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Landlords

Pros and Cons: Should You Rent to Section 8 Tenants?

Source: Photo by Jem Sahagun on Unsplash

Section 8 tenants are individuals the government has approved for housing assistance. This program is for low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford safe and clean housing. To be eligible for Section 8 assistance, a family must meet specific guidelines that show they require financial help.

Now, of course, there are pros and cons to renting to Section 8 tenants.

Some landlords may hesitate to do so because of the extra work and paperwork or because they have heard stories about problematic tenants. However, there are still benefits to renting to Section 8 tenants, as you’ll realize below.

We’ve listed all the pros and cons to help you make a good decision.

Pros of Renting to Section 8 Tenants

While most information online (especially in forums) list difficult situations with renting out to Section 8 tenants, there are advantages to accepting them that may change your mind. Here are 4 of them to consider if you’re a landlord:

1. Generate Stable Cash Flow

When tenants have Section 8, the government agency pays their rent directly to the landlord or property owner. This means you’re more likely to get paid on time and in full. In addition, the government will still cover the cost if the tenant does not pay their portion of the rent (usually 30%).

2. Increased Tenant Options

When you open your units up to Section 8 tenants, you may have a larger pool of potential renters. This can be beneficial if you live in an area with a tight housing market or if you’re having trouble finding suitable tenants in the area.

3. Opportunity to Help the Needy

By renting to a Section 8 tenant, you’re getting a good deal and helping someone in need.

Families who receive assistance through this program often have low incomes and would otherwise struggle to find affordable and safe housing. As a landlord or property owner, you can make a difference in their lives by providing them with a place to call home.

Cons of Renting to Section 8 Tenants

Of course, there are also some disadvantages to renting to Section 8 tenants—as with any type of rental agreement. Still some concerns are unique to this type of tenant. Here are 3 of them that you’ll need to consider before taking the leap:

1. More Paperwork and Regulations

Renting to Section 8 tenants requires more paperwork and regulation compliance. For example, you’ll need to keep detailed records of your unit and ensure that it meets all the housing standards set by the government. In addition, you may have to deal with inspections regularly.

2. Limited Options for Termination

If you end up with a troublesome tenant, getting them out of your unit may be difficult. The government has strict rules that protect Section 8 tenants, so you’ll need to have a good reason for wanting to terminate their lease.

The increased complexity of contract termination can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially since it’ll be on top of your already-difficult situation.

3. Possible Lowering of Rent

Contrary to the point earlier, if you live in an area with a lot of Section 8 housing, you may be required to lower your rent to stay competitive. In addition, if the government changes its regulations or funding levels, your rent could decrease as well. This may lead to financial problems down the road.

Find Quality Tenants—Section 8 or Not

There are pros and cons to renting to Section 8 tenants. So weigh all your options carefully before deciding. If you decide to rent to them, be prepared for the extra paperwork and regulations involved. You’ll increase your tenant pool, but you’ll need to know the caveats that come with it.

Do you need help finding good tenants? Join as a REIA member today!

We have regular meetings and newsletter that you can greatly benefit from as a landlord. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to further your investment knowledge and reach your investment goals wisely.

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Landlords

5 of the Most Important Clauses Your Lease Agreement Should Have

: A beautiful single-family residence along E Kirby St., Detroit
Source: Zillow

We’ve seen many poorly written leases – and the legal implications can be devastating. That’s why it’s important to avoid cookie-cutter leases that fail to give you the protection you need as a landlord.

Because the truth is this.

No matter what kind of property you’re leasing, you need to have a great, not just a good, lease agreement. This document will protect you and your tenant by outlining the lease terms, including the rent amount, length of tenancy, and rules for using the property.

To help you create a strong lease agreement, we’ve compiled a list of 5 critical clauses that every lease should have, in addition to term, lease payments and other basics.

1. Use Clause

The first clause in your lease agreement should be the use clause. This clause outlines how the tenant may use the property. For example, if you’re leasing a commercial space, the use clause might specify that it can only be used for retail purposes. If you’re renting a residential property, the use clause might determine that it can only be used as a primary residence.

2. Subletting Clause

The second clause in your lease agreement should be the subletting clause. This clause outlines whether or not the tenant is allowed to sublet the property. If you ‌allow subletting, include provisions about how it must be done (e.g., the tenant must get your approval first).

