After you have networked like a pro, it’s very important to surround yourself and solidify your relationship with the people you feel give the most value to you and who will help you reach your goals.
Building a good team should be about finding people with complementary skills to yours that can complete tasks needed to achieve success. Follow these tips to build the perfect team for your business:
Start thinking like a leader
Remember no one can lead your team better than yourself, because no one knows where you want the team to be. So step up and take command. Communicate clearly what you need and keep an open mind.
Practice emotional intelligence
Have patience and remember your team members are complex human beings whose personalities and work styles are completely different. Try to understand them and see these differences as assets.
Create a respectful environment
One of the most important factors in a good team is respect, not just to you as the leader, but to and between every member of the team. In a respectful environment great ideas can flourish and grow into something amazing.
Know every part of your operation to pick the perfect person
Imagine how the perfect person for each role is and find someone who fits that idea. Let them know clearly what you expect from them and have a clear idea about how everything should work and how you can get it to do so.
Take care of even the smallest of details
The devil is in the details. Make sure every member of the team is as detail-oriented as possible to ensure that all parts of the operation are perfectly covered and that the needs and goals are being achieved.
Establish achievable and clear goals
Make sure everyone knows what you need them to do and when you want them to do it. Establishing what you expect from every person is a great way to make sure your team can grow into their own and accomplish everything they have to.
Calendarise meetings to keep everything in check
According to your necessities, keep weekly or monthly meetings calendarised so everyone knows the deadlines they have and what needs to be done by them.
Being really organised will also help your team have clear goals and being more organised themselves.
Celebrate the little and big successes
Encouragement is very necessary for the success of a team. Make sure to celebrate appropriately when someone does something good.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way and can do more than you expect.
Do you need help with a property? We can help!
Why You Need a Property Management Company in the DFW Area
Whether you are an out-of-state property owner, a longtime local landlord, or are just getting into the property rental business, there are plenty of reasons why you need a company like Frontline Property Management on the ground for you in the DFW area.
2021 has been an interesting year for the Dallas / Fort Worth rental market – to say the least. As we’ve discussed before, the DFW is a very attractive market for Millennials & Gen Z, and is one of the top destinations for out-of-state moves. Investors have used this information to capitalize on the need for housing – and you may have, too! You have a property in a hot market that you’d like to rent. But now what?
You Need Management that Knows the Market
On top of the complications that the pandemic has had on the housing market, the failure of the Texas power grid in February of 2021 exacerbated conditions by forcing many renters out of damaged properties. In a seller’s market like the one we’ve seen this year, many individuals who would otherwise be buying houses are choosing to rent a bit longer. Meaning that there is immense competition between renters for available housing – which is good for DFW landlords. Competitive rental markets translate to higher rents in keeping with the average rent of a given neighborhood in the face of the market overall. A property management company that wants to grow your business is always aware of the many factors and nuances in the market.
You Need Vendors You Can Trust
Frontline Property Management employs many Property Managers who bring decades of experience to the table. The maintenance vendors we use are also experienced, vetted, and local. Relationships are what property management is all about! We take our time to strengthen our vendors with the online tools they need to be the most accessible and responsive. There’s an increasing number of vendors in the DFW area, which makes it daunting to choose a company to work with (particularly if you’re not a local). Transparent communication between our clients, our Property Managers and the vendors we use ensures that you are always up to date with your properties.
You Need Eyes, Ears, and Hands-On Management
While it takes a certain amount of business and research skills to stay on top of the market, there is no substitute for hands-on experience. You need Property Managers who know the Dallas / Fort Worth area down to the neighborhoods. You can trust the assessment of our Management team when it comes to evaluating your property’s value, condition, and what it takes to have it ready to become your passive income! With Frontline, you’re able to rest easy in the knowledge that our Property Managers are on top of any issues – sometimes before they start – so that you don’t have to think about it.
Out of state investors, especially, need to be able to rely on a company that can view, assess, and respond on-site.
