Cash for Keys

Charlotte Properties
Cash for keys is a concept which is hotly debated around landlord and property investment circles, however we wanted to educate you on this idea. The whole point of cash for keys is to avoid the process of an eviction. This is because the process is expensive and time consuming. Not only are you losing money by having to pay an attorney to evict your tenant, but you are not able to move anyone else into the apartment until they have left which means you are likely losing out on money hand over fist. This is how it works.
The first thing you would do in a cash for keys situation is explain to your tenant what is happening. Explain that you want them to move out and if they do not, you will evict them. Let them know how an eviction can harm them in the future and explain that it will likely be expensive for both of you. This is why you will pay them a certain amount to move out now. This amount can be whatever you decide, however it is often suggested that somewhere around $400 or $500 will do the trick.
Next, explain that you want the apartment cleaned and any repairs done or paid for by the time they are ready to leave. Let them know what date you want them gone by. Make sure that you give them enough time to get everything out, but not too much so that they could do more damage. Always give them a notice, as this would be the first step in an eviction as well. Keep a copy for yourself. Once they have moved their things out and cleaned, go in to inspect the property with them to make sure it is in the condition you asked. Take pictures of how it looks. Now all you need to do is have them sign paperwork that states that they are officially moved out and you can hand over whatever amount of money you agreed to pay them.
While this may seem odd to pay someone to leave your own property, it is often much cheaper than going through the full eviction process and helps your tenant out as well. Let us know what you think about this concept and if you have ever used it.

When A Tenant Should Be Able To Break A Lease

Charlotte Properties
As a landlord, you are obviously going to be interested mostly in long term, reliable tenants. This is completely understandable, as a high tenant turnover rate will generally end up costing you more money than it gets you. Having vacancies is the worst non-tragic thing that can happen to a landlord in regards to their investment property and so you will want to avoid this as much as possible. Sometimes, however, you will get a tenant who asks to be able to break their lease. This would mean they would leave before the previously agreed upon time. While some reasons are flimsy at best, there are a few times that you should at least consider allowing a tenant to get out of the contract early.
One of the most common reasons a lease is broken is because of a change in employment. Many times a tenant will lose their job and it hardly matters if it was their fault or not. Other times they are transferred and cannot say no to the relocation for a multitude of reasons. While this is an unfortunate situation for both of you, the tenant obviously cannot continue to make payments if they are unemployed and they should not have to pay rent on two different locations if they are only living in one. This is especially true of those in the military, as they can be relocated at a moment's notice.
Extreme circumstances are another time that you should consider allowing your tenant to break their lease. If there was a death in the family, many people will want to move to either get away from the memories or get closer to those they still have left. Sometimes people need to move in with ageing parents to help take care of them. Disabilities are another circumstance that may be unforeseen and need accommodations that you cannot provide. Sometimes horrible things happen in our lives and your tenants are no different in that regard.
While some landlords are adamantly against breaking leases, there are certain situations in which it is understandable why a tenant would want to get out of the contract early. Always remember that your tenant is human just like you are and sometimes these things unfortunately need to happen.

Tips For Keeping Your Rental Property Nice

Charlotte Properties
When you have a rental property, it is very different from owning your own home. When you live in your own home you can make upgrades whenever you want, clean as much as you feel is necessary, and keep everything looking the way you want it to. A rental property, however, is generally at the mercy of your tenant. Not everyone has the same idea of what "clean" is or how important it is to keep things looking a certain way. This is when it is important to come up with some ideas of how to keep your apartment looking nice from tenant to tenant.
Flooring is arguably the most important thing about a rental space. It is always used, always touched in one way or another, and will always get dirty. For this reason, many landlords prefer to put down hardwood flooring to carpet. Carpet can, and does, stain even with accidental spills or forgetting to wipe the mud off of your boots as you come running in from a storm. If you must use carpet, we suggest a darker color to not show so much dirt. We also suggest finding another option for the kitchen, bathroom, entry area, or laundry room if your rental property has one. Tile or laminate flooring is a favorite of many and is relatively easy to keep clean with minimal effort.
Making sure things are installed correctly is something that is incredibly important. If you are looking to add curtain rods or shelving, then we always suggest finding a stud in the wall to anchor it if possible. If you find that your previous tenant had hung something and tore part of the drywall out, be sure to replace it correctly and not with filler and paint. The next tenant may want to hang something in the same place only to have it fail and cause more damage to your walls. This is something that your new tenant should not be punished for, but it is something that needs to be fixed.
Unless you have a horrible tenant, the upkeep between residents should be minimal each time you have someone new move in. A fresh coat of paint or maybe some new blinds should really be the extent of your repairs. Always be sure to keep things nice and bright for your new residents.

