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16 Common Landlord Problems - And How to Overcome Them

Natasha Maeva - Thursday, February 14, 2019


When it comes to renting out your property, the last thing you want is to spend your evenings or weekends solving tenant’s problems. From time to time, tenants living in your property can have problems either with the repairs done, neighbors, pests, utilities, etc.

So grab a pen and notebook and check out these 16 common landlord problems and how to overcome them. 


16 Common Problems and Solutions for Landlord and Tenants


1. Your Tenant Does Not Pay the Rent

Constantly dealing with tenants who do not pay the rent can be incredibly time consuming. As a landlord, you can solve this by strictly enforcing your rent collection rules as per your lease agreement or they face eviction for not paying rent. 


2. The Tenant Isn’t Happy with Repairs

rental property repairs Jacksonville FLJens Behrmann@iamjensrb

This is a common occurrence where tenants are displeased by the standard of repairs done by their landlord. 

Your tenant might be right. 

Make sure to look up for quality repair people using online review.

 

3. The Tenant Does Not Keep Up the Property

It is the duty of a tenant to keep the place tidy. 

Make sure to include property maintenance standards in your lease agreement for them to follow.  

If however, despite your best efforts to tell the tenant to keep the area clean they not complying, an eviction might be the only solution. 


4. Disputes Over Deposits

There are laws in the United States to regulate what a landlord can and cannot deduct from a security deposit when a tenant moves out.

If there is a security deposit issue with your tenant, make absolutely certain that your tenant fully understands the tenancy deposit laws or negotiate with him or her if you have a good relationship.


5. Access to Property Problems

In Florida, there are state laws that require the landlord to give notice to tenants 24 hours before entering their property. 

In order to avoid access to property problems, give notice to your tenants before entry or inform them of your rights as their landlord. 


rental property access laws jacksonville FL@danielcgold



6. Damage Disputes

As a landlord, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that your rental property is a safe dwelling. Make sure you comply with local building and health codes. 

Your property should have adequate water, electricity, heating/cooling, be structurally sound, and clean. 


7. Communication Problems

It can be frustrating for landlords to deal with tenants who do not answer calls or are always unavailable. As a landlord, you can set ground rules for how and when you can communicate with your tenant. 


8.  Problems with Neighbors

Another common complaint that tenants often have is noisy neighbors. 

Some neighbors like to party all night and others have dogs that can bark continuously at night. As a landlord, you can try installing soundproof materials or try to work out a solution with the noisy neighbors. 


9. Pest Problems

No one wants their place invaded by pests. If your tenants report pest issue, call an exterminator immediately.  Pests can cause damage to your property - devaluing it, destroying it, etc.


10. Roofing Issues

Roof leaks can lead to water damage,  mildew, and mold. Address these issues before you rent your property. Also, inspect your property periodically after renting it out. 


11. Broken Appliances

Some rental properties come with appliances. A landlord is required to make repairs to keep the place in a habitable condition. In order to solve broken appliance problems, ensure you make the necessary maintenance and repairs after receiving a request from your tenant.

 

12. Violation of Rules

A written contract protects both the landlord and the tenant. It specifies the condition of your lease.  If you witness a violation of the lease, notify the tenant to let them know they need to correct the problem or face eviction if she or he does not comply. 


13. Past Due Utilities

Many landlords do not monitor the payment of utilities, especially if in their names. Make sure that your lease contract is clear and inform that utilities need to be paid each month. Or, better yet, make sure all utilities are in the tenant’s name.


14. Illegal Use of the Home

It is possible to have a tenant who uses your rental property for illegal activities.  You can formally ask the tenant to stop engaging in these illegal activities or face eviction. Not rectifying this quickly can lead your property to have a bad reputation later down the road. 


15. Bad Tenants Sliding Through Your Screening Process

An application might not reveal all prior tenant problems. Sometimes, a bad tenant can slide through your screening process. You can avoid a bad tenant by conducting a thorough background check and speaking with previous landlords. 


16. Your Property Has a Bad Reputation 

There are multiple reasons rental properties develop distasteful reputations that affect their ability to attract good tenants. They include tragic accidents, crime scenes, noisy neighbors and more. 

How would you feel if you were informed that the rental property you had just moved your family into had previously been used to traffic drugs?

Screening tenants carefully and doing routine property inspections can help reduce the risk of getting a bad tenant in the first place, and allows you to catch negative situations early on - before problems have a chance to snowball.


Conclusion

When renting out your property, it is inevitable that tenants will have problems that need to be solved. 

Property management is a critical part of owning and profiting from rental properties, but it is not always easy. 


To be a great landlord, you are required:

-to investigate potential tenants and complete the screening process

-deal with bad tenants

-market your property correctly, so it doesn’t sit vacant (costing you money)

-deal with damages/repairs (even at 2 AM)

-and handle the eviction process, should it be required.


If you’re considering renting out your home and won’t be around locally to handle tenant complaints, or maybe you don’t have the patience for it all, a property management company can make life easier for you. 

