Category Archives: property

Property Management Made Simple

A fast, simple and effective way for landlords to manage their property portfolio with minimum hassle.

Being a landlord or a property manager can be an arduous task. There is usually an endless list of jobs that need to be taken care of, whether you’re managing a single property or a vast portfolio. There are several landlord property care apps offered by property management groups to help property owners in managing their property and keep everything running smoothly, taking the stress out of daily tasks.

WHY DO I NEED AN APP FOR THIS?

Downloading the app provides a simple and efficient way for you to manage your properties. It’s intelligently designed, easy to use features have been developed by the experts in app development to cater for your specific requirements. With its key features you can digitally take control of all tasks with a swipe of your finger.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Managing Tenants
  • Monthly rental payments
  • Utility management
  • Rent review
  • Property inspection reports
  • Annual safety tests
  • Lease management
  • Print yearly/ monthly taxable finances.

MANAGING TENANTS AND RENT

When it comes to managing rent owed and tenants the app couldn’t make it simpler if it tried! You go to the sub section you need, click the icon and straight away you can add new tenants, storing their personal information i.e. phone number and address, as well as their moving date and contract end. As for rent you merely need to select the property in your portfolio, specify the date, rental fee and Estate agents commission and you’re sorted. This saves a lot of time and productivity in the long run, meaning you’re not chasing any overdue payments or tenant details.

TAX MADE SIMPLE

Everyone knows that trying to keep on top of yearly tax returns can be a nightmare, but this is just another reason why this app is extremely beneficial. It allows you to do your own book-keeping on the move, by logging all of your income and expenses, when and where you necessary, to keep on top of your accounts. In the long run this will be more beneficial for your accountant or even for yourself if you organise your own accounting. Moving forward, this means you can review monthly and yearly reports with the tap of one finger, as well as track your taxes making your End of Year returns report easy to access, and print off for your benefits.

The same format is used when logging Expenses, again these are all kept in one place, and you can easily input property expenses through their individual property details and log important expenses such as Interest only mortgage, Capital Mortgage, Repairs, Insurance, Cleaning, agents involved etc.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

An additional benefit is that you will have a dedicated support team which promises to assist you with any technical and non-technical help that you may require. This gives you reassurance and trust that your portfolio details are in the right hands, and that all information is deemed confidential, to which you will only have access to, and none of which will be shared to other Property Managers.

8 Tips for Tenant Improvements

The best type of tenant improvements are those that not only make the place look better and the tenants happier, but those that improve your revenue thus increasing your ROI. These improvements can take on many faces and investments of time, but in the long run if things are made better, then they are truly worth your time and money.

But, are there ways to make tenant improvements fulfill both of these needs? Absolutely! In fact, here are several tips that can make the road of property improvement easier.

1. Do your own homework. Take the time to determine what changes need to be made and what the priority is for each. Talk to those who will be affected and learn when would be the best timeline.

2. Stay involved with the planning process. Be sure you understand the blueprints and design plans so that you can fully understand what changes will be made.

3. Be sure that lease agreement ensures that all the parties involved get the best deal possible. Take time to study the lease agreement to ensure that your proposed improvements are a fair deal and that it provides the rent that works for you and the tenant allowance is realistic.

4. Walk through the space with your contractor and be sure that the scope of the work and all the details are understood prior to signing anything. Anytime changes are made after the papers are signed, it will cost you time, and quite often more money!

5. Be flexible. As you do the walkthrough, be open to ideas and alternatives in materials or use of the spaces.

6. Think about the present as well as the future in regards to your lease. If you are considering a long list of tenant improvements, it may be possible to space them out over several years, thus making it possible to recoup some of your investment sooner rather than later.

7. If you are new to the tenant improvement process, be sure that you understand the zoning regulations and that the contractor you work with knows you expect them followed.

8. Be upfront about your budget. If your contractor understands that adding on a multitude of extras is not going to happen due to budgetary restraints, they will be less likely to push you towards something that is not achievable.

Property Management Provides Peace of Mind

While real estate can be a lucrative investment, managing tenants, repairs, and related issues can be challenging. This is especially true for owners who live in another location or have full-time jobs beyond their real estate investments. For these individuals, hiring the right property management company can provide much-needed peace of mind. Here are questions to ask when interviewing a potential property manager.

