Maintenance Tips For Orlando Property Management | Rental Property Managers

Maintenance Tips For Orlando Property Management

If you own rental homes in Orlando, property management probably takes a significant amount of time and attention on your part. Making a sound maintenance plan can help you plan your budget more effectively, build stronger relations with your current tenants, extend the useful life of things like flooring, and make it easier to fill vacancies faster.

Stay On Top Of HVAC Issues

Test the heat and air conditioning before it’s likely that the tenants will be using them extensively. It’s also a good time to change out air filters and ensure your tenants are keeping the vents clean. Discovering any problems with the HVAC system before it becomes an urgent need helps save you money on emergency service calls, and keeps your tenants comfortable and happy. Proper maintenance also helps extend the life of your furnaces and air conditioning units, so you’ll save money in the long run.

Check Out The Outdoor Spaces

Look for any trees that could break and fall during a storm, or damage the roofing by scraping on the roof in the wind. Keep an eye out for any trimming that may need to be done to prevent pests from making a home on your property, and don’t forget to look at outdoor lights that create a safer environment for tenants and their guests.

Roof Check

In early spring, it’s a good idea to have your roof inspected, to make sure everything is secure and sealed before rain and winds arrive. Again, preventive maintenance is more cost-effective than emergency repair calls during a busy time. It’s also a good time to have rain gutters cleaned and downspouts checked out, so you don’t find a problem later, in the middle of a storm.

Keep Detectors In Working Order

Change the batteries in any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors at least once a year, and test each unit. While you have the covers off, make sure the interior of each detector is free of dust, spider webs, and other material that could cause the detector to malfunction later.

Regular Maintenance Keeps Your Property Profitable 

Staying on top of routine maintenance and taking care of repairs when they’re still relatively small helps you see the greatest profit from your investment property. For many owners, rigorous regular maintenance proves to be more of a time investment than they anticipated. Rental property managers in Orlando can help keep costs low while keeping these critical matters under control. Vacancy time is significantly reduced when properties are well-maintained, and tenant retention is better, too. To learn more about Orlando property management services, give Belmont Management Group a call or contact us online for a consultation.

How Professional Property Managers Get You A Better ROI | Orlando, FL

How Professional Property Managers Get You A Better ROI

When many investors buy their first rental properties, they plan to manage those properties themselves. For some owners, that may make sense at first. It doesn’t take long, though, to see how big of a time investment that really represents, and how quickly expenses add up for owners who only have a couple of properties. Rental property managers handle large numbers of properties and they benefit from volume discounts, dedicated staff for issues like maintenance, legal compliance, and collections.

Your Time Is Valuable

Obviously, most investment property owners are capable of managing these issues on their own, but the real question is, how efficiently can they handle them? Professional rental property managers are continually updating their knowledge and have vast experience in applying that knowledge correctly, so they get the job done faster and with a higher degree of accuracy. You could spend hours of your own time researching federal and local laws on complex issues like ADA compliance and service animal requests, in order to know how to correctly respond to a given tenant. That’s not the most efficient use of your time, though, and your time has value. Wasting your own time reduces the real return on your investment in rental property.

Rental Property Managers Bring Better Value

In addition to saving your time, professional rental property managers cut costs for things that have to be done, no matter who is managing the property. By negotiating volume rates from vendors, they get repairs handled at a lower cost than an individual owner can, and in many cases, they get higher priority on the vendors’ service call lists, so the repairs are done sooner.

Rental property managers can also streamline time and costs on matters like advertising vacancies and screening prospective tenants, collecting late payments, handling routine inspections, and taking care of move-out cleanings and repairs. That’s because their team includes people whose entire job is to focus on one of these areas, and you’re paying only for a small amount of that team’s time, expertise, and resources.

Orlando Property Management Delivers Better Profits

If you’ve purchased an investment property in the Orlando area, or you’re researching whether this type of investment makes sense for you, give Belmont Management Group a call or contact us online for a consultation. We’ll explain how your rental property can bring you the best possible profits for the least investment of your time, and lowest ongoing expenses.

Make Rental Property Maintenance Less Stressful | Property Management

How To Make Rental Property Maintenance Less Stressful

If you’re an owner taking care of your own property management in the Orlando area, you’ve probably already learned how much demand on your time and budget rental property maintenance can be. Especially if you own multiple investment properties, maintenance and repairs can eat into your time and sanity very quickly. Planning in advance, before any new need arises, you can get those worries under control.

