Landlord and Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities

Landlord and Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities

Properties require routine maintenance to keep them in top shape. Rental properties frequently require more continuous maintenance than single family homes because of the size and number of residents. Learn the duties landlords and tenants have under landlord renter law, in addition to optional tasks which a tenant may carry on to help keep the lease in good condition.

5 Things Every Property Manager Should Delegate to Grow Successfully

When you began as a landlord, you probably wanted to manage everything yourself.

You may have done it to keep overhead costs down or because you weren’t sure exactly what tasks are required from a landlord on a day to day basis.

When you have a house or two under your belt, nevertheless, you likely discovered that the situation isn't as workable as you first thought.

You end up taking an excessive amount of time from this day to check out property issues, dealing with tenant billing, or spending hours figuring out screening.

Rather than forcing yourself to do everything, think about assigning these 5 property management jobs.

1. Bookkeeping

If you aren't an accountant by trade, keeping track of income, expenditures, and other associated property fees can be a full-time job by itself.

Should you stay with a handful of properties, you may not need to delegate bookkeeping tasks, but if you entered the landlord business to cultivate your property portfolio, a bookkeeper is essential.

2. Marketing

Marketing is another specialized skill that may essentially be a full-time job.

Content advertising, paid search engine marketing, local advertising, direct marketing, and search engine optimization are all strategies that help improve your house's presence.

You may only require marketing services when you have open listings, so it is reasonable to delegate this job to a contractor or consultant who manages it on an off-the-shelf foundation.

As soon as it's possible to do your marketing, it requires a significant amount of investigating to figure out the most cost effective methods.

When you delegate this task, you get that technical expertise on hand in any way times.

3. Rental billing

Wish to avoid the time necessary to chase tenants around to pick up payments?

Electronic billing services geared toward landlords provides you with a means to cut out that hassle .

These systems not only eliminate the time necessary to get payments from your tenants, but it also supplies you with a way to rapidly deposit the amount into your operating accounts .

Mobile deposits eliminate some hassles connected with checks, but it still requires action on your part.

4. Tenant screening

Tenant screening takes up a substantial part of time.

Additionally, it is important that you understand how to accurately read the info on credit reports, background checks, along with other screening information. Instead of working with it yourself, third party solutions can handle the checks for you and provide you accurate feedback to assist you pick the best tenants.

You would like to get the full tenant image so that you don't encounter heavy renter turnover.

5. Maintenance

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Even when you're a DIY master, then it is useful to have contractors available for plumbing, electrical work and general contracting.

Up-keeping properties quickly and efficiently is important for a lot of reasons, such as: preventing further damage, assessing the current state of the house, and ensuring renter happiness (which leads to decreased turnover).

Between finding a trustworthy maintenance business in a short length of time, negotiating a reasonable speed, and working with everybody's schedules so that the maintenance team has access to the home, it is easy to become overwhelmed and end up frustrating your tenants. A 3rd party maintenance coordination company can take that off your plate, be it after hours, 24/7 emergency, or full time coordination.

Complete Guide for Property Maintenance

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Property management and maintenance services might look like two sides of the same coin. Though they're equally essential for maintaining and enhancing your property's income and value, they are different areas. Whether you manage residential, student housing, or industrial properties, property maintenance services refer to activities involved with the upkeep of your property. Therefore, it's sometimes regarded as only a subset of overall property management actions.

Obviously, property management also contains each of the tasks contained in real estate operations, such as collecting rent, property promotion, bookkeeping, and managing rentals. While handling properties requires more than maintaining them, no property owner or manager wants to simply leave such a critical element of maintenance management to chance. Take a little time to learn more about various facets of building maintenance management, why it's so important, and of course, how to manage it better and more efficiently.

What is Property Maintenance and Why Should it Matter to You?

Property maintenance is the plan and activities involved with maintaining your rental properties. There are routine property maintenance jobs, such as ensuring fire detectors are in working order, pool services (if appropriate ), ensuring lighting is practical, and so on. Additionally, there are larger, less frequent maintenance projects like roof, parking lot or walkway paving, etc..

