For Real Estate Professionals

articles about “Rentals

QUIZ: Think You’re Cut Out For Doing Property Management?

Melissa Zavala
June 29, 2015

Recent market improvement means the rental market across the United States has spiked too. So much so that certain metropolitan areas have shown rent increases of up to 5.3% in the last 12 months. “Rental appreciation has been a freight train these past few years, chugging along without any appreciable slowdown. Since 2000, rents have grown roughly twice as fast as wages, and you don’t have to be an economist to understand why that is hugely problematic,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries.

As part of the aftermath of the “Great Recession,” there is a significantly increased demand for rental properties. And, with more renters, come more property managers—more agents who want to take the plunge and enter the realm of property management. But, is it for you?

If you think you’re cut out for property management, here are five quiz questions to help you decide if it’s your best, next move.

1. Are you always awake in the middle of the night?

If you are often up in the middle of the night, then property management may be for you. Property managers managing a significant number of units often receive calls in the wee hours of the morning. If you don’t mind the late night or early morning interruptions, then you’ll do just fine as a property manager.

2. Do you like working on weekends and holidays?

You’re about to take a bite of your fancy 4th of July burger and your cell phone rings. If the intrusion is something that you can tolerate, then property management may be a niche for you. Unless you have a large staff on call for issues arising on weekends and holidays, you’ll have to be available for your tenants (and owners) 24/7. If you miss a call and the problem is major, you could lose a building, income, and most important your credibility as an agent. It’s important for property managers to always be available for their tenants and owners.

3. Is balancing the checkbook one of your favorite activities?

If you love keeping your checking account balanced at all times, than you will be a great property manager. Since property managers are charged with managing other peoples’ money using a Trust Account, it is vital that the bank account be in balance at all times. Transpose digits and you could be accused of commingling funds or mismanaging money. But, if you are one of those agents who adores keeping the accounts balanced, you’ll be a superb property manager.

4. Do you enjoy solving other people’s problems?

Electricity bills too high? Spiders in the cabinet under the sink? Moisture behind the toilet? If you love getting involved in other people’s business and solving their problems, then property management is definitely for you! Just make sure that you have a team of contractors to help with all the repairs.

5. Does paperwork give you a thrill?

If your favorite part of the real estate transaction is the paperwork, then you will love managing other people’s property. Each property must have a good balance sheet, a property management agreement, a lease and ancillary addenda, photos of the property at move-in as well as a myriad of other documents. If paperwork is your thing, then you’ll enjoy managing multiple property files at the same time.

While, certainly, property management can be a challenge, it can have its benefits. Managing a handful (or more) of properties brings in regular monthly income. When and if there are peaks and valleys in your real estate sales closings, then you can rely on the regularity of the income associated with property management. Just remember that—like anything—property management is comes with challenges and requires investment!

Are you already doing dual roles?

How many of you live a double-life as a residential agent and property manager? What are your Unique challenges?

Valentine’s Day Do’s & Don’ts for Apartment Marketing

Tashina Wortham
February 9, 2015

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner … and romantics aside, it can also act as a convenient opportunity to orchestrate some tender marketing moments. V-DayThe birds are chirping, love is in the air, and so why not show tenants you care? It’s a good move, but a tricky one. We’ve all seen businesses try to leverage a holiday promo, only to fall flat on their face either through poor messaging or messy execution. It can be a real heartbreaker.

Whether or not you’re considering a Valentine-themed outreach this month, here are a few suggestions on what’s cool and what’s a miss when capitalizing the upcoming holiday to help strengthen customer relations:

Community Events

Do: Focus on activities they can enjoy with their family and friends: Card making parties – You provide the supplies and parents bring the kids to make cards for their class. Doggie Speed Dating – Find new walking buddies for all your community’s furry friends. Midnight Movie – Maybe even drive-in style, or outdoor on the green for places where the weather would allow. continue reading

3 Hot Tech Amenities Coming to Apartments

Tashina Wortham
February 9, 2015

Whether it’s car charging stations, wireless-connected thermostats, or glass-bubble solarium work spaces, luxury apartment communities are constantly competing for the latest tech amenities to gain a unique market edge that’ll stick in the minds of prospective residents and give current renters one more reason to renew. Luxury_AptsWith a slew of connectivity-dependant millennials hitting the market in record force, these differentiators that tend to carry heavier adoption in urban housing markets are likely to see more action in broader areas where developments have traditionally been less showy.