  • Have a request system – Create a request system that works for you. Maybe you want tenants to make requests by phone at your business office, or to send an email or fill out a form on your website. Whatever works, as long as everyone knows how to make requests properly, and that way you won’t respond to sticky notes on the face of their rent checks.
  • Have vendor contracts in place – It’s important to realize that when you’re doing your own property management and hiring vendors to do maintenance and repairs, you’re essentially acting as a general contractor, and you can benefit by taking some cues from the way general contractors deal with their subs. Make contacts and keep a preferred vendor list, and ask for volume and loyalty discounts. 
  • Track service calls & vendors – Keep detailed records of service calls, including issues and solutions, costs, turn-around time, and any other key information that may help you fine-tune your budget and vendor list in future. 
  • Follow up with resident & share feedback with the vendor – Vendors don’t tend to get a lot of feedback from end-users, so if your tenant has something great to say about one of your vendors, be sure to pass it along. It’s another way to build stronger relationships and loyalty across the board.

Consider Professional Property Management in Orlando

One advantage of working with a professional property management firm is that they should have maintenance professionals on staff, and volume contracts with any outside vendors they use. At Belmont Management Group, we have trained maintenance staff that is familiar with our high standards and expectations, and 24/7 coverage, in case an emergency arises. Call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how working with professional property management can help you earn more while spending less time stressing about your investment property.

Tenant Screening Questions | Orlando Property Management Company

Tenant Screening Questions To Ask Before You Show A Vacancy

Showing vacancies to prospective tenants can be a huge time investment for owners of rental properties. By establishing a set of pre-qualifying questions, publishing them on your website, and consistently asking them of every prospective tenant, you can cut down the amount of time you spend on prospects that will never pan out. By publishing these questions and regularly asking them, you add a layer of protection against allegations of discrimination, right up front.

  • Move-In Date – You know how long you’re willing to hold a vacancy for the right tenant. Maybe it’s two weeks, or maybe as much as a month. Whatever it is, don’t agree to show your property to people who want to move after that time period, and asking a prospect’s move-date up front also allows you to screen out people who need to move before your property will be ready.
  • How Many Occupants Will There Be? – This is one that can generate discrimination complaints if you don’t have a strict policy in place, and you can demonstrate that you follow it. For many rental property owners, two people per bedroom is a maximum they’re comfortable with. Whatever your maximum, per room and per unit, set it, publish it, and stick to it!
  • How Long Of A Lease Do You Want? Most property owners hope to see longer leases, as opposed to shorter ones, though in certain market conditions, signing leases that are too long can be a negative. Make sure your prospects’ expectations are a match for your best interest.
  • Do You Have Pets? – Knowing how many and what type of pets a prospect has up front allows you to offer lease terms that factor having those pets as residents.
  • Do You Know Your Approximate Credit Score? – Not every prospect will know their exact FICO score, but they should at least have an idea of their score range. If you have a hard minimum score, tell them what it is and that it’s non-negotiable before you set an appointment. 
  • Have you viewed the property online/driven by? – It’s amazing how many people will call for a viewing of a place they’ve never driven by or taken a virtual tour of. It’s a simple way to spare everyone’s time, if it’s not a match.

Professional Rental Property Management: The Ultimate Time-Saver

Whether your rental properties are in Winter Park or Orlando, or spread out in between, working with a rental property manager will help free up a great deal of your time. Belmont Management Group provides tenant screening and showing along with maintenance and repairs, inspections, collections, and even evictions. Call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Rental Property Management With 24/7 Property Maintenance & Repairs

Rental Property Management With 24/7 Property Maintenance & Repairs

If you own rental property in the Orlando area, management can be a serious drain on your time and energy. Especially when it comes to keeping on top of property maintenance and repairs, and fielding emergency calls from tenants at 3:00 a.m. When you work with a rental property management company like Belmont Management Group in Winter Park, you can forget about answering those middle-of-the-night calls. We provide 24/7 maintenance and repairs, and better still, we take an active role in keeping your property maintained, so there are fewer repair calls overall.

