Bay Management Group’s Top Property Management Tips of 2017

Top Property Management Tips for 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Our Top Property Management Tips in 2017

1. Know When to Raise Rent Rates

Property Management Tips Know When Raise Rent

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

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

 

2. Make Sure Your Pet Policies Are Legal

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

4. Set Goals as an Income Property Owner

Set Goals as a Maryland Property Manager

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

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

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

 

5. Keep Your Rental Secure

Rental property security will always be an important topic.

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

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

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

 

6. Opt for Online Rent Collection

It’s no secret that your tenants want convenience.

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

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

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

 

7. Go the Extra Mile for Your Tenants

Go Extra Mile For Your Tenants Property Management Tips for 2017

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

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

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

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

 

8. Avoid Common Landlord Mistakes

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

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

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

 

Did you make any of these mistakes?

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

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

 

9. Airtight Lease Agreements Are Essential

Airtight Lease Agreements are Essential Rental Property Management

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

11. Eco-Friendly Rentals Are In-Demand

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

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

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

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

 

12. Stay On Top of the Latest Investing Advice

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

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

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

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

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

 

13. Hire a Property Management Company Like Bay Management Group

Self-managing your rental properties can be difficult.

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

But we are.

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

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

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


5 Ways a Property Management Company Saves You Time And Money

Hiring a Property Management Company Saves You Time and Money

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

1. Reduced Vacancy Rates

Property Management Company Helps Reduce Vacancy Rates

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

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

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

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

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

 

2. Legal Compliance

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

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

That’s a lot of saved time.

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

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

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

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

 

3. Higher Quality Tenants

Get Higher Quality Tenants With a Rental Property Management Company

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

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

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

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

Trust a property manager to handle these details for you.

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

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

 

4. Maintenance and Repairs

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

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

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

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

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

 

5. Rent Collection Enforcement

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

Collecting rent from your tenants is how you make money.

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

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

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

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

 

In Closing

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

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

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

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


Top Reasons Landlords Use a Property Management Company

Top Reasons to Choose a Property Management Company

Are you thinking about hiring a Maryland property management company to help you care for your Potomac investment properties?

Many property owners quickly find out that self-managing their rental properties entails a lot more work than they originally anticipated.

This is especially true for those looking to grow their rental property business, expand their portfolio of properties, and come out successful on the other end.

In the past, we have discussed why you should consider opting for a property manager to help you with your investment properties:

  • Save Yourself Time. Managing rental properties, especially if you have another job to hold down, can be overwhelming. Sometimes being physically present at your rental property is impossible, due to other commitments filling your time.
  • Expertise. You may find out after investing in your first Potomac rental that you lack the necessary skills to conduct a profitable rental property business.
  • Willingness. You may find that you are simply unwilling to put the required time into managing every detail necessary for successfully leasing your rental property.

 

These three reasons for hiring a property manager are definitive. In fact, the majority of property owners fall under at least one of these three categories.

However, there are more reasons why a property owner might want to utilize the services of a property management company.

And, it just so happens that our Potomac property managers are privy to this knowledge, and want to share it with you.

 

Reasons to Enlist the Help of a Potomac Property Management Company

1. You Do Not Live Nearby

Enlist Help From a Property Management Company Because You Don't Live Nearby

Landlords that do not live nearby their rental properties will have a tough time managing the day-to-day operations investment properties require.

This is where a property management company in close proximity to your rental comes in handy.

Not only can they handle daily things with your property, in the case of an emergency, they can be at your property right away. This is helpful to you, and satisfying to your tenants.

 

2. Vendor Relationships

Knowing someone that is highly qualified, affordable, timely, and customer-service oriented is valuable.

That’s why having the help of a property manager is beneficial to you as a landlord.

Successful property management companies have built strong relationships with vendors of all kinds throughout the years – maintenance workers (if they do not have their own crew), contractors, suppliers, tradesmen, and vendors.

Your property manager’s connections will garner you the best work in town, and save you money in the long run.

 

3. Customer Service

Hire a Property Management Company for Customer Service

Knowing how to keep your tenants happy, and willing to sign lease renewals come the end of their lease term, may seem easy.

Unfortunately, many landlords do not possess the customer-service skills tenants expect from their landlord.

This can break down a healthy landlord-tenant relationship over time, which ultimately leads to a vacant property come the end of the lease term.

However, by using a customer-service oriented property management team in Potomac, you will reap the benefits of their ability to satisfy your tenants.

Whether it be with the tenant package they provide new tenants, their quick turnaround times when it comes to maintenance and repairs issues, or simply the convenience that online rent collection provides busy tenants, a good property management company will be able to take care of your tenant’s every need.

 

4. Help Expanding

Property management companies are well versed in the real estate market trends that span the regions they work in.

This means that for those looking to expand their portfolios across regions, the insight of a property manager that is already managing one or more of their properties can be very helpful.

If you are looking to cross city or state lines in hopes of investing in some valuable rental property, an already established relationship with a property management company will be useful for gaining knowledge about new markets.

Plus, you can have them take over the management of your new properties, making the transition to other areas even easier.

 

5. Setting Rental Rates

Hire Property Management Company to Set Rent Rates

In tune with knowing the status of the current rental property market, a qualified property management team will also understand what the going rent rates are.

They will be able to help you determine the right rent rate for your properties, depending on things such as location, amenities, and going rates for similar properties.

This will prevent you from both undercharging and failing to maximize your monthly rental income, and overcharging, which can lead to longer vacancy periods.

In addition, a good property manager will be able to help you decide when a good time to raise your current rent rates is, and by how much.

