Use a Lawful Application When Renting to Tenants

Application To Rent
I was recently asked, "What do I do if someone I don't want to rent to wants to apply?" Answer: You let them apply. Put simply, this should be your motto: Everyone is welcome to apply. But wait! Let's you talk to them on the phone, and they have an obvious problem where you know they won't pass your screening criteria. Wouldn't doing a walk through or accepting their application be a waste of time and misleading to them?! Been there. I once talked to someone who had a recent crimina...

Real Estate Investing Baby Steps

Taking Baby Steps
Kids are interesting beasts. One minute they lack a certain skill, and the next, they suddenly possess the skill. For example, last week my daughter could not walk. She could stand on her own. She could pick up items and inspect them while standing. But when it came to traveling, she would plop down on all fours. She didn't really show an interest in walking either. Then without warning, while hanging out in the bedroom, she stood up and took a couple baby steps like it was no big deal...

When Does It Make Sense To Pay Off My Properties?

Mortgage Calculator to Pay Off Properties
A question I get asked regularly is: "Do you strive to pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible for maximum cash flow after it's paid off, or go for long amortizations and low payments to get as much cash flow as possible today?" Answers fall into two camps: Yes: Mortgages are bad/risky and so you should try to pay off your mortgage as fast as possible. Plus, just think of how much "extra" cash flow you'll be getting! Some people even go as far to recommend buying investment real e...

My Tenant’s Lease is Coming To An End, Now What?

Hand Shake on Lease Agreement
One day, seemingly out of the blue, a gentlemen called me with a problem and he wanted my help. He owned an apartment building and almost 2 years ago (after he moved out of the area) his property management company signed a 2-year lease with a sex offender. Not surprisingly, people started moving out and so the management company doubled down on their strategy by signing more 1-year leases with more sex offenders. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), they couldn't...

Trust, But Verify Your Tenant With Interest and Discernment

Validating Application
  Let's say someone applied to live at your rental. This, by the way, is fantastic and awesome. Congratulations! Your next step is to "trust, but verify" what they told you. What you're essentially saying is that you believe what they wrote on their application, and the next step in the standard process is to validate their application with more information. And as you verify things, you'll want to do it with interest and discernment (That's the I & D of The S.O.L.I.D. Screening ...

Making The Walk Through a “Walk in the Park”

Lock Box
This might sound crazy, but part of being a landlord involves interacting with people. Today, I'd like to talk with you about one of the more time consuming interactions: the walk through. I'll cover the three general types, in order of the most interaction required, and their pros and cons. Then I'll share 7 tips to use during the walk through that'll make your walk throughs like "a walk in the park".   1) One-on-One Meeting The one-on-one meeting takes the most time because you g...

Are You Asking The Right Pre-Screening Questions?

5:10pm. Ten minutes late. Noted. Car looks pretty beat up. Noted. Two dogs barking like crazy in the car. Noted. The husband tosses his cigarette on the freshly swept driveway as they step out of the car... Noted... We start talking... They're between jobs and getting kicked out of their current place for some "unknown" reason and need a new place pronto... Noted? Wait! Why I am here? Why did I clearly waste my time driving over to meet with them when they clearly do NOT meet ...

Create S.O.L.I.D. Screening Criteria To Find Responsible Tenants

There exists perhaps one area for landlords that is the absolute most critical area for success, and yet seems like black magic to new landlords: screening prospective tenants. Typically we have a gut feeling for what we want, but struggle to articulate it. We sometimes also fear we'll be forced to accept someone we don't want because of landlord-tenant laws (which is itself black magic). It can definitely be intimidating. The solution is to use what I call the S.O.L.I.D. Screening Method...

How To Determine How Much To Charge For Rent

"How much do you charge for rent?" Such a simple question, yet the answer influences so much! Give too high of an answer and the potential tenant might think it's too expensive and look somewhere else before hearing more about the property. Go too low and you'll lose out on money for repairs, and paying yourself, which could result in a less-than-desirable rental in a few years. Of course, charging at the low end of the market means resident turnover will be low and you'll have ti...

The Definitive Guide To Posting Housing Rentals On Craigslist

Screening tenants well is critically important to your real estate success. It's the foundation of maximizing cash flow while minimizing headaches. But, before you can screen a tenant, you need them to apply to live in your rental. Before that, you need to get their attention and pique their interest by marketing your rental. Before 1995, this article would have talked about newspaper ads and short phrases to use in order to minimize character counts and therefore costs (w/d 3/2...). However...