Got Vacancies? The Top 4 Reasons Your Rentals Are Empty

Vacancies are the top profit killer that rental property owners face. If you want to avoid the financial pain of a prolonged vacancy, take a minute to see if you are making any of these mistakes:

1. The Rent is Too High
Too often landlords purchase rental properties based on the appeal of the deal, not on the overall appeal of the property to renters.  Investors looking for higher margins can crunch the numbers and pump up the rent. Unfortunately, renters may not play along.

Be realistic and match rent to the competition available at the time the unit comes on the market. Or better yet, come in just a little bit lower than the comps. That $50 difference, spread out over a year’s lease, may be better than another month with the property generating $0.

2. Your Vacancy Occurred at the Wrong Time of the Year

The rental market is generally cyclical.  Whether it’s a problem tenant who left mid-lease, delayed remodeling or repair projects, or closing on a rental property late in the year, you may be set to fill vacancies during the dormant period.

Look at what’s going on in the area. For instance, find out if you are missing the deadline for college students starting classes. Watch rental ads in the newspaper and watch for cycles.

If you’ve had to terminate a lease, offer a shorter lease to the next tenant, then renew or re-lease during a busier time of year.

3. The Property Has No Appeal

A poorly-maintained property will lead to unplanned vacancies. First, the lack of appeal will chase away applicants who feel they can do better. Those who are willing to settle are less are less stable tenants in the first place.

The law works against landlords in this situation, and tenants may be allowed to break the lease over habitability issues. Even if they stay, they may be entitled to rent abatement, further sapping your property’s profit potential.

4. Outdated Advertising

More and more, apartment seekers are using the Internet to find properties. If you are not riding the wave, you are losing out to other more tech-savvy landlords in your area. Many of the apartment listing services now offer incentives, including cash, to tenants who find rental homes.

The content of your ads must maximize the property’s appeal. The standard of the industry now is to provide photos or even video tours. If you rely on a ‘for rent’ sign — still a viable option — include a flyer box with pictures and ample information to get applicants excited about the property.

Periodic vacancies are inevitable as tenants move on.  Be ready for a quick turnaround by keeping a checklist of needed maintenance and repairs for each unit, and line up workers in advance of move-out dates.  Nurture good relationships with contractors and with tenants, and you will improve your bottom line.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for all your property management needs. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.

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How To Pick Professional Property Management

For newcomers planning to take up the duties of a landlord, it is best to seek the services of a provider offering professional property management that can streamline the management of their properties in addition to relieving them from a host of overwhelming tasks related to maintaining and running rental properties. These companies basically serve as an intermediary between landlords and tenants.
Management of property is a critical aspect of realty investment that can make all the difference between a well run property with positive cash flow and a poorly managed property with negative cash flow. So at one phase or another, every landlord has to make a decision to employ professional services or manage properties on his own.
A property manager must be able to follow and implement a well documented system of managing properties which includes showing people around vacant properties, managing applications, interviewing prospective tenants, deciding on the right tenants, supervising the move in process, responding to the issues raised by tenants and managing evictions.
Choosing The Right Management Company
Before choosing a company to take up management of properties, there are some important facts to watch out for. Here are some factors one must consider to ensure the best management services
Company history
The number of years that a company has been in business often indicates how reliable a provider offering professional property management is. Generally, a company that has been around for a while and is known for their consistently outstanding services would be a good one to partner.
Customer service
While communicating with a company involved in management of properties, closely observe the quality of their customer service. This is important since the landlord as well as the tenants will be dealing with the company on a regular basis. So, it is best to partner a company that sounds courteous, attentive, responsive and helpful. While evaluating customer service standards, pay close attention to the promptness of the agency offering professional property management in replying to inquiries and the friendliness of their customer support staff.
First impression
During the first communication with the company, enquire about their experience and expertise in handling the particular type of properties under consideration. This is an important aspect that would indicate how well the company will be able to carry out the targets set by a landlord.
Responsibilities involved
Different companies take up different levels of responsibilities in managing properties. Before finalizing a company, find out if they will offer full maintenance services, accounting information, tax calculations, property insurance claims handling and other services.
Cost of Professional property management
When a management company is to be hired to act as an intermediary between the landlord and tenants, the services offered by the company must be well worth the fees charged by them. While some companies offer an all inclusive package, others charge separately for each service. Regardless of the fee structure, all these fees must be included in the owner manager contract.
References
Seek the opinion of other landlords who have partnered a particular company for managing their properties. In addition, while communicating with the company, request for a list of credible references to contact.
Finding a good company for professional property management that suits individual expectations may seem an impossible task. However, with a little bit of research and by asking the right questions, anyone can find the perfect company for one needs and enjoy the expertise that only professionals can provide.
Onyx Management Group, Inc. is a full service property management company currently servicing residential and commercial properties throughout Greater Philadelphia, Bucks County, and Montgomery County. With our highly detailed approach to overseeing properties of any size, we provide our clients with the benefit of ownership without the burden.

