Property Management Blog

How-To tips for landlords, rent to own homes or investment properties

New Landlords and Rental Property Success

Web Admin - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

If you’re a new rental property owner, things can seem pretty overwhelming at the beginning. From screening prospective tenants to insurance policies to city inspections, monthly accounting, bill paying and more, there’s a lot to do and remember.

The most useful tip for a new landlord is to get organized from the start, which will increase your chances for rental property success.

Learn the Laws of Your State

Set aside time to study your state’s laws regarding tenant-landlord relations and what is allowed versus what isn’t. This will prevent you from accidentally overstepping some boundaries of regulations you weren’t aware of.

And remember that you will likely have separate city and state laws to know besides federal laws that apply to everyone. This is where hiring a full-service property management company can be beneficial.

Imagine You’re the Tenant

You probably had an inspection done when you first bought the rental property. However, now it’s time to take a look at the property with a different set of eyes, examine it as if you were a tenant yourself. Are there any updates that need to be made for attracting and keeping quality tenants long term? Does anything need to be replaced, such as carpeting or appliances? Would a new coat of paint update and help the living space appear brighter? What about the exterior?

Make Sure You’re Covered

Make sure you get insurance right away if you didn’t include it in your purchase. Insurance is crucial to protecting your investment in the case of damage. Remember, liability coverage in the case of damage or injuries to guests or tenants on your property. A property management company, like MRE Property Management carries a million dollar umbrella policy for all of their rental properties. If you choose to hire a property management company, be sure to ask if an additional umbrella policy is offered.

If you obtained a policy when purchasing the property, take time to review it and be sure it’s correct for your situation.

Meet Current Tenants

If the rental property you purchased already has tenants living there, introduce yourself and ensure they understand how best to contact you.

Set a Clear Payment Schedule and Maintenance Plan

From the beginning, you’ll want to set up systems for maintenance and payment. Will you handle maintenance issues yourself or hire someone to do it? Make a list of companies to call for plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical problems, and more.

Also, set up a payment system that will work for both you and your tenants. Typically rent is due on the first of the month with a 10% late fee that is accessed for all payments received after the 5th of the month. If you own or plan to own several rental properties, you’ll need an accountant for dealing with finances, year-end statements and bill payments. You might also consider working with a property management company for managing payments, late notices, evictions, tenant collection and other duties.

If you have further questions, we would love to help. Call MRE Property Management today at 248.394.0464. Serving Oakland County, Macomb County, Lapeer County and parts of Wayne County.

Are losing more than money on your rental property?

Web Admin - Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Do city inspections, water bills, evictions, late payments and 2 a.m. service calls keep you awake at night? Oakland County Property Management is a very demanding job that is best left to the experts. Although owning rental properties can be financially rewarding it also requires a large commitment of time and effort. By having a property manager take care of the day-to-day aspects of running your income property, your free to spend your time identifying further investment opportunities or otherwise furthering your career.

DO YOUR RESEARCH – find out exactly what you will be getting for your money. Most property managers charge a percentage of your property's monthly rental rate in exchange for their services. The rate typically runs anywhere from 6-10%, which is generally less than the money you save by hiring a professional to take care of your property.

NOT EVERY PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY IS THE SAME - Don’t let fees be the deciding factor when selecting a Property Management company to take care of your investment. Hidden fees for additional services can quickly add up. Below you will find a list of questions to ask when comparing one company to the next:

  1. Is the company full service? In other words, is their primary focus Property Management or is it just a service offered. Be aware of companies that dabble in Property Management part-time.
  2. Is there a vacancy fee? This is one of the hidden costs that can cost you a bundle.
  3. Is the Property Management rate for collected rent only? Some companies charge a monthly percentage whether rent is collected or not.
  4. How are tenants screened? You want to make sure the tenant screening process is thorough and includes county records and previous judgements.
  5. How is maintenance handled? Do you as an owner have a say? Are you able to complete the repairs yourself if you choose? Are all maintenance requests approved by you?

