Bay Management Group’s Top Property Management Tips of 2017

Top Property Management Tips for 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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


Our Top Property Management Tips in 2017

1. Know When to Raise Rent Rates

Property Management Tips Know When Raise Rent

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

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


2. Make Sure Your Pet Policies Are Legal

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


4. Set Goals as an Income Property Owner

Set Goals as a Maryland Property Manager

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

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

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


5. Keep Your Rental Secure

Rental property security will always be an important topic.

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

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

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


6. Opt for Online Rent Collection

It’s no secret that your tenants want convenience.

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

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

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


7. Go the Extra Mile for Your Tenants

Go Extra Mile For Your Tenants Property Management Tips for 2017

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

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

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

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


8. Avoid Common Landlord Mistakes

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

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

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


Did you make any of these mistakes?

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

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


9. Airtight Lease Agreements Are Essential

Airtight Lease Agreements are Essential Rental Property Management

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


11. Eco-Friendly Rentals Are In-Demand

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

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

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

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


12. Stay On Top of the Latest Investing Advice

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

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

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

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

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


13. Hire a Property Management Company Like Bay Management Group

Self-managing your rental properties can be difficult.

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

But we are.

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

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

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

Top 7 Ways to Guarantee Success in Your First Investment Property

Ways to Guarantee Success in Your First Investment Property

Investing in rental property is a great way to boost supplemental income, or even replace your traditional 9-5 day job.

In fact, getting into the rental property business can be extremely lucrative, if approached the right way.

However, it’s important to note that many first-time investors can mistakenly get caught up in the excitement of buying a rental property – and this excitement can easily get in the way of making sound financial and business decisions.

Taking the step from the decision to invest in Abingdon rental property to actually doing it is a big one that warrants a lot of thought.

It comes with risks that you may not be aware of – ones that have the potential to affect the success of your rental property business for years to come. This is a decision to take very seriously.

If you want to avoid major mistakes when you set out to invest in your first piece of rental property, read on to find some helpful tips that are designed to guide new investors in the right direction, right from the start.


Helpful Tips for Investing in Your First Rental Property

1. Have a Plan

Before you jump into investing in your first rental property, you should take the time to devise a solid plan of action.

This will help prevent many unexpected issues that tend to pop up during the purchasing process.

Here are some things experienced property management companies suggest:

  • Pay Down Your Debt. Paying down your existing debt does more than help you qualify for a loan. It also creates a buffer once you own the rental property for things such as emergency maintenance issues, unexpected vacancies, and times when your tenant fails to pay rent.
  • Create a Budget. This is something any experienced property owner will tell you. Making a strict budget, before you invest in a rental property, will prevent you from getting in over your head. Factor in purchase price, maintenance and renovations, an emergency fund, and the cost of placing a tenant in your property.
  • Save for a Down Payment. Even if you have purchased a home in the past, it is important to realize that investing in rental property is much different. You will typically need at least 20% when it comes to a down payment, because there is no PMI available to protect the banks in case you default on the loan.
  • Watch the Market. Knowing when to invest is almost as important as having enough money to invest. You should take care to watch the market and see what interest rates are doing at the time you want to invest. Remember, investment property loans will usually have higher interest rates than traditional homes, which can kill your bottom line, even if you warrant high rent rates from quality tenants.

Making a plan before you get into the excitement of purchasing a rental property will help keep you on track during the investment process.


2. Take Your Time Choosing an Investment Property

Take Your Time Choosing an Investment Property

Again, closing on your first investment property is an exciting time that can cloud your judgement if you are not careful.

Avoid buyer’s remorse by taking your time to find the rental that will work best for your pre-defined budget. Check out any property you are interested in buying before entertaining any negotiations, and don’t take the previous homeowner or real estate agent’s word for it.

Ensure that the property has all the amenities you wish to offer to your tenants. Find out what makes this property stand out from others in the area that are being leased, and take note of all the things you may need to renovate before placing a tenant to make sure it fits into your overall budget.

In any business deal, jumping in too soon harbors room for problems that can have lasting effects on your rental property business.

Give yourself time to find the right one; it will be worth it in the long run.


3. Avoid Fixer Uppers

In the past, we have discussed how investing in a fixer-upper rental property can be a good idea. However, for those that are new to investing in real estate, this may not always be the best idea.

A great purchase deal on the surface often indicates that there is a lot of work needing to be done after you purchase the property in order to make it rent ready.

And, unless you have budgeted this into your overall plan, and are handy when it comes to repairs, chances are a fixer upper is not what you are looking for in your first investment property.


4. Choose a Reliable Real Estate Agent

Choose a Reliable Real Estate Agent For Your First Investment Property

The real estate agent you choose to help you with your property purchase can make or break your longtime success.

To avoid getting mixed up with a less-than-stellar real estate agent, take note of these helpful tips:

  • Don’t get caught up in negotiations with other interested buyers if the purchase price or other details begin to extend beyond what you originally planned for
  • Choose an agent that you trust, that has a reliable reputation, is patient and understands your needs, and is communicative throughout the process
  • Never let an agent rush your purchase decision, even if that means you lose out on a deal
  • Try to get referrals from those close to you that have had success with a real estate agent in the past

If at any time you begin to feel your agent is not being helpful, simply walk away and get a new one.


5. Decrease Expenses

Being successful with your first investment property does not stop after you finalize your purchase.

