We’ve all heard stories about tenant-landlord disputes, especially of tenants that make it very difficult for landlords to deal with them and evict them, if the need arises. That is why it is extremely important for all landlords to screen tenants, even if they have been recommended by family and friends. The biggest advantage of effective screening is that any warning signs of tenants who could be problematic in the future become apparent at an early stage. Here are some tips on tenant screening to ensure that you get the right tenant: Rental Application: Make all prospective tenants fill out a rental application. The information provided by the applicant will help you decide if they have the right profile and if they would be a good fit for you. Make sure that the application is based on recommendations by the Housing Agency and always follow your state’s rental and housing laws to ensure you are not sued for discrimination against any religion, race, income or gender. Identity Check: During the application process, it is generally recommended that you ask the applicant for photo identification. This is mainly for verification purposes. In addition, make sure that the application form asks for a driver’s license number as this information can be used to conduct a background search. Make a copy of the photo ID and also ask if the potential tenant owns a car and if yes, the license plate number of the car. Background Check: If you want limit the likelihood of ending up with a difficult tenant, always perform a background check. Do not fall for appearances or sweet talk as looks can be deceiving. A background check can reveal important things about your potential tenant including a history of skipping rent, damaging property, or any prior convictions. Credit Check: In addition to the background check, always perform a credit check as this will provide you with the individual's credit history. To do this, you will need to get the applicant’s permission as well as his or her Social Security number. Past Landlords: Ask the applicant to provide details about previous landlords including names, addresses and duration of stay. This will help you verify if the applicant has had any issues with landlords in the past. You need to call the landlord(s)to obtain this information. References: You should always ask for character references. However, since some tenants can provide bogus letters, it is always a good idea to ask for phone numbers and follow-up. Meeting in Person: Never ever rent out your property to a person you have never seen. You must physically meet him or her. We live in a digital world and even though most communication is done via email or phone, a physical meeting is vital. This meeting will tell you a lot more about the person’s personality, amicability and other oddities that an email or a phone conversation wouldn't uncover. Protecting Yourself: Always follow state laws when it comes to checking the background of potential tenants. Clearly state on the application form that the information provided will be used to perform a background and credit check. In addition, you should have a section where the applicant is required to give a signed consent for a credit check. Be honest and up-front. Background checks are quite common in the rental screening process. Code of Conduct: In the application form or lease agreement, always include the code of conduct and the expectations from tenants. Have the prospective tenant read the application and lease and go over each point with them. Many landlords just give the applicant the documents to review and get back to them. This does not mean that the applicant has read the information so make sure they understand the specifics of the agreement. The rental application must be signed and dated to make it valid. Judgment: Finally, before you accept any tenant, use your instinct to follow-up on the candidate. If you suspect anything odd or abnormal about their personal information or behavior, the onus is on to you to screen them properly. There is nothing worse than getting a bad tenant. The leg work you do prior to accepting the tenant can save you a lot of hassle and money in the long-run. Tenant screening is one of the most critical components of the rental process and should not be rushed or ignored. It is in the interest of both the landlord and the tenant to ensure that they are a good fit from the very beginning. If not, both parties suffer. If you would like help with your rental property don't hesitate to give us a call. We would be happy to speak with you and see if we can be of service.
How you price your rental property influences the type of renters you will attract, as well as the amount of rental income you receive. It is no surprise that many landlords struggle to determine just what that rental fee is. While a low rental price will appeal to many tenants, it will limit rental income. Similarly, charging a higher amount to maximize profit may repel quality renters, keeping your units vacant longer. A long-drawn-out vacancy translates to a significant loss of benefits and rental income. So how does an Orlando, Florida landlord determine the right price for his or her property? Know the Pricing Red Flags The first step to setting the right rental price is to determine whether your price is too high or too low. If a week after listing the vacant property no one makes inquiries or prospects inquire but do not show up, chances are your price is too high. The same may be true if people come to view the property but decline to fill out an application . However, if within the first day of listing the property you receive multiple inquiries, and the prospects are in a rush for you to take a holding deposit, your rental price is likely too low. Understand the Rental Pricing Determinants The price of rental properties in Orlando, Florida depend on several factors. Major factors include the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, lease duration, inflation rates, location of the property, as well as the type of housing unit i.e. a single family or multifamily unit. Minor rent price determinants include the amenities and fixtures in the property, the lease clause, laundry, utilities, appliances, HVAC systems, cleanliness of the unit, and whether the property is furnished, has a lawn, fence or parking space. Research Listings Prices As a landlord, the easiest and quickest way to determine the right rental price is to check the property listing platforms. They provide valuable information such as how much owners want for their properties. Some of the popular platforms available for use include: Craigslist, Zillow Rent Zestimate, Cozy Rent Estimate, Trulia Market Overviews, Rentometer, and the multiple listing services, Realtor.com. Consult a Professional Another effective way of arriving at a rental price is to consult with a rental property expert. It could be a fellow landlord, a real estate agent, a property manager, or members of a Rental housing association. If you decide to talk to a property owner or association member, look for one with assets that are comparable to yours. The units should be similar in type, number of bedrooms, and square footage. If you prefer to work with a real estate agent or property manager, make sure that he or she has sufficient expertise and experience in handling rentals. Compare Real Rent Data Although the listings platforms provide a guide on how much you could charge, the prices they indicate are not necessarily what the landlords ultimately receive. They are merely an expression of what the owners hope to get. Hence, you need to investigate the rent listings' prices further to ascertain the actual rent fees. An excellent way of comparing rent data is by using Rent Estimate platforms which will help you to calculate rental prices with absolute confidence. They are basically a rent calculator, which gives you a recommended rent estimate based on similar properties in your area. It is a good idea to run a rent survey on several platforms like Cozy, Zillow and Rentometer. The guesstimate report will provide valuable information including; The rent estimate for your property The Confidence Score The estimated local vacancy rates and the precise rental amounts of comparable units, and The historical Orlando Florida rent trends. Once the calculations have been completed, the resulting reports from each of these platforms can be compared to the actual rent price of your property. It is likely that your rent will either be higher or lower than the results of these platforms. The Rent Estimation report makes it relatively easy for a landlord to determine whether his or her rent prices are under or above market rate. As a result, he or she can adjust the rent to a competitive rate to attract quality renters.