 

6. Compliance with the Law

Ignorance of the rules and regulations, as they relate to Potomac rental properties, is no excuse when it comes to owning investment properties.

Here are some of the important legal concerns an experienced Potomac property management company can help you with:

  • Fair Housing regulations
  • Lead and mold inspections/disclosures
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detector requirements
  • Housing and building codes
  • Proper notices
  • Eviction procedures

Don’t get caught up in landlord-tenant disputes, or worse, legal battles that can ruin your rental property business.

Hire a property management company to help ensure you are always in line with federal, state, and local laws as they apply to your rental property.

 

There are plenty of solid reasons for investing in a property management company in Potomac.

By choosing a competitive property management team, such as Bay Management Group, not only will you reap the benefits of their services, you will maximize your profitability and boost your success as a property owner.

If you are in need of an experienced, highly qualified, and customer-service oriented property management company in the Potomac area, get in touch with Bay Management Group now. We can help you find the best tenants, minimize risks associated with investment property ownership, and ensure that your rental property business continues to grow.


6 Red Flags Not to Miss in Tenant Screening

dont-miss-red-flags-tenant-screening-maryland-property

Thorough tenant screening of all prospective Maryland tenants is critical to the success of your rental property business.  Place the wrong tenant in your property and you could face enormous financial loss, property damage, and even the fall of your rental property business altogether.

When you are screening potential tenants for your investment property, especially if you self-manage your property, it can be hard to figure out which criteria to take into account.  And, while you may be tempted to ignore some obvious red flags so that you can place a tenant into your property more quickly, we are here to tell you not to fall victim to that hurried emotion.

There are several serious red flags that should alarm you during the tenant screening process if they ever crop up.  Even if you employ a property management company to conduct tenant screenings for you, it is crucial you know exactly what they are looking for in the tenants that will ultimately reside in your property.

 

6 Red Flags to Look Out for During the Tenant Screening Process

1. Poor Credit

watch-out-poor-credit-score-maryland-rental-property-tenant

A potential tenant’s credit score is one of the most surefire ways to tell whether they are a quality prospect to lease your property or not.  This is because a credit score provides a great overall view of a tenant’s financial stability.  Plus, it provides insight into how they handle payments and the debt that comes with those payments.

In the end, the lower the credit score, the less qualified that particular tenant is of leasing your rental property.  Although location and demographics may play a role in the exact credit score number you look for, anything below 650 is typically considered a red flag.

 

2. Inconsistent Income

Next to credit score, a tenant’s income and employment verifications are major factors when it comes to deciding whether they are a good fit for your property. In fact, it is not unusual for property owners to require tenants to make 2-3 times the monthly rent per month in income.  Though this seems steep, with so many people floundering in debt, this value provides property owners comfort in knowing that their tenant makes enough money to pay their rent each month.

If your prospective tenant cannot verify the amount of income they make each month, take this as a huge red flag.  If your tenant does not have enough income, your monthly rent requirement is sure to come up short at some point.

 

3. Prior Evictions

look-for-prior-evictions-tenant-maryland-rental-property

If your tenant has failed to pay in the past, or has broken a signed lease agreement so severely they were evicted, chances are high they will do the same to you.  You may implement a zero tolerance policy when it comes to prior evictions and leasing your Maryland rental property.  If, however, you want to include a level of flexibility when it comes to past evictions, aim for no prior evictions in the last five years.  After all, sometimes things happen that are out of people’s control and evictions occur.  However, be very selective when it comes to this and make sure your prospective tenant is flawless in every other aspect.

 

4. A Criminal Record

If a tenant you are screening has a criminal history, you might want to reconsider placing them in your property.  Viewed as a major red flag, any prior convictions such as disturbances, DUIs, drug offenses, and driving without a license or insurance may indicate the tenant is unable to follow the law.  In fact, you may even want to include multiple traffic stops and dismissed charges in your assessment of them.

 

5. Bad References

bad-references-red-flag-tenant-rental-property-maryland

If you reach out to a reference that your potential tenant listed on their application, and you receive bad news about them, consider this your lucky day.  Rarely will a listed reference say anything against a potential tenant if they are listed on the application.

However, that is not to say you cannot gather some useful information, even from a good reference.  Make sure to ask the critical questions such as whether the tenant paid on time, if they ever caused any disturbances, and what the condition of the place was when the tenant left.

If your tenant’s reference reveals things that do not sit well with you, count that as a red flag.  Moreover, if your potential tenant resists providing you references, especially previous landlords, take that as a red flag as well.

 

6. Moving Too Often

A tenant that moves a lot may turn out to be a bad tenant.  There are questions to ask when it comes to a frequent mover such as why they move so much and whether the moves were on their terms or their previous landlords’ terms.  This is where having previous landlord references is helpful.  Though not always a reason to turn down a potential tenant, a tenant that moves a lot can signal a red flag and is something to consider carefully.

In addition to moving a lot within a short period of time, a tenant that was previously living with a friend or relative can be a red flag that needs further evaluation as well.  True, many millennials are living with their parents longer than ever.  And, this does not necessarily signify that once they do decide to move out on their own that they will be a poor tenant.

However, many people move in with friends and family after an eviction.  This could end up being a big problem later on should you decide to place this tenant in your rental home.  Make sure you investigate closely and find out exactly why a potential tenant had non-traditional living situations in the past.

Finding the perfect tenant for your Maryland rental property can be hard to do if you are inexperienced at tenant screening.  Thus, hiring a property management company to help you with tenant screening, and everything else property related can be a lifesaver.

 

If you are in the Maryland area and want to place new tenants in your investment property, contact Bay Management Group to help.  Not only do we know all of the red flags to look out for during the screening process, we understand how important it is not to discriminate against potential tenants in the process.  Following the Fair Housing Act during the tenant screening process is essential to avoiding a lawsuit and ensuring the screening process is performed legally.