You Need Management that Will Help Grow Your Investment
Property Management alone is only an organized system of processes. There are thousands of details to set up these processes, but to put simply it’s getting rental income from a tenant into your bank account. A Property Manager facilitates this process and cares for the physical property in the owner’s stead, but Frontline takes this relationship and builds on it by going a step further: We work to keep you informed. Not just about your property, but about what opportunities may arise due to market conditions. Our client newsletter provides you with up-to-date business information, including pertinent legislation. Property owners looking to get the most out of their investment, and then to grow their portfolio, will find that Frontline provides all of the necessary experience and drive to help you get there.
You Need Frontline Property Management
We’ve faced some unique challenges over the past two years, but Frontline has risen to meet them every step of the way. Utilizing our team of experienced professionals, we have been able to be proactive rather than reactive, and have continued to provide quality service to both our clients and our many tenants. We strive to strengthen our relationships and to create new ones as we move forward!
Have a rental property that you need help with? Just fill out this form and we will reach out to you!
5 Pieces of Tips and Advice for Investing in Rental Property
Written By: Andrea Erickson
Rental properties are a hot topic again since the real estate market is a madhouse currently, and many people are trying to figure out how to cash in on this. Although you can’t go back in time and buy properties when they were far cheaper: you can get the most income possible out of the currently available properties.
Here is some important information you should keep in mind when looking at which properties to invest in.
Consider if There’s Extra Land to Develop
When buying land, look beyond the current buildings that are sitting on it. Although things are far easier if you can rent out already finished units: there’s always room for more. While still maintaining common spaces, room for parking, and the apartments themselves, consider if there’s enough room on the property or neighboring property to expand the apartments further. The more units, the higher return, and the faster the property gets paid off so that it’s nothing but income.
Use Software to Manage Everything
Although it might seem obvious, many first-time renovators don’t realize how much goes into owning a rental complex: the more units, the more problems. Good software will let you track when an apartment was last renovated, how many issues a renter has caused, and who’s paid on time or not. Seek out landlord maintenance software that will help you track this information.
A worthwhile software should also notify you when a renter’s lease is closing soon, take care of maintenance, and be easy to use. If aproperty management app doesn’t have what you need, it’s never too late to switch to a new one.
Ensure the Property is Appealing
Aesthetics matter to everyone. Even though sometimes people will overlook an unattractive property if it means the costs are low enough: you don’t want your property to be like this. The lower the rent, the lower the profit. When purchasing a property, ensure that you pick one that people will want to move into.
The top things that build appeal are:
Natural areas with trees and grass.
Beautiful, clean, and fresh-looking exteriors.
Amenities like pools and tennis courts are visibly well maintained.
Gorgeous skylines if within a city.
Attention to detail in everything from a well-maintained sidewalk to the apartment number signs.
The attractiveness can always be built upon by creating areas with natural beauty, like portions of land with trees and grass, or updating the interiors with thebest flooring for rental properties.
Look Into the Current Rental History
If the property you’re looking at has already operated as an apartment complex or a rental property in general, what’s its history look like? How long have otherland buyers overlooked this property? Ask the current owners how much they get on average for rent and if the current renters are responsible and pay on time.
Changing management doesn’t mean that the renters will necessarily have to leave, depending on the terms of their lease, so it’s a good idea to get to know the type of people who live in the area. If the complex seems to have a lot of eviction notices, or it’s in a place where the cost of rent wouldn’t be sustainable for the average wages of the area, this might not be a great property.
Don't Assume Any Project Could Be Considered Small
Looking at rental units to purchase, it can be tempting to view them the same way we view homes when we are buying them. A fresh coat of paint here,composite slate on the roof there, it might seem simple: but apartment complexes will quickly become expensive. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid these costs if they’re necessary, so when you’re shopping around, consider which projects you’d be willing to do for every single unit that you’ll be renting out.
It might not be a big deal to remodel the bathroom of a home, but remodeling the bathrooms of an apartment complex will eat up a lot of time and resources. Avoid this; take the time to make sure the property you purchase is the best fit possible. If you do need to do extensive updates, budget to ensure there’s room for that in your time and financial budget. Don’t leap into a project without knowing the full story.
