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 8 Landscapers to Hire for Your Philadelphia Rental

Top 10 Landscapers to Hire for Your Philadelphia Rental Property

Owning rental property in Philadelphia comes with a lot of responsibility.

Aside from the administrative side of being in the rental property business – tenant screening, lease drafting, and rent collection – there is a definite hands-on side to leasing an investment property as well.

Whether you self-manage your rentals, or employ Philadelphia’s best property management company, someone is going to have to do the dirty work when it comes to maintaining your property. This includes maintenance and repairs, routine inspections of the property, and the upkeep of the yards.

When it comes to keeping the exterior appearance of your rental property looking sharp, it is often best to hire a professional.

In fact, according to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, 67% of people polled state that hiring a landscaper would help them have nicer yards.

That’s because landscapers are the perfect mix between a contractor and a gardener. They can develop the vision for your project, add visual appeal, and help you maintain the results over the years.

Today we are going to look at Philadelphia’s top landscaping companies so that when you decide you want to build a backyard oasis for your next tenants, and want to make sure it stays an oasis, you don’t have to worry about scouring the internet for the perfect one.

 

What to Look for in a Professional, Philadelphia Landscaper

Before jumping into who is the best landscaper in town, it’s important to have an idea of what to look for when choosing a landscaper to maintain your rental property’s yards.

  • Extent of Services. There is a big difference between a full-service landscaping company (one that handles the design and installation work of an entire yard upgrade) and a maintenance landscape company (one that maintains already existing yards, and provides basic services such as mowing, edging, and cleanup). Know which type of services you are seeking before making a decision.
  • License and Insurance. Anytime someone performs any work on your rental, they must be licensed and insured. This places the liability on them, should your property become damaged or someone get injured while on the job.
  • Business Resume. How long has the company you are looking to work with been in business? Usually, the longer they have been in business, the better. This means they have an established reputation, and a fine-tuned skill set to perform whatever services you need.
  • Specialists on Hand. Depending on the type of work you’re having done, you might need a specialist to help draft up the plans, or complete the installation. You do not want to deal with hiring people from multiple companies to get one job done.
  • Guarantees. Besides having a written estimate and contract outlining the details of your project or services, you should inquire about the company’s guarantees. You want to ensure any work performed will last.

 

Many factors play into your decision when it comes to choosing a Philadelphia landscaper to care for your investment property’s yards. However, the above-mentioned list gives you a good head start.

 

The Best Landscapers in Philadelphia for Your Rental Property

1. G&B Construction Group, Inc.

Landscapers In Philadelphia to Mow Your Rental Property Lawns

G&B Construction Group, Inc. specializes in masonry and concrete work. This includes the repair, replacement, and installation of new sidewalks, walkways, and retaining walls.

G&B Construction Group, Inc. can help you with:

  • Brick and stone projects
  • Concrete work
  • Excavation – major grading and re-sloping
  • Foundation repairs
  • Landscaping curb

 

This landscaper is perfect for very specific projects you have in mind for your rental property. In addition, the fact that they’ve been in business for 6 years, are certified as environmentally friendly, and have a guarantee in place are fabulous perks.

Rating – 4.9 out of 5 stars

 

2. Four Winds Landscaping

Trim Bushes Rental Property in Philadelphia

Four Winds Landscaping is a suburban-based residential landscaping company in Philadelphia dedicated to providing customers beautiful landscapes.

You can turn to Four Winds Landscaping for:

  • Landscape design
  • Seasonal planting
  • Mulching
  • Fertilization
  • Weed control
  • Grass Cutting

 

For those in need of general landscaping maintenance, Four Winds Landscaping is the perfect solution.

Rating – 4.17 out of 5 stars

 

3. Cedar Run Landscapes

Philadelphia Landscapers for Rock Work For Your Rental Property

Cedar Run Landscapes has been in business for 32 years and counting. Utilizing sustainable materials and techniques, they offer landscaping, hardscaping, water, and lighting services.

Call Cedar Run Landscapes if you’re looking for:

  • Artificial grass installation
  • Brick and stone driveways
  • Fish pond designs
  • Erosion control
  • Fire pit installs
  • Landscape design and maintenance
  • Arbor construction
  • Decorative wall construction

 

If you are in serious need of something luxurious and one-of-a-kind, Cedar Run Landscapes is your go-to landscaper in Philadelphia.

Rating – A+ BBB Accredited

 

4. CKC Landscaping, Inc.

CKC Landscaping, Inc. is one of the leaders in landscaping and hardscaping services in the Philadelphia area, meaning they are a very reliable source for your individual needs. Placing a heavy emphasis on customer satisfaction, it is no wonder they have been in business for over 25 years.

CKC Landscaping specializes in:

  • Outdoor living spaces
  • Landscape and lighting design
  • Paver restoration
  • Property maintenance
  • Storm water services
  • Permeable pavers

 

Landscaping your rental property doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming when you enlist the help of CKC Landscaping, Inc.

Rating – A+ BBB Accredited

 

5. Fieldstone Landscapes

Yard Cleanups for Your Philadelphia Rental Property Landscapers

Fieldstone Landscapes was once a small landscaping company in the Philadelphia region, but with close attention to detail, superior customer service, high-quality work, and only the best plants around, they grew to become a well-known landscaper company.

