All Posts by Jo Shaw

Colorado Springs property management

Why you should use a Colorado Springs property management company

If you’re a landlord in the Colorado Springs area, there’s a property management company in your area that can help make the renting process easier. While you’re more than capable of looking after your own property, there are certain pitfalls of property rental that can challenge even the toughest of landlords. For example, if you have a particularly troublesome tenant, it can seem near impossible to get them out of your property. However, when you use a property management Colorado Springs company you benefit from only having tenants who have been vetted by a tried and trusted procedure.

So, let’s take a look at five reasons why you should be using Colorado Springs property management from Real Property Management Colorado.

1. High-quality tenants

As mentioned earlier in this post, property management companies have screening processes in place to ensure that you always get the best kinds of tenants. You know, the ones that want to rent long-term, ALWAYS pay their rent on time, and when they move out it’s like they were never there. If you find your tenants on your own volition, there’s no telling who you could end up with. Make the right choice, leave it to the professionals.

2. Legal problems are less likely to occur

A high-quality property management company can help protect you from a ton of potential legal and financial headaches. Our team of professionals can help with everything from signing leases to dealing with evictions.

3. Your property is never empty for long

Property management companies know that time is money, the longer your property is empty, the longer you’re not getting paid. These companies want to keep you happy and that’s why the minute your property is vacant, they’re doing their utmost to get another tenant in there. They’re experts at marketing properties and know exactly where to advertise and who to advertise to.

4. Cheaper maintenance and repairs

Nobody wants to fork out money for repairs and maintenance, but it’s all part and parcel of being a landlord. When you use a property management company you have access to licensed and insured companies who can have your property fixed up in an instant. Also, it’s likely that you can take advantage of slightly reduced rates, as property management companies tend to have preferred contractors that work on their properties.

5. More time to spend doing the things you love

When you spend less time managing your property, you can spend more time doing the things that make you happy. Why would you want to be dealing with paperwork when you could be fishing or playing golf instead? Leaving things to the professionals gives you more time to be you.

Buyers Information – Buyer Info Sheet Real Estate

The first question is bound to be, “How much home can I afford?”

That depends on a number of factors and here is the real estate agent checklist for buyers:

Your selected location. Are you set on a specific area? Downtown? The suburbs? A rural setting?

Your preferred type of home. Detached? Semi? Duplex? High-rise? Link? Townhouse? New or Resale? There are a variety of home styles you will want to explore.

Your income. After all, it’s not just the mortgage you have to take into account. There are property taxes, utilities, and in some cases condo or strata fees. As a general rule of thumb, your monthly home-carrying cost should not exceed 30-35% of your income.

Market conditions. Is it a buyer’s, sellers or balanced market?

There are also additional costs to keep in mind. It’s a good idea to work out exactly what you want and what you can afford before you begin the search. Be specific! After all, you don’t want to suddenly come to the realization that your dream house has come with a nightmare of bills and expenses. Stick to looking at houses in your price range. The more you’ve thought it out, the better your sales representative can meet your needs.

Start your research early

Once you have decided that you want a new home, start researching the web as soon as possible. Make a list of potential properties and see how long they stay on the market. Also, make sure to record any changes in asking prices. This will provide you an insight into housing trends in a specific area.

How big of a house you can afford

Numerous lenders advise home owners that they shouldn’t spend on the property more than three to five times their annual household income. In this case, you will have to provide 20% down payment to have a moderate amount of other debt.

However, buying a home is an individual matter, and not all have the same budget. Therefore, based on your finances, you need to determine how big of a house you can afford. Many people consult with financial advisors before they make such a huge step

Get prequalified and approved for a loan

Before you start searching for a home, you will need to know how much money you can actually spend. The best way to do that is to get prequalified for a mortgage. In this case, you will be required to provide financial information to your mortgage advisors, such as your income, savings, and investments you may have.