In fact, closing on a property is only the beginning.

From the start, think of ways you can decease expenses and boost your positive cash flow once you place tenants in your property.

For example:

  • Make sure all utilities are the tenant’s responsibility
  • Build extra costs, such as HOA fees, into the rent rate if you can
  • Shop around for homeowners insurance, and require your tenants to get renters insurance
  • Make your rental eco-friendly, especially when it comes to major appliances
  • Challenge your property taxes if you feel they are too high
  • Interview property managers to make sure you are getting the best deal for the services they offer

These small considerations have the potential to save you a lot of money as you lease your rental property, and are easy for new investors to handle.


6. Learn the Laws

Learn The Laws For Your First Investment Property

Whether you self-manage your rental or employ Abingdon’s best property management team, it is ultimately your responsibility to know and understand the federal, state, and local laws surrounding the landlord-tenant relationship.

Even if something illegal happens under the care of your property manager, you could find yourself in a lot of hot water.

Court fees and fines, a ding on your reputation as a property owner, and the loss of your property if your bottom line is damaged enough, can all result from not knowing the laws.

Educate yourself so that you know how to properly handle any legal situation that comes your way. And, if you have a knowledgeable property management company backing you, think of that as an added bonus.

7. Consider Hiring an Abingdon Property Manager

Getting into real estate and leasing your first investment property can be daunting at first.

You may not know what to do after you have purchased your property, or maybe you are not keen on the idea of self-managing your rental.

No matter the case, the solution resides in hiring a trusted property manager to help you out with everything from advertising your available property to tenant placement; tenant complaints to the lease renewal process.

If you are looking to invest in your first rental property in Abingdon, consider getting in touch with Bay Management Group from day one. With years of experience in the rental property industry, Bay Management Group has the staff on hand to answer all of your questions about being a successful rental property owner.

This way, once you invest in your first rental property, you will already have a qualified property manager in Abingdon ready to help you with setting rent rates, conducting inspections, providing 24/7 maintenance and repair services, and more.

Top 12 Real Estate Agents to Help You Find a Rental Property in Philly

Finding a great real estate agent in Philadelphia can easily become overwhelming; after all, there are over 1,500 Realtors® in the Philly region to choose from. With so many options, it can be difficult to figure out where to start.

To help you in your search, we have combed the Philadelphia real estate market to help you identify the best agents in the area.

We have high standards when it comes to selecting our top picks for agents because we know that buyers like you want agents with proven records of success.

To determine our top picks for real estate agents in the area, our experts analyzed them based on the following qualities to ensure they exceed your expectations:

  • Experience
  • Services
  • Reputation
  • Awards
  • Connections
  • Reviews
  • And more

And, because of our stringent selection process, only 12 high-quality real estate agents made the cut.


Top 12 Real Estate Agents

1. Mike McCann

Mike McCann Real Estate Agent Philly

Mike McCann is known around town as “The Real Estate Man.” He and his team have extensive knowledge about the real estate market, and are dedicated to providing property owners seeking rentals the best customer service.

McCann has all of these great real estate agent qualities:

  • Passion for the diverse properties Philly has to offer
  • Experience helping you to buy, sell, or invest in properties
  • Commitment to finding you the ideal property and never settling for less

Mike McCann has been honored as a top-selling Realtor® for more than 30 years, and is proud to work with the highly reputable Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices as well as Fox & Roach Realtors®.


2. Jeanne Whipple

Jeanne Whipple Real Estate Agent Philly

Jeanne Whipple, co-founder of the Philly Home Girls, has what it takes to get you the perfect rental property. Whipple loves feeling rested and recharged at her home in Fishtown, and hopes the same for all of her clients. And she certainly has the credentials to help you find your next rental home. Whipple boasts top-ranking awards from the likes of Coldwell Banker Preferred, USAA, and the Philadelphia Business Journal, to name a few.

Whipple brings to the table the following:

  • Professional insight into the real estate market conditions surrounding your investment
  • 5-star reviews on major sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Yelp
  • Experience building construction homes from the ground up and occasional house flipping

With an appreciation for local cultural events and renowned culinary scene, Jeanne Whipple knows what makes a place and community feel like home, and understands that those same things will likely make her clients and their tenants feel at home as well.


3. Kristin McFeely

Kristin McFeely Real Estate Agent Philly

Kristin McFeely, along with Jeanne Whipple, is another co-founder of Philly Home Girls. She has the knowledge, experience, and drive to help rental property owners find great investment properties. In fact, she has been a licensed Realtor® since 2005. McFeely further shows her expertise in her accreditation as a Certified Relocation Professional, meaning she has extensive knowledge in every aspect of employee relocation.

As part of the Philly Home Girls team, McFeely has:

  • Been welcomed into Coldwell Banker Preferred’s Diamond Society
  • Become a leader in the Coldwell Banker Preferred Mentor Program
  • Become one of the highest ranking real estate agents on Yelp

If what you need is a passionate person who thrives on road trips, architecture, and all things real estate, Kristin McFeely is the one to call.

4. Giovanni Carpino

Giovanni Carpino Real Estate Agent Philly

Giovanni Carpino is not only a licensed real estate agent, but a broker as well, meaning he brings lots of education and experience to the table when it comes to finding you an investment property. As a Realtor® for Remax Eastern, Inc., Giovanni prides himself in having rave reviews about his services on Zillow.