You can turn to Fieldstone Landscapes for:

  • Yard cleanups
  • Landscape lighting
  • Grading
  • Turf enhancement
  • Drainage remediation
  • Seeding
  • Pest control
  • Wall builds
  • Poolscapes
  • Outdoor patios

 

Fieldstone Landscapes offers customers a little bit of everything. From general maintenance to landscape design and builds, they have anything you could need to maintain an appealing yard.

Rating – A+ BBB Accredited

 

6. Dooley’s Landscaping & Tree Care Services, LLC

Dooley’s Landscaping & Tree Care Services, LLC is a great option for those in the market for general landscaping services. In fact, they claim to be Philadelphia’s premier landscaping company, offering services such as mulch and sand delivery, lawn maintenance, and tree trimming.

With Dooley’s Landscaping & Tree Care Services, you can get:

  • Sod installs
  • Lawn mowing
  • Fall and spring yard cleanup
  • Lawn seeding/hydro seeding
  • Tree and shrub trimming

 

Qualified to provide you top-notch landscaping services, Dooley’s Landscaping & Tree Services, LLC’s CEO has over 30 years of experience in the environmental field, as well as education in the fields of Geography Urban Studies, and Horticulture and Landscaping.

Rating – 4.61 out of 5 stars

 

7. Schmitt Landscaping

Lawn Seeding Philadelphia Rental Property Landscaping

Schmitt Landscaping serves both commercial and residential customers, has over 20 years of experience, and is proud to be locally owned and operated.

Schmitt Landscaping provides landscaping services that include:

  • Mow and maintain lawns
  • Fertilization treatments
  • Yard aeration
  • Fall and spring yard cleanups
  • Lawn seeding/hydro seeding
  • Shrub trim and removal
  • Landscape construction
  • Snow removal

 

Boasting full-service landscape services, Schmitt Landscaping is proud to call themselves a landscape design, installation, and maintenance company.

Rating – 4.83 out of 5 stars

 

8. Jason Ottinger Hardscaping & Landscaping

Jason Ottinger Hardscaping & Landscaping offers free estimates, quality service, a reliable staff, and is proud to announce they are a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). In addition, they claim to be able to improve the appearance of your home for a fair price.

Call up Jason Ottinger Hardscaping & Landscaping if you’re in need of:

  • Excavation
  • Pond services
  • Lawn aeration
  • Seeding
  • Patios and decks
  • Retaining walls
  • Driveways
  • Walkways
  • Tree planting, pruning, and removal

 

With twenty years of experience, Jason Ottinger Hardscaping & Landscaping not only brings you landscaping services for a fair price, they guarantee all of their work.

Rating – A+ BBB Accredited

 

Any successful Philadelphia property management company will tell you that your property’s yards can make or break a prospective tenant’s decision when it comes to leasing from you. Curb appeal is crucial in making an exceptional first impression, and proper landscaping of your yard is essential to capitalizing on your property’s curb appeal.

If you own property in the Philadelphia region, and are seeking high-quality tenants to take advantage of the landscaping you have done to your rental’s yards, contact Bay Management Group today. Not only can we place the best tenants in your property within a short time, we can help you manage your property so that your landscaping efforts are not wasted.


The Best Homeowner’s Insurance Policy For Your Rental Property

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

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

 

Top Homeowner’s Insurance Policies for Your Investment Property

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

1. HO-1

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

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

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

 

2. HO-2

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

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

 

3. HO-3

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

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

 

4. HO-4

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

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

 

5. HO-5

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

 

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

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


How to Choose the Right Bank for Your Rental Property Business

choose-right-bank-rental-property-businessChoosing a bank that has the right services for your Baltimore County rental property business needs should involve careful consideration.  After all, you don’t want to entrust your money to a bank that is led by someone such as William R. Beamon.

Beamon swindled more than $20,000 in rent payments and security deposits from unknowing tenants who were leasing a property that was in fact not owned by him, but the bank he worked for.  Incidents such as this can be the downfall of your entire business.

Fortunately, most banks are not concealing such fraud.  However, some banks are full of bank fees, special policies, and poor customer service, all of which can also have a profound effect on your success as a property owner.

Today we are going to look at the specific services and policies that you should compare before deciding which bank to use for what is destined to be one of the largest investments of your life.

 

Banking Features That Should Not Harm Your Baltimore Rental Business

 banking-features-should-not-harm-baltimore-rental-businessBelow is a list of some of the most important features all banks should offer property owners looking to finance their next Baltimore County rental property.  The key here is that these features should help you pursue rental property success.

 

Transaction Fees

It’s no surprise that many banks make the bulk of their money off charging their customers hefty bank fees.  Of course, the best banks keep their fees as low as possible.

While it is unlikely that you will pay zero fees to your bank, regardless of which one you choose, you can lessen the cost by evaluating the types of transactions you regularly conduct each month and determining the bank’s related fees and charges for them.

For instance, returned check fees may not apply to you if you or your Baltimore County property management company collect the rent via an online portal.  However, transaction fees may apply if you are regularly transferring the money from that online portal to your bank account.

 

Direct Rent Deposits

If you are self-managing your Baltimore property and want to collect rent online rather than deal with the hassles of mailed or hand-delivered checks or money orders, consider a bank that has this service built in.  With direct deposit rent collection, your tenants can pay their monthly rent and it will transfer straight to your bank account.  This means no more transferring of money into your account or related transfer fees.

