Monthly Archives: May 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Senate rejects security-deposit bill in wake of CAA opposition

Capitol<br />
 Report

Senate rejects security-deposit bill in wake of CAA opposition
 

A bill that would have unfairly penalized landlords who make honest mistakes regarding security deposits has died on the Senate floor, thanks largely to opposition from the California Apartment Association.

Click here to read the full story on CAA’s blog.

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Guest Blogger: A Winning Craigslist Ad Is Priceless

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Justin Egerer of Sandpiper Property Management

By Justin Egerer

In the old days when you needed to find a good tenant you called the local newspaper and spoke to a sales rep who’d help you craft a catchy phrase or two for a listing in the classifieds. Hardly any renters are reading the paper nowadays, so we landlords are on our own.

Below are my thoughts on how you can become an effective Craiglist marketer. While I use Craiglist a lot because it works well for property management in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara, California, the tips I share below apply to other social media as well.

To compose an effective Craigslist ad you must put yourself in the shoes of a potential tenant. If they go to Craigslist in a mid-size city they will be faced with hundreds of new rental postings each day. If they live in a metropolitan area like Los Angeles, this can reach thousands. There is no way a prospective tenant will sift through that many listings to find your property. Therefore, there are two requirements for successfully writing a Craigslist ad. The first is easy, you have to renew the ad as often as Craigslist allows in order to stay on top of the pile. The second is to write an ad with a lot of search terms (aka keywords). Prospective tenants enter specific items they are looking for in the search box and if you are lucky they will make it through 30-40 ads. Being in the top 30-40 ads of a search results page will determine if you wrote a successful ad.

Below are keyword categories related to location that I would highly recommend including in your ad:

  • Neighborhood
  • A local college or school if one is nearby
  • Nearby parks
  • Beaches, lakes, recreation areas
  • Shopping
  • Downtown
  • Restaurants

And here are some keywords related to the condition of the rental and its amenities to include:

  • Granite counters
  • Hardwood floors
  • Tile
  • New carpet
  • New paint
  • Remodeled
  • House
  • Patio, yard, balcony, fireplace
  • View
  • Large
  • Bright

Also, you should always use the word “Pets” if you allow them in your rental. Simply checking the “pet friendly” box in Craigslist isn’t good enough. Also, list nearby transportation such as subways, buses and trains.

Here’s an example of a poorly written ad:

Nice 2 bedroom 2 bath property located close to everything. The property was upgraded and has many amenities. Owner pays water and trash. Ready now. Available for 2,000/mo.

Here’s an effective ad:

Large remodeled 2 bedroom 2 bath house located in West Beach. Close to downtown, shopping and restaurants. The unit features a fireplace, large yard with patio, new paint and hardwood floors. Small pets ok. Available now for $2,000/mo.

Notice the liberal use of search keywords which I underlined above. The difference between these two ads might initially seem minimal, but the results they produce are substantial. The second ad was written with 16 keywords that tenants search for.

This is one of the reasons I think most people who want to rent out their homes benefit by having a professional property manager. A few simple techniques learned over time can save a lot of money. Maybe in another post I’ll discuss how to screen out the good potential tenants from the bad ones in the dozens of replies good ads get on Craigslist. In the meantime, remember that each day a property sits vacant represents lost revenue. And the benefits of being free of the stress of owning a vacant rental home are priceless.

Justin Egerer owns Sandpiper Property Management, a full service property management company whose portfolio includes single-family homes, apartments, condos and commercial real estate in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles, California.

Free Professional Tools for the Smart Real Estate Investor

By Dennis Green

All Property Management is proud to announce the re-launch of Rental Property Reporter, the Internet’s best “Do It Yourself Landlord” resource that combines quick tips to help investors manage their income property with nearly 15 years of in-depth how-to articles on real estate investing. This website is dedicated to helping owners grow their property portfolios, increase return on investment and improve operational efficiency.

