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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Real Estate Investors

April 21st, 2018 Comments off

Sometimes a search through your bookshelf is like a treasure hunt. As I plucked Stephen Covey’s 1989 Seven Habits of Highly Effective People from my shelf, I believe I found some long lost gold. Flipping through the yellowed pages, I soaked in some of the long forgotten golden nuggets the book contains, and I pondered what the seven habits of a highly effective real estate investor would be.

I personally believe that the habits of a successful real estate investor are not particularly exceptional. I think that any person that wants to become a highly effective real estate investor can become one if they set their mind to it. Here is what I think the seven habits would be:

Habit One: Know Your Goals

The majority of the real estate investors I know set out with a goal in mind. I know a man that started investing by selling his house to buy two lots, on which he built a townhouse complex that had 8 units. Since then, he has started his own company and is building and selling hundreds of homes in Toronto every year. So, in this case, it shows how some goals may be simple, but can lead to much bigger things. Or, if goals are large they should be broken down into numerous shorter term goals.

Habit Two: Make Your Money when you Buy

It’s very risky to pay over market value for a property in the hopes that the rent will go up, the area will improve, and/or the property’s value will increase. The simple formula for long term success in real estate is to buy a desirable property below market value, in an area with a lot of potential for future growth.

Habit Three: Hire Help

Unless you want to take on a few extra jobs when you buy a property, I suggest that you think about hiring a property manager, an accountant and a real estate agent. The property manager can do repairs to the property and collect rent. The accountant can do your bookkeeping and yearly taxes, and the real estate agent can work with you to find more real estate investment properties. Just make sure that the people that you hire are trustworthy and will help you achieve your goals.

Habit Four: Use Just the Right Amount of Leverage

Serious real estate investors use leverage to get what they want. If you keep buying property with cash every single time, even the richest person in the world will soon run out of money. Leverage is when you invest a small amount on a much bigger amount. In other words, it’s possible to put $10,000 down on $100,000 house. If that house makes $5,000 a year, then you ROI ( return on investment) would be 50%. If you had paid for the whole $100,000 up front, then the return would still only be 5%. However, the downside of putting a small amount down is that it does not protect you from fluctuations in the market. If that same house drops to $90,000, you can wind up owing more on that home than the property is worth.

Habit Five: Find Good Partners

If you are starting out in the world of real estate investing without a lot of money, it’s hard to reach your financial goals if you aren’t willing to enter into partnerships with others. Your partners could be a family members, friends, colleagues, or even companies. I enjoy hearing success stories where someone with no money of their own enters into a contract on a property, but know they can make it happen by partnering up with another investor. My husband and I are millionaires from our real estate investing, thanks in great part to some of the partners that contributed equity to our investments along the way. Without them, we would likely only own half of the properties that we currently own today.

Habit Six: Be Persistent

When starting out in real estate (or even when you’re established) you’re going to hear the word “no” a lot, so make sure you don’t stray from your goals. Some of the people you could hear “no” from are as follows:

– Potential partners that are not able or not willing to get involved with a deal,

– The banks – on just about every deal we had trouble getting financing and had to deal with multiple lending issues,

– Family- we’ve asked numerous family members to become our investment partners and are more often than not turned down. But it never hurts to ask, as family members will give better interest rates than the banks,

– Insurance companies – if you don’t live in the same province as the property you are trying to insure, most insurance companies don’t want to do business with you. We have approached and been turned down by numerous insurance companies that won’t insure our Ontario properties because we live in British Columbia,

– Property Management Companies – it’s possible that the property management company that you would like to hire doesn’t want to manage your property.

But even when we’ve been turned down by all of the above at some point or another, we don’t lose sight of our goals and keep pushing forward.

Habit Seven: Research – Always be learning

– The best investors are the ones that ask a lot of questions, keep their eyes open for new opportunities and do a lot of research. Many get right into the details of a city. They go to the municipal offices and pull the official plan. They get zoning details and applications. They talk to the city councilors about plans, they attend city council meetings and know everything that is happening in an area.

Not every good investor I know possesses every one of these habits. And I know there are habits that many good investors have that I haven’t covered. But as I thought about the most effective and successful investors that I have met or read about, I realized that almost all of them did possess each of the above habits. And, that anyone could really do what they did if they set out to establish these habits and practices in their real estate investing.

Learn How to Retire a wealthy real estate investor with Julie’s free Real Estate Investing Starter Tips Guide. Learn how to create financial freedom, positive cashflow and massive wealth with tips like: How to find quality investment properties, finding and keeping great tenants, and easy ways to make investment property recordkeeping simple and more profitable.