In addition, Bay Management Group can aid you in the management of your rental property after placing a high-quality tenant.  From rent collection to routine inspections, on-call maintenance support to transparent bookkeeping, Bay Management Group takes all the hassle out of owning and leasing a Maryland rental property.


Dealing with a Tough Homeowners Association for Your Rental Property

 

What To Do if You Own Property in an HOA (homeowners association) That Is Tough To Deal WithHomeowners associations (HOAs) are gaining popularity all across the state of Maryland and property owners are flocking to purchase property that is part of an HOA.  Take a look at this list to get an idea of just how many HOAs there are in existence right now, with additions consistently being made.

So why the increase in HOAs?

Homeowners associations appeal to many property owners because their aim is to maintain property values, serve the best interests of those in the community, and keep some order amongst a diverse group of people.  And, as a property owner that leases a home, these are great benefits.

You want your home to maintain value.  You want your tenants to have their best interests served.  And of course, you want a peaceful neighborhood so your tenants want to stay.

 

However, HOAs have a reputation for being difficult to deal with.  And unfortunately, this difficulty trickles down to property owners, their property managers, and even their tenants.

Thankfully, we have some great tips for handling a tough HOA that you and your tenants can take advantage of to ensure the best possible leasing experience.  In addition, if you employ Montgomery County’s leading property managers to care for your property and tenants, these tips can pass from manager to tenant easily during the move-in period.

Today we will look at what exactly a homeowners association is and how best to handle one if they are tougher than the norm.

 

What is a Homeowners Association?

A homeowners association, or HOA, is a legal entity created to manage and maintain the common areas of a community.  These common areas include places such as pools, clubhouses, landscaping areas, parks, streets, and roads.

And, as mentioned earlier, they are quite popular.  As of 2012, nearly 60 million Americans live in a community that is regulated by a homeowners association.

HOAs are typically established in communities that include condominiums, single-family homes, or townhouses.  And, as the leaders of the community, HOAs provide rules, called the “Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions” (CC&Rs), regarding what can and cannot occur within the common areas of the community.

Here are some of the key traits of a typical HOA:

  • They are usually non-profit corporations
  • They have the authority to enforce the bylaws within the CC&Rs
  • Membership of the HOA is mandatory for all those living within the community
  • Mandatory dues are collected monthly from property owners
  • There is an elected board of members, most of which are volunteer homeowners of the community
  • Many HOAs hire a property management company to conduct things such as maintenance, bookkeeping, and dues collection

 

In addition, HOAs provide services such as maintenance of common area landscaping, neighborhood security, activity organization for residents, and approvals for exterior home improvements property owners want to make.

 

How to Handle Strict HOA Rules

The Do's and Don'ts of How To Deal With a Tough Homeowner's Association (HOA) in Montgomery County, Maryland

All HOAs expect residents, whether owners or tenants, to abide by the community’s CC&Rs.  However, as a Montgomery County rental property owner, it is your responsibility, or that of your property manager, to ensure your tenants follow the HOA’s regulations.  In fact, here are some things most HOAs will want property owners to provide any tenant that leases their home:

  • A copy of the HOA’s CC&Rs
  • HOA rules and regulations must be a condition in all lease agreements
  • Property owners or their property managers will be held responsible for tenant violations
  • Tenants must communicate with HOAs via the property management company
  • Multiple tenant violations can lead to termination of residency

As you can see, there is a lot of responsibility that falls onto property owners and their property managers when leasing a home that is a part of an HOA.

Here are some ways you can lessen that burden and ensure a smooth tenancy that satisfies both your community’s HOA board members and your tenants.

Know Your HOA Bylaws . . .

. . . and follow them.  It is a good idea as a property owner to read your HOA’s CC&Rs thoroughly.  Your Montgomery County property manager should do the same.  This prevents any unusual violations, such as parking in your driveway, from occurring.  After all, violations result in fines and possibly termination of your tenant’s stay.

Communicate with Your Neighbors

One of the benefits of owning property within an HOA community is that all of your neighbors are in the same HOA as well.  Everyone is following the same rules set forth by the HOA and everyone pays the same monthly dues.

In the case your HOA begins enforcing rules that you feel are unnecessary, or hiking monthly dues beyond that of what is reasonable, reaching out to neighbors you already know to voice your frustrations will be a lot easier.  Plus, you can all band together and make a common complaint against the HOA board.

 

Get Approval for All Changes

Yes, this can be tedious, and often seems unfair.  However, living in an HOA means you must have approval for all exterior changes to your home and landscaping, backyard included.

To make things easier with a tough HOA that enforces every single bylaw perfectly, just get approval first.

Getting approval will protect you from fines, complaints from neighbors, and legal trouble.  In addition, it is important that your property manager enforce this with your tenants as well.

Make sure your tenants are aware they cannot make any changes, even small ones such as adding a pet fence in their backyard, without gaining prior approval.

 

Pay Your Dues on Time

To Avoid Issues, Be Sure to Pay Your HOA (Homeowner's Association) Dues On Time

This seems obvious, but a quick way to get on the wrong side of a tough HOA is not paying your dues.  If you refuse to pay your HOA dues, or even just fall behind, your HOA may have the power to foreclose on your home.  Chances are very slim that late dues would result in the foreclosure of your home, but that hefty price for falling behind on dues is not worth the risk.

 

If You Get Fined, Pay Up

Maybe you have fallen victim to the toughest HOA in the country.  As unfortunate as that is, if you receive a fine and the HOA acted within their power to impose such a fine, the best option is to pay the fine.