3. Maintenance and Repair Clause

The third clause in your lease agreement should be the maintenance and repair clause—this clause outlines who is responsible for maintaining and repairing the property. In most cases, the landlord handles major repairs, and the tenant is responsible for minor repairs and routine maintenance.

4. Utility Clause

The fourth clause in your lease agreement should be the utility clause—outlining who pays for utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, and trash service. In most SFR residential leases, the landlord is responsible for paying for trash service, while the tenant is responsible for paying for electricity gas and water.

5. Security Deposit Clause

Your lease agreement’s fifth and final clause should be the security deposit clause. This clause outlines the security deposit amount and how it will be used. For example, the security deposit can be used to cover damages to the property or unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy. Be sure to include provisions about how the security deposit will be returned to the tenant at the end of the lease.

Don’t Make Mistakes with Your Clauses

Including these 5 crucial clauses in your lease agreement can help ensure that you and your tenant are protected throughout the tenancy. And don’t forget that these aren’t the only clauses you should include in the agreement! Several other clauses are commonly included, such as a late payment fee clause, a pet policy clause, and a no smoking clause.

Do you need help drafting a strong lease agreement? We can help!

Join as a member today and get in touch with us. You can also sign up to our email newsletter so you never miss any important information like this.

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Landlords

How to Evict a Tenant in Michigan in 2023

Source: Sandra Davidson Real Estate Agents

No matter how well you screen your tenants, you’ll inevitably come across problematic ones who are more trouble than they’re worth. In addition to tenants that stop paying their rent for various reasons, some could be running a liability nightmare or shady business out of your property (putting you at risk of legal consequences), while others may be slobs turning your beloved unit into a garbage dump. You’ll have to evict these problematic tenants before they negatively affect your investments.

But evicting tenants is time-consuming and complicated, requiring you to understand all the regulations involved.

In this article, we provide an overview of the Michigan eviction process to ensure that the ordeal goes smoothly. We also give some information for you to navigate the court system if your tenant contests.

The 5 Steps to Evicting a Tenant in Michigan

There are many reasons why tenants can be evicted from their rental property in Michigan, but here are a few of the most common ones. Having proof of this behavior is not enough to evict them—you should follow specific procedures before they can be legally forced to leave your property.

Here are the steps to evicting your tenant in Michigan:

Step 1: Identify the Grounds for Eviction

As a landlord, you must abide by Michigan’s landlord-tenant laws, which stipulate that tenants may be evicted from a rental property for the following reasons:

  • Failing to pay rent: Tenants who fail to pay their rent on time without giving you any prior notice may be evicted according to Michigan law. Rental payments are immediately considered overdue when they are paid a day past the deadline. A grace period is sometimes provided.
  • Violating the rental lease agreement: Both parties must comply with the signed rental lease agreement for the tenant’s entire stay. While the specific terms vary from landlord to landlord, it usually includes rental property damage.
  • Conducting illegal activity: Under Michigan’s landlord-tenant laws, illegal activities include theft, violence, assault, and involvement in the creation, distribution, or consumption of controlled substances (e.g., drugs and other illegal substances).

If your tenant does one of these things, start the eviction process by serving the tenant with an official written notice. Each reason for eviction has its own rules regarding the length of notice.

Here’s a quick breakdown of each:

Step 2: File the Complaint in the Appropriate Court

After issuing the tenant an eviction notice , the next step is to head to the justice court where the rental property belongs. There, you must file a complaint, which typically costs $45 in Michigan. You might get additional fees of up to $150 though if your case involves overdue payments or damage fees.

An officer of the court will then serve your tenant with the complaint and court summons at least three (3) days before the hearing. They must do so via first-class mail and at least one of these:

  • Giving a copy to the tenant in person
  • Leaving a copy with the tenant’s family member with a request to deliver it to the tenant
  • Posting a copy on the main entrance of the tenant’s rental property

The officer should also have a return receipt confirming that the complaint was sent via first-class mail.

Step 3: Attend the Court Hearing

The eviction hearing takes place within ten (10) days of the summons being issued by the court. However, the court may sometimes decide to hear the case within just five (5) days.

Tenants may object to the eviction by filing a written letter to the court, but it’s not a legal requirement.

If the tenant fails to show up for the hearing, the court will issue a default judgment in your favor. In some cases, the judge can choose to postpone the hearing for seven (7) days, but if they don’t, then they’ll issue a writ of restitution, allowing the eviction process to continue.