Here’s what you’ll experience when hiring Carpino. He:

  • Promises prompt response times to all clientele and interested prospects
  • Was born and raised in Mayfair
  • Seeks to make purchasing property less stressful for all involved

With a deep understanding of real estate, Giovanni Carpino can find just the rental you are looking for, in a minimal amount of time. His motto is: “I open doors for you to close.”


5. Jennifer Grosskopf

Jennifer Grosskopf Real Estate Agent Philly

Representing clients looking to invest in real estate since 2006, Jennifer Grosskopf is a licensed Realtor® with an in-depth knowledge of the current market trends. Understanding the neighborhoods, pricing trends, and inventory at any given moment, Jennifer uses her industry skills to get you the deal of a lifetime.

Grosskopf offers:

  • Personal one-on-one service to all clientele
  • A solid grasp on modern technology and utilizes it to her advantage
  • Guidance to property owners every step of the way in a stress-free environment

Bringing her own personal experiences with relocating to build her career, Grosskopf understands the need to trust your real estate agent. If you are looking for a reputable real estate agent that is a source for all things real estate, Jennifer Grosskopf may be just who you need.

6. Chris Baker

Chris Baker Real Estate Agent Philly

Born and raised in Philadelphia, it is safe to say Chris Baker knows a thing or two about what rental property owners, and their future tenants, are looking for in a property. In fact, he has lived in Rittenhouse Square, Fishtown, and Queen Village, to name a few, and knows each neighborhood intimately. With a passion for the city’s diversity, Baker prides himself in understanding the marketplace.

You’ll be happy to hear that Baker:

  • Embraces a hands-on approach to finding you the rental you need
  • Seeks to forge lifelong relationships that you can utilize throughout your landlord career
  • Works with first-time buyers and seasoned portfolio holders with the same care and attention

If you are looking for someone that appreciates what Philadelphia is made of, and is dedicated to helping property owners make excellent purchasing decisions, consider using Chris Baker for your real estate needs.


7. Laurie Phillips

Laurie Phillips Real Estate Agent Philly

Laurie Philips is a highly experienced real estate agent. Selling real estate for 37 years, she specializes in luxury, multi-million dollar homes. To add to that, she is well known amongst national architects and developers.

By hiring Phillips, you’ll be promised that she:

  • Sells exclusively in Philadelphia and has a deep understanding of the real estate industry
  • Offers unparalleled customer service making clients feel at ease about their large purchases
  • Is dedicated to a select few clients – this ensures you receive her utmost attention

Earning many top honors and distinctions across her real estate career, Phillips was most recently designated as the #1 Individual Agent in the Philadelphia Region for BHHS Fox Roach Realtors® (2015). She also has the awards of Top Producer in Philadelphia, Top Lister in Center City, Top Seller in Center City, along with many others. If you are looking to invest in a high-end rental property, Laurie Phillips is the one to call.


8. Maria Quattrone

Maria Quattrone Real Estate Agent Philly

Maria is a native to Philadelphia, and was one of the first to set up a real estate team in the city. With extensive knowledge in sales and marketing, Maria knows what it takes to sell your property, what makes a quality property, and where in the city you will fare best. In fact, Quattrone earned a place amongst the 100 Most Influential Brokers in Pennsylvania.

Among her many strengths, Quattrone:

  • Has received the 5-Star Overall Satisfaction Award, which only the top 2% of Philadelphia real estate agents are privy to, among numerous other awards for her outstanding leadership and customer service
  • Demonstrates dedication to working as a team, thus boosting her success and client satisfaction
  • Is actively involved in local philanthropy, thus solidifying her ties to her community

Quattrone is one of the most well rounded real estate agents on the market today, and a successful one at that, with over $500m in sales earning to date. She loves the city she grew up in, and is committed to helping you find a great rental property for your tenants to call home.


9. Robin Gordon

Robin Gordon Real Estate Agent Philly

Robin Gordon is a lifelong Philadelphia resident that is very familiar with the city of her childhood, and its evolution. As a top-selling agent for the last 15 years, who has raked in $160 million dollars thus far in sales with her team, Robin brings a great deal of experience to the real estate industry.

You’ll be thrilled that Gordon is:

  • A proven networker, negotiator, and deal maker
  • Exceptional at marketing her client’s properties, as well as finding her clients new ones
  • Known for her quick response times and appreciation for the community at large

As one of the top 100 Realtors® out of 60,000 in the nationwide Prudential franchise system, as well as a mother, runner, and college student with a passion for architecture, Robin can help you find exactly what you are looking for in a rental property.


10. Jason Matthews

Jason Matthews Real Estate Agent Philly

Jason Matthews, of the Houzwer real estate agency, is the leader of the PA Suburbs team, covering Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, and Bucks Counties. Matthews works closely with a dedicated team of agents that all participate in helping you buy your rental property, as Houwzer’s approach to buying and selling real estate is unique. Each Houwzer agent focuses either on buying or selling – never both, thus allowing them to be more specialized.

With 15+ years of experience in real estate, and a 25-year residency in the western suburbs of Philly, Jason brings knowledge of the suburbs to potential buyers and sellers so they can find the right price or investment property for their needs.