So you're looking to buy investment property in Orlando? Real Estate investing is a viable investment strategy which boasts of superior advantages over any other type of investment out there. When the housing market turns around, an Orlando real estate investor can enjoy not only a positive cash flow but also the opportunity to benefit from increased equity in the property. Moreover, you safeguard those gains from both the state and federal income tax. It's worth noting that for you to enjoy these benefits, you should diligently think through a few things about the Orlando property in question to eliminate any chances of making common property investment mistakes. Here are some of the things you should do. Study the Metrics When getting into any property investment, you should assess its ability to generate wealth. Take the time to explore the factors that can either promote or inhibit wealth production. Such variables include historical growth trends, demographics, vacancy rates, where the residents work, the population growth rate, as well the kind of renters likely to look for property in the area. Similarly, be on the lookout for red flags such as a dominant employer downsizing, as that can affect your tenants’ ability to pay rent. Armed with this information, it becomes much easier for you to purchase the kind of property that people living in that community would want to lease. You'll be able to predict the demographic that is likely to be looking for a home in Orlando - young professionals, retirees, or families - and invest in the type of home they'll be interested in renting. Analyze the Rent Your primary goal for purchasing investment property is to earn rental income. Be diligent before making a decision. Conduct a rent assessment on the property to determine its realistic profit potential. To do that, calculate how much money you need to be earning from the investment, and verify whether the property in question has a realistic potential of generating that figure. In depth research on what comparable nearby units demand as rent, and surveying the prevailing occupancy rates of those houses might prove useful at this stage. Inspect the Property Many first time investors hardly take the time to examine the actual status of the property they want to buy. Consequently, they end up with a home that demands unending costly repairs. Save yourself the agony and hire a competent home inspector to evaluate the property to learn its true condition. Some of the features you should review include the roof, electrical systems, plumbing, smoke and fire sensors, insulation, as well as the drainage. Even though you can conduct the inspection by yourself, getting a pro will ensure that you only invest in a property that is safe, habitable, and complies with the local building codes. Saving you from pricey and countless property maintenance headaches. Assemble a Team Prosperous property investors in Orlando rarely work alone. They have a network of professionals to help with the day to day running of the investment. These professionals include a competent real estate agent well versed in the local market, a qualified appraiser for evaluating the assets, a reliable financier, and an attorney who specializes in real estate. Also, they have certified electricians, painters, plumbers, roofing experts, and service and maintenance contractors. Having a team of reliable experts is invaluable. If you feel like the challenge of managing all these professionals is daunting, hiring a property management company might be a prudent option as the manager will handle this for you. Critically Evaluate Cash Flow When purchasing the rental property, it is critical that you consider all the costs likely to affect your cash flow. These include property maintenance, renovation, repairs, and management expenses. Find out what these costs are and whether the rental income will be more than enough to meet those obligations and still leave you with a desirable amount. If you decide to hire a property manager make sure to factor in their fees when calculating your cash flow. Interviewing your property manager ahead of time and asking detailed questions about their services and fees will help avoid surprises. Craft an Exit Strategy Rental property investing involves more than just buying the right asset in the right neighborhood and at the right price. You also need to have the ideal exit strategy that will help you to sell or flip the property at the acceptable time and price. Whether you choose to purchase the property for renting or flipping, you need to factor in financing and renovation costs into your exit strategy. For instance, if your mortgage has an adjustable rate or a balloon payment, the best exit strategy is to dispose of the property beforehand. Know Your Options At times, for one reason or another, your exit strategy might fail. It could be due to the flooding of the local rental market, or the bottom falling out of the property market just as you are about to sell. Whatever the reason, it is prudent to have in mind a few options that you can pursue. For instance, you could offer an existing tenant a lease-purchase deal, or sell it to an interested property investor at a slightly below market rate. In both scenarios, you will have the opportunity to cut your losses and get rid of the asset promptly. These are just a few tips to help you avoid unnecessary costs and get you going when buying Investment property in Orlando. Seeking the advice of a competent property management company can make the exercise much more rewarding. If you're looking for guidance buying an investment property in Orlando or Central Florida give us a call today!