There is a multitude of applicable laws and regulations to abide by when renting and maintaining your rental property. These include local, state and federal regulations, as well as fair housing regulations (such as the ADA). A property manager can help you avoid lawsuits by keeping your property up-to-date and in compliance with these regulations.

To find out more about Property Management in Oakland County, Macomb County and Lapeer County, visit the specialist at MRErent.com.

How Investors can stay in the game by taking Property Management off their plates

Web Admin - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

When it comes to hiring the best property manager, there are many things to consider. Hiring a property manager or property management company can really save you valuable time and added stress when it comes to taking care of your investment, processing rent and dealing with tenants.

An investor’s best friend

A good manager will also know how to maximize your property’s value, keep units full and minimize costs without sacrificing quality. The manager can bring knowledge and experience to the job that you may be lacking.

If you are too busy to run the day-to-day operations for your rental properties, consider hiring a property manager. Whether you choose an independent manager or use a property management company like MRErent.com, it’s important to do your research to ensure that they have your best interests in mind. The best property managers do more than just collect rent—they do everything from marketing to tenant screening to processing evictions. Make sure you look for someone who specializes in Property Management and does it full-time. There are many other companies out there that dabble in Property Management on the side, while the majority of their efforts are concentrated on other business ventures.

Do I Really Need a Property Manager?

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether hiring a property manager is right for you:

  • You don’t reside near your rental properties, either in a different city or another state.
  • You may own many rental properties
  • You don’t like or aren’t good at daily property management tasks and responsibilities including evictions, water bills and city inspections.
  • You own property that receives financial assistance from an affordable housing program like Section 8.
  • You work full time elsewhere and simply don’t have the availability needed to manage effectively

Don’t choose a Property Manager on price alone

You may think that all property managers or management companies are essentially the same and choose the one with the lowest rates, however a little research will show you there are many differences. It’s hard not to base your decisions on price when it comes to your business, after all, we all want to maximize our bottom line. It is essential to consider a variety of factors in addition to price when it comes to the care and management of your rental property. Do your homework and choose wisely.

Always check references

You can get references for other property owners, as well as real estate agents. Check with the Better Business Bureau and ask local investment organizations. Also, if your property requires a certain expertise, such as being a low income housing rental unit or upper end executive rental, look for a property manager with that background and proper references for that specialized niche.

Ask questions, be informed

It’s not enough to just ask vague questions, hit them with specific questions that will let you know how they will treat your property and ultimately your business. Ask how they plan on dealing with after-hour maintenance emergencies, or how they plan to advertise and market vacancies. Other ideas include asking how they plan to control maintenance costs and what type of liability insurance do they carry to protect you and them from lawsuits that may arise. Ask how often your property will be visited in person and listen to the potential manager’s thoughts on how he or she will approach your property’s needs, from tenant screening to lease renewals and everything in between.

Match personality – get to know the staff

You’ll be hearing from the property manager often enough that you want to make sure that you get along on a professional level and that you like their style of communication. Do you have to sign into an owner portal to obtain information regarding your property or will you be able to speak with someone personally? You will be working on issues and problem solving with this person or company so make sure you are on the same page.

Looking for a property manager in Oakland County, Macomb County, Lapeer County and beyond? Call MRErent.com today, we are a full-service property management company that specializes is Property Management only with decades of experience!

Winter is right around the corner in Oakland County, Michigan!

Web Admin - Friday, October 30, 2015

Changes in weather can pose a real problem to Oakland County property owners if they haven’t prepared themselves well in advance. A rental property not only needs winter maintenance; it needs seasonal maintenance in general. Extend the life your property and lower maintenance costs over time.

Your property is the biggest asset you have – don’t risk costly repairs from lack of maintenance. Take care of your rental property as you would your residential property. By doing seasonal maintenance, you are actually increasing the life of your property.

Prevent damage to your roof - clean the gutters

Clogged gutters won’t let water drain from the roof properly, make sure to give them a quick clean before winter sets in. Clear out any leaves from the drain and remove sticks and any other material that will cause an issue later down the road. Also, remove any leaves from your walkway, as wet leaves can be very slippery.

Trim branches and shrubs.