That said, you should consider the fee charged to your tenant for using the payment service through your bank.  If you do not allow alternative methods for paying the rent, and the bank you choose charges large fees to tenants to make online rent payments, there is a chance your tenants will not be happy with that added fee.

 

Online Banking

Most banks offer online banking as a convenient service for their customers.  As such, it is crucial to compare each bank’s online banking features.  Features to look for include:

  • Accessibility of account balances, activity, and history
  • Transfer of funds both internally and externally to other banking institutions
  • Recurring or future-dated transfer setup
  • Viewing of check images
  • Ability to reorder checks
  • Bill pay services
  • E-bills and notifications
  • Security measures including password changing, user ID requirements, security images, phrases, and challenge questions
  • Online banking guarantees
  • Online statement access
  • Paperless options
  • Ability to download and save statements and/or print them

 

Banking Hours

Some things must be done in person when it comes to your rental property banking needs.  For example, cash or check deposits, opening of new accounts, or applying for additional loan financing is typically done with a banker in person.  And, if you are a property owner that also works a 9-5 pm job, it may be difficult for you to make regular trips to the bank to take care of these matters.

Looking for a bank that has extended hours or is open on Saturdays will help tremendously if making trips to the bank is something you plan to do frequently.

 

Special Services Just for Baltimore County Property Owners

 special-services-baltimore-county-property-ownersAs a Baltimore County property owner, there are some special services banks can provide to meet your property business needs.  Let’s look at some that may be beneficial to you:

 

Financing Services Tailored to Property Managers

Having a banker that is experienced in investment property financing will help a great deal when it comes to your overall success.  Understanding the mortgage process, the complications that may arise, the different loan options, and of course, helping you get qualified at the rates you want, are all things a dedicated real estate banker will be able to do for you.

 

International Banking Services

Are you Baltimore property owner that lives outside of the United States?  If so, you will need to bank with a financial institution that offers international banking services.  If you want to receive your rent payments on time and have the ability to perform international wire transfers, look into the banks you are considering and see what they can offer you as far as foreign banking is concerned.

 

Separate Accounts

Some states require property owners to maintain their tenant’s security deposit in a trust account.  At the very least, most states require a separate bank account for holding security deposits.

Most Maryland leases require some sort of security deposit.  In addition, it is required that property owners keep any collected security deposits in a federally-insured financial institution and in a separate account designated specifically for security deposits.  The money must then be deposited into this account within 30 days of receiving it, and any deposits over the amount of $50 must bear interest at a rate of 3% per year starting six months after the deposit was received.

Finding a bank that will support you having a separate bank account for your security deposits without wreaking havoc on your pocketbook with extra fees, charges or special requirements, is the best solution for fulfilling your obligation as a property owner dealing with security deposits.

 

Customer Service

Before making your final decision on which bank to choose for your rental property business needs, visit the bank and meet the people with whom you will be conducting business on a regular basis.

Make sure the bank you are interested in can answer all of your questions thoroughly, returns your phone calls or emails promptly, and treats you as though you are already a trusted and loyal customer.  It is important you feel comfortable with the bank you choose as well as those that will be caring for the finances that fund your investment property.

 

In the end, the bank you choose to use for your rental property business needs will be determined largely by which specific services you require to conduct your business in an efficient and financially sound way.

Comparing the different options in your area and researching each service that they offer is a surefire way of making the best decision for your property business needs.

If you need help with your rental property bookkeeping tasks, contact Bay Management Group today.

As a highly qualified property management company in the Baltimore area, Bay Management Group can help you keep your financial records in order.  By providing full transparency when it comes to your property’s profits and expenses, and helping you keep all of your property’s important documents safe and secure, Bay Management group gives you the peace of mind that not only the bank you chose is the best option for you, but the company you entrust to manage your property is as well.


Why Landlords Shouldn’t Try to Manage Their Own Properties

Managing Your Own Rental Properties Takes a Great Deal of Organization and Multi-Tasking

Deciding to start your own Montgomery County rental property business is an exciting time. There is so much that goes into investing in your first property, placing your first tenants, and of course, managing your first rental property.

And, if you choose the hands-on approach and decide to manage your own property, you get to take the front line and have an active role in all things management and maintenance when it comes to your rental home.

 

There are plenty of benefits to managing your own property:

  • You have direct control over everything that takes place in your rental
  • You are in constant contact with your tenants
  • You may save a little cash avoiding property management fees

 

However, there are many more benefits to handing over the large responsibility of managing your Maryland rental property to a highly qualified property management company such as Bay Management Group. In fact, you can even be a seasoned property owner and reap the benefits of a property management company caring for your investment properties.

 

Today we will explore the reasons why you should not attempt to manage your own Montgomery County investment property and how handing the reigns over to the experts will save you time, money, and plenty of headaches.

 

The Downsides to Managing Your Properties

The prospect of hiring a property management company to manage your investment properties can be a daunting one. Though it can be appealing to think of someone handling the day-to-day administration of your rental property business, it is not always easy to hand over something as important as managing your rental property.

