Expert Ways To Make Your Rental Property Landscaping More Manageable

How to Make Your Rental Property Landscaping More Manageable

First impressions are everything in life.

In order to make new friends, get hired for a new position, and yes, even to land a new tenant in your Elkridge rental property, first impressions are important.

As a landlord, you may not be too keen on the idea of investing your hard earned money into landscaping your rental property, if you are not going to be the one that enjoys it.

However, it is a widely accepted fact that curb appeal (how attractive the exterior of your property looks, including both your front and back yards), makes all the difference to prospective tenants.

That’s why today we are going to take a look at some easy ways you can make your Elkridge rental property landscaping stand out to potential tenants, without adding a great deal of hassle to your life.

 

How to Easily Manage Your Rental Property Landscaping

Whether you decide to tend to your rental property’s landscaping yourself, outsource to a reliable landscaping company, or enlist your tenants to lend a hand, having a solid foundation is the key to great looking yards that last all year long.

 

1. Fake It

Use Fake Grass to Make Rental Landscaping Manageable

We are not talking about faking the fact that you are investing time and money into your landscaping efforts.

What we mean is that if you really want an easy-to-manage solution to having green grass in your rental property’s yard that lasts year round, consider installing synthetic (fake) grass.

While the debate behind whether synthetic grass is a good idea or not still stands, the truth is, fake grass is easy to manage and comes with plenty of advantages.

In fact, according to HouseLogic, there are some key reasons synthetic grass is gaining popularity:

  • The upfront cost is recovered quickly after installment
  • It saves water which is not only eco-friendly, it helps save your tenants money
  • There is no maintenance when it comes to mowing, watering, seeding, edging, and fertilizing
  • The weather will not kill it (though you should take care if your property is in a hot region)

In addition, synthetic grass simply looks good.

Your rental property’s yards, especially the backyard, should be an oasis escape for your tenants to enjoy all the time. Fake grass has the ability to look and feel very much like real grass, which can be very inviting.

 

2. Go Native

Plants that are native to Maryland are going to be the easiest to manage throughout the year, regardless of who is in charge of that task.

Here are some of the most popular Maryland native plants that will suit all of your landscaping needs:

  • Groundcover. Pussytoes and Golden Groundsel are great for covering large sections of yard with an easy to manage plant. Plus, they work well to keep weeds at bay.
  • Ferns. For a lush, green look, add Sensitive and Christmas Ferns to your yard.
  • Grasses, Sedges, and Rushes. If you decide to forgo the synthetic grass for your rental’s landscaping, use Blue Sedge, Wool Grass, Little Bluestem, or Yellow Indiangrass instead.
  • Wildflowers. There is nothing more beautiful than flowers in an array of colors spanning your property’s backyard. Use Cardinal Flowers, Foxglove Beardtongues, Butterfly Weeds, or New York Ironweeds to add pops of color to your garden.
  • Shrubs. For the places in your yard that need a little extra coverage, consider Rose Mallow or Hillside Blueberry shrubs.
  • Trees. Maintaining trees can be a major hassle if you use non-native ones. That’s why Blackgun and White Oaks are going to be your best bet.

This is just a sampling of the types of native plants that will fare well in Maryland.

They are naturally occurring in the region (which is why they can withstand the elements), and are easy to take care of no matter your skill level.

 

3. Add Patio Space

Add Patio Space to Make Your Rental Property Landscaping More Manageable

If you are really looking to decrease the amount of time needed to maintain your Elkridge rental property’s landscaping, try adding a sizeable patio section to the backyard.

An excellent selling point when it comes to placing a new tenant in your rental, large patio spaces can serve multiple functions.

This area makes hosting family and friends a cinch for tenants that like to have get togethers. Patios are also great places to store equipment for the different seasons (such as your ski gear for winter, and your boating accessories for summer).

Lastly, there is little to no maintenance required when it comes to well-designed patios, save for a little sweep or watering down every now and again.

And, if you are really looking to impress prospective tenants, consider investing in some outdoor patio furniture, lighting, and even a BBQ with a food prep station so your tenants can get the most out your property’s backyard area.

Just don’t forget to add storage space for your tenants to store things like patio cushions during the rainy season or during times of non-use. This way the furniture textiles you have invested in do not become ruined (because replacing these things often will become costly).

 

4. Consider Water Use

While adding native Maryland plants is a great idea, and they typically do not require a lot of water, it is still crucial you think of overall water use when you design your rental’s outdoor space.

Maintaining a fully functioning sprinkler system opens you up to regular maintenance and repairs, especially when winter arrives and pipes have a tendency to freeze.

