Skip to content

What You Need to Know if Your Rental Property Has a Swimming Pool

If you’re lucky enough to own (or have the chance to purchase) a rental property with a swimming pool, there are a lot of things you’ll love about it. A private pool is a big draw for fun-loving families and singles alike, potentially making it much easier to rent out your space. However, a pool might mean additional work (and cost) for you and your tenant.

Here are some of the basic things you should know about owning a rental property that has a swimming pool.

Maintenance is huge.

The pool becomes more of a headache—and less of a fun feature—if it is dirty or otherwise not maintained well. The pool constantly needs to be cleared of debris, including leaves and rocks, which could damage your filter or vacuum system. You’ll also have to regularly check the chemical levels of the water, to make sure it is balanced and healthy for swimming. In addition, you’ll need to maintain the pump and motor, and perform any repairs on it.

You’ll want an addendum in your lease.

Add an addendum to your rental lease to manage liability and cost associated with a pool. In this addendum, you should specify which maintenance tasks the tenant is responsible for, and which you will provide as an additional service. You should also outline any pool policies, including policies about the fence, additional maintenance, and any manufacturer information associated with the pool equipment.

Safety first.

You need to know about your neighborhood and city policies when it comes to pool ownership. Many communities require private pools to be surrounded by a self-locking fence for safety purposes. Making sure the fence and lock are constantly in proper working order will help you avoid any liabilities associated with the pool. Make sure your tenant knows to keep an eye out for any malfunctions, and notifies you immediately if there are any problems or concerns.

You should also consider safety when it comes to the areas immediately surrounding your pool. Make sure the deck is free of obstructions or hazards. Keep plants and trees trimmed so they aren’t protruding into walkways.

Consider liability.

Ideally, no one will ever be harmed in your pool. However, you need to make sure that if an accident were ever to occur, you would be protected financially. Make sure that your liability insurance coverage is adequate to cover pool ownership, and make sure a pool is covered by your policy. Talk to an insurance agent to make sure that the insurance is taken care of. You may also want to speak to a lawyer to discuss your options, were something to happen.

Having a pool at your rental property can be a great asset, but it also could pose challenges you hadn’t yet considered. Make sure you think about these things while considering if you want to rent out a house with a pool.

Have more questions about property management? Contact Real Property Management at 480-719-1243 for help knowing the best way to manage your investment property. With our years of expertise, we can help you market and fill your property, and even take care of rent collection or evictions. Get a free management quote today!

Tips for Helping Your Small Rental Property Feel Bigger

Do you own a small space that you’d like to rent out? It can be tricky to convince tenants to go for less square footage in their new home. The good news is that as long as your property feels open and spacious, you should still be able to find a renter who is happy with the space.

Of course, the million dollar question is this: how do you get your small property to feel bigger? You can’t exactly knock down all the walls or add in extra windows. Thankfully, there are much smaller steps you can take that will help your property feel bigger than it actually is. Here are some of our favorite tips.

Repaint in a Light Color.

A lighter paint color will make your room feel brighter, and therefore, bigger. You’re probably planning on repainting between tenants, anyway!

Light Colored Flooring.

The same principle goes for flooring. A lighter colored flooring is going to give the illusion of more space. If you’re able, consider swapping out the existing floor for something in a light color, whether it’s wood, laminate, or carpet.

Keep it Well Lit.

A dark room is always going to feel smaller. Make sure there is plenty of light in the room, whether it’s from windows or fixtures. You could even try swapping out the bulbs in your existing fixtures; something with a “cool” or blue tone will make the space feel brighter (and bigger).

Hang a Mirror.

A mirror is a great way to give the illusion of space in a room. Mirrors reflect light around the room, so that any existing light is magnified.

Keep Furniture Minimal, and make sure it fits.

If your space is going to be rented furnished, think long and hard about the furniture you’ll use. You want it to look like it fits perfectly in the room. This might mean choosing smaller pieces, but if the pieces are too big, they’ll look like they’re busting out of the room, making the room itself look smaller.

Add Height.

Utilize the space you do have by bringing in elements that emphasize the height of the room. This could include window curtains (hung well above the window casing, perhaps even to the ceiling), tall bookcases, or even higher backed chairs (if your property is furnished). These things will create the illusion of space, even in a small room.