A Pound Of Prevention 

Because we systematically inspect each of our clients’ rental properties and deal with maintenance issues as they begin, we’re able to prevent small problems from becoming big emergencies. This proactive approach also ensures that each property is in best-possible condition at all times, so tenants are happier and tend to stay longer. Well-maintained properties are also easier to turn around faster between tenants, because there is only a short list of issues to take care of before your property is ready for new tenants to start paying rent.

An Ounce Of Cure

Of course, there are times and circumstances (we’re looking at you, hurricanes) where no amount of property maintenance will prevent the need for emergency repairs. When those situations arise, our maintenance team is on call 24 hours a day to take care of problems immediately, so your property damage is minimized, the property remains habitable in all but the most severe cases, and your tenants see that you take their welfare seriously. When things go wrong, we’ll be there to make them right again as quickly as possible.

Choose Proactive Rental Property Management

From Winter Park condos to Maitland houses, if you own rental property in the greater Orlando area, you can run that property more efficiently and cost-effectively by working with a proactive rental property management company. Belmont Management Group provides full-service management and property maintenance that keeps hassles and costs to a minimum for our clients. Call or contact us online for a consultation, and we’ll explain how rental property management helps you realize a better return on your property investment.

Effective Tenant Screening Heads Off Future Problems

Effective Tenant Screening Heads Off Future Problems

Tenant screening is one area that many owners who manage their own residential rental properties struggle with. If you own a single property or only a couple of properties, you may find it cost-prohibitive to run full background checks on every applicant, and certain services like rental history verification may not be available at all to you as an individual. You know that it’s important to gather all the information you can to make informed decisions about tenants, and yet, getting that information is expensive and time-consuming, if you can get it at all.

Better Marketing Strategies Bring Better Prospects

Another area that presents significant challenges for owners is marketing. There are lots of places to advertise rental properties free, but they’re often riddled with irrelevant ads and they’re not where the responsible tenants you want to attract naturally go looking. Finding good tenants starts as early in the process as choosing where to market your property, and the best outlets usually cost money for individuals to place a listing or ad. Property management companies that run many listings each month typically get a reduced rate, making it more affordable to place their listings in the most desirable outlets.

Professional Property Managers Have Better Screening Tools

Professional property managers like the team at Belmont Management Group run a high volume of tenant screenings, so makes sense for them to pay for more powerful tools to help them do more effective screenings, faster. When your property is managed through a professional management service, you get the benefit of better information at a lower cost, which ultimately means you’re likely to have longer-term tenancies with fewer problems, and less chance of needing to evict tenants. We’ll not only pull a credit report on each prospective tenant, but also run a background check, verify their employment and income, and review their rental history and rent payment history. Vacancies are filled faster, and turnover rates are significantly lower, which ultimately saves you money.

Better Returns On You Investment, Less Hassle

 Owning investment property is never going to bring completely passive income, but working with a professional property management company will definitely help shift the balance toward “less time, better income” for you, the owner. The Belmont Management Group delivers better results for their clients, throughout the leasing and property management process. Call or contact us online for a consultation and we’ll tell you more about how professional property management brings you a better return.

Orlando’s Hot Rental Market Is Good News For Owners

Orlando’s Hot Rental Market Is Good News For Owners

The residential rental market boom continues in central Florida, which is great news for Orlando area property owners. As home purchase prices continue rising and wages stay nearly flat, more low- and middle-income people find themselves unable to purchase a house, which means that they’ll be competing for well-managed, well-maintained rentals. For people who already own income property, or are in a position to purchase, this represents a significant opportunity because this trend is likely to continue for some time.

Rent On The Rise

Though rents and rates of increase vary by city and neighborhood, the overall trend in central Florida is up. In Orlando, apartment rents at the end of August 2018 had climbed to an average of $1,256: one bedrooms averaging $1,109 and two bedrooms averaging $1,339. Rents on single family homes, duplexes, and condos tend to rise even more quickly, because the people renting them are those who would, in a different economic time, be purchasing a house.

Owning & Managing Rental Property Is Real Work

Of course, if making money in rental property was effortless, there would be a lot more people doing it. It’s definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme. Keeping track of leases, insurance, maintenance, scheduled repairs and renovations, and tenant issues is a time-consuming proposition, under the best circumstances. If you’re considering purchasing income property, it’s important to understand that there are real demands on your time, and those demands are ongoing.