The main reason maintenance is so critical is to avoid the unexpected maintenance issues that could occur if the upkeep is ignored. You can't overstate the importance of home maintenance services. 1 report pinpointed the epidemic of SARS from Hong Kong to bad construction maintenance. Other potential and more prevalent hazards include injuries from falling construction materials, fires, or poorly kept walkways. No property manager or owner would like to face claims of negligence in court, cope with skyrocketing insurance premiums, or expertise poor press and negative testimonials. To avoid serious difficulties, property managers have to think about maintenance among the most important parts of their job.

Besides reducing the possibility of property injuries on your own, your employees, along with your tenants, you want to have a fantastic property construction maintenance system in place for plenty of other reasons too. Consider just a couple of examples:

Increased home value: A preserved property will hold value or increase in value. The lack of repairs will detract from the home's market value and rental rates.

Satisfied tenants: Poor upkeep of buildings, land, and appliances can generate dissatisfied tenants and might break the terms of your own lease.

Reduced prices: An efficient property management program can save money by minimizing risks, extending the life span of appliances and equipment, fulfilling tenants, and decreasing manual work.

Less work: Property managers have plenty of work to perform. Using a construction maintenance program set up, you can cut back the time you spend calling tenants and tenants, tracking work orders, manually entering data in other software, paying invoices, and dealing with emergencies.

It's no secret that you have to keep your house maintained to maximize its own value. Subsequently, this can provide your company an opportunity to maximize rental prices and also be more selective about tenants. When you meet tenants needs, then you also get to appreciate lower turnover and reduce the probability of fees that you have broken the end of the lease agreement through neglect.

Your prudent investment in a good property maintenance program will help improve your profits, preserve your good reputation, save some time, and reduce hassles. You've got every reason to invest in property care providers.

The Way to Provide Superior Property Maintenance Services

At the Maximum level, your property maintenance services must include:

A record of routine upkeep, that you perform on a monthly, seasonal, or annual basis; like this Winter Checklist. A very simple example could include having the HVAC system serviced twice a year or making sure the roof was cleared of debris before it snows. Scheduled maintenance can extend the helpful lifetime of valuable assets and decrease the chance of expensive, urgent repairs. As a property manager, you or your workers may also notice maintenance problems, such as ice on paths, that you will need to address instantly. You require a means to communicate, manage, and monitor maintenance problems to keep your property safe and renters satisfied.

Great property maintenance will supply you and your company with a lot of benefits. By providing both renters and owners the advantages of outstanding upkeep, property managers can even personally benefit by increasing their own productivity and value for their employers and connection with renters.

Still, achieving these advantages requires an ability to communicate with tenants and vendors, handle work orders, budget for work and supplies, and stay on top of programs. To get a handle on how much effort successful property management requires, it's crucial that you drill down from the high-level overview above into the main activities which must get managed to assure appropriate property maintenance.

Respond to Requests From Tenants

Tenants may call in at any moment with maintenance requests that range from routine to urgent. Some examples could include anything from regular requests to alter light bulbs to urgent problems with leaky or clogged plumbing. You might field requests by phone/text or email, and of course, a few of those requests will happen after average working hours.

You need a maintenance management system to be sure tenants are satisfied by offering a handy way to communicate. Tenants also need assurance that somebody is getting the message and fixing their difficulty. Some property managers discover that handling phone calls to report and then ask information about repairs requires more time than simply tackling the repairs.

The very best property maintenance programs make it possible for tenants to publish requests and also track their status online. Nowadays, polls have discovered that customers increasingly want to serve themselves. Self-serve choices make coping with maintenance issues simpler for you and much more convenient for your tenants.

Schedule Routine Maintenance

Property maintenance supervisors should schedule certain maintenance tasks. Some examples could include routine maintenance like cleaning leaves off the roof at the fall or altering HVAC filters every few months. To keep the property, keep expensive systems running, ensure nothing falls through the cracks, and reduce risks, somebody has to manage work orders to be certain these periodic tasks have been completed on schedule.

Without maintenance tracking software, the property manager must spend some time following up and sometimes, communicating with tenants and owners. Fortunately, the same apps that may handle requests from tenants may also have calendar features that allow property managers to program jobs using a calendar.

This type of property maintenance scheduling applications will make sure important deadlines don't fall through the cracks. They can even automatically send messages to interested parties.

Track and Handle Expenses

Of course, property managers also must be certain contractors get paid and expenses get tracked. Without integrated maintenance software programs, the house manager may have to handle each of these tasks manually. This kind of manual effort constantly wastes time and allows for errors.