However, there are three additional options for dealing with an HOA fine if you adamantly believe you shouldn’t have to pay it:

  • Ask for a variance. This means you or your property manager are requesting the HOA make an exception to the bylaw violation.  If the HOA does not initially agree, they may hold a hearing where other homeowners can come to hear your case and make a decision.
  • Take legal action. If the HOA was in violation of their power, with the help of your property management company, you can file a lawsuit against your HOA in response.
  • Don’t Pay. Although not recommended, you can refuse to pay the fine.  However, if you are dealing with a tough HOA, risking additional fines and a possible foreclosure is simply not worth it.

 

In the end, dealing with an HOA can be difficult at times. However, there are some wonderful benefits in owning property in a Montgomery County HOA that you may feel are worth the potential extra hassle.

If you are looking to take some of the work off your shoulders, and the stress of dealing with a tough HOA does not sit well with you, contact Bay Management Group today.  Working solely in property management and ready to take on the task of managing your property, tenants, and tough HOA, BMG will assure you peace of mind.

Bay Management Group is knowledgeable about how to draft solid lease agreements that include HOA regulation compliance and will protect you should any legal issues arise.

In addition, we are exceptional at taking care of tenant screening and placement, maintenance issues, rent collection, and everything in between that involves your property and tenants.

So, contact us today and start handling that tough HOA in a proactive and beneficial way.


Landlords Beware: How to Avoid Rental Fraud

beware-scam-maryland-property-management-company

Rental fraud: What is it and how can Maryland landlords avoid it?

For those of you who have yet to experience the horror of rental fraud, we are here to explain to you exactly what it is.

Rental fraud is when someone who is not you or your Maryland rental management company claims to own your rental property and proceeds to lease it out to unknowing tenants.

Scary, isn’t it?

Rental fraud can lead to several difficult situations:

  • Security deposit and first/last month rent is collected by the fraud. Then, come move in time, tenants have no way of accessing the actual property. Meanwhile, the fraudulent landlord is already on the run with money in hand.
  • Your property’s locks are changed and tenants actually move into your rental home having no idea that their “landlord” is a fake.
  • You are forced to remove the innocent, although illegally residing, tenants who have been scammed.
  • You are left with the mess of having to prove in a court of law that the property is actually yours.

Though avoiding rental fraud may not be entirely possible, there are some proven strategies that can help reduce the chances of you ever falling victim to this type of scam.

 

Rental Fraud Comes in Many Formsbeware-maryland-rental-fraud

As mentioned above, rental fraud is when someone poses as either the landlord or property management company to illegally lease out your Maryland rental property. However, there are other types of rental fraud as well.

Landlords are also vulnerable to the types of rental fraud outlined below, and should be aware of their susceptibilities at all times.

 

The Eviction Scam

This type of rental fraud is when a tenant moves into your property with no intention of ever paying rent. As a result, you are forced to evict them.

Unfortunately, the eviction process can sometimes take months to pan out, as well as cost a great deal of money. This leaves the tenant plenty of time to live in your property while lining up another place to scam.

Avoid this scenario: The best way to prevent a tenant who is consistently evicted from every place they occupy is to conduct thorough screenings of each and every tenant you consider placing in your property. This should include a background check, credit check, income verification, and reference follow-up.

Another great tip is to meet each prospective tenant face-to-face, even if your rental management company typically does all the work for you.

Sometimes a first impression will leave you with a gut feeling not to go with a particular tenant, which can be helpful in avoiding scams.

 

The Utility Scammaryland-property-managers-fight-utility-scams

Did you know that many states hold landlords responsible for the water bill despite what the outlined lease agreement states?

Sometimes a tenant will avoid paying the water utility bill because they know that after it goes unpaid for long periods of time, the water company will go after the owner of the property (you) to pay the bill.

To add to this, many tenants are aware that the water company typically does not shut off the water supply to any given residence. This means your tenant is using water on your dime.

Avoid this scenario: The best way to avoid this utility scam is to call your local water company from time to time to make sure your tenant is current on all of their bills.

In addition, it is best to have your property management company draft a detailed lease agreement outlining the responsibilities regarding utility payments. This way, should your tenant neglect their financial obligations, you have a way to prove in court who was responsible for what.

 

The International Scambeware-maryland-international-rental-property-management-scams

This highly popular scam is an unfortunate one that many landlords fall prey to. Also known as the Nigerian 419 scam, this type of fraud involves a prospective tenant from overseas looking to lease your rental property in the near future.

The fraudulent tenant will send you a check for the amount owed at move-in, plus extra “by accident.” This extra money is usually double what you asked for move-in costs.

The fraud will then ask you to wire back the excess money and before you know it, the original check that was sent to you turns out to be fraudulent while the money you have wired back to this person was your real, hard-earned cash.

Avoid this scenario: It is best to not deal with overseas tenants, unless you have a professional helping you with the background checks.

In addition, never accept a certified check from anyone overseas. These checks will usually clear and then bounce weeks later because they are fake.

If by chance you are accepting money from an overseas tenant, only accept money orders through a reputable company, such as Western Union.

 

Monitor Your Vacant Propertiesmonitor-vacant-maryland-rental-properties

In addition to the above-mentioned rental fraud scenarios, there are other ways to avoid getting scammed by sneaky people.

Your Maryland rental property is most vulnerable when it is vacant. The last thing you want is someone breaking into your property and taking up residence with a fake lease agreement.

Should you notice someone squatting in your vacant home, chances are high that the police will have very little authority if the “tenants” have what seems to be a legitimate lease agreement.