And, if you choose to water your yard by hand (or require your tenant to do so), the easy to maintain yard quickly becomes a hassle that is not easy to manage.

By using lots of groundcovers, as mentioned above, you reduce the amount of watering that your yard needs. In addition, these groundcovers will help keep other plants from overgrowing, will protect the soil from the elements (such as extreme hot or cold), and will only require an occasional rake here and there.

In fact, a region such as Elkridge experiences a lot of annual rain, even during the “dry season,” which means there is very little watering you will need to do with a large groundcover such as Golden Groundsel.

 

In Closing

When it comes to your rental property landscaping, there are a few factors to consider before jumping in and designing a tropical jungle.

You must consider what role each party will play in the maintenance of your property’s yards, how much work you want those tasked with landscaping to do, and how much money you want invested in the overall project.

If you are looking for an excellent property manager in Elkridge to help with tasks such as maintaining landscaping, lease drafting, rent collection, and seasonal inspections, contact Bay Management Group today.

Not only can we advise you on how to maximize the outdoor space your investment property has, we can assure you that your tenants fully understand their responsibilities when it comes to the maintenance of your yards, no matter how easy it is.

Our goal is to garner you high quality tenants that will care for and appreciate your rental’s landscaping, while collecting the highest rent rates possible as a reward for all your hard work in creating the perfect outdoor space.


Top 5 Renovations To Improve Your Income Property’s ROI

Top Renovations to Improve Your Rental Property's ROI

Part of becoming a successful landlord in Annapolis is making your rental property more valuable through renovations and upgrades.

This will not only help you justify asking for higher monthly rent rates, but allow your property management company to place higher quality tenants in your property.

Adding to that, renovations are known to increase your property’s resale value should you decide to sell your property in the future.

Lastly, performing the right renovations on your rental property will increase your overall return on investment (ROI), so you can profit more, and possibly pay off your mortgage quicker.

Understanding your rental property’s ROI will help you understand how well your property portfolio is working for you. That’s why it is crucial to know which renovations will generate a high ROI.

Knowing this will keep you from dipping into your profits and renovating something that will end up hurting you financially in the long run.

Today we are going to look at what ROI is, how to calculate it for your Annapolis rental property, and the ways in which the most common property renovations can help boost your ROI.

 

What is ROI?

Return on investment (ROI) is a metric used by real estate professionals to estimate the performance of an investment property.

In short, your property’s ROI will reveal how profitable your property is.

ROI is calculated by dividing the net profit of your investment by the amount of money invested thus far. The end result is then expressed as a percentage or ratio of how much return on your original investment you are making as a profit.

 

Calculating Your Annapolis Rental Property’s ROI

How to Calculate Your Annapolis Rental Property's ROI

To calculate your rental property’s ROI, follow these simple steps:

  • Calculate your rental property’s total annual rental income
  • Subtract all expenses (this is considered your annual cash flow)
  • Add any equity you have to build your annual cash flow (this is considered your net income)
  • Divide your net income by your total investment to get the ROI

For instance, let’s say you purchase an Annapolis investment property for $100,000. You charge $800 a month in rent, spend $200 a month on expenses, and have zero equity built up.

Here’s the calculation:

$800 rent – $200 in expenses = $600/month cash flow ($7,200 annually).

With zero equity built in, your ROI becomes $7,200/$100,000 = .072, or 7.2%.

Of course, things become more complex when you have built up equity, and you have financed your rental. Luckily, there are plenty of online ROI calculators to help you with the calculations.

Though there is no exact number to aim for, in general you should hope for an ROI between 6% – 10% (or higher) to truly know your investment is working for you, not against you.

 

Ways to Increase Your Rental Property ROI

If you are looking to boost your rental property’s ROI (and thus your positive cash flow), consider investing in some of the following renovations.

1. New Roof

Increase Your Rental Property's ROI By Putting In a New Roof

In the past, we have discussed the importance of having a basic understanding about your rental property’s roof, including how to assess it for damage and make the appropriate repairs.

This is not only for the safety and convenience of your current tenants, but for aesthetic appeal as well.

One of the first things anyone will notice when they visit your property is the exterior of the property, and that includes the roof.

Curb appeal is one of the best ways to entice potential tenants to lease from you. The better the exterior of your property looks, the higher you can charge when it comes to the monthly rent.

 

2. Landscaping

Speaking of exterior appeal, the way both the front and back yards of your rental property are landscaped will significantly influence how much you can ask for in monthly rent rates.