This step of the eviction process is usually over within five (5) to ten (10) days, depending on the court’s rules. But if one party files an appeal against the judge’s decision, it will likely take longer.

Step 4: Wait for the Issuance of the Writ of Restitution

If the court decides in your favor, it will issue a writ of restitution, which serves as the tenant’s final notice to vacate the rental property. It also gives the tenants the chance to remove all their belongings before the authorities forcibly remove them and return the unit to you.

The writ of restitution is usually issued ten (10) days after the court serves its judgment, which gives the tenant enough time to file an appeal. However, if they are being evicted for illegal drug activity or health and safety violations, then the writ is issued immediately.

Step 5: Give the Writ of Restitution to Law Enforcement Officials

You have to give law enforcement officials the writ of restitution within seven (7) days of it being issued by the court. However, state law does not specify how quickly you must act, so that’ll be up to your discretion or the number of other evictions already scheduled.

Some areas have introduced guidelines on how quickly the authorities must carry out the writ of restitution, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your local laws.

After receiving the writ of restitution, check with your area’s laws to see if there are local guidelines on how quickly the authorities must carry it out.

Evicting Tenants in Michigan is Complicated, But Doable

Evicting a tenant takes anywhere between two weeks to two months, depending on your circumstances and the reason for eviction. It takes even longer if the tenant decides to appeal the court’s decision. The eviction process may be complicated, but it’s easier with a trained lawyer and property management company.

Get in touch with our team today to help you with everything—from serving official notices to providing writ of restitutions. You’re in good hands with our experienced, expert team.

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Landlords

5 Pro Cleaning Tips for Short-Term Rentals

Source: The Cleanest Room NJ

Whether you’re a new Airbnb host or landlord with a portfolio of short-term rentals, it’s crucial to learn how to clean your space for guests. Doing so not only protects your reputation, but also ensures that the home’s well-maintained, generates consistent bookings, and gives you high and stable profits.

But while deep-cleaning your rental may be at the top of your to-do list—it’s innately a daunting task. It’s different from maintaining your own home, as it comes with a slew of specific challenges, like:

  • Fixing damages caused by guests
  • Coordinating cleaning with guest check-in and check-out times
  • Making sure the cleaning adheres to COVID-19 rules

If you’re dealing with all these challenges, don’t worry. We’re here to help. Here are our expert tips and tricks for cleaning and maintaining your short-term rental.

1. Establish Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Step-by-step SOPs are the backbone of any successful business, which is why you should implement them in your short-term rental. Apart from ensuring that the cleaning process is running smoothly, they also help coordinate your staff, allowing them to work like a well-oiled machine.

Here are a few examples of what they should include:

  • How do you recruit, onboard, train, and manage new cleaning staff
  • How do you schedule, coordinate, and communicate with the team
  • How your team handles things that guests leave behind
  • How your team documents any damages caused by guests
  • How does your team cleans each part of the rental (e.g., what products to use)

You can even turn this into a checklist for your cleaning staff to remember all the things they must do. They can use it to check off tasks as they’re completed, standardizing the entire cleaning process and ensuring nothing was overlooked.

When they follow the SOPs, you can better maintain consistency and reduce the chances of extra stress and unexpected surprises for you and your guests.

2. Adjust Your Turnover Time

Competition on Airbnb is fierce, so most hosts tend to cram as many bookings as possible—often at the expense of maintaining the property. However, if your cleaning measures require more time to execute, consider lengthening your turnover time so the property is completely clean before the next guest arrives.

Adjusting your turnover time may seem like it could hurt your business. But that isn’t the case.

A clean and well-maintained property emphasizes that, as a host, you’re consistent, trustworthy, and reliable. All highly valued by short-term renters. On the other hand, finding crumbs on the floor or broken appliances will put guests off from booking your space again, stopping any chance you have of acquiring rebookings and high occupancy rates.

Cleanliness will make or break you. So always allot time to complete it, or your guests won’t return.

3. Consider Using Digital Tools

Thanks to technological advancements, there’s now a slew of digital tools for real estate companies that you can use to maximize your cleaning process.

Here are a few examples:

Digital real estate tools solve tedious management responsibilities, like scheduling and payroll. Specific ones like remote smart locks also allow you to grant and revoke access without stepping foot on the property, so you can coordinate cleaning and repair work while keeping the rental secure.

