OWNER LOGIN     TENANT LOGIN        
× Search

 

 

 

Property Management Blog

 
     

80 Smart Questions to Ask BEFORE Hiring Your Next Property Management Company

80 Questions to Ask BEFORE Hiring Your Next Property Management Company

1. Will I have one specific property manager? Who will be my property manager?

You want to know who will be your specific property manager and know their name. I am all about accountability, and you want to know and meet with your property manager, not just the marketing director or whoever is in charge of new business.

2. Who is the head of the office?

You want to know the broker in case something goes wrong. Brokers have PMs who work under their license, so ultimately it is the head broker who runs the show.

3. How long have you been a property manager?

The length of time is important to know. That being said, a hungry newbie who wants to learn, in my experience, is often times better than the most advanced person, because they care.

4. How many units do you manage?

For me this is more so food for thought because large and small management companies both have their pros and cons. There are benefits to a large office and also to a small office; the key is to know which one you are getting and to make sure you are comfortable with the pros and cons.

5. What is the average length that clients stay with you?

You want a property manager who is in it for the long haul. While this might not be a truthful answer or able to be substantiated, it is still good to ask.


Four Reasons You Should Hire a Property Manager Who Owns Rentals

Here are four quick-and-dirty reasons why, if you’re in the market for a residential property manager for your investment rentals, you should hire one who has a rental portfolio of their own.

The PM understands why it's important to control expenses and improve cash flow.

If your goal is to buy and hold long-term rentals, it’s likely that your focus is on generating a decent-to-good cash flow to pocket as passive income, or use to reinvest, or rely on to quit your (perhaps not-beloved) day job real soon. A PM who owns a least a few units and has had to spend money to fix them knows a few things about expenses—for instance, when it’s better to spend more money now to prevent large expenses in the future, or to spend less now to meet more short-term cash flow goals. They’ve seen the hit to their bottom line when they hired the cheapest plumber to fix the ceiling leak and then had to go back and hire the bestplumber to fix that fix. But they’ve also seen the cost savings in buying a lesser-quality product than they would for their own homes to maximize cash flow.

Property Depreciation: Why the Tax Benefits Could Come Back to Bite You

When you purchase a new rental or commercial property with investment intent, you must allocate a portion of the purchase price to improvements and the remaining amount to land. The reason for this practice is that you cannot depreciate land, only improvements. This makes sense because dirt lasts forever.

Depreciation is the reduction in value of a property over time due to the particular wear and tear on the asset. Residential properties are depreciated over 27.5 years, while commercial properties are depreciated over 39 years.

This reduction in value is a current expense, yet no money comes out of your pocket. Sounds like a pretty awesome deal, right? You get to reduce your reported income by your annual depreciation expense without actually paying for anything!

But what is depreciation really? Do you think the IRS, our favorite government agency, would let you have it that easy? I’ll give you a hint: the answer starts with the letter “N” and ends with “O.”

In actuality, depreciation is similar to an interest free deferred loan with no time restrictions. You see, when you sell a property that you have been depreciating, you have to pay a thing called “depreciation recapture taxes” at a 25% rate. This 25% rate is multiplied by the total value of depreciation you have taken over the property’s hold period. So the income you are “sheltering” each month really isn’t being sheltered like you think it is, as you will eventually have to pay a portion of it back. Without prior knowledge (or having a good accountant), you could be in for quite the surprise!

I’m going to

How to Conduct an Inspection When Your Tenant Moves Out

Apr 03 2017
4
0
Your first impression when you pull up in front of the unit will give you a pretty good indication of how the rest of the property is going to look. If the flower beds and lawn are overgrown, you see broken blinds in the living room window, and there is a pile of garbage in the backyard, brace yourself before going through the front door. If it looks great from the get-go, then congratulations, the rest should be easy! 

When doing the move-out walk-through, inspect the entire property from top to bottom, just like when your tenant moved in. Take pictures (or a video) of everything, including up-close pictures of things you need to remedy; all your visual evidence will come in handy later on if any disputes arise from the tenant regarding deductions from their security deposit.

Things like dusting the trim, wiping down the walls, cleaning out the oven, washing the outside of the appliances, cleaning beneath the refrigerator, and really getting into the corners while deep-cleaning are some common areas tenants miss, so while doing your move-out walk-through, just remember to be thorough so you don’t get stuck with footing the bill for your tenant’s grime.

 

How to Maximize Revenue While Minimizing Vacancy in Real Estate

Apr 01 2017
2
0
One of the most important components to owning investment property is pricing your rental appropriately so that you maximize revenue while minimizing vacancy. Determining what to rent a property for can be somewhat of a science when trying to optimize your ROI. You will want to employ several different techniques and strategies when determining the right amount to charge for rent:

Shop Around

One of the most accurate and easiest ways to figure out what the market will bear in rents is by checking out the area.

This requires a little leg work on your part, but is going to give you the most realistic look at what you are facing. You can often find rental signs in the area posted with rental amounts, number of bedrooms and other details about the property. Calling these landlords and getting info on what they have for rent and what they are charging is a great way to get a feel for market.

