June 19, 2015

What You Need To Consider When Hiring a Property Manager

Once you have actually found a good rental, the next step is to pick a great property manager.  In searching, you want to do a thorough interview, and in doing so, you will be able to determine if they are worth working with.  Here are some questions to keep in mind when choosing a property manager:

How do they control maintenance costs?  
Make sure the manager has you approve a list of vendors, which will include a plumber, handyman, electrician, painter, etc.   Ask your manager to contact you only if a certain project goes over the maximum expense.

How do they advertise vacancies?
As a landlord, your goal is to have maximum exposure for your vacancies to shorten the time that a rental goes unoccupied.  A good manager will be aggressive n their advertisements.  You don't want your property staying vacant for too long.  Aim for free advertising, like Craigslist or Facebook.

How do they show properties?
The process used to show properties describes whether they will be successful or not in obtaining quality tenants.  For example, if your manager only shows properties 8-5, this decreases your odds of getting a tenant with a day job.

How does the company screen tenants?
Ensure in-depth credit,criminal, employment, and prior residency checks, these checks can find any negative history and keep you from some big losses.  All it takes is one bad tenant to turn you off to rental properties.

How does the company deal with accounting and owner reports?
Your property manager should have a quick system to provide all lease expiration data on your properties, move-in/move-out inspections, lease documents, open work orders, and tax information.

How does the manager deal with after hour emergencies? 
Most property managers will have a 24 hour maintenance emergency line to handle requests immediately.  Be sure the manager has a line and it is staffed 24-7.

How do they deal with evictions?
Ask your manager how often they file for eviction on their current properties.  Usually a high rate of eviction can determine that the manager is not accurately screening applicants.  A renter should be able to pass a basic credit check and have an adequate landlord reference.

As a property investor you have the choice of managing your properties yourself or delegating the day-to-day operations to managing agents.  It is critical that you choose your manager wisely as the company can considerably increase the return from your property.

Whatever type of property you need – residential, retail, office, wholesale or industrial – we at Landmark Group can help you buy, sell, maintain or renovate. We can also help you manage your property. Just give us a call.

May 13, 2015

Managing Time Tips for Property Managers

Property managers face a burdened workload, constant interruptions, a deluge of information, and tenant issues – in short, there is always too much to do and never enough time to accomplish it.  One of the biggest challenges for property managers is to complete all tasks efficiently and accurately. Given the number of interruptions you get during the day, completing a fraction of must-do tasks is remarkable. 

Property mangers deal with a number of issues including: negotiating leases with existing and prospective tenants, chasing payments, addressing maintenance problems, keeping the property owner up to date, and marketing and networking.    A jam packed schedule has the potential for disaster.  In the midst of all of the activities, moving from one task to another without completing any of the priority issues. 

Build each day around a simplistic plan that allows you to complete priority tasks first thing in the morning.   Handle high priority problems immediately and when possible, delegate work.  Afternoons should be reserved for activities out of the office. This includes meetings with vendors, landlords, tenants, and property inspections.

Simplicity and time management is the key to an effective workday. It is inevitable that you will encounter days when this plan will not be achievable due to some unintended event; however for every hour you devote to planning, you’ll save 3 to 4 hours from poorly managed tasks, so it definitely pays off to stick to a schedule.

May 11, 2015

Property Manager's Guide to Advertising

Key words and elements included when advertising a rental property can be the difference between good tenants and destructive tenants.   Here is some important information to include in your advertisements:

#1.  Contact information
The more available you are, the more potential tenants will trust you as a responsible and considerate manager.  Be sure to provide a phone number where you know someone will always be able to answer.
#2.  Specs and Amenities
Most property advertisements only list the square footage.  At minimum, always list the property’s square footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms it has. Expand upon the specifics of the rental with details such as appliances, floor coverings, closet space, and so on. Desirable items you’d want to highlight might be an in-unit washer and dryer, out door space,

#3.  Rental Amount
When advertising a rental property, be careful to only charge the market rent, or slightly less.  This is regardless of what overhead or costs are attached to the property.  Some tenants can be quite familiar with the market, and may not even consider looking at your unit if the price is too high above market.  
#4.  Location
Location is a big priority for most people.  With the technology of GPS, it is extremely helpful for potential tenants to have the exact address.  It is also wise to include the cross-streets.  Some advertisements only include a general area, know your area and keep this in mind when listing your advertisement.