The heartbreaking thing is that sometimes these scammers will demand you pay a “ransom” for them to leave your property. This not only costs you money but allows the trespassers a free pass. They never have to take responsibility for their actions and actually make money off of their scam.

And, if you decide against paying the frauds off, this situation will still cost you countless hours and money as you wade through the courts attempting to prove the lease agreement is fake and the “tenants” are indeed trespassers.

Avoid this scenario: Monitor your vacant properties regularly to make sure no one has stepped in and taken up residence.

You may even consider adding an active security system to your Maryland property so that if someone does attempt to break in, the police will have authority to charge him or her appropriately.

 

Watermark Your Photographs

These days, advertising vacant properties online is the norm. And, if you utilize a reputable rental management company, such as Bay Management Group, your rental home is promoted across several platforms to expose your vacant property to the widest pool of prospective tenants.

With any professional rental property ad, images of the home are a necessity. Anyone looking to lease a home wants to have a clear idea what the property looks like before inquiring about it.

The problem is, if someone if posing as you or your rental management company and posting a vacancy online, innocent tenants interested in your property may get scammed or end up living in your home without permission from the true owner (you).

Avoid this scenario: Add a watermark to all images of your property as an extra layer of protection. A watermark makes it more difficult for a fraudulent landlord to steal photos of your property and will likely cause them give up on attempting to scam you.

 

In the end, rental fraud can be a scary situation no matter the type you are involved in. That is why being proactive about your Maryland income properties is absolutely critical to keeping your money out of the hands of scammers and keeping unwanted tenants our of your properties.

If you are looking to safeguard your Maryland rental properties to the fullest extent, contact Bay Management Group.

With knowledgeable staff working solely in property management, Bay Management Group can protect you, your rental property, and your tenants from all types of rental fraud.

Peace of mind is priceless when it comes to your rental property business.

Use Bay Management Group to conduct thorough background checks, draft airtight lease agreements, and inspect your home regularly to make sure everything is in its right place.

 


How Does Your Property Management Company Stack Up?

how-choose-property-management-company-abingdon

Property management companies in the Harford County area are a specialized section of the rental property business.

Offering property owners years of experience and specialized knowledge in managing multiple rentals, property management companies have the potential to add real value to your rental homes as well as boost your positive cash flow.

Unfortunately, not all property management companies run their businesses in a way that best benefits their clients.

So, how do you know if the property managers you enlist to help you manage your Abingdon properties are up to par?

Keep reading to find out the many qualities your property management company should possess.

By the end of this article, you will be able to see just how your property management company stacks up against the rest.

You may find that it’s time to switch to one that takes their business [and yours] a little more seriously.

 

Does Your Property Management Company Stack Up?

It should come as no surprise that all property management companies claim that they are the best.

However, there are several stages that each property management company must master before being able to truly claim they are a success.

Let’s look at what those stages are before determining whether your property management team hits the mark.

Stage 1: Business Buildingabingdon-property-management-companies-should-have-multiple-vendors

In the beginning, a new property management company will focus on building a solid clientele. There will be a great deal of learning and even more reliance upon the education acquired before entering the property management business.

Here are some of the main challenges a new property management team faces:

  • Networking and negotiating with new contractors
  • Determining which vendors to build long-lasting relationships with and which cannot be trusted
  • Managing cost-benefit factors as they relate to advertising
  • Building relationships with local Maryland home inspectors
  • Dealing with property management competition
  • Outlining which services to offer clients

Altogether, every business experiences some level of growing pains in the beginning. However, handling these challenges appropriately will ultimately determine a company’s future success.

 

Stage 2: Clients and Their Properties

After the foundation of the business is established, property management companies will then focus on their Abingdon clients and the rental properties that are available for management.

This is where property managers with a real estate background can prove to be extremely beneficial.

Property managers that can make recommendations to improve a property’s visual appeal, make cost-effective renovations, and provide insight on competitive rental rates can help their clients boost their own rental rates, and ultimately, revenue.

 

Stage 3: Tenants

Next, it’s time to focus on all things tenant-related.

A crucial piece of this tenant stage is learning the importance of proper tenant screening procedures. Local and state laws regarding background checks, proper lease agreement drafting, and the process regarding non-payment or an eviction are all learned in this phase.

 

Stage 4: Making a Profitfind-profitable-property-management-company-abingdon-maryland

As time goes on and the property management team has experienced many of the commonplace issues in the rental property industry, the concentration then turns to increasing your profit.

Here are some ways a property management company may attempt to build a better profit margin:

  • Seek new vendors for better cost-benefit margins
  • Outsource advertisement for better rates of return
  • Manage problem tenants
  • Fine-tune small details that may prove costly over time

These are just some of the things a growing property management company will focus on once becoming established Abingdon property managers.

 

What to Look for in an A+ Property Management Company

Now that you have a clear idea of the main stages most property management companies in Abingdon and surrounding areas go through as they build a positive reputation in the Harford County region, it is time you decide whether your own management company makes the cut.

Here are some of the crucial qualities that define an exceptional property management company.

 

Education and Experiencewhat-look-property-manager-abingdon-md

Sure, education typically comes before business building (as it should). However, in life, there is always room to learn more and this certainly applies to businesses as well. The learning never stops—you can always expand your knowledge of business.

In addition, the longer a property management company is in business, the more experience they gain. This leads to a more thorough understanding of

  • Local properties available in and around Abingdon
  • Developing more efficient processes for tenant screening and maintenance requests
  • Better relationships with high-quality contractors
  • And more

Having a well-established property management company, such as Bay Management Group, can have a positive effect on how your rental property business operates.

Our experience and education is top notch and trickles down to all employees, making us a great option as your property management company.

