Popularity of pet-friendly rentals sparks growth in dubious online services

The popularity of pet-friendly apartments has led to development of dubious services on the Internet designed to get owners out of paying high pet fees. The services allow people to obtain phony dog service certification deeming the animal an “emotional support pet,” a designation that not only exempts owners from pet fees but often grants the animal access to rentals that are not pet friendly.

The problem with such efforts is they are sparking more scrutiny from landlords and more calls for increased regulation on issuing emotional support pet certification, which ultimately may make it difficult for people who legitimately need it.44334346_s-228x300

Many of the dubious services have online “therapists” who provide documentation that an emotional support pet is needed. Many provide the “doctor’s note” within 24 hours. As I was looking at some of these websites, one was summoning me to register a pet with them via a pop up. They are very persistent. These services provide a method for people to avoid pet fees and a way to have a pet in a residence that does not allow pets. Pet rents range from $25 to $75 monthly and up front pet fees range from $250 to $1,000 on average per pet.

Emotional support pets are companion animals that provide a therapeutic benefit to individuals with a verifiable mental or psychiatric disability. Emotional support pets are one type of assistance animal, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. An emotional support pet can be any type of animal and is allowed as a reasonable accommodation in a residence that does not otherwise allow pets. This allows dogs, cats, alligators, any type of pet at all with no restriction. You do not have to pay pet fees to a landlord for an emotional support pet.

The difference between an emotional support animal and a service animal is a service animal is trained to perform certain tasks to help people with disabilities, while an emotional support pet is not trained. Unlike service animals, an emotional support pet is not granted access to public places such as movie theaters and hospitals.

HUD does not require a tenant to disclose their disability to a prospective landlord, but they will need to provide documentation from a doctor or other health care professional that the assistance animal lessens one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of an existing disability.

A companion animal can also travel with their person in the cabin of a plane, as allowed by the Air Carrier Access Act, without fees. Typically, the fee to have a pet fly is about $125.

The Transportation Department formed a panel of advisers to look into the issue. Airlines are concerned about the safety of the passengers around the untrained animals and want to know whether their owners legitimately need them for emotional support or are just trying to avoid a fee. The panel was disbanded without a solution, experts say, but with the increase of animals on flights this is bound to come up again.

There is no standardized form that can be used to prove an emotional support pet’s status.  The increase in people fraudulently identifying their pets as assistance animals has led to a consideration of  more regulations for identifying an assistance animal.

An online petition being circulated through Change.org is asking Anna Maria Farias, HUD’s assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, to reform laws surrounding emotional support animals. While supporting people who legitimately need comfort animals, the petition wants the government to stop allowing owners to get doctors’ notes for emotional support pets online for a fee. The petition asserts these online methods are not credible.

More regulation is needed to prevent people from falsely claiming their pets as companion animals. Let’s hope the regulations will not hinder the process for people who have a legitimate need for an emotional support pet.

 

Source: washingtonpost.com

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Trulia’s Hottest Real Estate Markets to Watch in ’18

See which cities are making the cut this year.

If you’re thinking about where to move next, you’re probably considering a wide array of factors like work, family, and the start of a new chapter. Every home purchase is also a huge investment—possibly the biggest you’ll make in your life. Looking at the markets poised for growth can ensure your new home is also a good investment. To help, Trulia looked at the 100 most populated metros in the country, then used five key metrics to determine the 10 real estate markets with the highest growth potential in 2018: strong job growth, affordability, low vacancy rates, home search rates on Trulia.com, and a high population of young households (you can find our full methodology below). It may surprise you—it did us—to learn that Texas and Ohio are home to more than one fast-growing city. See where else made the cut below

1. Grand Rapids, MI

On the mighty banks of the Grand River, Michigan’s second-largest city is at the top of our list largely due to its strong employment growth, which is up 2.5 percent year-over-year. Grand Rapids also has a relatively low vacancy rate (ranked 16th overall) and a high share of households with residents 35 years and under (22 percent). A full two-thirds of Grand Rapids’ residents own homes, and the median home sale price is a friendly $163,750. Living here means enjoying the waterfront, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum, which spotlights Michigan’s artists. A bubbling brew scene doesn’t hurt either.

