to student tenants in the Towson region.

 

The Benefits of Leasing to Student Tenants

Before we jump into how to attract student tenants to your Baltimore County rental property, it is crucial we look at some of the best reasons why you should consider leasing to tenants in the first place.

  • High Demand. In areas with plenty of high-quality schools to attend, the demand for rental homes by students is real and booming. In fact, it is estimated that upwards of 87% of students live off-campus.
  • Steady Income. Leasing to a student that will be attending university for a few years is a great way to secure a steady and reliable income.
  • Fewer Vacancies. As mentioned above, student tenants leasing your same rental each school year, and possibly staying throughout the summer, will result in lower turnover rates.
  • Easy Advertising. Advertising to the younger crowds today is easy thanks in large part to the internet, social media, and word-of-mouth.

 

As you can see, there are several reasons why leasing your Towson rental property to a student might be a good idea.

And, with the help of a highly qualified Baltimore County property manager, attracting student tenants, drafting appealing lease agreements, and encouraging lease renewals will not be a problem.

 

What Student Tenants Look for in Your Baltimore County Rental Property

What Student Tenants Look For In A Towson Rental Property

In the past, we have talked about what student tenants will likely look for in a rental property, as far as amenities are concerned.

To review, let’s take a look:

  • Wi-Fi. College students need access to a good solid Wi-Fi signal in order to keep up with both their schoolwork and social obligations.
  • Appliances. In-home washer and dryers are a luxury for most student tenants. Add other major appliances such as a dishwasher, microwave, or toaster oven, and your student tenants will be beyond excited to lease from you.
  • Prime Location. Being in close proximity to their school, shopping, dining, and entertainment hot spots are going to make your Towson rental very appealing.
  • Lots of room. Oftentimes student tenants bring with them all of their personal belongings when living away from home and attending college. And, if they are rooming with other students, they will need enough storage space in their room.
  • Security. Increased security measures are something all tenants, especially young tenants with worried parents, want in a rental property. Ensure the safety of your student tenant, and watch their parents help them renew many leases with you.

 

How to Attract Student Tenants to Your Rental

In addition to the above-mentioned amenities, take a look at some other things student tenants are sure to want when looking to lease your rental property; things you can use to attract them to your property and use to convince them to sign a lease with you.

 

Flexible Lease Terms

Student tenants need to have flexible lease terms so they don’t feel locked in, trapped, or unable to get out of a lease term, should their life take an unexpected turn.

Being flexible in the length of lease terms you offer, while giving plenty of renewal notice time, will help ease the mind of a tenant who is unsure about their first years away from home, as well as help keep turnover rates low.

Here are some ideas:

  • One-year lease
  • Six-month lease
  • Three-month lease
  • Month-to-month lease

 

Furnishings

Sometimes a student tenant has very little by way of furniture and other necessities for a home when they move out of their parent’s house for the first time.

And, while this is usually okay while living in the dorms, it is not going to get your tenant very far if they live in your property with zero furniture, kitchenware, or linens.

If you hire a Baltimore County property management company to lease your rental property, you can rest assured that they will screen all tenants thoroughly, ensuring only the highest quality tenants will be placed in your property. With this in mind, you should feel confident that should you choose to rent out your income property with furnishings, that your tenants will take good care of all of it, and doing so may attract tenants willing to pay more for the convenience of renting a furnished home.

 

Roommate Allowances

Allow Student Tenants to Have Roommates in Your Towson Rental

As mentioned earlier, many student tenants look to lease a property that has room enough for a roommate or two in order to keep costs down.

Allowing roommates into your rental property is not a bad idea, so long as you have a strict lease agreement in place outlining every last detail. Take a look at some important considerations:

  • Make roommates joint and several liable
  • Do not allow subleasing
  • Screen every roommate, including replacement roommates
  • Have every tenant sign the lease agreement
  • Don’t divide the security deposit
  • Insist on receiving one rent check each month
  • Encourage your tenants to sign a roommate agreement amongst themselves
  • Require renter’s insurance
  • Assign a tenant representative to communicate with you about anything property related

 

Allowing roommates can be a difficult thing to do as a Baltimore County property owner.