A reputable property management company will handle all tenant issues in a timely fashion, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the check. 

Navy To Navy has been in the property management business for many years and we always enjoy working with new clients. 

We understand that sometimes, your plate is full, and you just need someone trustworthy to take of things for you.

Our goal is to make help you rent out your property as profitably and as painlessly as possible.


Ready to learn more?


You can find out how much you could rent your home for now


free rental analysis jacksonville fl


6 Tips For Being An Awesome Landlord

Sarah Copeland - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

If you are a landlord or want to be a landlord someday, this is a great time to get started. 

However, before you begin, just make sure to do things right. If you want to make your job and life easier, be sure to avoid potential pitfalls along the way. 

The best way to do this is to check out this simple and short list of how to do things right. 

Nobody wants to be a slumlord and with these simple steps you don’t have be one.  Let us show you how.


1.)Treat landlording as a business


landlord business


Remember that this is a business just like anything else, so don’t get emotionally attached. This will help you to make more rational decisions.  

Make sure you have a system of processes to follow to minimize emotional responses and increase productivity.

Always work to be consistent with your tenants and pay others to help you with things that you can’t do yourself. Get it done and serve your tenants well.


2.) Provide a great home


landlords provide a great home


The type of home you provide to your tenant will provide you with that that same type of tenant.  

A great home will provide a great tenant, and a not-so-great home will provide you with a not so great tenant.  

It would make sense that you want someone to take this property seriously and treat it with care.  

Therefore, make sure to have the home fixed up right before you rent it out. Check out our post "Top 5 Suggestions Before Renting Out Your House" for ideas.

Use durable and simple building materials that are low maintenance in repairs and upkeep, and provide a clean and durable home from the start.


3.) Get to know your housing laws


fair housing laws renting out my house


Protect yourself and avoid problems by understanding federal, state and local laws that you need to be aware of. 

This includes making sure you don’t somehow get in trouble for discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, color, sex, family, national origin, or the like. 

The last thing you want is to have legal action taken against you.  


4.) Wait and don’t wait for a great tenant


finding a great tenant


Don’t just take the first person that wants to rent your property.  Wait for a great tenant, even if your rental ends up being empty or vacant for a short time.

At the same time, don’t just wait and not do anything, but instead be on the lookout for a great tenant. 

You can do this by listening and talking to people you know and meet, or even placing an advertisement if you want to.

It is very costly to evict a bad tenant so keep that in mind.


5.) Take your tenant screening seriously


screening tenants jacksonville fl


This is one of the most important parts of being a great landlord. 

Make sure you do a background check, an employment and income verification check, and talk with the tenant's past landlords.

This might make you feel a bit uncomfortable, but please don’t skip this step.

Need some pointers? Check this article from Forbes on how to screen tenants.


6.) Train your tenant from day one


landlords train your tenants


Make sure to let tenants know what you expect of them - like when rent is due, how loud can they be, can they have pets, and such. 

Typically this covered in a lease agreement.  

Also, let them know what could happen if they break the rules, like if rent is late, if they have a pet when pets are not allowed, and the like. Make sure that communication is clear and that consequences are spelled out (like in the rental or lease agreement).

All Together Now

As you can see, being an awesome landlord isn’t that hard or complicated. 

You just need to have a plan, take this seriously, and truly have a desire to be good at this, both from your point of view, as well as from the tenant’s point of view.

We can help you be an amazing landlord through our property management service. 

We do all the hard work for you and manage your property well. You can trust our service and reputation.  Give us a call today about managing your property. 


property management jacksonville fl


P.S. - Want to see the full video? You can watch the complete video by Brandon Turner from Bigger Pockets here. 


Rent or Sell? 7 Hot Areas For Rental Properties in Jacksonville, FL

Jennifer Delaney - Thursday, February 7, 2019

rental agency in Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville, FL is the third largest area in the country for military presence. If you are getting prepared for a transfer or deployment you may be wondering if keeping your home or renting it will be a better choice for you and your family. 


According to Forbes.com, Jacksonville is listed as  this #14 in the Best Places for Business and Careers. Forbes.com describes Jacksonville as relatively affordable with low unemployment and good job growth. As “Florida's third largest seaport and multiple military facilities. Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Station Mayport, Blount Island Command, as well as Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay located nearby, make the city the third largest military presence in the country behind Norfolk and San Diego.”


With all of this military presence you know there will always be movement in the rental market. Whether you choose to buy and then sell or decide to rent out that house when you deploy again, is a personal decision. Making the best choice hinges on knowing where the rental markets are already booming and positioning yourself accordingly. 

 

Let’s take a look at 7 HOT areas in the Jacksonville area to help you decide.


rental agency, rent my house, jacksonville beach, neptune beach, atlantic beach

Photo by David Masemore on Unsplash

The Beaches

Any day at the beach is a good day. In Jacksonville, we have three white sand beaches lumped together. Not that they don’t all have their own personality and perks. If sand is a priority then we have the spot for you. 