 

However, with a little due diligence and a lot of research, you will find that employing a quality property management company is typically the best choice. In fact, here are some convincing reasons why you should not consider managing your own Montgomery County rental properties.

 

You Do Not Have the Right Expertise

If You Lack the Expertise, Managing Your Own Rental Properties Will Be Very Difficult, Maybe Impossible

If you want to get into investing in real estate but have no experience in the field of property management, it is wise to leave that up to the professionals. Learning as you go can be highly ineffective and end up costing you a great deal of time and money in the long run. By attempting to manage your own properties you run the risk of:

  • Hiring the wrong vendors to make repairs, which can become costly and time-consuming
  • Using ineffective advertisement that can lead to longer vacancies
  • Violating Fair Housing laws or becoming a victim of alleged discrimination that can land you in court
  • Improperly screening tenants, which makes for trouble tenants
  • Implementing poor rent collection policies that can dig into your bottom line

The truth is, if you have no experience in managing a rental property, you should not start doing so with your own costly investment property.

 

Managing over 1000 units in the Baltimore-Washington D.C area, Bay Management Group has years of in-depth property management experience. Less than 1% of all placed tenants are evicted under the management of BMG. This is because of their strict tenant screening and placement procedures. Plus, being broker-owned and locally operated, Bay Management Group is educated in all things property management and is actively involved with all of their properties.

 

Your Portfolio is Growing

With a Growing Portfolio of Investment Properties, It Will Become Harder to Manage Them On Your Own

As your portfolio of Montgomery County properties increases, so do your responsibilities. Since many people get into the rental property business to make passive income to fund vacations, pay off debt, and even replace their corporate income, they tend to want to increase the amount of properties they own and make them available for lease.

The problem is, the more properties you own, the more tenants, administrative duties, and problems you encounter. Owning multiple properties will never yield a true “passive” income if you choose to manage the properties on your own. Your time commitment will increase significantly the more properties you have and you will end up sacrificing many of the following:

  • Your job. If you are a full-time employee seeking to build a strong rental property business, balancing both by managing your own properties is going to take some serious luck. Either your career or properties will begin to suffer over time, possibly leading to the downfall of one or the other.
  • Your family. If you have a lot of extended family you spend time with or small children at home, managing your own properties is destined to cut into family time. Late night maintenance emergencies, long days at the office dealing with paperwork and tenant placement, and day-to-day communications with tenants can eat into family time.
  • Your social life. Just like your family time, any type of social life you have will likely be interrupted if managing your own properties. Your tenants deserve the best treatment and managing your own properties cannot be performed at your convenience. This means being prepared to bolt out the door at any moment to take care of something property-related.
  • Your free time. Many adults crave the elusive “me time” that seems to dwindle as families grow, careers boom, and life happens. If you are on-call to manage your Maryland properties, you may find what little bit of free time you have for yourself again being taken away due to plumbing issues, non-payment of rent, and property showings, just to name a few.

 

Enlisting the help of a property management group that is on call 24/7 will diminish this loss of time, leaving you room to build a bigger career, enjoy family holidays, get social with your friends, and even enjoy that book you have been trying to find time to read. Plus, you will reap the rewards Montgomery County properties bring in, all with very little effort on your part.

 

Your Personality Does Not Click With Others

Customer service is a major component that property management companies focus on in order to gain customers and retain tenants. If you are not the type of person that wants to deal with the headaches that come with evictions, complaints, and maintenance requests, you should not manage your own rental properties.

Property managers, like the ones at Bay Management Group, are well-versed in how to deal with even the toughest of tenants. They understand the landlord-tenant laws, can buffer any issues your tenant has with your property, and pride themselves in being able to diffuse any complaints or issues that arise.

 

For Those That Need More Convincing

If you are still not convinced that employing a property management company is the right decision for you, check out these other reasons why managing you own properties may not be your best option:

  • The location of your properties span far and wide, requiring extensive travel commitments
  • The condition of your property is not pristine, which means repair requests may be regular and often-occurring
  • You are unsure how to add extra curb appeal to your properties to attract high-quality tenants
  • You don’t know how to draft legally-compliant lease agreements with the provisions you want

 

Altogether, hiring a property management company such as Bay Management Group to manage your Montgomery County rental properties far outweighs the benefits that come with managing properties on your own. With the lowest monthly management rate in the region, a 12-month tenant warranty in place, and a support staff of over 20 people, you can rest assured you will save money and your property will be well-cared for with Bay Management Group.

 

In addition, services such as tenant screening, vacancy advertisement, lease drafting, an on-the-clock maintenance staff, and in-depth knowledge of the Montgomery County market are what Bay Management Group provides their property owners. Contact us now and see how Bay Management Group can help take a load off your plate and give you the peace of mind you’re looking for with your rental property investment.


What to Consider Before Investing in a Rental Home with an HOA

Homeowners associations in America don’t have the best reputation.  They have a history of complaints of abuse, mismanagement, and wasted finances, and things don’t seem to be changing. However, there are some benefits to investing in a home that is part of an HOA.

The best thing to do is, before you invest in a rental property in the Montgomery County region, investigate whether the property is part of an HOA.  After all, as the property owner you are liable for the tenants that reside in your home and pay a monthly rent.  This means any violations of the homeowners association’s rules and regulations by your tenants may fall upon you in the form of hefty fines.

