Since I often help investors secure properties for income, my business has a serious regard for rentals. Those of my clientele who are landlords work with me year after year to minimize vacancy and help protect while improving their investments. As a landlord, taking advantage of the services of a realtor not only gives you the best chance of having the right marketing strategy and tenant, but it also creates an extra layer of protection when you enter into a tenant relationship. You can take comfort that there are more witnesses involved and more knowledge about applied practices when unusual situations arise. Here are bullet points about rentals that I share with new landlords:
Putting Your Property on the Market
As rents are seasonal, rental market value is determined by similar sales in the past 3 months. Adjustments are made for differences in condition, location, number of baths, bath locations, utility expenses, outdoor space, garage/parking type, amenities, etc.
Rental traffic is cyclical. People are mostly looking within the first two weeks of a month to occupy for the first of the next month. When they are looking for luxury properties, renters generally look 2-3 months ahead.
You decide upon the showing instructions based on my recommendations. However, the best exposure happens when agents can show rentals anytime during work hours or by appointment on weekdays and within 1 or 2-hours prior notice on Saturday and Sundays.
In Fairfield County, modifiable lock boxes have standard timed access from 8am to 8pm. All agents on the CMLS system will have access. The box transmits data to me so I know who enters and when. I will need an extra key for the lockbox and additional keys when you vacate, as well as the mailbox key and any other keys or laundry cards.
Showing The Property
To achieve the best price, homes should be in hotel-room condition: no disrepair, clutter, or mess. Rental list prices should also hover just at market value, as that is what renters are willing to pay and that price will minimize vacancy and lost future rent.
I take pictures of your property with a wide-angle camera. It is best that you are not home when pictures are taken. When I list rentals, I take great photos using professional guidelines. When I list a property for sale, I hire a professional photographer.
During showings, please abide by the following guidelines:
- Make sure beds are made
- Dishes are out of the sink
- Toilet lid covers are down
- Make sure you are not in the home at the time of tours.
Please alert me as soon as you notice anything unusual or negative happening at your condo complex or on your street. It is best to warn agents early and to not have surprises.
Choosing a Tenant
When a tenant is found, I perform a credit check and submit to you the tenant’s work contact phone and contacts for three references. I will give you guidance about checking references. It is illegal for me to check them for you.
Keep in mind when reviewing offers that small adjustments in rent collected don’t usually outweigh the expense of one or two months of vacancy. Always compare total potential rental income from tenants by taking into account potential vacancy and start dates. Also, keep in mind that a more tenant with a confident credit score paying slightly less rent could be better than a tenant with a lower credit score with lower income that will pay more.
It is illegal to discriminate against tenants based upon the source of their income, as seen in section 8. Section 8 tenants must be treated like all other candidates in regard to the screening process. This means they must submit a credit report, income verification contacts and references. The section 8 process also requires an inspection by the state which you may or may not pass. If you don’t pass, then you can’t rent to a section tenant unless you do the required repairs or fixes. You do have the right to refuse to make repairs. In such a case, you could not rent to the section 8 tenant.
I prepare the rental lease for my clients, which is a customary lease for the area. Modifications can also be made to the lease based on your specific situation. I also make arrangements for the lease and management rules to be signed by the tenant. Then, I collect the checks, deliver any required paperwork to the management company, and transfer keys to the new tenant.
The rental fee due to my brokerage is the first month’s rent paid by the tenant. This fee is split between the two brokerages involved. Realtors generally collect 2 months security which you will deposit and return with interest within 30 days after the end of the lease term (less expenses for damages above normal wear and tear). You will get a receipt for this fee as it is a tax write-off. This fee is the same even if the tenant signs a 2 or 3 year lease. I do not charge more for long-term leases, nor do I charge less for short-term leases.
As the lease terms draws to an end, I check in with you about your desire to renew and review the new market value and the market demand with you. Then, with your permission I check in with the tenant about renewal and help to ensure a smooth transition to a new lease or vacancy.
When you hire me, I use a paperless system so all paperwork can be signed online and documents are easy to locate, share, and track.
Becoming a landlord is exciting. I am experienced in taking care of all of the details and helping you understand the risks and rewards. Call me with questions at 203-570-2096.