However, with an experienced property management team in place helping you with tenant screening, security deposit collections, routine inspections, and rent collection, you are sure to have a monthly rent check in your bank account each month, as well as an intact rental property at the end of the lease term.

 

If you have a Towson rental property, and are looking to attract student tenants to lease your investment property, get in touch with Bay Management Group today and see how we can help.

With experience in all regions of Baltimore County, including the ones swirling with potential student tenants, we can make sure your rental property is safe and sound, regardless of who is residing there.

There is a lot to reap from leasing your Baltimore County rental to student tenants.

Let the best management property company around aid you in your efforts, and maximize your investment property’s potential by catering to a large and often untapped tenant pool.


7 Ways to Ensure Your Potential Tenant’s References are Real

How to Ensure Your Tenant's References Are Real

Any responsible Baltimore City property owner knows the importance of tenant screening when it comes to placing tenants in their property.

You want to make sure the tenant you are considering has no criminal background, has verifiable income that can cover the monthly rent expenses, and has a good credit score.

Since most rental applications require prospective tenants to list personal and professional references, along with contact information regarding their employers and past landlords, it is equally important that you do not skip verifying these references during the screening process.

Though it shouldn’t come as any surprise, plenty of potential tenants fabricate their references in an attempt to secure a rental home.

And, while this may seem somewhat harmless, the truth is, tenant references have the potential to reveal some very helpful information about your tenant that the paperwork may not.

But how do you know if the references listed on an application are in fact real?

To help answer this question, we will look at some of the best ways you can ensure that your prospective tenant’s references are legitimate.

 

Verifying Your Baltimore City Tenant References

1. Interview the Tenant First

Interview Your Tenant First For Your Baltimore City Rental Property

One thing you might not think about when looking to verify a potential tenant’s references is to talk with the tenant first.

This initial conversation can be brief and should include questions such as:

  • Where are you currently employed?
  • What is your monthly gross income?
  • What might your boss or former employers say about you as an employee?
  • What are your monthly debt obligations?
  • What do you think your previous landlords would have to say about you?

Interviewing a tenant before calling their references will give you a heads up on anything that may seem amiss about the tenant.

It also lays a good foundation for comparison between what the tenant says, and what the references say.

You never know what a tenant’s reference is going to say. Having an idea beforehand what may be said will alert you to any discrepancies right away.

 

2. Explain the Consequences of Falsifying a Reference

Some prospective tenants are going to lie about their references, no matter what.

Unfortunately, that’s just part of being in the rental property business.

However, explaining that any falsifications discovered on a tenant application, references included, will lead to an automatic rejection of the application, may cause some tenants to think twice before lying.

Being clear upfront about the consequences of a dishonest tenant application may help to discourage tenants from putting any fake information on the application.

It also gives the tenant a look at how serious you are about leasing your property. It gives the impression that you stand firm, act as a professional, and will not tolerate problems of any kind.

 

3. Ask for Pay Stubs

Ask Your Tenant For Pay Stubs With Their Rental Application

Sometimes tenants do not have a good relationship with their employers and have someone else, such as a friend, act as their boss on the other end of the phone when a property owner calls in to verify an employer reference.

One great way to get around this, and better verify the tenant’s income in the process, is to ask for a few pay stubs, and possibly even employment verification documents.

With this information on hand, you can conduct your own research, and see if the reference listed is in fact a real person.

In addition, you can reach out to the employer’s HR department and ask to be put in direct contact with the tenant’s employer, rather than call the number listed on the reference sheet.

This will help diffuse any “fake boss” calls.

 

4. Always Call References

Always Call Your Tenant's References in Baltimore City

It is very easy to forge a written reference, either on paper or via email. In addition, you may not get a real feel for how a reference feels about a tenant when reading a prepared statement.