 

Detail-Oriented

When a property management company is just starting out, it can be difficult to organize every policy and procedure regarding property owners and tenants.

It takes hard work to focus on both property owners and tenants, all state and federal laws related to rental properties, and potential safety hazards that can lead to costly lawsuits. And, this is just the beginning.

Your property management group should have a knowledgeable staff when it comes to serious legal issues such as lead paint hazards, housing inspections, eviction procedures, and fair housing laws.

In addition, there should be:

  • A strict rent collection policy in place that applies to every tenant placed in your rental property
  • A professional and timely maintenance and repair service
  • Detailed documentation of your property taken both on move-in and move-out dates

Being detail-oriented helps property management companies build their business and establish a reputation as one that focuses on both property owners and tenants.

In addition, attention to detail helps increase your revenue, which in turn helps the property management company make more money off the rentals they manage.

Luckily, a solid property management company, such as Bay Management Group, does all of this and more. This proves our commitment to details in everything we do from tenant placement and rent collection, to routine property inspections and maintenance service calls.

Connections
abingdon-rental-property-managers-have-connections

A property management company must have great networking skills if they want to make it in the competitive business of managing rental properties.

One of the best ways to do this is to build solid and long-lasting relationships with local contractors and vendors. This way, each side benefits—the property management company gets great deals and quality service and the contractors/vendors receive consistent business.

For example, Bay Management Group secures relationships with only the best contractors in town that offer quick turnarounds, quality work, and affordable pricing. Knowing this assures you that your property is well cared for at all times. Further, we also maintain close ties with those in the real estate industry to ensure you get the best rental rates possible, without overextending yourself and turning potential tenants away.

 

In the end, your property management company has a lot to answer for when it comes to managing rental properties in Harford County.

And, while new businesses have the potential to really “wow” new customers, oftentimes opting to work with the well-established and experienced company is a better choice.

If you own rental properties around Abingdon and are looking for a trusted and experienced property management company that exceeds every step of the business growth model mentioned above, contact Bay Management Group today.

Working solely in property management for years, Bay Management Group has mastered what it takes to care for your property. Maintaining legal compliance, handling all issues without a hitch, and giving you the peace of mind that your property is in good hands is what Bay Management Group proudly guarantees Abingdon investment property owners.

 


Property Management vs Rental Property Maintenance

Property-Management-VS-Rental-Property-Maintenance

Owning rental property in the Baltimore County area is not without challenges and complications.  That is why many landlords choose to hire a property management company to handle such tasks as finding quality tenants, collecting rent, and scheduling routine maintenance and repairs.

But what exactly do we mean when we talk about “property management”?  

It is more than cleaning, responding to maintenance calls, collecting rent, and managing tenants.  Property management can typically be divided into two separate entities—property management and rental property maintenance.  These entities, though different, work together to efficiently and effectively manage your property.

It is important to know exactly what to expect when you hire a property management company to manage your investment.  Today, we will examine the key differences between property management and rental property maintenance of your Towson rental home.

Property-Management-in-Baltimore

What is Property Management?

Property management companies manage your rental property.  They operate, control, and oversee your investment in numerous ways.  These tasks, when done properly, add vitality to your rental property and facilitate positive cash flow each year.

Let’s take a look at the primary responsibilities of a property management company:

Tenant Screening

Finding great tenants is crucial to being a successful landlord.  This is why hiring a good property management company to screen potential tenants for your valuable Essex rental home is so important.

There is a lot that goes into finding the perfect tenant for your Dundalk property.  Background checks should be performed for all potential tenants.  You should screen for prior evictions, liens, bankruptcies, criminal history, and credit worthiness.  You should also follow all federal, state, and local laws regarding tenant screening.

Lease Agreement Drafting

A legally compliant lease agreement should outline all of the important things a prospective tenant should be aware of.  This is where a property management company is especially helpful.  Understanding all landlord-tenant laws and the importance of a thorough lease agreement, your property management company will be able to take care of everything effortlessly.

Rent Collection

It is vital to your bottom line be able to collect and distribute rent payments on time each month. A hired property management company will be able to efficiently collect rent from your tenants and get the payments back to you quickly.

Collecting late rent payments is the responsibility of your property management company as well.  A quality property management company will also be responsible for starting the eviction process, handling lawsuits, and defending you as a landlord.

Property management companies are also responsible for many of the administrative tasks involved in the management of a rental home in the Parkville area of Baltimore.

Here are a few other important things that to look for in a good property management company:

  • Rental property registrations
  • Monthly and yearly financial statements
  • Routine inspections
  • Move in and move out reports
  • Low management fees
  • Advertisement of vacant rental properties

Rental-property-maintenance-in-Baltimore

What About Rental Property Maintenance?

Though they seem like one and the same, property management and rental property maintenance are actually two separate entities.

When you own a rental property, even in the mature and wealthy area of Pikesville, you will eventually have to deal with maintenance issues on your property.  And while property management companies are responsible for facilitating maintenance requests, that is typically where their responsibility ends.

Most property management companies have their own separate maintenance group.  These  licensed contractors are equipped to handle routine rental home upkeep, emergency repairs, and major damage that can result from accidents or an irresponsible tenant.

Tasks handled by rental property maintenance staff include:

  • Lawn and yard maintenance
  • Plumbing
  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Painting
  • Electrical work
  • Locksmith issues
  • Common area upkeep
  • Flooding emergencies

A responsible property management company will have a maintenance crew on hand 24/7 should your tenants encounter any issues— big or small.

In addition to the maintenance staff a property management company contacts when an issue of maintenance or repair pops up in one of your Catonsville property investments, your property management company should have relationships with professional licensed vendors that can handle  being tasked with the difficult problems that are beyond the scope of expertise of most general maintenance workers.