After lender reviews all the data, he will tell you how much money he can lend you. This will show you the price range of your potential property and what you should look at.  Later, when you find a home you want to buy, you can get preapproved for the mortgage.

Hire a real estate agent

The Realtor should be a part of your team, whether you are selling or buying home. He can offer valuable information and advise you which course of action to take. Usually, he has the information that isn’t accessible to the public and will act as inside man.

Their skills and knowledge is something you shouldn’t neglect, considering they are familiar with all the transactions and the latest news. On top of that, a real estate agent earns money only when they sell a property, so it doesn’t cost you anything to hire their services.

Useful Resources – Sellers Information

There are a million different reasons why people sell their homes, but every seller has one thing in common: the desire to get as much money as possible from their existing residence as quickly and as hassle-free as possible. (If your home is your principal residence, you won’t have to pay capital gains tax on any profits from the sale. If, on the other hand, it is an investment property, prepare for the tax man!)

Before you begin the selling process, really evaluate why you’re moving. Do you have too few rooms, or too many? Has your job moved to another city and you’re relocating? Are the neighbors driving you away? Or are you simply looking for a change? A complete analysis of your current position will set a good foundation for your next home hunt.

Buy or Sell First – sellers information?

Buy or sell first? That’s tricky. After all, if you find a purchaser for your existing home, before you’ve found a new one, you may find yourself living out of a suitcase if convenient closing dates cannot be negotiated. On the other hand, if you find your dream home before you’ve unloaded your old one, you may be faced with carrying two mortgages for a time.

So how do you manage? Easy. Do your homework and have a good idea about the neighborhood and type of home you’re looking for. Do an honest evaluation of your family’s needs and budget?

Speak to your Sales Representative and start your new home search as soon as your existing home hits the market.

If you’ve found a home, before you’ve sold your existing one, use “sale of your existing home” as a condition on your offer. If you don’t sell your house within a fixed period of time, you can choose not to go through with the offer. This, however, is a difficult condition for many vendors to agree upon and you may find that you have to forgo your price negotiating power.

Purchasing a home before you sell could be a risky strategy if you’re counting on the proceeds from the sale.

If you’ve found a purchaser before you’ve found your next home, use “purchase of a new home” as a condition when you sign back the agreement. Again, it will only be for a fixed time. Even if you have not found the ideal next house by the time the deal closes, you may still wish to proceed with the offer. As a buyer with a “sold house” you will be in a better position to negotiate price.

Hire a real estate agency

Many people are against real estate agencies which is a big mistake. Even though they take a percentage of a sale, the real estate agencies facilitate this entire process. However, if you want to sell your property, then you need to find a reliable and reputable realtor that will protect your interest and help you get the best price.

But, before you make a final decision, make sure to interview a couple of agencies to find the best match. See what kind of services are they offering and whether they can help you will all the paperwork. A real estate agent needs to have the necessary knowledge and skills for this business. In other words, to sense when is the right time to sell the property. It’s crucial to find the best team and people you will feel comfortable working with.

Think about updating your home

Many homeowners upgrade their properties to increase their value. However, if your home needs too much work, think about whether it’s the worth of price.

You can make small adjustments, to make your house or property look more appealing, without investing too much money. Hire a contractor who can perform an estimate and tell you exactly what you are dealing with before you even think about remodeling.

For instance, you can paint the wall, fix outdated faucets, replace door handles and update lights. These small improvements will make a tremendous impact in your home and make it easier to sell.

Your Buyer Team and Their Roles and Buyer’s Agent Job

Sales Representatives

A real estate sales representative is a professional who can save you time and trouble and helps you finding home buyers. And possibly even a lot of money. You see, real estate sales representatives have the home buying experience most people lack. They know all of the steps and they are good negotiators who will work on your behalf.

A sales representative will:

Fine-tune your wants/needs list

Get special computer access to listing information

Screen houses so as not to waste your time

Arrange appointments

Offer helpful advice about the neighborhood

Introduce you to trusted contacts who should be on your team, such as mortgage brokers, lawyers, and home inspectors.