Good property maintenance software should also integrate with accounting applications and other applications. There is no reason to have to manually take information from the property management app and then enter it by hand in additional applications.

If you're an experienced property manager, you know how much work goes into handling property needs. Once you drill down into all the tasks involved with property management, you will also see that supplying property maintenance service is only 1 task out of many.

You understand why you need to invest in excellent maintenance. An investment in the appropriate tools can help you save money, decrease burden, and generate higher profits.

Simplifying and Improving Property Care

To simplify and enhance property upkeep, you should consider the benefits of these good options:

The ideal property management software will include features that will please clients, building owners, and of course, home supervisors. It allows renters to make maintenance requests online. Following that, they could use the same app to monitor the status of the request and get communication. Many property managers realize that they save plenty of time on telephone calls, particularly at inconvenient times, to warrant the program.

Meanwhile, you,personally, property owners, and some other stakeholders can watch the status of work orders. When it's time to send information to bookkeeping, this integrated application removes the need for manual data entry simply by exporting the information electronically. This sort of software lets you automate a lot of your business processes and improve renter satisfaction through self-serve alternatives.

Experienced property managers can benefit from contracting out almost all the hard work involved with maintenance services for renters. Trained customer service agents may take calls or online requests, troubleshoot care requests to mitigate problems, dispatch approved vendors, and update the property maintenance software themselves. Trained maintenance experts allow you to have a expert care department available instantly with no startup costs or training delays. Meanwhile, tenants, property managers, and the other stakeholders will have access to the requests, so that everybody can track the work order status.

Mostly, hiring property maintenance services will free your time to concentrate on other tasks involved in handling tenants and properties. You may also consider the benefits of making certain that your property is represented by specialized service agents and mended by licensed contractors.

Benefits of relying on trusted property care managers include:

  • Your renters can enjoy the ease of self-serve care requests and tracking.

  • You will benefit from the ease of having automatic property maintenance services managed by people that you can trust.

  • Property owners, investors, and landlords will be happy to know that approved vendors will soon be dispatched to maintain their property's value and reputation.

  • How to Offer the Very Best Property Maintenance Services

  • Care and renovation solutions for investors and owners help maintain property value and reduce risks.

  • Care services for renters keep them happy and also make it feasible to optimize rents, decrease turnover, and hopefully, attract better renters.

As soon as you are able to work more efficiently, everybody involved gains. At Latchel we believe that you cannot get better by staying the same- so we set out revolutionize property maintenance coordination. Want to learn how Latchel can help you save time, money, and work order hassles? Schedule a free consult here: https://latchel.as.me/intro

How to Make 1099s Easier

Do you scramble at the end of the year getting 1099s together for all of your contractors? It’s a real pain isn’t it?

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At Latchel we work with thousands of contractors so we know a thing or two about simplifying the process of issuing 1099s.

Here’s what you need to know:

Did you pay by check or credit card?

Starting in 2012, the rules around 1099 reporting changed. From that point forward credit card processing companies became responsible for reporting transactions made by card.

Here are the instructions in IRS Form 1099-MISC, the form you use for reporting payments to your contractors:

Payments made with a credit card or payment card and certain other types of payments, including third-party network transactions, must be reported on Form 1099-K by the payment settlement entity under section 6050W and are not subject to reporting on Form 1099-MISC. See the separate Instructions for Form 1099-K.

Instructions for Form 1099-MISC (2019) , Page 2

Here’s what this means: if you paid via card (whether it was debit or credit) you don’t have to worry about sending a 1099 to your contractors. If you paid via check or an ACH transaction, however, you may need to.

How much did you pay your contractors?

Reporting is required for any person (corporations are people, my friends!) you paid $600 or more to over the course of the year. Remember, this $600 only applies to people you paid via cash, check, or ACH transactions. If you used a credit or debit card the payment processor (i.e. Paypal, Stripe, etc.) is responsible for reporting under 1099-K.

What about the Latchel Contractor Network?

Latchel understands how time consuming it can be to handle all of the 1099 reporting requirements for contractors. That’s why we make it simple for any contractors sourced by Latchel and paid via the Latchel platform.