5. Be Transparent

The COVID-19 pandemic has made travelers more aware of their health, so they’ll undoubtedly appreciate knowing the various measures you’ve taken to ensure the rental’s cleanliness. Even a simple note saying you changed the bed linens will increase the chances of them returning.

Here’s what your welcome note can look like to assure your guests:

Hello there! Our team has cleaned this rental for your safety. We are fully vaccinated, wear masks while cleaning the home, and use professional-grade products to disinfect every nook and cranny. Should you have any concerns, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll address your issues immediately.

Transparency also helps reinforce what a great place your rental is, making guests feel confident they’ll enjoy their stay away from home without compromising their health. If you took any additional precautions, mention them in the note as well. Guests will love that!

Short-Term Rental Cleaning: Tough, but Manageable

Cleaning a short-term rental isn’t just about mopping the floors and wiping the counter. It also involves managing the staff and ensuring that the property remains consistently well-maintained—no matter the number of guests who walk through its doors.

As long as you have established standardized processes and staff trained to adhere to them, your short-term rental will undoubtedly stay sparkling clean and, ultimately, profitable.

Do you need more help? Get in touch with our team of expert property managers at Logical Property Management. We have more than two decades of experience and can answer any of your questions.

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Landlords

Minimize the Learning Curve: 4 Expert Tips Beginner Landlords Need to Know

A young man looking professional in his stylish suit
Source: Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Landlording can be a lucrative business, but it also comes with its own challenges. That’s why it’s essential to minimize the learning curve as much as possible and get tips from those who have been in the business for a while. You don’t have to take the trial-and-error approach if you already know the “secrets” and tricks to landlording successfully!

Read on to know the four expert tips for successful real estate investing.

Make It Difficult for Rental Advertising Scammers

Unfortunately, there are a lot of rental property scammers out there—especially on Craigslist. One of the common scams is where other people will steal your real estate listing, use the property information and photos, and replace the contact details with their own numbers and email addresses.

They’ll then:

  1. Attract interested tenants
  2. Say that they’re “currently out of the country” and can’t turn over the keys to them
  3. Have the tenants hire a locksmith to change the locks themselves
  4. Collect rent money and security deposit

Then disappear into thin air. You’ll be left with clueless tenants you didn’t get to screen, and a rental property you can’t rent out without telling the scammed tenants to go.

How can you avoid these scams?

Be proactive and mark your photos with your phone number and contact information. Scammers won’t take the extra time and effort to remove your watermarks; they’ll skip over your listing and look for other opportunities elsewhere.

Another tip is never to publish the actual address of your home. Instead, use the nearest cross streets to give tenants a good indication of where your property is without revealing the address to scammers.

Be Attentive and Creative in Screening Tenants

The ultimate goal of screening tenants is to ensure they are responsible people who’ll pay rent on time, maintain your property well, and abide by all the clauses in your lease agreement. In other words, the best way to avoid bad tenants is by having a good screening process.

Here are our pro tips on how to screen them:

  • Assess their cleanliness: Walk them to their car. Take a peek at how clean or dirty their car is inside. Chances are, if their vehicle is filled with garbage (like this poor vehicle), they’ll treat your rental home the same way, too. Their car is a reflection of what’s to come for your home. Or even do a surprise visit to their current residence – how it looks is how your property will look after they move in.
  • See if they have pets: Don’t ask if they have animals, because they can easily say no to that. Instead, ask how many animals they have—indicating that you already know they have pets and you only want to know how many of them there are. Make it a bit harder for them to lie.

Moreover, don’t believe anybody who says that their animals will “live somewhere else”. All too often, those animals will only live elsewhere for a while before moving into the home.

In other words, make it slightly more difficult for them to hide secrets from you. By checking their car and assuming that they have pets, you’ll get more honest answers out of the applicants, making it easier to decide if you want to accept them as your tenants or not.

Be Cautious in Accepting Upfront Payments Covering Multiple Months

Receiving upfront rent payments may seem great for you. You get to secure the money earlier without having to chase tenants for payments every month. However, take note of the following:

  • Is it legal? State and landlord laws might have a maximum upfront rent payment allowable, while some will require you to pay interest on it. Ensure that you’re familiar with the laws before accepting any upfront rent.
  • Why can the tenant afford it? Did they come upon some money and want to ensure that it goes somewhere necessary before they spend it irresponsibly? If that’s the case, they might not have a stable income or employment to afford the home in the first place.