For newcomers planning to take up the duties of a landlord, it is best to seek the services of a provider offering professional property management that can streamline the management of their properties in addition to relieving them from a host of overwhelming tasks related to maintaining and running rental properties. These companies basically serve as an intermediary between landlords and tenants.

Management of property is a critical aspect of realty investment that can make all the difference between a well run property with positive cash flow and a poorly managed property with negative cash flow. So at one phase or another, every landlord has to make a decision to employ professional services or manage properties on his own.

A property manager must be able to follow and implement a well documented system of managing properties which includes showing people around vacant properties, managing applications, interviewing prospective tenants, deciding on the right tenants, supervising the move in process, responding to the issues raised by tenants and managing evictions.

Choosing The Right Management Company

Before choosing a company to take up management of properties, there are some important facts to watch out for. Here are some factors one must consider to ensure the best management services

Company history

The number of years that a company has been in business often indicates how reliable a provider offering professional property management is. Generally, a company that has been around for a while and is known for their consistently outstanding services would be a good one to partner.

Customer service

While communicating with a company involved in management of properties, closely observe the quality of their customer service. This is important since the landlord as well as the tenants will be dealing with the company on a regular basis. So, it is best to partner a company that sounds courteous, attentive, responsive and helpful. While evaluating customer service standards, pay close attention to the promptness of the agency offering professional property management in replying to inquiries and the friendliness of their customer support staff.

First impression

During the first communication with the company, enquire about their experience and expertise in handling the particular type of properties under consideration. This is an important aspect that would indicate how well the company will be able to carry out the targets set by a landlord.

Responsibilities involved

Different companies take up different levels of responsibilities in managing properties. Before finalizing a company, find out if they will offer full maintenance services, accounting information, tax calculations, property insurance claims handling and other services.

Cost of Professional property management

When a management company is to be hired to act as an intermediary between the landlord and tenants, the services offered by the company must be well worth the fees charged by them. While some companies offer an all inclusive package, others charge separately for each service. Regardless of the fee structure, all these fees must be included in the owner manager contract.

References

Seek the opinion of other landlords who have partnered a particular company for managing their properties. In addition, while communicating with the company, request for a list of credible references to contact.

Finding a good company for professional property management that suits individual expectations may seem an impossible task. However, with a little bit of research and by asking the right questions, anyone can find the perfect company for one needs and enjoy the expertise that only professionals can provide.

Onyx Management Group, Inc. is a full service property management company currently servicing residential and commercial properties throughout Greater Philadelphia, Bucks County, and Montgomery County. With our highly detailed approach to overseeing properties of any size, we provide our clients with the benefit of ownership without the burden.