Rental Properties Are Passive Income Gold
Whether you’re purchasing several apartment complexes or a single-family property, rental properties have the potential to divert thousands upon thousands of dollars to your bank account.
To build upon these properties, it’s good to update each space within the room by room when people move out. This will allow for a more gradual transition to a completely updated property while still ensuring that most units are in use or are more quickly available.
Andrea Erickson is a contributor to Innovative Building Materials. She is a blogger and content writer for the real estate industry. Andrea is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes.
Have a rental property that you need help with? Just fill out this form and we will reach out to you!
Choosing a Real Estate Market
The Dallas / Fort Worth real estate market, where Frontline Property Management does the majority of our business, is one of the hottest real estate markets in the US – and that’s even considering recent shutdowns and other issues caused by the pandemic. But what makes a market a good one to invest in, or to convert empty property into rentals in, and how do you determine if it’s right for you?
Dallas’ recent housing boom is expected to continue, for example, despite the pandemic. That’s because it’s not only the black and white of the economy that is a predictor of the housing market; there’s a very real human factor as well.
Study Population Growth (& Watch What Millennials Do)
Where people are moving – especially millennials, who make up the majority of the workforce – there will be a demand for housing. The way things are working out for the largest portion of the population, we can expect that renting will be the most common form of housing financially available and affordable. (That’s where you come in!)
There’s a reason some small towns are struggling to thrive and suffer housing depreciation while places like DFW are experiencing a skyrocketing population: accessible and diverse activities. The Dallas / Fort Worth area boasts of things to do! Everything from parks to the arts can be found, and everything in between. These are very important to millenials, who will more readily take a job in a city with entertainment, public transportation, and affordable housing over a market that has very cheap housing but not much else. After 2020, you can expect that millennials will emphasize connectivity.
For this reason, among the others, the home appreciation in DFW is expected to do nothing but climb.
Of course, there are a lot of nuts and bolts in the property management machine to consider! Frontline Property Management will help you evaluate your rental property and the market that it’s in, down to the competitive pricing of the neighborhood. If you haven’t yet invested in a property in the DFW area yet, but would like to, we’d be more than happy to discuss helping you build and manage a portfolio with us!
Do you have a property that you need help with? Just fill out this form and we will reach out to you!
How to Manage a Property Remotely
We’ve previously discussed tips on managing a rental property when you live out of state. Since then we’ve all faced the challenge of conducting both our business and personal lives in a socially distant, remote, fashion. Property Management is certainly no exception to this necessity. Moving forward and flourishing despite remoteness requires an effective online strategy and willingness to adapt to the times.
Remotely managing properties is certainly nothing new. The disparity between real estate markets encourages out-of-state investors to maximize their profits by investing where properties are less expensive. While Frontline Property Management manages properties across the Dallas Fort Worth & surrounding areas, our clientele reaches the coasts. We know a thing or two about what it takes to successfully gain a profit from distant properties.
Here are the five most important things you can do to manage your property remotely:
1. Set Up Advertising & Remote Viewing / E-Tours Online
If you’re not already advertising online, you are missing out on the #1 way that tenants are searching for properties. Although a well-placed, corner-lot property is going to get a lot of street views and calls from curious potential renters, placing an ad online or listing it in a conglomerate rental site will ensure that it’s viewed by as many people as possible no matter where the property is located.
A feature that is becoming more requested is the availability of an E-Tour. Pictures don’t always convey the depth of a space (although you should have wonderful photos!), and out-of-town renters, those quarantining or social distancing, would like to get the feel of an in-person viewing from the comfort of their current residence. This is made possible by taking a video of the property as if you were giving your standard tour. Take this opportunity to highlight the best features, but feel free to be as thorough as you like – they can always fast forward!