#5.  Pet Policy
Whether or not you allow pets will likely be a huge factor as price and location, studies show a vast majority of renters have a pet of some kind.    If you have breed or size restrictions, say so.  Make your pet policy AS clear as you can in advertisement to avoid confusion or conflict later on.

#6.  Screening Process and Background Check
It can save you a considerable amount of time and money if you are upfront about the fact that you intend to run a background check on applicants.  if you explain that you will require references, you will weed out the tenants with a poor rental history.

 Use your word choice wisely to attract the tenants that are right for you.  You want to include accurate information that isn't misleading or deceptive, the main goal is to make sure your ad stands out from the rest.

February 11, 2015

Millennials and the Market

Millennials, the most widely analyzed generation since the Baby Boomers, are changing the real estate market and how we buy and sell homes.  This age group, born between 1980 and 1995, are frugal, careful decision makers, coming out of the worst recession and real estate market in decades.  Despite this, research suggest Millennials are the fastest growing demographic in the real estate market.  Although Millenials have been sidelined by high unemployment, student loan debts, and tight credit- they have a different outlook on home ownership and long-term investments than previous generations.   Millennials tend to research upfront regarding location and availability, their societal trends play a major role- as they wait longer to get married and start a family, life events that tend to spur home purchases.

Millennials are not in a rush to buy their own homes.  In fact, many of them are not in rush to move out of their parent's house.  That doesn't mean, however, that they'll remain renters- or freeloaders in mom and dad's basement forever.   If Millennials are going to buy in- or buy a home, the conversation about their motivation for purchasing a home needs to shift.  This doesn't relate to the American Dream or the accumulation of things,  this relates to growing wealth and having the ability to pay off student loan debt.

One thing is for sure, young people have plenty of hurdles to overcome in regards to home ownership.

November 12, 2013

Hiring People

This is the eighth installment of The 10 Steps to be Successful. In order to be successful you should hire people who are better at their job than you. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have a clue on what they are doing, but they just need to be better at it. For example: the bookkeeper, everything she does I can do, but she does it better. Same for my construction guy. When I first started I used to come up with the designs, then I found someone who does it better than me and I hired him.

November 11, 2013


Organization is a great skill to have especially when it comes to the business side of things. If a company is unorganized it will make their job a lot tougher than if they had things in an orderly fashion. "My nine year old daughter and eleven year old son are very disorganized," like a majority of the world. Now a days people should not be unorganized because of the amount of technology and how much it progresses each day. We now have electronic scanners which makes filing things just that much easier and without the clutter of all of the paperwork. Having the advancement that we do in technology kind of gives us an unfair advantage over earlier generations, so you would think that businesses are more organized when we really have more of a mess. Everyone's favorite thing in the office should be there trashcan (recycling bin) because that is where all the clutter should go after it is scanned.

October 14, 2013

Speed of Business

One thing a business needs to do to stay on top is change their business model. Now I know that not everyone is going to agree with that statement, but it's true. Take Blockbuster, Polaroid, and Myspace for examples. They were all great ideas that made a lot of sense, but they got out paced and out thought. UPS has a quote on the side of their vans that says, "Moving at the speed of business." Many people these days are not willing to change their ideas or businesses and if someone comes up with something better you're business has a chance of failing. In that case people need to open up to the idea of modifying their ideas, so they can stay in the game. When it comes to shooting most people are the "Ready, Aim, Fire" kind of people, but I am a "Fire, Ready, Aim" type of person.Instead of taking a long time to make a decision people need to adapt and make decisions faster.