If you are looking to increase the value of your property’s landscaping, in an effort to boost ROI, consider the following renovations:

  • Add flowers, shrubs, and trees for added visual appeal and shade
  • Install a custom walkway, deck, or porch
  • Consider investing in a pool or hot tub
  • Design an outside kitchen area, complete with BBQ and food prep station
  • Include outside furniture such as lawn chairs and a table set
  • Add exterior lighting so tenants can enjoy the evenings outside

Many prospective tenants place a lot of emphasis on what they want to see in a rental property’s landscaping, whether it be in the front or back yards.

And, since some of these upgrades are relatively inexpensive, most landlords will have no problem adding a few exterior landscaping renovations to their rental property in an effort to get more return on their investment.

 

3. Flooring Upgrades

Improve Your Rental Property's ROI by Updating Flooring

The flooring in your rental property is the one thing your tenants will make the most use out of while leasing from you.

And, while it can be tempting to place the cheapest carpet possible throughout your rental as a way to reduce costs due to natural wear and tear, there are some affordable and much more effective options that will also add to the value of your rental.

Take the time to research what kind of flooring you want to upgrade to – hardwood, tile, higher quality carpet, laminate, concrete, or vinyl – before spending any money.

But remember, no matter which style you go with, a newly upgraded floor throughout your rental is sure to garner you a higher ROI immediately.

New floors are sturdier, better looking, more functional, and more appealing to anyone looking to lease a rental home.

 

4. Additional Square Footage

Adding more space to your Annapolis rental property is one of the best ways to increase the value of your investment.

This is especially true if you own property in a competitive housing market.

Consider adding an additional bedroom, sunroom, basement or attic, or even just opening up an existing room by removing a wall that is taking up space.

Additional square footage can help in a variety of ways. It makes for a larger living space, allows for additional family members or roommates to live with your tenants, and even gives those that work from home a way to enjoy a dedicated workspace.

No matter what you do, expect the value of your property to jump and your rent rates to increase accordingly if you renovate your property to have additional square footage.

 

5. Green Appliances

Improve Your Rental Property's ROI By Installing Eco-Friendly Appliances

With more people looking to do their part when it comes to helping the environment, renovating your rental property to be more eco-friendly is an excellent way to increase the value of your property.

Things such as green appliances are not only appealing to those looking to make a difference in the world (which drives tenant competition up), they also help lower your tenant’s power bills – which is always a bonus amongst those looking to rent.

What’s better, there are plenty of incentives offered by states and cities to help offset the cost of going green in your rental.

This means even more savings for you, happier tenants, and a higher ROI.

 

Renovating your Annapolis income property to increase your return on investment is always a good idea if your budget allows for it. Especially because after the upgrades are successfully finished, you will be able to instantly recover all of the costs you put into them.

If you are in need of a high quality property management in Annapolis company to help you with things like rent rates, good renovation ideas, and placing high quality tenants in your property that will pay what your investment is worth, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help you determine which renovations will generate a ROI boost, steer you clear of upgrades that do not make financial sense, and make sure you keep your rent at a reasonable and competitive rate.


4 Ways To Wisely Spend Time Between Philadelphia Tenants

Ways to Spend Time Between Philly Tenants

Finding out your rental property is about to be vacant is not something you want to hear.

However, vacancies are a reality that all property owners must contend with, even if you have enlisted the help of the best property management company in Philadelphia.

That said, vacancies don’t have to be seen as the worst thing that can happen.

In fact, if you utilize your time between tenants wisely, you may actually do yourself some favors and make your rental property business that much more successful in the process.

Here’s a look at some of the best ways you can spend your time between tenants in order to make your property more appealing and valuable for the next tenants that sign a lease agreement with you.

 

Things to Do With Your Time Between Tenants

If your Philadelphia rental has gone vacant, take advantage of the time that has been afforded to you.

1. Transfer the Utilities

Transfer Utilities Between Philly Tenants

Once your tenants leave your rental property, they will be turning off all utilities such as the water, gas, and electric.

It is in your best interest to have those utilities immediately transferred into your name to avoid any reactivation fees the state or county may charge you.

Make sure you know the exact date your tenants are leaving so that you don’t end up paying their last bill.

In addition, make sure the new tenants place the utilities in their name on move-in day so that you don’t end up overpaying on the other end of your vacancy.

 

2. Start Cleaning

Whether your property management company handles the cleaning of your vacant properties, you hire a cleaning service to do it for you, or you like to take care of it yourself, you should get to cleaning right away.

Your previous tenants may not have cleaned your property as you would have liked, and there’s no better time than the present to get it back in shape.