Of course, you may rarely get to your property in person, so taking a video may not be the most convenient option for you. In that case, there are companies that now specialize in remote viewing. With remote viewing, your listed property can be accessed by potential clients in person without you having to be there! For the health and safety of all involved, potential residents are able to register their information and set up touring times online, and then give themselves a tour by using a temporary code that changes with every viewing.
2.Automate Your Processes
This is a painstaking but critical process that will be the foundation of your entire operation. There will be times when you will want to pull your hair out, but every little detail is important here. Automate every process that you possibly can, from setting up your Chart of Accounts and accepting e-payments to making your entire application process can be done online. Create template letters for your prospect and tenant communication, and streamline all of this information with the proper property management software. Your future self will thank your past self endlessly for this once it’s set up! This virtual checklist will make sure that nothing slips through the cracks and that all of your Ts are crossed and your Is dotted. More importantly, it means that your property can be managed from absolutely anywhere!
3. Set Up E-Document Signing
Why wait for snail mail when you can have a lease or other paperwork signed almost instantaneously? And already in a format that’s easy to back up and distribute? Creating E-Documents has (literally) never been easier. There are several companies competing to help you create your documents, so choose the one that works best for your needs and create the templates that can can then easily send to your tenants, vendors or anyone else you need to have a signed agreement with!
4. Maintain Your Property
The heart of your property management business is the property itself. Without a well-maintained property, it doesn’t matter how glossy your photos are, or how well-worded your ad is. When the tenant crosses the threshold, their first impression matters. More than that, the ongoing maintenance of your property is vital to its health and continued success as a financial asset. This means not putting off small jobs that may turn into bigger issues. Handling this remotely means that you will need to have a trusted maintenance company or person on-hand, but also that you need to trust in your tenants when they alert you of an issue. Because you are not able to view the suspected damage in person, you will need to rely on a trusted source. That’s where your vendor relationships and also the proper tenant screening comes in handy! Consider these people to be your business partners, and you are all working together to have a smooth housing experience.
5. Invest in Your Property: Hire a Property Manager
Your rental property is not your home (at least, not yet) – it’s a financial investment. Treat it as such by spending smartly and investing in the right places. A property manager is the absolute best way to manage your property remotely. They are the hands-on, boots on the ground, eyes on the prize person that coordinates every step of the renting process. A property management company like Frontline has decades of combined experience, multiple departments, and everything you need to successfully manage your property. When you hire a Frontline Property Manager, you are not getting only one manager, but the entire team behind them! Your time, energy, and health are investments that you want to make in yourself, not spend on your property. The peace of mind alone is worth the investment.
Have a property we can help you with? Just fill out the questionnaire and we will reach out to you!
Property Management Accounting: Accrual Vs Cash-Basis Method
Being a landlord is a business, and whether you’re managing one property or several, you need a method of keeping track of your transactions. It’s not just about collecting rent (if only it were that easy!) but you also need to decide how to track charges for repairs and services. All of this needs to be reported at the end of the year, not to mention it’s always good to know what your profit margin is!
There are two methods for accounting for your transactions: Accrual and Cash-Basis.
Accrual VS Cash Basis
The Accrual Basis
Using the Accrual Method, you would create transactions when money is earned or owed, not when the money is actually exchanged. An invoice, for example, is a notice of money due. You would note the invoice in your books then, and not when you’ve actually paid the invoice later.
The Cash Basis
When using the Cash-Basis Method, your books would reflect the exchanging of funds from your accounts exactly when it occurs, eg, you would note the invoice when it was paid, not when it was received.
Smaller businesses typically use the Cash-Basis Method, as it is simpler and reflects a more immediate status of where your cash flow is at the moment. The Accrual Method, however, can give insight into the long-term health of your business as it takes into account future income such as rent, and expenses and invoices that are due but have not yet been paid out.
Whichever method you decide is best for your business, keep in mind that you must be consistent! After all, these records are not just for you but are the framework for your reporting to the IRS. Also be aware that if you start with one accounting method and would like to change later on, you must seek approval from the IRS.
