Renter Experience Sets You Apart

Renter Experience Sets You Apart

According to the 2018 Buildium Renter’s Report, a majority of the 22 million new households expected to form by 2030 will be renters. The number of Americans who choose the renter experience over buying is expected to increase exponentially, and is currently nearing the highest historical rate of all time: 37%, set in 1965.

What can landlords and property managers learn from the information gathered in the Renter’s Report? This article will focus on what the report discovered as it relates to the renter experience, and which criteria directly affected a property’s ability to charge more for rent.

First, let’s address the neighborhood. Of the top five neighborhood characteristics that justify higher rents, safety tops the list. 66% of all respondents suggested that a safe neighborhood is the most important factor in choosing where to rent. Landlords would be wise to pay attention to this, and either provide or upgrade their existing security systems to meet renter’s expectations.

40% of respondents said they’d be more interested in a unit that is already equipped with smart cameras or a smart security system. Technology has advanced such to the point where the cost of installation of smart (Internet-enabled) security systems is negligible. And yet, once installed, the monthly increase in lease payments easily justifies whatever the amount.

Narrowing our consideration to building amenities that justify a higher rent, we discover that high-speed Internet attracted more than half of respondents. This was true across all age demographics. And while the FCC prohibits exclusive cable deals within apartment buildings, it may be wise to offer specially negotiated package pricing that your tenants can opt into.

Our biggest surprise came when we put the microscope to the individual unit amenities that most attracted the current batch of renters. Topping the list of desired elements was in-home washer and dryer. And while we certainly see how in-home laundry would make the top-5 list… the fact that it trumped central air conditioning completely blew us away!

Word to the wise landlords and property managers: the demographics of renters today are rapidly shifting, and it’s a brave new world for those who wish to heed the feedback and meet the needs of those who are increasingly demanding more for their rental dollars.

Legacy Properties-PM stands ready and willing to serve you, and all of your rental property needs. Whether you are a landlord or a prospective renter, we’ve got you covered. Feel free to contact us at any time.

Next article: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Buying Your First Investment Property

Buying Your First Investment Property

When looking at getting into the investment property game, there are many things to consider before you jump in. This article is designed to be a helpful guide to considering some of the more important elements in real estate investment.

  1. Start with a single-family home. In most cases, investing in a single-family home is a much safer, smarter way to get started. The upkeep of such homes is simpler than it is for multi-unit properties. When something breaks or requires replacement, you’ll only need to fix one thing instead of several. The management of a single tenant is exponentially easier than wrangling two or more.
  2. Purchase a low-cost home. The more house you purchase, the higher your ongoing expenses will be. Many experts recommend starting with a $150,000.00 property. This keeps your mortgage manageable, perhaps even affording you the opportunity to pay a little extra every month with the intent of paying off the mortgage early.
  3. Don’t buy a fixer-upper. This may seem a little counter-intuitive to the point just above, however it doesn’t have to be. One can find a decent home in good condition at a low cost – without it being a fixer-upper. It is much wiser to purchase a home that is listed below the market price and make only minor repairs than to try to fix and flip a property when that’s not really your skill set.
  4. Location, location, location. The quality of the location you choose will influence the quality of the tenants you attract. Look for things like low property taxes, decent school districts, low crime rates and an area with a growing job market. You’ll also want to look for a strong list of amenities such as parks, shopping centers and restaurants.
  5. Work with a property management company. As a new investor, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the myriad of questions, problems and unexpected events that always – ALWAYS – come along with becoming a landlord. You are far better off hiring a professional property management company, and letting them find and interview prospective tenants. They will handle the 2AM phone calls and they know the contractors to call when the furnace breaks down or the washing machine starts leaking.

There are many other factors to consider when thinking about jumping into real estate investment. We would be happy to engage you in a conversation, and, if it makes sense, to work with you as your preferred property manager.

Here are some resources to help you as you consider investing in property:

3 Steps to a Fast Rental Solution

3 Steps to a Fast Rental Solution

Every landlord wants a fast rental solution. They want their rental property to lease out quickly because every day it sits vacant, it is an expense rather than an asset. We recently came across a great article posted by John Nuzzolese of the Landlord Protection Agency that addresses the question of why some homes rent quickly, and others don’t. The article is well written, and we’d like to add our perspective on this important topic.