How to Avoid Extra Tenants in an Apartment

Talley Properties
Picture this: you have gone through the complete tenant screening process and have found the perfect fit for your apartment. Let's say it's a single woman in her late twenties who has a cat but is quiet, respectful, and has a wonderful steady job. You agree on and sign a lease for a year, but in four months she meets the person she things may just be "the one". She asks this special someone to spend the night every now and then which is fine, but then this person gets a drawer of stuff to leave at the apartment. Then that drawer becomes a full dresser and before you know it the apartment you signed for one person suddenly has two living in it. What are you to do? Is there anything you could have done to avoid this situation in the first place? Let's see what your options are.
One of the first things you should know is that it is illegal in many states to ask someone if they are in a relationship during the interview process. If this is the case (or even if it isn't and you simply don't want to know the details), you can always ask if there will likely be someone staying in the apartment with them for a certain amount of time. Explain that anyone who stays more than three or four nights a week (or month) is considered a tenant by your lease and must be screened as well. This can help prevent you from finding out that there have been two people living in the place when you were under the impression that there would only be one.
This is something that should be backed up by your lease. Include a clause that states that anyone found to be living in the apartment for a certain amount of days per month is also considered a tenant and will also have to pay rent. You may even want to explain that this may be terms for termination of the lease. At the end of the day, it is up to you how you feel like handling this situation but you want to be able to have all of your bases covered. You certainly don't want to be caught off guard with a squatter of any kind.

Amenities and Residents

Charlotte Properties
In a previous article, we mentioned to you that sometimes the reason you can't seem to get residents may be due to what amenities you do or don't have. We also promised that we would talk about some of these amenities that people really look for in a new apartment. Do remember, like we said before, be careful about some amenities and trying to implement them depending on where you live.
The main amenity that people look when they are moving to a new apartment is laundry services. It is always best case scenario if you can have a washer and a dryer in the building. This is especially true if the laundry is free, however some complexes do prefer to use coin operated laundry. Again, check around to see what other rental properties in the area are doing. Lugging laundry around, especially when it's wet, can be not only annoying, but dangerous depending on the age and physical situation of your residents. Even if you don't have the ability to put a washer and dryer in the building, if you own a complex it would be beneficial for you to have one somewhere that is accessible to all. If it is a community laundry room, just do be sure to include enough washers and dryers to service the amount of people who reside in the building.
A dishwasher is quickly becoming an amenity that many renters are deeming a necessity. While it may not be a big deal if you are only renting to one or two people per apartment, larger families can certainly benefit from one of these appliances. If you are renting a full house, certainly look into the possibility of adding a dishwasher to the kitchen, even if it is only a portable one. Although it may seem silly, people are requesting more and more to have a dishwasher. After all, who are we to argue when we want to rent our place out?
These are only a couple of the amenities that are important in regards to being able to rent out your apartment. There are many, many more and if you're wondering what they are, don't worry! We will be back soon with a few more that you may want to think about if you are trying to get a resident.

