Pro Tips for Successful Move Ins At Your Rental Properties

Last week, we reviewed three items regarding the lease signing. The next step in the tenant rental cycle is the move in.

At RPM West Valley, we have a detailed, logical, formal and consistent move in procedure. This relates to all of the elements of our move in including our policies, process and documents.

A consistent and effective move in process is key for a rental property owner. If you conduct each move in the exact same way, you will record accurate and reliable details of your properties condition at the time of the move in. You will also avoid most uncertainty regarding security deposit issues at move out.

Here are a few important items regarding the move in that will help. 

1) Develop a specific checklist that includes each item of concern in every room. For example, for the living room would have a line item for the floor. On this item you would include a line where you can write down issues as well as three checkboxes. On the line you can detail if there is a condition problem such as a scratch or ding. On the three check boxes you can have N for New, S for Satisfactory, and O for Old.

2) Make sure that the tenant understands that this formal move-in is an important process of their tenancy and any items of concern are their responsibility to note, not yours.

The move in day will be a hectic for them. The new tenants will be primed at a high cadence and will be mainly concerned with trying to get their things unloaded and set up in the house.

However, they need to be fully aware that the move in documents will be what you will referencing to at move out. If they miss something, it might cost them when it comes to the deposit disposition is calculated down the line.

3)  Have the tenant sign off on all key sets and remotes.

4)  Write down a list of maintenance items that can be quickly fixed by using common sense. Make sure that the tenants know that if you have to send a guy out to fix something, and the “fix” is simply a common sense issue, they will be charged for his service call. For example, items “like flipping a fuse or turning the water heater temperature button up”.

5) Take as many pictures as necessary to fully show the property’s condition. We highly recommend getting a 14-16 megapixel camera.

Take a picture of at least every room. Also, take a picture of the outside of the house, landscape and roof. If there is an item of concern that is noted, make sure you capture it at a couple of different angles.

For additional assistance regarding the move in, you can check out our RPM West Valley move in video tutorial.
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3 Quick Tips Regarding Your Lease

Last week, we went over how to review the application and three most important details in making a decision on qualifying the tenant. The next step  is a formal offer to rent and (assuming acceptance)the lease signing. Today, we will give you three tips regarding the lease signing.

To go over everything an owner needs to include on the actual lease would be a long and extensive article. In fact, we would have to detail the whole lease and all required addenda.  

We can tell you that it is a poor idea to buy a generic lease at Office Depot and use that form. At RPM West Valley, we have a proprietary lease agreement that provides the owner more protection than a standard lease. All required addenda is included and all lease documents are constantly updated.

Here are three tips regarding the lease signing that will help. 

1) Conduct the actual lease signing. Sit down with the tenant and go over the lease rather than e-mailing it. This will clear up any ambiguity and you will have the opportunity to go over all expectations with them.

2)  Have the tenant pay the full security deposit and first months rent at the signing. If the tenant is trying to negotiate a payment plan on the deposit right off the bat, this is a bad sign. If they can’t afford the deposit, it is much better to part ways than to proceed.

3) Get all contact information and payment references as possible. If the tenants can’t pay down the line, this will help you get a hold of them. Get cell, home and work phone numbers of all occupants and as many references as you can. We have found that if friends and family know the tenants are late on the rent, the chances are better that we will receive it.

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Reviewing a rental Application

Last week, we went over how to have a productive showing and what information regarding the prospective tenant is essential to get on the application. Today, we will point out how to review the application and three most important details in making a decision on qualifying the tenant.

Earlier in the year, we went over the high 5 of tenant screening This is a quick over view of tenant qualifications and summarizes 5 of the important factors in this process. Today we will drill down a bit further. Here are three of the most important elements we think are critical in tenant qualification along with some links to detailed videos we have produced on these topics.

1. Housing History – It is extremely valuable to get positive feedback from another property management company or a company that rents apartments. A good reference from a private party may have no relevance. This is because many people will use their friends or family members to fake a good reference.