Together, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Jacksonville Beach, are a white sand oasis. Each with their own charm. This area is a long stretch of white sand beach dotted with any amenity you could wish for. Jacksonville Transportation Authority can take you where you want to go. 


Shopping and sunbathing are close to home if you choose this area as your own. All of that sand and convenience comes at a cost. If you want to live close to the beach then know you will be paying a premium for space.


Fitness, coffee, and food abound in this area so you can take care of all of your needs while soaking up the sun and the view. 



rental property manager, rental agency orange park jacksonville, FL
Photo by Lance Asper on Unsplash

Orange Park

With an abundance of Apartments and Homes for rent, there is a place for everybody and every budget. Right on the St. Johns River and easy access to I-295, this centrally located area is a quick drive from the Jacksonville Naval Complex.


For families, the abundance of schools, proximity to the mall and good healthcare makes Orange Park a natural choice. If quick access to a Library or the DMV is needed you can stay right in your neighborhood. 


rental agency avondale jacksonville fl
Photo By Kari Shea on Unsplash

Avondale

Admittedly higher on the cost of living the many eateries, gyms and coffee shops make Avondale a local favorite for living or hanging out on a weekend. If having those things within walking distance is what you want this may be a good option for you. 


Bigger homes with large yards are a feature of this beautiful community. If the slow pace of a mature neighborhood is what you are looking for you may find the rental of your dreams right here. 



rental agency san marcos jacksonville fl
Photo by Tiara Aracama on Unsplash

San Marcos 

Built to reflect the vision of San Marcos Square in Venice Italy you will be hard pressed to find a more visually appealing area anywhere. You will not want to miss the sunset at Riverfront Park or the world-class dining. 


Good access to public transportation makes living in this historic style area easy to navigate. A variety of parks and it's walkability make it a great area to grab a cup of coffee or have a meal in one of many restaurants or cafes.


rental agency riverside jacksonville fl

Photo by Wade Austin on Unsplash


Riverside

With a wide variety of apartments, multiple dwelling units and homes the Riverside area has a little bit of everything. If you are looking for a quaint cottage on a treed lot or a more modern apartment this area fits the bill.



The cost of living in this area is a little higher than other places in Jacksonville, but it’s access to a variety of amenities is worth it. From gastropubs to custom barber shops you will find a unique living experience in Riverside. It is just a hop, skip and a jump to TIAA Bank Field for a Jaguar game or a concert. 


rental agency university park jacksonville fl

Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash

University Park

With good access to public transportation and the St. Johns River you will find a good selection of housing, food, and shopping. This is a nice quiet area away from the nightlife of other areas.


Great public transportation means getting around to the variety of shops and restaurants can be as easy as stepping out your door. With a boat ramp, golf course and the Jacksonville University just around the corner you will never be without something to do. 


Considering Renting Out Your Jacksonville, FL Home?

Get a free rental analysis now. Top neighborhoods like these are always in season!

12 Reasons to Rent Out Your Home, Rather Than Selling It

Sarah Copeland - Tuesday, February 5, 2019

rent out home jacksonville, fl


12 Reasons to Rent Out Your Home, Rather Than Selling It

 

With all of the uncertainties that life throws at us, it can be a real shock for homeowners when suddenly faced with needing to make a very important decision. 


What do you do with a home that you will no longer be living in?  Should they sell your home, full of years of priceless memories, or should you rent it out to a perfect stranger?

 

We understand how difficult it can be for many families that are not expecting to have to make this decision - especially when decisions are needed quickly...


In many cases, such as military deployment overseas or relocating to a new base stateside, such a decision must be made in a matter of weeks. 


Or perhaps you are faced with a decision of whether to accept a job offer that would require a move to another state or province, or even to another country.

 

What are you going to do about your home?

 

1.)   Extra Income

Renting your home can be a cash flow source.  Having a rental property that is managed by a property management company gives you passive income.  Actually, this can be a significant amount of cash that will continue to roll in each and every month. 

 

2.)   Taxes If You Sell

A major area of concern for selling is taxes. When selling your home, you will have to consider the issue of capital gains.  Unfortunately, tax laws can be quite complicated, especially as this pertains to the sale of a home, regardless of whether this is a primary or secondary residence. Consider that current capital gains tax rates  can be as high as 20 percent, depending on your income

 

3.)   Tax benefits to renting out your home

There are many expenses that you can deduct from your taxes when renting out your home.  This includes the out-of-pocket expenses that come with owning and managing a rental property, like property taxes and mortgage interest payments. Advertising, broker’s fees, costs of repairs and maintenance expenses can also be deducted from your taxes.

Depreciation is another big tax deduction associated with renting.:

What would normally have no tax significance can now be a tremendous tax savings in deducting much needed repairs from your taxes

 

4.)   Home values/property values are increasing

By hanging on to your property you can allow the home to increase in value. Consider allowing the value of your home to go up, before selling by renting it out. It would be a shame to sell your home quickly when the market is down, or just before the market takes a big upswing.  Renting your home out allows you this flexibility to wait until you are confident that the home value is at a decent level to justify its sale.

