Categories
Landlords

Landlord Insurance: Key Things You Need to Know

 A man intently looking at his laptop
Photo by Bruce Mars

Are you new or considering property rentals? If that’s the case, chances are you haven’t even heard of landlord insurance. You might be thinking that it’s just another excuse for insurance companies to take your money or that you have another type of insurance that can cover rent-related issues. 

But it’s about protecting your investment and financial gains.

Skipping on landlord insurance is a rookie mistake you don’t want to make. With financial gains as your main objective, it may be tempting to cut costs. But if doing so compromises your investment’s security, you might end up spending more than you save.

To help you make wise investment decisions for your rental properties, we’re going to cover what landlord insurance is and why it’s a necessity. 

What is Landlord Insurance?

Landlord insurance protects your rental property from damages and financial loss. When your property gets damaged during the occupancy of a renter, landlord insurance can cover these expenses in the condition that the damages that occurred are covered under the terms. 

External and uncontrollable factors such as natural disasters, accidents, or other kinds of destructive events can damage your property. Landlord insurance can cover expenses resulting from these events, saving you from financial losses.

Landlord vs. Homeowner Insurance

Landlord and homeowner insurance cover similar kinds of damages brought upon by external and uncontrollable factors, but they can’t stand in place of each other.

Homeowners insurance can only be used if the owner of the property is the current occupant. In other words, you’ll have to be living on your property. That said, homeowners insurance can’t cover damages under rental occupancy. Insurance companies can only cover these damages if the property is under landlord insurance.

To put it simply, the kind of insurance required for the property is determined by who will stay in it.

Another notable difference between the two is their prices. There are higher risks of accidents in rental properties resulting in higher landlord insurance prices. Compared to homeowners insurance, landlord insurance can be 15% to 100% more expensive.

What your Landlord Insurance Should Cover

External factors that pose a threat to your property investment will depend on your location. For instance, the state of Michigan’s most common natural disasters are storms, floods, wildfires, and tornadoes. Considering what natural disasters occur in Michigan, you want to get an insurance plan that specifically covers these types of possible, unfortunate situations.

Here’s a list of guide questions to help you find a landlord insurance plans that suits your property:

  • What does the plan cover and what are the limitations? (Pro tip: Clarify any vague statements)
  • Will insurance claims be settled with cash value or replacement costs?
  • Can the insurance cover lost rent, water damages, and other highly possible incidents?
  • Can landlord insurance protect me from liabilities of house structure related accidents?

To help you further assess if the landlord insurance plan you’re considering provides comprehensive coverage, take a look at this infographic:

Photo from Pinterest

The point is to avoid being hasty in choosing your landlord insurance plan. Your plan must provide protection against property damages, liabilities, and rental income loss, among many other things that may happen on your property.

Keep It Safe, Keep On Earning

Taking care of your property investment enables you to keep earning so you can use your money for future investments. By taking care of your investments, you also keep your financial well-being secure.

Getting your property investment insured is a surefire way to keep it safe and profitable, so take the time to study what accidents are most likely to occur on your property investment. Getting a comprehensive insurance plan that meets your needs will save not just money, but save you from unnecessary stress too. 

Aside from landlord insurance, consider requiring your tenants to get their own insurance as well. Read more about it in our article on renter’s insurance, and get in touch with us if you need more clarification.

Categories
Wholesale Wholesaling

Your Ultimate Checklist for Wholesaling Real Estate

A wholesaler and a homeowner working out the details of the contract
Photo by Scott Graham

It’s no secret: wholesaling can be a lucrative real estate investment method to earn a profit with minimal capital. On average, you can make around 5-10% of a property’s market value if you wholesale an undervalued home—that means you’re looking at a profit of $10,000 to $20,000 with a $200,000 home if you can get it under market value!

However, getting a slice of this pie does not come easy. Contrary to popular belief, real estate wholesaling takes a whole lot of skill, patience, and elbow grease. 

For example, you need to find a property with a motivated seller, then find a buyer for it, coordinate all the paperwork required, complete the deal as soon as possible, and repeat everything again. You also have to simultaneously grow and maintain your buyer’s list so your business doesn’t come to a halt.

In other words, there’s a lot to keep track of when dealing in wholesaling. 

But there is a solution to it: Make a list! Just like most projects in life, it’s easier to streamline the wholesale process if you have a checklist to guide you. That’s why we’ve written this ultimate checklist for wholesaling real estate—perfectly designed to help wholesale investors like you.

The Wholesale Checklist

Having a guide to the step-by-step requirements of a wholesaler can make the entire procedure easy as pie. But we do understand that not all of the things we’ll mention below will apply to you, so we advise that you focus only on the things that are most relevant to you.

Let’s get to the checklist!

A. Select a Market

Have you selected a market? Have you checked the trends of the current market? 

Selecting a prime market can land you a hot deal. You want to find a market where there isn’t too much competition but is still highly coveted. In other words, try to find a balance—buyer markets that are on an upward trend without much competition to deal with. 