2. Nashville, TN

Next on our list is Nashville, also known as Music City. But you don’t have to be in the band to love it here. Home of the famous “Grand Ole Opry,” residents in Nashville are always down for a good time. Need more evidence? Just walk through The Gulch, a trendy Art Deco-inspired neighborhood. Not surprisingly, Tennessee’s capital has a high share of households under 35 years old (23 percent) and the strongest job growth in the country (3.1 percent year-over-year), luring people from all corners of the nation to relocate. But taking the top spot in job growth may come at a price: affordability, where Nashville is ranked 58th overall.

3. Raleigh, NC

North Carolina’s capital, Raleigh, is known for the bright minds of North Carolina State University and the Research Triangle (together with Durham and Chapel Hill). But it’s also beloved for its wealth of culinary and cultural cornerstones, like the Oakwood historic district, designated on the National Register of Historic Places, where homes date back to the 1800s. This City of Oaks made our list due to its strength in two categories: job growth (ranked 3rd overall) and low vacancy rate (ranked 15th overall). Its popularity, though, leaves the city lagging in affordability—the median sales price in North Carolina’s second most popular city is $250,000—where it ranks 43rd overall.

4. El Paso, TX

This Southwestern city on the Rio Grande is loved for its incredible Tex-Mex cuisine, a wealth of locations for outdoors lovers to explore, and a rich downtown artist community and farmers market. Major employers in El Paso range from the US military to the University of Texas at El Paso, healthcare corporations to major retailers. The average price of a home here is just $186,611, and it’s a hot market for the social young and single set: the median age is 33, and 24 percent of residents are single. You’ll find many of them moving to the up-and-coming Mission Hills neighborhood. “The fantastic weather, developing downtown area, and affordable price range of housing speak to younger buyers as well as just about everyone,” says Laura Baca, an area real estate agent.

5. San Antonio, TX

San Antonio is known for its River Walk, an oasis of cypress-lined paved paths and lush landscapes where locals and visitors alike go to relax. But the city is bustling, too. In 2017, job growth rose 2.2 percent, and the national homeownership rate increased significantly for the first time in more than 10 years. In fact, homeowners make up two-thirds of the city’s population, at 65 percent. San Antonio’s top employers are a mix of military, city, and school districts, as well as private and public businesses, making this 300-year-old city flush with new job opportunities. These trends are expected to continue into 2018, with homeownership outpacing renting for the indefinite future.

6. Fort Worth, TX

This city of cowboys and culture is a hot destination in the Lone Star state, welcoming 8.8 million visitors annually. Fort Worth is comprised of seven primary entertainment districts, each offering dining, shopping, entertainment, and cultural amenities—offering mass appeal for a new generation of residents, allowing the city to lay claim to the youngest population of any major metro in Texas. It’s only 17 miles from the DFW International Airport, ensuring personal and business travel is extremely convenient. The city also has an impressive percentage of homeowners (68 percent), and with popular employers such as Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, American Airlines, the Naval Air Station, and city and school district offices, it’s a solid place to set down roots.

7. Austin, TX

Capital city Austin, with its legendary live music, burgeoning restaurant scene, cool culture, and vibrant community is a draw for everyone—even those who aren’t coming to listen to tunes in the Live Music Capital of the World. Austin’s also a university town, and many folks stay on after school. The national homeownership rate ticked up both for households under 35, as well as those aged 35-44, with the former showing a substantial increase from 34 percent in 2016 to 35 percent in the second quarter of 2017. Though home buying among millennials is likely to be sluggish in the short-run, the long-run potential for this generation to support housing consumption in the United States is big.

8. Columbus, OH

Big things are happening in Columbus, Ohio’s capital and most populous city. It’s booming, and not just in population. There are 33 acres of new riverfront parkland in downtown, cultural institutions are adding to their offerings, neighborhoods are bursting with new places to eat and shop, and the innovative food scene gives residents plenty of options. Trends in Columbus show a 12 percent year-over-year rise in median home sales price, and even with the upward trajectory, the average home comes in at just $159,900. “Our urban areas are booming with renovation and new build projects, and our suburbs maintain their investment values very well,” says Cheryl Chapin, an area real estate agent. “We have a lot of areas across the city that are walkable, have great dining and shopping, yet they’re close to downtown amenities.”

9. Madison, WI

Madison is Wisconsin’s second-largest city and state capital. It’s also home to the state government and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the city’s largest employers. The town’s amassed a treasure chest of kudos, from most-walkable and best road-biking city, to most vegetarian-friendly, LGBTQ-friendly, and environmentally friendly city, too. Of the places on this list, Madison has the highest percentage of college-educated residents (60 percent). The up-and-coming Tenney-Lapham neighborhood houses lots of young families and hosts a popular annual art walk.