Starting the cleaning process early will benefit you in several ways.

To start, it will ensure that your property is ready to go once you find new tenants.

Underestimating the amount of time it takes to clean an entire rental property from top to bottom can leave you scrambling, which may mean your property is not ready for your new tenants come move-in day.

In addition, the longer you leave dirt and grime, the more build-up you’re likely to see. By jumping on cleaning quickly, you avoid spending even more time down the line scrubbing through those extra layers of filth.

Lastly, performing a thorough deep cleaning of your rental property will reveal any maintenance or repair issues that need tending to that you may have otherwise missed.

This will keep you ahead of the game, since finding these issues early will afford you time to get them properly resolved.

 

3. Perform Upgrades

Perform Upgrades to Your Philly Rental Between Tenants

After you have cleaned your rental, you will be able to take a step back and evaluate it as a whole, with no distractions.

This is the perfect time for you to assess where your property could use some upgrades.

Upgrading your property, especially if you haven’t done so in a few years, can add a lot of value to it, and help garner you higher rent rates that your property manager will be able to help you determine.

Here are some great suggestions:

Patch and Paint

With no tenants residing in your property, no furniture in the way, and no pictures hanging up, you have the time to care for the walls properly.

Patch any holes you find – even the small ones left behind from nails.

In addition, consider giving your walls a fresh coat of paint.

Maybe even change up the color if it hasn’t been changed in a while. Choose a light, neutral color that will appeal to a large tenant pool, and will make your property feel inviting.

 

Flooring

Now is also a great time to repair, refinish, or replace any old, damaged flooring in your property. You don’t want worn out carpet with stains to discourage high quality tenants from leasing your property from you.

You also don’t want to have an unappealing house that doesn’t fit modern times.

With so many flooring options available to meet all budget needs, there is bound to be a great choice for you.

 

Landscaping

Don’t forget that the exterior of your rental property is the first thing prospective tenants will see when they check out your property.

Your previous tenants may not have tended to the landscaping as well as you wanted them to while they leased from you.

That’s why jumping in and taking care of this now, while no one is living in your property, is so helpful.

This is also a perfect time to upgrade your backyard oasis so that you can have yet another reason to entice a high quality tenant to lease from you.

 

4. Seek Out New Tenants

Seek Out New Tenants Philly Rental

Once you find out your current tenants will be leaving your rental, you and your Philadelphia property manager should begin the tenant screening process.

Although it may seem early to start, you don’t want to spend your time transferring utilities, cleaning your property from top to bottom, making repairs, and renovating it for added value, only to have it sit empty for a few more months afterwards, all because you don’t have a new tenant.

Starting the screening process early is a proactive use of your time.

In fact, even if you find a tenant before the property is ready for move-in, you can easily let potential tenants know when the property will be ready, and have them move in then.

 

Though rental property vacancies are definitely an inconvenience for any property owner, there is a way to turn them into a positive time. You cannot avoid the fact that at some point, your rental will be empty, so why not make the best of it?

Employing Philadelphia’s best property management company, Bay Management Group, to help you manage your property vacancies is yet another way you can spend your time wisely between tenants.

We have highly qualified contractors on-hand to help you with any repairs or upgrades you want to make. We also have a strict tenant screening process in place so that only the best tenants move in and pay you the highest rent rate possible.

So, if you have rental property in the Philadelphia area, contact Bay Management Group today. We can help you prepare for property vacancies and provide advice as to how to best utilize your time while your property is empty.


Top 7 Costly Mistakes New Philadelphia Landlords Make

Costly Mistakes New Philly Landlords Make

There are many different moving parts to conquer in order to be a successful rental property owner.

Enlisting the help of property management in Philadelphia will take a great deal off your plate, and help you avoid making too many mistakes.

Though making mistakes is often part of the learning process in the rental property business, there are things all property owners should avoid, as they are some of the most costly mistakes that can be made, especially when just starting out.

Not sure what those mistakes are?

Don’t worry.

Today we are going to cover some of the biggest mistakes new landlords make that cost a lot of money in the long run, in the hopes that you learn from the mistakes of others, and avoid making them yourself as you build and grow your investment property portfolio.

 

7 Expensive Mistakes New Philadelphia Landlords Make

People don’t enter the rental property business to lose money – that much is obvious.

However, if you make any of the following mistakes while starting out as a new landlord, you may risk losing money rather than making it.

 

1. Not Having Insurance

Not Having Insurance Is a Mistake New Landlords Make

There are two types of insurance that must be in place at the beginning of your tenant’s lease term to ensure you don’t become the victim of a legal dispute that empties your pockets in more ways than one.