Today we will look at some of the things you should consider before investing in a property monitored by an HOA.  This way, when it comes to deciding whether an HOA is right for your property investment needs you will be better prepared to make a knowledgeable decision.

 

Common HOA Complaints from Income Property Owners

Many Complaints Arise From People Who Are Part of An HOA Homeowners Association

As mentioned earlier, there is no lack of complaints against homeowners associations across the country.  Some of the most common ones include:

  • Wasting of association funds
  • No access to official records
  • Poor communication
  • Hostility towards homeowners or tenants
  • Manipulation of elections
  • Withholding of facility or service use
  • Poor maintenance of common grounds
  • Secret meetings
  • Violation of Fair Debt Collection practices

That being said, not all HOAs are bad.  And, if you take your Montgomery County investment properties seriously and research everything before signing on the dotted line and placing tenants in your home, an HOA may actually help maintain the value of your property and thus your monthly rental rates.

 

HOA Questions To Help Guide You

Here are some of the most important things to consider before purchasing a rental property that resides in an HOA.

What Services Does the HOA Provide?

Each HOA will have its own set of specific services it provides your community, though there are some general things every quality HOA should offer.  These basics include:

  • Administration services
  • Financial services
  • Customer service
  • Communication
  • Maintenance

It is a good idea to get a detailed list of everything the HOA says it is responsible for before buying a property.  You might also consider questioning the HOA’s level of involvement in the community to ensure it is following through on its obligations and staying proactive.

 

What is the HOA’s Financial History Like?

Take a Look at the HOA's Financial History to See How They've Used Money in the Past

Though every HOA differs in terms of daily procedures, homebuyers are entitled to see their potential HOA’s financials to ensure the HOA is not in the red.  You can receive this document via the homebuyer or directly from the HOA.  It will likely include things such as:

  • The balance sheet
  • Yearly revenue from monthly dues
  • Reserve fund balance
  • Notice of pending lawsuits
  • Information regarding recent assessments
  • Percentage of homeowners behind on their dues

Unfortunately, reading complex documents such as an HOA’s financials can prove challenging.  You might need to have someone you trust in the finance industry to help you decode all of the numbers.

 

How Do The Common Grounds Look?

HOAs are responsible for maintaining the common area of the community.  Do not simply focus on the property you are looking to purchase.  Rather, get a look at the community as a whole.  If a neighboring yard looks disheveled, chances are the HOA is not implementing its rules and regulations as strictly as you may like.

Because first impressions are so important, it is crucial the entire community looks well groomed.  No prospective tenant will want to lease from you if the neighboring homes are not up to par on their curb appeal.  Plus, if you are paying what can sometimes be hefty monthly HOA dues, you should be sure the HOA fulfills its part of the deal and maintains the grounds.

 

What is the HOA’s Method of Communication?

Communication and Community Are Key With Homeowners Associations To Ensure Voices Are Heard

A large part of what HOAs do is communicate with the board members and community homeowners.  A reputable homeowner’s association will effectively communicate the community’s needs in a variety of ways to make sure everyone involved in the community is up to date.  This includes phone calls, emails, live chats, and even a website for homeowners to know what is going on in the neighborhood.

 

How Does the HOA Assessment Collection Work?

One of the most disliked things about HOAs is their collection of monthly assessment dues.  Often inflated, many homeowners have no clue how their monthly dues are being used to help the community.

HOA assessment money is important for the stability of the community.  It helps to pay for the common grounds all residents enjoy as well as extra activities put on by the association for the benefit of the residents.  In addition, this money also pads the reserve funds that cover the cost of any major repairs to the community.

It is the responsibility of the HOA to collect assessments from homeowners.  And, if you own a Montgomery County rental property, it is likely you are paying the monthly HOA dues as a benefit to your tenants.  As a homeowner you are entitled to know that the community’s money is being put to good use and is used responsibly.  In fact, there are laws in place protecting residents from shady HOAs that use the assessment money poorly.

You should learn before making a property purchase how the HOA handles its finances and do your best to ensure the HOA is fulfilling its obligations to the community with that money.

 

Does the HOA Have The Following Traits?

Though it can be hard to judge the overall feel of a homeowners association without having actual experience with them, it is important you do your best before purchasing an investment property.  Try talking to the board members to get a feel for who they are and what their roles on the board entail. Or, try to converse with prospective neighbors and see how they like the neighborhood and what they think of the HOA.

Here are the most important things your future homeowners association should do for the community:

  • Respect all homeowner interests
  • Enforce the democratic process where all opinions are heard and weighed equally
  • Offer community services and amenities to all residents
  • Maintain the community’s values
  • Enforce the rules and regulations
  • Meet the financial obligations set forth in the CC&Rs
  • Conduct ethical behavior in all matters with transparency to all community residents
  • Balance the community’s needs and those of individual homeowners

 

In the end, where you plan to purchase your Montgomery County rental property is a big deal.  And, when you throw in the possibility of the property being in an HOA community, there is even more to consider.

If you are looking to purchase a rental property that has an HOA representing the community, make sure to do your research thoroughly.  You are financially obligated to an HOA once you invest in a property that has one and you want to make sure that you are happy with how the HOA conducts its business, maintains the value of your neighborhood, and enforces the rules, especially the financial ones.