1. How long have you been in business?

Not only is a lengthy record in the industry often indicative of a trustworthy business, but it also means a manager has likely dealt with most problems that tend to crop up with rentals. Experience with a range of issues, including legal, accounting, emergency response, and maintenance expertise, is essential.

2. Are you licensed by the appropriate state and industry authorities?

In most states, licensed managers must take an approved property management course and passed a state licensing exam. A licensed property manager in charge, or PMIC, is allowed to manage other managers and run his or her own business. He or she is knowledgeable about state regulations for handling rental income, security deposits, and other financial matters.

In addition to licensure, certification can indicate more extensive industry knowledge. These credentials are granted by trade organizations, including the Institute of Real Estate Management, National Apartment Association, National Association of Residential Property Managers, and the Community Associations Institute.

3. Can you provide referrals from past clients?

A property manager should be able to provide contact information for current or past clients that have agreed to speak on his or her behalf. Potential clients should check out the addresses of which the business is in control to ensure that they are being run properly. By the same token, relying on referrals from trusted contacts is a good way to vet a short list of potential companies.

4. What fees do you charge?

While there can be a wide range of industry fees, the standard costs include a management fee ranging from 4 to 12 percent of the monthly rent, depending on the location and condition of the real estate, whether there is more than one holding, how many units in each, and what types of services are required. Some companies charge a monthly vacancy fee when the home is uninhabited, while others require the full fee regardless of whether there’s a current tenant. A set-up fee for a new client can be up to $300. Also, those relying on a management company to find tenants can expect to pay 25% to 100% of the first month’s rent (usually around 50 percent).

5. How often do they inspect?

The answer to this question is a key to ensuring that a real estate investment is protected. While a property management firm should inspect anytime there is tenant turnover, regular inspections should still be done when there’s a long-term tenant. Intervals can vary, but units or homes should be inspected at least once a year, as well as an external inspection every quarter to notice any potential developing issues.

10 Property Management Tips

Are you looking for some useful property management tips? If so, you may want to read the following 10 tips from experts in the field. With these tips, managing property will be a lot easier for you. Read on.

Provide Important Information

Make sure your customers and clients have access to the information about the properties. If you really want to get the listing, you should be able to share all the relevant information in an efficient manner.

Be Punctual

You should be committed as far as making arrangements for a meeting or appointment is concerned. Try your best to get to the meeting point at least a few minutes earlier. This is a good way of leaving great impression on your clients.

Presentation

You should be well dressed when seeing your clients. This will encourage your clients to treat you well. Moreover, your dress code will tell a lot about you.

Honesty

You should be honest while providing reports and statistics about your properties. Providing misleading or false information to clients is the best method to destroy your business. What you need to do is find a strategy to deal with the situation and get a solution instead of providing false information.

Marketing

You should market your property in an effective way. The vender may have unrealistically high hopes, but you should be realistic and shouldn’t agree to the price offers without taking the time to think about everything. After all, you don’t want your property to sit vacant for months just because the price tag was too high.

Advertising

Advertising your property is of great importance. Make sure the advertisement is available at the right time. Therefore, you should be ready with a draft on time. Aside from this, it’s better that you get approval from the vender prior to uploading the advertisement on your site.

Photography

Make sure you take some professional photos of the properties and upload them on your site. Ideally, it’s a good idea to take at least 4 pictures of each property. The pictures should be taken from different angles. Putting a few videos along with photos is also a great idea.

Stay in Touch

You should send updates and reports to the property owners on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, maintaining great relationship with your clients pays. Losing a client is easier than gaining a new one. Therefore, you should stay touch with your clients.

Database

You should know your database. Your prospective clients should receive the same level of respect as do your existing clients. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take a look at your list of clients from time to time.

Background checks

Make sure you do background checks on your tenants. What you need to do is do rigorous background checks on the personal information, tenancy history and employment history of your tenants. This is a great way of making sure you are on the safe side.

How to Simplify Accounting Statements for Rental Property Owners

It is very important that rental property owners understand the activity in their account each month. This is, after all, their money and they should feel confident that their property management company is portraying to them an accurate and easily read accounting of where their money is coming from and what it is being spent on.