Reporting your taxes can be daunting – let Frontline Property Management do the heavy lifting! Our accounting department tracks your general ledger, sends you monthly reports and even files the taxes for your properties so that you don’t have to!
As a landlord, you have no doubt by now heard some serious horror stories. At the heart of every issue is a problem tenant – something you’re hoping to avoid by creating a thorough and fair screening process. A question you should ask every tenant is “Do you have any pets?”
A question you should ask yourself is: Do you accept pets?
Accepting pets in your rental property can be advantageous in an increasingly pet-friendly market. Understandably, though, you might be hesitant to. Those afore-mentioned horror stories? Many of them include issues revolving around animals being kept in the property.
Whether or not you want or should accept pets in your property is completely a matter of choice and preference. As with everything else in property management, it’s a risk/reward situation.
Let’s briefly examine those:
Why You May Not Want to Allow Pets:
Risk of Physical Damage to Property
Liability of Pet-Related Injury
Cost of Cleaning / Pest Treatment
Disturbance to Neighbors
Why You May Want to Allow Pets:
Increases Applicant Pool
Reduces Pets Being Snuck Onto Property (for free)
Charge More in Rent
Longer Tenancy (due to unavailability of other pet-friendly residences)
In a time when pets are increasingly considered part of the family rather than property, you will face the question of “Do you accept pets?” more and more. Here are steps you can take to address the concerns of pets in your property, and how to consider handling pets in the application process.
What You Can Do:
1.Be Clear in the Listing & Lease
If pets are not allowed, ensure that this is stated clearly in the listing. If the property is listed on multiple platforms, make sure that every posting states that the property is NOT pet-friendly. This will be an automatic deal-breaker for anyone who has pets, and will save you and the prospective tenant both time and frustration over the application process.
The lease should also clearly state that pets are not allowed on the property at any time, and specific penalties should be noted. This will help support your claims in court, should it come down to collecting money for charges related to animals being present in the home.
And yes, even though you have made it clear that the property is NOT pet-friendly, still put the question on the application. This makes certain that the tenant clearly states in writing that they do NOT have a pet.
2.Know Your Target Demographic
Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. Having been hit hard by recessions, millennials are unable and unwilling to take on more debt in the form of a mortgage, and so is a demographic of majority renters. Nearly three out of every four millennials have a pet – and they will look elsewhere if their pets aren’t welcome. That’s quite a big swath of future business!
Your target demographic may not lean millennial – for now. Make the best decision that fits the needs of your market and the tendencies that cater to those renters. They are your livelihood, and what the market demands will determine how profitable your business will be.
3.Establish a Restricted Breeds List
Bad dogs come from bad dog owners, but an unfortunate human tendency of bad ownership has resulted in some breeds being restricted in residential properties – even neighborhoods and counties! If you decide to have a pet-friendly property, you will want to check your insurance policy to find out what type of coverage you have. Make sure you know the amount of liability coverage your policy includes. Your insurance company may have limitations or exclusions to this coverage – such as a list of dog breeds they consider to be “dangerous breeds,” which will not be covered under the policy.
4.Charge Pet Rent
Pets can (and arguably, should) be considered occupants of a home. A nominal monthly fee can be charged as “pet rent”. This reflects the higher demand of pet-friendly rental properties without penalizing someone who doesn’t have a pet. In this way, you cater to both types of tenants without having to exclude pet owners altogether.
5.Charge a Pet Deposit
This one-time charge differs from pet rent in the same way that a security deposit is not monthly rent. This charge goes directly to covering the cost of inevitable cleaning and flea treatment of the property. Extra care (with extra associated costs) must go into deeply cleaning a pet-friendly residence at move-out, which responsible and reasonable pet owners will understand. While a pet-owner may be nose-blind to their animals, a sensitive nose or someone with allergies can detect even the faintest presence of odor or dander.
6. Establish a Pet Application
A pet application, like any other tenant application, can be used to screen & assess the liability of an individual pet according to age, breed and size and will guide the determination of pet rent costs. There are third-party companies that can provide this assessment (for their own separate application fee) which keeps the pet assessment a step removed from any internal bias.