Above all, find a real estate sales representative who is a professional in the type of home you’re looking for. A country home professional may not be the urban market specialist you need. And when speaking with your sales representative, be as clear as possible about your needs.

Contractors

If you’ve decided to do some renovations on your home to make it more sellable, it’s time to look for a credible contractor. Before anyone begins work on your home, it is important to do your homework.

1. Ask for Referrals

Your architect will make recommendations

Your sales representative will offer some suggestions

Contact friends or neighbors who have had similar work done

Ask at your local builder supply store

When you’re interviewing contractors, ensure their credibility. Contact their references. Ask to see some samples of the contractor’s work and speak to his clients to ensure that they were satisfied with the price, length of time in which the project was completed and overall, how the project was handled. Also, check with your local Better Business Bureau.

Once you have the names of a few contractors that look promising, arrange to get estimates from them. By arranging for three quotes you’ll get a good idea of the costs and quality of work.

When going over the project with your contractor, ensure that he understands your needs and your budget. Each contractor will have a different idea on how to approach the work and they should inspect. your home before giving an estimate. If contractors are bidding based on an architect’s plans, be certain that they have detailed their approach to the job based on the drawings.

What’s more, if there is a significant difference in the price, ask the contractors to explain their estimates. And keep in mind that the lowest price is not always the best. A price that’s too low may mean that the contractor has undercut to get the project and then may submit additional project costs once the project is underway. As well, a high price doesn’t always mean that you’re getting gouged. The contractor may have budgeted for higher quality materials and may offer workmanship that is of an overall better quality.

Lenders

When you need to borrow money, that money comes from lenders. Unfortunately, many people can’t rely on savings and cash when they are purchasing a property. Lenders can be financial institutions, such as banks, or individuals, like friends and family that are willing to lend you money.

Even though they make a lot of things possible, lenders can cause a lot of problems. Just because someone is willing to give the money, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to borrow. Before you engage in this entire procedure, make sure to make a plan.

Investing in real estate means investing in the future, but if you aren’t careful and organized, that future can disappear. First of all, you need to find a reliable lender and review a couple of them, before you make a final decision.

They all have different quotes and terms and conditions. Make sure to interviews each one of them, learn about their work, client relationship, and reputation. In the end, you may want to have two potential lenders to compare their services.

If you don’t know where to start, then ask around. Maybe some of your friends have used their services and can give an honest opinion, or tell you what to avoid. Additionally, credit unions are an excellent place to start.

Even though this institution doesn’t lend money, you can check reputable lenders and their business.

If you are buying a new home, then make sure to consider various mortgage brokers. In this case, your bank or credit union will have all the information you require.

Responsibilities of a Real Estate Property Manager

A landlord or property owner hires a property manager to manage day-to-day operations. However, based on the type of property and requirements, these duties are versatile and don’t apply to all rental units at the same time. A lot of realtors are property managers, so you must be wondering can you be a property manager and a real estate agent?

There is no law which can forbid you to perform these two jobs simultaneously. Additionally, you will only contribute to your employer considering you are in this line of business. On the other hand, property manager faces a lot of responsibilities and here are some of them.

Rent responsibilities

Rent issues are common responsibilities of a property manager, and they include:

Establishing the rent – he is in charge of setting the appropriate rent level, to attract potential tenants. A property manager understands the market relations and knows how to challenge the competition.

Collecting rent –  a person who is responsible for the property ensures the optimal cash flow and sets up a date to gathers the rent, as well as late fees.

Adjusting the rent – the property manager has the power to increase the rent, based on the individual state or municipal law. He can also decrease the rent if needed.

Tenant Duties

Managing tenants is another duty property manager handles.

Finding tenants – property manager has to fill all vacancies. He knows how to advertise and what to include in ads. He also understands how to attract new people.