If you’ve already had experience managing your own residential rental property, you’ve probably discovered all of this, and you may have also learned how much more challenging things can get when you have tenants who are behind on rent, or require eviction. Property management is far more complicated than it seems at first.

Professional Property Management Will Help 

The professional property managers at Belmont Management Group help you reap the benefits of owning income property without sacrificing all your spare time (and maybe sometime that wasn’t spare, too!) by finding the right tenants, staying on top of the financials, managing maintenance and repairs, and taking care of matters like late fees or evictions, should the need ever arise. Call or contact us online for a consultation.

Condominium Leak? Who is responsible?

Leaks represent one of the most common issues affecting condominium unit owners.  If you’ve experienced a leak in your condominium, you know there (unfortunately) is almost never a straightforward or consistent process. “What steps should I take?” “Who is responsible for paying for the repairs?” “Is it the leak-er, the leak-ee, or even the association?” These are just some of the questions that come up during a situation involving water damage.

What steps should I take?

If you experience a leak, the first step is to shut off the main water supply to your unit. It is important to always know where the shut-off valve is located. If you are using a property management company, make sure they’re also aware of it’s location. Immediately shutting off the water could be the difference between a few small spots of water damage or extensive drywall damage and sopping wet carpets. Shutting off your water will help you figure out if the leak is coming from your unit or your neighbors.

Once the water is shut off, assess the area. If the leak stops, this means you are the leak-er. If the leak continues, you are the leak-ee. Immediately contact the surrounding units – above, behind, and beside. At this time, you should also contact the Association’s office. They are able to provide assistance in contacting your neighbors and even recommending a licensed plumber.

Common leaks for you and your neighbors to look out for include, but are not limited to, pin-holes in copper pipes, tub or toilet seals, decaying tile grout, hot water heaters, washing machines, and clogged A/C condensation drain lines. We recommend that you contact a licensed plumber to help you identify the source of the problem.

Who is responsible for paying for the repairs?

Once the source is determined, it is important to carefully review the documents that govern your Condominium Association.  Certain documents provide for the Association to only be responsible for water lines up to the point where they ‘split’ to service individual units. To further explain, if the leaking water line ONLY services your unit, it is your responsibility to address the repair.  In some Associations, the documents are not as specific and provide that The Association is responsible for any water pipe contained inside the walls of the condominium structure.

The repair of the leaky pipe is usually relatively straightforward. The question becomes: “who is responsible for the damage in the unit?” (furniture, drywall, cabinets, floors, etc).  As a general disclaimer, we recommend that you contact your insurance company and attorney for specifics related to your situation.  However, the standard procedure affirms each individual unit owner is responsible for damages within their unit (from the drywall in). In simpler terms, if the unit above yours experienced a water break, and your unit was unfortunately damaged due to the leak, you would still be responsible for the interior damage of your unit.  The same would apply to others affected by the issue.  The association is typically responsible for repairing/replacing the drywall. However, individual unit owners are responsible for the paint and texture once the new drywall is in place.

leak

An exception to the scenario described above would include negligence on the part of an owner to maintain the components within their individual units.  If negligence is found, it is possible the owner of the unit responsible for the leak could be responsible for the damages caused to other units.

As a general rule, once you identify the issue, and depending on the extent of the damage, you should consult with your attorney and insurance company right away.

Lastly, as a homeowner, it is important to familiarize yourself with Florida Statute 718.111, Condominiums – The Association, as well as your Association’s governing documents. These documents can be requested from your condominium’s management company.

 

Should I Hire a Property Manager?

We understand that having a property manager is not for everyone. The same way we understand that some investors would never think of not having one. The truth of the matter is that it’s not for everyone. Many thoughts and questions may go through your mind before hiring one.

I can be my own property manager.

It seems pretty easy. Put a sign out front, meet a few folks, find a lease from the internet, or maybe just have your tenants confirm an e-mail agreeing to the terms. (Yes, we’ve seen this!)

How hard could it be to manage my own property?

The truth is, if you have the time, a great property, a greater long term tenant, and you are local, you may not need a property manager. Members of our staff actually have relatives who manage their own properties. Family reunions are a blast, let me tell you! Regardless, it may still not be very efficient use of your time and money, as you may still not have the systems or vendors in place to maximize the income and potential of your property.