One of the most common reasons I have seen rental owners change Property Managers is due to lack of communication in regards to their financials. If their funds are not being reported to them in a logical fashion, on a consistent basis, it creates a lack of trust with their Property Management Company. This can also lead to the rental property owner feeling that they are being taken advantage of, even to the point of them feeling like they are being robbed!

So, how can this be prevented? We prepare not only monthly financial reports, which rarely make sense to anyone who is not an Accountant, we also take a little extra time to give our reporting a personal touch. This includes providing all the transactions that have taken place in their account each month in a simplified, easy to read and understand Owner Statement Summary Sheet.

It is a great way for the financial team to become familiar with each owner’s properties and cash flow so when you do receive an occasional call you will already have the knowledge of their account.

Here is a list of items that can be extremely helpful to a rental property owner, when viewing their summary sheet:

• A section that includes a total dollar amount of revenue collected that month, broken out between rent, utility reimbursements, late fees, etc.
• A listing of which units have outstanding balances owed at the end of the month.
• A section that includes all expenses for the month. This doesn’t have to be detailed, a simple line marked electric bills, or maintenance costs is sufficient. If they do need more detail of the specific charge and what it entailed, they can reference the financial reports, which will provide this information for them.
• A total amount of owner disbursements that were paid that month.

The summary sheet should always include the beginning balance in the owner’s account, as well as the ending balance. The rest of the information doesn’t do much good if the owner doesn’t know where they stand when the month is over.

What to Ask When Looking for a Good Property Manager

If you’ve ever searched for a good property manager before, then you know how difficult it can be to find a good one for your rental property. There are several property managers out there, probably more than what you really need to bring your property into the market.

With so many choices available, you may find it difficult to choose one for your unit. But don’t worry – if you ask the right questions while shopping around for property managers, you’ll get a better idea of who would make the best fit for your property. Ask them these questions when discussing your property to see if they’re the right property manager for you:

1. What type of properties have you managed?

Experience counts for a lot in property management, and it can separate the good ones from the ones you should steer away from. Experience in this field, however, isn’t just about the number of years worked in the field; it’s also about what type of properties they’ve managed. Depending on what type of property you have, you can either go with someone who specialises in managing properties like yours or someone who has more varied experience managing different types of properties.

2. How do you screen potential tenants?

Screening potential tenants is one of the most important steps to property management, so the way they do this often reflects their level of service to your property. Ask them how they’ll match tenants to your property and what their process is like for finding tenants. This will give you a better idea of how they operate and what lengths they’ll go to find the right match for your property.

3. How do you handle late payments by tenants?

Finding tenants is just one phase of property management; the longer phase involves managing the tenancy itself. Asking them this question will show you what their management style is like and how they’ll deal with critical rental issues like these. See if their process aligns with what you expect them to do and how you want your property to be managed.

4. How do you respond to complaints?

Similar to the previous question, this question allows you to gauge how well a potential property manager will handle the landlord-tenant relationship. Remember that a property manager will act as the mediator between you and your tenant, so it’s important that you’re comfortable with their process for dealing with any complaints or issues.

5. How often do you do inspections?

Routine inspections are important to any tenancy agreement, and the number of times it’s done per year will help give you better peace of mind as the landlord or owner. This question will also show you how well the property manager will look after your property even after the start of the tenancy.

6. What’s the right rental price for my property?

If you’ve done your research beforehand, this question will let you assess how well a potential property manager knows the market and what they can offer you. It also allows you to get a better idea of what your property is worth in the current market. Compare their answer with different property managers to see what they offer and to better understand where your property stands in the market.

7. What are the things I can do to improve my listing?

Asking them this question won’t just reveal their expertise in property management, but it’ll also help you put your property in the best position in the market. Note their suggestions, assess how relevant they are, and decide whether or not they can get your property where you want it to be.

8. What are the full costs and fees for managing my property?

Some have small sign-up fees but a variety of hidden fees once you sign on and let them manage your property. Avoid getting surprised by such fees, and ask them to indicate all management and service fees included in their service. The more complicated their fee structure is, the bigger the headache (and expense) it will likely be.

9. What can you do that others can’t?

This is where prospective property managers will try to sell you on what they offer and how well they set themselves apart from the competition. It’s also the part where you assess the intangibles in any working relationship, giving you a better idea of how well they meet your standards. Listen well, take notes, and assess if they provide what you’re looking for.