  • Homeowners Insurance. This insurance policy is under your name and protects the structure of your rental property, should anything happen to it, such as a fire, flood, or natural disaster. Homeowners insurance will cover the cost of the property damages so you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
  • Renters Insurance. This insurance policy is under your tenant’s name and should be required of all tenants that lease your rental properties. Renters insurance covers the costs of your tenant’s personal belongings in the case of an emergency, any medical costs incurred should anyone become injured while on your property, and any other damage that is the fault of your tenant.

 

Making sure you and your tenants have enough insurance coverage will save you the headache of arguing in court over who is responsible for damages.

It will also save you a great deal of money, should an emergency happen and cause great damage to your rental property.

 

2. Overpricing Your Philadelphia Rental Property

It is important you understand the market when entering the rental property business.

As mentioned earlier, no one gets into leasing properties to lose money. However, overpricing your rental in hopes of garnering a huge profit may backfire on you as well.

Knowing what similar rentals in the area are charging for rent will help you gauge whether your rent rate is appropriate.

If you overprice your rental in an area with many available rentals, chances are your property is going to remain vacant for a long time. Prospective tenants do their research too, and will not pay over market value, if possible.

This is where having an experienced property management company is helpful.

A good Philadelphia property manager will know what price to set your rental at to garner a positive cash flow without squeezing your tenant too much (and risking an early lease termination).

 

3. Not Collecting a Security Deposit

Not Collecting Security Deposit Is a Mistake New Landlords Make

The security deposit you collect from your tenants prior to move-in is a way to protect yourself come the end of the lease term.

This money serves as a replacement for any lost rent or damages to your property.

Without it, you will have to front the money for your monthly mortgage, should your tenant not pay their monthly rent. Worse yet, you will have to pay out of your own pocket for any damages beyond normal wear and tear that your tenants incur in your investment property.

Without a security deposit in place to help lessen the financial burden a bad tenant leaves on you at the end of a lease term, you may end up breaking your own bank account and hurting your positive cash flow.

 

4. Not Periodically Checking Your Property

A reliable property management company in Philadelphia such as Bay Management Group always stresses the importance of seasonal inspections of rental properties they manage.

Regular inspections provide the perfect opportunity to check in on your tenants to ensure they are fulfilling their responsibilities as your tenants

They also help reveal maintenance issues that, when taken care of right away, do not cost nearly as much as they would if they were neglected and handled down the line, once the small issue becomes a big one.

 

5. Discriminating During the Tenant Screening Process

Discriminating During Tenant Process Is a New Landlord Mistake

If your property manager is not aware of the Fair Housing Act and how it relates to the tenant screening process, this is a sign you have enlisted the help of a bad property management company.

There is a federal law that prohibits discriminating against protected classes during the tenant screening process that must be adhered to every single time you or your property manager interview a tenant to lease your rental.

You could face a serious legal battle (that you will likely lose) if found to be violating this law.

Not only will a landlord-tenant dispute that lands in court cost you money in legal fees, your property will remain vacant, and you may even earn a poor reputation as a landlord that might affect your future in the rental property business.

 

6. Not Enforcing the Lease Agreement

There is a reason your property manager meticulously puts together a lease agreement to meet your specific needs, and goes over it line by line with your tenant come move-in time.

This protects you, your investment property, and your tenant.

If you fail to enforce the lease agreement from the beginning, your tenant will not view you as a professional to take seriously.

And, in the end, this will cost you money. 

If your tenant fails to pay the rent on time, and you let it slide, without starting the eviction process as is outlined in the lease agreement, or not charging the late fee that both you and your tenant agreed to at the start of the tenancy, your tenant may begin to feel as though they can be late every time.

If you set a rule, such as a late rent payment charge, enforce it. Every single time.

This way you aren’t taken advantage of, and won’t lose out on money in the long run.

 

7. Not Using Reliable Philadelphia Property Management

New Landlord Mistake is Not Using a Property Management Company

Employing a bad property management company can lose you just as much money as trying to self-manage your rental property without having a clue what you are doing.

If you want to use a property manager to help enforce lease terms, collect rent, handle maintenance and repair requests, and even conduct seasonal inspections of your rental property, make sure you research the property management company before hiring them.

For instance, Bay Management Group has years of experience in managing rental properties. The property managers we employ are knowledgeable about all rental property laws, rules, and regulations.

In addition, we understand what it takes to make it in the rental property business, including how to find high quality tenants that will care for your property, and when to enforce lease provisions against bad tenants.