In addition to the new look, Rental Property Reporter now features an easy to use financial planning tool called the Investment Property Analyzer. While simple to use, the analyzer is a must-have tool for any investor who needs to quickly:

  • Evaluate the quality of any property they currently own or are considering acquiring
  • Determine monthly and annual cash flow
  • Consider alternative Return on Investment (ROI) scenarios based on variables such as likely appreciation, interest rate changes, maintenance costs and other factors

Analyzer-screenshots

The Investment Property Analyzer helps owners to rationally evaluate investment opportunities as well as determine what they should do with property they already own by testing different rental rates, cost of capital scenarios, taxes and expenses. Instead of just relying on gut instinct, the tool allows investors to adjust assumptions that might help them discover a diamond in-the-rough or a money pit.

Rental Property Reporter will roll out additional tools in the future as well to help investors make sound decisions. Visit the website to try out the Investment Property Analyzer. Also, consider subscribing to Rental Property Reporter’s newsletter so you’ll be the first to know when new content has been added.

Can Landlords Limit Their Tenants’ Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms?

Can Landlords Limit Guns in Their Rentals?By Tracey March

Every day in our country about 289 people are shot, some deliberately and some by accident. A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure someone in a domestic murder, suicide, or accident than to be used in self-defense. (From the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.)

Given these troubling statistics, many landlords and property managers have been wondering if their property rights allow them to limit gun ownership in their rental properties without violating the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The answer is yes. The Second Amendment is a limit on government power, not a limit on private citizens. And if a private citizen landlord wants to ban guns in his or her rental properties, there is no Second Amendment violation.

Gun owners who are told they can no longer keep their guns may claim they are being discriminated against, but they will find no support in fair housing laws as gun owners are not considered a protected class under those rules.

However, if you do want to limit or prohibit firearms on your rental property, implementing and enforcing those policies could be difficult. Landlord tenant law requires you to wait until the end of each tenant’s lease and include the limit or ban in the new lease or in a set of House Rules that your tenants sign when they renew.

And what if you suspect your tenants are keeping a firearm in a rental unit, in violation of your established policy? You might have a hard time verifying that a gun is being stored on the premises because state privacy laws may prevent you from doing an inspection. However, if you do have proof of a violation, and your tenants have agreed in the lease to abide by your policy, you can initiate an eviction.

Finally, a limited number of states, like Minnesota, have enacted laws that prohibit landlords from limiting tenants from owning firearms, so if you are thinking about limiting or banning firearms on your rental property, make sure that doing so won’t violate your state’s laws.

As always, the information provided here is just that–it is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have any particular questions or issues, please consult an attorney.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Sell My Rental Home?


By
Tracey March
legal advice

In most states, involving an attorney in a residential real estate transaction is optional. If you’re using a realtor to help sell your rental and there is nothing out of the ordinary about the transaction, you probably don’t need a lawyer.

However, if you’re selling a rental under one or more of the following conditions, consider seeking advice from an experienced real estate attorney:

  • Seller-financing: an attorney will advise you on the best way to structure the deal to protect you and the rental property.
  • Short sale or foreclosure: an attorney will help negotiate with your bank, protect your other assets, and limit your personal liability.
  • Uncooperative tenant in the rental: an attorney will advise you about your rights and obligations under the lease agreement, and help transition the rental business to the new owner.
  • Executor or personal representative: an attorney can help probate the will (if necessary), advise you on how to deal with conflicts between beneficiaries, and help limit your liability and stress by making sure the sale is handled appropriately.
  • Co-own with a reluctant seller: an attorney will advise you on how to protect yourself if the reluctant seller changes his or her mind.
  • Complicated properties: if there’s a title problem, an issue such as questionable water rights or possible environmental contamination, an attorney will advise you on which disclosures must be made and help you figure out which issues to resolve prior to sale.
  • Judgments or liens: an attorney can help negotiate payoffs and develop strategies to protect your other assets.
  • LLC or corporate owner: if your business owns the property, and not you personally, an attorney will help draft the documents authorizing the sale and assist with debt payoffs, distribution of the proceeds among owners, reinvestment and tax implications.

In a few eastern states you may be required to involve an attorney. In most states you are free to go it alone, but remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Hiring an attorney to prevent trouble, minimize liability, and give you peace of mind might be worth the money.