Check out how home prices are predicted to rise  at twice the speed of inflation and pay

 

5.)   Strong rental market

With more and more people being unable to afford a home, or lacking the credit to do so, landlords often have an advantage in the market.  Additionally, younger Americans are seeking the flexibility that renting offers.  

Want to know more? Check out our blog, 7 Hot Areas for Rental Properties in Jacksonville, FL. 

 

6.)   A Security Blanket

If you are in the military and are relocated to another base or deployed overseas, what happens when your deployment ends? When you return to the United States, where will you live if you have sold your home? Also, as a civilian, what will you do if the job you transferred to Jacksonville for, isn't so great...

If you have been renting out your home, you have a place to come back to if needed. Otherwise you must deal with finding a home all over again.  Wouldn't it be nice to have that security of having a home to come back to?  If you sell your home, this will not be an option.

 

7.)   Gain Experience with Investment Properties

Renting out your home lets you see if having rental properties is something that you want to do more of in the future You can start with just one, the one you are moving from, and see if this is something you might like to do more of it. There are many benefits to having rental properties as your investments

 

Even though this is not something that was initially planned, this investment into what could now be considered a rental property, could turn into something more for you.  You get to have control over the investment.  By the way, Florida has great rental laws.

8.)   You're moving and can’t sell your house right away or for reasonable price.

Consider what could happen if you made that decision to sell you house quickly, before you left, regardless of the price.  This opens you up to losing thousands of dollars, instead of simply renting your home out and waiting to sell until the market is where you want it to be.  This also opens you up to the potential of what is known as a short sale, roughly meaning that the home is sold for less than what is owed on the home to creditors.

 

9.)   Less Stress

By renting out your home and having confidence that it will be taken care of while you are away, you also remove the stress of selling your home long distance.  Eliminate additional  worry and stress if your home is not able to sell before you move out.  


Who wants to have to constantly worry about when and if their vacant home will sell, especially if they are no longer able to deal with it locally?  This will take lots of phone calls back and forth with the realtor, as well as having to continue to make decisions about the upkeep of the home while is sits vacant before it can be sold.

 

 10.) Potential For More Equity

Keeping a home and renting it out can be a very effective way to gain more equity over time.  Consider the upkeep costs, renovations, improvements, and all other deductible expenses.


Everything put into the home (when done effectively) can increase the equity in the home, all while writing off these expenses legitimately on your tax return. When you are ready to sell, this would help to be able to sell at a higher price, based in part on a higher assessed value for the home.


 11.)  Keep the Memories

By renting out your home, you don’t have to part with a home that has, for example been in the family for years.  Your home no doubt is full of many memories that would be a shame to have to part with.  You still would have the option to sell at a later date, but until you are certain that you want to sell your home, you are able to retain that home that means so much to you.


12.)   A Good Tenant is a Great Investment

Renting out your home to a tenant who pays rent on time, doesn’t consistently call for petty things and keeps your home tidy can save you tremendous time, trouble and money.  A responsible tenant could even be used and compensated for minor upkeep and repairs, which would directly benefit them as well.  A house that sits, unsold for weeks (or months), doesn’t have the advantage of someone being on premise all the time caring for it like a responsible tenant could.


Summary

A trustworthy property management company  can help with any concerns that you may have with renting out your home.  

Your property manager should be able to: 

  • Find quality tenants for your home

  • Manage all maintenance and repairs with your consent

  • Manage legal fees and processes if eviction is ever needed

  • Field those late night, emergency phone calls if something breaks

  • Look out for your best interests

  • Treat your tenants courteously and with the utmost respect

  • Make sure your property is properly cared for in your absence. 

Renting out your home and using a good property management company allows you to reduce and remove the stress and hassle that you could experience, all while earning passive income and building equity. 


Ready to see how much money you could be making by renting out your house? 



TENANT SCREENING TIPS

Mario Gonzalez - Thursday, December 13, 2018

Blog Image 1

Hey, Mario Gonzalez back with you. On this blog we’re going to talk real quickly about tenant selection criteria. I’m going to give you six major points and at the end I’m going to talk about the warning signs that are there for trouble tenants that you really should look out for.

THE CREDIT SCREEN:

So the first thing is the Credit Screen. Now, a lot of companies will say, “oh yeah, we’ll tell you the credit score”, but that doesn’t tell you if they’re rising from, you know, a 600 credit score doesn’t tell you if they’re rising from the ashes or if they’re crashing from 850, it really doesn’t. You need a full credit screen. So just like they would if you’re making a major purchase. That full credit screen will show you everything they have, 30, 60, 90 past due or credit now, it will show you all the way back to seven years. It will check both the installment accounts and the revolving accounts, the big ones and the little ones. You can look for past due, collections, any repossessions they’ve had, foreclosures, everything. And also, you need to check bankruptcies. You do not want anybody with an open bankruptcy because they can tie the rent into that.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND:

The second thing is your criminal background and the criminal background shouldn’t just be a local record search, it should be a national records search. So you’re looking criminal background, both misdemeanors and felonies, sexual predators, eviction history, all very big. And you have to be very careful how you screen tenants with regards to criminal activity now because of this impact. We have a whole other blog on that.