A rental property can give you passive recurring income and a stable future, or it can be the source of untold misery especially to a new landlord. Many first time owners, end up having nightmarish ordeals with their investments for many reasons. For instance, they may not know how to attract or screen quality renters, how to craft self-serving rental agreements, or even how to keep the occupants satisfied and happy. As a result, such landlords end up with problematic tenants who do not pay rent promptly, are always causing trouble, or damaging the property. If you are a first-time landlord wishing to succeed, here are a few tips to help you do that. Provide a Quality Home The condition of your property influences the type of tenants you attract. If your property looks outdated, dilapidated and broken, then high-quality renters will shun away from it. Take your time to keep your units clean, durable, and appealing at all times. You can do that by performing repairs each time a tenant moves out, upgrading it using high quality materials and carrying out routine property inspections and maintenance. You also want to make sure your property is a safe place to live in. It should comply with all the relevant housing codes, while the utilities should be in perfect working conditions. Remember this is going to be someone's home. If you're looking to attract high quality tenants, you need a high quality property. Your Rental Property Is Your Business A defining distinction between those who run a successful real estate investment and those who fail is in how they manage their rental units. Experienced landlords view their property as an investment, from which they hope to earn impressive returns. These owners handle the property like they would any other business. Only that in this instance, the renters are the customers. Your rental property is your business. Be professional, organized and objective in all matters relating to your investment. Familiarize Yourself With The Fair Housing Laws A common challenge for most first-time landlords is learning the state and federal laws they need to abide by. Unless you derive pleasure out of standing in front of a judge or paying hefty fines, you need to be conversant with the Fair Housing legislations in your state. Knowledge on matters such as the “Protected Class, will keep you from discriminating against any renter by their color, race, religion, age, sex, handicap, national origin, or familial status. As a first-time landlord it's essential that you educate yourself about Landlord-Tenant laws. Don't Jump At The First Opportunity To Fill Your Rental When a tenant moves out of the property, the first instinct for most landlords is to find another tenant as soon as possible. In their haste, many landlords end up renting their property to unqualified tenants. Avoid falling into such a trap by being patient enough to wait until the “right” candidate comes along. Understandably, you will be concerned about the loss of rental income. However, what is the use in hurrying to fill the units only to end up spending massive amounts of time and money on endless conflicts and repairs? Be patient, apply effective advertising strategies, and be diligent in your tenant screening. Define Your Perfect Tenants It is not just sufficient for you to look for renters. You should have a clear image of the type of occupants you want in your property. For instance, one with a stable income, a particular family size, as well as desirable credit ratings and tenancy history. Most first-time landlords undermine the importance of such a step only to end up with tenants that cause them issues. When defining your ideal tenant be careful not to discriminate against any candidate. Being knowledgeable of the Fair Housing rules will prove useful here. Price your units correctly A primary reason why many first-time landlords struggle is their inability to charge the correct rental amount. Even though the right price of rent is relative and dependent on many factors, it is critical that you do not overprice or under price. Overpricing will seem like a rip off to potential renters, while charging too little will be unprofitable. Fortunately, it is not impossible to determine the right range. You need to research the market to ascertain what amount similar properties are renting for. When setting the price, also take into consideration how it will affect your financials such as fixed and variable expenses. A quick search on websites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and Rent.com can help you determine the going rental rate in your area. Thoroughly Screen Prospects One of the most common struggles for first-time landlords is their inability to vet or research the tenant before handing over the property. If you want to have a rewarding experience, never allow anyone to occupy your investment before they pass through a thorough tenant screening process. The vetting should involve the prospects filling out a formal rental application as well as being put through credit and background checks. You should also talk with the applicant’s employer, previous landlord, and neighbors. Proper due diligence can save you from many painful tenant headaches. If during the process you identify inconsistencies or concerns, be firm and disqualify the candidate. Have a Legally Binding Rental Agreement You have every right to dictate what goes in your property, provided you adhere to the state’s laws. You do this by developing a legally binding rental agreement. This legal document defines the roles, responsibilities, and liabilities of both you and your tenants. The tenant must then sign the document as a confirmation that he or she agrees to abide by those terms. Make sure the contract sufficiently addresses elements like the rental amount, rental payment date, security deposit, pets, property usage, maintenance, inspections, tenant evictions, termination and much more. The rental agreement will you to communicate to the residents what your expectations are. But most importantly, the rental contract becomes a reliable point of reference in case of disagreements. Set Practical Rent Collection Procedures There is no doubt that your success as a landlord largely depends on your ability to get the tenants to pay the rent on time. You need to come up with safe and convenient methods for them to remit the rent each time it is due. For instance, instead of encouraging cash payments you should adopt automated payment solutions. Furthermore, come up with novel ways to motivate the tenants to pay their rent on time. Conclusion Evidently running a successful rental property business involves a lot of work. Not only do you have to learn the legalities of dealing with tenants, you also have to learn how to effectively attract high quality rents. However, if you follow the tips you've just learnt and continue to educate yourself, you can have a very profitable investment even if you are a first-time landlord.