In addition, if you are looking for an experienced property management company to help you manage your Montgomery County rental property, contact Bay Management Group today.  Not only can we help you with all things property related, we help manage your tenants and ensure they are following the HOA rules and regulations perfectly.  By enlisting the help of Bay Management Group, your concerns about HOA properties will disappear.


6 Tips to Successfully Show a Rental Property

how-show-maryland-investment-property

Showing a client’s vacant rental property to prospective tenants is one of the principal roles of a property manager.

Though emphasis is often placed on appealing to the right tenant pool, as well as the importance of proper tenant screening, the truth is that the in-person showing of the home to potential renters is just as crucial.

Staging a vacant rental property can be done easily and without a great deal of time.  With a little bit of curb appeal and a nice looking interior, you will have more tenants wanting to lease your client’s rental home than you know what to do with.

But there is more to getting a tenant to sign a lease agreement than just a nice exterior and inviting interior.

Today we will look at the top tips for showing an unoccupied rental property.  If you follow these simple yet effective steps, you will find great success in your showings.

 

6 Tips for Wowing Tenants with Your Rental Property Showing

1. Remember The Basics

Every property manager knows that there are basic staging rules for showing a potential tenant their client’s rental home.  Let’s look at those basics:

  • Do not underestimate the power of curb appeal. Make sure the yard is well maintained, the property is freshly painted, and the all-around feeling is inviting as a tenant pulls up.
  • Clean, clean, clean. Nothing turns a potential tenant away faster than a dirty home interior.  Make sure to inspect the property beforehand to make sure its cleanliness meets you and your client’s standards.
  • Redecorate or upgrade. Install new carpet, paint the walls an appealing and neutral color, fix the window treatments, and make sure all appliances are updated and working.

In the end, these selling points will make a huge difference in whether a tenant is interested in leasing a property from your client.

 

2. Pre-Qualify

prequalify-maryland-renters

As mentioned earlier, tenant screening plays a significant role in the leasing process.

Before you begin showing a property to interested tenants, pre-qualify them.  This will save you time, energy, and money and will ensure you are only showing the property to qualified tenants.

Here are some great topics to ask about when someone calls to set up a property showing:

  • Their credit score
  • Reason for moving
  • Estimated move-in date
  • Whether they have pets
  • Smoker or non-smoker
  • Number of people moving in
  • If they have references
  • Eviction history
  • Estimated income
  • If they have any questions

Keep in mind that pre-qualifying tenants for a property showing cannot violate any of the Fair Housing laws that are in place to protect prospective tenants.  In addition, make sure the pre-qualifying questions are the same for all prospective tenants to avoid discrimination allegations.

 

3. Be Safe

have-emergency-plan-maryland-rental-property

Before showing a rental property, put your safety first.  Every year a number of realtors, property managers, and landlords are injured showing homes to prospective tenants.

If someone calls asking to see a rental home, get his or her full name and conduct a background check on your state’s public record website before agreeing to show the property.

Here are some ways you can protect yourself from potentially harmful situations while showing rental properties:

  • Always show properties during the daytime, never after dark
  • Call your office every hour to let them know where you are
  • Introduce yourself to neighbors so they are familiar with you and your vehicle
  • Have an “escape” plan in place for when something feels “off” (for instance, take an emergency phone call outside or inform the potential tenant another agent is on the way)
  • Always leave all doors unlocked and stand by the doorways while showing the property
  • Park on the curb rather than the driveway for a quick getaway, if necessary

Gathering information ahead of time about potential tenants and being aware of your surroundings will ensure your safety as well as a more successful property showing.

 

4. Make a Good First Impression

Small, seemingly insignificant (yet very effective) things you do before, during, and after a rental property showing will leave a lasting impression on potential tenants that view the home.

There are several ways to convince potential tenants that this property is perfect and that they need to sign a lease right away.  For instance:

  • Call and confirm scheduled showings a few hours beforehand
  • Set the temperatures in the rental to be comfortable upon arrival
  • Turn on all of the property’s lights
  • Dress professionally and check your personal hygiene
  • Smile when you greet tenants, shake their hands, and formally introduce yourself
  • Show them the grounds, both on and off the property (for example the pool, gym area, laundry facility, parking structures, BBQ areas, or roof decks)
  • Have general information about the property on hand so the tenant can remember you later. Include things such as pictures of the property, square footage, monthly rent and deposit amounts, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any extra amenities
  • Have applications ready for tenants to fill out immediately following the showing

In short, making a tenant feel welcome, at ease, and well informed about the property can go a long way in securing a lease agreement.

 

5. Be Informed

In addition to knowing everything about the property you are showing, it is a good idea to be knowledgeable about the surrounding area.  People often move to certain locations because they like the neighborhood or have heard it is great.

Emphasize the area’s selling points – nearby restaurants, shopping, entertainment, attractions, schools, parks, and roads for commuting.

The more information you can give potential tenants on the spot, without them having to pry, the better equipped and more trustworthy you will seem.  Plus, this information will help them to make a quicker decision and possibly forgo viewing other properties.

 

6. Follow Up

maryland-property-managers-should-have-emergency-plan

Property managers should base their entire showing process around customer service.  Doing so shows potential tenants that you are a reliable company that they can trust and easily contact to work out any issues that may arise with the property, should they decide to lease.