EMPLOYMENT:

The third thing you need to look for tenants is their employment. Is their employment current right now, do they have pay stubs that they can show you. If they’re moving from out of town, you need to really look and see what does they’re employment guarantee their pay to be right now. If they’re self-employed you really need to look at pay stubs, bank records, tax statements, and all that kind of stuff to really prove they can pay for the home they’re looking to rent.

PAST RENTAL HISTORY:

The fourth thing is if they’ve been a renter before you want to look at their past rental history. And the past rental history isn’t just the last place they lived, it’s the last few places they’ve lived. And you want to really, you know, just because they gave you a number for the past landlord doesn’t mean that’s the past landlord, so do your research properly. Go through that last landlord company. Do your own research to find that number and then come out there and check back. You should have something that they can fill out that says ‘did they pay on time, were they ever late, did they ever bounce a check, did they ever miss any payments whatsoever, did they fulfill everything that was on the lease, how much was the rent that they paid, how much deposit did they have, how much deposit did they get back, did they damage the place, did they have any pets, did the pets damage the place, you name it’. We have a very long form and I’m happy to send that over to you if you like, free of charge, if you want to know how we look at past rental history. Another thing is you want to look at their pets, do they have pets. You can do a full background on pets alone. There are online services like Petscreening.com that will tell you things like ‘do they have their shot records, do they have their owner records, photo, size, weight, type, any history of biting or any violence whatsoever’, so you really need that in today’s world of assistance animals, service dogs and all that type of stuff. We have a whole other blog on that as well, but you really need to do some sort background on the pets they’re going to be bringing into the home and animal screen the home.

FAIR HOUSING RULES:

The sixth thing here is fair housing rules. If you, as a property manager or a DIY landlord, own more than four homes or you’re a real estate agent and you’re managing just one home as a licensed realtor, you have to follow all the fair housing guidelines. That’s a three hour class in itself that’s taught to a real estate agent. There are a ton of them out there and, again, we have a whole other blog on how to abide by fair housing, but it’s tough to do here in two minutes, but you have to abide by all the fair housing guides.

WARNING SIGNS TO LOOK FOR:

Now the last thing I’m going to tell you is some of the warning signs you look for bad tenants. If they come to you and say, “Hey, I have full cash, I can pay cash up front right to you for the entire term of the lease”, there may be some warning signs there. If they have an urgency, “I have to move right now. My owners selling the property, it’s closing right now”, whatever, if there is a huge sense of urgency to get into a home then that may also be some warning flashes. So slow down and make sure you screen everything properly. Some other warning signs if you’re doing any of this background, look at social media, there’s so much out there you can just do with a Google search or an online search you can do of somebody outside of these things that will throw up some flags for you as well. So, that’s it in a nutshell. We have a ton more blogs. If you have any questions whatsoever, feel free to contact me anytime, I’m happy to answer your questions.

7 TIPS FOR SELECTING THE BEST PROPERTY MANAGER

Mario Gonzalez - Monday, December 3, 2018

Blog Image

Hey Mario Gonzalez here. We get this question all the time so I figured I’d put it in a video. “How do you as an owner get the best property management company for your rental home or investment portfolio?” Well, it’s not as simple as you think so I’m going to give you seven things you really need to look at before you pick a property management company. What most people do is go to social media and ask a friend, “Hey, do you know anyone or have a recommendation?” Well, just know there are limitations to that. You’re talking about one person with one home and one management company and they’ll let you know honestly how it went, but that doesn’t give you a broad enough look to know how they handle things on the grand scheme. So we’re going to give you seven things you can really arm yourself with to select a property management company.

#1 LICENSE AND QUALIFICATIONS: 

Are they licensed and qualified to even manage homes? So, all real estate agents are not qualified to manage homes, but every property manager should be a licensed real estate agent. Then you ask them ‘what kind of qualifications they have, how long have they been doing this, how many employees do they have, how many people will you contact, how many homes do they manage, do they do tenant placements, do they do evictions’. You want to know what all they do, what they’re qualified to do (commercial/residential/HOAs), do they do collections, etc.” You want to ask all of those questions. You also want to know ‘what their rates are, what kind of vacancy rate do they have, what kind of eviction rate do they have’. They may have been doing this a long time, but if they’re evicting one of every four tenants, that’s probably not a great thing. What kind of credit selection do they use? So, you want to ask all those questions to really kind of qualify and make sure that they’re properly licensed. Now, one thing you can start doing online, and this leads to part two, is researching what kind of certifications and designations they have.

#2 PROFESSIONAL DESIGNATIONS:

You can look for people who are only certified property managers or have been designated as certified property managers and you can find the CPM, the RMP (Residential Management Professional), MPM which is Master Property Management and is the highest certification you can actually get in the property management realm. So, look for those people who have a Master Property Manager designation. That’s going to be your top tier.

