Top 4 Renovations that make an impact for your Phoenix Rental Property

With the new year now underway, many property owners in Phoenix find themselves thinking about renovating their rental properties as a means to attract new tenants or to keep the current tenants happier. We joined with other Phoenix property management companies to compile a list of smaller renovations that go a long way in the eyes of renters. They include:

1. Kitchen Renovations

While gutting the kitchen for a complete remodel may not be on the top of your to do list, the good news is that with a few small tweaks, you can still give it a fresh feel that makes it more attractive to tenants. Consider making one or more of these improvements:
New Appliances: Keeping all appliances in the same color palette is a must and adding the latest technology will be more appealing for most tenants.
Kitchen Counter tops: Believe it or not, granite is not appealing to every renter that will come through your property. What they do want is counter tops that are durable and match well with the quality of other finishes in the home.
Cabinet Choices: New or re-finished cabinets make a huge impression on potential tenants regardless of color and embellishments. Cabinets should offer ample storage space for smaller kitchen appliances and dishes, and when space allows, each kitchen should have a pantry.
2. Flooring
Installing flooring options like hardwood or porcelain tile allows for higher rent charges and does have advantages over carpet, mainly that they typically don’t have to be replaced as frequently. If your budget allows between tenants, this is one upgrade that makes a huge impression on tenants.

3. Bathroom

When it comes to having a functional bathroom, it’s all about storage. Both the vanity and medicine cabinets should have ample storage space, and if space allows, should include a linen closet in close proximity to the bathroom.
Other bathroom renovations that make a huge impact include changing smaller shower and floor tiles out for larger, more modern tiles. Porcelain tiles are more durable, and can be made to mimic the look of hardwood, stone, and even marble.
Storage Space
While it may be a challenge to fit more storage space throughout your Phoenix rental property, property owners in Phoenix have found that tenants would rather give up some space for furniture in exchange for storage space. It may also benefit you to provide some sort of shelving system that makes the closets feel more organized.

Though some of these renovations may seem basic, The Real Property Management WV Phoenix team has found that rental properties that feature one or more of these items are more appealing to tenants, and help them take pride in their living spaces.


RPMWV Phx offers full service Phoenix Real Estate & Phoenix Property Management services.  For additional information you can contact us at info@rpmwvphx.com or 602-281-2884

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The Top 6 Things to Look for in Screening A Phoenix Rental Applicant

Whether you think of screening as a tool to protect yourself and your Phoenix investment or as a dreaded part of being a property manager, it is absolutely critical for your success and safety.
Here are the top 6 items you need to screen for:
1. Income should equal 3x the monthly rent amount
2. Credit is clear or utility collections & charge offs
3. Positive references from previous third party landlords such as property management companies & apartment complexes
4. Verifiable employment & time on job
5. Criminal history must be screened
6. Screen for previous evictions
Even as a DIY landlord, it is important to establish clear rules for who you will and will not accept and stick to them. Tenants with a rough past often avoid renting from property management companies because of the stricter guidelines for qualification, however, if you are going to be completely fair (and lawful) in your requirements and avoid complaints, you must treat everyone equally by asking the same questions and not bending the rules for one person and not others. Phoenix investment property owners need to remember: it’s not personal, it’s business.
The next time you screen a tenant and are wondering about the screening process, remember that you are allowed to reject tenants with: bad credit history, insufficient income to meet the rent demands, previous damage to other units, consistent late rent payments,  poor job history. You cannot, however, reject an application for discriminatory reasons including: race, religion, nationality, gender, age, disability status, and/or familial status. Acting as a businessman instead of an emotional one will leave you with a better reputation as a Phoenix investment property owner.
The key to successful property management is consistency. Consistency in who you rent to, what questions you ask, and the screening process you put each tenant through will allow you to avoid possible lawsuits and Fair Housing Act laws.
RPMWV Phx offers full service Phoenix Real Estate & Phoenix Property Management services.  For additional information you can contact us at info@rpmwvphx.com or 602-281-2884

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Phoenix Rental Property Maintenance Myths



There are several recurring rumors regarding rental repairs in Phoenix and many misinformed myths misconstruing maintenance matters. While the need to perform maintenance and repairs on rental property is inevitable, they do not have to be nightmares. So let’s clear up some of the most common rental property maintenance myths:

Rental Property Maintenance Myth #1: Do-it-Yourself Repairs Always Save Money



Being able to take care of your own repairs around the house definitely comes in handy, and can be a great way to save a few bucks when managing a rental property. If you’re a skilled handyman and can handle small repairs, basic plumbing tasks or appliance fixes, by all means save yourself from calling a local tradesman to make the convenience call.
However, from the wisdom of Kenny Rogers, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, Know when to fold ‘em.” Rumor has it that Kenneth wrote this song based on his experience watching his carpenter father selectively turn down jobs (ok, only part of that factoid may be true…). But the counsel still stands; even the best DIY jack- (or jill-) of-all-trades knows when to leave repairs to the pros.