With his experience, Matthews brings:

  • Dual degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science
  • A business mindset to close financially sound deals
  • Technology know-how to make it in this tech-driven world

Jason Matthews is also currently an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE), Broker Price Opinion Resource (BPOR), and PA Notary Public – he is a real estate agent that you can certainly feel confident has the knowledge and skills to find you the right rental property.


11. Chad Eason

Chad Eason Real Estate Agent Philly

Chad Eason, also of Houwzer, is the Team Leader for their largest office in Center City. With experience helping to create local favorite Girard Gardens, and involvement in helping to spread Philly’s Bike Share program, Chad has a deep appreciation for the community he lives in.

Eason is known for his:

  • Enthusiasm for his community that spills over into his ability to help people find the perfect rental property for their portfolio
  • Strong, successful team that backs him during the entire buying and selling process
  • 100% focus on his clients

Because of his experience with local community projects, and the fact that he has an M.A. in International Development with an Urban Focus, Eason brings unique experience to the table that makes him one of Houwzer’s top real estate agents in Center Philly, and possibly the perfect agent for you.


12. Ashley Santee 

Ashley Santee Real Estate Agent Philly

Ashley Santee is the lead real estate agent of Houwzer’s New Construction and Investor division. With the help of Santee, Houwzer’s New Construction division typically sells properties within 36 days of listing, saves developers thousands thanks to their unique brokerage model, and has a track record of over $120m in overall sales.

Santee’s success is evident in her:

  • Skillset to compete in this highly competitive market
  • Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) certificate from RENI
  • S. in Design and Merchandising from Drexel University

Specializing in marketing new construction projects, as well as multi-unit projects, Santee ensures that people always know what great properties are available for purchase, or soon to be. Ashley Santee has the drive, dedication, and focus to help you choose the right investment property.


In Closing

Dealing in real estate – whether you’re buying or selling – can be much less stressful, and a lot more exciting, when you have the right real estate agent on your side.

We’re confident that you’ll be in great hands when you choose one of the talented agents we’ve highlighted above.

Have you worked with any of the agents on our list? We’d love to hear your feedback!

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.

End Of Summer Maintenance For Your Philadelphia Rental Property

End of Summer Maintenance Tips for Philadelphia Rental Property

If you are a successful Philadelphia property owner, chances are you have been preparing for your annual end of summer property inspection.

Routine inspections of your rental property are a great way to ward off major maintenance expenses, ensure your tenant is fulfilling their lease obligations, and ease your mind that your investment property is intact.

And, what better way to remember to perform these inspections, than to conduct them every time the season changes?

Keeping your rental property in tip-top shape year round is not an easy task if you don’t take a proactive approach.

Many property owners focus on the transition between fall and winter (especially in Philadelphia where freezing cold temps and snow can wreak havoc on your property), but fail to focus on the switch between summer and fall.

If you have not been gearing up for your end of summer inspection, or are not quite sure what to add to the property inspection checklist, keep reading.

Today, we will look at some of the most common end of summer maintenance tasks you or your Philadelphia property manager should do to guarantee a smooth transition into the upcoming cold months.


End of Summer Maintenance for Your Philadelphia Rental Property

1. Furnace Inspections

If your Philadelphia rental property has a furnace, now is the best time to get it inspected. This way, anything that is wrong with it can be repaired right away so it is ready to go once the colder months hit.

HVAC experts agree that 75% of no-heat calls during the winter are a direct result of the furnaces not being cleaned or serviced properly.

If you want to avoid a midnight call from your tenant, keep the utility and repair costs down, and make sure your property’s furnace is working efficiently, be sure to get it inspected for the following:

  • Ignition failure
  • Gas line trouble
  • Failure to heat
  • Broken bearings, belts, or motor
  • Debris in the filters
  • Strange noises

Having a properly functioning furnace will also help maintain the quality of air within your property, which is important for the tenants residing there.


2. Clean the Vents

Clean the Air Conditioning Vents During Your End of Summer Rental Property Maintenance

Vents are known to build up with dust and debris over time. Not only does this affect your property’s air quality, but it also makes your heating and air conditioning units work double time to provide average results.

If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, and that of your tenant’s, as well as extend the lifespan of your HVAC units by reducing the strain that debris buildup causes, conduct annual cleanings of your property’s vents and air ducts come the end of summer.

You want your heating units to be fully prepared to keep your property, and your tenants, warm during the wintertime.


3. Check for Mold

If your property is located in an area that is prone to humidity during the summer, it’s a good idea to check for mold growth in your property.

Humidity provides mold spores the perfect breeding ground for expansive growth, especially if unchecked.

Here are some common places where mold can grow that should be added to your inspection checklist:

  • Bathrooms – showers, bathtubs, walls (especially tile grout), sinks, and toilets
  • Kitchen – underneath the sink, around the refrigerator, window sills
  • Fireplace – porous bricks can grow mold when fireplace is not in use
  • Attic/Basement – due to lack of ventilation and possible water leaks
  • Ceiling/Walls – any leaking from the roof or piping throughout the property


It is always better to spot mold growth before it gets out of control.

Mold contamination is an expensive and potentially hazardous situation that you and your tenants do not want to contend with.


4. Clean the Gutters

Clean Gutters for End of the Summer Maintenance in Your Philadelphia Rental Property

If you have been performing seasonal inspections, it is likely the gutters were cleaned and repaired before summer hit.