Many Orlando landlords question the need to enlist the services of property management companies. To them, hiring a manager may seem like an unnecessary cost. However, engaging the services of a professional real estate manager has many financial, social, aesthetic as well as health benefits, which more than justifies the cost. We’ll discuss some of the advantages of contracting an Orlando property management company. Benefits of working with a rental manager: 1) Helps free up your time When you decide to hire an Orlando property manager, essentially what you are doing is transferring all the responsibilities of handling the day to day affairs of your investment. That includes making your property habitable, advertising vacancies, screening prospective tenants, creating the lease agreement, signing the contract, collecting the rent, among many other tasks required to successfully maintain a rental investment.All these tasks take a lot of work. What this means, is that you have more free time to attend to other equally important issues such as spending time with family, friends, and business. If you’d like you can even spend your free time looking for additional real estate investment opportunities. 2) You save money Even though hiring an Orlando property manager has a cost, the amount you spend is negligible compared to the sum of money you will save and also make. Some of the ways in which a property manager will benefit you include ensuring your property is always occupied and reducing the amount of problematic tenants by implementing their professional tenant screening processes. Over time, this will lead to having only high-quality tenants and reduce the amount of uncollected rent. The property manager also arranges to have a legal lease agreement drafted up that prevents costly landlord-tenant disputes and ensures that the residents pay their rent promptly. Furthermore, he or she will arrange to conduct routine inspections and property maintenance exercises, which will keep the property safe, appealing and in need of minimal repair services. When it comes to evictions, a property manager has adequate skills and experience to do so in a peaceful and diplomatic manner, devoid of disputes, or legal arbitration. 3) First-hand access to Orlando Real Estate Resources Property management companies have their ear on the ground, and they are always up-to-date with the latest rental property innovations, legislations, regulations, tools, and resources. When you hire an Orlando property management company, you gain a free-pass to access all these resources first hand. As a result, you enjoy a competitive advantage. For instance, you will be informed of any changes in state regulations even before they go public. You will also be aware of soon to be vacant or on sale properties, as well as tenants who are shopping for your kind of units. 4) Unsolicited expert advice Once you contract a rental manager in Orlando, he or she will always be at your disposal. Consequently, you will always enjoy free advice and tips on how to make your rental investment successful. For instance, the manager could guide you to draft a legal lease agreement that works in your favor, suggest to you the ideal location for property investment, hint to you what kind of housing units to construct and even how to handle errant tenants and lawsuits. In contrast, if you do not hire a property manager, you will have to pay each time you need to consult or use their service. 5) Connection to a Network of Relevant Industry Players Since an Orlando property management company is constantly working within the real estate industry, they naturally havean extensive network of industry players. These include licensed and insured vendors, policy makers, cleaners, landscaping experts, plumbers, maintenance and repair contractors as well as property owners. You, therefore, will always have within your reach the contacts of reliable and affordable service providers. A great benefit is that all, of these contractors are qualified, which gives you and your tenants the assurance of receiving quality services. 6) Professionalized Investment One of the secrets of having a successful rental property investment is to treat it like a business. That is the greatest benefit that a property management company can offer. A great property management firm will make every aspect of the rental business, right from the advertising to tenant evictions, professional. They will ensure that your rental property complies with all relevant laws, statutes, and regulations and that it has a well-crafted legally binding lease agreement. Furthermore, the firm will set up systems and structures to ensure that everything works seamlessly. For instance, that tenants pay their rents promptly, report their concerns or give suggestions on how to make the tenancy relationship better. In addition,a good manager will often have a full-time emergency response team for attending to emergencies. While hiring a professional to manage your property does come with a cost, there are many benefits you receive that will end up saving you money in the long run. If you’re interested in learning more about Orlando property management services we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. 7) Access to their professional business relationships Property managers are here to make your life simpler. At the end of the day, they strive in improving your rental property’s ROI. When you work with a professional property management company, you also gain access to their professional business relationships. These means that you have access to other local businesses that can help you when certain needs arise. When owning a rental property, you may need access to a lawyer, accountant, contractor, mover, furniture supplies store, etc. Whatever the case, as time passes and you slowly build a trustworthy relationship with them, you may ask them who else might be able to help you.