It is the responsibility of  the property management company to contact and schedule the repairs. From there the maintenance staff is responsible for resolving the issue, invoicing the landlord or tenant—according to the lease agreement—and taking care of any concerns that may arise during the course of work.

Rental-property-maintenance-and-management-in-Baltimore

So, Aren’t They Really One and the Same?

It may seem that property management companies and rental property maintenance staff are actually one and the same—and some are.  The problem is, not all property management groups provide their customers a rental property maintenance staff.  This means that as a landlord all administrative tasks related to your property will be handled but the maintenance issues will be your responsibility.

Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of a hiring a property management company?

This is why it is so important to research your property management company beforehand and compile a list of questions to ask each company you are considering prior to bringing them in for an interview.

Property-management-in-Baltimore

Bay Management Group

Luckily for you, if you own a rental property in the Owings Mills or the surrounding Baltimore areas you have access to one of Maryland’s premier property management companies, Bay Management Group.

Not only does Bay Management Group thoroughly handle all property management tasks related to your rental property, they have an experienced, licensed maintenance staff and vendors on hand to resolve any maintenance issues you or your tenants might encounter.

Bay Management Group is dedicated to the job of property management, and they take pride in a job well done.  Bay Management Group is the ideal property management company for you and your Baltimore County rental property.

 

Final Thoughts

Whether you are new to the rental property business, or you have multiple properties, it is important to understand the benefits of hiring a reputable property management company.  Take time to make sure that you and your property management company are in agreement about the tasks outlined in the contract as well as monthly management fees.

If you’re in need of a full-service property management company in Baltimore County, give Bay Management Group a call.  Their knowledgeable and friendly staff is here to answer all of your questions and I bet by the end of the conversation, you will be convinced they are the right choice for your property management needs.

 

 


Find Financial Freedom Through Real Estate Investments

Everyone is looking for nice ways to gain financial freedom. The idea of being debt-free and have the ability to travel and plan nice vacations sounds appealing, right? Well financial freedom isn’t hard to gain, if you invest properly!

financial-freedom-investment-properties

Owning rental properties in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and the surrounding D.C. metro area is a great way to start your journey to being debt-free! In suburban areas like Bethesda and Silver Spring, where the cost of living is higher and the employment rate is at a low 3.7% (approximately 2% lower than the Maryland average!), it is very likely you will be able to run a successful rental property business.

Renting Investment Properties: All About Location!

Southern Maryland is a popular place for rental properties, due to the higher cost of living and crowded neighborhoods. Families appreciate sending their children to the best schools in Maryland and millennials appreciate the variety of entertainment and nightlife at their fingertips.

Easy access to both Baltimore and D.C. make surrounding counties very popular for young professionals and millennials who are in the market to rent instead of purchase a house. The median income has decreased, making down payments much harder to save for, and with the hefty amount of student loans the average millennial has, purchasing a house is usually out of the question.

Here are  few ways to make your rental property more attractive to millennials:

  • 24-hour maintenance
  • Attached yards
  • Covered parking
  • Locations near shopping, restaurants, and entertainment

Millenials-Live-Work-Play

Many people choose rentals in these areas because the property taxes are high, making mortgages and down payments unreasonably high. However, as a landlord, you can change higher rental costs due to the area and cost of living. These properties are generally very successful in returning a high profit, but you’ll have to make an informed guess when you’re determining the actual return on investment in regards to your rental property business.

Rentals Are on the Rise

A few years ago, Prince George’s county housing market suffered from large amounts of foreclosures. However, this has increased the need for rental properties. House are auctioned off to investors much lower than their original cost, some costing only $80,000. The good news for investors is that these houses can be flipped with ease and rented for high rates due to their location right outside of D.C. and urban centers.

The market for rental properties is booming in Maryland, and is only projected to grow in the upcoming years. Now, while housing prices are relatively low, is the time to start your rental property business. Over the past 12 years, more Marylanders have decided to rent a property due to the high taxes, a decrease in the average income, and a multitude of other reasons. And the number of renters is only projected to get higher.

Maryland-Rental-Trends

If you are curious about the value of your rental property and to see if you are undercharging for your Prince George’s county rental property, use this handy tool. The best way to ensure financial freedom is to stay up-to-date on rental trends in your property’s neighborhood. That way you’ll know how in-demand your property is, similar property rental rates, and your estimated return on investment.

Being familiar with the rental property marketing around your Hyattsville property will help you make informed decisions about your investments and the kind of tenant you will choose to reside in your rental.

Hire a Rental Property Management Group

One of the safest ways to make sure your property will bring in positive cash flow instead of falling into the red is to hire the help of a property management group. This is also the easiest way to earn “hassle-free” money – almost like getting a monthly paycheck for not doing anything!

financial-freedom-hassle-free-money

A reliable, well-known property management group will be able to help you with every aspect of your rental property business, but here are some of the ways Bay Management Group helps that sets them apart from the rest:

  • Full leasing services – These services not only place high-quality tenants in your property, but they take care of the most important part of leasing your property – the tenant screening process. Background checks are completed before qualifying a tenant to live in your property.
  • 24/7 maintenance – Never worry about waking up at 2am for an emergency maintenance call. Reliable handymen and contractors ensure high quality work.
  • Eviction services – BMG is familiar with rental laws and ensure a smooth eviction process for all parties involved.

Just a few of the tasks Bay Management Group will take over when you enlist their aid, but the list goes on. Click here for an extensive list and descriptions of their services that will help put your mind at ease!

