As we take on new property management clients every day, it is very interesting to see how investors with multiple rental properties manage their portfolios. Surprisingly, I have to say that many do not appear to have a very handle on their properties in areas such as:
- Rent record keeping
- Tenant screening
- Key controls
Here are just some things that I have seen and how we, at Rental Management Guys, handle these items:
Rent Record Keeping
Rent collection is the life blood of your business. I don’t know many investors that own rental properties as a charity or because it is fun and exciting. Most are in it to make money and build wealth. So, why would you not manage this closer? I often see owners that have no real record keeping for their units. They could not easily produce a tenant ledger or even a report on how much a tenant owes. At Rental Management Guys, we use a software called Propertyware to manage all aspects of our business which includes tenant ledgers. Every business day we enter rent received via the mail and all electronic transfers from the tenant’s using our portal hit the tenant’s ledger immediately. The owner, tenant and we always know how much is owed by the tenant in real-time.
We have learned the hard way that the cheaper maintenance guy is often not the best solution. Sure he only charges you $15, but you can’t get in touch with him half the time, it takes him longer to do the work, and it is often not as well done. Most people don’t bring their cars to the corner garage any more and bring them to a reputable/possible chain service center or the dealer. While it costs more, they know it is being done correctly. Why are you not doing this for your rental property maintenance? At Rental Management Guys, we have seasoned employees that take care of our maintenance. And when we know that a job or repair is too big or complex for them, we call in licensed/insured contractors to handle the work. We balance cost with doing it correctly.
Having the best tenants possible for your unit tends to alleviate most other issues. Good tenants pay their rent, keep the property in good condition and don’t have issues with the neighbors. I am surprised by how many owners try to save money by doing the screening on the cheap or on their own. I know a few that will try to search the court records for criminal items and call down to the courthouse to see if there are any evictions filed for a tenant. Not only is this time consuming, it is very easy to miss something. What if your property is in Hennepin County, but the tenant applicant has a evictions from Isanti county? Would you find those? Use a service. The cost is paid by the tenant, it is faster and maybe more importantly-since it is being done by a 3rd party, it is more fair and less likely to be challenged as discriminatory.
As a landlord, do you change the locks after each tenant? We believe that is our responsibility to provide a secure place for our tenant’s to live. One easy and important step is to rekey the property each time. Next, where do the spare keys live? So many owners that we take over property management for don’t have keys or have given them to their handyman who keeps them in his truck! Buy a mounted lockbox, put it on the property with the extra key. Then whenever anyone needs to access the house (with proper notice to the tenant of course), the key is available for showings or maintenance.
Some simple changes and tighter controls on your rental properties can make your job as landlord much easier. Alternatively, if you don’t want to go through all that, we are always looking for more property management customers. Give us a call!