The following article is a guest post provided by Aparna Sunil from LocalLawn, an Orlando Lawn Services Company. We hope this article helps our property owners and tenants with their lawn care If there is something called easy weeding tips, then this is it. Tips and tricks for effective weed control The adage that a weed is merely a plant in the wrong place, although true, is often very difficult to accept. Ask any gardener and they’ll tell you that the one thing that baffles and daunts them is the sight of weeds on their lawn. Let’s face it; weeds are a nuisance in every garden. There are unwanted plants that lurk around uninvited and contend with your carefully-nurtured grass for water and food supply. I mean, there are times when I feel they’re nothing short of evil predators. Ferociously opportunistic, the nature of all weeds is to do whatever it takes to feed and thrive- even if it comes at the cost of choking and overpowering less robust plants to death. As much as I used to despise the wrecked wildflower at one time, over the years, I’ve learned to accept them more consistently (honestly, I don’t think I had a choice). You see, surprising as this might sound, I’ve realized that they have a few advantages (I can understand the disbelief but it’s true). If not among your vegetable or flower beds, many weed flowers act as food sources for predators and I mean the actual ones such as wasps and hoverflies that in turn feed off pests such as aphids. In fact, vast tracks of agricultural land continue to be infested by pests simply because they’ve been treated with the strongest weed killers in the market. With no weeds to feed on, the pests turn their attention to carefully-nurtured plants for food (I mean, it’s not like they know the difference between uninvited weeds and desirable plant life). As hard as this might be to digest, the greater fertility of your weed population, the healthier and better conditioned your soil and plants will be. Now, that doesn’t mean you let them grow until they take over your entire garden space (which they will if left to their own devices). It simply means you find a ratio and take them out strategically, while leaving some of them as bait for pests to feed on. Finding an organic way out Trust me; the thought of simply dousing weeds in glyphosate (a not organic but effective weed killer) has crossed my mind many times, especially when they’re really getting on top of me. However, having done that before and having watched the adverse effect it has on other plant life, I’ve changed my ways for good. Over the years, I’ve endorsed balanced, holistic, and organic ways to get rid of weeds and can vouch on the world of difference they’ve made to the health and vitality of my garden. Now for the good stuff- while there isn’t one easy solution (we’re talking about pure-bred survivors so what do you expect?), a combination of the following ways should have you covered: Tip 1: Use Mulch Use organic mulch (decayed leaves as well as a combination of mushroom and garden compost work like a dream) and cover every piece of bare soil with it. If you aren’t too keen on aesthetics, then you could also opt for straw hay, shredded bark, and their likes). I am and therefore stick to aesthetically-appealing ones. Using organic mulch will improve the fertility of the soil and suppress weeds. Tip 2: Weed with a Hoe Use your favorite hoe (the long-handled gardening tool that’s mainly used for weeding) to slice through the roots of any weeds just below the surface of the soil. The trick is to do it little-by-little but often enough. Now did I mention anything about consistency and patience being the two traits that marks the sign of a true gardener? Tip 3: Weed by hand Yes, I mean you get down on your knees, dig your hands right into the soil and get every scrap of weed with your fingers (you can use a hand fork too). Although not the most enjoyable aspects of gardening, in time, you’ll learn to develop the patience and might even get a kick from pulling them out with your bare fingers (sinistrous I know but it happens). Tip 4: do whatever it takes but do at the right time In your battle to stop weeds from taking over, it’s crucial, and I repeat, absolutely crucial to cut, hoe, mow, trim, pull (I simply mean you do whatever it takes) to stop them from multiplying. Using an integrated approach and a combination of the above tips at the right time can help you stay as weed-free as you possibly can at any given point in time. Give us a shout. We are waiting to hear from you. While the above best practices are effective and deliver great results, they cover only a fraction of what we know and would love to share with you. If you live in Orlando, then you’ll be happy to know that we’ve got just the right lawn and landscaping services for you. Having been in the industry for several years now, we’re passionate about lawns and would love to share our expertise with you. For us… this is serious business.
