LANDLORDING: MANAGEMENT IDEAS
Management Tips from Mrlandlord.com
Stay Ahead in the Vacancy Game!
Every year, about 60 days out from year end, I ask if people are planning to move in the upcoming year. This year only one said yes (he's leaving the Coast Guard and moving home.) I had his space rented more than 60 days before his lease is up, so that was good!
And this is why I do that:
Tenant said YES she is staying. She wants a new lease. I send it to her. Follow up-nothing. I follow up and she sends a rambling text message how her boss wants her to move closer to her turf (she's a cop in another county) and she might buy a house but she'll keep me posted and should know something by end of May, maybe.
Her lease is up end of April! So I say no; unacceptable, I'll consider her notice given and start showing the place. She tries to whine that it is not enough notice but legally it is. So she will be out end of April.
I know you are going to ask why not go Month to Month? Because I know she will move after the Summer - she's a beach person and wants to stay close to the beach for the summer but come Fall she will be out of there. I would rather handle the transition on my terms, thanks.
The thing is, if I hadn't asked (and kept asking) I would have been taken totally by surprise as she had said she was definitely staying.
How to have Guilt-Free Evictions!
Landlords were asked if they would kick out a tenant who was a single grandmother raising her grand kids, in the middle of the winter, if she couldn't afford the rent? One landlord responded by sharing the following statements that he keeps posted on his office wall, and has served him well throughout his landlording career.
Ten Reasons Why You Should Not Feel Guilty about Evictions!
1. Always start evictions
immediately. If the tenants need extra time, the court will give it to them.
2. You don't make a profit from evictions. You only cut your losses.
3. You've already supplied the "needy" tenant with free housing. You've done your charity work; give someone else a chance.
4. If the tenant doesn't have a friend or relative to help him out, doesn't that say a lot about the tenant's character?
5. If someone asks you how you could put someone out on the street, ask them to pay the rent and you won't evict them.
6. The tenant has kept possession of your house and is stealing from you. He has stolen your home, utilities, and your services. The tenant is a thief. Do stores let your tenant go in and take from them?
7. Letting a tenant stay in your house who is not paying rent is like giving your tenant your charge card and telling him, "Feel free to spend. I like loaning out money interest free without knowing I'll be paid back".
8. How would you feel if you worked
all week and your employer said I don't have a paycheck for you? Guess what,
your tenant has just told you that! Do you work for nothing?
9. If you want to maintain your apartment and let the occupants live rent free, you should decide who the occupants will be, not your tenant. There are lots of people you may find more deserving.
10. Your tenant is taking money, time and energy from you, which you could use to provide for your family's needs. Picture yourself trying to tell your child that you could not buy him or her an item because you had to pay a stranger's rent so the stranger could buy gifts for his or her child.
(Printed in Mr. Landlord Newsletter December 1992)
5 Tips for Screening Rental Applicants
1) Do not simply give away applications to rental prospects who are not serious to take home and most likely never return. Instead, charge $30 for each application given out. And let them know "processing" the app is free. They can go ahead and fill it out now or later. Most fill it out right then. A landlord friend of mine started this several years ago. It is amazing how well it works and I have had many who "bought" an application and never returned it. It’s like getting paid to show the place.
2) Don't become fixated on one qualification, like getting a certain credit score--look at the whole picture. Real references from real past landlords trump credit scores every time.
3) Someone who is a PAIN at the showing is probably going to be 10 tmes worse if you actually rent to them...have written criteria to deal with people who are uncooperative, or can't seem to follow basic instructions.
4) Take charge in the conversation from the start. You ask the questions, and get the answers you want/need to decide. I use the "interview approach" to keep myself from getting tangled up in "stories." If someone has to "tell me their story," nine times out of ten that means we've got a situation that isn't going to work out. I used to listen politely and these folks would drone on (for ten minutes!) about their woes.
5) I do a different approach than most landlords. We NEVER answer the phone. All go to answering machine with info on the house, our website, and how to apply. The call before the application is pointless to us. I want them to drive by and complete an application before I spend even one minute on them.
Dumpsters Can Help You Build Wealth!
Looking for more properties to buy?
A lot of times you will hear of people digging through dumpsters (dumpster diving) for things they can use. Hey, I'm guilty. I've taken TONS of building materials out of dumpsters. I always ask. What I really like about dumpsters isn't what’s inside of them. It's what's OUTSIDE: The HOUSES they're next to!