Handling Complaints

Talley Properties
Sometimes, being a landlord is much more difficult than people think. After all, you need to find a good tenant, make sure their payments come on time, handle any issues they have with the apartment, and hope you get it back in the same condition you let it out in. Normally, this isn't too big an issue as problems are generally few and far between. Sometimes, sure, it can seem like everything goes wrong in the house at once, but for the most part it's a pretty decent gig. This isn't true, however, when the complaints from your tenant start pouring in.
Many times, you will likely not hear from your renter much at all. You will get the rent check, maybe a couple of holiday well wishes, and that will generally be the end of it. However, when you have to deal with an issue that your tenant has, it can quickly become hectic. This is when you may want to feel like pulling your hair out. Things like plumbing issues are especially common and can certainly strain your relationship with your renter.
The main thing you need to do when you receive a complaint is answer it. Nothing is more infuriating for a tenant than sending off an important message about something that has gone wrong and getting nothing back for days on end. This is especially true if it is regarding pipes or electricity. While many tenants may take it upon themselves to call a plumber for something like a clogged drain that they can't fix, if the problem requires the opening of the wall, they need your response. Timely reaction is the most important thing when it comes to a renter's complaint.
The other truly important thing to do when a tenant has a complaint is to listen. This may seem silly and obvious, but even if their complaint seems trivial, listening to it can do a world of good. Sometimes the tenant is worried and other times they simply like to complain. Whatever the reason, listening is the best thing you can do.
Here at Talley, we hope that you don't have to deal with many complaints. We also know that you can handle them with grace and solve them quickly. We certainly wish you the best with every issue that may arise.

Get Renters Cheap Part II

Charlotte Properties
Due to popular demand, we have written another article about how to get the attention of prospective tenants for cheap or even free. In previous articles, we explained how incredibly useful the internet can be in regards to getting the word out to people that you have an apartment to rent. While we still believe that this is one of the best tools at your disposal, we also understand that not everyone is as comfortable with posting their listing online. Here are some ideas to get the attention of people cheaply and without using the internet.
One of the best ways to let people know about your local apartment is by posting about it in local shops. While obviously we don't want you to go around sticking up fliers randomly, there is nothing wrong with asking local businesses if they don't mind having your advertisement somewhere that is visible. You may even want to think about ordering some cheap business cards with the address, your phone number, and a small picture of the building and asking if it would be okay to leave them there. You may offer to give your tenants something regarding that business. It may be a menu if it is a restaurant, or a gift card if the locations gives those out. Always be willing to work with the business owner. After all, they are giving you space in their area of income.
Another way that has been tried and true in regards to getting results is putting up signs. This can be something as simple as sticking a piece of paper to a telephone pole or a street light. If you print out the information for your available apartment and tape it up in different places around town, you are certain to get results. This is something that has been done for decades and hey, why mess with a winning system? Just one word of advice: remember to take down the advertisement once you have found a tenant so you don't keep getting those phone calls.
There are dozens of ways that you can get a tenant for little or no money. This is true whether you use the internet or not. After all, we survived before it existed so there's no reason you can't get a tenant without it.

Get Renters Cheap

Charlotte Properties
While this title may sound like we are trying to sell, we aren't. You are! You want to get your rental property moving and you don't want to have to spend an arm and a leg to do so. Sometimes it can seem like your apartment isn't getting any notice even though you know that people need a place to live. It's exasperating and infuriating, but what are you to do? Going through a broker or an app can get expensive very quickly, so how do you get a good renter without spending enough to live in the apartment yourself?
One thing that almost every landlord I have ever spoken to about this swears by is Craigslist. Although those of us who were old enough to remember certain horrific things that occurred in regards to that website may be leery, it seems like a good place for rental property owners to start. It is not only cheaper, but apparently much more effective to advertise on a website like Craigslist than it is to list your apartment in the local newspaper. This is because very few people read the paper anymore and it can reach tenants outside the immediate area, such as those looking to move for their jobs or trying to be closer (but not too close) to their families. Check out your local Craigslist listings and see if it may be a good fit for your property.
Another thing you can do is set up a social media account for your properties. If you post on Facebook about your apartments for rent, there is always a good chance that someone will happen to see them. In fact, many people look on social media for places to live as the interaction is instant and it is much easier to research the person you are talking to when it connects to their personal profile. There is a sense of security that people can get from looking on social media that may not extend through the more traditional routes.
Although it may seem a little odd to some of us, the internet is actually a wonderful tool for finding tenants and renters with little to no cost to you. Try it out and see if it works. After all, there's no harm in attempting something new.

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