Plus, we know how you should market your vacant rental when you are ready to jump into the rental property business and place a tenant in your property, how much your rent rate should be, and how to draft a legally compliant lease agreement that caters to you and your tenant, ensuring that everyone is satisfied.

If you are looking to avoid making costly mistakes that many new landlords make, as well as recruit help managing your Philadelphia rental property, call Bay Management Group today.


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 Are the Responsibilities of a Property Management Company?

What Are the Responsibilities of Your Gaithersburg Property Management Company?

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

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

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

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

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

 

What a Qualified Gaithersburg Property Management Company Should Do

1. Property Advertising

Property Management Company Should Advertise Property

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

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

 

2. Tenant Screening

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

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

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

 

3. Tenant Move-In

Property Management Company Handles Tenant Move-in

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

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

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

 

4. Maintenance, Repairs, and Complaints

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

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

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

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

 

5. Rent Collection

Property Management Company Should Collect Rent

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

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

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

 

6. Property Inspections

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

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

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

 

7. Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping Handled by Property Management Company

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

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

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

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

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

 

8. Tenant Move-Out

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

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

From there, the following will happen:

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

 

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

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

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


7 Fall Maintenance Tips For Your Abingdon Rental Property

Fall Maintenance Tips for Your Abington Rental Property

For those in Abingdon, the smell of pumpkin spice, the changing of the leaves, the crisp cool air, and a hint of the holidays have already made their big debuts.

And, for rental property owners, this means it is yet again time for your annual fall rental property maintenance inspections.

Whether you are the type of property owner who takes a proactive approach to property maintenance, or the kind that leaves some summer maintenance issues for the cooler months, now is the best time to get your rental property inspected, maintenanced, and repaired before the snowy days are upon you, and doing these things becomes a much bigger challenge.

Today we are going to explore the best tips for keeping your investment property in tip-top shape as fall quickly approaches.

Keep in mind – regular inspections are the key to preventing costly repairs in the future.

 

Fall Maintenance Guidelines for Your Abingdon Rental Property

1. Check in With Your Tenants

Check In With Your Abingdon Rental Property Tenants

One of the most important things you can do during your annual fall property inspection is check in with your tenants.

Your tenants will be able to tell you firsthand what things need attention (assuming they haven’t already made maintenance or repair requests with your Abingdon property manager).

The information they tell you is perfect for getting your priorities in line during the inspection.

Additionally, checking in on your tenants gives you an opportunity to make sure they are fulfilling their lease obligations.

In the beginning of the lease term, right before your tenants moved into your rental property, you and your property management company should have thoroughly outlined each lease provision that was included in the agreement.

Your tenants may have agreed to things such as changing the HVAC unit filters, monitoring smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries, and even maintaining the exterior landscaping. Now is the time to check up on those obligations, and make sure your property is being well cared for.

Now is also the time to get a handle on tenant issues that are beginning to become problems.

 

2. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

We mentioned above that your tenants might be in charge of replacing the batteries in both the smoke and CO detectors.

Though that may be the case for your rental, it is still your legal responsibility in Abingdon to provide working detectors in your rental properties.

If you didn’t check the detectors during summer, follow up on the batteries and make sure they have been switched out.

In addition, run some tests to make the detectors are in good working order.

Lastly, provide your tenants with a gentle reminder to check the detectors regularly throughout their tenancy.

 

3. Fireplace

Clean the Fireplace During Fall Maintenance of Your Abingdon Rental

Before the winter months hit and the warmth of a fireplace becomes necessary, ensure that your rental’s fireplace is swept clean and is free of debris.

Blocked chimneys are fire hazards that cannot only harm your tenants, but the structure of your property as well.

In addition, now may be a good time to consider installing an animal-proof chimney cap.

When the cold winter months come, small critters have a tendency to seek out warm places to live. A fireplace that goes unused all winter can be a great hiding spot for animals seeking shelter from the cold, wind, and snow.

 

4. Irrigation Systems

Fall weather typically brings a lot of rainfall to Abingdon.

This means that resetting your rental’s sprinkler system may be in order, since the weather will not be hot, and your landscaping will not require excessive watering.

In an effort to save on water, as well as prevent your property’s pipes from freezing as the outside temperatures start to drop during nightfall, you should do the following:

  • Begin winterizing your irrigation systems
  • Change your landscaping’s watering schedule
  • Inform your tenants of what to do in the case of a frozen or burst pipe

 

5. Roof Inspections

Inspect Roof of Your Abingdon Rental Property During Fall Maintenance

Roof repairs are one of the most costly repairs you will deal with as a rental property owner. That’s why conducting a roof inspection every season is so critical.