Create Storage Where Possible.

Can you add open shelves in the kitchen, or in a hallway? What about built in hooks in the closet or laundry room? These small changes will create more storage that may compensate for the lack of space in general.

With these tips, your prospective renters may be able to focus less on your property’s smaller size, and more on its other, more attractive features.

Want more help with managing your Tempe rental property? Real Property Management can help you with all aspect of property management, including marketing, rent collection, evictions, and more. Fill out our online form to get your free management quote, or give us a call at 480-719-1243. We look forward to working with you!

Deep Cleaning Between Tenants

When your tenant moves out, they should leave your property in relatively good shape. Hopefully, there won’t be any major damages to the property, but even normal wear and tear can leave the house feeling like it needs a little TLC before it’s ready for its next occupant.

For this reason, you should plan on deep cleaning the property between tenants, no matter what. What all does that entail? Here’s a quick list to keep you on track.

Dusting…Everywhere.

Hopefully, your tenant kept up with light dusting throughout their stay in your property. However, there are likely some places that they’ve ignored (think: above cabinets, between shutters/blinds, ceiling fans, high corners). Thoroughly dusting every inch of the property will leave it looking and feeling much cleaner.

Cleaning The Carpets.

Have any carpeted areas professionally cleaned. Or, at the very least, rent a professional carpet cleaner and do it yourself. Dirty carpet will be very noticeable in the home, and it will be a major downside to potential tenants. In fact, if your carpet is several years old, it might be time to consider replacing it altogether.

Sanitizing Hard Surfaces.

Countertops, sinks, toilets, showers, tubs, and more can (and should) all be sanitized between tenants. Use a food grade hydrogen peroxide for powerful cleaning that is still safe.

Clean Appliances.

Deep clean all appliances, including oven, stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Get them as new-looking as you can!

Replace Air Filters.

This will require a bit of an investment, but your air filters should be replaced regularly. Unless your tenants did this during their stay, it’s a good idea to replace these filters between tenants.

Mop The Floors.

Any hard floors should be well cleaned. This includes scrubbing any grout in tiled areas.

Scrub The Walls…Or Repaint.

If you really start to look at the walls of the home, they are probably covered with scuff marks and fingerprints. Some of them may be easy to remove with a good scrubbing. Others, however, might require a new coat of paint. Either way, clean walls will make a big difference in the overall clean feeling of the home.

These deep cleaning tasks should make your property ready for new tenants. If you’re not up to the task yourself, consider hiring a cleaning service to take on the job for you. Many of them are relatively inexpensive and will do a great job.

Need more tips about managing your rental property? Contact Real Property Management for all the help you need when it comes to your property. We can help with marketing and showing your property, as well as keeping up with maintenance, emergency repairs, and payments. Give us a call at 480-719-1243 for your free management quote today.

3 Reasons You Need an Arizona Property Management Company

If you own an investment property (or you’d like to) you’ve probably heard a bit about property management. To some, property management companies might just seem like another expense: something else to pay for and worry about. Others, however, see the bigger picture.

While it will take a little work to find a good property management company, and you will have to pay for their services, many property owners find that, in the long run, hiring a property management company was one of the best choices they have made.

Still need convincing? Here are 3 big reasons why you should seriously consider hiring a property management company to help you with your investment property.

Marketing.

You might think that “marketing” your investment property requires little more than a quick post on Facebook every now and then. The truth, however, is that marketing requires careful planning and precision in order to be truly effective. A property management company can help you determine which kind of tenant is most likely to be attracted to your property, and where you should list your property in order to find those renters. They can also help you out in terms of scheduling showings for the property—which, if you’re doing it on your own, can become a big headache, really quickly.

New tenant management.

A property management company can help you screen your new potential tenants, a huge step in making sure your tenants are going to take good care of your property and be able to stick to the terms of your lease. They can also help you make sure that your lease covers everything that it needs to cover, so that you can feel confident about the agreement you reach with your tenants. This goes a long way towards setting the stage for a successful relationship between you, your property management company, and your tenants.

Problem solving.