Of course, there are exceptions to these situations. If you’re renting out to students, for example, the parents might pay upfront rent so their family won’t have to worry about paying monthly rent anymore.

Have a Thorough Lease Agreement

You may be tempted to use online lease agreement templates so you won’t have to create one from scratch. However, barebones templates won’t do much in protecting you or your investment property.

Plus, there are specific state and local landlording laws that you’ll have to consider in your lease, and other rental-specific rules that you’ll want to have (e.g., regarding smoking, pets, or painting the home’s interior). These are things that generic templates won’t guarantee or cover.

Instead, everything you want the tenants to know should be included in the lease agreement, so use online templates only as a guide to creating your own document.

Once your attorney approves the draft, sit down with your tenant and go through the entire thing. Don’t assume that they’ll read the agreement on their own—most of them will skim through it and call it a day. You’ll end up with tenants that will likely forget your rules, creating many problems down the line that could’ve been avoided in the first place.

Ensure that they know and understand your rules by having them put their initials at the start of every paragraph or sign every page of the agreement as confirmation. If anything unfortunate happens in the future, the tenants won’t have any excuse to say that they didn’t know the rental lease guidelines.

Pro Tips for a Successful Real Estate Investment Business

There are many other pro tips that you can learn from experts. Knowing these secrets is the best way to ease yourself into the rental business, become a great landlord for your tenants, maintain your real estate property, and protect your monthly cash flow for investment success.

Become a successful landlord today! Get in touch with me or my team at Logical Property Management.

We’ve been managing properties for more than two decades now, and have more tips and tricks to share for a thriving rental property business.

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Landlords

2022 Real Estate Forecast for Rental Property Investors in Detroit

Sign that says House For Rent in front of a building
SOURCE: Ian Samkov on Pexels

The US real estate market experienced a wild ride in the last few years, but things have started to settle down.

Many experts and agents forecast that normalcy is around the corner, especially since there was an increase in new listings with a small drop in closed sales in Southeast Michigan in 2021 compared to the previous year.

In the City of Detroit, the news is even better—total sales went up by 8.8% year-over-year.

Right now, Motor City is presently a renter’s market. The City of Detroit has seen an increase in renters vs homeowners, with renting households accounting for 44% of occupied housing units—growing by 35% over the past 3 years.

This is great news for landlords, as it means the tenant pools are increasing in size.

So, what’s in store for rental property investors in the City of Detroit? Let’s take a look.

Employment on the Up, Better Rental Prospects

The population of born-and-bred Detroiters has declined. However, we’re seeing plenty of working-age adults moving in, especially with opportunities opening up.

Just take a look at these statistics:

  • Employment growth is up 1.18% year-over-year in the city of Detroit.
  • The greater Detroit-Warren-Dearborn area saw an over-32% increase in GDP.
  • The City of Detroit is looking at a forecast of 29.31% rate for job growth and a 4.7% rate for job gain.

This shows positive trends for employment in the City of Detroit. And more people with jobs means more renters who are financially stable to afford beautiful rental properties. Moreover, it’ll help increase your occupancy rate so you can recoup your capital in a short time.

Affordable Homes with Increasing Sales Prices

As of July 2022, the median list price for homes is only $80,500, with median sales prices at $75,000. The median number of days spent on the market is a little high (85 days), but that’s already an improvement from the 143 days back in February 2022.

Currently, homes in the City of Detroit go for 11.5% below the asking price as of July 2022, but it’s worth noting that median listing and sales prices have already skyrocketed. Back in March 2022, the median selling price was $54,500. This shows a 137% increase in sales price in just a few months.

The stats show that Detroit’s property market is recovering steadily, heading towards pre-pandemic levels or better. For those looking to invest in homes, this is good news mainly due to two reasons:

  1. Healthy rent-to-price ratios, as you can easily purchase below-$100k homes and rent them out for at least $1,000 monthly. You’ll generate positive cash flow from the get-go and reap investment returns fast.
  2. Enjoy significant equity gains since you’ll purchase while the prices are still low. As home values in the City of Detroit continue to increase, you’ll steadily generate equity from rising property appreciation rates.

In short, now is the perfect time to invest in Motor City’s affordable housing market while prices are low. As the economy recovers and grows, your likelihood of renting and selling properties will only increase simultaneously.

simultaneously.