In his article, Mr. Nuzzolese explains that the ideal rental experience involves three elements; all of which are essential to a quality rental property experience for all involved.

The three elements of a fast rental solution he cites are: A. it must rent quickly, B. to a qualified tenant and C. at the best price. Let’s break down each of these elements individually before tackling them all together.

In a competitive market such as Denver has been for several years now, it is to everyone’s advantage to rent your property quickly. That’s one of those statements that is truly so simple as to be profound. And yet, many landlords (and even some property managers) make mistakes in the way they market their property, thereby causing delays in the process of finding the right tenant. (More on that process in a moment.)

The good news is, when compared to selling a property, which usually takes at least a month – and often several; a tenant may be vetted, approved and signed into a leasing agreement within the context of just a day or two. But before you get your track shoes on for the big race, let’s talk a little bit about those tenants.

Fast Rental Tenancy Agreement

It would be a mistake of colossal proportions to rush into a leasing agreement with an unqualified, or otherwise undesirable tenant. It is critical that you perform your due diligence as you screen potential tenants for your rental property. All too often, landlords accept higher-paying rental agreements from people who are less qualified. The end result of this behavior is a whole lot of headaches trying to chase down the money that is owed, and in the end, you spend more of your own money having to evict a deadbeat tenant.

And the final piece to the puzzle is trying to figure out how much to charge for your rental property. Many landlords simply try to cover their own expenses plus a little more for themselves. And while there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that model, it doesn’t necessarily take into account the current market rate of rentals in your area. It may be the case (and often is) that once you find the right tenant, you offer them a below-market amount for the first six months. Far better to get the right tenant in with the hopes of developing a long term relationship, than going for the low hanging fruit that goes rotten with the first missed payment.

Each of these three elements, when put into proper balance, make up a pleasant experience for both the landlord AND the tenant. If any one of them is out of balance, the other two shoulder too much of the responsibility, and you find yourself in an expensive downward spiral.

Our recommendation to find a fast rental solution is to align with a reputable property management firm, and allow the experts to do the heavy lifting. They are able to gain all relevant comparable rental rates, screen the candidate pool of potential tenants and get your property filled in the fastest amount of time possible. We’d love to serve you in this capacity. For more information, please contact us here.

Maintenance Coordination Fees

Maintenance Coordination Fees

Maintenance Coordination Fees
…and Why You Should Never Pay Them

When considering hiring a property manager to care for your largest investment(s), it is important to understand all of the elements that you will be paying for. It’s equally important, and will pay off with significant dividends to know what you shouldn’t pay for – and maintenance coordination fees should be a huge red flag for landlords.

Typically, full-service professional property management fees range from 5-10% , depending upon what’s included with their service. These fees are built into the rent collected, and are considered industry standard.

What you should be aware of, however, are the ‘surprise’ fees that often get slapped into the fine print, or left out altogether until they show up on your next invoice. The biggest offender of such fees are those listed as, “Maintenance Coordination”.

Maintenance coordination fees are how some property managers pad their income, all under the guise of hiring the contractors and vendors to perform routine updates, repairs and upgrades to your property.

If your property requires a landscaping company to mow the lawn or remove snow, etc., some managers charge you a ‘coordination’ fee to go out and hire the landscapers. Need a painter for the interior? That’s gonna cost you an additional $XX.00 for them to find and hire a painter. What’s that? Need the exterior of your home painted? That’s a different company, and therefore it’s a different maintenance coordination fee. There’s a fee for hiring the plumber, and another fee for hiring the roofer… you get the idea.

Lest you think that maintenance coordination fees are worth the peace of mind they offer since you don’t have to hunt down and interview the contractors, consider this: many property management companies make MORE on these maintenance coordination fees than they do for their management of your property. Oh… and YOU are the one paying!

Here at Legacy Properties-PM, we have NEVER charged a maintenance coordination fee. We NEVER WILL. There are never any surprises with us, which is why we are considered by many as Denver’s preferred property manager. Contact us today with any questions you might have.


Investment Property Make or Break Tips

Investment Property Make or Break Tips

“Invest in property”, they said. “Property only increases in value”, they said. “Mailbox money”, they called it. These, and many other golden nuggets of advice represent all the voices in your head as you consider taking the plunge and purchasing your first investment property.

There are many positives to purchasing property with the intent to turn it into a profitable venture. But there are also dangers that must be addressed.  This article will focus on three of the most common areas where money is made (saved) or lost.