Every landlord dreams of having high-quality renters who will pay rent promptly and take good care of the property. Luckily for Orlando property owners, it is possible to get such tenants by making your rental units attractive and putting in place thorough tenant screening procedures. Once you find quality residents, it’s important that you continuously treat them well, to keep them from becoming problematic. Here are practical tips to ensure a smooth relationship between you and your tenants. Set clear rules early A primary source of conflict between landlords and renters stems from unclear rules, where both parties are not sure of what their roles and responsibilities are. For this reason, be kind to your tenants and give them clearly defined guidelines of what you expect of and from them. You should not wait until the tenant moves into the premises for you to introduce the laws. Make sure to include them in the lease agreement. Besides being to the point, the rules should be realistic and in compliance with both the legal and fair housing laws. Moreover, once you have set the rules, do not go changing or adding new ones while the contract is underway. Help your tenants understand your rules It is not enough just to have clearly written rules for your residents. What may seem clear to you, might be confusing for your tenant. Therefore, you need to ascertain that your tenants have understood what the rules are and that they consent to abide by them. The best way for you to do this is by sitting down with your your tenant and going over the rental agreement with him or her. If they have any questions or concerns, be ready and willing to clarify them or direct them to an attorney if it is a legal question. Sitting down and explaining the rental agreement not only helps to explain the rules but also contributes to identifying and addressing contentious issues that have the potential of escalating into conflict. Encourage prompt rental payment One of the perks of having high-quality Orlando tenants is the uninterrupted flow of rental income. You want to make it easy for your clients to pay the rent each time it is due. For instance, instead of insisting that they use a single rent payment method, you could give them multiple options, such as automated payment systems, or bank standing orders. By so doing, a tenant will use whichever solution he or she feels is safe and convenient. You could also consider rewarding residents who pay promptly, as an incentive for them to continue making timely payments. Lastly, always issue your residents with rent payment receipts as an acknowledgment that you have received their payments. Charge your units reasonably The undoing of many landlords is their desire to make quick money. As a result, they either price their units exorbitantly high or they charge them at a below-market price to attract tenants, only to increase them ruthlessly once they find a renter. While that might seem like a novel strategy, it is likely to blow up in your face. Your renters will perceive you to be unscrupulous, and they will refrain from renting your units. Instead of charging exorbitant or hiking the rent unnecessarily, consider keeping up with the prevailing market rates. You should only increase the rent when it is justifiable and only after giving fair notice. You should be keeping up with market rates and determine the rental rate for comparable units. Respond to their concerns promptly Nothing transforms a high-quality Orlando tenant into a problematic one faster than reports or complaints that go unanswered. Many residents interpret this as a sign that you don’t care about them and that your only concern is the rental income. Consequently, they will try to lash back at you by deliberately delaying and at times withholding the rent. If you wish to keep your residents happy at all times, put in place measures for addressing their concerns each time they arise. Better still, why not schedule routine property maintenance to help identify and address any potential concerns before they arise. Do not enter their premises unannounced Even though you own the property, making spontaneous visits to your tenants is unwise. Courtesy dictates that whenever you wish to visit the units, be it to inspect them, carry out routine maintenance or for any other reason, take the time first to inform your occupants. In addition, states have strict rules that are governed by statutes regarding the noticing and entry of units. The only exemption to this rule is in the event of an emergency situation. It is best to review your state statutes and entry requirements for Landlords. Remain personable but professional Since your Orlando rental property is your business, your tenants are your trading partners. For this reason, be careful not to confuse the relationship. Even though you want to establish and maintain good rapport with your renters, be careful not to get too cozy with them. Friendship and business hardly go well together. Always remember that first and foremost your priority is your business relationship.
Every home has its own unique personality. Additionally, homes often are not perfect. It is important for either the buyer or seller to have a professional home inspection completed prior to buying or selling a home. Many of the common issues found when performing a home inspection can decrease the value of the home you are considering or impact the asking price. “That is why, as a Realtor, I make my customers fully aware of the importance of getting a home inspection,” states Central Florida real estate agent Fred Franks. In this article, we will look at the most common issues found when performing a home inspection. We will see what they are, why they are important, and what you should do if you discover one of these problems. Home Exterior Problems Disclosed by a Home Inspection Drainage Problems Water must be drained away from the structure as this can lead to foundation and other problems. Inspectors look for roof gutters and downspouts directing the water away from the home. Additionally, installed sprinklers must not be too close to the home. Inspectors look for mold, water marks, and cracks, which may indicate a drainage problem. How much this problem can cost for repair or correction is dependent upon the severity of the problem. Roof Problems Since the roof is above a home owner’s line of vision, they may not be aware of problems with their roof. If roofing materials were not properly installed, water may enter in cracks and places where the roofing material comes together or overlaps. Every type of roof can have problems: Asphalt shingles last from fifteen to forty years and can curl when they get old, exposing the underlying matrix. As a result, water can penetrate. Terracotta and slate shingles can crack and shatter. Wood shingles can rot or blow off. The roof may need replacing or repairs. You should have an evaluation done by a roofer and get a quote for repairs or replacement. Home Utility Problems Disclosed by a Home Inspection Plumbing Issues Some homes have outdated plumbing systems which can lead to leaking and other problems. Additionally, tree roots can crack pipes and septic systems. It may be possible to make some inexpensive repairs, but, in the worst situations, the whole system may need to be replaced, a very expensive procedure. Heating and Cooling Systems One of the most common issues found when performing a home inspection is aged systems for heating and cooling. Even newer systems may not have been installed and maintained properly. Outdoor heat pumps become damaged from restricting air flow with fences and plants located too close. Additionally, rodents can nest around and in the unit and eat wiring. You will need to decide if the system can be repaired or needs replacement before making an offer on a home with a heating or cooling system problem. Potential Environmental Problems Disclosed by a Home Inspection Older homes may have problems with lead-based paint or asbestos. Additionally, inspectors look for: Radon Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can collect in buildings’ low areas, such as basements and crawl spaces or occur in groundwater. Mold and Fungus Black mold causes respiratory problems and can spread throughout a home, making it necessary to remove and replace dry wall. A white mold occurs when there is moisture and causes what is known as “dry rot” in wood. It also can create problems with brick and mortar. Well water purity (if applicable) Your home inspection should test for the standards, which include iron, copper, and manganese. Additionally, tests should be done for dangerous compounds – arsenic, mercury, and lead. The problems discovered by a professional home inspection may be easily corrected. Your real estate professional can help you determine if any issues affect the value of the property if you are a seller, or the price you should offer if you are buying a home.