We have set up our payment platform and operation so that we take care of all of the 1099 reporting requirements, regardless of whether you pay via ACH or card. In other words, if you pay the contractor through Latchel, then we handle the 1099.

Makes things easier for you, right?

We don’t yet offer payments to your existing contractors through the Latchel platform. Until then, you’re still responsible for paying your own contractors and issuing them 1099s at the end of the year. If it’s a Latchel Contractor, then you’re good.

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What if my accountants says I still need to issue 1099s even for card payments?

First, if you paid through the Latchel platform, we saved your accountant some time. No need to double-issue 1099s since we’re already taking care of it.

Second, I hate to break it to you, but your accountant is wrong. The laws are confusing, though, and there is a lot of mis-information out there. Kelly Erb, Forbes writer and tax expert explained in an article shortly after these laws went into effect:

Some tax professionals… have been advising clients since 2012 not to report certain transactions on a form 1099-MISC… But it's clear that not all taxpayers, tax professionals and yes, even some in IRS, understand that to be the case. This, six years after the law was passed and two years after the law took effect.

In fact, sending unnecessary 1099-MISC forms to your contractors create unnecessary work for them and yourself. Since they’re already receiving 1099-Ks from the payment processing companies, the income is being double reported. They should be coming back to you asking you to remove any records that are already on 1099-Ks.

If you want to talk with Latchel about our maintenance coordination service (and simplifying payments to contractors) join our Discord community to chat or schedule a meeting with us!

The Future of Smart Homes for Single Family Rentals and Short Term Vacation Rentals

The people at Zillow are at the top of the game in regards to data-driven insights regarding the residential leasing and property markets. The good people doing the data crunching see a J-curve trend of rental properties getting on board using the Web of Things and providing Internet connectivity among devices within a house.

The Internet of Things is constituted of appliances and devices with on-board detectors that link them to smartphones, computers, the world wide web, and every other device that can connect.

It means that using a few swipes of their smartphone homeowners and apartment dwellers can perform everything from brewing an espresso to tracking pets to getting alerts from the refrigerator when it is running low on eggs. And of course, as a property manager, you may be thinking about phone alerts for leak detection, preventative maintenance, hvac filter replacements, etc.

To put it differently, some IoT (Internet of Things) devices are for convenience, but many provide practical application to rental properties as well..

Connected Homes Come Into Their Own

Do you remember watching “The Jetsons?” They had a smart home. In many ways, the smart homes of today aren’t so different.

For property managers and landlords seeking to entice tenants that are gadget-hungry, convenience-minded -- and willing to pay for a premium lease -- converting components into smart devices is a no-brainer. There is value in the convenience and equipping a home with IoT devices isn’t cost restrictive. In fact, you’re likely to break even on a full outfit of IoT devices within your first couple months of adding a rent premium. The premium itself covers the added cost.

Is 2019 the ideal time to purchase smart home devices for your units?

At CES, electronics firms unveiled tens of thousands of futuristic gadgets which set technician junkies buzzing, and at the days leading up to the series, journalists weighing with their own favorites. Aaron Soupporiss reported that the newest products on display at CES "...were off-the-shelf products that you could plug and play," getting immediate value. His top selections include:

  1. Parrot Pot -- Flower Power soil detector technologies enables users to water their crops and keep them alive when away from home.

  2. MisFit Bolt -- This wise lightbulb conserves energy, can resemble a house that is inhabited when it is not, and corrects colors in reaction to occupants' sleep cycles.

  3. WattUp -- Control any electronic gadget in the room inside a 15-foot radius with your smartphone.

Kirsner forecasts that as linked electronics become more useful, instead of simply book (the Egg Minder) or amusing (wireless sound and video programs ), customer demand will truly catch fire. On Kirsner's listing are a couple of products that enhance home security and reassurance, for example:

  1. Kwikset Kevo -- Using this specific deadbolt and smartphone program, users may provide digital home keys to household members, the cleaning service, along with the dog walker.

  2. SkyBell -- This digital doorbell features motion sensors that indicate when someone reaches the front door and allows the occupant to see who it is.

  3. Water Hero -- This method alarms homeowners if a pipe leaks or bursts so that they can repair the issue before it turns into a catastrophe.

