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

Advertisements

How the Rent Stole Christmas!

1

We thought this little meme would give our tenants a good Holiday chuckle. #RentIsDueJanuaryFirst #Already! Happy Holidays to everyone and travel safe!

#grinch #howthegrinchstolechristmas #happyholidays

8 Tips for Preparing Your Properties for Winter

Snow ShovelingWith the weather more unpredictable than ever, you’ll want to be sure your properties are well prepared for whatever weather may head your way. For those of you living in more temperate climates, now is a good time to perform some annual maintenance on your properties. Here are some suggestions to get you started before that first snow storm hits:

· Have snow removal equipment supplies ready and waiting. No one (or almost no one) looks forward to a big snow storm, but it can be even worse when you realize that you’re out of salt or sand, or your snow removal equipment needs a new motor.
· Be sure to get up on the roof and clean out leaves and other debris from the gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to all sorts of issues when the rain or snow arrives.
· While you’re up there, be sure to inspect the roof. Be sure to keep an eye out for missing or broken shingles or shingles that look like they’re curling up. Taking care of roof problems now will eliminate costly winter repairs, while ensuring that the roof is able to withstand the onslaught of rain or snow that is likely.
· Have maintenance check all furnaces or boilers on the property, repairing any issues immediately. Emergency calls are costly.
· Inspect windows and doorways for drafts and seal the drafty areas immediately with exterior grade caulking. New weather stripping will also work to seal any drafty areas around doors.
· Be sure not to neglect the landscape around your properties; checking all trees for weakened tree limbs, removing them before they have the chance to possibly come crashing down on a tenant or employee. Also take the time to inspect the property for dried brush, which can easily dislodged during a wind storm and become a hazard to anyone walking on the property.
· If your property has wood-burning fireplaces, be sure to have each fireplace inspected prior to use to ensure that the flue is in good working order and that wildlife has not taken up residence in the chimney.
· Provide your tenants with a list of things they can do to save energy and stay safe during the winter months.

Being prepared can eliminate costly repair bills, while keeping your tenants safe and warm during the cold winter months.

Source: PropertyManager.com

More potential homebuyers consider renting instead

1If you are planning to rent a home, expect some extra competition. A new survey from real estate marketplace Zillow shows more potential homebuyers, perhaps growing frustrated at the lack of available homes, are considering renting instead.

That means consumers who have no alternative but to rent will go head to head with consumers who have the means to buy a home but have decided to keep their options open and rent a place for a while longer.

Zillow has broken down the ins and outs of the typical home search. For those who want to rent a place, it now takes an average of 10 weeks to find a home to rent. It takes two weeks longer if you’re looking in a tight rental market.

But for those who plan to buy a home, the average search takes 17 weeks, in part because rising prices have pushed more homes out of range and the overall decline in inventory means there are fewer homes to choose from. The Zillow survey-takers found that most consumers who recently moved into a new home considered both buying and renting before settling on one or the other.

Continuing to rent an easy option

Just how tough is it to buy a home these days? The Zillow survey found more than half – 54% – of buyers lost the first home on which they made an offer. For many of these buyers who were renting at the time, continuing to rent became an easy option.

“The line between renting and buying is blurry, and that’s a sign of the times,” said Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Wacksman. “It’s difficult and time-consuming to find a home to move to, especially in competitive housing markets.”

Wacksman says keeping rental options open can be a savvy strategy in today’s housing market. Renting while still looking to buy allows him or her to avoid settling for a less-than-desirable home.

Still hard to buy, but for a different reason

After the financial crisis more people rented because they simply couldn’t qualify for a mortgage under the new, suddenly tighter lending standards. Now that more people can afford to buy, there are fewer homes to purchase.

Zillow notes that renters now make up a larger group of the U.S. population than at any time in the last half century. Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the homeownership rate rose very slightly to 63.5 percent in the third quarter of 2016 – recovering slightly from a 51-year low.

Source: consumeraffairs.com

General rules to follow for an efficient and fire hazard free dryer:

1

General rules to follow for an efficient and fire hazard free dryer:

1. Clean the lint trap screen after each dryer cycle.

2. Wash the lint trap screen after 20-30 loads. Let it air dry before replacing.

3. Use a vacuum hose to suck out any remaining lint inside the dryer where the lint trap is stored.

Happy Ask a Stupid Question Day

1

Happy National Ask A Stupid Question Day! Now’s your chance to ask us questions you’ve always wanted to about #Leasing and #PropertyManagement, but didn’t because you felt they might be “stupid”.

Property Manager… solving problems you didn’t know you had in ways you can’t understand.

1

Although few outside the profession may understand what we do and how we do it, the basic facts remain unchanged: Property Managers play a critical role in a landlord’s success. As the rental market grows increasingly tumultuous, property managers toil quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to come up with solutions to problems that the average landlord doesn’t understand or even know he has.