Oftentimes, even if you can handle the rental property repair job yourself, does not mean you should. How much is your time worth? Even if you’ve got the time and energy to take care of the repair yourself, often it makes financial sense to let a dedicated professional handle the job. Even the most capable DIY landlords will find themselves in over their head if they try to handle every job.

Additionally, Phoenix tenants do not care if you are saving money by doing it yourself. If you cannot confidently complete the job quickly, conveniently, and correctly, you owe it to the tenant and yourself to find a qualified technician. Of the things within your control, one of the leading causes cited by tenants leaving a rental property when the lease is up, is because of bad experiences from poor maintenance. The money you might save doing it yourself is often just a delayed (and greater) loss. The same can typically be said about the cost of hiring a full-time property manager. Sometimes it’s just a convenience, but many times the cost of hiring a professional property manager makes the most long-term financial sense as well.


Rental Property Maintenance Myth #2: Tenants are Responsible for Maintenance & Repairs

Except in certain cases such as battery and light bulb replacement, maintenance and repairs are the physical and financial responsibility of the landlord. Yes, if the tenant throws a baseball through a window, they are responsible. But even then, the landlord should be notified and handle the repair, working with the tenant for the funds, or deducting from a security deposit. But when an appliance breaks down during the tenant’s stay, it’s typically the result of years of normal wear-and-tear, in which case the landlord is responsible for the repair or replacement.

Even preventative and regular maintenance tasks that traditionally are left to residents may be better handled by the landlord or property manager. For example, just because your tenants are certainly capable of regularly replacing smoke detector batteries and furnace filters does not mean they will remember to do so. If you are not replacing these items during a regularly scheduled inspection, providing new batteries and filters at regular intervals will encourage your residents to do so.

Also, do not forget the outside. Trees grow, gutters accumulate debris, faucets and sprinkler systems leak, and bees build hives. Keep an eye out for small problems inside and out to nip in the bud now, as well as identify potential future problems to either prevent or plan for.

Rental Property Maintenance Myth #3: Replacing vs Repairing


This particular property management myth goes both ways. On one extreme, is the optimist who insists that anything can be repaired, including the avocado-colored refrigerator they bought for the unit that never gave them any problems. On the other end of the spectrum, is the argument that it’s always going to be cheaper to replace than to repair; disposable appliances are the new norm because “they just don’t make them like they used to.”

Neither extreme is accurate, and as such, deciding between repairing or replacing a broken appliance depends on a number of factors. Before you fix in a frenzy OR rush to replace, you should consider the age and condition of the appliance or structure, the expected lifetime, previous fixes, and safety concerns (not to mention evaluating what is specifically wrong, if possible). The general rule is if an appliance is older than half of its expected lifespan, and the cost of the repair is over half the cost of replacing (note, not necessarily half the original cost – there is a difference), then you should replace rather than repair.

Another reason to consider repairing instead of replacing is for tax purposes. The costs of rental property repairs are deductible that year. On the other hand, the cost of an “improvement” – which most replacements qualify as, will have to be depreciated over the property’s life expectancy.

Again, as noted already, it is also very important to consider the impact, implications, and impression for your tenants. Consider the repercussions of repairing – losing a good tenant because the repair took too long, took multiple repair calls, and broke again a month later. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure… but a pound of cure trumps seventeen individual ounces of repair.

Rental Property Maintenance Myth #4: Estimating Rental Property Maintenance Costs



Have you heard of estimating how much money you’ll need to set aside for maintenance on a rental property? Listed below are a few choice formulas for your estimating purposes. Which formula is your favorite?

·         50% Rule: total operating costs (repairs, maintenance, taxes, insurance) will equal half of your rental property income. So if your property rents for $1,200/mo, you should expect $600 of that to go to keeping the property up and running.

·         1% Rule: maintenance will cost about one percent of the property value per year. So a property valued at $190,000 should cost $1,900 a year to maintain (or $160 a month).          
·         Square footage formula: Plan on $1 per square foot for yearly maintenance costs. So a 2,200 foot rental should cost roughly $2,200 a year in maintenance costs.

·         1.5x rule: maintenance costs will average 1.5 times the monthly rental rate. So if your home rents for $1,200, then you should anticipate spending approximately $1,800 a year in repairs.