#3 INDUSTRY AWARDS:

The third thing is what kind of awards have they gotten, have they gotten any awards at all. If they have gotten awards like the Property Manager of the Year Award, the Property Management Company of the Year. What awards have they gotten that says, “Hey, not only are we licensed and designated to do this, but we’re getting awarded in our industry to do this.”

#4 PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS:

So, the fourth thing you’re going to look at is what kind of professional affiliations does this company that says they’re going to manage your home belong to. Where are they getting their information, where are they getting their continual education? They need to be affiliated with professionals and like minds across the nation that are in the property management realm. So, in the residential side here you’re going to look for what we call NARPM, and in the commercial side you’re going to look for IREM and both of those deal with ‘what’s changing in codes, regulations, laws, you name it, policies, directives, governing directives, and what is changing. They will constantly educate those professionals that are affiliated with those organizations. And if a property management company isn’t, then they’re really kind of doing it in the dark and blind about it and it’s like ‘oh, yeah I’m managing homes, but I’m really not staying educated about how things are changing’ and that brings more risk to you as the owner. So if you want your risk lowered you need to have a property manager with a higher education and be affiliated with these groups.

#5 ONLINE REVIEWS:

Now in part five you’re looking at the reviews. What do other people, not just one person, but what are other people saying across the internet on this company? So, when you look at reviews there are two different things you look at. One is an owner review, then there is a tenant review. You want to know ‘hey, are the owners happy’ and that’s the main thing. A tenant, often times, when they’re held accountable they’re not so happy. They’re not so happy when they move out and leave the home wrecked and the property manager says, “you know what Mr. and Mrs. Tenant, you’re paying for all that”. The tenant may very well go online and leave that negative review. It’s okay. The property manager is doing the job for you, the home owner, and that’s who they work for, they don’t work for the tenants. So look at the reviews, but differentiate from the tenant versus the owner. There should be some negative reviews in there. Nobody has a 5 star review, and know that Google reviews and Facebook reviews are pretty easy to look at. Some of the Yelp reviews get buried, some of the good reviews, so you have to click the little ‘see more reviews’ to see those type things.

#6 POLICIES, PROCEDURES, & AFFILIATIONS:

Alright, number six. You want to really dig in now. You’ve gone into the first five things and you’re talking to a property manager really you want to get to the nuts and bolts. What kind of policies, what kind of procedures do they have, do they rent a home before it goes vacant or after it goes vacant because after it goes vacant it’s easier to show, but you’re paying money. You’re paying the lights, you’re paying the mortgage without anything so you need to ask those questions. What do they charge for, what does their fee structure look like, what kind of professional affiliations do they have. Are they linked with lawyers, and title companies and vendors that are all licensed and insured? Who’s doing the work on their home? You really need to dig in and ask about that policies and procedures how they manage your risks because that’s what they’re doing. A property manager should reduce your risk.

#7 PRICING & FEES:

And then the final thing, and this is the minimal thing, is the price. Be very weary of those companies who say, “hey, we’ll manage your home for a ‘teeny tiny’ price” without thoroughly looking at the scope of services. I’ve been managing homes for a long time and I will tell you if there is a ‘teeny tiny’ price then they’re most likely giving you ‘teeny tiny’ service that’s not going to match with the policies and procedures of the companies that are professionals and they do this and they’re in the trenches each and every day. They may collect the rent for you, but that’s it. You need to ask if they have “boots on the ground” in your area. Can, they go out and see that home, can they answer questions directly with the tenant without calling that 1-800 number, etc. If not, you really need to think if that’s right for you. But then again, always, price is going to increase with the level of services that you get, that’s just natural. But look at all companies comparatively. You don’t have to look necessarily at the highest, but look at companies that are offering a good deal of things in their policies and procedures I just talked about for an equitable price.

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell… the seven things. License & Qualifications, Certifications/Designations, Awards, Professional Associations they have, Reviews out there, and then the Policies and the Price. So take a look at all those things and you’ll know ‘hey, is this property management company really right for me’. If you have any other questions, feel free to either see some of our blogs or call me direct at the number on your screen.

What if Your Tenant Pays Late

Mario Gonzalez - Monday, August 22, 2016

Hey Mario Gonzalez here with Navy to Navy Homes with some more property management tips for you. A question we get all the time from DIY Landlords is, "how should I handle late payments?" This is not if your tenant has completely stopped paying, I just mean a normal late payment. So let's talk about that. If you would like to know more on this subject, if your tenant stops payment, you want to get him out of there, please see our blog on, "when a tenant stops paying all together" or "how to evict a tenant," we have information on that.

WAS THERE NOTICE?

So, the first thing if a tenant is late, the question should be, "did they notify you as landlord? Did they let you know of some extraordinary circumstances coming up? Hey, they're traveling, they're this or that, they had some unexpected expenses come up?" That type of thing.  If so, then you may want to communicate to your owner or if you are the owner, you may want to take exception to that to some degree, and I’ll explain how to do that right here at the end.