Checking tenants – no one wants to deal with irresponsible tenants. Therefore, a property manager enforces credit check, criminal background checks, and any other safety precautions. His job is to select appropriate tenants who will pay rent on time.

Managing leases – this includes lease terms and empowering all clauses to protect the owner.

Handling complaints and emergencies – he is paid to deal with maintenance, and other complaints tenants may have.

Move outs and evictions – when the tenant moves out, the manager must inspect the unit to make sure everything is in perfect order. He needs to check the possible damage and determine how much of security deposit he will return. On the other hand, he can evict tenants who don’t pay rent.

Maintenance and repairs

The property manager must keep the building safe and in habitable condition. He needs to inspect the property and is responsible for physical management.

Property maintenance – he makes sure that property is in top shape. For example, a property manager is in charge of performing repairs, checks for leaks, shovels the snow, removes trash, and so on. The maintenance should keep the existing tenants happy and satisfied.

Repairs – when the issue arises, the property manager needs to fix all the problems, or hire someone else who can do it. For instance, he will have to hire plumber, electrician, carpenter, or other contractors.

Knows the law

An excellent property manager as an in-depth knowledge of national laws regarding properties.

He needs to:

Screen tenants

Manages security deposits

Ends a lease

Evict tenants

Comply with safety standards

Oversees budget and taxes

A property manager is in charge of the budget of the building. He also needs to keep the records clean, which includes a list of things such as inspection, signing leases, managing various requests, maintenance cost, record rent collection, and any other costs.

Taxes are a crucial part of managing a property, and every manager needs to understand how to file for taxes. He needs to know the fundamental laws and completes all the tasks on time.

The 7 Most Popular Real Estate Property Management Software

Since we live in a digital age, it’s imperative to follow modern technologies. Considering, they have spread their influence to real estate, and we now have online listings were homebuyers can find properties and schedule visits. However, this isn’t the only way how technologies changed the real estate world because they have significantly provided various real estate management solutions.

From rent and vacancy, to contract and insurance, real estate software will help you maintain and organize the entire business. If you are wondering which one to get, then we have a couple of suggestions for you.

What is tririga Real Estate Manager by IBM

If you are looking for ways to better understand the lease accounting, then Tririga should be your priority. It will handle automated payments and create lease contracts, as well as payment schedules.

It is excellent for larger businesses and for properly manager who doesn’t have much time to deal with accounting.

Appfolio Property Manager by Appfolio

Appfolio is cloud-based software which is excellent for real estate agents on the go. It has an owner portal where you can handle everything and review reports. With this system, you can build a professional site for your properties. It’s quite easy to use, and you have 24/7 customer support available.

However, it still has pretty basic features, and many users reported it needs additional options to be complete. We would say that AppFolio is somewhat for a work in progress.

Buildium Property Management Software by Buildium

Buildium is probably the most popular property management software out there, used by more than 12,000 property managers. It will help you handle the accounting, leasing, and business operations. You can track expenses, make and accept online payments and file for taxes.

On top of that, with this system, you can use a residential portal. In this case, you can process the maintenance, run tenant check and store documents on the cloud.

Planon Real Estate Management by Planon

This software is designed for medium-size or global businesses, and it focuses on organizing the data. Planon lets users organize data like tenant and property details, as well as lifecycle costs. Additionally, you will be able to use transaction management and plan your financial opportunities.

The interface is user-friendly and has a centralized dashboard.

Property Operations Workspeed by MRI Software

MRI’s property operations software has nearly 3,000 clients worldwide. It handles the risks of management, visitor’s management, and business analytics.

It’s ideal for owners with multiple properties because it lets access various features at once. In this case, you will maximize the life span of y property assets, since you can request and monitor work orders.

Rentec Direct

Rentec Direct is a perfect solution for professional property managers. The system features automatic ACH payments, tenant review, and log in for both tenants and owners.