A day or two after showing the property, consider sending a follow-up email or making a call to the potential tenants who saw the property.

Make sure they have no further questions about the property or leasing process and wish them luck in finding their next home.

Although this seems trivial, a little kindness can go a long way when it comes to deciding which property to lease and call home.

In the end, the way you present yourself and your client’s property to potential tenants can make all the difference when it comes to getting a lease agreement signed.

By taking the proper steps before every showing, you ensure that your client will be satisfied with the amount of effort you put into filling their vacant rental.

On top of that, going above and beyond when showing rental properties can help motivate the most qualified tenants to lease your client’s property, making it a win-win situation for everyone.

 


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.

 


6 Reasons Not to Rent Your Baltimore County Property to Friends or Family

Property-Management-Property-in-Baltimore-County

At first, renting out your Baltimore County property to your friends and family might sound like a great idea.

You know more about them than your other tenants, and you know that they’re good people. You think that if a problem were to arise, you’d be able to handle it swiftly and without hassle because they’d be more likely to cooperate with you than a stranger would.

In truth, renting to people you share a close relationship with can create a potentially delicate situation. Mixing personal relationships and business rarely ends well, so you should always carefully consider your decision to rent to friends and family.

You never know what might go wrong. So, keep reading to find out the six reasons you shouldn’t rent to your friends and family.

Why You Shouldn’t Rent Your Baltimore County Property to Friends and Family

1. They Might Take Advantage of You

If you want to help out people you know and love, renting to them isn’t a good way to do it. If they’re struggling, you may not be able to say “no” when necessary.

Even good people can take advantage of the situation. They might be unable to pay on time or may be unable to afford the rent altogether. They might damage the property, ignore local Baltimore County ordinances, and disregard the terms of your lease agreement.

Friends and family may believe you’ll forgive these mistakes because of your personal relationship. They might think you’ll be lenient, so they won’t have to give much thought to preserving the business relationship.

Your loved ones may do this without realizing it – don’t let it happen or you’ll end up resenting them.

2. They Might Be Too Nice

This one may seem surprising, but it can be a major issue.

Why?

Because if your Baltimore County properties need some work, your friends and family may be reluctant to let you know.

It’s not just because they might have caused the damage. You could have numerous pre-existing problems that need attention, but you might never hear about them because they worry you’ll be upset with them or blame them for the problems.

People you share a close relationship with may not recognize the pressing need to fix these issues. They might be content living in your property, and subconsciously suppress the knowledge of problems in their rental unit.

If you must rent to friends and family, be sure they know to alert you to all problems with your rental properties – the same as any other tenant should.

Property-Management-in-Baltimore-County

3. The Power Dynamic

You too could be at fault in a situation where you’re a landlord to your loved ones.

Landlords are inherently in a position of power over their tenants. They own the properties their tenants pay to live in on temporary lease agreements, and a landlord can alter or terminate those agreements at any time—and for  a long list of reasons.

You have control over you’re a major aspect of your tenants’ lives. And if they’re your friends and family, they may grow to resent you for that power. They may feel they can’t be as comfortable with you as they once were for fear you might wield that power in a way that negatively affects them.

It is difficult to avoid conflict in a situation with such a clear power imbalance, especially when issues arise. To avoid feeling like you’ve exploited your position of power don’t rent to friends and family.

 

4. Unnecessary Involvement in Their Personal Lives

One reason a landlord might rent to friends and family is because they feel obligated to.

When loved ones live on your property, it’s practically impossible to avoid becoming more invested in their lives – especially if you have to demand a rent check from them every month.

Soon you could find yourself entangled in their personal lives instead of focusing on your own. You might forget to focus on your own goals and responsibilities if they’re issues are dominating your time.

And when you need to pull out of your involvement in their lives to protect your business interests, you might do considerable damage to your personal relationship with them.

Baltimore-County-Property-Management

5. The Relationship Might Sour

Financial situations almost always put a strain on close relationships.

Imagine having to ask your friends and family for a late rent payment. You might have to contact them every month to demand they pay on time. You could end up feeling guilty, but unable to be more lenient because you have to make your mortgage payment on your Baltimore County property.

Additionally, your friends and family might feel you’re playing favorites, especially if you’re renting to more than one person you share a close relationship with. Or, your other tenants may accuse you of favoritism because you are more lenient with your loved ones.

A Baltimore County property manager must require all his or her tenants to follow the exact same set of rules as stipulated by the lease agreement. Any form of favoritism is illegal and can cause strain on your relationships with your tenants.

6. Eviction May Be Necessary

As a landlord, you aren’t running a charity. Your goal is to make a profit from your rental property – not to provide family and friends a convenient and inexpensive place to live.

If you do end up renting to your friends and relatives, understand that there might come a time when you must evict them. Just because you’re close to them doesn’t mean they won’t violate the rental agreement or stop paying their rent altogether.

Evicting someone could permanently damage these relationships. Would you be comfortable with kicking your cousin, your college roommate, your uncle, your sister, or your best friend out of their apartment? They might never fully forgive you or understand why you had to do it.

That’s why you should strive to always place tenants in your properties who allow you to operate in a professional, businesslike manner. When issues arise, you can handle them in ways that don’t waste time and money.