Property Management Help: Finding A Property Management Company

April 2nd, 2018 Comments off

Should you need to hire a professional property management company then the profitability of your property boils down to whether you hire a good or bad company.

If you pick a good property management company, your rental home will make you a good amount of money. If you pick a bad company, you could lose thousands of dollars a year on your rental home.

One of the biggest mistakes owners make is that they just pick a property management company out of the phone book without first doing research on the company.

Watch out for those big “we do it all” real estate firms that span across the country. They only offer property management services because they want to be the first company you think of when you go to sell your home. That’s where they make the money, is on the selling of your home and not the property management side. As a result many of these nationwide companies lose money on their property management divisions because they are run so poorly. It is hardly ever a good idea to go with a property management firm that also sells homes. There has been many accusations that these companies will purposely let your home sit vacant while they hit you with sales pitches about how it is better to just outright sell your home. You want to find a company that specializes exclusively in property management. If possible, you want a company that operates exclusively in your area so much so that they have become experts and specialize only in your local markets.

Check references, particularly the management companys other clients. Make a few phone calls to check references. Do not sign any agreement with the property management company until you know they have a good track record. Now here’s where owners blow it. They contact a property management company on their high up pedastool and they demand to see a list of all the property management’s clients so they can call them for a reference. Don’t do that. Humble yourself. Your home will only make about $50 a month for the property management company. If you are a pain, they will simply tell you to take your business elsewhere. The property management company will not release a list of “all” their clients. Not to you. Not to anyone. That is confidential and internal information. Think about it. Anyone could get a list of clients and then contact those clients and offer a slightly lower management fee and take all their business away. You would be hard pressed to find any business that would be willing to give you a list of “all” their clients. Just chill out. Ask for three references that you can call. Call the references and ask if they work for the property management company or know someone who does. Ask the references how long they have had their properties managed by this company, and just go from there.

Go online and check the company out. Do they have all the necessary licenses to do business in your area? Are they in good standing with the DRE? Most states require a property manager to also have a real estate license if they are dealing with single family homes.

Check the company’s insurance. If they are not insured, stay away from them. The company should have general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, and workers’ compensation. Remember, the management company will be collecting deposits and rent so they should have a bond on their employees to protect you in case of employee fraud.

Another big mistake owners make is that they do not ask the right questions when hiring a property management company.

Ask the management company the following questions when you are interviewing them:

1 – Can you show me a list of what management services you provide?

2 – Do you sell homes?

3 – Can you provide a list of exactly when I will receive income checks and reports?

4 – How do you market properties?

5 – How quickly do you, and what is your procedure for, handling maintenance requests from renters?

6 – What is the name of the person who will be managing my property? What are their qualifications? Are they legally licensed? How many properties does this person currently manage?

7 – Can I have three references? Specifically, can I have the contact information for three clients of yours with rental properties that are managed by the same person who will be managing my property and that is similar in type, size, and location to mine?

8 – If maintenance is provided in-house or by an affiliated firm, do you only charge the actual cost of labor and materials without any surcharges, markups, administrative fees, or other such add-ons? Can I opt out of your in-house maintenance division and have repairs done by external companies only?

9 – Do you get volume discounts with your vendors and do you pass on that savings to clients without any markups?

10 – How do you handle late charges? Who gets to keep the late charges? If you keep the late charges, will you come down on my monthly management fee? If I get to keep the late charges, are you charging me a higher monthly management fee?

11 – Do you have insurance on employee errors and theft? Specifically do you have an Errors and Omissions policy that covers at least $500,000? On your general liability policy does it cover at least $2,000,000?

12 – Do you have at least a $500,000 bond and a forgery and alterations insurance policy of $25,000 or more for all your employees?

13 – Do you meet all DRE standards for what is considered acceptable and not acceptable regarding the co-mingling of owners’ funds? How do you keep my rental income separate from John Doe’s rental income? If money is not in my account to pay for a repair, do you contact me and ask that I send you the money or is the money taken from another owner to pay for my repairs until I can pay you. (The answer you want to hear is that the repair is not made until the money is in your account to pay for the repair).