Internet connectivity allows users to control the apparatus from nearly anywhere using smartphone apps. Most smartphone owners utilize every one of the programs for a specific function (believe Google Maps, Kindle scanning program, or even Spotify). Extending this analogy into a house filled with smart appliances and gadgets, the amount of different programs and hubs a customer would have to control everything becomes overwhelming.

Imagine starting one iPhone or Android program to heat the bed up, yet another to lock the front door, another to begin the security system, etc. And when every one of those home apparatus needs its hub, expect the house to be crawling with cables, wires, and power strips. These devices and hubs may create a troubleshooting mess.

The ultimate in convenience, however, is exactly what the IoT home is about, so retailers and manufacturers are working together to decrease the amount of programs and hubs required to restrain smart home devices. Their answer: growing communications standards that allow products from various manufacturers to speak with one another within a frequent network.

  • Staples -- The workplace mega-store advised Kirsner that its $79 Link hub joins 150 apparatus from a range of manufacturers to one network. A few of the items users may control would be the Nest thermostat and lighting bulbs and door locks from many businesses. To easily determine which devices utilize Connect, each of a customer needs is one program from Staples.

  • WeMo out of Belkin -- Based on technology website VentureBeat, the WeMo connected house system can restrain 25 apparatus produced by the likes of Mr. Coffee and Crock-Pot. In CES, Belkin introduced its own communications regular, Zigbee, which joins the hottest smart devices, such as "key fobs, lighting bulbs, door detectors..."

  • HomeKit out of Apple -- USA TODAY noted that HomeKit "allows iOS customers to safely control lights, locks, video cameras, video cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs and buttons using their iPhones."

IoT is Taking Over

The area is ultra-competitive and getting more crowded daily. With all these alternatives, which linked house platform will homeowners and property managers invest in -- and how do we know which platforms and products will last in the long run?

These businesses are also scooping up apparatus manufacturers as partners in a struggle to become the best dog in the smart home area. The stakes are enormous: the winners aspire to obtain a foothold into customers' homes to market more of their own and their partners' products.

With numerous new devices offered and many significant firms connecting the associated home system fray, customers have a lot of options, but the abundance of choices has a drawback.

Battle of the SmartHome Network Criteria

Selecting a smart home system to invest in is a challenge since every network speaks its own terminology and needs its own hardware and smartphone app. When consumers hear a brand new, must-have or appliance, even before purchasing it, they will need to check whether it could connect to their preferred smart home system.

If the unit is not supported, the user might need to purchase another hub and download its companion program. This means more gear and wires to clutter the house and much more programs to manage. Because of this, selecting the"right" smart house network stays a small bet until a worldwide network standard appears that allows most devices and programs available on the industry talk with one another.

Just take this case, where a network supplier like Staples and also a spouse which produces devices like Logitech possess a tiff and split up. The outcomes? Consumers may be locked from using their beloved Logitech devices in their network, which makes them not just less suitable but maybe obsolete.

"It is not tough to envision a future in which an Apple or a Microsoft pushes a house OS update and all a sudden your kitchen no more supports your older smart refrigerator," tech journalist Matt Honan stated on WIRED.com.

It required approximately 14 years before many producers embraced WiFi, the norm for connecting computers and printers to wireless home networks, therefore the odds of a open standard emerging in 2015 are slender.

Evil refrigerators and safety Issues

Back in Washington, Congress has been training its sights on safety breaches of networked devices. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts is pushing automakers to embrace a safety and safety evaluation system to safeguard consumers from hackers seeking to steal their private information or seize control of their automobiles.

Congress also is exploring devices such as Google's Nest thermostat which"learn" how to best serve house dwellers by amassing data in their tastes and customs. Criminals may hack smart door locks or determine when residents are off by assessing the patterns of the smart lighting methods.

Together with the absence of a worldwide standard for smart house networks and devices, in addition to potential safety problems, it might pay to see the dust settle before going all-in with linked house systems as conveniences to entice tenants.

But if you are an early adopter or have the funds to push the envelope with new advertising strategies, here are a Couple of hints:

Have a look at a system platform such as Staples Connect. Using its smartphone program, Connect enables you to look up the over 150 devices it supports. You might discover that Staples Connect or a different system provides more than sufficient utility and advantage to audition it in your home or workplace.