Take for example Burlington, N.C. There’s a total of around 57 thousand brokers in North Carolina—far smaller than states like Florida with 212 thousand. But, the real estate market in Burlington, N.C. is booming right now. In fact, it is the 2nd most lucrative market in the US with listings only lasting an average of 35 days on the market.  

You can only identify potential markets like these if you’re familiar with real estate market trends, so here is a quick jump-off point to get started:

  1. Reference the MLS listings to get an idea of current trends in real estate prices.
  2. Look for how long listings stay on the market. The less time on the market, the faster the turnaround for properties, and the better the situation for you.
  3. Additionally, it’s important to know the median price of properties sold, so you know what you’ll be working with. For instance, in Burlington, it’s $295,000.

Once you’ve chosen your ideal market, you can move on to the next step in the checklist.

B. Build a Buyers List

Have you built your buyer’s list? Have you found any willing buyers in the area? 

You’ll need a robust buyers list for a steady stream of good deals. Your goal is to continuously generate and follow up with the leads in that list so your wholesale investment becomes a growing business.

Here are a few options to build and grow your buyer’s list:

  • Create an online marketing campaign. Use social media and other platforms to get the word out on your name to build a potential buyers list.
  • Use customer relationship management platforms (CRM). Creating accounts on CRM platforms like Hubspot or Zillow can increase your reach to interested buyers.
  • Take note of buyer contact information and criteria. Make a note of the budget of your potential buyers and their contact info. When you find an appealing property, you can reference your list to see if the property coincides with the budget of one of your contacts. 

By having an established and growing buyers list, you can increase the reach of your wholesale business which can lead to more deals and profits.

C. Look for Motivated Sellers

Once you’ve accomplished the first 2 steps, you can now enter the meat of the wholesale process: Finding a motivated seller with a property that coincides with the criteria of your interested buyers. 

Now, in the industry, you’ll notice that distressed properties are popular for real estate wholesaling. There are 2 reasons for this: It’s easier to convince sellers to let go of their unkempt homes, and it’s easier to secure a larger discrepancy versus market price.

But how do you find distressed homes and motivated sellers? You can already do this by increasing your scope, using the same techniques for finding buyers:

  • Use CRM software to find properties. 
  • Use social media to create a marketing campaign for yourself. 
  • Create a dedicated email address and/or phone number to screen incoming leads.

Once you’ve found a motivated seller. You then must hash out your wholesale contract.

D. Create the Wholesale Contract

Having found a motivated seller, you now need to finalize the wholesale contract. When creating the contract, you need to make it clear to the seller that you’re not buying the property. 

You need to establish that you’re only finding an interested buyer for the seller. 

Given that, be sure to establish the terms of what will happen if you fail to find a buyer. For example, you can set up an earnest money clause that will act as a guarantee. This clause will protect you and the seller in the event of failing to find a buyer. You will hand over an earnest money deposit that will act as a contingency that will be returned to you once the wholesale is complete. 

Then, you need to find a buyer for the property.

D. Look for an Interested Buyer

Once the details of the wholesale contract have been decided, you then need to find a willing buyer. Be sure to thoroughly scope out the property to make it easier to find buyers. 

For example, take photos of the property that shows potential buyers exactly what it looks like without having them visit the home. Additionally, take note of important details such as the number of rooms, the size of the property, and the overall condition of the property. 

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information, you should then do the following:

  • Send the property report to targeted buyers on your buyers’ list. Ensure that you send the property only to the buyers with the perfect criteria—or you lose their trust in the long run.
  • Like insurance, you can get in touch with local wholesalers to market to their own buyers. This expands your coverage, helps you grow your network, and makes it easier for you to sell.

Once you find a willing buyer, you can then move on to the contract turn-over. 

E. Assign the Contract 

With a willing buyer, you can then move on to assigning the contract. Here are the basic steps to remember when assigning a contract to a buyer:

  1. Receive the amount necessary to purchase the property from the buyer.
  2. Collect your earnest money deposit from the seller. 
  3. Turnover the buy and sell contract of the property to the buyer. 
  4. Enter into a new assignment contract with the buyer and collect your wholesale fee.
  5. Contact an escrow company to complete the deal after the arrangements have been made.

Once the buyer has the contract, you can move on to the final step of the wholesale process. 

F. Close the Deal 

The escrow company will now oversee the process of transferring the property to the end-buyer. During this phase, you should keep in touch with the escrow company to get updates on the progress of the sale. 

Once the sale is completed, the escrow company will turn over your assignment fee, and your wholesale will be completed. 

Follow this Checklist to Make Your Wholesale Easy 

Getting into wholesaling unprepared can be a recipe for disaster, and we don’t want that—not when real estate wholesalers already tend to have a bad reputation because of newbies making rookie mistakes!

But with the use of a checklist, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of wholesaling, increase your odds of landing a wholesale deal, feel less stressed with conducting your business and reap continuous profits from the many deals you’re scoring.