7.Conduct Yearly Inspections
As property owner and manager, you must conduct annual inspections. With tenants who have pets, it is especially important that you be on the lookout for signs of undue wear and tear on your property as a result of the tenant’s neglect on their pet’s behalf. Destructive behavior can quickly devalue a home and increase the cost of repair exponentially. If you have a residence that is NOT pet-friendly, be aware of signs that your tenants have been keeping a pet a secret, or have acquired a pet without thinking to add them to the lease. For liability’s sake, you need to have paperwork that properly reflects all occupants of the home at all times. Your inspection is a great time to address any concerns regarding the care of your property and the suspected presence of any unauthorized animals.
8.Understand the Difference Between a Pet and a Service Animal
Not every animal is a pet. Fair Housing covers the use of certified companion and service animals and it’s important that you understand the difference. A no-pet policy does not apply to service animals, as they are considered to be tenants and not pets. The pet application must still be conducted to determine the animal’s credentials as being certified as a service animal – and not just claimed as one. An “unofficial” service animal is still considered a pet. A true service animal will have the veterinary paperwork to support any claims made.
Property Managers have a history of dealing with a wide spectrum of pets and pet owners, their neighbors, and the fences in between. The legalities surrounding pets as family members and service animals are shifting, and at Frontline Property Management, Inc. we are determined to keep in step with the times and remain informed.
Contact us today to learn more about how Frontline Property Management can help you manage your property with ease and find your next tenants – four-legged or not!
Let us know if you need help with your rental!
5 Steps to Screen Your Applicants
The most important aspect of owning a rental property is finding a tenant who will pay the rent in full and on time, and who will treat your property well while living there. It can be a daunting task – which is why screening is crucial!
Here are five tips to get you through the screening process and on to your ideal tenant!
1. Create a Standardized Application
You will need to know more about your tenant than you will be able to pick up in a pre-screening. Some landlords pre-screen by an informal interview process at the time of showing the rental property. This type of pre-screening not only lacks a paper trail (which is important,should a rejected tenant make the accusation of discrimination) but also, with the shift to online and independent viewings, this is a step that logistically can no longer be relied upon. You will need to implement a tight, standardized, application.
What do we mean by “Standardized”?
Every potential tenant has aright to the same application process regardless of social background. As a landlord, and therefore the operator of a business, your decisions should be purely financial and must be unbiased against all other influences. In order to guarantee that your process is fair, every applicant must receive the same application and be submitted to the same credit and background checks – creating a standard procedure. This makes it easier for you, as well! Using a checklist of qualifications takes your “gut feeling” out of the equation and will propel you towards a reliable tenant.
What Should the Application Include?
Identities of every potential occupant
Contact information for previous landlords
Current and previous employers
Current income level
Number and size of pets and number of occupants
Do not proceed to the next step in the screening process if the application is incomplete. While the applicant may have simply forgotten some information, an intentional omission may indicate that the tenant is trying to hide something. Once the application is completed, move on to the next step.
2. Contact Previous Landlords
The applicant will have provided previous addresses and the contact information for previous landlords. Contact them! A landlord will have insight into what kind of tenant your applicant is. You may ask:
Is the landlord aware that their tenant is moving?
Did the tenant pay their rent in full before moving?
Was there a history of late payments?
Was the tenant disruptive to other tenants?
In what condition did they leave their unit?
Would they rent to this tenant again?
3. Run a Credit Check
A credit check will show you details about the tenant’s previous credit history, going back 7 to 10 years. While you may decide that you would like to focus on the credit score itself, late credit card payments doesn’t always mean a bad tenant. What may concern you is serious delinquency such as bankruptcy.
4. Run a Criminal Background Check
By acquiring the prospective tenant’s Social Security Number as part of the application process, you will now use that information to pull a detailed history of the applicant’s past. Many companies offer investigative services (for a fee) and will provide you with an eviction history, criminal history, credit history, and various public records.