Selecting The Right property Management Firm

Managing real estate is complex and can be very specialized. There are different types of property and each should have a specific type of management. For the local shopping center and other commercial establishments, commercial property managers should be experienced in net leases, percentage rents and other areas that would not pertain to, say, an apartment complex.
The expertise of the managers should match the type of investment. Is it an office, an industrial building or a strip center? What types of problems does the building currently have? Is it vacancy problems, marketing or problems with maintenance? Ask the managers you interview the types of property they have experience in, how long they have managed other properties and the results of their management. Ask to see samples of their financial management in the past. Find out what types of marketing they specialize in. Is it print, new media, newsletters, advertisements, videos or other types?

The commercial property managers who deal with retail management will be experienced in different types of establishments. When interviewing for management companies, the investor should ask what types of centers they are currently managing and if they have satisfied clients. Do they manage a strip mall, a neighborhood or community center or regional shopping centers? Shopping center management requires specific skills in accounting and the programs that handle common area maintenance, leasing tenants and billing.

The office building will require different skills from the retail establishment. Commercial property managers need talent in administration, leasing and engineering. The manager will need to know if an office building meets ADA requirements for restrooms and elevators and what those requirements are.

There are other types of property that will require different types of skills. Industrial, mobile home parks, self storage facilities, motels and other types of properties require knowledge in each specific market and the laws that apply to it. The company hired should have experience in leases of different types, tenant notices and disclosures.

Look for a manager and its company that is accredited. This accreditation sets them apart as having met higher standards that other firms in the same community have not met. They should be experienced and flexible, having knowledge about accounting, architecture, law, marketing, maintenance, leasing, sales and appraisal. A good manager who deals with clients, tenants and the investor in a straightforward way is necessary.

Commercial property managers should have a positive reputation among the business community. They should be viewed as professional and honest. They should provide services depending on the client needs. They should provide financial services such as record keeping and reporting as well as developing and monitoring budgets. The manager and its company will provide maintenance programs and implement marketing strategies. They will be responsible for rent collection and evictions and negotiating leases.

The manager will be attentive to their tenants and respond to their needs and concerns quickly. They are responsible for purchasing equipment, supplies and contracting with outside services as needed. They will also manage insurance needs and comply with any laws and regulations. And enforce all ordinances relating to fire, health and safety codes.

Commercial property managers play an important role in any investors business. Considering all the factors such as the type of property, the size of the property, location, and how difficult the property is to manage, an investor needs to research and negotiate with several managers before signing any contract. The right manager provides expertise, professionalism, solid financial future and honesty.

Best Practices in Property Maintenance

Keeping your property well maintained involves several tasks carried out routinely. Property maintenance includes everything from daily cleaning to upkeep on the air conditioning, electrical and plumbing. Maintenance may include redesign and refurbishing or building new structures. As manager of an investment, you can do some of the tasks yourself or hire a maintenance crew to do it.

Property maintenance is important in old and new buildings. Each year the manager should do a routine health check to help prevent future costly repairs. A neglected building leads to major problems. For example a gutter that has remained blocked leads to water getting into the building. The gutters are essential for carrying rainwater away from your building and must remain clear to do their job.

The roof is probably the most important part of your structure. A leaky roof can lead to all kinds of major problems, inside and out. Roof checks should be done regularly. Hard to reach roofs might need a professional contractor to inspect them for signs of disrepair. Shingles or tiles slip and need to be replaced quickly, as well as any holes. Animals and water both get in through these holes causing interior damage. Have the chimney checked for vulnerable areas and get the flues cleaned each fall before use.

Inspect your building walls routinely. Cracks in the stone walls need to be filled with mortar while siding should be replaced if damaged. The wood around doors and windows need to be checked for signs of decay. Repair and paint where needed. If you have mold and dirt buildup on your exterior walls, wood deck or concrete patio, use a power washer to clean. Routine cleaning of the exterior will go a long way in keeping property maintenance to a minimum.
Other areas that should be included in your routine care of a property include electrical, carpentry, cleaning, painting, tiling and the garden or patio area.

The electrical maintenance might include rewiring for added appliances, upgrading outdated wiring or installing the wiring for new lighting or electrical needs. The electrician should inspect existing wiring for breaks and to make sure that the electrical box and wires meet current codes.
Carpentry maintenance includes building new structures such as additional rooms or remodeling existing areas. The carpenter reviews the plans for the remodel, establishes a time frame for the work and estimates the material needed. They are experts in property maintenance .

