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5 Ways Landlords Can Research Applicants & Avoid Surprises

Would you rather lose the rental income for another month or take on a bad tenant. Bad tenants can cost you much more than a months rent in the long run. Make sure you do your due diligence on the front end (at application time) before accepting an applicant. Here are 5 very good ways to make sure you fully understands your next potential tenant.

Sufficient Income:

Does the proposed tenant make enough money to pay the rent and utilities? Landlords typically require that your annual income is at least 40 times the monthly rent. For example, if you have a young couple looking at a $3,000 per month apartment, the landlord would require a combined income of $3,000 × 40, which equals $120,000. To determine how much rent you (and your spouse) can afford, simply divide your combined annual incomes by 40. It’s important to make sure you’re tenants are financially capable (in your eyes) of paying the rent and utilities. Do the math, and if the budget appears too tight, move on to the next applicant.

Qualifying Credit:

What is the tenants credit score or rating? Do they have any accounts in collection? Have they ever been evicted from a prior residence? Either you or the tenant should be pulling credit for each applicant that applys for your empty unit. If you are going to pull a credit report, make sure the application you supply the tenant clearly provides you with authorization to do so.

Reasons For Moving:

Why are you moving? Where are you coming from? What don’t you like about your current residence? Have you notified your current landlord of your intent to vacate? These are 4 great questions to ask a prospective tenant when you receive their application. If you want to take this search a step further you can Google Earth their current residence or even take a drive by (if you’re local). Gathering an image of the tenants current residence may help you get an idea of whether their new home (your apartment) will fit the bill.

Employment Verification:

Call the prospects (current employer’s) HR department. Do they work there? How long have they worked there? Is employment expected to continue for this individual? Make sure the application you’re using to collect tenant information provides authorization for you to make this inquiry. The HR member may also want to verify some information about the employee so have the application in hand when making the call.   

Google Search:

Do a quick Google search for the applicants name and see what pops up. Does America’s Most Wanted pop up as the first website or is a photo of the prospective donating their time to a local charity? In the first case you’ll certainly want to contact the local authorities about your possible discovery. In the 2nd scenario you will hopefully have a better feeling about the tenant you were going to accept.  Note: Any negative information you find on Google should be taken through some type of verification process. You cannot deny a tenant(s) application solely based on something you found online.

Need help finding a good, qualified tenant? Don’t have time to do showings for your empty unit(s)? Let us help. We assist landlords in locating a qualified tenants, often at not cost to the landlord. We will show your unit to potential tenants, collect tenant applications and conduct necessary screening before submitting the applicant to you for review and approval.

If you’re interested in learning more about our tenant location services, please call us at 617-297-8641 or email us at Contact@MandrellCo.com

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Thinking about making a rental investment property purchase? Investing in real estate can be very exciting but also very nerve wrecking. Most investors act too quickly or not quickly enough on a potential purchase leaving themselves in a bad situation or without ever securing a deal. Before you submit an offer on the property ask yourself the following questions.

Is this property right for me and my investment needs? What are my short and long term investing goals?

Is this the right property for my risk tolerance? Do I have cash in the bank if things don’t go exactly as planned?

What is the structure of this property? What is the tenant makeup of the building? Will I manage myself or should I hire out?

What are the conditions of the properties big ticket items? Roof – Windows – Heating – Foundation – Plumbing – Electrical?

What are the buildings expenses to operate? What income does the building produce? Whats the return on my investment?

Your answers to these question will provide you with a good feel for the property, your financial situation and hopefully give you a very quick yes or no as to your decision to move forward. It’s also a good ideas to visit each potential purchase with your real estate agent as well as your handy man. These two team members should be best equip to help you make a sound investment decision.

Looking for more tips on investing in rental property? Join Boston Wealth Builders by visiting http://www.BostonWealthBuilders.com. Membership is completely free!

 

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19-21 Fessenden St., Mattapan MA – A six-unit apartment building in Mattapan has sold for $860,000. The property consist of two side by side 3 family buildings.