10. Cincinnati, OH

Resting along the banks of the Ohio River, the vibrant Cincinnati region spans portions of three states: Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. The third-largest city in Ohio has dedicated homeowners, with 63 percent of the population owning homes and its home sales price slowly growing, up 4 percent year-over-year. Cincinnati’s popular Over-the-Rhine district, which includes Findlay Market and food and craft vendors, is a favorite place for locals to spent the weekend, as is Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garde.

Source: trulia.com

Southwest Wake County’s growth spike shows it’s no longer a bedroom community

What used to be a mere cluster of Triangle-outskirt towns is now one of North Carolina’s centers for economic growth. Even by Triangle region standards, which have been significant, Southwest Wake County’s growth has spiked over the last two decades.

The Census Bureau recently reported growth rateCaptures of approximately 26 percent in Apex, 35 percent in Holly Springs, and 44 percent in Fuquay-Varina, outpacing Raleigh in 2016. Residential growth in Holly Spring

 

s alone is expected to grow so rapidly that for every three residents today, there will be five by 2025.

As a site selection specialist and a local resident, I have seen the impact this has had on the workforce. Joanna Helms, Apex Economic Development Director shared, “Most people don’t realize that Apex has over 50 thriving companies that range from advanced manufacturing, wholesale distribution and precision machining to information technology, computer gaming and software development, as well as micro brewing.”

 

Following the population growth, retail market vacancies have been competitive, and are currently at 2.8 percent according to CoStar. It seems that almost every week, another grocer, restaurant, or other retailer announces an opening. As of November 2017, Southwest Wake had almost 30,000 square feet of retail space under construction, as well as five shopping centers proposed. Current mixed-use developments in Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina create tremendous retail and mixed-use opportunities for business owners and consumers alike.

While retail development will always follow the rooftops and urban areas continue to thrive and grow, a new trend is emerging where many companies are migrating closer to their workforce. This has not only reduced geographic and traffic concerns during the recruiting process, but has also developed a quality of life for employees that, in turn, improves the quality of the company. Names such as Dell Inc., Rovisys, and Sequirus are located in the heart of Southwest Wake, producing thousands of jobs and catalyst for economic growth.

 

“Town leaders have strategically positioned the assets of the community to attract more life science companies. Highlights include: more than $100 million has been invested in roads, water and sewer projects and parks and recreation facilities in the last 10 years,’ said Holly Springs Economic Development Director, Irena Krstanovic.

Southwest Wake currently has over 75,000 square feet of industrial and flex space under construction. These properties are in addition to almost one million square feet of proposed development. Local municipalities are looking to grow their commercial tax base, as well as offer incentives for businesses to join their communities.

This, along with land availability, provides development opportunities for any

 

thing from spec space to owner-occupancy. Additionally, the construction of “Complete 540” project going through the southwest, there will soon be expedited access to RDU and other parts of the region. According to Economic Development Director, Jim Seymour, “Fuquay-Varina continues to see strong growth in the expansion of our medium to large manufacturing firms. Our geographical location is one of our community’s greatest assets for manufacturing and distribution.”

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2017/12/12/southwest-wake-county-s-growth-spike-shows-it-s-no.html

 

Raleigh rent increases below state average

Rents in Raleigh are up 2.7 percent over the past 12 months, but the rate of growth remains below the state average and the city is still among the most affordable metro areas in the country, according to recent reports from Apartment List.

The rental website crunched the numbers and found that across North Carolina, rents are up 3.3 percent for the last 12 months. Cary is the most expensive place out of the state’s 10 largest cities, with a $1,210 median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in November.

Rents in Raleigh are the second priciest in the state. The median cost of a two-bedroom was $1,120. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the city is pacing to be any more unaffordable than other metros across the country.

Rents are increasing nationwide, at the same time that the overall number of renters is nearing 44 million households, or about 37 percent of families. But Raleigh rates fairly well in terms of the number of renters who are severely burdened when they write a check to their landlord.

An Apartment List report released in November found that 42 percent of city renters qualified as “cost burdened,” which counts anyone who pays more than one-third of their income in rent. Many other comparable metro areas had higher rates, including:

  • Nashville, Tennessee: 45 percent;
  • Portland, Oregon: 50 percent;
  • Austin, Texas: 47 percent; and
  • Richmond, Virginia: 51 percent.