The Importance of Hiring a Property Management Company

In this age of independence and mindset that one can manage on his own, it is inevitable that a property owner would think he will do fine on his own. Sure, you got tenants who at first, pay on time until gradually they won’t, some will breach the contract and lease terms, then they cause problems with the neighbors and other tenants, then slowly you will notice you are losing money and when you decide to evict the tenant, next thing you know, you have a lawsuit at your doorstep.

The reality is if you use the services of a professional property management company, not only do you have peace of mind, your investment is protected and the consistent cash flow you receive through rent can assist you to buy additional investment properties.

This is why you need the assistance of a property management company, but before that, we will determine the pointers on why it is important to hire one.

Determining the Worth of Your Property

The problem with inexperienced owners is that sometimes they get overwhelmed on how they price their property to the market: oversell and you have to deal with the high vacancy rate with no profit, undersell and you will realize you are slowly losing profit. This is where a property management company comes in, they will help you determine a balanced meal where you gain tenants and continue to rake in profit.

A property management company is also well-versed in marketing your property and placing ads where it will attract tenants. They will answer any inquiry and they know what entices a prospective tenant, therefore will help you point out some cosmetic improvements so that the tenants will feel that renting your property is worthy of their money.

Avoiding Major Problems with Tenants

Screening tenants would not be one of your problems anymore because the property management company will take care of it. They know too well how to check the background of the interested tenants, their criminal records, their relationship with previous property owners and if they have ever caused problems before. Think of it as helping you weed out the bad ones for a healthy and bountiful crop.

Collecting rents is the most common problem in renting out your property. When left to your own devices, having your tenants pay you on time will become a child’s play of hiding and seek between them and you as the property owner, certainly some tenants will tug at your heartstrings and gain your sympathy with the hope that you will let them get away with it. A property management company, however, will become the middleman who will ensure that the tenants abide by the lease terms and should understand that they are just doing their job for you, keeping your cash flow consistent.

Maintenance

When a tenant has reached the end of the contract, the grueling process of turnover will usually keep you busy as a property owner, but with a property management company by your side, that is another pile of stress that will be taken care of. Any deductions from the security deposit will be made and returned to the tenant, and the restoration process of repairing any damages, repainting, changing locks and cleaning the property would be done without getting your own hands dirty.

As a property management company, expect that they know the right people to contact should there be any problems with leaks, wiring, and plumbing experienced by the tenants and their dilemmas will be addressed promptly.

Saving Time and Money

A successful businessman knows that delegating tasks is key for a successful business so that one can have more time to deal with other business ventures. With almost everything being taken care of, it seems like the only thing left to do is to visit your property at a certain time interval and continue to rake in profit while having more time to spend it with your family, social life, other priorities, and investments.

IN CONCLUSION

Hiring a property management company takes care of the burden for you, especially if you are well aware that marketing, confronting tenants with late payments and handling maintenance are not your strongest points especially if managing your property is not the only priority you have in your busy life. Therefore delegating this task to a reliable property management company may just be one of the best decisions you have ever made.

5 Things to Expect in UK Property Investment Market in 2018

2017 was an eventful year for the UK’s property investment market. The impact of Brexit shook it to core. Those who were planning to attend property auctions in the UK for purchasing second or more residential properties were hit by additional 3% Stamp Duty. The resignation of Mr. David Cameron, the then British Prime Minister, brought Pound down to its lowest financial value in the last 31 years at the international level. This affected the UK’s property investment market too!

This series of events does not seem to be stopping even as 2017 is about to end. The Bank of England has recently introduced changes in mortgage/lending rules. These changes have significantly affected the investment plans of those who had applied for mortgage/loan approval for buying residential properties at house auctions. Now, all financial institutions and lenders are checking all kinds of records of every property associated with applicants’ portfolio. These changes in mortgage/lending rules have really changed the way the UK property investment market operates.

What Else is Expected in 2018?

• 2018 is also going to be a very eventful year for the UK’s property investment market. As for reason, Brexit is likely to strike again. Both the UK and EU have scheduled a meeting in this regard. This meeting will largely determine the picture of the UK’s property investment market.

• In case you are thinking about attending property auctions in the UK for purchasing a residential property, wait for some time and see the outcome of Brexit meeting between UK political officials and EU members. You should play a waiting game even more because the EU is now trying to come up with a plan to put-off Brexit meeting with the UK.