Together, they can monitor security and purchase vacancies online. The system is easy to use and effectively tracks all the payments and expenses.

360Workplace for Commercial Real Estate by Accruent

This software works as a bunch of systems, offering numerous features, such as facility maintenance management, construction project software, space management, and lease. It designed for advanced users and for business owners who want more than just one solution.

With this system, you can track inventory and assets, as well as monitor vendor interactions, constructions goals, estimate expense, ensure you have paid your taxes and so on. You can access software from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.

Top Six Features Of Property Management Systems

Regardless of the industry you are in these days, the software you use will make a significant difference in revenue and productivity. Let’s take a look at real estate transactions. They have progressed a lot in organization since the introduction of new technologies. You no longer have to hire a property manager for private estate to perform all the work.

Now with the help of property management systems, you have the option to track all data and monitor the entire operation through a software. So here are the top features of property management software you should explore.

Finances are easy to inspect

There is no doubt that property management software facilitates all financial operations. You will be able to monitor all the transactions, and they will be organized in a way that makes sense.

Some of them have the option which allows tenants to pay their rent through specific portals. In this way, you will be always on top of the task and track your numbers with ease, to make sure you stay within the budget.

It’s efficient

While managing properties might seem like a profitable job, it’s not always an easy task. However, with the right software, you will discover that you have an efficient tool to accomplish the work. You will not only please the tenants, but your employees as well.

With the help of an excellent property management software, you will complete tasks more efficiently and avoid further complications. In this case, you will keep your tenants happy and build a positive reputation in this business.

Accounting will be simple

The software allows you to monitor daily finances in an organized way. When challenging accounting tasks present themselves, such as quarterly tasks, you will be prepared for them

This tool will simplify all the accounting aspects and you will know that saved and ready for you whenever you need them, especially during the tax season.

You will save a lot of time

Designed to save you a lot of time, property management software will deal with features such as maintenance request tracking, sending notifications and rent payment.

With some system, you can customize the features and adjust them towards your needs. In this case, you will find that various process and tasks can be completed faster than if they were done manually.

You will have quick access to information

These days everyone is on the go, and when you manage properties, you need to be on top of your task all the time. You never know when you are going to need access to your date. For that reason, property management software will provide you with quick access, and it supports numerous devices, which can be quite handy.

Online security

Nowadays, it’s easy to get lost in an online world and compromise the safety of your clients. There are too many breaches and hacker attack.

Therefore, if you want to have secure access to all your paperwork, then property management software is an answer to your prayers. You can check tenant’s applications and their credit score, which is essential in this line of work.

Considering that you are dealing with sensitive information, you will need software that is secure and reliable. With its help, you will protect your tenant’s data that comes with leasing and renting property.

Top Three Strategies To Manage Rental Property

If a rental property isn’t handled correctly, then it can become unprofitable business soon enough! However, there are a couple of ways which can help you manage the property, that will match every landlord’s needs.

Sometimes, even all that hard work won’t help you if you don’t know how to utilize your recourses. However, before you select the right strategy, you should be aware of the fact that all different aspects of the rental property are managed separately.

We are going to break down the landlord’s management responsibilities into three sections. It will help you understand better the challenges you will be facing.

Tenants management

The most immediate and the most obvious responsibility of every property manager is the tenants’ management. However, if you want to be a successful landlord, then it involves a lot of duties than just collecting the rent. You will have to handle the following task:

  • Rent collection – due dates, collecting rent every week or month and setting up late fees, and managing the unpaid rent.
  • Lease agreements – following and fulfilling the tenant’s law and making sure that lease is up to date.
  • Moving in and moving out – signing the agreements and covering all the rules and requirements with your tenants.
  • Tenant background check – it’s essential for the safety of other people occupying your rental space.
  • Tenant complaints – setting up plans to fix the issues.
  • Tenant eviction – due to unpaid rent, or to a violation of terms and conditions, at some point you will be obligated to evict tenants. In this case, you need to have all evidence to support your claims.
  • Repair request – as a property manager, you need to respond quickly and efficiently.
  • Property maintenance and inspection

The second part of your rental property management is maintenance and inspection. The physical structure needs to be maintained, to keep the tenants safe and secure. If you have insurance, then the insurance company will request from you have the property fully functional, to meet the specific standards.