Not only can the hot summer months wreak havoc on your roof – think heat and humidity – the upcoming fall months, which will quickly turn into winter months, can ruin your roof too, especially if there is prior damage.

Ice, wind, sleet, snow, rain – you name it. All of this can damage roof shingles, leak into the insulation, wood, and drywall of your roof, and expose your property’s plumbing and HVAC systems to water damage.

If you are not sure how to inspect your roof properly, enlist the help of a professional to do it for you.

The cost of having your roof properly maintained by an expert will save you a lot of money in the future.

 

6. Inspect Safety Issues

Another major concern that property management companies warn property owners about is fall safety.

And no, we don’t mean “fall” as in autumn safety – we mean “fall” as in slip-and-fall.

As a rental property owner, you may be liable for damages and safety.

Rain and snow, paired with major drops in temperatures with the potential to freeze water left on sidewalks, driveways, and railways, can be very dangerous to tenants leasing your Abingdon rental property.

And, while you may not necessarily be liable for an icy slip-and-fall, if your tenants can prove you were negligent in some way, and that your actions created an unsafe environment for them, you might find yourself dealing with some legal troubles.

This is just another reason why having an experienced Abingdon property management team is important. They can help you with landlord-tenant disputes such as these and of course, help you to prevent these situations from ever happening in the first place.

 

7. Prepare for Snow Removal

Though snow removal typically falls on your tenant to handle, you may offer to take care of snow removal for your tenants as an added bonus for being good tenants that pay on time, treat your property right, and don’t cause any problems for you.

If this is the case, it is time you get your snow removal services in line – before the first big snowfall. This will prevent your tenants from being snowed in, or falling and suing you for damages.

If your tenants are responsible for snow removal, fall is the best time to remind them of their duties. Point out in the lease agreement where it states they are in charge of snow removal, and remind them of the consequences for failing to do so, especially in the case that someone gets hurt.

 

Your Abingdon property management company is going to be your best resource when it comes to how you should prepare your rental property for the upcoming fall season. If you own rental property in the Abingdon region, contact Bay Management Group today and see how we can help you.

We understand the need for seasonal rental inspections. We also understand how valuable your investment property is, and how important it is to stay on top of any maintenance or repair issues throughout the year, not just as the seasons change, so that you can continue to generate as much income as possible.

Get in touch with us today, and find out how our property management services can help you with property inspections, and so much more.


What To Do if a Tenant Breaks the Lease and Moves Out

What To Do If a Tenant Breaks The Lease and Moves Out

Your Maryland tenant may have a perfectly legitimate reason for wanting to break their lease agreement and move out.

However, as a property owner that earns a living on the monthly rent you collect from your tenant, this type of situation is beyond an inconvenience, regardless of the reason your tenant wants to leave.

When you place a tenant into your investment property, there is a legally binding contract in place outlining the terms of the lease.

Included in this lease agreement are the exact details outlining what constitutes the lease term, what kind of notice must be given should your tenant wish to forgo renewing the lease agreement at the end of their tenancy, and most importantly, the consequences for breaking the lease.

But what happens when your tenant notifies you that they will be breaking the lease and moving out, despite the airtight lease agreement your Maryland property management company drafted up for you?

As a Maryland property owner, it is important you prepare yourself for the sudden vacancy you will face if a current tenant informs you they will be breaking the lease.

That’s why today, we are sharing with you what happens when your tenant initiates an early lease termination, and some of the top property management tips for how best to manage this problem.

 

What Does it Mean to Break a Lease?

A lease, typically drafted up by an experienced property manager, is a legal contract defining the terms of a tenancy. It includes provisions such as the rent collection procedures, pet policies, ways the property can be used during the tenancy, and whether your tenant is allowed to make temporary alterations to the property.

In addition, a lease agreement will have a section dedicated to what can happen at the end of the lease term.

Your tenant likely has the following options, come the end of their tenancy:

  • Move out before the last day of the lease term
  • Sign a new lease with either the same, or altered, lease terms
  • Stay on as a month-to-month tenant
  • Face eviction proceedings, should you want them to vacate the property

 

However, there should also be a dedicated section detailing what will happen should your tenant decide to break the lease.

Breaking the lease means that for whatever reason – a job transfer, a marriage/divorce, the addition of a new family member, or they simply don’t like the property anymore – your tenants are backing out of their agreement with you to stay for X amount of time.

 

What Should You Do If Your Maryland Tenant Breaks the Lease?