Written by Steve Guy. This article will help you should you choose to hire a professional property management company to manage your rental home. If you are a property owner in California’s Central Valley and want to hire a licensed and professional property management firm, go to Madera property management

Finding Apartments For Rent In Fresno CA

March 19th, 2018 Comments off

Times have changed for you if you are looking for rental housing. Just 15 or 20 years ago, it was a rather complex and drawn out process to find apartments for rent. When I was first out of high school, looking for apartments for rent in the Fresno California area, it was a much more laborious process to find an apartment that was right for you. Back then, you could not just go on the Internet or use Craigslist, or use some apartment search tool online to look for apartments to rent in Fresno CA. It was much more complicated than that. First, you would have to look at the classified section in your local newspaper under the apartments for rent section (which is a method that is still available today). Then, the work would begin.

As deals for apartments for rent are posted online instantly and a walk through of the property can be done from home over a video sharing site like Dailymotion, everything is done so much faster. What blew my mind was when I recently moved north and had to find apartments for rent in Clovis CA, I was shocked at how fast I was able to find the apartment, take a video tour, and email the manager. Many years earlier when I rented an apartment in Fresno CA, it took a lot longer. You had to schedule an appointment with the manager just to see the apartment and by the time he would call your boss and call any previous managers, it would take days.

Nowadays, I think that some of that information is illegal for people renting out apartments to even ask, but back then, it was standard practice. Nowadays, after you use your apartments for rent search engine, and contact a few people, they might check your credit, but that is the most that they would even think of doing to you. More often, you can find apartments for rent that require nothing but a deposit, and first month’s rent, and maybe a brief meeting between you and the landlord. And that is a great thing too, because without that, things would be much tougher for renters. Just like they used to be, that is. I am glad to see that it is so much easier to find apartments for rent in the Fresno CA area.

If this article has not blown your mind enough, consider the statistic that shows that over 75% of apartment searches start out online! Talk about crazy rapid change! With things changing so fast, it makes you wonder how our kids are going to by looking for apartments when they come of age.

As Craigslist has started to charge for apartment rental listings in more and more cities, the popularity of Craigslist alternative websites are rising. Some of these websites are: Postlets, Oodle, and Kijiji. The sites you should avoid are the ones that charge you to contact the apartment complex. You should not have to pay to contact someone about a vacant apartment.

Written by Jim Banard. To learn lower rents and great move in specials on apartments for rent in Fresno CA see apartments for rent in Fresno CA

Finding and Screening Tenants for Your Rental Property

February 7th, 2018 Comments off

Picture this: that property you bought isn’t renting like you thought it would. You don’t really know anything about renting property, so you decided to rent it out to the first person who showed you some money. You didn’t check with their other landlords, or even follow through with a credit check. After all, most people are honest and what could possibly go wrong?

What could go wrong? This lovely new tenant could be unstable and pull a knife on her roommate. Yes – it happened to us at 3am on a Wednesday night several years ago. We had to call the police and have them separate the two tenants. The innocent roommate moved out the next morning and we were left with the knife wielding tenant who then stopped paying rent and refused to move out. It took us three months to evict her. We had to send a collection agency after her for the rent money. We never received a dime.

Now, of course, we are very picky when it comes to finding a good renter. We follow these 5 straightforward steps and they’ve never let us down:

– Step 1: Prepare the unit for showing

– Step 2: Get your paperwork in order

– Step 3: Research the market rents and place your ad

– Step 4: Show your space

– Step 5: Choose your new tenant.

Step 1: Prepare the property for viewing by prospective tenants

The better it looks the more likely you’ll find a good tenant for the space. Make it easy for someone to visualize themselves living happily in that space.

Easy fixes for your property include:

– repair any cracks or holes and apply a new coat of paint on all walls

– make sure all the little things like lights, appliances, doorknobs and sockets work the way they’re supposed to

– create a checklist to use when the tenant moves in and out. Inventory everything and their condition- doors, windows, drapes/blinds/shutters, plugs and light switches, shelving, appliances etc. from every room

– make sure the unit smells fresh. Open up the doors and windows to let fresh clean air in.

Step 2: Make sure you have your paperwork ready

Nothing inspires confidence and prevents headaches later like being a good landlord. And good landlords always have their paperwork in order. If you’re not sure that you do, you need to contact your government’s local residential housing branch. You could also go online to find the following forms:

– applications for tenants

– leases

– eviction notices and similar forms that you may need in the future. It’s best to have them right away so you don’t have to scramble to get them in the future if you really need them.

Each state or province has different requirements, so ensure you’ve got documents that are legal for your area.

Step 3: Research the rent rates and place your ad

Make sure the Price is Right!