A recent eviction may indicate the inability or unwillingness for the applicant to pay rent. A conviction for a violent crime makes the applicant a potential threat to you or your other tenants. A conviction for serious theft may indicate a danger to your or your other tenants’ property.
5. Verify Employment
You will need to verify that the applicant is employed by the person / business they claim on the application. Not all employers will reveal salaries, but they can verify that your applicant is a current employee. Check stubs may also be used to verify employment and that rental income qualification is met,but be aware of do-it-yourself pay stub scams.
Once your entire process is complete...
you will have narrowed down your field of applicants! Again, to maintain a consistent and fair process, whichever qualifying applicant meets the approval criteria first, regardless of any social background indicators, is your next tenant!
At the end of the day, you are providing shelter in exchange for payment. By ensuring that you screen for potential issues in that process, you will save yourself possibly thousands of dollars in unpaid rent, the hassle of having to find another tenant, and can move on to creating and building a relationship with your tenant with trust and consistency on both sides.
If this sounds too complicated or time-consuming to you, then look into hiring a Property Management Company! Frontline Property Management, Inc has used a reliable, fair and consistent application process for years. Our team of Tenant Coordinators work every day to provide the greatest quality control and customer care to every applicant, and not only guide prospective tenants through the application process but also create the leases for those who are approved!
Application Process: The Criminal Background Check
Why Run a Criminal Background Check At All?
In searching for the tenant who will occupy your rental property, you have a right to know whether or not that tenant will be a danger to you, your tenants, or your property. While there is no way to be certain of the future, your prospective tenant’s past may provide some insight into their habits. A criminal history does not define a person; however, it is important to take your financial risk into consideration.
How Do I Run a Criminal History Report?
You will not need to gather this information yourself! There are plenty of companies that bundle criminal background checks with credit reports and eviction histories. These paid services make this task as simple as it is necessary. Some state laws allow the landlord to charge a prospective tenant for the cost of ordering a credit or background check. In any case, make sure the application plainly states that a background check, criminal history report, or credit check will be ordered if appropriate and that the prospective tenant is granting authorization for a check into his or her financial, employment, and personal history.
Who Should I Run a Background Check On?
Everyone. Every applicant (18 years of age or older) must be submitted to the exact same screening process. Regardless of if you “have a feeling” about a person, if you require a background check of one applicant, then every applicant must also be held to the same standard. This will keep you in compliance with theFair Housing Act.
What Do I Look for in the Report?
A key red flag to be on the lookout for is prior evictions. An eviction within the last five to seven years could be an indicator of a tenant’s inability to pay rent. Multiple evictions raise an even bigger red flag – you will not want to risk being another landlord in a string of unpaid landlords. If the eviction is two or more years in the past, a frank conversation with your applicant (and their previous landlord) may help you better understand the circumstances under which they were evicted.
Applicants with felony or misdemeanor criminal convictions, those serving deferred adjudication (either felony or misdemeanor) or who have pending cases for:
Injury to persons, or
Damage to property
– or attempted felony or misdemeanor offenses related to the above – will be screened out of your applicant pool. Some landlords take part in “second chance” renting, in which case the above results are not an immediate disqualification and you may take the circumstances, frequency and date of the conviction into consideration. However, you are obligated to provide the safest and most secure environment possible for any other tenants you rent to, as well as the neighbors of your properties.
Be the most informed landlord you can be by obtaining and interpreting a criminal background check!
You will not know what you do not ask for. Securing a tenant with a reasonably clear criminal and eviction history increases your odds that you will have steady rent payments and few (if any) issues from neighbors or other tenants!
A Property Management company with a Tenant Coordination Department – such as Frontline Property Management, Inc. – has years of experience running these reports. Our standards are the same for all applicants and our methods take the pressure off you to decide what is and isn’t acceptable from an applicant. Working with Frontline means that you will not be ensnared by a direct plea from an applicant who has a lengthy history of criminal behavior or is a high risk for eviction. We have implemented a very accessibleonline application with clearly stated qualifying criteria. Our suite of services include lease-writing once your application pool has been screened and your next tenant selected. Our streamlined process and the diligent work of our Property Managers and Tenant Coordinators works every day to serve your needs!