Check for trees around the perimeter of the house and driveway and located any long or weak branches. Thin and long tree branches succumb to the weight of the falling snow and break off, which can result in them blocking the walkway and the driveway or even damaging your property.

Insulate doors and windows.

Besides the obvious of lowering your tenant’s energy, checking for drafts will also reduce the chance of damage to the property. Check for areas between the doors and windows where heat can escape. Also, inspect the areas where the window meets its frame. If you need to make a repair, now’s the time.

Inspect the chimney.

If your house has a fireplace and your tenant relies on wood to keep the house warm, make sure you get them cleaned before winter. It’s best to hire a professional to check if anything needs to be done to the chimney to make it operational and safe. And even when you don’t have a chimney, make sure your property has a smoke alarm installed. Even if it’s not a requirement, it’s a very small investment and can prevent some serious damage to your property.

For additional information, visit us online at MRErent.com or call us directly at 248.394.0464

FALL LAWN CARE

Web Admin - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Control weeds now: The best time to defeat perennial weeds like dandelions is in the fall, when they are absorbing all the nutrients they can. Whether using herbicide granules or sprays, weed killers are best if used in steady temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and when the soil is moist.

Don’t scalp it: You may not have to mow the lawn much in the fall, but keeping it short (about 2-3 inches tall for most grasses) will prevent the grass from being matted down by leaves and Michigan’s wintery snow. Pay attention not to over cut though, as grass that is too short has fewer roots, which allows room for weeds to take over. Experts suggest that you never cut more than 1/3 of the grass blades at any one time.

Fall is the best time to fertilize: While grass is short and slowly growing, its roots are still growing quickly- and fertilizer can help your grass establish deep roots for optimal spring growth. Often just one application in early September and another in late October or early November is enough. In cold regions like metro Detroit, selecting fertilizer rich in nitrogen will allow your lawn the best winter protection.

Bye-bye Leaves: Although fall leaves are pretty, they should not be left to accumulate on your lawn all year. A mat of leaves can smother your grass and contribute to the breeding of fungal disease. Rake away leaves and compost them, or use a mulching mower to shred and spread them over your lawn like.

HOW MUCH RENT CAN I CHARGE FOR MY RENTAL?

Web Admin - Thursday, July 16, 2015

One of the more important tasks you’ll face as a landlord is pricing your rental. The amount of rent in today’s market and your financial goals for the property are both important ; however, if you set the rent too high, you’ll likely have longer vacancies and high turnover rates as renters seek more budget-friendly options.

When it comes to determining how much rent to charge, it is advisable to consult a Property Manager. A professional property manager, like MRErent.com have deep insight into specific rental markets in Oakland County, Macomb County and Lapeer County. MRErent.com can show you how your rental house stacks up compared to others with similar features. Whether you use a professional rental agent or go the DIY route, you’ll need to know how to compare your property to others on the market in order to set the right price.

Take into account the following items when determining how much rent to charge.

Location, Location, Location

Location is everything when buying or renting and is one of the main determining factors in how much rent you can charge. A few factors to take into consideration are:

  • Close proximity to major thoroughfares for commuting ease
  • Good schools
  • Nearby shopping, restaurants & amenities
  • Nicely maintained houses and landscaping

Main features of your rental

The first things to look at when pricing your rental are the most basic aspects of the property such as:

  • Bedrooms and bathrooms: The number of bedrooms and bathrooms your rental has fundamentally affects how many people it can accommodate and how comfortable they will be.
  • Size of the property: There can be vast differences between properties with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Additional square footage, basement storage and garage space allow a home to be more livable.
  • Overall condition of the home: Although there is an average rental price for each area that is dictacted by current market conditions, the closer your rental is to new condition, the more you can charge.

Finish levels

Most renters expect “standard” rental units to be well-kept, with reasonably up-to-date interior finishes items. Premium features like the one’s listed below can demand a higher rental price and will make your rental stand out among the others.