• Looks like the outcome of 2018 Brexit meeting between the EU and UK is a combination of good and bad news for investors. Those who were planning to attend house auctions for selling their residential properties to earn some ROI (Return on Investment), are likely to face a financial loss from 0.5% to 2%. This is a troublesome news for landlords.

• Those who wanted to purchase property in London, can have smile on their face as house prices in London are about to dip. This is a good news for those who wanted to invest in London property. This will also restore the grip the British capital has been losing among investors for the last couple of years.

• But you should not keep your investment plans or vision limited to London property only. Thanks to the massive house price rise in other towns like Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, etc. These towns have seen 10% to 17.5% house price growth. Even many investors have now started attending property auctions in these areas of the UK.

Great Property Management Companies

Choosing the best manager for your property can promote your real estate investment or even break it. You find managers in all parts of the market and it is important to tell the good apart from the bad.

Messaging and branding

The outbound branding and messaging that the company uses is an important factor that can be used to determine what they are really like. To be able to understand them and their mode of operation. Then you need to ask questions.

Documentation

The first thing that you should get to know is whether the company is licensed and recognized by the right body. You need to ensure that you get to know what kind of properties they manage and then get references. You should never move on with the deal if the company does not want or is not able to give you the necessary documentation. When you see the documentation, then you can comfortably say that their operations are legitimate.

You should also get to know the following things about the company:

  • How they set and collect rent
  • How maintenance and repairs are handled?
  • If property inspections are done
  • Retention and marketing of tenants
  • How the tenant and owner funds are handled?
  • How they do tenant screening.

The other things that you should talk to them about include:

  • Their management fees
  • The management contract

The above should be done to about three companies that you may have shortlisted before you can hire them. You should remain vigilant and don’t settle for the first company that you come across regardless of how good they seem to be. There is really no harm in talking to other companies. Talking to others confirms that the initial preference was the best and you may even have some more questions. Young never know, the next company could actually be better than the first one.If you do not take time to talk to others, then you will have nothing to compare with. It is important to have an idea about how other companies operate to be certain that you are indeed making the right decision. There are many databases that you can use to locate management companies near you.

You need to appreciate the fact that finding a manager for an investment that you made is a very important and big decision. You should do a thorough research before you settle for just anyone. There are many qualities that you should consider when you are picking a great organization.

You should try getting referrals from various sources. This is one of the best ways because you will know the experiences of other people first hand before choosing. You may get some amazing tips about the whole choosing process. Since referrals can sometimes be biased, you should get them from all corners. If you receive same referral about a certain company, it could very well be true after all, regardless of whether it is a good opinion or a bad one.

Why Use a Professional Inventory Company?

An inventory is a concise and detailed list of the contents, fittings and fixtures of a house, flat or office that is being let. This includes everything from the carpets and curtains to all the furnishings (if furnished). An Inventory provides a clear concise snapshot of the property at the time of the inventory completion with digital photographs provided to support the report. The inventory should be carried out by a third party, independent inventory specialist otherwise it will be considered bias and will not stand up in a court of law when needed to be relied upon.

“With approximately 50% of all of end of tenancy issues going into dispute, and the Landlord being awarded 100% of the deposit in only 18% of those cases.”

  • There is no legal requirement for an independent company to carry out inspections on a property. However, an Inventory and Schedule of Condition of a property at check-in is a vital piece of evidence in showing the condition and cleanliness of the property at the start of a tenancy. When the tenancy ends, it is this document against which the check out report is compared. Therefore it is very important that both documents are as accurate as possible and their content is clear for all to see.
  • Some landlords do produce very comprehensive reports which are impartial and accurate. However, our experience from our work with dealing with disputes shows that many are not. It is very hard sometimes for landlords who probably have an emotional attachment to the property to be objective about either condition or cleanliness.
  • Sometimes agents take on this role, but again whilst their clients are both landlords and tenants, in practice, it is not always easy to be impartial. It is also not a cost-effective option when having to send staff out for time-consuming Inventories when their time could be better spent elsewhere in the business.
  • Using an independent and professional inventory company cuts out any risk that things are not reported correctly. It is therefore in the best interests of the landlord, the tenant(s) and the agents to engage a professional independent inventory company.