Try it out using a single unit -- Should you lease luxury apartments or houses, install Staples' or a different organization's network at a unit or 2, promote its availability, and check out the answer. Moreover, you could decrease the expense of the system and apparatus you pass along to tenants in exchange for their opinions, which might assist in choosing whether to install linked home technician in more components.

Start only -- Try a few of the less costly approaches of additional home managers, who've slipped into smart house technology by providing single-purpose networks, such as SONOS wireless sound programs, which cost a few hundred dollars. Or provide free WiFi in ordinary regions of your possessions or even a keyless system such as Okidokeys to make sure tenants do not get locked out at 3% (and call you for assistance ).

Attract families -- Attempt targeting households with children, whose lives are all about being joined. Mike Harris, creator of Zonoff, making the system software and program to get Staples Connect, stated,"Our demographics is not selling into a lot of 22-year-olds that reside in flats. We are selling to ordinary people with children and regular homes."

Are you currently using smart house technology to draw tenants? What exactly are your residents' favourite gadgets?

Timing a Buy or Sell of Your Short Term Airbnb Rental

Whether you are purchasing or selling short term or Airbnb rental property, success often boils down to great seasonal timing. There are advantages to purchasing and selling throughout all times of the year.

Understanding When the Economy's Right

Determining the ideal economic conditions to get or sell an Airbnb or VRBO rental is dependent upon your motivations. As a property manager of a short term rental, you have a fantastic opportunity to beat the market average in a residential buyer's marketplace --particularly in the event that you advertise your house's cap rate and earnings potential.

Financial institutions trying to balance a dip in mortgages may opt to provide far better HELOC and house refinancing alternatives to expand their client base. Familiarizing yourself with vacation rental-specific market tendencies can help you determine whether the timing is right to purchase or sell.

Purchasing Before Peak Season

While looking for a house that is in good shape at a high-traffic geo, you need to seal the deal before peak season. You will have the chance to buy and get advance deposits on the table for bookings already on the books. As you did not have expenses generating the reservations, that is money in your pocket right at the get go. However, those "free" reservations have a price: You are not as inclined to negotiate a reduction on the purchase price.

Purchasing before peak brings the advantage of a great deal of guest revenue around the corner, but these guests are anticipating the house to come supplied for their stay. To prevent bad Airbnb reviews, attempt to buy supplied and turnkey (unless the furniture is a significant update and you're able to get all of it into the house in time).

Selling Before Peak Season

Most buyers seeking to close before peak season wish to see bookings already recorded. Possessing a backlog of bookings provides them a revenue-driving window to become familiar with the property management business and become settled. Additionally, it provides you more discussion power.

Selling pre-peak contributes to a higher cost because you paid for those reservations and earnings set up. Since buyer demand will peak right before summit, you will probably have to pay more than simply cost. Closing instances, closing costs, financing provisions, etc. are on the table. You are also likely to have the ability to market the house fully supplied, which can be typically at the purchaser's best interest too.

Purchasing After Peak Season

If you are eager to get a house that needs work, it may pay to wait till guest traffic slows down. With fewer guests booking stays, you will have the time to conquer those upgrades that will boost earnings during peak season. Additionally you will not feel the exact same pressure to buy supplied as you would when purchasing before peak season.

In the majority of markets, purchasing after peak season enhances your ability to negotiate a better price. However, you'll have to begin promoting the house fast to make certain you get maximum reservations, so the pressure is really to receive the house in rentable condition and promote to guests.

One frequently under-looked advantage to purchasing in a slow season - it's easier for you to compare more options since there are no guests staying in them. You would be amazed just how hard it can be to find time to discover great short term rental homes since they are completely booked.

The significant advantage to selling after peak season is the property is going to have more accessibility for contractors to do work. With fewer reservations to operate around, it is possible to make any necessary repairs and updates to find the property. Reduced guest occupancy means that it will be a lot easier to upgrade your property.

Whether you are searching to purchase or sell a short term rental, timing is everything--and it is about your needs and capabilities. Choose when to sell or buy based on updates that the home may need to be guest ready and whether or not you want a turnkey solution.