If that isn’t enough to convince you that Bay Management knows what they’re doing, take it from their own clients! Rave reviews are easy when a business is so focused and dedicated to the client’s success and the tenant’s satisfaction with their property.

“I honestly don’t think I could have picked a better group. During the 32 months we worked with this company the renter never missed a payment and we only had a few maintenance issues… I would definitely recommend this company to any landlord looking for management.”
– Jessica P.

Even for clients that live far away, Bay Management will work with you to ensure your Montgomery and Prince George’s county properties are well taken care of!

“I have 4 properties with Bay Management Group and I live overseas. I love how I can trust them to make the right decisions with me being more than 5,000 miles away.” – Greg W.

Among other things, Bay Management Group has one of the lowest management rates in the Greater Baltimore-Washington Metro area. They provide outstanding service so all your have to worry about it planning your next vacation!

Talk to the talented group of professionals at the Bay Management Group office in Laurel, MD and see how they can help you manage your rental property and get you on the path to financial freedom! Call or stop by today!


8 Ways to Collect Rent from Tenants

Depending on your tenants, collecting rent is either your favorite time of the month, or your worst nightmare. howard-county-property-managers-collect-rent

When you have reliable, high value tenants, your investment in rental property truly pays off, but when tenants repeatedly pay late – or not at all – it can take the joy out of owning real estate.

It is always the tenant’s responsibility to pay and to pay on time, but your method of rent collection might make the process more difficult than it needs be.

 

8 Basic Ways to Collect Rent from Maryland Tenants

Each rent collection method has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Direct Deposit

PRO: Direct deposit is a great option for collecting rent. Automatic monthly withdrawals from tenants’ accounts simplify the rent collection process, making it convenient for both you and your tenants.

We offer landlords direct deposit for rental payments as part of our property management services in Howard County, MD. It allows us to disburse payments quickly to our clients.

CON: Direct deposit has very little downside, but does require some additional set-up. Speak to your banking institution about the requirements for direct deposit and automatic debit.

 

Check/Money Order

howard-county-property-manager-collecting-rent-checksPRO: Accepting checks and money orders are traditional methods of collecting rent. Both offer physical documentation of payments. Money orders are more secure than checks, in that they cannot bounce.

CON: These two methods have some serious drawbacks. A tenant can write a check that will bounce, and money orders require more steps for renters to obtain them.

In addition, both are quickly becoming outdated. People are relying more on debit check cards than on physical checks. If you are only accepting paper checks or money orders, you might be making it more difficult for your tenants to pay rent.

 

Bank Deposit Slip

Some landlords prefer to set up separate bank accounts for each property they own. To collect rent, they require tenants to make deposits into these accounts. Tenants then provide a copy of the deposit slip as proof of payment.

PRO: Your accounts will be well documented with this method.

CON: Besides the amount of paperwork involved, this method can be just as inconvenient as requiring checks or money orders. It requires you to keep track of multiple accounts. The tenant must run to the bank whenever rent is due.

 

Cash

CON: While an option, we cannot recommend accepting cash for rent. With cash there is no record for you or your tenant to keep as proof of payment. Beware of tenants who insist on paying in cash.

 

Face to Face Pick-Up

PRO: Collecting rent by visiting your tenant personally has one great advantage: you make monthly checkups on your property. This allows you to easily assess how well your tenants are maintaining the property.

CON: If you live next door to your tenant, face to face rent pick-up may not be a hassle, but it still may not be a great idea. If you own more than one property in several locations, face to face rent pick-up can be exhaustive and time consuming.

 

Mail

PRO: Having tenants mail rent payments can be useful if you live far from your rental properties. To make it easier, some landlords provide self-addressed stamped envelopes to tenants. You can purchase these in bulk from the Postal Service to reduce the added cost.

CON: While the USPS boasts about its dependability, tenants are less reliable when it comes to mailing rent checks. They may take liberties, like waiting until the payment date to drop their check in the mail, preventing you from depositing it into your account until after it arrives days later.

 

Drop-Off

PRO: If you own an apartment community or building, providing a designated drop-off location for rent is a suitable option. It is a convenient means for both you and your tenants. Tenants can easily drop off rent in a timely manner and you don’t have to wait for the mailman to arrive to get paid.

CON: You must be diligent in checking the rent box at the same date and time every month in order to keep track of late payments.

Be sure that your drop-off location is secure, as it could become a target for theft. Rather than a rent box, we recommend using your leasing office as a drop-off location.

 

Rent Collection Software & Services

There are a number of online companies that offer rent collection services. Similar to online bill pay, tenants and landlords use these as platforms for exchanging money online.

PRO: Like direct deposit, tenants can pay rent quickly and easily through these online platforms.

CON: As with any website, there are security risks involved with online rent collection software.

While some of these companies allow tenants to also submit maintenance requests, they do not offer a full line of property management services. At Bay Management Group, we handle rent collection and repairs, so you can enjoy all the benefits of owning investment property without the worry of dealing with maintenance.

 

General Rent Collection Tips in Maryland

ways-to-collect-rent-from-howard-county-md-tenantsNo matter what your preferred method of payment might be, here are some general tips for collecting rent:

  • There are some landlords who swear by incentives. This means discounting rent if the tenant pays early or sets up automatic payments. However, it makes more sense economically to charge a late fee if the tenant fails to pay rent consistently.
  • Always enforce rent policies. Forgiving a late fee or accepting payments more than five days late can make collecting the rent even more difficult the next month. If you make an exception for a tenant once, he is more likely to be late on his rent again (and may pass the word on to his neighbors).
  • If you would rather not worry about rent collection, consider working with a property management company. Bay Management Group offers complete services, including rent collection, for property management in Howard County and throughout Maryland.