I'm pretty good friends with our local dumpster guys. Anytime I see a dumpster of theirs next to a house that looks rough, I call them up and see what's going on. Sometimes it's nothing, but sometimes it's a lead! Usually the family is cleaning out an estate of someone that went into a nursing home or moved away or the people may be moving out of the area.
Anyway, THIS IS OPPORTUNITY!!
You get to see this, most of the time, before the people even talk to a Realtor®. I saw one today and called the dumpster company. They said they were glad I called because they were going to tell me about it. I should be viewing within a few days. Some lawyers are ambulance chasers.
I'm a dumpster chaser.
Don’t Just Hire; Seek “Team Members”
I have three rental properties. Here is something I used the other day with an appliance guy. He looked at the dishwasher and gave me his "standard" price. Then I told him I had multiple properties and I have a team of people I work with. If he did this job professionally and for a good price, he would become my appliance guy and I would only call him in the future. All true by the way. He cut $50 off his price and I got a great deal and a loyal team member. I'm going to use this with everyone I work with from now on. Hope this helps or inspires someone else.
Don’t Trust Your Gut Feeling regarding whether rental applicants "seem" good.
I had a prospect, a nice single guy working for big, fancy company with a good paycheck. I met him for a showing. At the end of it he handed me my filled application. I went home and did the checking...Oh MY GOD! I was actually in the apartment alone with - a burglar, sex offender, battery, domestic violence - you name it, he had done it. He had FOURTEEN PAGES of criminal records. I would never have guessed just by the way he looked and talked.
While I was waiting for the report I looked at the county records on his name – a very popular name. Most of it was there, but I was sure he would check out and that the records were not his... Do your homework. Do NOT trust your gut feelings and be careful out there...they look like normal people!
Best Landlording Changes in the Last Three Years!
A landlord shared that in the last three years he credits several landlording changes he's made that has lowered his headaches, streamlined systems, and increased profits. Two of the bigger landlording changes include the following:
1) Rent collection - Tenants can pay at my local bank in person six days a week with cash, money order, cashier's check or debit card. No charge to them or me for this service. I see the money the minute it hits my account, and the next day I see an online scanned deposit ticket, stamped with the date, with the tenant's name. No more "I mailed the check last week"....no more bounced checks...no more chasing rent. It's either paid or it isn't. Easy cheesy. Did I mention this service is free?
2) Outsourcing trivial work - cleaning, mowing, trash removal, most small repairs. Pay someone $10 - $15 an hour for unskilled labor or $25 an hour for semi-skilled that is drudgery and removes focus from getting a place rent ready quickly and stems the flood of vacancy expenses and lost rents. Your hourly rates may vary by location, but when I found that most contractors in my area wanted $40 - $50 just for semi-skilled work, I went shopping and found a LOT of decent folks who had some skill and were willing to moonlight for a lot less money. Church, recommendations from local Realtors®, college students, etc. Of course, screen well and only pay as work is completed. Took my average turnover time from 2 - 3 weeks to 1 - 3 DAYS...the extra rent more than makes up for the money spent to hire having it done. Editor’s Note: what about Worker’s Comp and Liability Insurance?
Buy a $400 Cake and Increase Your Influence
I bought a cake tonight for $400. I bid up to $750 on a cake but was still outbid. Why??
Tonight was our local political rally and all the movers and shakers from our entire county were there, elected officials, candidates for our May primary, their spouses, and other political leaders. Some 200+ leaders of our community and some at state level. They were the ones who make the laws affecting our property and our taxes.
As a scholarship fundraiser they auctioned some cakes.
Why?? Because I don't need any cake! "See and Be Seen."
Too often, when landlording issues arise, the politicians don't know any landlords. The landlords pop out of the woodwork and complain, then disappear.
Every person in that room knew I bought a cake and probably wished they had the money or the guts to buy one.
EVERYBODY watched me bid, and several kept encouraging me. They cheered and announced my name several times. Council members and city officials who have scoffed at my contributions to new housing laws were now shaking my hand and thanking me for bidding!
My 15 SECONDS of fame! Really, why?? Now EVERY person in the room knows who I am and what I do, and sees me as a PARTICIPANT, not as a complainer. For a measly $400 investment, I am one of them. All 200+ of them. All the city council. All the mayor's staff. They see me as a financial supporter of good things. When I need a favor or want to talk about (stupid tricks, er I mean) politics they at least know my name.
Yes, business is about who YOU know and who knows YOU!
Reprinted by Permission. The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the MrLandlord.com Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, Founder@Mrlandlord.com. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at LandlordingAdvice.com, you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.