The newspaper or online classifieds is another excellent way to check out what is available for rent in that area, Not only do you want to see what others are charging, you want to see how long it stays listed at that price. If properties are renting quickly at certain prices, you know that there may be room to price slightly higher.

 

The Big 64-Point List of Landlording Tasks and How to Outsource Them

Let’s talk about the common tasks you might perform as a landlord. This will give you just a sample of the kind of tasks a landlord is responsible for.

64 Tasks Landlords Are Responsible For

  1. Preparing a property to rent
  2. Collecting forms needed for the businesses
  3. Placing ads in the newspaper and/or online
  4. Placing signs in the yard
  5. Determining fair market rent
  6. Determining the security deposit amount
  7. Setting minimum qualification standards
  8. Taking phone calls from prospective tenants
  9. Pre-screening tenants
  10. Scheduling appointments to show properties

14 Clever Ways to Maximize Revenue From Your Rental Property

Mar 29 2017
5
0
Are you maximizing revenue from your real estate investments? If you have rental property, there are literally hundreds of ways to make extra money. I often thought if I had 20 properties to take care of that it would be a full-time job for someone, possibly me. In addition to the rental income, at a time I was running a small lawn care company, trying to generate enough money to live on. That mowing, plowing and miscellaneous maintenance generated capital to kick-start my seed money for real estate investing. Now that I have my rentals, I always look to save money or generate new revenue streams from my tenants. I am not looking to gouge them, but for ways to leverage my skills and their money.

 

14 Clever Ways to Maximize Revenue From Your Rental Property

1. Manage your own property.

If you can manage your property at all, this is a huge savings. A property manager will get up to 10% of the rents just to take and make calls. You can do that from anywhere in the world as long as you have cell service. You need to be able to take a call and make a call. Save this 10% of gross rents and increase your total profit by as much as 20%+.

Property Depreciation: Why the Tax Benefits Could Come Back to Bite You

When you purchase a new rental or commercial property with investment intent, you must allocate a portion of the purchase price to improvements and the remaining amount to land. The reason for this practice is that you cannot depreciate land, only improvements. This makes sense because dirt lasts forever.

Depreciation is the reduction in value of a property over time due to the particular wear and tear on the asset. Residential properties are depreciated over 27.5 years, while commercial properties are depreciated over 39 years.

This reduction in value is a current expense, yet no money comes out of your pocket. Sounds like a pretty awesome deal, right? You get to reduce your reported income by your annual depreciation expense without actually paying for anything!

But what is depreciation really? Do you think the IRS, our favorite government agency, would let you have it that easy? I’ll give you a hint: the answer starts with the letter “N” and ends with “O.”

5 Tips for Owning Low-Income Rentals in Less-Than-Ideal Neighborhoods

Mar 17 2017
3
0
Low income properties may seem like the worst meal on the table, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you know how to invest successfully in these types of properties, you can actually make a good profit out of it. You may ask me how I can say this so confidently. I’d like to tell you my own experience with this. I picked up not one, but two of the cheapest houses in America. They weren’t in great locations, but I got an amazing can’t-be-missed deal for the both of them. And what’s that deal, you may ask? Well, you may have heard of properties that get sold for $1,000 or even as little as a $100. Here’s the thing: I spent even less on these properties.

The Most Common Tenant Complaints

Mar 05 2017
5
0

Managing one or more rental properties means you will naturally have to handle a variety of tenant concerns and complaints. Below are some of the most commonly stated tenant complaints, with tips on how to avoid or deal with each. From disagreements about the return of a security deposit to property access, and even commonplace repairs and maintenance, here’s what tenants gripe about most:

Security Deposit Refund Disputes


According to Zillow.com, refund of the initial security deposit is one of the biggest complaints tenants file against landlords. Since this sum is generally a significant amount, it is essential that you detail how security deposits are handled in your lease and that you clearly outline how items or repairs will be deducted from the tenant’s deposit. Charging for general wear and tear, building a profit into repairs, or not specifying exactly what the charges are could lead to complaints and even legal action.

Blog Archives

Blog Categories

Blog List

Apartment Management
 Web Master
 9  52  12/20/2016
Association Management
 Web Master
 4  8  2/23/2010
Commercial Property
 Web Master
 3  5  8/15/2014
Home Improvement
 Web Master
 3  0  3/11/2010
Homewatch Services
 Web Master
 3  6  5/25/2009
Onyx Management news.
 Web Master
 19  46  12/18/2016
Landlord KnowledgeBase
 Web Master
 23  31  4/15/2017
Property Maintenance
 Web Master
 13  40  3/20/2017
Property Management
 Web Master
 37  21  4/3/2017
Property Management
 Web Master
 29  30  4/22/2017
Real Estate Investment
 Web Master
 26  46  12/29/2016
Rental Property
 Web Master
 47  94  4/1/2017
Tenant Relations
 Web Master
 28  79  3/5/2017

Tag Cloud

Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.

Terms Of Use Privacy Statement Copyright 2006-2017 by Onyx Management Group, Inc.