  • Wood and/or tile floors
  • Attractive cabinetry
  • Granite counter tops
  • New appliances
  • Spacious closets
  • Energy efficient features such as windows & heating systems

Millennium Realty Professional Management

Using MRErent.com is not only a major convenience for you, the rental owner and it adds significant peace of mind for your tenants, as well. Renters are likely to pay more when they know that any issues that arise will be dealt with promptly and fairly by a dedicated professional manager. MRErent.com has a 24-hour maintenance emergency line and multiple licensed contractors that are ready and able to handle it all! For additional information, give us a call at 248.394.0464 or visit us online at MRErent.com.

Ready to Rent: Tips & Tricks for renting homes

Web Admin - Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vacant rentals are expensive and rank right up there with evictions, late payments and 2 a.m. service calls. Assuming you have a mortgage to pay, it’s likely that any vacancy lasting more than a couple of months will essentially cost you a full year’s profit on your rental. At Millennium Real Estate, we offer an aggressive marketing strategy throughout Oakland County & beyond to fill vacancies fast. Use the following tips to help to get your property rented or visit us online at MRErent.com to find out about our professional Property Management services.

Signs, Signs, Signs

  • One of the easiest ways to attract interest in your rental is to have a great “for rent” sign.
  • Make Sure It Looks professional
  • Is visible from the street
  • List all the details
  • Attach a flyer with photos

Use Your Contacts

  • Don’t be shy about letting everyone know about your property. Take advantage of your social network, friends, colleague’s and neighbors to generate some free, or low-cost, advertising.
  • Email friends and family
  • Send postcards or flyers to the neighbors
  • Post flyers at local businesses, community centers, coffee shops & Grocery stores

Tap Into The World-Wide Web

  • Post Craigslist ads On Fridays, a recent Zillow study shows that houses listed on a Friday get many more viewings, and sell much faster than houses listed on other days.
  • Create a website for your rental: use targeted keywords (including the terms “rental house,” “house for rent,” and your area and county), you’ll likely get some traffic.
  • Post a video tour on YouTube: Create a short video tour of your rental house and post it on YouTube. Be sure to make the video part of the website, and/or point to it from your Craigslist ad and social media accounts.

Invite Them Inside

  • Private showings are a must, however if you schedule and open house, you give the curious an opportunity to look inside and peak interest.
  • Turn the lights on and leave the blinds open
  • Host a party or garage sale at the home
  • Have the open-house crowd all to yourself – schedule it at an alternate time of typical open houses
  • Make sure landscaping is manicured and the interior spaces are fresh & clean

Manage your investment, don’t just collect rent!

Web Admin - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Does your rental property live up to your financial expectations?

Don’t overlook the details


Make sure overlooked details don’t detract from the beauty of your property. Ignoring dirt and grime could become a big or costly repair job overtime. Encourage tenant to report maintenance problems immediately. 
Thoroughly clean all vent covers, switch plates and interior air flow grills. 
Replace dented, damaged & rusted fitting covers – don’t just paint over them. 
Examine cabinet interiors and built-ins. Be sure to remove or replace peeling shelf liners. 
Clean window panes (inside and out) to allow ample sunlight to flood the interior spaces. 
Adjust doors; clean sliding door and windows to ensure proper closure and easy operation.

Liven up the Landscape

Manage the property as if you live there. Take a tour of open spaces and inspect landscaping with a critical eye. Pull weeds, prune plantings and add mulch. Discuss options with your professional landscaping team or consult a landscaping architect for recommendations to de-clutter your open-spaces. Consider planting shrubs or low-maintenance ground cover in areas that usually develop bare spots.

Non-rent Income

Collecting ancillary or (non-rent) income is a tool used by many successful real estate investors to generate extra income and increase the value of their property. There are many different sources of non-rent income to consider, such as Application Fees, Admin Fees, Rental Premiums on specific units and Pet fee. Let’s take a closer look at Rental Premiums. Would you charge the same rent in a multi-unit for every two bedroom units with the same floor plan? Does one have a view with vaulted ceilings? Or suppose you have some units with fireplaces and some without. These are an excellent opportunity to capitalize on “Rental Premiums” many savvy rental owners are charging extra for the notion that there is perceived value in a unit on the 3rd floor as opposed to a first floor unit. This example could work the other way as well depending on your clientele; for instance in a senior community there may be a demand for units on the first floor for accessibility reasons.