Tenants constantly late with their payments? Concerns about a “long-term” guest? Emergency plumbing problem? Typically, these are all problems you would have to personally deal with. Of course, these problems can become tricky, very quickly. When you are solely responsible for dealing with these issues and enforcing your lease, you may quickly become “the bad guy” in your tenant’s mind, which isn’t good news when it comes time for them to decide if they want to renew their lease. A property management company can handle all of these issues for you—everything from rent collection, emergency repairs, and even evictions. It’s the best, most reliable way to take care of your property, without ever having to deal with the awkward situations.

A property management company can make all the difference when it comes to making property ownership as painless (and as profitable) as possible. If you’re still unsure about hiring a property management company, give Real Property Management a call at 480-719-1243. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about property management services, as well as give you a free management quote for your property. We look forward to speaking with you!

Things That Can Go Wrong at Your Rental Property (And How to Be Ready for Them)

If you’re just getting started in the world of rental property ownership, you’re probably being extremely careful. You want to know that you’re making a smart investment, that your time and efforts are going to pay off, and that you’ll be able to reap the benefits of owning this property for years to come.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can learn just by research alone. You’ll have to go through some things firsthand in order to see what property ownership is really like. That’s going to mean some good times…but some bad ones, too. It’s best to be as prepared as possible for what lies ahead, so we’ve compiled a list of something things that might go wrong with your rental property, and how you can mitigate the damage.

Vacancies.

Vacancies are tough. Really tough. It’s torture to see your property sit there, empty, while you’re still paying good money to own and maintain it. All the money is rolling out…and nothing is rolling in. Vacancies can happen for any number of reasons, including not marketing your property well, not pricing it competitively, not creating an attractive listing, tenants moving out unexpectedly, and so on. Avoid vacancies by staying on top of marketing the property. Keep open communication with your tenants, so you know if they are planning to renew their lease when it is up. When your property will be hitting the market soon, create an attractive listing and post it where it will be seen by your target audience. Need help? A property management company could be your best friend!

Property damage.

You’d be surprised at the amount of damage a single tenant can inflict on a home. The damage done to your property can get very expensive, very quickly. Avoid this by, first of all, choosing your tenants carefully. Background checks may help you avoid tenants who would do damage to your property. You should also be very clear in your lease agreement about “normal wear and tear” versus “excessive damage.” Be clear about what sorts of damages the tenant will have to pay for, what could cause them to lose their deposit, etc. That way, even if damages to the property do occur, you’ll at least be able to recoup some of the repair costs!

Evictions.

Kicking someone out of a home is no joke. It’s a very difficult situation for all involved. It is one thing to say “I could do it if I had to” and quite another to be the person literally forcing someone to leave their residence. Again, doing your homework before a lease is signed could help you avoid having to evict your tenant; but of course, life happens! Let your lease protect you, hire a lawyer to help you out, and be as fair as possible.

Hidden expenses.

Property taxes. Emergency repairs. Regular maintenance. These things add up quickly for rental property owners, and more often than not, you’ll be completely financially responsible for them. You can’t predict the future, so it’s impossible to know what expenses will pop up over the life of your property ownership, but you can soften the blow by consistently saving for the emergencies that can (and will) come along. You should also adjust the rental price according to your costs, which hopefully you’ll have a better idea of after the first year or so.

As with all things in life, you can always hope for the best, but it never hurts to be prepared for the worst! Keep these scenarios in mind when purchasing your rental property. Take steps to be ready for them, and hopefully, they won’t do too much damage to your bottom line.

Want help managing the ups and downs of property ownership? Call Real Property Management at 480-719-1243. We can help you manage your property so that it remains a profitable investment for you, rather than another hassle you have to deal with. Whether it’s marketing or selling your property, or collecting payments from your tenants, we can help make property ownership much more painless. Fill out our online form to get your free management quote today.

Creating an Attractive Listing for Your Rental Property

If you’re getting ready to list your rental property, whether for the first time or the tenth, you’re probably concerned about getting the listing just right—and you should be! That listing is going to be the first impression that prospective tenants get of your property, and you want to make sure it sends the right message, right from the beginning.

So how can you make sure that your listing hits all the right notes for searching renters? Here are a few useful tips that will help your listing stand out above the crowd.