Emerging Opportunities to Invest in Condos

Meanwhile, in the urban areas of the City of Detroit, it’s also an excellent time to invest in condominiums. The greater downtown area suffered due to COVID-19, and inventory went down. But as businesses reopen and new developments continue, there’s a shift from a buyer’s to a seller’s market on the horizon.

Some key areas include Brush Park and North Corktown, with new developments breaking ground in 2022. We expect this will lead to a great economic boom for real estate investors looking to fill their commercial properties as well as more renter seeking condos in the heart of downtown.

Real Estate Forecast for 2022

It may be a renter’s market now, but as the city’s economy recovers, there could be a shift in trend soon. With the median listing price for homes still fairly low and the median sales prices increasing, there’s no better time to invest.

Overall, things are looking up for the real estate market in the City of Detroit, so catch the wave before you miss out!

If you’re looking to invest in real estate in the City of Detroit, hit us up at Logical Property Management! We’ll help you choose the best investment locations to maximize your returns.

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Landlords

Top 3 Upcoming Trends of Short-Term and Vacation Rentals in 2022

An STR in the metro market
Photo by Andrea Davis

During the pandemic, STRs took a hit to their profits. Let’s take a look at some of the upcoming trends and the positive outlook facing STRs in 2022.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the short-term rental (STR) market was going strong. In fact, Airbnb reported a 33% increase in booking during February 2020—a month before the pandemic hit. In contrast, during the pandemic, STR bookings took a massive hit. By January 2021, Airbnb reported record low bookings, down 31% from their average.

It’s now 2 been years and we have to ask: Will the STR market recover?

While we have seen that people are becoming more willing to travel with COVID-19 restrictions slowly easing up, there are more than a handful of factors that affect the future of STRs. You’ll need to know these if you want to navigate the uncharted waters ahead.

Let’s take a look at some projections for the STR market in 2022 and beyond.

STR Trends for 2022 and Beyond

If you’re running an STR business, you’ll have to reevaluate your strategies to adjust to the changes. With how COVID-19 changed how we look at STRs, the market has adjusted to fit the new norm. Here are 3 of the biggest changes we can expect to see for STRs.

#1 – The Fall of Seasonality

Before COVID-19 made vacations impossible, it was fairly easy to predict when booking would increase.

For example, for a property located in the mountains, you’re likely to see an increase in tenants during the winter. For rentals located near theme parks or beaches, such as Orlando and California, you would see an increase in booking during spring and summer vacations.

However, thanks to the rise and familiarity of remote work (both for employers and employees), people are more willing to go on a vacation during off-peak seasons. In a May 2021 report, Airbnb recorded that 64% of respondents are willing to travel during off-peak seasons—making bookings highly unpredictable.

With people more willing to travel during off-peak seasons, bookings for vacation rentals might see sporadic bookings throughout the year. The number of total bookings might be roughly the same, but it won’t be concentrated on seasons.

To adjust to this, you should provide deals and discounts more frequently instead of focusing on seasons. Having regular weekend discounts can target the customers looking for bookings during off-seasons.

#2 – Recovery of the Urban Market

During the height of the pandemic, many people fled from cities to avoid the crowd. For instance, over 320,000 people fled New York City during the height of the pandemic, primarily to get away from crowded areas and retreat to more rural environments.

However, with the increased distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, people are returning to normalcy in terms of their comfort with meeting people. They aren’t as afraid of the crowds inherent to cities anymore as they were during the height of COVID-19.

In fact, New York City had an influx of  new residents starting in May last year. Plus, malls are reopening, more restaurants offer indoor dining, public transportation is returning to normal operations, and people are starting to repopulate the cities.

With people flooding back into the city, the need for accommodations will rise. Therefore, the urban market is looking to make a fast recovery—giving you the perfect opportunity to grow with it.

#3 – Longer Bookings Are Becoming the Norm

With the rise of remote work and online schooling (at least, for the meantime), people have changed the reasons for their vacations and, in turn, the duration of their rentals. The increase of flexibility with our responsibilities affected the length of everybody’s willingness to travel.

In a recent report, Airbnb showed that the number of people willing to book stays over 28 days has almost doubled. This is a great opportunity for your STR to adjust your pricing, provide duration-focused promotions, and meet the increased demand.

For example, offering a 10% discount for every additional week that they book can entice customers to choose your STR for a month-long trip. Even providing one free day for every successful referral can encourage people to give in to a longer vacation—and give you another guest to look forward to!