Carpenters can be hired to build anything from a dog house to building a room addition.
Painting the interior is the simplest property maintenance project but gives instant results. You can transform your property with minimal work and time with paint. The surface being painted should be prepared properly for good results. Almost any surface can be painted, just follow a few rules. Check and replace loose caulk around window and door frames. Use a wire brush to clean surfaces of dirt and old paint that has become loose. Fill any small cracks with caulk. Allow the caulk to dry thoroughly before painting. Not preparing the surfaces properly can lead to blistering and peeling paint.

Whether you do the maintenance yourself or hire someone to do it for you, having the correct equipment beginning any type of maintenance is necessary. Protective gloves and eyewear are necessary. If working with a ladder having another person to help is a good safety precaution.
Routine property maintenance helps keep your building and its surroundings in top shape. Finding and quickly repairing small problems before they lead to costly repairs will save the owner time and money in the long term.

What do Property Managers Do?

When you hear the term property manager , many job descriptions come to mind.
Self storage- these managers will oversee the facility. They will make sure that the access-controlled gate is working properly. Daily walks around the property will insure that the buildings are in good standing order and do not need repair. If they do need repair the manager will either be able to repair the damage or hire someone to do the work. Making sure the landscaping is done and curb appeal kept up is an important part of this job. The property must look nice to draw in potential customers.

Large corporations – these managers will be in charge of the interior and exterior of the building, including the parking lots. Because these managers will have a lot more ground to cover they will usually have a property staff to help with upkeep and repairs. Often the landscaping is hired out to a company that specializes in large jobs.

Living communities – these managers are responsible for the interior as well as the exterior of the community. Some managers will be on call for any residential emergencies that could occur round the clock. Things like, water leakage, heater not working, storm damage, toilet issues, dishwasher problems, pest control and more.

Malls – these managers will maintain all public areas and the occupied tenant areas. Keeping the mall clean and tidy is a big responsibility for these managers. A crew that is constantly patrolling the public areas and cleaning is important. Trash removal and public restroom duty is part of this managers job also. Tenant areas will also be maintained and the manager will be on call for any potential problems that might arise.

The property manager is a relatively loose job description that can imply many job duties depending on the site being managed. One manager can certainly manage a smaller site or building while a staff of many can be seen at the larger building and properties. A property manager can be hired privately or commercially depending on the size of the job.
Several common job duties that all of these managers share are,

Landscaping, mowing, and grounds keeping
– Pest Control
– Upkeep and maintenance on the exterior of the building or structures
– Upkeep and maintenance on the interior of the building or structures
– Snow Removal
Roof inspections and maintenance
– Window cleaning
– Office cleaning
– Restroom cleaning
– Sweeping, vacuuming, and moping
– Parking lot maintenance
– Storm, fire, and water damage control
Appliance repair
– Plumbing maintenance

These managers work very hard and are sometimes behind the scenes making everything look good and run smoothly. They must be flexible, handy, smart, decisive, and more to make the job a success. A property manager will sometimes live on-site at a small residential area. This allows the manager to be close to the action if any emergencies should occur. The manager can be the first one on the site to assess any damage and quickly take the property into consideration. Because a manager might live on-site, part of the salary will be the living quarters.

If you are considering a job as a property manager , then you will probably be able to find work in your city or town. This is not the most glamorous of jobs but they are in high demand if you are qualified.

Property Managers Are Jacks Of All Trades

Do you know what property managers do? It sounds like a pretty wide term, right? And probably comes with a job description that is too complicated to understand. Well, it does not have to be. It is true that there are many different areas of expertise that property managers have to be knowledgeable in. But if you are willing to push your limits and extend your knowledge and experience, drawing all your talents and education into play, this might be a job that would appeal to you.