The building is comprised of six three-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments. The units are separately metered and the tenants pay utilities. The property offers a paved off-street parking lot located in the rear of the building that accommodates six to eight vehicles. Other features include front porches and coin-operated laundry available in the basement of the building. The cap rate at the time of the sale was 9.2 percent.

The sale was originally reported by Bankers and Tradesman – www.BankersandTradesman.com

Do you want to know what investment properties are selling in your area? Want to know what your property is worth or what you can expect to pay as an investor? Contact us (Contact@MandrellCo.com) for a quick list of sold comps in your selected neighborhoods. FREE, no obligations reports.

 

 

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So you just bought your first rental property? Well, congratulations on the purchase and making a huge investment into your future. Now that you’ve become a new landlord, are you wondering what your next steps should be? Here are 8 helpful tips to get you started on the right path.

1. You’re now running a business and you have to treat it as such. This means getting your house and financial documents in order. It’s probably a good idea to buy a file cabinet or safe if you don’t already own one. Make sure you file mortgage, insurance, tax, water and tenants files in a safe place. It’s also a good idea to keep a digital (scanned) file back up somewhere as well. If your paper documents are lost or damaged, it won’t be difficult to replace them if you have an electronic back up.

2. Make contact with your new tenants. You need to introduce yourself as the new owner, provide them with your contact info and collect each tenant’s personal information. This may be a good time to talk with them about any issues the building may have and a little about your plans going forward.

3. Consider establishing separate banking accounts for your rental business. Ideally, you would like to have rental income come into one account as well as rental expenses paid out of that account. You want to keep rental records clean for tax reporting purposes. If you’re combining rental and personal business into one account it can make things more complex for you and your tax preparer. You may also want to consider a separate savings account (reserve fund) or credit card for your rental business as well. You always want to be prepared for rainy days!

4. While you’re at the bank, you may also want to open your tenant’s security deposit account(s). If you’ve collected or plan to collect a security deposit from your tenants, YOU MUST HOLD THESE FUNDS IN AN INTEREST BEARING ACCOUNT AT A LOCAL BANK. Just tell the customer service rep you want to open a “landlord/tenant” account. Before you’re able to open this account you’ll need to have each tenant sign a W9 form. This is so the taxes on the interest paid are reported under the tenant social security number and not you as the landlord.

5. Buy yourself some basic home improvement tools. You don’t have to be very handy to solve many problems in a home; you just need to have the right tool. I would make sure you own a power drill, screw drivers, hammer, tape measure, and a decent size ladder. One $40 tool that will save you thousands is a toilet auger! It’s very simple to use and will help you avoid some hefty plumbing bills when a tenant’s toilet is clogged.

6. Buy a few books for yourself and make sure you have a basic understanding of landlord/ tenant laws in Massachusetts. You don’t have to read each book cover to cover but you should have some type of reference available to you for when things come up. Don’t rely on Google for your answers. The law is different in each state and there are tons of “gurus” on the internet giving bad legal advice. NOLO has an excellent book selection and they’re always up to date/ easy to read. Grab yourself a book on landlord tax deductions as well. There are so many tax write offs for landlords and you don’t want to be missing ones you should be getting. Don’t assume your tax pro will tell you.

7. Create a maintenance plan for your property. A systematic maintenance plan is the best way to keep each of your properties in top shape and avoid costly repairs. Each landlord will have a different plan based on the properties you own, but your schedule may include the following:
a. Changing out the apartment air filters once every 6 months
b. Hiring a rodent exterminator every 6 months
c. Changing out smoke detector batteries every 2 months (important)
d. Cleaning out the gutter in the spring and the fall
e. Cleaning out heating systems in preparation for winter
f. Covering your AC units before the winter months
g. Sweeping, mopping and changing light bulbs in common areas every month

8. Have your real estate agent send you monthly rental comps for your area. So many landlords leave money on the table because they don’t know what’s happening in their local rental market. They buy a new place and allow tenants to stay in the unit without ever increasing rent. Not only are they leaving money on the table, but they are also hurting the value of their property. When rents are on the rise you want to be in the know. Make sure your agent is sending you rental statistics for your area at least monthly. These reports are automated and easy for your agent to set up.

 10 must have forms for all new landlords! Click here to download FREE rental property forms! 

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