Researchers at Apartment List attributed Raleigh’s relative affordability to moderate rental rates and strong wage growth.

https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2017/12/01/raleigh-rent-increases-below-state-average.html

Five Ways a Property Management Company Can Save You Time and Money

If you’re a landlord, you know that managing rental properties is more than just collecting the rent. You have to think about finding the right tenant, dealing with maintenance issues, complying with the law, and so much more.

Managing properties gets very complicated, very quickly. If you manage multiple properties, you know how the complications can multiply.

A full-service property management company can substantially reduce the time you spend thinking about mundane tasks like rent collection, maintenance requests, and finding new tenants. The property manager automates many of these tasks, allowing you to focus on what you care about the most — your job, your family, even purchasing more rental properties.

Understanding Compliance

Understanding state laws, codes, and compliance issues is one of the most complex areas of owning rental properties. A professional property management company has set procedures and manuals to ensure you’re in compliance with the law — so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Property managers also understand the issues surrounding taxes, fair-housing and anti-discrimination laws, and eviction procedures. Companies can address these concerns by leveraging their collective knowledge to deal with these various issues and provide you with the information you need to file your taxes — or even evict a troublesome resident.

Finding The Most Qualified Tenants

I have been managing properties and overlooking operations for a San Diego property management company for 13 years now. I can tell you from experience that vetting residents is one of the most important and time-consuming activities you will undertake as a property owner. Finding reliable tenants can mean the difference between making money or losing money on your investment property.

Reliable property management companies have time-tested procedures to screen out the troublemaker residents from the ideal tenants, while complying to all the laws and regulations previously mentioned. A property management company knows how to handle tenant screening to find residents for your property.

How do you find those qualified tenants? It all comes down to marketing your rental.

To begin, invest a little into the presentation of your property. This extends beyond just cleaning your property into identifying the character of the neighborhood, understanding the type of residents who come to that neighborhood, and what they want in a rental. For example, when we’re working with properties downtown, we know people renting want easy access to their job, a parking space, and information about public transit to get around San Diego. The more you can talk up the nightlife and things to do, the more valuable your apartment building becomes.

Similarly, renters in more residential areas like South Park, Bankers Hill, and North Park here in San Diego are more likely to be interested in settling down. These neighborhoods are populated by single-family homes, parks, and other family-friendly activities. An experienced property manager can leverage this information to secure residents in a timely manner for you.

Day-To-Day Property Management

You will note a common theme in these sections. Property management companies come with a library of knowledge and experience that they can leverage into all aspects of day-to-day operations. The right property management company will have set procedures on when to conduct safety checks, maintenance, and other scheduled inspections and affairs. Most managers will also have a set system for responding to resident concerns, securing a handyman, and collecting rent.

Developing these processes can be extremely time consuming as an owner. You’d need to understand, first, the basic dos and don’ts of tenants rights, and then find the right paperwork or vendors to help you with each stage of move-in or move-out. When things go wrong, it can be quite expensive to find the right people to help at the drop of a hat. Property management companies work with specific vendors across all their properties. Typically this means that they can negotiate better rates than just one property alone can get.

Value for Price

Most property management companies will charge between five to ten percent of the rent. If you only have a few properties, these rates are far cheaper than hiring your own managers.

The management company handles all of the costs associated with managing a team and provides you with the benefits of having an experienced staff. Moreover, property management companies can leverage economies of scale which enable them to retain an experienced, professional team who will provide the best possible service to you and your tenants.

Tenant Services

Finally, property management companies are invaluable if you don’t live near your property. One of the biggest issues confronted by property owners is the ability to move.

Maybe you have a new opportunity or want to change locations. If you’re handling the day-to-day services for your rental property, your options are limited — unless you want to sell.

A full-service property management company removes some of these worries by handling your rentals on your behalf. If you are the primary point-of-contact, you need to be available to work with your residents.

However, a property management company can free you up to move wherever you want (or even purchase properties wherever you want) because the company can collect the rent, maintain the properties, and every other aspect of day-to-day management. Hiring a company to manage your properties is not only convenient but also a great choice for property owners looking to increase their portfolio without having to get tied down. Investing in the right property management company can pay off.

About Micki O’Toole:

Micki is the general manager of PropertyADVANTAGE, a San Diego property management company that specializes in single-family homes and HOA management. They provide comprehensive, full-service packages as well as tenant placement to property owners and communities in San Diego and Riverside counties. Get in touch at info@propadvantage.com.