Why Hire a Property Manager?So, for those of you – strong willed, owners of your own time, and amazing DYIers, we salute you! If you do not fit any of the above criteria, and you are still with us, you…

  • have already self-managed and are in over your head.
  • are ready to enjoy your hard-earned money and sip cocktails by the beach at your favorite travel destination.
  • may be in the process of buying your first investment home. This process can be stressful and hectic while trying to figure out how you are going to cover your costs and generate an attractive return. We can help you by providing an analysis of your investment before you buy the property, as well as tools to maximize your return.
  • may be relocating and wish to keep your current home as a rental and future investment.
  • know you need a manager, but recently had a bad experience with another property management company.

Confession

Now, we understand there are individuals who give our profession a bad name. We strongly believe they only make up a tiny fraction of the overall great group of companies in our industry. Companies who strive to do a great job for their clients and tenants every day. We know not everyone is perfect, and mistakes may happen. After all, most property owners hire property managers because they have already realized it is not an easy job and there are tons of variables to handle. These variables include rent collection, vendor selection, and scheduling of repairs, all while keeping detailed records of income and expenses.

We Believe

In essence, we believe great property management companies are made by combining proven systems with dedicated professionals, who are committed to delivering excellent service to owners and tenants. The systems keep order and consistency, but our people are what makes the experience shine for our clients and customers.  Setting the right expectations from the very beginning is the key to success in establishing a strong relationship between the property owner and property management company.

After years in the business, we have realized that our strongest attributes directly benefit clients who experience the types of dilemmas listed above. It’s important to understand your needs and wants prior to hiring a property manager. We also find that clients who don’t have a high need or desire to be involved in the day to day operations of their property are the ones who find the most value in hiring a property management company. Value your time!

Find out how Belmont Management Group can help you meet your real estate investment goals.

Airbnb – A Different Kind of Property Management

I recently took a family trip to Charleston, South Carolina. While there, we all stayed in an Airbnb property. For those of you who don’t know, Airbnb, founded in 2008, is a hospitality marketplace for travelers looking for unique, short-term accommodations. Your options include: renting a private room, a room shared with others, or a whole house with your friends and family. With over three million listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries, the world is your oyster.

I have to tell you, my experience was GREAT! The property was in a great location, and it was half of the price we would have paid for three different hotel rooms. Who isn’t for saving money? The property came with a fully equipped kitchen. The salt and pepper shakers were missing, but I let that slide.Airbnb The property also had clean sheets, any necessity – you name it. A gentleman, who seemed to be an Airbnb property manager, even stopped by to drop off a space heater.

Recently, many clients have asked us whether we have expanded into Airbnb property management. We regretfully say we have not… yet. This type of property management is not out of the question for the future. We find it to be a great concept, as you can probably tell by now. However, we do not have the systems in place for the high turnover rate the short-term Aribnb type business demands.

Most Airbnbs are hosted by people who rent out their personal residence while they are out of town – why not? It’s a great way to make extra cash! However, recently there has been an increase in the number of investors who are purchasing homes and condos with the sole intention to use them as Airbnb rentals.  Regardless of your situation, it is important for property owners or renters who wish to host their homes through Airbnb to be sure your lease agreement, neighborhood rules and regulations, and municipal codes allow for short-term rentals. It may come as a surprise to learn not all communities/associations allow for this type of activity, and unknowingly, you may be subject to fines.

Earlier this year, Aimco, one of our nation’s largest property management a
gencies, filed a law suit against Airbnb. The case claimed Airbnb advertised Aimco’s units as short-term sublet rentals, therefore violating lease agreements between Aimco and their tenants. Read the whole story at Florida Realtors!

As a result of this news story, as well as many other similar stories within the last year, Airbnb is answering landlords worries. They implemented (and continue to revamp) a new program, by the name of Airbnb Friendly Buildings. If you are a landlord or building owner, this program is an easy way for you to express consent to your tenant to become an Airbnb host. This reservation platform also allows you to track hosting activities in your home. As any program, there are terms and agreements that must be agreed upon. If your building is currently available within this program, get with your tenant and sign up today!

If you are able to make your home Airbnb friendly, please carry on! Keep growing this great community for travelers and the hospitality industry!