apartment, Business, landlord, property, property management

Bed bugs, roaches, fleas, mice.

You’re going to deal with these sooner or later.  I’ve been on the phone all day about a problem in one house.  The tenant moved in July and now claims to have bed bugs and roaches.    The city health inspector called and drilled me a new hole somewhere on my body.  What did I do?  I told the inspector the name of our LICENSED exterminator that treats the property every month.  She called back and informed me that it is now the tenant’s fault.

1) You will encounter problems depending on what part of the country you live in.

2) Some years are worse than others and some problems are harder to deal with.

3) Have a licensed exterminator that documents everything and can back you up.

4) Never rent a unit that has a problem.  If a previous tenant leaves you a problem, fix it before the next tenants move in.

5) Jump on it, document it, and fix what you need to fix.

These problems can bite you (no pun intended).  Do the right thing and if necessary, bill the tenant.  You don’t want a health issue hanging over you.



apartment, Business, landlord, property, property management, real estate

Property manager?

Hire a property manager or self manage?  That is a long battled question.  Here are a couple things to consider:

How much do you know about managing property?

Do you enjoy it?

Do you have time to deal with it AND the temperament to deal with it?

Does your schedule permit you to show the property, deal with problems, go to hearings, etc.?

Who do you think will get you better results?

Notice, I didn’t mention can you afford it.  You will pay for management whether you do it or pay someone else.  You will pay in time, learning, stress, time away from family, etc.  It is a question of whether you want to pay yourself or someone else, not whether you will pay for it.


apartment, Business, landlord, property, property management, real estate

Applications – don’t rush it

It is understandable that owners want to rush an application.  They are anxious and excited to rent their property.  They also need the money!

Don’t do it.  Remember that you want a dedicated renter; someone who really wants to live there and is willing to wait.   What you don’t want is someone who is fleeing from a bad situation or is desperate, or is so unstable that they can’t wait a couple days.

Take the time to get all the background information in.  Take time to get to know the applicants and see how they react while waiting.  It says a lot about someone.

Yes, there are times when we need to hurry but overall I like to take a relaxed approach and let the dust settle to see who the applicant really is.



apartment, Business, landlord, property, real estate

Applications – credit

As you review applications make sure you get a credit report.  Depending on where you get your report the cost can vary from a couple dollars to $20+.  The difference is often just the provider but there are also differences.  Some are easier to read than others.  Some have credit scores and others include criminal backgrounds.  You need to choose what you want to see and how much you want to pay.

A credit report tells a lot about a person.  One of the first thing I look for is alias names and addresses.  If there are alias names I am very leery.  They may be legitimate but they often mean that the person is hiding from somebody or something and it usually isn’t good.  If the addresses don’t line up with their ID that is also a big red flag.  Where are they really living?

Take a look at their outstanding debt level and their delinquency balance next.  Are they swimming in debt and are they paying on it?  Next look at what trades they have and the ratings history.  I don’t count medical bills at all.  In the past I didn’t count college loans but I am starting to put weight on them now.  I put credit cards, banks, and other items in a pattern category – do they pay their bills or not.   Utilities are weighted heavily because on top of a payment pattern, they may not be able to get utilities turned on in their name.  Last but the most important are landlord charges.  If there is a landlord charge off, it is a no brainer.

Look at the overall picture.  Is this someone that you want to deal with and let in your property?  Remember that everyone with bad credit isn’t a bad tenant.  It is only part of the picture.


apartment, landlord, property, real estate

Upside down investment

A friend of mine is a big investor.  He said to me “settlement is just the beginning of the work.  With all the consumer protection these days, I can’t believe the government allows the infomercials about buying real estate with no money down.”  How true.  Real estate is not a fixed investment.  The losses can be endless.  The headaches unending.  Before you invest, make sure you know what you’re getting into.  If it sounds to good to be true . . . you could be upside down.

upside down house

apartment, landlord, property, real estate

No Pets Allowed

ImageThis is an age old argument – pets or no pets.  I generally don’t allow them in apartments because they can cause too much trouble in a close environment.  In houses I do and here is my argument.  Most (I’m guessing around 80 – 85%) applicants looking for a house have a pet.  It may be a tiny Pomeranian or it could be 3 Pit Bulls.  The problem is, if you advertise “No Pets” you won’t find out.  It’s likely that the person with the Pomeranian won’t bother to apply and the person with 3 Pit Bulls will leave them off the application and move them in anyway.  Leaving it open on the ad and application at least opens the playing field and lets you make the decision up front.  Set the standards – size, type, number, aggressive, etc.  Look at the pet(s) in consideration with the rest of the application.  Get references.  Add a pet deposit and maybe charge more for rent.  Your best applicant may be the one with a dog and by advertising “no pets” you may be knocking them right out without seeing them.

apartment, landlord, property, real estate

Why didn’t they apply?

This is a comment that I hear so often: “Five people looked at the apartment last week and they all said they loved it but none of them applied.”  It is so frustrating when showing a vacancy and everyone takes an application saying that they will “turn it in tomorrow, we love it.”  When the application doesn’t come in the question arises that something is wrong with the rental agency.  “You’re not doing enough to get it rented.  Call these people back.”

I don’t know why people do this.  Maybe they are embarrassed to say they don’t like it.  Maybe they change their mind.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Let me make this clear – Almost all people do this!  I don’t know why.  I wish they would tell me what they don’t like instead of saying they love it.

In reaction to this, don’t chase after people.  They need to show that they want it.  It’s ok to make a follow up call but don’t be desperate and push them to rent.Image