Research similar units online to make sure you’re not asking too much for your unit. Its better to price just below the market. You will rent your unit faster, have a larger tenant base to pick from, and you will have a better chance of retaining a tenant for a longer period of time.

Get the word out! We’ve found tenants through all of these methods:

– e-mail all your friends and family and let them know about the property that you have that available to rent. They might know someone who knows someone who is looking for a new place to live

– use online advertising

– make a sign with a phone number and put it in the yard or in the window of the property

– local newspapers can be a fairly inexpensive way to advertise. Ask the classifieds agent what day is the best for advertising to ensure that you have the most eyeballs seeing your ad

– colleges or universities in the area; students are always looking for a place to live.

Step 4: How to show the space

Open houses are still the best way to show off your property. The best thing to do is decide on a two hour block during an evening or weekend, and then have a back up time for a second viewing (if you don’t find a good tenant after the first viewing). When someone wants to see it, you can tell them about the viewing times. This way you’re not spending all your time showing the unit.

When greeting tenants for open houses, be dressed “business casual” and have the tenant application forms ready.

Open houses are great, as they can create an atmosphere of demand. Knowing another person may want to rent the apartment makes others feel that they should want it too. Urge people to complete an application form before they leave so that you can write your impression about the prospective tenant right on their form.

Step 5: How to select your new tenant

– study applications carefully, looking for conflicting information or any kind of gaps in time pertaining to where the applicant was living

– always run a credit check. In this day and age it’s not enough for people just to have a good job or for you to have a good feeling about them. Verify it.

– reference checks. Call their references and ask simple questions like “How long have you known the applicant?”, “What’s your current relationship with them?” and “Would you rent to them again?”.

– listen to your gut. Do you have a good feeling about them? Despite everything else looking great for a tenant, you can usually trust your gut to indicate if you feel that something is wrong. If nothing feels wrong then you might have found your new tenant.

Once you are sure about your choice and you have deposited taken a rent cheque from your chosen tenant to the bank , make sure you let all the other possible tenants know that the unit is rented. If they ask why they weren’t chosen, never indicate that it was because of race, religion, age or social status- regardless of how you actually made your choice. It’s far better to say “the other tenant had a very strong application”.

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How To Pick Out A Property Management Company For Your Investment

January 11th, 2018 Comments off

Managing investment property is not simple. You worry concerning the maintenance, and receiving rent payments. The broken appliances happen at odd hours and solving occupant complaints takes up valuable time. It takes additional of their time and currency to maintain. Unluckily, investors quick become weighed behind as the investment maintenance is additional work than predictable. The solution for a lot of investors, then, is to hire a reputable property management company to take above managing the property.

A proficient property management company always reduces the investor?s burden by repairing the problems in the property and also by maintaining very good records. Your business will be streamlined if the company agrees to execute all the services upon the agreed fee.Hence, what are criteria upon which we can consider in hiring a manager for your property?

Company fees are a major aspect in the decision making process, so do your research. For a large rental property, the national average is around 4 percent of the property’s income. The national average for a single home is around 12 percent. Before you sign a contract, be sure to do your research on fees charged, payment schedules and the services included. What will their fees cover, and how will payments be made? How will they deal with other expenses not included with these fees, such as repairs and insurance premiums? Some send invoices, while others include these expenses with their fees.

It’s a good idea to hire a reputable property management company, so find out about other properties that they have managed. Ask for the addresses of these properties and see how they are doing. Also, the property management you hire should have experience with the type of investment you own. A manager with experience in single home management may not be a good match for a job with an apartment building.

Good communication is good business, so speak with the person who will actually be dealing with the property. Poor communication early in the business relationship can lead to hassles in the future. Be sure to get references from the company’s previous clients. The property management company also deals with advertising, so take a look at their previous advertising work and ask about advertising costs. Costs will differ between newspapers, television and the internet. Ask about a website, and check out its ease of use and if a prospective tenant can apply online.

Other questions to be enquired are of hiring cleaning contractors for preparing vacancies and can the cleaning be done quickly to ensure you are not losing valuable time and money while the place is prepared for tenants?,do they have contractors for repair and landscaping needs?,what are the hours the property management company is available and if they are available after working hours for emergencies?,how close is the management office located to the investment property?.Also their viability of approach.Another aspect that should be kept in mind is their proximity to the investment property to solve the problems as they occur.

Hiring a property management company to oversee your property saves your time wasted on daily problems.The company also allows the owner to find time for other deals which can be passed onto the same company to manage them as well.

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