9 Sneaky Fees to Watch for When Hiring a Property Manager

security-deposit-piggy-bank-moneyTo 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 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, but 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

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Is Evicted Tenant Responsible for Remaining Months on Lease?

ask-the-attorney

The Landlord Protection Agency®presents John Reno, Esq.,a highly experienced Landlord – Tenant attorney based on Long Island, NY.

Q:  Dear Mr. Reno:

Thank you Mr Reno for taking my question. Once an eviction takes place, what is the status of the Lease Agreement as it pertains to lost rent? Is the evicted tenant still liable for lost rent for the remaining months of the Lease?
Charles, California.

A: Yes, yes, yes, the tenant is liable for the remaining months- but there’s a catch: Once you re-rent, you no longer can claim damages for lost rent. So you have to wait until you re-rent so you know how much to sue for.

Legal Disclaimer
The Landlord Protection Agency’s “Ask the Attorney” column is for informational purposes only. The questions answered by Mr. Reno on this site do not constitute an attorney – client relationship and are not to be considered legal advice. Not all questions will be answered and some may appear in the LPA Q&A Forum.
The Landlord Protection Agency recommends that you seek legal advice before using any of the material offered on this web site, and makes no guarantee on the effectiveness, compliance with local laws or success of any of the material offered on this web site. The Landlord Protection Agency is not engaged in rendering legal advice.

How to Set the Perfect Rent Price for a Rental Property

1If there is something that many landlords struggle with it is how to determine the perfect rent price for their properties. Naturally, most of them would wish to set the prices as high as possible so as to recoup their investment.

Doing so, however, will make the tenants view the landlord as unscrupulous and they will stay away from the units. Ironically, pricing your rentals too cheap is also counterproductive. The low price will attract low-quality and at times problematic tenants.
So, just how can a landlord go about pricing his or her rental units? The following tips should offer insight on how to go about it.

8 Tips for Setting Rental Prices

Find Out What Similar Units are Charging An effective way to determine how much to price is by finding out what houses similar to yours charge. The similarity should be regarding the number of bedrooms, square footage, location, and amenities. You can get this information from popular listing platforms like Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com. Bearing in mind that the rent price can affect how long a property stays vacant as well as the average occupancy rate, focus on those houses that do not stay unoccupied for too long and have a high occupancy rate. Chances are these units have the right rental prices.

Consider the Square Footage of the Unit If your efforts of locating a property that matches yours prove futile, do not despair yet. You can use the nearby units to calculate how much you should price yours. All you need to do is find out how much the surrounding units charge per square feet and use that rate to calculate yours.

Set the Price Based on the Real Property Value A common way of determining what to charge is to evaluate what the actual cost of your asset is, and multiplying it by a standard 0.11. Whatever figure you arrive at, that should be the fitting monthly rent you should demand. For instance, if the evaluation values your rental property at $ 150,000, then an ideal monthly rental rate would be $1,650. Even though this approach fails to factor in variables like the neighborhood, design features or surrounding amenities, it gives a general idea of what to charge.
Consider the Location of Your Property Where your rental property is situated significantly affects the amount of rent you can demand. For instance, if it is in high-end markets, near prominent school districts, reliable transport network, or essential social amenities, you can attract a premium rate. That is because high-quality renters prefer staying in such areas and wouldn’t mind paying whatever amount you ask. However, if your property is in the lower class markets, where insecurity is high, and infrastructure is lacking or rundown, you will have a daunting task charging a high rent.

Look at the Condition, Size, and Layout of the Property Besides the location, there are other factors like the size, design, and condition of the property which will affect its ultimate price. For example, a two bedroom apartment might cost less than a three bedroom one in the same area. However, if the three-bedroom unit is old or in a worn-out state, while the two-bedroom one is new and refurbished, the newer property is likely to cost more.

Inquire from Property Experts Another useful way for you to ascertain the perfect rent is to ask credible experts in the real estate industry. These experts include property management companies, real estate agents, and rental housing associations. Since these authorities are familiar with the rental property industry, they are in the perfect position to tell you what to charge in different markets. When looking for an expert opinion, though, take the time to determine that you are indeed consulting a credible and reputable professional. Otherwise, you might end up receiving the wrong investment advice, which will hurt your real estate goals.

Ask Other Landlords Even though industry experts will give you sound advice, in most cases you have to pay for that information. If you prefer unsolicited rental advice, why not get it from the horse’s mouth. Talk to other landlords and ask them how much they charge. While at it, do not shy from seeking their opinion on what you should charge for your property. Depending on your approach most property owners would readily give credible suggestions.

Ask the Tenants If getting the information from the landlords proves impossible, or if you suspect what the owner told you was questionable, you could identify surrounding units that are similar to yours and interrogate the tenants there, to find out how much rent they pay.
Conclusion By following the above steps, you should be in a position to get an average market rate for your rental property. From there, it is up to you to decide how to price your units so that they remain both attractive to high-quality renters, and profitable to you.

Source: realtybiznews.com

The Value of Having a Good Relationship with Your Landlord.

1#Tenants know the value of having a good relationship with their #landlord. A good relationship may give you a little clemency, but a bad relationship can make your living situation stressful. One way to nurture a positive relationship with your landlord is to be upfront and honest from the moment you sign the lease. One of the easiest ways to form a negative relationship with your landlord is to lie or hide things, like breaking the pet policy by hiding a pet. Hiding a pet from your landlord or #propertymanager is a breach of the lease and can seriously cost you in several ways.

Renters Vs. Landlords: Who Wins In 2017?

