Presenting A Rental

If you think you’re ready to market your rental unit to potential renters, think again. It’s a good idea to take a little inventory on how you will debut your investment to the perfect tenant. Although you may have a suitable rental unit available, sometimes it takes a little boost in presentation to seal the deal. A few small touches can make the difference between you collecting monthly rent fast or letting the unit sit for months unoccupied. Here are some staging tips you need to know to make your rental outshine the rest.

Curb Appeal

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. When it comes to rental units, the outside can be a deal maker or breaker. The first impression of your rental should bring nothing but good vibes. Power wash the driveway and siding of the home to ensure it looks clean and fresh. Mow the lawn and trim the bushes so that the house can become the focal point. Repaint chipped or dull paint to make the colors pop in the eyes of potential renters. Be sure to wash the windows to remove dirt so that they are easy to see out of. The first impression of your rental should bring nothing but good vibes.

Clean Clean Clean

The cleanliness of your rental will play a direct role on how fast the unit is rented. Showing a dirty rental to potential renters is a waste of time and energy. A renter wants to know that you care about your property and are willing to take care of it. Cleaning the unit is an effective way to show that you care about your investment. Whether you do it yourself or have the professionals do it, cleaning the unit from top to bottom is a must; no exceptions.

Make it Neutral

Everyone has their own style. You want a potential renter to come into your vacancy and feel as if they can make it a home of their own. The best way to show the warmth of a lived-in space while exhibiting a blank canvas is to use neutral colors and style. Avoid gender specific pieces in the décor. Keep everything in the middle of the spectrum so that potential renters can envision how they will make themselves at home.

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Renters Insurance

As a property owner, there is no doubt that you want to secure your investment by purchasing the necessary insurance on your own behalf. There is a myriad of things that could go wrong that you would be held liable for otherwise. However, what about being held liable for something that occurred in one of your units that a tenant is at fault? Even if no one plays the blame game, can you guarantee rent will
be collected if your tenant is sued for everything they are worth? The best way to ensure a little peace of mind is to require your tenants to have renter’s insurance. Here are a few reasons why it is important to make renters insurance apart of your lease agreement.

A Little Bit Goes A Long Way
The great thing about renter’s insurance is that for a low cost, property and liability will be covered in the event of an accident or occurrence. Renter’s insurance covers perils like fire, explosion, lightning, and theft. If someone is hurt in a tenant’s unit, renter’s insurance can help cover the cost of bodily injury or property damage while in the unit. In many cases, renter’s insurance can be added to an existing personal auto policy.

See Where They Are Financially
If your potential tenants are finding it hard to grasp the concept of required renter’s insurance, it may be time to reconsider the tenant. Renter’s insurance is a security blanket for both parties to aid in the event of loss or injury. This low-cost insurance should not make or break the budget of a renter. If a tenant cannot handle a small change in the monotony, can they afford to rent your unit?

Covered Deductible
Did you know that the renter’s insurance policy of your tenant can cover your policy’s deductible? In the unfortunate event that a tenant damages your building, your policy may cover the damage, but you will have to foot the bill for the deductible if your tenant has no insurance. Although any accidental
damage can be an inconvenience, the benefit of a covered deductible can help to ease the blow.

Leasing Season

Rental leasing season is upon us so it’s time to get your properties up to speed and ready for new tenants. Did you know that May through September are when most renters are on the prowl for new digs? Schooling, weather, and the end of tax season may play a huge role in when tenants are looking to make a move and sign on the dotted line. Whatever the reason, it’s important to make sure that your property stands out above the rest. Here a few ways to make your properties shine during leasing season.

Clean it Up
Now is the time to ensure your team is ready to get to work. Your cleaning crew will need to be on deck to clean move-outs promptly. The landscaping team will have to keep the grounds in tip top shape to help attract new tenants to the property. Now is also a good time to make the necessary repairs and cosmetic upgrades to units so they are in optimum shape for new tenants. Showing a little extra TLC during this time can help to fill those vacancies faster.

Price it Right
Now that your units are ready, it’s time to review pricing. Do some quick research to find out what similar units are going for in the area. Rental prices can drift from year to year so it’s important to stay current to make sure the price is right. Rental specials can sweeten the pot for new potential tenants. A rent that is too high will scare prospective tenants away. Talk with owners about pricing so that everyone is on the same page to create the best outcome so that everyone wins.

Be Prepared
Leasing season may bring higher traffic through your offices. Take the time before the season begins to make sure all paperwork and policies are up to date. Get any extra filing done that may be piling up. Have a strong, experienced office staff in place to handle the higher volume of inspections, screening, marketing, and prospect follow-ups.