Take our list and make it your own! Good luck in your venture and feel free to comment on any other concerns you have in the comments section below.

Categories
Landlords

How Landlords Should Handle Emergency Repairs For Your Tenants

Woman’s eyes opened wide expressing shock while on a phone call
Photo by Yan Krukow on Pexels

You’re eating dinner with your family when your phone suddenly rings. Unfortunately, your tenant is calling to tell you of a serious problem—a burst pipe that has completely flooded the kitchen.

As emergency repairs go, landlords are required to immediately take action. Obviously, this is required for safety reasons and legal reasons. In this article, we’ll discuss how to approach emergency repairs so that you can use these in your landlord practices.

That way, you’ll be able to handle emergency repairs like a pro without ruining your weekend plans. Meet your obligations, keep your tenant happy, and protect your investment.

What is Considered a Landlord Emergency?

Before anything else, let’s review the landlord responsibilities in Michigan regarding emergency repairs: 

  • As the owner of the property, landlords are expected to immediately address any dangerous situation that can lead to occupant injury. 
  • Landlords usually do not have unpermitted access to the property during a tenant’s lease – except when a landlord can reasonably believe there’s an emergency issue. 
  • You’re obligated to take action within 24 hours of the tenant informing you of the emergency. Otherwise, tenants can withhold rent, repair & deduct, file a lawsuit, or report to a public official. 

Although the information stated above is from the state of Michigan, other states and cities will have similar rules and responsibilities. Now that we’ve brushed over the legal responsibilities, let’s proceed to what makes an “emergency repair.”

If left up to a tenant, anything that prohibits the tenant from living properly and comfortably on the property is an emergency. Legally, an emergency is anything that is likely to cause injury to a property occupant or visitor.

Here are a few examples:

  • A gas leak, as could cause an explosion or breathing problems, or poisoning.
  • Faulty or exposed wiring could electrocute someone or cause a fire that could result in occupant deaths.
  • A broken water supply line damages occupant possession and/or the property.
  • No heat during the winter months.

Non-emergency examples:

  • Sewer backup
  • No hot water
  • Minor water leaks
  • No electricity (unless it affects heat during winter)
  • List

The general rule to keep in mind is if it can wait until tomorrow, without the situation getting worse, then it is not an emergency

Best Practices as a Landlord for Emergency Repairs

Now that we’ve covered landlord obligations, let’s dive into some of the best practices in handling and preventing emergency repairs, especially during the holidays. No matter what the situation is, here are some tips you need to keep in mind:

  1. Always Be Prompt

The sooner you can fix a problem, the better. As much as possible, don’t let any repair needed last longer than 3 days. Be prompt when dealing with your tenants’ concerns, especially with emergencies. Being prompt will make your tenants happy and protect your property from serious damages.

  1. Keep Up Your Professionalism

Always be respectful and accommodating even during the holidays. Chances are your tenant also doesn’t want to deal with any problems during these times. Remember to always conduct yourself professionally.

  1. Determine if an Actual Emergency
  2. Before taking the next steps, you need to make sure it’s a real emergency. Tenants might not be aware that some issues fall on themselves to fix. For example, some issues like a clogged sink or a broken element on the stove aren’t emergencies that need to be addressed immediately. 

Set Expectations

Before anything, clarify what you are willing and not willing to do in the lease agreement. If your tenants know the extent of your abilities and obligations from the get-go, they won’t place any unreasonable expectations or call you up for repairs that they should handle themselves.

  1. Have a Prevention Plan

The best way to deal with an emergency repair is by avoiding it completely. So, before the holidays come around, do a maintenance check to make sure everything is in order. Identify and deal with any problems you spot during the inspection to protect your property while saving time and effort.

  1. Maintain Good Communication

Whether you can help or not, always keep an open line of communication with your tenants. Even if you can’t fix the problem right away (or the repair isn’t actually considered an emergency repair), picking up their calls and hearing their concerns shows your professionalism as a landlord, and encourages them to keep you updated with the conditions of your investment property.

  1. Have Contacts for Emergencies

For situations that qualify as an emergency, keep a list of contacts with a description of their services. As mentioned earlier in the article, emergency repairs are typically water-related concerns. 

With that being said, one of your emergency contacts should be a plumbing service with a description along the lines of “24/7 service including holidays.” However, if there aren’t any, resort to the next quickest option such as services that can be rendered on the next day.

Regardless if you can do anything or not, you still need to deal with your tenants and their concerns during the holidays. As long as you deal with your landlord’s responsibilities the best that you can, you can get the best possible outcome for emergency repair situations.

Be Prepared for Emergency Repairs

Emergency repairs can be a hassle, every day of the week. But by having good practices that help prepare you for such events, you’ll be well equipped to deal with them any time of the year. After all, you never know when a tenant will call for an emergency repair!

Got any more questions about emergency repairs? Let us know in the comments below!

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