By providing customers with attractive deals for long-term bookings, you can:

  • Increase the number of visitors choosing your STR
  • Increase your occupancy rate
  • Increase and strengthen your rental income

Take Advantage of STR Opportunities in 2022

With travel restrictions lifting, the future for STR investments is looking brighter than ever. Our world is returning to pre-pandemic norms and the STR business is rebounding—if you use the opportunities wisely.

Take these trends into account and change your STR’s business strategy. Adhering to the market and behavior shifts will certainly strengthen and grow your profits as an STR owner, thriving in a market that people are looking for in 2022 and beyond.

Did you notice any other shifts in the STR market? Comment below and let’s get a discussion going.  

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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!

Categories
Landlords

Real Estate Magic: 4 Secrets of Successful Landlords

A landlord handing over house keys to their new tenant
Photo by Alena Darmel

Being a landlord isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. If you try to go in blind, inexperienced, and without proper knowledge—you’ll likely make dire mistakes that will ruin your bottom line.

Plus, doing some research online can only get you so far. You’ll get some bits of good information, but none will necessarily guarantee your success. No, you need to know how the pros do it so you can put yourself in the right direction towards becoming a successful landlord.

Not to worry, we’ve already compiled their “secrets” for you. No need to look elsewhere, here are the 5 things you should perfect to be as successful as the giants out there.

1. Successful Landlords Conduct Thorough Tenant Screening

Screening is an important process for every landlord, so it’s of utmost importance that you have a firm grasp of how to properly screen potential tenants. Add to that, you need to abide by tenant screening laws to avoid potential lawsuits.

Generally, you need to keep these factors in mind when screening applicants: 

  • Abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which limits your access to applicant information without their consent. 
  • Follow the Fair Housing Act, where it’s illegal for you to reject applicants due to race, sex, disabilities, and other discriminatory factors.
  • Perform rigorous background checks on their credit history and criminal records.

Once you make sure to abide by these laws, you should make a checklist for your ideal tenants. If your screening process is rigorous, you’ll end up with much better tenants. They’ll pay rent on time, take care of your property, and abide by everything in the lease agreement.  

2. Successful Landlords Have a Well-Written Lease Agreement

You need to be specific when writing the lease agreement, otherwise, you might run into confusion later on. List down all the things the tenant can do, all the things they can’t, from having pets to subletting. That way, there aren’t any misunderstandings down the road.

A good contract will make sure to include terms like:

  • Names of all the tenants
  • The maximum occupancy
  • The terms of the lease
  • The monthly rent
  • Deposits and fees

Other terms you might include in a lease agreement are: 

  • Pet policies
  • Parking arrangements
  • Allowed renovations
  • Subletting conditions
  • Property maintenance
  • Pest control schedule

With a thorough lease agreement, you can protect yourself, maintain your assets well, and be confident that your tenants will support you in your rental business.

3. Successful Landlords Manage Their Property Professionally

How else do you keep good tenants? Well, you do so by being professional at all times. Trust us, this goes a long way in keeping your tenants happy and satisfied enough to stay longer.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when managing your tenants:

  • Make it easy for your tenants to reach you. Ensure that they have your contact details and are fully aware of what situations call for immediate action.
  • Keep on top of tenant emergencies like repair requests, so the property remains habitable and you solve issues before it turns into an expensive repair.
  • Don’t be afraid to evict those who defy the lease agreement, such as:
    • Not paying rent on time or in full
    • Does major property renovations without your permission
    • Conducts an illegal business in your rental property
    • Causes excessive property damage (e.g., broken structures, flooded bathrooms, pest infestations due to hoarding or garbage)

Instead, your goal is to establish and nurture a healthy landlord-tenant relationship where both parties are respectful. That way, tenants will stay longer and effectively stabilize your monthly cash flow and overall investment.

4. Successful Landlords Prioritize Keeping Good Tenants

Landlords don’t just find good tenants—they keep them. In fact, successful landlords are experts at keeping quality tenants around for a long time. For example, they’ll offer to upgrade selected amenities in exchange for renewing the lease. 

Those incentives can include things like:

  • An internet connection upgrade
  • New flooring or furnishings
  • Improved HVAC system
  • New kitchen appliances
  • New in-suite laundry

While these do cost a pretty penny, doing so will reduce vacancies, turnovers, and maintenance. In other words, they look at the big picture and treat their tenants as they would want to be treated. By doing that, they’re less likely to look elsewhere leaving your rental vacant and not profitable. 