However, as an added precaution (or to make up for failing to inspect them this year), check to make sure your rental property’s gutters are clear, and in good working order.

As the fall and winter seasons approach, so do rainy, snowy days. Having clear gutters will help offset the debris that is likely to come your way, and help reduce any issues with breakage, clogging, or leaking.


5. Check Detectors

Now is a great time to make sure your rental’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. This is especially important for those with rental properties that have furnaces.


6. Check for Drafting Issues

Check Windows and Doors For Draft Issues in Your Philadelphia Rental Property

There are two specific places in your rental property that you can inspect for draft issues:

  • Check for worn and cracked weatherstripping on all doorways leading to the exterior of your property. In addition, consider adding door sweeps to further prevent cold, drafty air from entering, and cozy warm air from leaving your property.
  • Windows are prone to letting cold air seep in if the seals are worn and cracked. In addition, window panes that are old may let excess moisture in from the rain and snow, become hard to close all the way, and even crack. These are all things you do not want to deal with in the dead of winter.

Checking minor issues such as these before it gets too cold will not only prevent you from having to make major repairs down the line, it will reduce the inconvenience of having to fix such issues when it is freezing outside.


As you can see, there are several things to check during your end of summer property inspection that will help make the transition from hot to cold seasons run smoothly.

If you are looking for an experienced property management company in Philadelphia to help with things such as seasonal inspections, get in touch with Bay Management Group today. Not only can we help conduct seasonal and move-in/out inspections of your rental property, we can also help repair and maintain your property.

With a 24/7/365 maintenance crew comprised of high-quality, timely, and affordable contractors, we take the burden of repairing your rental property off you.

After hour calls, middle of the night emergencies, and even minor fixes are taken care of quickly and efficiently by our crew.

In the end, you will save time and money using our property management services, and rest easy knowing that your property is in tip-top shape year round.

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.


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.

Guide to Roof Damage and Repair for Your Philly Rental Property

Guide to Roof Damage and Repairs in Your Philly Rental

Did you know that the average roof repair cost is $716, with most property owners spending between $316 and $1,118?

That’s a lot of money to spend on one property repair.

And yet, having a sound roof on your Philly rental property is crucial to keeping your property, and tenants, safe and dry from the stormy weather that so often visits the region.

Managing your Philly rental repairs can be a costly ordeal.

And, let’s face it, no rental property owner looks forward to investing their hard-earned cash into property maintenance, especially when it comes to roof damage.

However, roof damage and repairs are just some of the landlord problems you might have to contend with at one point during your career as a rental property owner.

That’s why we are sharing everything we know about roof damage as it relates to your rental property.

In fact, we are going to provide common reasons why your Philly rental might experience roof damage, the factors that may affect the overall cost of repair, and the steps you should take to determine if repairs are needed.


Major Causes of Roof Damage

Major Causes of Roof Damages in Philly Rental Properties

Several things may cause roof damage to your Philly rental property.

Let’s take a look at what the U.S. Claim Expert suggests are the four main causes of roof damage:

  • Lack of Proper Maintenance. As a rental property owner, you know that maintenance of your property will extend the life of your property and keep costs low. This means regularly inspecting your roof for damage, and handling repairs in a timely manner to prevent further damage.
  • Wind Damage. Extreme wind can cause a lot of damage to your roof, especially over time. In fact, large debris (such as a tree) can blow directly into your roof, and pull off or damage roofing materials. In addition, old nails holding down roofing material may loosen over time, and cause materials to fall off.
  • Extreme Weather. Aside from wind damage, your roof is also susceptible to other extreme weather conditions such as rain, snow, and hail. The weight of these weather conditions pounding down on a roof can lead to major damage, and create the need for immediate repairs.
  • Flashing Problems. Your Philly rental’s flashing material is designed to keep water out of roofing sections. However, as the flashing becomes old, worn, or otherwise damaged, your roof then becomes vulnerable to water, which in turn equals roof leaks.


Damage to your Philly rental’s roof can have long-lasting effects on your rental property business, especially if they go unnoticed for some time.

It is important to regularly inspect your entire roof for damage, and make repairs as soon as you can to prevent major costs, high turnover rates, and an increase in homeowner’s insurance premiums.


Factors Affecting Roof Repair Costs

Factors Affecting Roof Repair Costs In Your Philly Rental Property

There are several factors affecting the overall cost of your roof repair.

Before delaying repairs, here are some of the most common to think about:

  • Type of roof – flat, sloped, high or low pitched, metal or shingle
  • Local roofing repair permits, especially in coastal areas
  • Size of repair – pricing is typically based on square footage
  • Type of damage, especially if water-based
  • Unique rooftop elements such as chimneys and skylights
  • New roofing material, especially if upgrading

Roof repair costs depend on a variety of things such as materials, scope of work, contractor, and more.

It is best to get a few quotes before hiring someone to do the job, as many companies will vary widely in the pricing (and quality) of their services.

Better yet, if you currently use Philly’s number one property management company, Bay Management Group, for all of your rental’s maintenance and repair needs, you are sure to have access to a reliable, affordable, and efficient roofing contractor that can get the job done right.


What To Do If Your Philly Rental Property Needs Roof Repairs

What To Do If Your Philly Rental Needs Roof Repairs

The best way to tell if your Philly rental property needs roof repairs is to visually inspect the roof for existing damage.