  • Maintenance – this involves cutting the grass picking up the leaves, shoveling snow, keep the common areas clean, taking out the garbage, making sure that tenants have running water all the time, and so on. Also, you need to fix the leaks, deal with plumbing, perform repairs, such as broken doors, cracked tiles, and window locks.
  • Inspections – property managers go through various inspections, such as town inspection and insurance company inspection. The town inspection makes sure you are following all the regulations regarding safety and health codes, while insurance one inspects the property to determine the amount they are ensuring it for.

Dealing with finances

The third part of management is dealing with funds. You should have a clear picture of how much money is coming every month and how much is going out. This includes a couple of categories:

  • Rent – how much can you collect each month
  • Mortgage – what you pay each month to the bank
  • Insurance – how much money do you spend to insure your rental property
  • Utilities – if tenants aren’t responsible for the utilities, which is not often the case, how much money you spend on gas, electricity, and water bill.
  • Taxes – consider your annual property tax
  • Fees/fines – sometimes, you will have to pay for property inspection or court costs. Also, you will have to deal with will unexpected penalties as well.

The Best Property Management Strategies You Should Consider

In the previous post, we explained the different areas of the rental property that needs to be handled. Now you can determine how you want to manage these aspects, and there are three main approaches you should consider.

We would further explain into details each step, helping you understand this complicated, but easy to understand structure. Depending on your involvement and ability to dedicate your time and work hard, property management shouldn’t pose an issue for you.

So, here are a top three priorities you should focus on:

Do it yourself management

This approach requires your 100% responsibility, meaning you are in charge of everything. That’s why it’s called DIY. You are the one who is collecting the rent, making the repairs, or shoveling the snow.

This approach has a couple of pros, but also several drawbacks.

Let’s focus on pros first!

Complete control –  as a rental property owner, you have total control. When you are completely involved in a process, then you know what’s going on in all parts of your business.

You and solve problems quickly – considering you have your hands in all parts of the management, you can spot the problem right away and act soon. However, since you are in charge of all the things, maybe you won’t have time to tackle the problem immediately.

Cons:

Lack of knowledge – it’s impossible to know everything. For instance, if you have hired an accountant to do your taxes, he might have caught several deductions that you aren’t aware of.

It can be overwhelming – after some time, and too much stress, you might become anxious, since you are responsible for everything.

Half DIY/Half Outsource

It’s okay to ask for help, especially if you are managing a large rental property. For example, you can keep the areas that you feel you have an expertise, and then outsource the areas that you don’t feel comfortable or desire to manage.

Pros

Free time – when you are not doing everything, you will have more free time. However, how you use the time, it’s entirely up to you. You may spend precious moments with your family, or find additional investment opportunities.

Have experts – you are giving up the control to people who are more skilled than you in certain areas.

Cons

You are relying on others – this is probably the worst part for the majority of rental property manages. You are putting your trust in people you don’t know.

Outsource management completely

This management strategy involves hiring a property manager or property management company. Many owners feel like they should use their strength in a property selection, then in handling daily operations.

Pros

Independence and freedom – you will be free from daily headaches, and you won’t have to handle the phone calls in two in the morning just because the next door neighbor is playing the music too loudly.

Cons

Expensive – property managers can cost you tens of thousands of dollar a year. The more rental units you own, the bigger the price will be.

Management can harm your business – when you are putting your business and your only source of income into someone else’s hands, you better find a responsible and reliable person. Otherwise, your business may suffer, resulting in losing the tenants. Make sure to have a clear strategy and rigorous application process, to avoid further inconvenience.