If you’re a landlord in Orlando or Central Florida, you need to carry out frequent preventative maintenance on your rental units. Doing so will keep your investments habitable and appealing to high-quality renters. It will also help you save significant sums of money that you would have otherwise incurred in costly property repairs. Keeping the property well-maintained involves a lot of work and can be overwhelming. However, a well maintained property is crucial to attracting quality tenants. Here are a few effective maintenance tips that you can use to ensure that your Central Florida and Orlando units remain in top shape at all times. 8 Tips for Effective Maintenance Inspect the roof Many Florida homeowners face roofing problems caused by storms, hurricanes, extreme summer heat, and humid climate. The damage could range from minor problems, like broken tiles or a missing shingle, to disastrous structural issues that demand entire roof replacements. It is important to inspect your roof at least once each year to ensure that they are in perfect shape. During the inspection, be on the lookout for stains or mold on the ceiling or walls as these could be signs of a leaking roof. Take the time and fix any real abnormality such as fastening the loose shingles, replacing the broken roof tiles, unclogging the gutters, as well as, ensuring that there is no pooling of water on your roof. Service the Air conditioning units Since Central Florida weather can get scorching hot, it is in your best interest if your air conditioning units are working efficiently. It will help maintain comfortable conditions for your tenants and also contribute to keeping their energy bills in check. For this reason, always change your filters when they are dirty and worn out. That could be monthly, or as indicated on the AC equipment. Furthermore, get a professional heating and cooling technician to inspect, clean and service your air conditioning units once each year. Even if you don’t suspect any issues, it’s always best to erron the side of caution. A perfect time to carry out such maintenance is in spring, which will guarantee that your units are well-prepped for the summer heat. Fix the Plumbing Water leakages from leaky faucets, broken pipes, or leaky toilets can be costly to you and your renters. For starters, water leaks can result in structural damage to your property and can destroy your tenant’s belongings. Secondly, they can lead to the formation and growth of mold. Lastly, they result in water wastages, high utility bills, and unnecessary landlord-tenant conflicts. Avoid all these headaches by conducting plumbing inspections annually or semi-annually. You should always be on the lookout for any signs of water leaks. These include unusually high water bills, water stains under the kitchen sink, musty smell in the home, mold forming on the walls, or the formation of water puddles on the floor or crawl spaces. Smoke and Fire Detectors Wildfires are not unusual in Orlando. No wonder the law demands that every landlord installs smoke and carbon detectors in their homes. These devices will not only make you a law-abiding citizen but will keep your tenants, their property, and your investment safe. For this reason, take the time to inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are not malfunctioning, disconnected, or have dead batteries. If you wish to be on the safe side, check the alarms on a monthly basis to confirm that they are in excellent working condition. Similarly, form the habit of changing the batteries at least every twelve months, or whenever the devices start to emit a beeping sound. Trip the ground fault circuit interrupters Due to the increased number of electrical shocks in homes, many property owners have installed safety fixtures. One such feature is the ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI), Residual Current Device, or the Ground Fault Interrupter. These devices help to shut off the electric power circuit if it detects the current flowing in the wrong path. If you have these fixtures in your rental property, you should trip or test them on a monthly basis using a circuit tester to ensure that they are working efficiently. It is also important for you to train your tenants how to safely carry out this routine maintenance. Exterminate frequently Most, if not all, landlords invest in a rental property with the intention of leasing the units to human beings. It’d be illogical for you to let pests, insects, and rodents overrun your investment. Such infestation is not only a health hazard but will drive away quality renters. Hence, you should include extermination activities as part of your monthly property maintenance routine. Just identify a dependable pest control specialist to help you get rid of fleas, mosquitoes, spiders, roaches, ants, bedbugs, hornets, bees or wasps. In addition to treating your property, the professional will point out the conditions that encourage the breeding of such pests and make suitable preventative recommendations. This will hinder any future infestations and keep your tenants happy and bite free! Seal the air leaks A significant concern for most Orlando homeowners is the high energy bills resulting from overworked heating and cooling units. While routine inspection and servicing of the HVAC system will boost their energy efficiency, such efforts will be meaningless as long as the room has air leaks. Such leaks will cause the unchecked movement of air into and out of the room, causing your AC units to overload. You should inspect all windows, doors, roofs, and air ducts once or twice a year to ascertain whether they allow the penetration of water or air into and out of the property. If you come across any leaks or gaps, use a weatherproofing sealant to rectify the problem. Paint the units Another important maintenance activity you need to conduct is painting your property. Color not only makes the property beautiful, but it also enhances its perceived market value. Moreover, painting the property provides a form of protection against weather elements and pest or rodent attacks which makes your property more durable. You should paint your units once each year or whenever you notice cracking or peeling of the paint. Similarly, you should always repaint the units before a new tenant moves into the premises. Conclusion Clearly, carrying out such routine property maintenance is costly and involving. Nonetheless the social, legal, financial, health, and psychological benefits of having a well-maintained rental property justify the cost and effort. Luckily, with a little planning and the help of a competent property manager, the entire process is affordable and manageable.
