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Property Management Blog

Published on Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Time Landlord Tips

To be a landlord you need a property and it is best to start of with the types of properties that you can own and the advantages and disadvantages that are associated with them. The lowest varieties include single room occupancy to the highest possible one like a luxury home. The profit also depends on the amount you can spend initially and the type of connections you have because to let out properties on the high end needs good recommendation.

Single room occupancy and trailer parks are generally properties where the people come to stay for a short period, usually not more than a week. In both cases there is a steady flow of cash but at the same time regularity must be kept for the purpose of rent collection and this can often become a hassle. Besides, the trailer parks need much maintenance and dealing with a large number of tenants creates more problems simply because of the numbers and proximity of the neighbors.

One of the most popular categories of houses that people prefer to own as a landlord is the ordinary houses or duplexes. These are reasonably priced and most of the times with the financial backing from mortgage operators one can easily come to own one. The tenants who come to live here are much peace loving people than those coming to live at the low end facilities, hence your pain level is quite less. Duplexes are again the better option than the single storied ones because though not costing double than that of a single storied house, the rent collected from such a property is almost double. Such a property with two bedrooms have proved to be the most popular of all forms of housing as well as found to be always occupied since the amount involved as rent is payable by a wide section of people. So if you invest in such a property then you may be a satisfied landlord with a steady supply of tenants in all conditions.

Then you have the high end properties that cost more to buy and the cost of maintaining is also high. But in such cases a few properties, if you can afford, can churn out good revenue. It is up to you to decide on such things. Now, to start of as a landlord you need to make your property tenant ready. It may mean various things at various places. Some places may mean simply a room with a roof and doors and windows, while in other places it might mean additional things like kitchen appliances, laundry facilities, bathroom fittings and a few other materials.  You have to be aware of what is attracting tenants. A thumb rule you can follow is that a beautiful house will attract the most tenants.

As a first time landlord you might find starting the process very intimidating. But do not worry as there are services available for the owners which do everything from arranging the house to attracting the first customers. To be safe from future hassles of a rouge tenants, these agencies also verify the credit history of the possible tenants and also criminal history if needed. These agencies also look after the agreements with the tenants and also provide for the maintenance of the property. They also collect the rent and issue late fine notices if necessary. So starting of with a new property is not very difficult. No harm in giving it a try.


Onyx Management Group, Inc. is a full service property management company currently servicing residential and commercial properties throughout Greater Philadelphia, Bucks County and Montgomery County. With our highly detailed approach to overseeing properties of any size, we provide our clients with the benefit of ownership without the burden; dedication to our clients has been a major factor in our success. Whether you are looking to rent or lease in the Greater Philadelphia, Bucks County or Montgomery County areas, give Onyx Management Group a call. We've made the Greater Philadelphia, Bucks County or Montgomery County area home for ourselves and for the many satisfied tenants and business owners we've worked with over the years. Thanks for visiting this online residential and commercial real estate property management source.

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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.

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