2. Credit Screening for evictions – This is an important step to take. At RPM West Valley, we pay an additional fee to our reporting agency to get this information. For further details regarding credit analysis you can review this .Also, check out this little trick in analyzing the credit report we go over on our podcast

3. Income Verification – This is a good resource that goes over what to look for in regards to income. Once this that is important is job history. In our experience, the most reliable tenants are the ones that have a good length of time on their job. Make sure you get two full years of employment and be leery of job hoppers. Follow @rpmwvphoenix

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Good Ideas for Property Showings

Last week, we detailed some elements of first component of the tenant rental cycle, tenant qualification. This week we will continue with this component. Today’s blog will focus on how to show your property correctly and detail what the right information is to get from the tenant at the showing for qualifying purposes.

After the initial call, if the tenants pre-qualify and they are still interested in the property,it is now time to schedule a showing.

Before you do this, it is important that you disclose any significant, obvious and relevant information regarding the property that may be different from normal. This is because unusual circumstances could deter some prospects from renting your property. However, it is smart to disclose potential issues up front to save your time.

A common example of smart disclosure would be letting a prospect know if the rental property does not include a refrigerator. This could be a deal breaker to a prospective tenant. However, if you disclose this up front, at least you know it’s a no go before you waste time driving out to the property and waiting there while the people look at it.

If you have more than one group interested in seeing your property (or anticipate enough interest that you will be showing to a multiple groups), we have found that it is much better to schedule group showings. Group showings will not only save you time but it will also show the prospects that this is a hot property and if they snooze, they may lose out on it.

It is also a great idea to e-mail an application over to the prospect(s) for them to fill out prior to the showing and let them know if they need to have cash or a money order for the application fee (if applicable) and appropriate income documents. There is no point in waiting at the showing for people to slowly fill out the application or for them to go to the bank to get the application fee.

Make sure that the person you schedule the showing with has your phone number in case they need to cancel. Also inform them that you will be calling one hour to confirm the showing and it is important that they confirm. Let them know that and if they do not answer your call or give you a call back of your message within 10 minutes that you will not be showing up. Arrive at the property 10-15 minutes prior to the showing.

Once you arrive at the property, make sure the temperature is acceptable. In the summer in Phoenix, there is nothing worse than driving in 110 degree heat to see a property where the a/c is not running or set to an uncomfortable setting. As a rule, keep the property 85 degrees while vacant and kick the a/c down a bit for the showing. If you want to keep the temperature at the property higher while vacant, you’ll have to arrive much earlier to get it to an acceptable show temperature.

It is a good idea to open the blinds and turn on the lights. If they property has any kind of an off smell, open the windows (if weather permits) and spray some air neutralizer. We have found that being pleasant without being over-bearing is the right approach. It is important that the prospect feels comfortable and knows they can ask you questions.

If the prospects don’t like the property or appear disinterested, you are not out of line to ask them what they don’t like about the property or why they don’t want to move forward. They may not want to apply simply because of personal preference but they may point out something that could be valuable to get the property rented to another party.

If the prospect likes the property, they can now give you the application, employment documents and application fee. It is important that the application is completely filled out and signed by all prospective tenants over 18. Make sure you have the following information on the application:

1- Applicant Information- Name, cell #, e-mail, SS#, Driver’s License#
2- Employment History- Current employer and previous employer if first employment is less than 2 years.
3- Residential History- Last two years landlords, rent amount and phone numbers.
4- Bank Account #
5- Ask on app whether they have ever been evicted or didn’t pay rent
6- Ask on app if ever asked to move out by landlord or broken a lease.
7- Signature to obtain credit report and rental history.

The other documents that you will need are last two period pay stubs if they are W-2 employees and bank statement (2 months) and tax returns (2 years) for self-employed people. It is up to you if you will accept a check for the application fee. We won’t. We only take cash or money orders.

An application fee is a good idea as it helps you recoup the cost of running the app. It also helps ensure the people are serious about being a potential renter. Once you get the required information it is important to communicate when you will get back to the tenant with an answer and what the next step will be if they qualify.

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