 

CONSULT THE LEASE

The second thing is what does your lease say? Do you have a written lease that tells them exactly what, what's going to happen when they're late, and what the circumstances are, are there late fees, etc. So if you have a written lease, then definitely stick by that. However, there is a time that you can really use this to build a relationship.

SPECIAL CASE SCENARIO

So let's use a special case. Let's say, it’s around the holidays. They had a child get sick, they had a car accident, they were hospitalized. We've heard them all, and we've seen them all. What I will say is, if you're going to take an exception for one time, say, "I’m going to allow you to pay rent this one time, late, but never again," then I would definitely say you need to follow up in writing, give them a one-time written late rent abatement form that says, "we've accepted it this time, and never again shall we do it." But, let them know that you understand, let them know you're people too and you understand their circumstances and most of the time, those people will pay the late rent. They will pay the late fees as well and they're very accepting to know that you are not going to end the lease, you're not going to give an eviction notice; you are open, willing and accepting of their circumstances. And this is a really rare case where you can build that relationship. Part of owning a rental home allows you to build a relationship with that tenant. Even though it may be, estranged a bit, or distance your property manager in between. But if you use those, all those connections to really build that relationship, say, "hey, I’m an owner and I hear and understand exactly what you're going through," then a late rent, so long as they pay and catch up, again, can be a fantastic way to say, "yes I understand" and actually build that relationship.

FINAL THOUGHTS

So again, we’re not talking about if a tenant stops paying all together. We're just talking if they're late, Just a sideways error. So if you have questions about evicting a tenant or a tenant stops paying all together, please see our other blogs, we're happy to give an information and at any time, feel free to call us here at Navy to Navy, we'll give you any property management advice you like. Thank you.

Carpet vs Tile in a Rental

Mario Gonzalez - Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hey good morning. Mario Gonzalez here for Navy to Navy Homes. Today’s blog we will answer the “Age Old” question from Landlords – Should I put down carpet or should I put down tile? Well if you’re going to make any improvements to your home, you might be surprised to know that the price can be much closer in carpet and tile than you really imagine.

PRICING: TILE vs CARPET

For instance, when we advise people, whichever way they’re going to do, if you’re going to put down carpet, then spend the majority of your money on the actual material itself – the carpet you are selecting and the padding you are selecting because that will help ensure the longevity of it. Conversely with tile, you really want to spend the money on installation, because you can have a great tile, very expensive product, but if its crummy installation, then you’ve really kind of shot yourself in the foot. Likewise, you take a less expensive tile product and really do a lot with the installation. You can angle it, you make like different patterns, etc. that people will do, you know staggered, or you can even have tile that looks like hardwood floor.

CLEANING PROS & CONS

So anyway, a little bit more about the carpet versus tile. You can clean both. You can clean carpet overtime but it is hard to overcome traffic wear patterns. You can also have tile and grout cleaned by most professional floor cleaners or carpet cleaners. What we do see is in on average, tile will last much longer than carpet. However, you’re about 50-50 on what people like.

WHAT TENANTS PREFER

The majority of people like carpet in the bedroom – it keeps the sound down in bedrooms, and if you just carpet the bedrooms, then it’s much easier to replace if there’s any damage or anything like that. It also keeps the people from coming out and hitting the cold floor first thing in the morning. The counter argument, is you do have a lot of people with allergies and those people with allergies don’t want any sort of carpet at home. So what we do see a lot of investors– they will put carpet down just in the bedrooms and then all the wet areas and the common living areas will be a hard surface even to, like the hallway leading up to the bedroom.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In your high traffic areas, tile is going to last you a little bit longer. If you carpet only the bedrooms, then you’ve maximized your investment by saying “okay, I can mix and match carpets if I need to.” You don’t necessarily have to, just as long as it looks close. So if you have more questions, feel free to look at some of our other blogs like, getting your home rent ready, some of the best improvement you can do, top tips to maximize your rental and thanks for checking us out here.

WHO PAYS FOR AN EVICTION?

Mario Gonzalez - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hey Mario Gonzalez with Navy to Navy Homes. On today's blog we're answering a very important question we get a lot -- "Who pays for the eviction?" That's an important question because it can be very expensive. If you come to that uncomfortable place where you have to evict a tenant, who pays? We'll most more than likely, it is going to be the owner’s expense. Most of the leases are written from the owner to the tenant. So the lawsuit that ensues is actually between the owner and the tenant.

EVICTIONS CAN BE COSTLY

It can be expensive here in Florida. I can speak that the average eviction, uncontested runs between about five to eight hundred dollars; it takes about thirty days from the start to give the eviction process -- thirty to forty days. Now depending upon the way your lease is written, think about the additional expenses in this. The lease is written to maybe give a four-day grace period to pay rent, so it’s due on the first, four or five days and then you have a three day notice, so you're half way into the month before you even start the process -- thirty days after that. When you go through an eviction, you need to worry about the cost of the eviction, and the potential time in this, and losing one to two months of rent at a minimum and then paying to re-lease the home.