4 Ways to Leverage Customer Feedback

4 Ways to Leverage Customer Feedback

If you have been putting off implementing a client feedback management policy, this is the perfect time to shift your attention away from new customers to enhancing existing customer experiences. Property management is one of the few industries that does best through referrals and word of mouth growth. Making sure your customers are happy puts you in the best position to grow. Some of the suggestions below are exactly how we do customer feedback at Latchel. The real important part is that you have some type of process implemented to act on customer feedback and continuously improve.

Online reviews and social recommendations frequently differentiate which brands grow and which ones languish and die. How do you get started? Start by requesting testimonials, and carefully tracking social media mentions and examine external sites.

It is easier than you might think. Did you know that asking someone if they believe they're a useful person, prior to asking them for a favor, boosts your chances of gathering survey data by more than 75%?

Why Property Management is Immune to Social Media

Why Property Management is Immune to Social Media

I recently read an article from Cal Newport on the pitfalls of social media. It is an interesting read that I summarize here in this article, but I think it is instructive to pair his thoughts on social media with the property management industry. Property management, unlike most other businesses, has remained a belly to belly business in every way.

Many of our customers at Latchel do most of their business at networking events, through referral partners, or through word of mouth referrals. Happy customers standing belly to belly, talking to other happy customers. The majority of Latchel’s business comes from referrals. Make customer’s happy, and the benefits will be huge.

Finding the Right Investment Partner

Finding the Right Investment Partner

Whether it's partnering for a single deal, a lot of deals, or an entire business, partnerships may provide immense gains -- but they can also pose substantial risk. In fact, the biggest reason most startups fail is… can you guess it? Founder’s quarrels.

I've seen partnerships that have enabled the individual partners to garner greater success than either of these might have attained individually. And I've seen partnerships that have blossomed into powerful long-term ventures that have lasted decades and made the partners both very wealthy. Personally, I’ve had a trusted partner in every business I’ve started. Some of you already know this about me, but Latchel is actually my 3rd business venture. In my first business, I launched a mobile ordering application with a friend from college. (We started as roommates and became best friends. The same way that I met my 3rd business partner Will Gordon, COO at Latchel.) In my 2nd business, I launched an e-commerce company that used Amazon FBA for fulfillment. We sold photography accessory products for smartphones. I launched that business with a co-worker turned best friend and we built that company to over $1MM in revenues in our first year.

10 Retail Predictions for 2019

10 Retail Predictions for 2019

1. Omni-Channel Plans Will Continue

2. Physical Store Resurgence

3. Bankruptcies Will Slow Down

4. The Big Challenges will be Structural

5. Consumer Preferences Will Change More Rapidly

6. Online Retailers Invest in Real Estate

7. Revamp of the Toy Market

8. Advantages in Big-Box Vacancies

9. Retailers Reduce Physical Footprint

10. The Grocery Sector Rapidly Change

Best Practices for Inheriting Tenants: Rent, Leasing, etc.

Best Practices for Inheriting Tenants: Rent, Leasing, etc.

When you buy a rental house, it might include tenants in place, and these renters will suddenly turn into YOUR tenants. These tenants are called "inherited tenants.” Inherited tenants may be valuable, as you won't have to immediately spend some time filling the empty unit, and you are going to be getting income from day one. But inherited tenants may also be insecure, since they weren't set in place by you personally, and you do not have a very clear sign of just how well they have been screened or which kind of tenant they are.

What's more, they could have been badly trained by the previous landlord and will have to get re-trained to follow your principles. The exception to the rule is that those renters will be totally perfect, and you will be grateful to have them.

How to Move Quickly to Sell Real Estate Investments?

How to Move Quickly to Sell Real Estate Investments?

Projected increasing interest rates have caused buyers to become more cautious in their purchasing choices, and, in many cases, sale cycles are taking more than in previous decades. For that reason, it's important to be tactical in correctly pricing assets for sale to appropriately engage prospective client interest.

The single-tenant net rental category continues to possess the largest transaction velocity and the maximum number of possible buyers looking for a trip to quality. These buyers especially want properties with new building, long-term corporate ensured leases, and internet-resistant tenants in great locations. They're also showing more willingness to get new investments nationally rather than in their local market.

Tax Strategies for Property Investors

Tax Strategies for Property Investors

As a property investor, there are loads of tax strategies available. Oftentimes, an investor can place themselves in such a manner that they don't pay any tax whatsoever on their current year earnings.