What To Do If Your Maryland Tenant Breaks the Lease

If your Maryland tenant signed for a one-year lease agreement, and decides to break the lease before that year is up, you have a problem on your hands.

Luckily, with the help of your Maryland property management company, and the airtight lease agreement they helped you draft at the start of your tenant’s lease term, there are some things you can do both before and immediately following notice that your tenant is breaking their lease.

 

1. Be Proactive

Be Stringent With Breaking the Lease Clause In Your Maryland Rental Property

Before your tenants ever step foot into your rental property, they should know exactly what it means to break the lease, and what happens if they decide to do so anyway.

This means that at the time of the lease signing, you or your property manager must diligently go over every provision in the lease agreement in detail, ensuring that all involved parties understand.

Here are some tips even the most novice of property management companies will tell you:

  • Inform your tenant that the lease agreement is legally binding
  • Explain the legal ramifications for breaking the lease agreement
  • Clearly define the lease term start and end dates
  • Show the tenant where the lease outlines what happens if an early lease termination is initiated
  • Provide the tenant with options – subletting or a lease buyout – to avoid any further penalties

 

2. Be Stringent With the Break Lease Clause

 

If you decide to include a Break Lease Clause (sometimes referred to as the Buyout Clause), it is crucial you make sure it entails everything you want regarding breaking the lease.

A typical Break Lease Clause states that either party can break the lease, for whatever reason, with a 60 days’ notice and a two month Break Lease Fee.

This, in turn, will void the rest of the lease agreement, and release both parties from their future financial obligations.

The reason this type of provision is so appealing to property owners is twofold.

To start, it provides a simple solution to a bad situation that can crop up at any time.

Tenants want to break lease agreements for all sorts of reasons. In order to minimize the surprise and costs associated with a sudden early lease termination, the Buyout Clause is a solid, proactive solution that tenants are aware of from the start of their lease term.

In addition, it makes preparing to place a new tenant in your rental easier when you know 60 days ahead of time that your property is going to be vacant, rather than the day of.

This way, you can have your Maryland property manager begin advertising your property, and start the tenant screening process.

 

3. Re-Lease the Property

Re-Lease Your Maryland Rental After The Tenant Breaks The Lease and Moves Out

Regardless of how inconvenient it is that your tenant has broken their lease agreement early and moved out, as a property owner, it is your responsibility to do your due diligence to re-lease the property as soon as possible.

True, you can use your tenant’s security deposit to cover the loss in rent, and you may even be able to charge a few months’ rent until you can place a new tenant in your property.

However, if you do not actively try to place a new tenant in your rental by way of advertising, showing the property, and conducting tenant screenings, you may find yourself in some legal trouble.

With that in mind, there are some important stipulations your tenant should be aware of:

  • Tenants may be responsible for the costs associated with advertising and showing your property
  • You do not have to lower the rent rate on your property in order to re-lease it to a new tenant
  • Tenants may refer high quality tenants to take their place, but you are not obligated to accept them, or any other prospective tenant that does not meet your criteria

 

Though it is your duty to re-lease your rental within a reasonable amount of time, you do not have to give the place away in order to achieve this.

No Maryland property owner wants to find out their tenants are breaking their lease. Unfortunately, it does happen sometimes, and is something that needs to be handled properly to avoid further complications.

 

If you own Maryland rental property, and want help with drafting solid lease agreements addressing early lease terminations, tenant screening that diminishes the chances of your tenant breaking the lease, and other property management services such as rent collection, routine inspections, and maintenance, contact Bay Management Group today.

We can help you with your lease provisions so that every tenant that resides in your rental property is fully aware of what happens when an early lease termination is initiated. In addition, we can help place only the highest quality tenants in your rental property so that the chances of your tenants breaking their lease and moving out are slim to none.


3 Secrets to Being a Profitable Investment Property Owner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

1. Calculate the Numbers

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

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

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

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

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

Sound like a lot of work?

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

 

2. Understand the Unethical Real Estate Agent

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

And, real estate is no different.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

3. Hire a Baltimore Property Management Company

Hire a Baltimore Rental Property Company

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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


What You Need to Know About Security Cameras For Your Rental

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Can You Install Security Cameras on Your Baltimore Rental?

You Can Install Security Cameras on Your Baltimore Rental

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

However, this does not come without its limitations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What About Audio Recording?

Audio Recording is Illegal Inside Your Baltimore Rental Property

Many security cameras come with audio recording as well.

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

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

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

 

Why Use Security Cameras?

Reasons to Use Security Cameras In Your Baltimore Rental Property

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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