WHAT HAPPENS IF IT GOES TO COURT

It can be very expensive to actually perform an eviction. However, there are some companies out there, Navy to Navy, we offer eviction protection for our owners, for our landlords. Basically for a small monthly fee, we'll cover that five hundred dollar amount under fees in the unlikely condition that we have to evict a tenant. Where that helps the owner, is the owner doesn't have to worry about that additional expense -- something goes wrong; tenants paying late; stops paying; they give us permission to say, "you know what, just go for it, get them out of there," and we can do that. However, let me address this piece -- if it actually goes to court, meaning if it is contested and the tenant wants to go to court, then the fees get very expensive. So your lease has to be specific on this. A good lease will say that whoever goes to court, the prevailing party will actually cover the other lease, the other expenses, and lawyer expenses. Well most tenants think that if they drag you to court and they win, that you're going to pay all their expenses -- not necessarily the case. What’s going to happen is, because you're going to be represented by a lawyer, and it’s really going to be expensive because lawyers work by the hour, the lawyer is most likely going to counter sue for something. So you can go back and forth, literally, we haven't seen this tremendous thing. We have great tenants. But I've heard through the industry, that people have racked up ten and twelve thousand dollars per side in legal fees to fight over five hundred dollars. It’s ridiculous.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Aside from that, how do you protect yourself in this? Well, take a look at our other blogs as far as how to screen tenants; how to protect yourself; your investment; what to do if there's late rent; what to do if this tenant stops paying because the biggest thing in this, for eviction, is really to protect yourself upfront. And that is to properly screen a tenant, work with the management company that is very serious about this, that has written guidelines as to how they, procure and screen like residential selection criteria, how they screen the tenants. And you want a property manager that is always engaged during regular inspections; keeping good communication. The owner and the tenant know that they are there all the time. And that really will help minimize your chance of ever getting to an eviction. So please see our other blogs with regards to that, again, screening tenants; how to handle late fees; what to do if your tenant stops paying etc. And at any time, feel free to give us a call. We're happy to help answer any of your questions here at Navy to Navy. Thanks.

When is it time to Hire a Property Manager

Mario Gonzalez - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

WHEN IS IT TIME TO HIRE A PROPERTY MANAGER

Hey, Mario Gonzalez here with Navy to Navy Homes with some more property management tips. Today’s question is "how do I know if it’s time to hire a property manager." We get this call mainly from landlords who absolutely need a property manager now. And what I mean by that, is they probably put a rent by owner sign; or put an ad on craigslist; they didn't qualify a tenant; they got somebody in there and now…the tenant is in there; there's five other people living in the house; there's three cars on the lawn; five dogs; the home is destroyed; and they're not paying the rent. It's an absolute nightmare. So trust me, that is not the time when you need to hire a property manager. Really, the time you need to hire a property manager is pro-actively, to do it before.

WHAT YOUR PROPERTY MANGER CAN DO FOR YOU

Let’s go over some examples. Before you ever rent your home, or make a decision to rent your home, a property manager is going to do their best to help maximize your return on this home, while minimizing any problems or loss you have. They can see loss, any extraordinary expenses, repairs, that type of thing. They're going to help you start off by marketing that home very quickly, so that you don't have the rent loss and you can get a quality tenant in there. They're going to screen those tenants so you don't have the types of problems like the one mentioned above. You're going to have a quality tenant that's caring for your home and can pay for your home. Another thing they're going to do is, and probably the biggest thing, is they are protecting your investment. Your home is more than likely your largest investment, your largest expense or asset. A property manager is going to care for that the entire time. They're going to put a good quality tenant in there, they're going to minimize your vacancy, they're going to minimize your expenses because the tenant is going to care for it, and they're going to check up on the home to make sure the home is cared for. And ultimately, when you go to sell the home, you have a better product because you won’t have to invest a ton of money into the home to then maximize your sale property.

VENDOR MAINTENANCE

The second thing, property managers are just help. If you have that tyranny of distance and you’re stressed about any of the smaller repairs, a property manager is going to do all of that for you. Another thing, a property manager is going to have quality vendors that's going to be working on your home. It’s not just somebody that you're picking at random or doing an internet search on that have no experience. The property manager, if they're managing hundreds of homes, has experience with quality license and insured vendors, and they've probably vetted those vendors to make sure that they're good on their prices. A lot of vendors that property managers work with will actually reduce their cost because of volume and that gets passed on to you.

FINAL TIPS

The last thing that the property manager is going to do, they're going to make sure that all your finances with regards to that asset are kept tip-top so when it’s time for the IRS at the end of the year, you don't have to go scrambling, and figure something out and possibly make a mistake on this. Your property manager is going to do all of that for you.

To recap, the best time to hire a property manager is proactively -- when you make a decision to rent the home. And property managers can either help you just place a tenant, or they can fully manage the home. If you have more questions on this, how to pick a quality property manager, you can see our blogs on that, we got that. We also have, "what a property manager does to market your home," another one, "what a property manager does for your finance." So, feel free to check our other blogs about that and as always, at any time, if we can answer your questions, give us a call here at Navy to Navy, happy to chat about you and your investment.


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