1The answer to the question of who is coming out ahead in the apartment market – renters or landlords – has been fairly clear for a while now. Renters have rarely caught a break since many major markets began to recover from the Great Recession in 2010.

That may change in 2017.

The recovery years of 2010-2016 saw rent growth rise 150 basis points (bps) above the long-term average, and renters only began to see relief from continual price hikes toward the end of last year. This year promises to show further declines in some markets where rents have risen the most.

Occupancy and Rent Growth since 1998

U.S. Occupancy and Rent Growth since 1998.

Though apartment renting is not a zero sum game, slower rent growth in 2017 is expected to benefit renters more than landlords. Nationally, during the last six years, the average annual rent increase was about $516. It’s expected to lower to about $347 in 2017, reflecting about $168 in savings annually.

Ranking the Markets

The table below shows the top 10 metros with the largest expected savings in apartment rent during 2017 compared to the last six years. The projected savings for each market was calculated by subtracting the annual change for 2017 from the average annual change in rent from 2010-2016. Out of the 54 major U.S. metros analyzed, some 36 showed annual savings ranging from $8 to $2,647, with average decreases of about $360 from the average 2010-2016 price.

Top 10 Savings

Also included in the analysis was a calculation of change in elasticity, which is a measure of how sensitive consumers are to price changes. In this case, greater or lesser degrees of elasticity reflect how renters react to changes in rent. Generally, housing is an inelastic product, which means that the change in price doesn’t substantially affect the quantity demanded.

However, whether a rent increase is considered a hardship or a rent decrease is considered a win for renters depends on the perspective of residents in each market. Where renters are less sensitive to change, the savings or increase may be a minor factor in their housing decisions.

For this analysis, the long-term average for elasticity was calculated and compared with 2017’s figure. If the elasticity value in 2017 is less than the historical average, it is said that renters are getting less sensitive to changes in rent and vice versa.

Trends by Market

Bay Area: San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, lead the pack for most savings in 2017. San Jose renters stand to pay $2,647 less a year compared to the 2010-2016 average rent, and annual savings will be $2,638 and $1,647 in San Francisco and Oakland, respectively, this year. These markets saw a substantial increase in rent during the last six years, often producing double-digit rent growth that was not sustainable over the long term. The positive change in elasticity value in 2017, compared to the long-term history, points to renters in these markets getting more sensitive to increases in price. The impact of new supply, combined with moderating job growth compared to the last six years, will lead to softer rent growth throughout 2017.

New York: Though New York renters stand to see substantially smaller savings than their counterparts on the opposite coast — about $630 a year — the positive elasticity value for the market indicates that they are more than ready for the decrease. Decelerating job growth and an increase in new supply in 2017 is expected to keep rent growth low this year.

Houston: Houston saw a larger impact on job growth from the drop in oil and gas prices, and continued weak employment numbers may be one reason that Houston renters show the highest sensitivity to price on this list. Houston residents will save about $509 this year, about half a month’s rent relative to the average effective rent in 2016. Though job growth is expected to pick up this year, it will most likely remain well below the metro’s capacity, keeping rent levels lower.

Denver: The Denver market’s performance slowed significantly last year, as rent growth returned to more sustainable levels after being in double digits for most of 2015. That should yield a savings of about $502 a year for Denver renters in 2017. New supply coming to market ramped up in 2012 and still has not slowed, with 3.6% inventory growth expected this year. Weaker job growth this year will mean that the new supply is absorbed at a slower pace, which will continue to keep rent growth at lower levels.

Boston: As with many markets on this list, increased new supply and slowing job growth will equate to lower levels of rent growth in Boston in 2017. Rent growth in the market has been varied since the start of the recovery, but slowed in 2016. Renters should see an annual savings on rent of $441 this year, as compared to annual average rent increases over the past six years.

Seattle: Though Seattle has not achieved the rent growth highs of the Bay Area markets, it also has not seen the same lows in the past year. While rent growth has recently dipped into the negative in Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco, the Seattle market’s performance in 2016 was still strong. Though renters in Seattle will see smaller savings than in other West Coast markets, about $407 a year, they will still get some relief from the rent hikes of recent times.

Portland: The combination of slowing job growth and increased new supply has also caused rent growth to decelerate in Portland, returning to more sustainable levels than the double-digit gains experienced in 2015 and early 2016. Portland renters will see about $356 in savings this year, though the lack of change in elasticity value in the market indicates less sensitivity to rent increases, as renters here may be getting used to paying higher rents than the long-term average.

Austin: Austin was among the markets experiencing the strongest job growth on this list, though that metric dropped in 2016 and will continue to moderate this year. With rent growth responding to the drop in demand caused by moderating job growth, Austin renters will see a break of about $323 in apartment rents. However, the negative change in elasticity value shows that renters in this market are much less sensitive to price changes than their counterparts in other markets. This may reflect the savings that Austin transplants are already seeing over their previous homes in more expensive coastal markets.

No matter how sensitive renters are to the change in price, there’s no disputing that having extra money in their pockets after rents are due will be a welcome change from the boom recovery years.

Source: forbes.com

A Vacant Property is a Pimple on the Complexion of your Investment Business.

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When you have a #vacant #rental property, it costs you money each day it sits empty, so it’s important to reduce time between tenants to a bare minimum. Filling a unit with qualified tenants takes more than just putting up a for rent sign in the yard. #BevRobertsRentals is the key to minimizing the time that your rental sits empty. We act quickly and effectively in marketing and attracting prospective tenants who are ready to sign a lease agreement—all without putting your cash flow at further risk.