Find out more about how Frontline Property Management, Inc. can save you time and effort in every step of the process!
How to Manage an Out-of-State Property
There are (more than) a few reasons that you might be interested in owning and managing an out of state property. You could be:
Funding Your Vacation/Retirement Home
Renting out a property that you plan to eventually reside in, either permanently in the case of retirement or seasonally as a vacation home, is one strategy many investors use to pay down the mortgage before moving in. As part of a long-term investment plan, you may even find it both equitable and convenient to invest in a property near the college your children attend. Not only do you gain reliable tenants, but any trip to visit them at the property can also double as an inspection – making the trip at least partially tax deductible!
Investing in Affordable Areas
Investors from costly coastal markets are attracted to Southern states and suburban markets which have experienced an average 4% rent increase since 2010. This moderate rate, rather than a quick appreciation of housing value, benefits the investor looking for steady income from their real estate investment.
Diversifying Your Holdings
All housing markets are not equal. Rather than invest in one particular region, or your own market, you may choose to set your sights on a few different markets. Your eggs are not all in one basket, so to speak.
For whatever reason, you decide to manage an out-of-state property, know that the basic needs of becoming a landlord still apply. This is more taxing as a landlord who is not able to quickly be on-hand; however, that does not mean that you cannot manage effectively from a distance.
Communication is Key
The most important element of being out of town is to keep the pathways of communication open and clear. Email is a convenient way to have written documentation of all conversations, but remember to keep your cell on! You never know when an emergency will come about.
Get Your Automation On
You will need to find a way to collect rent that is convenient for both you and your tenant. There are many payment apps that are available. You may elect to have them deposit the funds right into your bank account!
Develop Your Vendor Network
A trusted vendor is worth their weight in gold when you’re not there to tend to maintenance issues yourself. A tenant won’t be happy to wait weeks to have leaky pipes fixed, and you won’t be pleased to travel hours for a simple task. Leaving work orders unresolved is not only bad for business, but it’s detrimental to the health of your investment property.
Inspect What You Expect
Like any other job, you must continually evaluate your renting situation. Your property needs to be inspected (with due notice) at least once a year. This prevents small problems from turning into larger ones. Leaking pipes can turn into foundation damage. Damage from a careless tenant could depreciate the overall value of your investment. There is no substitute for hands-on, eyes-on evaluation of a property.
Hire a Property Management Company
While none of the above necessities for managing out-of-state are impossible to do on your own, there are many complications inherent with taking on these tasks. By hiring a Property Management Company, you’re bringing in a local to do the business for you in their own geographical area.
A few benefits of hiring a local Property Management Company:
Scouting: You need help finding a property to invest in. Without knowing the local housing market and, importantly, the local neighborhoods they cover, it’s easy to find yourself invested in the wrong property in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Local Laws and Regulations: Although there are national Fair Housing Laws, there are local statutes that you may not be aware of that a local Property Manager will be able to help you navigate.
Tenant Management: When automation doesn’t work and you need to demand rent from a tenant or file eviction, a local presence is more able to enforce the lease contract that you and the tenant have agreed upon. A Property Management Company also provides leases that are Fair Housing compliant and legally binding. Furthermore, a Property Management Company handles any and all interaction between what would otherwise be you and the tenant.
Property Management: Of course, your property would also benefit from a Property Management Company! Property Managers not only find quality tenants, but also conduct inspections, have a network of vendors they work with, and can be at your property if any issues arise. They are your eyes, ears and hands on the scene! You can spend all the free time you’ll have relaxing and focusing on your investment strategies.
In short, hire a Property Management Company like Frontline Property Management, Inc. to protect your bottom line and improve your overhead.
Do you have a property that you need help managing? Are you tired of being on call 24/7? Fill out his form to see how we can help!