Here are some things you, or a professional roofing contractor, should look for:

  • Worn down surfaces
  • Buckled, curling, blistered, or dented roofing material
  • Breaks or cracks
  • Missing or loose materials
  • Gaps in the vents or skylights
  • Leaks, drips, or moisture on the exterior and interior of the property


If you notice that your property’s roof is in need of repairs, the next step is to get in contact with a roofing repair company you trust.

Schedule a roof inspection and get a cost estimate, or plan for immediate repairs depending on the extent of the damage.

In addition, if you have homeowners insurance, this would be the time to get in contact with your representative as well.

The amount of coverage you receive will depend on your individual policy terms and conditions.


Roof Repair versus Roof Replacement

It can be tough to decide between simply repairing your rental property’s roof damage or replacing the entire roof.

If your property has experienced severe damage, despite the extra cost upfront, sometimes replacing the roof is the better option.

In addition, if your property’s roof is upwards of 20 years or older, it might be a good time to consider replacing the entire thing, even if the damage is minor.


Because over time, your roof will be susceptible to more damage. Continuously repairing your old roof might cost more in the long run than simply replacing the entire roof now.

These are things to discuss with your roofing contractor, as they will be able to help you weigh your options and ensure you make a sound financial decision.


Choose Your Roofing Materials

If you decide to move forward with an entire roof replacement, you need to choose the best material for your property.

Shingles (the most popular roofing material in the United States), metal, slate, and vinyl are common roofing material types.

There are also several eco-friendly materials available such as recycled materials, solar shingles, and even vegetated roofing.


Altogether, there is a lot that goes into repairing roof damage on your Philly rental property.

And, while there are many resources out there that claim you can do-it-yourself when it comes to roof repairs, it if often best to leave these things to the professionals, if you are at all unsure as to how to proceed.

If you own rental property in the Philly area, and want to leave maintenance and repair issues to your property management company to deal with, contact Bay Management Group today.

We have a huge Rolodex of professional contractors that can handle your roofing issues in a timely manner, without taking all of your money in the process.

Unfortunately, maintenance and repair costs are a part of being in the rental property business. However, handing over all of your positive cash flow to just anyone is not.

Get in touch with Bay Management Group today and see how we can help you save money, even when it comes to major roof repairs.

6 Best Ways to Add Square Footage to Your Rental Property


Anne Arundel County’s competitive market and wide appeal makes it a prime place to rent.

As the heartland of Maryland, Anne Arundel County offers tenants wonderful things, such as close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, educational and employment opportunities, and plenty of outside activities to enjoy with friends and family alike.

With this in mind, it is no wonder why those with Anne Arundel County rental properties are trying to appeal to the highest paying tenants.

Further, since the competition is so stiff, and people looking to lease in this area know that, your investment property is expected come with plenty of curb appeal and amenities.

So why not add a few square feet to your property and make it stand out amongst the crowd?

If you’re not sure how to expand your rental property upwards and outwards by way of square footage, check out our below suggestions.

By adding square footage to your rental, you are sure to attract a high paying, high quality tenant.


How to Add Square Footage to Your Anne Arundel County Rental Property

Before trying to add square footage to your Anne Arundel County rental property, it is best to gather some of your ideas and present them to a licensed and insured contractor that specializes in structural additions to a home.

To inspire those ideas, let’s look at some of the best ways you can add square footage to your rental property.


1. Build into the Backyard


Adding square footage to your rental property via the backyard is a popular choice. Typically, property owners extend the kitchen out (who doesn’t want a bigger kitchen?) or expand upon the already existing family room.

This addition not only adds some serious room to your rental that can now accommodate more people, it leads itself right out into the backyard, which can be a haven of entertainment for Anne Arundel County families.


2. Add a Greenhouse

Sometimes referred to as a “jewel box,” a greenhouse is an excellent way to add square footage to your rental as well as an element of surprise; not many homes come with their very own greenhouse addition. And, if your rental property does, you will likely have some serious competition amongst interested tenants wanting in on that special amenity.

Here are some things to remember when thinking about adding a greenhouse to your rental property:

  • Ensure the greenhouse’s placement will provide proper sunlight
  • Consider the landscaping of the backyard – will you need to trim any large trees or brushes that block sunlight or to maximize the overall appeal of the greenhouse?
  • Make sure the foundation is secure and that proper drainage from the greenhouse can occur
  • Watch for material use – the best materials are not always the cheapest nor the most expensive, rather, they are the ones that will provide the right climate for your greenhouse
  • Be sure you aren’t in violation of any homeowners’ association rules, if applicable

If done right, a greenhouse can add a lot of appeal and bring in some seriously high rent.


3. Think Small


Adding square footage is not always about adding a lot more space to an existing structure.

Sometimes, adding a small patio to the backend of the master bedroom or a front porch to accommodate a simple bench is enough to make a statement without overwhelming your rental. You can still get creative and not break the bank – or your rental property’s structure – by adding small accent statements to the exterior.


4. Or…Think Big

On the other hand, adding something large and bold, such as a pavilion, can make a huge statement when it comes to your rental property. Try adding a small pool house in your backyard where summertime visitors can change, shower, or cool off.

You have the option of making your pavilion freestanding or attaching it to the main structure.

Though atypical, a pavilion can also be used as a place of residence. Pavilions are so great because they’re versatile – they can offer the shade of a gazebo, the storage room of a backyard shed, and the feel of a cabana, all at the same time.