All of the below strategies are taken from a blog that I recently read from a CPA firm on real estate tax. They create tax strategies based on flexibility. Use flexibility to develop a simple tax plan that will save you money.

The general rule for implementing flexibility in your business or portfolio is that: the more information the better, and that information should be up-to-date.

9 Maintenance Issues that Tenant's Are Responsible For

9 Maintenance Issues that Tenant's Are Responsible For

Landlords cannot control how tenants live their lives, but they've the right to expect appropriate use of the possessions and care of the rental unit. Tenant’s must share some responsibility of maintenance problems. As a landlord or property manager, you should be clearly laying out what items a tenant is responsible for maintaining, so that when contractors must be sent out you have a clear way to bill tenant for misuse or neglect. Below are the 9 things that tenants should be responsible for in any well written lease:

Rental Agreements on Pets: Best Practices

Rental Agreements on Pets: Best Practices

Some landlords think that one pet is one too many in their rental home. If that is your policy, then that is that. But if you allow pets, then you need to have a strategy around how many to let in.

It would be obvious to say that two dogs and three cats, as an example, are a lot of pets to place on a lease. Not to mention the expense of the pet rent to the tenant. But unfortunately, there is not one simple answer for all scenarios. You have to choose how many pets that you will permit, along with guiding lines for how those pets should behave and interact with the lease agreement. You are in luck--here are six tips that will assist you determine the number of pets to let.

Your 6 Item To-Do List After Accepting or Denying a Tenant

Your 6 Item To-Do List After Accepting or Denying a Tenant

You'll have a 90% confidence of whether your prospective renter is deserving of your property after performing a background check and confirming the information listed on their rental application. On some occasions, you will get applications from several parties that qualify. You’re probably already using a tenant screening service like FinRet, but this article is about follow-up steps.

Tactics to Accomplish Your Big Goals Next Year

Tactics to Accomplish Your Big Goals Next Year

Accomplishment comes from action, not thought or talk. Nor can it be attained by wanting, hoping, or even just strategizing. Accomplishment is tactical. Dreaming of a goal is important, but in the end, accomplishment requires focused action. Fix, review, learn from previous errors, then take huge big actions again.

I'm so frequently astonished at the amount of folks who speak about ideas, but they truly translate into nothing. Saying something does not make it real unless you’re backing it with action, focus, and maybe most importantly time. Take new years goals, for example.

4 Biggest Risks For Vacant Properties

4 Biggest Risks For Vacant Properties

You may not have your rental properties rented 100 percent of the time, but you ought to be looking to occupy them as fast as possible -- and for more reasons than simply losing out on lease income.

An abandoned property fast becomes an eyesore from negligence and is terrible for the rest of the neighborhood values, while a vacant property could be well preserved by the owner or manager.

However, even in the event that you decide to keep your house vacant, it is not ideal for maintenance and upkeep. This may sound counter intuitive, since tenants often cause different forms of wear and tear. However, the risks of a vacant property far outweigh the benefits as we’ll show below.

10 Tenant Red Flags to Keep an Eye Out For

10 Tenant Red Flags to Keep an Eye Out For

Want to avoid renter issues? Keep an eye out for these 10 tenant red flags and reduce your risk of choosing bad tenants.

Tenants who pay their rent on time and look after your investment property are gold. But you might have to sift through a lot of rubble first before you find them. It’s a good idea to have rigorous screening techniques in place, and look out for these tenant red flags to reduce the risk of choosing a bad tenant.

Keep in mind that not every red flag is obvious, so you’ll have to use your common sense and instincts. If you sense there are tenant warning signs, it’s best not to go there.

Creating Passive Rental Income Streams That Enhance Your Lifestyle

Creating Passive Rental Income Streams That Enhance Your Lifestyle

A couple years back, I had a fascinating conversation with a friend looking at property management. She was just getting started building a property portfolio to make a passive revenue stream. Before starting Latchel, I had build passive income businesses on Amazon’s platform, a little bit different than property investing, but we talked back and forth about how to start a passive income business. She wanted to know what milestones she should set for her own business for 5 years and 10 years down the road.

My response was not exactly what she anticipated.

She was approaching her business from the wrong mindset. When building a passive income business, I would not build my personal life around the businesses goals. Rather, I want to form my passive income streams around the life that I want to live.

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