It is best to call all of your prospective tenant’s references and talk with them one-on-one.

This question-and-answer type of conversation may yield some red flags, or further confirm a potential tenant as a good fit for you.

In addition, speaking in person with someone will help solidify that your tenant’s references are real.

 

5. Be Specific in Your Questioning

However, just because you call a tenant’s references and speak to someone directly, does not mean they are a real reference.

Thus, when it comes to interviewing a tenant’s previous landlords, there are specific things you can start off with during the conversation to help verify you are speaking to a landlord, as opposed to a buddy pretending to be one.

RentSpree recommends prefacing the conversation with a statement that you are simply going to ask some generic questions first, to verify that they are an actual landlord.

RentSpree then goes on to say you should ask things like what type of license is needed to become a landlord in that particular region, and what type of inspections are required to lease property.

A real landlord will be able to answer these questions easily.

 

6. Ask for More References

There is nothing stopping you from asking a tenant’s reference for a secondary reference.

In fact, this tactic is very useful when verifying employer references. The more people you talk to about the potential tenant, the better insight you will gain into what type of person, and tenant, they are likely to be.

Start by thanking the reference for their time, and then kindly ask for the contact information of another person that works closely with the tenant.

If you are immediately given information, you can almost guarantee your tenant’s employer references are real.

 

7. Hire a Property Management Company

Hire Property Management Company For Your Baltimore City Rental

An experienced property manager will have had run-ins with tenant references of all kinds.

They are best suited to tell when someone is being dishonest, and when the true character of a potential tenant is being revealed.

There is no doubt that a skilled property management company will be able to handle tenant screening better than anyone else will, yourself included. Their job is to place high quality tenants in your rental property, so that you continue to employ them for their services.

Not taking tenant screening, specifically reference checks, seriously would do their business more harm than good.

That’s why relying on a quality property management team to screen your tenants for you is often your best bet for ensuring a tenant has given you real references.

 

In the end, verifying that your Baltimore City tenants have real references on their rental application can be tough.

It will often take some extra research on your end, and a little bit of gut instinct to decide whether a reference is telling the truth. Luckily, however, there are good ways of getting around some issues that tend to pop up with fake tenant references.

If you are in the Baltimore City area and own rental property that needs a tenant, contact Bay Management Group today and see how we can help you with your tenant screening and placement needs.

Not only do we have a thorough tenant screening process in place that includes contacting all potential tenant references, we also have a 12-month tenant warranty in place that promises to re-lease your property for free, should your tenant be evicted within the first year of leasing your property.

So, contact us today and take advantage of this great warranty, among many other things.


How Important Are Move-In Inspections in Baltimore County?

importance-move-in-inspections-baltimore-county-rental-property

No matter how thoroughly you screen your Dundalk tenants, having your property management company follow a strict move-in process is a must. In fact, the success of your rental property business relies on a comprehensive move-in, successful rent collection, correct handling of maintenance issues, and proper eviction processes.

In order to avoid unnecessary disputes both during and after a lease term, your property management company should conduct routine inspections of your rental property. More specifically, right before a tenant moves into your property, and takes up residence with all of their personal belongings, you and your property manager should conduct a routine move-in inspection.

The importance of a good move-in inspection can never be understated. Designed as a way to protect you, your investment property, and your new tenants, move-in inspections are a crucial element to a successful lease term.

Read on to find out the top reasons why you should be conducting proper move-in inspections of your rental property at the start of every new lease term. Additionally, find out exactly what should happen during a move-in inspection, so that all parties are protected and satisfied with the rental property’s initial condition.

 

Why Conduct Move-in Inspections of Your Dundalk Rental Properties?

why-landlords-should-conduct-move-in-inspections-dundalk-rental-property

The general purpose behind a move-in inspection is to document the existing condition of your Baltimore County rental property before a tenant moves in. This documentation serves as your property’s baseline condition at the time your tenant moves in. In addition, it will be used for comparison at the end of the lease term when your tenant moves out.