5. Make Your Rental Tall


If your Anne Arundel County rental property is on a small lot, and there is not a lot of room to expand outwards, one unique way to expand your rental’s square footage is to raise the ceiling (and thus, the roof).

Though this strategy will not work on all rental properties due to certain restrictions you must adhere to, it can work for some. A higher ceiling gives the feeling of more space and a bigger home.


6. Add Another Level

This is an ambitious addition, and not one to be taken lightly in terms of completion time, stress, or cost. However, if you own the type of rental property that will benefit from adding an entirely new level, you will definitely gain some more square footage points with prospective tenants.

If you do opt for this addition, follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure to use only qualified architects and remodelers
  • Understand that your entire property may need moving and that the roof will be removed
  • A solid foundation is a must
  • Strong walls are necessary as well
  • Upgrades to electrical, heating, and cooling systems may be required
  • Staircase location is crucial and will affect your first floor square footage space


Tenants are always looking for bigger and better. And if they have the expendable income, they are sure to pay premium rent rates to lease your large property.

If you live in the Anne Arundel County region and have a rental property that has expanded upwards, outwards, or both, contact Bay Management Group to help you advertise your property appropriately.

With targeted techniques, a solid understanding of the market, and the resources to connect with the best pool of tenants, Bay Management Group is the property management company you want to employ.

Contact us today and see how our expertise of the rental property business can get your unique property leased to a high quality (and high paying) tenant within thirty days.

The Best Homeowner’s Insurance Policy For Your Rental Property

best-homeowners-insurance-policy-rental-property-marylandAs a real estate professional who owns rental property, it is crucial you make an effort to protect your investment in every way possible.  One of the best ways to do that is to have a homeowner’s insurance policy in place from the minute a tenant takes up residence in your income property.

Finding the right homeowner’s insurance policy to fit your needs is no easy task.  With so many different policies available to choose from, it is easy to become confused.  That’s why today we are going to look over the most common types of homeowner’s insurance policies offered so that you can protect your most valuable asset – your rental property.


Top Homeowner’s Insurance Policies for Your Investment Property

top-insurance-policies-homeowners-rental-property-marylandThere are several types of homeowner’s insurance policies to pick from, each offering varying levels of coverage.  It is important you research your property’s needs and compare those to the policy you plan to purchase to make sure you have the necessary coverage.

1. HO-1

This is the most basic type of coverage you can have for your investment property.  It only provides dwelling coverage against 10 perils (specific events that cause damage to your property):

  • Volcanic eruption
  • Explosions
  • Fire or smoke
  • Lightning
  • Riots and civil commotion
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Hail and windstorms
  • Damage from vehicles
  • Damage from aircraft

It is important to keep in mind that this policy typically does not cover personal liability, meaning if someone gets hurt while on your property, there will be no coverage for any damages incurred.  However, if you are requiring your tenants to have their own renters insurance policy, this shouldn’t matter.


2. HO-2

Also called a broad coverage policy, the HO-2 covers your investment property’s dwelling as well as attached structures such as a detached garage or fence.  Moreover, this type of policy generally covers personal belongings and personal liability.  That said, it only covers the 10 perils listed in the HO-1 policy as well as these six additional perils:

  • Falling objects
  • Weight of sleet, ice, or snow
  • Freezing
  • Accidental overflow of water or stream
  • Sudden or accidental tearing, cracking, burning, or bulging of pipes
  • Sudden or accidental damage from artificially generated electric current


3. HO-3

An HO-3 policy is the most common form of homeowner’s insurance policy purchased by homeowners of all types.  It insures your property’s dwelling and detached structures and covers everything except what is excluded from the policy.  The HO-3 is very different from the HO-1 and HO-2 policies and you should research your policy thoroughly before signing an agreement.

Every HO-3 policy will differ slightly depending on the exclusions that your specific policy states.  However, for a general idea of perils that are not covered in an HO-3 policy, check here.  To give you an idea of some of the most common exclusions, many HO-3 homeowner’s insurance policies do not provide coverage in the case of an earthquake or flood.  This means that if you are in a region that is prone to those types of natural disasters, you might want to consider purchasing additional insurance on top of your HO-3 policy to protect your property.


4. HO-4

This special type of homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect your tenants’ personal belongings and any personal liability claims involving the tenant.  Additionally, this policy covers displacement costs should your tenant have to reside elsewhere because of damage to your property, medical bills due to an injury, and the basic liability coverage should your tenant sue.

This is not something you would normally purchase if you require your tenants to have renters insurance.  However, if you do not require renters insurance, this might give your (and of course your tenants) an extra layer of security in the case of an emergency.


5. HO-5

Noted as the best homeowner’s insurance policy you can have thanks to its broad range of coverage, the HO-5 operates similar to an HO-3 in that the only perils not covered under the policy are those that are specifically listed in the policy itself.  However, the HO-5 differs from an HO-3 because it typically covers more perils and has personalized limit options when it comes to personal liability coverage amounts.  This type of insurance is usually the most expensive because it covers the widest range of damages.


In the end, protecting your most important asset should be your primary concern when in the rental property business.  After all, a damaged property does you no good, especially if there is no insurance policy in place to cover the expenses incurred.