The Orlando real estate market can be a rewarding investment opportunity if you manage to get the right tenants and have a lease agreement that works in your favor. The challenge, however, is that the city and state have many regulations and laws that govern landlord and tenant relations. The violation of these regulations and laws can lead to hefty fines or even possible civil or criminal litigation. It is, therefore, prudent for all Orlando landlords to ensure that he or she has a well drafted rental lease agreement that covers the following essential elements. 1) Parties to the agreement The first and perhaps one of the most important aspects of the rental agreement are the parties (or landlord and the tenant bound by the agreement). Here, make sure to include the full legal names as well as addresses of all the tenants and the landlord. If possible, you should include their registration details such as Driver’s License, Passport or Social Security number. 2) The Property under consideration Details should be clear of the property you are leasing out to a tenant. As such the agreement should describe the physical location, address, street, and the unit number of the property being leased. Accurate descriptions prevent any confusion or future misunderstandings that could lead to litigation. 3) Term or duration of the lease contract You need to precisely define, the date when the rental agreement commences and when it ends. Tenancy agreements can be annual, quarterly, monthly or even weekly as is the case in vacation units however for long term rentals in Orlando, as of the date of this article the minimum term is 7 months. Furthermore, you should detail the requirements that both you and your tenant should take at the expiration of the lease. For instance, should the tenant vacate the premises immediately, will there be room for extension, or are you willing to accept new rent under a month-to-month tenancy arrangement? As well as clarifying the term of the lease, the rental agreement protects the landlord in the event the tenant defaults, decides to abandon the lease or terminate the lease agreement early. 4) The Rental Amount The rental income is the reason you have invested in the property in the first place. Therefore, take the time to make sure the lease contains these details. For starters, state the exact rent amount you will charge on the property. You also need to indicate the date when the rent becomes due, as well as how and where the tenant should pay their rent a that is due. For instance, do they pay using check, money orders or cash? Moreover, you should define what happens in the event of delinquent rent, prorated rent, and returned checks. For example, will late payment attract fines or penalties? 5) Security deposit As a landlord, you need to shield yourself and property from any unforeseen expenses and losses such as unpaid utility bills, unpaid rent or even damage to the property. A sure way to do this is to request the tenant to pay a security deposit. You may ask whatever amount you wish for, however it is recommended to be reasonable as guided by state statutes The agreement should define the dollar amount of the security deposit, and specific wording to meet the requirements of the Florida statues pertaining to landlord and tenant laws. 6) Condition of the Premises It is critical that both you and the tenant document the state of your Orlando property before the tenant moves in. The main reason for this is that you have adequate documentation of the condition of your investment property prior to the tenant taking possession and to document of how you would like it left when they leave. You could create a checklist to document the condition of your property or even take photos of the premises. Furthermore, you should clarify in the lease what happens in the event there is damage to the property. 7) Right to Inspection A landlord has the freedom to inspect your Orlando property to ensure that it is being maintained and kept in proper condition. For this reason, indicate in the Orlando lease agreement that you will need to examine the property from time to time. It is best to refer to Florida landlord and tenant laws regarding proper noticing requirements prior to inspecting your property. This will save you getting yourself into trouble. 8) Property Maintenance and Repairs The law states a landlord must maintain the property in a habitable condition. It places the role of preserving and improving the dwelling squarely on the property owner. It does not, however, mean that the tenant does not hold any responsibility for the property. To avoid miscommunication or future conflicts, clarify in the lease agreement the duties and responsibilities of each party in as far as property maintenance and repairs are concerned. For instance, the tenant should be responsible for keeping the property cleaning and repairing any damage they or their guests cause, while the landlord can be responsible for the routine property maintenance of the systems and structure of the building. 9) Occupants in the property It is not unusual to find tenants utilizing the property in a way that you as the landlord do not like. For instance, a resident could host more people than you would want, have pets that you do not approve of, run a business from the home or even conduct illegal activities in the property. If you want to avoid these types of situations, take the time to indicate how many people you wish to live in the property, what kind of pets you will allow, as well as the kind of activities that can take place. 10) Lease Termination While it the desire of any landlord to have a long term relationship with their tenants, at times it just doesn’t happen. Things might occur during the contract period which might compel either party to want to end the relationship. It is, therefore, prudent if the contract agreement provides a guideline of what conditions can warrant a lease agreement termination, how either party can terminate the relationship, and what steps one must take in such a case. It is equally important to indicate how much notice one should give to end the contract. Although the above items are not all-inclusive, they are some of the main concerns to addressing your Orlando lease agreement. A well drafted lease agreement can save you from future complications. If you own a rental property in Orlando and are looking for guidance in managing your investment feel free to contact us today and we’d be glad to assist you!