But you won’t be caught by surprise — here’s a rundown of three hot tech amenities making their way into apartments this year:

Smart Home Technology

While we probably won’t see fully-equipped automated smart home apartments anytime soon, we are watching individual pieces arrive to the single-family home or luxury apartment sphere. Built-in docking stations, Apple TVs, and Bluetooth speakers give tribute to the wifi-connected, tablet-controlled home environments showcased at CES last month. continue reading

A Property Manager’s Guide to Rental Safety and Maintenance

If you’re in the business of providing residential rental property, you must ensure that the units you rent out meet the minimum standards of rental safety and maintenance. It’s the law.

Since landlord-tenant issues are typically governed at the state and local levels, specific rules vary by jurisdiction. But at the bare minimum, anyone involved in renting properties – either as a landlord or as a property manager – should be aware of the state’s minimum habitability requirements.

Understanding Warranty of Habitability

In legal terms, when you make a residential property available as a rental, you are making an implied warranty of habitability. This is true even if your lease does not specify that you as the landlord are responsible for repairs. If your rental unit falls below the minimum standards in your area, you are responsible for repairing the property to bring it up to par – regardless of what the lease says. continue reading

How to Not Be an Annoying Property Manager

January 28, 2015

All property managers want respectful, responsible tenants, but it’s a two-way street. Trust can be lost by not following through on maintenance requests, providing little to zero notice on electricity and water shutoffs, and general overpromising.

So, it’s important to establish a respectful relationship with tenants from the beginning by letting them know how best to communicate with you and what to expect in terms of notifications and maintenance issue resolutions.

Keep reading to find out how to keep your tenants satisfied by avoiding these property management pitfalls. continue reading

15 Instant Resolutions for Property Managers

Tashina Wortham
January 28, 2015

Admittedly, we’re pretty well into 2015 for me to start throwing out New Year’s resolutions. You’ve done that. You’re ready to move on. Understood. Which is why this list is all about fun, quick changes to better your work, life, and enjoyment as a busy rental professional.

These are 15 instant resolutions—ideas to work smarter, not harder, and get the most from your time. Nerves of steel and enduring willpower aren’t required. If you see something you like, try it today, then you can drop it like it never even happened or keep it if it works. continue reading

What Are These Tags on Our Rental Listings?

Chris Brasher
January 26, 2015

Recently, you may have noticed one of Trulia’s newest rental features that was designed to highlight special criteria across your rental listings. We’ve created tags like “Pet Friendly” and “Best Value” that act as virtual stickers to show off your Trulia listings and capture the attention of users beyond the hard specs of their chosen search parameters. To give you an overview, here are the tags your prospective residents can see today as they comb their search results: continue reading

Top Property Management Trends to Watch in 2015

Tashina Wortham
January 19, 2015

If low gas prices and gluten-free girl scout cookies are any indicator, 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty great year, especially for multifamily housing. Demand for rentals is solid. Opportunities continue to grow. Robust performance indicators keep rolling through the multifamily property investment/management sector as easily as I can plow through a sleeve of thin mints.

Recently Trulia’s Housing Economist and former Director of San Jose University’s Real Estate Development Program, Ralph McLaughlin, presented a wealth of data on the current state of the multifamily market. Here we’ve compiled some of the most important trends going into 2015, as well as top takeaways to help leverage those opportunities at your communities.

TREND: Rising Rents

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Top 8 Most Effective Rental Incentives

shutterstock_47408941As any business owner knows, acquiring and keeping customers sometimes means you have to offer incentives.

The same principle applies to rentals. The hard truth is that there are rental properties on every block, and though your unit may be special, it’s not that special.

To find and keep great renters, a manager will often have to provide incentives, especially if it’s a slow winter rentals season.

Types of Incentives

Whether you are trying to convince an applicant to sign a lease or encourage a great resident to renew, incentives act as the carrot at the end of the proverbial stick. With that said, I believe that no one should get a prize for doing the bare minimum or fulfilling what is required of them in the lease. continue reading

How to Fill a Rental Vacancy During Winter

Paula Pant
December 7, 2014

FillRentalVacancyThe snow is falling, the wind is blowing … and you have a vacancy.

As a landlord or property manager, you know the timing isn’t ideal. Most tenants don’t want to move into a new place in blustery winter weather, and the holiday season only makes things worse — few people want to add moving to their already long list of to-dos (and expenses).

But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. You just need to find creative ways to entice renters in these blustery months. Here are 6 ways to employ creative marketing strategies to get your property occupied, even if the weather outside is frightful. continue reading