None of this is to say you have to be an overly tough landlord. You can be friendly with your tenants as long as they recognize that the relationship is built on a foundation of professionalism.

If you value the relationship you have with a friend or family member, don’t rent to them. It’s a conflict of interest you should avoid, period.


9 Tips for Transitioning from Part-Time to Full-Time Landlord

Think you’re ready to become a full-time landlord?

While becoming self-employed can be exciting, it can also be scary and take a huge toll on you financially if you aren’t prepared. So, it’s important for you to plan ahead and understand exactly what you’ll be responsible for as a full-time landlord.

To help you out, we’ve put together the following list of 9 tips to help you make the career transition. By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll be well-equipped to handle all of the tasks associated with being a full-time landlord.

protect-vacant-baltimore-rental-property

How to Transition from Part-Time to Full-Time Landlord

1. Make sure you have a financial cushion to fall back on.

Save up as much money as you can before you quit your day job. It’s a good rule of thumb to save at least six months’ worth of money to cover your regular bills and expenses. Then, you can have some peace of mind knowing you’ll be able to take care of yourself regardless of how profitable your rental property business is at first!

2. Find a good mentor.

It’s no secret that owning a rental property business is a tough job. You don’t just own properties – you have to make repairs, handle tenant requests, deal with late rent payments, and more. And if you don’t have an eye for profitable properties, you could actually lose money when you invest in a property.

The solution?

Find a good mentor who can serve as your guide. That way, you have someone available to advise you so you can make better business decisions.

Not sure where to find the best mentor?

Try searching LinkedIn or Google for a local, seasoned landlord who might be willing to help you. You could also attend local events for landlords or join a Baltimore landlord association.

Tip: Check out this blog post to learn more about finding a mentor as a newbie landlord!

3. Create a business plan.

When you’re a part-time landlord, a business plan isn’t as important because you don’t rely on your business to pay the bills. However, when you’re fully dependent on your rental property income, you need a business plan to ensure that you can consistently make enough money.

Here are some of the sections you should include in your business plan:

  • Mission statement
  • Company description
  • Objectives/strategies
  • Finances

Check out this page to learn more about how you can create a business plan as a landlord.

And remember, you have to treat your rental property business like a business – not a hobby –  if you want to succeed. The landlords who treat their business like a hobby often end up back at their 9-to-5 job as a result.

4. Get organized.

When you only have one or two properties, it’s a bit easier to get away with being disorganized. But when you’re a full-time landlord managing several properties, you should have set systems in place for everything you do.

Create physical files to store all of your documents and information. Depending on your preference, you may choose to organize the documents by tenant or by property.

Make sure you also back up all of your physical files using a cloud storage service like Dropbox. That way, you can easily access any document regardless of what happens to the physical copy.

5. Make sure your tenant screening process is solid.

Any successful landlord will tell you that the tenants you choose can make or break your rental property business.

Think about it. Even if you choose the most profitable properties and the best contractors, a tenant who refuses to pay rent and seriously damages your property could put you in financial trouble.

So before you even think about becoming a full-time landlord, make sure you have a thorough tenant screening process in place. If your tenant screening process has failed you in the past, analyze it to determine what went wrong and avoid making the same mistakes moving forward.

Tip: Check out this blog post for a guide to screening tenants thoroughly!

6. Find the right office space.

As a part-time landlord, you can work from just about anywhere – even your dining room table might suffice! However, you have to get more serious about your office space as a full-time landlord.

Consider using one of the rooms in your home solely as an office. That way, you can shut the door and focus, and you have a place to safely store all of your business-related items.

If working from home isn’t your thing, you can try a co-working space or rent an office space. Just make sure you budget enough money to pay for the space each month.

You may even choose to get a dedicated cell phone for handling anything related to your rental property business. If you don’t want to buy a new phone, you should at least consider getting a separate phone number to use on your current cell phone.

7. Find reputable contractors.

When you invest in several properties at once, you need easy access to contractors who can make repairs and service those properties as needed.

To find the best contractors, search for specialists in your area on Google. For example, if you need a plumber for your Baltimore property, you might type “Baltimore plumber” into the search bar. Then, you can start looking through the results to find the best option.

Make sure you also check Yelp or Angie’s List reviews before you hire someone. That way, you can see whether their previous customers have been happy or displeased with the service.

8. Learn about marketing.

No matter how good of a landlord you are, there’s a good chance you’re going to want to place a tenant in a property fast at some point.

That’s why you need to learn how to market your properties effectively. Long gone are the days of simply placing a “For Rent” sign on a property to attract lots of tenants. Now, you’ve got to use sites like Craigslist and Zillow and take advantage of social media. Otherwise, high-paying tenants may never even know your property exists.

Tip: Check out this blog post to learn how you can use advertising to attract high-quality tenants!

9. Partner with a Baltimore property manager.

If all of the responsibilities mentioned here seem overwhelming, you may be wondering whether or not becoming a full-time landlord is worth the trouble.

The good news is that you can become a full-time landlord and avoid many of the tasks associated with running a rental property business by partnering with a Baltimore property manager at Bay Management Group. We handle tenant screening, rent collection and more so you don’t have to. That way, you have more free time and turn your rental property business into a more passive source of income.

To learn more about property management in Baltimore and the surrounding areas, contact us today.