Learn How to be a Successful Landlord from the Start

Successful landlords don’t waste their time and money on situations that they can avoid. Instead, they are proactive in figuring out ways to find quality tenants, keep them around for a long time, and list all obligations and expectations down from the get-go.

To give you a running start to becoming a great landlord, follow our tips! By running your rental property like a pro, you won’t have to spend unnecessary time, money, and effort to earn back your investment returns—and more.

Do you have any landlord tips for those starting out? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Categories
Wholesaling

Paperwork Made Easy: The Important Details Every Real Estate Wholesaler Should Look For

The buyer, seller, and wholesaler hashing out a contract.
Photo by Pexels

When conducting wholesale deals, contract negotiations become an everyday occurrence in your life. This means that if you aren’t knowledgeable about the requirements and details of wholesale contracts—you can end up losing a deal.

You have to be exceptionally familiar with contracts to be a successful wholesaler, which is why we’re writing this article to dive deep into the key paperwork you’ll need. Nail these on the head, and you can navigate through the world of real estate wholesaling with ease.

What is A Buy and Sell Contract? 

Otherwise known as a purchase agreement, this is the contract you enter with the seller of the property. It acts as a legally binding agreement and outlines the terms of the offer between a buyer and seller in real estate transactions. 

Your job as the wholesaler is to act as a middleman and find a willing investor to buy the property. That means to need to know how this is the contract permits them to purchase the home. Once you find a buyer, this contract transfers from you—the wholesaler—to the buyer. 

The content of the buy and sell contract should have the following: 

  • The date of the agreement 
  • The name of the seller/individuals listed on the property’s title
  • The buyer’s name
  • Property address 
  • The earnest money deposit. 
  • The total purchase price of the property
  • Financing 
  • Closing date and transfer of title 
  • Escrow and closing fees 
    • The buyer can be assigned to pay the fees
    • Or it can be the seller 
    • Or they can pay equally 
    • Or they can pay their respective escrow and closing fees
  • Signatures of you and the sellers
  • Date of signature

This list isn’t exhaustive, but these are the most relevant things you should pay attention to in buy and sell contracts. As long as you have these covered, you should be good to go.

Note that your buyer will also thoroughly examine the agreement before getting into the deal with you. As such, it’s best that you know your way around these contracts well enough to answer their questions and successfully close the sale.

What Is A Seller’s Disclosure? 

The State of Michigan requires a seller to complete and sign this disclosure to accompany any and all purchase transactions. It’s meant to protect a buyer from seller misrepresentation about the condition of a residential property.

Since most sellers aren’t aware of this form, you’ll want to keep a copy with your buy-sell contracts. Do NOT ever complete the form though, for a seller—legally they must complete it.

The next one to know is an assignment agreement. 

What is An Assignment Agreement? 

An assignment agreement is a real estate contract that transfers your rights and responsibilities listed in the purchase agreement to your investor—the new buyer. Often, this can also be referred to as an “Assignment of Real Estate Purchase and Sale” agreement.

After signing this contract, the buyer will take over the purchase agreement, and you’ll be awarded an assignment fee. Only you and the buyer will receive copies of an assignment agreement since the seller is not involved in completing an assignment contract.

An assignment contract needs to contain the following: 

  • The agreed-upon assignment fee
  • The assignor’s name 
  • The assignee’s name
  • The date of agreement on the purchase contract
  • The names on the purchase agreement
  • Location of the property 
  • Closing date 
  • Assignee to pay the security deposit in escrow 
  • Signatures of you and the buyer 
  • Date of signature

Once the assignment contract has been signed and fulfilled, the investor will then take over the purchase agreement. After that, the buyer closes on the property and you’ll be awarded your assignment fee.

Wholesaling Contracts Made Easy 

There’s a lot of paperwork that comes with wholesaling in the real estate business. If you get in over your head and gloss over every other contract you get into, you can end up losing your wholesale deals—or worse—alienating your potential buyers. 

If you ask us, it’s just not a risk worth taking if you want to grow your wholesaling business.

With our help, you’ll have a good idea of how the contracts you’ll be dealing with regularly are done. If you need more help with wholesaling paperwork, feel free to reach out to us!

Have any questions about wholesaling contracts? Let us know in the comments below!

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