Security Deposits

Your rental property is a golden source of revolving income that can add a pretty penny to your earnings. Once you have found the perfect tenant to occupy your space, you will need to hack out the fine print details; including the security deposit. The security deposit helps to bridge the gap between certain and uncertain instances that may occur during the lease period. Excessive wear and tear, unpaid
rents, and damages can all add up in costs very quickly. Unmet obligations can take a pretty penny out of your pocket if there is nothing to cover the charges. So how much is a good price for a security deposit for your property? Here is a quick guide on how much to charge tenants for the security deposit.

Know Your Limits
There are some states that have do not have a limit on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. However, some states limit the total security deposit to no more than two times the monthly rent. Charging on the high end of two times the monthly rent or more will encourage tenants who move in to be responsible and respect the unit.

Who Should Be Charged What                                                                                         High risk tenants who have passed your tenant screening process, but have less than stunning rental or credit history, should be charged a higher security deposit. Someone who has a glowing rental and credit history poses less of a threat and it may be more profitable to offer a lower security deposit. Seniors also pose a lower risk to cause damage. Review the fair housing laws in your state to ensure this
doesn’t breach any laws. Use your discretion based on the tenant to help secure your investment.

Don’t Be the Bad Guy
Moving can be quite the daunting task. There is a ton of money spent on actual moving costs, setting up utilities, and other expenses procured during the process. You don’t want to be the one to add insult to injury by making your new tenant pay an unreasonable amount for the security. Keep these circumstances in mind when you assign a price for the security deposit. Showing empathy to your tenant’s situation can create a great rapport from the start of your rental relationship.

Don’t Be the Nice Guy
Although you want to be a considerate landlord, you don’t want to incur a loss. Being considerate of others does not mean that you should get the short end of the stick. The security deposit is a very crucial element of funds needed in every leasing agreement and should never be waived. Protect your investment at all costs.

How to Screen for the Perfect Tenant

When you have invested your time and money into a property, it’s no wonder that you want everything
to be properly maintained. Apart from reasonable wear and tear, a dwelling should be kept in decent
condition with each new tenant. Although you may have a few standard practices in place to screen
your tenants, it never hurts to learn new ways to ensure that you are placing the best tenants for your
rental. Here are a few tips on how to screen for the perfect tenant.

Treat Everyone Fairly
The Federal Fair Housing Act strictly prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, sex, nationalorigin, religion, familial status, or a disability. You will have to treat everyone fairly based on thesecriterions when screening for your tenant. Keep in mind that your state may have additional laws toadhere to regarding this matter.

Look for Stability
The best tenants are those who maintain stability. Ideally, you will want a tenant who will stay put in your property to ensure a steady stream of income. Does this tenant have staying power? Look for things like rental and employment history to determine how stable your potential tenant truly is. Do they switch jobs often? Does this person move from place to place? Chances are they will do the same soon if they move into your rental.

Criminal History
It’s important to make sure that you run a thorough criminal check on any potential tenants. To do a criminal background check, you will need the full legal name and date of birth. The tricky thing about criminal background checks is that there is no nationwide database of criminal records. This is where a rental management company can come in handy to handle the tough leg work and get you the criminal
records you need.

Credit
Unless you are a gambler and feel like taking a risk, it’s best to choose a tenant with good credit. Run  a credit check to see if this person pays their bills on time. Rent is typically the most expensive bill a person can have so if the potential can’t pay smaller bills on time, will they be able to pay your rental fee? When looking at the credit report, keep an eye out for prior evictions, judgements, and bankruptcies. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any of your findings to get more information.

Trust Your Gut
Some people are very good talkers. With the “gift of gab”, it can be easy for a potential tenant to explain away the flaws in their history. Although some people genuinely have a rough patch here and there, a consistent pattern of less than perfect history can mean that this is not the best tenant for your
property.

Pool Safety

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As a landlord or property manager, offering use of a swimming pool is a great way to attract more tenants. Especially in New Mexico where the summer temperatures can reach 100 degrees. Swimming is a great way to exercise, relax, and keep the kids entertained during the seemingly endless school breaks. But as with any amenity, maintenance and safety regulations must be followed to the letter to avoid accidents and fines.

Across the board, there are basic safety guidelines for any pool. The CDC states: “ there was an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.” In addition to drowning-related deaths, nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).

So, as you can see, pool safety should be one of your top priorities as a property manager. People’s lives literally depend on it.

Most rental properties are required to have child-proof fencing with a locking gate. This fencing isn’t just for children’s safety. It also prevents unauthorized access by guests and trespassers. Even someone unauthorized to swim in the pool can potentially sue the property owner in the event of an accident, so it’s obviously in the management’s best interest to keep this fence in good condition and make sure it stays locked when the pool isn’t in use.