Make your Investment Property Work for You

1. Let’s talk taxes

If you’re not careful, property taxes can sneak up and bite you. Every dollar that you have to pay cuts directly into your bottom line. And because taxes are assessed annually and rates change from year to year, they are easily overlooked in the big picture of profit and loss.

When considering an investment property, take into consideration the county in which you purchase. Each county in Colorado determines it’s own tax rate based upon how much revenue they need.  A complete chart of Colorado property tax rates is available here:

2. The teeter-totter of insurance

Insurance is a must for your rental property - that is a given. What’s not quite as simple is the amount you will pay, and what kind of coverage you will get for that amount. Keep in mind - just like with taxes, every dollar you spend diminishes your bottom line. That said, it’s not always the wisest move to go with the least expensive product.

Especially in real estate, insurance is your safety net in the event of catastrophic occurrences. Right off the bat, you should investigate whether there are any major claims on the property in recent years.  You must also be aware of the possibility of natural disasters.  Is the property in a flood plane? Does the occurrence of hail cause regular damage? All of these factors contribute what amount you will pay for insurance premiums.

It’s of the utmost importance to read your insurance policies for the fine print and details. Know what your policies cover. Know what they will not cover. Know your limits, and choose your deductibles wisely.

3. The value of a professional manager

One of the biggest, and most costly mistakes landlords make is that they believe they can save money by managing their properties themselves. Unless you are a real estate professional, this can be a very expensive decision.

Your time is valuable. That is to say - it has an actual dollar amount attached to it. If you are the one who has to take the call in the middle of the night to repair a broken water pipe, this truth gets very real, very fast. Every time you have to shop for a new appliance, repair a broken fence or issue an eviction to a tenant, you are cutting into the net VALUE of owning investment property.

Professional property managers do all of this and much more, in most cases saving you money and offering you the peace of mind you really desire. Management companies know how to budget for the life cycles of your appliances, exterior maintenance and the myriad of other expenses that come along with investment properties. They find the right tenants, sign the proper documents, and remove any and all problems - all for their regular fee, which is typically accounted for within the negotiated amount of rent that they collect each month.

Oh… and they also keep their fingers on the pulse of the market, and so they can advise you on property taxes and insurance policies as well.

These are just three of the many considerations a landlord must factor into the decision to invest in property to lease. Our recommendation is to consider calling a professional management company as your first step to making sure all future decisions are profitable.  We stand ready to accept your phone call: 720-989-1996 or contact us here.

What do Property Managers Do?

What do Property Managers Do?

Many landlords and real estate investors want to know: What do property managers do?

When asking the question, “What do property managers do?” one must first consider the professional qualifications of the individual property managers. Like many things in life, one size does NOT fit all… and this absolutely applies to the role of property managers of your largest investment asset(s).

Landlords and investors must seek answers to the following questions:

1. Is the property manager a member in good standing of the National Association of Rental Property Managers (NARPM)?

Alignment with NARPM is a huge step in the right direction when considering which property managers to hire. NARPM members adhere to a strict code of conduct, and agree to standards of professionalism as well as a strong code of ethics.  They know the rent and vacancy factors of their area, and are much better equipped to get you top-dollar for your rental.  They are also able to handle difficult situations, enforce the terms of the rental agreement and have the ability to recover NSF checks, evict tenants and collect bad debts.

2. Is the property manager well known in the community, and personally familiar with reputable painters, electricians, roofers, carpenters, landscapers and handyman companies?

Look for property managers who have solid, positive relationships with the tradesmen/women who will be necessary to fix/repair anything that might need attention in your property. There should be no hesitation from property managers who are asked to provide contact information and referral resources of the maintenance professionals that they employ.

3. Do the property managers have a history of placing great tenants into the properties that they manage?

It’s one thing to fill a vacancy.  It’s another thing altogether to place the RIGHT tenant into your property.  Qualified, professional property managers are able to provide a solid history of great tenant placements where both the landlord and the tenant are a great match for one another.

What do property managers do?

The best property managers offer you peace of mind as they ethically care for your investment asset.  They help you build a legacy through real estate investment. They handle the hard work so that you can simply reap the rewards.  They bring the gap between landlord and tenant - and provide the glue for healthy relationships.

We’d love to be considered to manage your property. Please reach out to us here: 720-989-1996