You will be the first point of contact for your tenants after they sign the lease. Whether it’s that midnight maintenance call, or chasing down the rent check, you are the one to do the job. Are you up for it? If you’ve decided not to enlist professional help from a property management company, and to just do everything yourself, you should keep in mind all of the upkeep and time you’ll need to set aside to have a successful investment. Here are some tips from Specialized Property Management Dallas on effective Dallas property management methods.
The highest expense for rental property owners is a vacancy. It may not seem like it while you are actively working to lease your unit, but the costs from a string of vacant days can add up quickly. For example, if a home built in 1995 that rents for $1,000 a month sits vacant for 30 days, it can incur the following expenses:
- Make ready costs (minor repairs, etc) – $612
- Rekeying costs – $100
- Utility costs – $100
- Lawn care costs – $85
- Leasing fees – $1k
- Vacancy days – $990
All this adds up to a total cost of $2,887. Property managers in Dallas work hard to avoid vacancy because of these expenses. The longer your property sits vacant, the more money you’ll lose.
Advertising Your Home
Your marketing strategy can make or break your rental property success. Besides putting a “For Lease” sign in the front yard, you should also list your rental property on as many websites as you can and include pictures and even a walk-through video of the home. Advertising aggressively requires consistent effort until your new tenant is found. After you list your available rental, the calls will start coming. Plan on taking time for showing your unit, answering questions, and having a friendly conversation with all the new people you will be meeting. Some things can’t be rushed. Professional management companies have an advantage over owner-managed properties when it comes to advertising power. At SPM Dallas, we have the resources available to get your property listed on multiple major real estate listings as well as our own available property list.
Responding Quickly to Maintenance Requests
Responding quickly to the needs of your tenants encourages your tenants to stay as long as possible. No one likes to be kept waiting. Part of providing efficient Dallas property management services is promptly responding to your tenant’s needs. This will keep your customers happy and save you money by addressing problems before they become bigger and more costly. Tenants also appreciate your checking in with them after a recent repair has been made. Call or email the tenant to ensure that everything is functioning properly within the home and there are no further issues or concerns after their maintenance request has been fulfilled.
Budgeting for Maintenance
Maintenance is a part of owning property, no matter if you’re living in it or someone else is. Budgeting for it can save you money in the long run and help you to avoid nasty surprises. On average, maintenance costs for a year total about one and a half month’s rent. So, if your home is renting for $1,000 a month, try to set aside $1,500 for maintenance costs.
Dallas Property Management: Keeping Up With Office Work
Office work almost always takes more time than you thought it would. Administrative tasks like keeping records, preparing annual reports, accounting, contracting maintenance work, creating budgets, and writing lease agreements is an ongoing job. Setting the paperwork duties aside for tomorrow will only make tomorrow a busier day. Careful record keeping is vital to the success of your rental property.
Going to HOA Meetings
If your property is in a Homeowners’ Association community, you will need to attend HOA meetings. Property owners are also encouraged to take management classes that will teach about rental laws, tax information, and the daily work of property management. County meetings, local board meetings, and property investment classes all help you learn more about the ins and outs of managing a rental property. If you have any spare time, these meetings are a good idea to seek out and attend.
Consider Being Pro-Pet
A Dallas residential property leasing agreement should be extremely specific about your pet policies. In most cases, it makes the most financial sense to allow pets in your rental property. You’ll see a steady cash flow and longer lengths of tenancy. Petfinder reports that “[t]enants in pet-friendly rentals stayed an average of 46 months compared to 18 months for tenants residing in rentals prohibiting pets.” When tenants and their pets feel comfortable in your unit, they will be more likely to renew their lease, giving you a steady flow of income and give you fewer vacancy days.
A well-cared-for home will attract more attention, receive a greater number of applicants, and rent faster – saving you expensive vacancy days and high turnover rates. Inevitably, appliances break, floors need to be replaced, and leaky faucets need repair. If you proactively attend to these items, or hire professional Dallas property management services to take care of them, the reward is a well-maintained home that saves you money.
- Replace Old Light Fixtures – Yes, light fixtures are only cosmetic, but for renters searching for Dallas rental houses, they want a property that’s just as pretty as it is sturdy. And, one of the easiest (and affordable) ways to make a house more pleasing to the eye is by buying new light fixtures. You don’t have to spend a lot on new fixtures. As long as they’re new and look modern, potential renters will be happy. They’ll also be willing to pay more per month too.
- Add More Storage – While it most likely isn’t within your budget to add on an extra room to your rental property, you may be able to provide renters with better outdoor storage. If your property has a decent-sized backyard, then consider purchasing a cheap storage building for it. Renters have “stuff” just like you do, so give them a place to store it…something a lot of rental properties don’t do.
- Touch Up the Landscaping – Again, this is just a cosmetic issue, but curb appeal really does “sell” Dallas rental houses. For the amount of money renters are being asked to pay in monthly rent, they deserve to live in homes that are appealing to those walking and/or driving by. Plus, just by adding a couple of flower beds, some shrubbery and a tree or two, you will dramatically reduce the time the property sits vacant…and it really doesn’t cost that much!
- New Paint and Carpet – Renters don’t want to walk into a place that isn’t move-in ready. One of the most common complaints prospective renters have as they look at various rentals is that the units appear to be outdated and “fixer-uppers.” Now, there may not be a thing wrong with your property and it may in the perfect location, but if the carpet is old and the paint hasn’t been touched in years, you’re going to have a hard time renting it. New paint and carpet are inexpensive fixes that will add instant value in Dallas property management.
- Energy Efficient Windows, Doors and Appliances – If you are not covering any of the utilities for your tenants, then the more efficient the windows and doors are on your rental, the better off you’ll be. Additionally, if you are providing some of the appliances (washer and dryer, for example), renters will be excited to see energy-efficient appliances as well. Not only do these things add value to the property, but you can also get a tax credit for them too.
- Replacing Toilets and Showerheads with Low Flow Models – This will reduce the tenant’s water bill which they will appreciate, and you can check all the faucets and toilets when you’re switching them out to make sure there are no water leaks.
Keep Up With Late Fees
Make sure if your tenants are late on their rent you are charging them the applicable late fees. Some managers have tenants that pay late fees every month and some have garnered a lucrative source of income in this way. You want to set the expectation with your tenant that rent will be paid on time and follow through on your promise to charge a late fee. Choosing not to do so can cost you money and cause the tenant to develop a more casual, lackadaisical attitude about paying rent.
SPM Dallas Provides Landlords Cost-Effective Dallas Property Management Services
Owning and operating a rental property may seem like an easy feat, but it’s more complicated than most first-time landlords realize. If all of the above seems like too much to keep up with, hire Specialized Property Management Dallas to do it all for you! Our experienced Dallas team will advise you on the best way to market your property and get it rent-ready for tenants. We have over 25 years of experience in the industry, and we lease most properties in under 29 days.
Contact your Specialized Property Management Dallas team today at 214-233-7572 and take advantage of our comprehensive property management services!