In addition to making sure the pool area is secure, assuring that the water is clean is also very important. When there isn’t enough chlorine in the pool, algae and other organisms can grow. Once your pool has an algae problem, it will have to be drained and refilled to make sure no one gets sick from exposure. It’s imperative that your filtration system works properly and is checked often, along with the chlorine levels. The pool should also be cleared of leaves, dirt and other debris on a daily basis. If pool maintenance is something you’re not familiar with, consider hiring a professional to make sure everything is as it should be.

On a monthly basis, Monthly tasks include, testing for water hardness (calcium content), pH, dissolved solids, and total alkalinity — and adding chemicals as needed, cleaning the pool filter, and checking the operation of the pump and motor. You can view a complete list of pool maintenance tasks here.

As far as local standards are concerned, it’s imperative that you familiarize yourself with your city’s ordinances. In Albuquerque, there is a checklist for pool certification. Certification is required by the city. Failure to follow these guidelines can result in hefty fines or shut-downs of your amenity. This will not make your current, or prospective tenants happy. Don’t skimp. It’s not worth it, dangerous, and could lead to loss of tenant retention or lawsuits.

While you are doing your part, make sure these following items are included in your lease pool addendum so your tenants are clear about their responsibilities as well:

  • Tenants use the pool at their own risk.
  • The landlord should be notified immediately if something needs to be fixed.
  • Users must comply with manufacturer instructions and recommendations when using the pool equipment.
  • The gate must be locked and the pool deck free of obstructions.
  • If you elect to allow tenants to perform routine maintenance, such as adding chlorine and removing debris, all such maintenance tasks should be specified.

Happy and healthy tenants mean happy (and wealthy) landlords. As we gear up for the summer months, take the necessary steps to make sure you are 100% compliant with local swimming pool laws.

Rhino Realty offers property management and commercial real estate sales in New Mexico, Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Rio Rancho, and Bernalillo. For more information, please contact us at  505-856-0033 or visit us at www.RhinoRentalsNM.com

 

Days To Fly the American Flag

 

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Spring is finally upon us and brings with it all the seasonal outdoor fun we look forward to, along with the promise of summer, every year. As we gear up for barbecues and fireworks, you may start planning on hanging up your flag for the season. But, knowing when and how to fly the flag can be confusing. Committing a flag faux pas can be embarrassing, so this week, we are going to take a look at the 2018 flag schedule.

First and foremost, you can fly the flag every day of the year – weather permitting. The United States Flag Code dictates that “The [American] flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.”

All-weather flags can also fall victim to wear and tear, so always check your flag’s condition regardless of the material from which it’s made.  The condition of the flag flying in front of your property says a great deal about the care and attention you provide. Good maintenance practices assure your tenants and guests that you take pride in your community.

The United States Flag Code also states that “when a patriotic effect is desired, the [American] flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during hours of darkness.”  

So always use lights mounted away from the flagpole, configured in such a way as to spotlight the flag in darkness.

The above being said, if you do not fly the flag all year round, there are definitely days that the flag can (and should) be displayed. The below dates are for the 2018 calendar and will vary yearly. On these days, fly the flag at full- staff unless otherwise noted.

  • New Year’s Day: January 1
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: January 15
  • Inauguration Day: January 20
  • Lincoln’s Birthday: February 12
  • President’s Day/Washington’s Birthday: February 19
  • National Vietnam War Veterans Day: March 29
  • Easter Sunday: April 1
  • Veterans Day: May 8
  • Mother’s Day: May 13
  • Peace Officers’ Memorial Day: May 15 (half-staff)
  • Armed Forces Day: May 20
  • Memorial Day: May 28 (half-staff until noon)
  • D-Day: June 6
  • Flag Day / Army’s Birthday: June 14
  • Father’s Day: June 17
  • Independence Day: July 4
  • National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day: July 27
  • Coast Guard Birthday: August 4

As the summer holidays approach, it may be tempting to go all out and decorate with American flag themes. It’s important to respect the community in which you live and be cautious about using the flag as decoration or clothing. The United States flag code outlines these guidelines in section § 8.

“Respect for Flag. No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, state flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

(a) The flag should never be displayed with union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping in front of the platform, and for a decoration in general.

(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.

(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Using the above guidelines is best practice when considering flying the American flag on your property. When in doubt about any of the guidelines for displaying your flag, you can visit the link to read the official United States Flag Code.

Also, keep in mind that your town may have local guidelines to honor or show respect for events in your area. You can always check your city’s website for guidance in that regard.

Rhino Realty offers property management and commercial real estate sales in New Mexico, Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Rio Rancho, and Bernalillo. For more information, please contact us at  505-856-0033 or visit us at http://www.RhinoRentalsNM.com