Cary, Raleigh, Apex, Fuquay, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Durham, Chapel Hill, Garner, Wake Forest. Residential rentals Wake County, RTP, RDU.  http://www.RobertsRentals.net. Triangle area rental homes and property management.  Bev Roberts Rentals

Is now a good time to be a landlord?

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Is now a good time to be a landlord? We get this question a lot.

Recent articles have reported compelling data regarding the rental market: 

The Wall Street Journal reported “the homeownership rate is hovering around a five-decade low”, because people “no longer see owning a home as an essential part of the American dream.” People also realize “houses are not necessarily the best places to store wealth.”  As a result, there is high rental demand.

According to CNBC, “more people are renting than at any other point in the past 50 years.” As more and more renters enter the market, rent prices will continue to rise.

So what does this all mean?

  • It’s a great time to be a landlord
  • Rent prices will increase
  • More interested tenants
  • Lower chance of a vacancy

We’re excited to share this news with you. If you have any questions, please contact us at (919) 306-5665 or visit our website at: http://www.RobertsRentals.net.

9 Sneaky Fees to Watch for When Hiring a Property Manager

To many landlords, property management services are superfluous, cutting their profit margins to a minimum in exchange for basic services. But the reality is that property managers can make your life extraordinarily easier—and most

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charge a reasonable enough rate that you can draw a monthly profit from your properties (headache-free).

However, when you’re searching for a property manager to handle your landlord responsibilities, it’s important to note that not all fee structures are the same. If you don’t understand how a manager’s fees work, you won’t be able to compare apples to apples, and you might end up shaving your profit more than necessary if you aren’t prepared for those fees when they come up.

9 Fees to Watch For

These are some of the most common “hidden” fees, extra fees, and differences in fee structure to watch for when comparing providers or finalizing a contract:

1. Rent Due and Rent Collected

Many property managers will charge fees as a percentage of rent, but watch how this is worded—there’s a difference between charging as a percentage of rent due and a percentage of rent collected. A percentage of

rent due means your company will charge you based on how much money a tenant owes you; a percentage of rent collected means your company will charge you based on how much money a tenant actually pays you—and is generally more favorable. If you’re charged based on rent due, you’ll end up paying for property management even when your property is vacant and you have no money coming in.

2. Early Cancellation

You may also be charged an early cancellation fee should you break the contract with your property manager before the end of its outlined term. For example, if you agree to work with them for a year and you want out after eight months, you might pay an additional few hundred dollars. Be especially wary of this fee with untested property managers.

3. A La Carte Management Fees

“A la carte” management fees refer to a suite of extra fees a property manager may charge you in addition to basic services. Usually, a property manager will either charge a higher price (and no additional fees) or a lower price, with multiple additional fees, somewhat evening out. Accordingly, it pays to know what fees are applicable and what they might run you. The remaining items in this list could all be classified as a la carte management fees.

4. Vacancy

If a company isn’t charging you the full cost of management while your property is vacant, there may still be an additional vacancy fee. Rather than collecting a percentage of rent due, they may collect a smaller amount from you as a kind of retainer.

5. Advertising

When it comes time to seek a new tenant, some property managers may charge you an additional advertising fee. This would cover the cost of creating media (such as taking photos) and placing it on sources like online listings or paper publications.

6. Leasing

A leasing fee may apply when you find a new tenant for your property. This covers the cost of drafting and securing a new lease agreement and is generally low in cost. If the cost here is high, it should raise a red flag, especially if your resulting tenant turnover seems to increase.

7. Lease Renewal

Lease renewal is even simpler than initial leasing, b

ut it may still require a fee. You may need to draw up new paperwork or renegotiate terms with a tenant, and that means your property managers will be doing a bit of extra work. Expect minimal fees here as well.

8. Maintenance

Property management fees should cover basic instances of maintenance and repair, but some companies may charge extra for big jobs, or for an inspection between tenants.

9. Eviction

Eviction can be a messy process, and if you ever need to evict, you’ll be grateful you have a property management service in your corner. Most property managers will handle the eviction completely on your behalf, but some will charge you an extra fee for the extra work involved. Expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars for this process.

Apples to Apples

Different companies might charge money in different ways, but if they’re offering similar services, you’ll likely find the bottom-line price of each to be competitive with one another. The big difference here is how you plan on using your property management company; for example, if you’re looking for long-term arrangements, an early cancellation fee shouldn’t factor much into your decision. Try to consider all these factors and all price points when comparing providers and making your decision.

Source: biggerpockets.com