Here are 8 key reasons a move-in inspection is so important to the success of your lease term:

  1. It provides factual proof of the condition of your rental prior to move-in that can be used in court as evidence, should a dispute arise
  2. It reveals maintenance issues that you were unaware of that you are responsible for fixing before a tenant moves in
  3. It dictates where any damage to the structure of the property exists, so your tenant will not end up responsible for repairing that damage at the end of the lease term
  4. It serves as a solid foundation when it comes to deducting from your tenant’s security deposit at the end of the lease term
  5. It demonstrates your tenant’s satisfaction of the condition of your property at the time of move-in
  6. It is used throughout the tenancy for subsequent routine inspections to ensure further damage has not occurred to your property
  7. It sets the tone at move-in that you and your property management company take leasing a property to tenants seriously
  8. It helps to build a better relationship with your tenant from the start

 

How to Conduct Better Move-in Inspections and Avoid Future Disputes

Now that you understand the importance of performing move-in inspections every time a new tenant moves into your Dundalk rental property, look at some of the best ways to conduct move-in inspections, so that everyone is on the same page come the end of the lease term.

Conduct an Actual Walk-Through

conduct-walkthrough-tenants-baltimore-county-rental-property

Do not rely on your tenants to document the damage they see in your rental property prior to move-in. Go ahead and give them 3-10 days to add to the walk-through list anything either you or your property manager missed during the initial inspection.

However, in order to document a true move-in inspection, you or your property manager need to be present with the tenant as you view the condition of the investment property.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you perform the walk-through with your tenant:

  • Let your tenants add their observations
  • Print everything legibly
  • Determine whether something is dirty, scratched, broken, or in poor condition
  • Note specifics whenever an issue is found
  • Make sure to observe any health or safety hazards that you find such as mold, mildew, pests, or fire hazards, as these must be remedied immediately
  • Document everything that is in good condition for later comparisons

 

Have All Parties Sign in Agreement

After conducting the physical walk-through of your property, make sure all parties in attendance – you, your Dundalk property manager, and your tenant – sign the inspection form prior to the tenant actually moving in.

Having signatures agreeing to the condition of your property will prevent any disputes at the end of the lease term, long after your tenant has lived in your property for some time and the conditions have changed.

This way, should you end up in a conflict with your tenant about how the security deposit is being put to use, you can remind your tenant that they agreed beforehand that the property was handed over in one condition, and that they are returning it in an entirely different condition.

 

Indicate the Condition of the Flooring

note-condition-flooring-baltmore-county-move-in-inspection

It is very important that you note on the move-in inspection the conditions of your property’s flooring. While normal wear and tear is bound to happen over time, if any of the flooring is destroyed during the tenancy, your tenants can be held responsible. This is only the case if you have the move-in inspection on hand to prove the property’s original condition.

 

Take Pictures if Possible

Not only should your Dundalk property’s move-in inspection include a written checklist detailing the condition of the property, it should also include photographs, if possible. If you take photos or video of your rental home prior to the tenant moving in, you will have surefire proof that damage was not pre-existing, and that your tenant is responsible for repairs.

It is worth noting that taking pictures of the rental property while in the presence of the tenant is a good idea. Not only does this show that you are serious about the move-in inspection and the state of your investment property, it helps assure your tenant that you are not trying to outsmart them.

 

In the end, conducting an effective move-in inspection of your entire Baltimore County rental property is always a good idea. Being sued by your tenant over a security deposit dispute is not something you (or your tenant) want to deal with. In addition, paying for damages that were indeed your tenant’s fault is not something any property owner wants to be faced with either.

If you live in the Dundalk area and own a rental property that is about to occupy a tenant, contact Bay Management Group to help you with all of your property’s move-in inspection needs. Not only can we help conduct move-in inspections of your property alongside your tenants and have all of the correct forms filled out, we can discuss any questions or concerns your tenant may have regarding the condition of the property.