Take great photos.
No really: take great photos. A picture says a thousand words, and you want your pictures to say “bright,” “open,” “spacious,” and “clean.” Prep the property by taking the time to clean the property thoroughly. Clear out any clutter or excess furniture, open all the windows, turn on the lights, clear out any clutter or excess furniture. Then, leave the rest to a professional. Hire a photographer who has experience photographing properties. They’ll be able to bring your property’s best features to light through lighting and angles, in a way that an amateur photographer can’t replicate. Great photos will attract great renters, so take the time, make the investment, and do it right!

Know your basics.

A listing should include all the basic information about your property: bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, year built, lot size, etc. Don’t force people to do extra work to find out these very basic elements; you’re trying to find someone who is a good match for your property, and they’ll need to know all this information right off the bat to make a good decision.

Highlight the best features.

Does your property have a nice backyard? A great kitchen? A remodeled bathroom? Pick out the things you really love about your property, and make sure to include those in your listing. It might be tempting to try to talk about every feature of the home as if it’s the best thing about it, but try to resist that urge; it will make your listing sound unrealistic. Focus on the 5-6 things that are really great, and find renters that agree.

Talk about upgrades.

List the upgrades you’ve made to your property so that potential renters can see them at a glance. A bulleted list is totally sufficient to go over the upgrades in the home. Talk about any upgraded appliances, fixtures, flooring, window treatments, or cabinets. Also be sure to mention if you’ve replaced or deep-cleaned carpets, or if you’ve repainted. Specifically mentioning the things in the house that are upgraded will help your potential renters see what makes the property really special.

Try to answer all the questions.

You don’t want just anybody to call about your property; you want the right person to call! Take the time to think about what questions people might have about your property, or about renting from you. How long of a lease are you looking for? What price are you asking? What school district is it in? Are utilities included? Answering these questions in your listing will narrow down your pool of prospective tenants more quickly, so you can find a renter that is a good fit for your property.

Your listings have the potential to make or break your success as an investor. Take the time to create a great listing, and you’ll reap the benefits!

Need help marketing, filling, and managing your rental property? Contact Real Property Management. We can help you get your listings seen by all the right people, so you can keep your property full and profitable. Fill out our online form, or give us a call at 480-719-1243 for a free management quote. We look forward to working with you!

Staying on Top of Trends for Your Investment Property

We all know the name of the game, when it comes to your investment property, is keeping it full. Vacancies will hurt your profitability more than anything else! This is one of the many reasons why it’s so important for you to stay on top of current trends in home design—so you can attract good tenants, quickly, when you need them. Well designed, on trend home are much more likely to catch the eye of hunting renters, and much more likely to be snatched up quickly.

So what are the best ways to stay on top of these trends? How can you keep your property updated? We’ve got a few ideas that should help you out.

Pinterest.

Think Pinterest is a waste of time? Think again! Pinterest is a great way to discover home trends and designs that are most popular, right now. You can find everything from popular paint colors, to flooring options, to light fixtures, to landscaping ideas. Look for pins that have been repinned many times—those are the popular ones!

Visit model homes.

A quick walk through a model home can give you some great ideas for updating your own space. Notice how the homes are staged. Take note of the individual elements that really jump out at you. Get inspired!

Ask around.

Chances are, you have a friend or relative who is savvy when it comes to design. Ask them for suggestions. What are they seeing more of lately? What parts of your property would they change if they could? What would make your home really stand out?

Design blogs.

It’s pretty easy to do a quick Google search for “top home design trends.” Check out the images from this search, or read a blog post or two that comes up, and you’ll probably walk away with some quick fixes you can make.

Start with the obvious.

If you have something in your property that is obviously worn out, fix that first. Updated appliances or new carpet will go a long way if you have the budget for them. If not, start with a new light fixture or two; it’s amazing how much they can change a whole space!

Stick to the classics.

You want to give your home an updated feel, but you definitely don’t want to do something that is too trendy and that tenants will hate in a few years. Even as you’re updating your home, keep everything fairly neutral and classic. This will help you avoid frequent updates and keep the property feeling constantly fresh.

These are just a few tips for staying on top of trends in home design. Hopefully, they will help you as you work to make your property as attractive as possible to the very best tenants.