·         Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong

While it’s nice to have a rough guess on how much money you should plan on spending on maintaining your rental property, there are just too many variables to accurately estimate. Like the English language, there are exceptions to every “rule.” So use whatever formula you prefer to predict your cost, but keep in mind these two estimates:

76% of yearly rental property maintenance and repair costs will be higher than you’ll expect 

99% of rental property repair and maintenance expenses will be higher than you’ll want
Rental Property Maintenance Myth #5: What Security Deposits Cover Security deposits are a cause of contention for many tenants and landlords, and most of the time the reason is a lack of communication or understanding of what the security deposit is actually for. There are two common myths related to security deposits:Tenant Misunderstanding: the security deposit is for the last month’s rent, right?

     A.) While many landlords ask for a security deposit that equals a month’s rent, that does not mean those funds are earmarked for the last month’s rent. Unless the tenant and landlord specifically work this out together beforehand in writing, the last month’s rent is expected to be paid in full, and the security deposit will be handled separately. Even if the security deposit is to be returned in full, it should not stand-in for the last month’s rent.

     B)   Landlord Misunderstanding: the security deposit can be used for any make-ready, between vacancy repairs and cleaning costs.
Wrong again. The security deposit is intended to cover unpaid rent and perform needed repairs or cleaning that result from more than normal wear and tear. Some landlords intentionally stretch this rule; others do so out of ignorance. Regardless, the security deposit should not be used to replace 15 year old counter tops or to paint the home after 7 years. Unless severe damage was caused by the tenants’ intentional or negligent behavior, these standard wear-and-tear chores are NOT to be paid for with the security deposit.
RPMWV Phx offers full service Phoenix Real Estate & Phoenix Property Management services.  For additional information you can contact us at info@rpmwvphx.com or 602-281-2884
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Advertising Your Rental Home For Rent in Phoenix



You have gone through the “legal” legwork and have our home “make ready” so now it is time to get a renter in the home.  To do this, you will need to decide how much your rental property is going to rent for, as well as where and how you are going to advertise the home for rent.

How do you decide what the rent is for your rental property?  Try Craigslist or other local listings for rental rates of comparable properties. The classifieds sections of local news websites can also help. Checking with online vendors such as Rent Range may be an option, too. Remember that what you think your home is worth (what will cover the mortgage, etc.) most times is not the same as what the market will bear. 
When determining security deposit amounts make sure you understand your State Statute (if applicable) with regard to maximum amounts.  Many States limit the amount of security deposit you can charge for your rental property to cover damages from a renter. Determining market rental rates in Phoenix and appropriate deposit amounts will take about an hour of your time.

Once the market rent and security deposit amount have been determined, it is time to post the property for rent. Taking photos and/or video may seem like a great idea, but make sure you take the time to get the right shots. Remember you are selling a renter to live in your rental property, and dark, ambiguous, or ill-centered (sideways, upside down) photos will not show your property in the best light.  When taking photos in the bathrooms, for instance, make sure the toilet seat is down and you are not a “ghost” in the mirror.  If the room has a large window that brings in natural light, take the photo with your back to the window to capture the room filled with light. Remember, too, a bedroom is more than a window and a closet, so ensure that you get full pictures showing the entire bedroom. The photos you take should entice you or your family and friends to want to see more.  Once you have the right shots, use an online editor to ensure the photos will show your property in the way that you see it while attracting renters that will want to live in the home. Taking quality, well-lit photos and/or video and editing will take about four hours of your time. 

Dark photos do not make the property look attractive
Well lit photos show off the properties assets!

Now that you have photos and/or video of the home, prepare an advertisement that speaks to the renter.  Try to steer clear of writing in such a way that you are advertising “who” you want to live in the home instead of advertising the home and its amenities.  List appliances and utilities that will be included, as well as restrictions and special neighborhood highlights.  While Craigslist is still widely used for rental advertisements, look into paid advertisements in local sources and online if your home is not getting “hits” requesting a showing or application. Writing your advertisement and placing it online will take about one hour of your time. Paid advertisements range from $35 and up.  

On a final note, do not forget to place a for rent sign at the home that conforms with your neighborhoods standards. If you are in a common interest community, for instance, there may be restrictions on the type and placement of signs. Some common interest communities may require a post sign, similar to those used by realtors. Obtaining and placing a for rent sign will take about one to two hours of your time. Many rental signs are inexpensive, but a post sign, can cost $75 and up.


With the right preparation, advertising your home for rent properly will pay off with the rental rate you wish to achieve Phoenix and even the possibility of a tenant that treats the home not like a rental, but truly a place to be proud of.

RPMWV Phx offers full service Phoenix Real Estate & Phoenix Property Management services.  For additional information you can contact us at info@rpmwvphx.com or 602-281-2884
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