Managing your investments instead of just collecting rent can increase your bottom line and assist in retaining long-term tenants. However, this does however require a large commitment of time and effort. Find out how Millennium Real Estate can help you find the time you need to do what is most important to you. Visit us online at www.mrerent.com

HOW TO UP YOUR GAME and be a better Landlord

Web Admin - Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A first-time landlord or an old pro can benefit from these tips. After all, there’s always room for improvement! Fine tuning your skills can increase occupancy rates, make for more consistent revenues, and lead to a less stressed life for you and your business.

Be Specific In Rental Contracts And Include More Details 

Don’t leave anything open to interpretation. If home improvements are restricted without the approval of the owner, list that. If installing a new ceiling fan is prohibited, your tenants are going to appreciate knowing that so they don’t waste money buying one. Details can save Landlord and Tenant headaches down the road.

Price Your Rentals Based On Current Market Conditions 

Do some research and see what other rentals in the area have rented for within the last six months and be sure your properties are priced accordingly. If you overprice a property, it will sit on the market for an extended period of time and will make a potential tenant think something is wrong with the property. Keep your bottom line in mind, but always stay reasonable.

Screen Prospective Tenants 

Good tenants are the key to a successful rental. Always do background checks, get thorough credit reports, and contact every personal and professional reference. Renting to individuals with sketchy histories can lead to trouble further on down the road.

Be More Personable 

When a tenant stops by with their rent payment, take a moment to ask about their families or jobs. Little inquiries like these can make your tenants feel more appreciated. Be professional, but friendly. A kind word goes a long way!

Maintain Your Property 

Make sure you’re addressing the concerns of your renters, whether it’s a leaky faucet or a faulty furnace. Nothing can damage a landlord-tenant relationship more than ignoring your tenants’ problems. You’re much more likely to have minimal tenant problems when your property is a place they enjoy coming home to.

Get Advice From A Professional 

No matter how long you’ve been a landlord, there’s nothing wrong with asking for advice. Professional property management companies provide a wealth of knowledge around legal issues, tenant relations, even evictions. Check out Millennium Real Estate’s website at www.mrerent.com to find out additional information regarding the benefits of hiring a professional property manager.

The Value of Property Management

Web Admin - Thursday, April 02, 2015

Want to manage your own rental? DIY Property Management can be simple, until something goes wrong!

The reality is that not everyone has the skills, time and temperament to successfully manage their own investment. More and more investors are deciding that their time is worth more, or better spent, on other priorities.

Experience has shown us that real estate investments that are self-managed by private landlords can be targeted by tenants with poor records. Evictions, judgement defaults and other problems are usually not discovered by a private landlord because they are less likely to have access to industry databases used to uncover these issues and prevent payment problems before they arise.

Also, private landlords can be slower to see the tenant danger signs and may fail to nip problems in the bud.

Some are too understanding for their own good, letting unpaid rent add up and being slow to initiate eviction proceedings.

It’s not always the tenant’s fault – sometimes landlords also prompt anger by failing to live up to their obligations when it comes to repairs.

Still not convinced of the value of professional property management? Ask yourself these questions before going it alone:

Do I understand tenant and landlord law?
Am I organized and a great record-keeper?
Do I know going rates in the current market, and have the confidence to negotiate regular rent increases?
Do I have access to quality, reliable and licensed trades people?
Do I feel comfortable with the tenant having my phone number, and effectively being on call to them 24 hours a day?
How will I verify that tenants are who they claim to be?
How will I find out if tenants have previously been evicted or have a poor payment history?
Am I organized and assertive enough to collect late rent immediately?
What am I going to do to manage my rental if I go on vacation?
Could I bring myself to evict a family, or a person who has fallen on hard times?
Do I have the time, expertise and confidence to go to court and publicly argue my case, if necessary?
How much will I save, after tax, by managing my property myself?


LOCATION

Millennium Real Estate
3676 Clarkston Rd. Suite A
Clarkston, MI 48348
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