Want more help managing your rental? Real Property Management can help you with several different aspects of property management, including keeping your property full. Give us a call at 480-719-1243 for a free management quote today. We’d love to help you succeed as an investment property owner!

Bad Decisions Property Investors Make (And How to Avoid Them!)

If you’re investing in real estate, you probably have one very simple goal: make money. Sure, you might have some other things you want to accomplish along the way, but the bottom line is to…well, increase your bottom line.

Unfortunately, property investment, like most fields, isn’t always cut and dry. It’s easy to make big mistakes that can leave you floundering, rather than flourishing. Here are some bad decisions property investors make, and a couple ideas about how to avoid making those same decisions yourself.

Not doing your financing homework.

Getting the right financing for your property will be key to your success. This deal is one you are going to have to live with and manage for years to come, and you want to make sure it’s done right. Learn all you can about interest rates and payments before you sign any financing agreements.

Purchasing the wrong property.

The property you purchase is your biggest asset in your investment strategy. You need to know exactly what you’re looking for, and you need to keep looking until you find it. Consider location, size, comp values, condition, age, and price, when trying to decide whether or not a property is right for your specific goals and strategy.

Not keeping an eye on cash.

It’s easy to get excited about all the future profit you’ll make from an investment property. It’s true—a property might have huge earning potential for you, and that’s great! However, if you run out of cash, you won’t be able to hang on to that property for long. Make sure you keep a close eye on your cash, especially when thinking about the repairs or maintenance that will need to be done on a property to make it habitable.

Neglecting to vet potential tenants.

Your tenants are your lifeblood—without them, your property is just an expensive thing you bought. You want to make sure that your tenants are going to abide by the terms of your lease, so that they’ll treat your property well and not leave you in a lurch financially. Run credit and/or background checks on your applicants. (Need help? Hire a property management company to make it easy on you!)

Convincing yourself you don’t need marketing.

Think tenants will just fall into your lap? Think again. You need to get the word out about your property in order to attract the right people to it. Word of mouth can only get you so far! A property management company can help you market your property through all the right channels, so you can make sure you’re not wasting time and money on ineffective marketing, and so you can keep your property full.

Thinking it’s going to be easy.

Property investment shouldn’t be treated like a hobby or a “get rich quick” scheme. This career does have the potential to make you a good amount of money, but you should be prepared to put a lot of hard work into it as well. You’ll need to strategize, plan, organize, research, and negotiate to be a truly successful investor.

Don’t make mistakes that will start you off on the wrong foot. Be careful about your decisions, and your investment property is much more likely to be a profitable venture for you.

Need more help? Real Property Management has been helping property owners manage their properties for years. Their guidance can help you market and fill your properties, and they can even help with things like payment collection and evictions. Don’t make your job any harder than it has to be. Call Real Property Management at 480-719-1243 today!

Do I Give Back the Security Deposit?

As the owner of a rental property, you are constantly experiencing “tenant turnover”: when one tenant moves out, and a new one moves in.

Usually, this process can go pretty smoothly, especially if you’ve been able to find a new tenant quickly and painlessly (with the help of a property management company, perhaps). It might get trickier, however, if any problems arise concerning the old tenant’s security deposit.

If all goes well, your property will be in relatively the same condition it was when the tenant moved in, and you’ll be able to give them back their deposit, no questions asked. Of course, it’s not always that simple. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to decide whether or not your tenant should get their security deposit back.

Are terms on the security deposit outlined in your lease?

Make sure you review the lease for the specific language and terms concerning the security deposit. You may also want to consult a property management company or lawyer concerning your tenant’s rights in your state. It is imperative that you understand the law, and act within it, in case you find it necessary to withhold a tenant’s deposit return.

Is there damage done to the property beyond “normal wear and tear?”

Usually, normal wear and tear on a property cannot be considered enough of a reason to hold back a tenant’s security deposit. Matted or worn out carpet in high traffic areas, for example, would probably be considered normal wear and tear. Broken fixtures, on the other hand, could be considered damage.

Are you sure the damage was caused by the tenant?

Hopefully, you have good documentation of the property flaws that were there before the tenant moved in. If not, it may be your word against theirs when it comes to whether or not they inflicted the damage you are accusing them of. Review any pictures you took, communication from the tenant, or service/maintenance receipts to try to get a good picture of when the damage might have happened.