Most property managers will have a college degree of some kind, either in business or in some similar field of education. Many agents in the housing market nowadays are self employed, as are many investors and business owners. This means that you are your own boss, and can develop your own management style and guidelines.

There are several different reasons that people in this field do what they do. One is that when you are employed in this kind of job, you have enormous potential for high amounts of income and profits, whether on properties or otherwise. Through your hard work, you can develop and increase the value of the properties that you manage, making your job that much more profitable. Another take on good reasons for going into this line of work is the more personal aspect. You get to work with people, many times one on one, and help them perhaps find the home of their dreams, maybe help them find a rent or mortgage that is manageable and affordable to their budget. In short, you get to help, in your own way, people become happier with certain aspects of their lives, something that might never have happened through a bigger company or people they speak with constantly on the phone.

There are certain aspects as well that some might consider the tedious side to a property managers job. These include things like the day to day management of budgets and the overseeing of bookkeeping, the overseeing of any possible associates who work beneath them, the negotiation of contracts for various things such as groundskeeping, trash services, etc., among many other things that seem to add up.

There are of course governmental rules property managers have to abide by and enforce. People with disabilities have to be considered properly, discriminatory practices cannot be even hinted at when taking on renters whether it be discrimination against age, race, finances, or otherwise. The buildings and grounds themselves have many different codes that someone in this position would have to make certain are followed, from local to State to even Federal codes. Depending on your qualifications with this position, you may be responsible for personally inspecting the grounds and buildings for safety issues. If not, it would be responsible to hire someone to do this job.

Establishing the rates that will be charged in rent could also fall under your responsibilities with this position, as well as the hire of leasing agents and organizing detailed and effective advertising campaigns. There are many more responsibilities associated with this type of job, but if you enjoy a challenge, have a mind for business, and enjoy seeing the fruit of your work on a day to day basis, this might be a very reasonable option for you to consider.

How Rentals Affect Your Income?

It is hard to pin point how many different properties are for rent. From apartments, houses, to condominiums, if you are not in the market to buy a property, you can definitely find something for rent. With the way the economy is going, many Americans are considering finding a place for rent. They will not have to deal with adjustable rates or making calls to local repair people, if something is not functioning. With renting, they can just call one person to get their needs resolved, the property owner.

So how does one determine which type of property they would like to rent. Many people like to the privacy of a house for rent because they do not have the pain of having another person or family that is banging on their walls, or making more noise than you could bear. Finding a house for rent that is in good shape could be hard to find. Most times houses for rent are in areas with colleges. You guessed it. That means that the owner of the property is gambling or gambled on college kids taking care of their property. Most houses for rent in those areas are in affordable areas or near the colleges. There are some houses for rent that are just perfect for the college kids because that gives them more room to express themselves vs. being cooped up in a stuffy dorm room. For some people, renting a house is a good idea, but they are looking for a permanent position if they are going to live in a house. A house for rent still gives a family the feeling of living in a house, but without the hassles of managing the property.

Some people like the option of living in a condominium. A condominium for rent gives the caller a more upscale approach to living. Most people who rent a condominium will not have to do any of the maintenance outside and they can sit back and enjoy the comfort. Most condominium renters are not there long term because they are looking at buying a condominium or a house in the future. By renting a condominium, you have the luxuries of a house, and the responsibilities of an apartment.

For those who are looking in the apartment market, you will find many vacancies. There are more apartments for rent than houses and condominiums put together. Depending on the market, finding an apartment for rent is easy. Now, finding the apartment that you would like to live in is a different story. There are so many types of apartments. There are many different amenities that could be offered could suit many different people. Finding the right apartment for you to rent is solely up to what amenities you would like to have as well as how much you want to pay for those amenities. In addition, what area you would like to live and how far of a commute for you to your work and or your everyday life. There are plenty of things to consider when choosing the right apartment for you.

As you can see, there are many options in terms of property for rent. You can rent a house, townhouse, apartment or condominium that is available where you live. The easy thing is finding a property for rent. The hardest thing is finding the best property that fits you.