Before agreeing to a specific homeowner’s insurance policy for your investment property, make sure you discuss your individual needs with a qualified insurance agent so there are no surprises in the event of an emergency.  With all of the options available, there is sure to be a homeowner’s insurance policy to match your needs and budget.

Finding the Perfect Real Estate Agent for Your Investment Property

 finding-perfect-real-estate-agent-investment-property-marylandFinding a reliable real estate agent is essential to anyone looking to purchase a piece of real estate. Whether you are a real estate professional looking to expand your portfolio or a casual home buyer, picking a real estate agent you can trust is a must when it comes to buying or selling homes.

But how do you go about finding the right agent for you?

The best agent for you is not always going to be the most familiar real estate name in the biz, the one who has sold the most homes in the area you are interested in or the one working for the largest brokerage. In fact, many times those things will not matter at all.

What will matter is that you find someone that acts in a professional and ethical way, is willing to listen to your needs and knows the market you are looking to enter.

Today we will take a look at what role a real estate agent plays in the home purchasing process and provide you with some helpful tips for finding the right real estate agent for you.


What is a Real Estate Agent?

real-estate-agent-maryland-rental-propertyReal estate agents are licensed professionals that represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. Many times a real estate agent will work under one of the following:

  • Real Estate Broker: A professional or firm in the real estate business that charges a fee or commission for conducting buy and sell transactions of real estate initiatives. They also handle the earnest money deposit and escrow account. A real estate agent that works under a broker is licensed to help people buy and sell property.
  • Realtor: A real estate professional that is a member of the National Association of Realtors. They are considered expert real estate agents and are more educated than your typical real estate agent.

A real estate agent’s duties will depend on whether they are representing a buyer or seller in the purchase process.

If representing the seller, a real estate agent will advise the client on how to price the property, how to prepare the property for sale and what improvements can be made to boost the value of the home. They also promote the property through things such as listing services, networking platforms and traditional advertisements via online or newspaper ads.

If representing the buyer, a real estate agent will search for available properties that match the buyer’s needs and price range and arrange for the purchase of the property.


How to Find the Perfect Real Estate Agent

 find-perfect-real-estate-agent-maryland-rental-propertyNow that you know what a real estate agent is responsible for, let’s look at some things that can help guide you to an agent that works best for you.

Get Referrals

Satisfied customers of exceptional real estate agents will not hesitate to refer them to family, friends and co-workers. In fact, word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find out if meeting with a potential real estate agent is a good idea. Here are some things you should discuss with those that have had experience with a real estate agent:

  • What was the experience like from start to finish?
  • How satisfied were you at the end of the process?
  • Did the agent truly listen to your wants and needs?
  • Did the agent give you exactly what you wanted?
  • What did the agent do that exceeded you expectations?
  • How likely are you to refer them to others and why?

Visit Open Houses on Your Ownopen-house-rental-property-marylandOne way to see an agent in their element is to visit an open house in the market you are interested in. This is an informal way for you to meet the agent and get a first impression that may encourage you to pursue them as your agent.

Observe how prepared and knowledgeable the agent seems. Notice how the open house is set up (should you be in the market to sell your home) and decide if the setup is something you would want for your home. In addition, notice the energy you get from your interactions with the agent. Although not always right initially, your feelings about someone upon a first meeting are usually right.

Lastly, make sure you know who the listing agent is on the open house. Experience is a must when it comes to choosing a real estate agent. Just because an agent has attended an open house does not mean the property is theirs to sell.


Check Their Experience Level

The goal of finding a great real estate agent is to find someone experienced in doing deals that are similar to the one you are interested in conducting. For example, if you are looking to buy a starter home that will fit your family’s needs, finding a real estate agent that has experience only in luxury condo sales is probably not going to be a good fit.

You need an agent that understands the market, whether you are looking to buy or sell. Additionally, an experienced agent will have many connections, will know of properties that are considered off-market that may suit your taste and have the negotiation skills to help get your offers accepted.


Match These Qualities

There are plenty of different personalities, experience levels and success rates floating around the real estate industry that can confuse anyone when it comes to choosing a good real estate agent. Make a list of the personality traits you are looking for in an agent and look for someone that matches the majority of them prior to hiring them to help you buy or sell your property:

  • Make sure they are licensed. Being a real estate broker or Realtor is not required. However, your real estate agent’s license should be in good standing. In addition, they should have zero complaints against them. This information can easily be Googled.
  • Knowledge is key. You want to find an agent that excels in the type of real estate transaction you are interested in. Residential and commercial properties are very different. Short sales or foreclosures have their own individual issues to contend with. Buying versus selling makes all the difference.
  • Communication is also key. This seems like an obvious point but unfortunately with many real estate agents, communication is not a strong point. It is your right to know what is going on with your real estate transaction at all times. Make sure you are receiving regular updates in your preferred method (email, phone, text). Also, make sure you can easily get in touch with your agent should you have any questions or concerns.

In addition to these important qualities you want to make sure you find a real estate agent that is truthful, has integrity and performs their job with pride. Investing in a property is a big deal and is one that does not come cheap. Someone who does not understand this is not worthy of your time or money.


If you are looking for a real estate agent to represent you in your real estate endeavors, take note of the above-mentioned tips. They will go a long way when it comes to choosing the right agent to represent you and get you the best deal possible, no matter which side of the bargain you are on.