Did the tenant inform you of needed repairs or maintenance?

Your tenant should let you know when something is broken (think sprinkler heads, garbage disposals, dishwashers, etc.). If they don’t, the damage could get worse, and you might be justified in withholding their deposit. Again, it depends largely on the terms of your lease and tenants’ rights in your state.

Is the tenant caught up on payments?

If the tenant is behind on rent or utility payments, you may be able to keep the security deposit to cover those things. Similarly, if your tenant didn’t give you the proper amount of notice before vacating the property, you may be able to withhold one month’s rent from their deposit return.

Hopefully, tenant turnover will go smoothly and you won’t have to fight over whether or not to return a tenant’s deposit. If you need help managing or making decisions like this about your rental property, consider hiring a property management company. Real Property Management can help you manage all aspects of your property, from marketing and showing to payment collection and evictions. Give us a call at 480-719-1243 to see how we can help you turn your rental property into a profitable investment.

Choosing Flooring for Your Rental Property: 4 Options Explained

When it comes to outfitting your rental property, few things can make as dramatic a difference as flooring can. Not only can flooring change the entire look of your property, but it will also make a big difference in how easily your tenants are able to clean and care for the home.

Flooring options can get overwhelming—which you’ve surely realized. If you’re ready to update the floors in your rental property, but are drowning in a sea of excess information, we’re here to get you started on the right foot. Take a look at this quick overview of four of the most popular flooring types. Hopefully we can help make this decision just a little easier!

Hardwood

There’s no doubt about it—hardwood floors are beautiful. It’s hard to deny that there’s just something about real hardwoods that add character and sophistication to a home. Unfortunately, that character comes with a price, in more ways than one. Not only is hardwood the most expensive option for your floors, it’s also the most difficult to take care of. Real wood, as you can imagine, does not do well with spills, extreme temperatures, or hard knocks. It can warp, chip, scratch, or stain. It requires a good amount of attention and upkeep to keep it looking good.

Newer hardwood options, like engineered hardwoods, are much easier to take care of, offering a protective coating that prevents warping and scratching. These options may be less susceptible to wear and tear, and they will definitely look great, but they will still be more expensive than some of your other choices.

Tile

Tile is almost a given in bathrooms, but some homes incorporate it throughout, especially those in warmer climates when a nice, cool floor is considered a bonus. Thankfully, tile has come a long way in terms of style. Different sizes, patterns, and designs can get you everything from a contemporary to a luxe look. Wood look tile is especially popular these days, giving homeowners the look of hardwood without any of the hassle.

Tile has its downsides, too. Depending on the style you choose, it can be fairly expensive. And while cleaning the tile itself is a breeze, keeping the grout clean is another story.

Laminate

Laminate floors have gone up and down in popularity over the course of their existence. Many people see them as an inexpensive alternative to hardwood floors, while others see them as a poor substitute for the real thing.

One thing is for certain: laminate will, almost always, be your cheapest “wood look” option. The care of laminate is somewhere in between tile and hardwood: it isn’t quite as indestructible as tile, but is definitely more durable than hardwood. If you’re looking for a cost effective option that will hold up reasonably well and will add a slightly nicer look to your space, laminate may be your best option.

Carpet

Of course, no discussion of flooring would be complete without mentioning carpet. Carpet is tricky in rental properties: it can be difficult to strike that perfect balance of high quality, affordable, and durable. Bad carpet will look dated, matted, or worn down fairly quickly. Picking the wrong color could result in stains galore, constant cleanings, or replacement sooner than you bargained for.

That being said, carpet is a “cozy” option that feels very homey. Many people prefer having carpet in their bedrooms, and some prefer it in main living areas as well. Bottom line: don’t be afraid of carpet if you like the idea of it, but do take the time to choose your carpet carefully.

Flooring in your rental property can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your property in good shape for years to come. When choosing flooring, take into account your target market and what they might be looking for, and search for options that meet those needs.

Looking for more help managing your rental property? Contact Real Property Management. We have years of experience helping property owners manage any number of rental properties, handling everything from marketing to evictions. Fill out our online form to get started on your free management quote, or give us a call at 480-719-1243.