Being A Savvy Tenant in A Demanding Rental Market

In the Pinellas County rental market – housing is in high demand and finding a nice property can be extremely challenging especially when you are competing against other possible tenants. Maneuvering through the rental market is easier if you are a proactive renter.

Locating A Property

The internet is the most useful tool in today’s market, but unfortunately many of the websites that pull them are out of date. As soon as you locate a property call immediately. Emailing can slow the process down and cause you to lose a potential property. If you cannot reach someone and there is an address – drive by the property. Often times there will be additional information on the sign that you can obtain. When you reach the property manager – put your “best foot forward” and always be polite and courteous.

Viewing and Applying For the Property

After viewing the desired property if you are interested follow up immediately. If a company has an online application, complete it, being as thorough as possible and pay the application fee. Once submitted call or email the property manager to alert them that you have followed the instructions and submitted the application.

Understanding Your Rental Worthiness

While credit is a big part of the decision-making process, it is not that all that counts. Most companies will also do a search on your civil and criminal background. They are also looking that you have stable employment and can afford the rental you are applying for. Lastly they want to see a stable rental history.

Evictions and Foreclosures may not rule you out, but you want to disclose anything derogatory upfront and offer to pay a higher security deposit. Don’t wait for them to find an issue, always inform the potential landlord before they run the application. This will help save you money if it won’t work or build good rapport with the property manager if they will consider you.

Securing the Rental

Your move in date also will affect the decision making process for a management company. The sooner you are willing to move in may be the deciding factor when up against another possible renter. Once approved, do not delay in bringing the landlord the security deposit and executing the rental agreement. A property is not yours until the lease is signed by all parties.

Even though Saint Petersburg and the surrounding cities of Pinellas County can be a demanding rental market – if you are a savvy tenant you are on your way to securing a property you can call home.

Investing In Rental Properties

Is now a good time to invest in rental properties? This is the question most people ask me when they realize I have been in property management for over 26 years and an investor for almost 30. My answer is an undeniable yes. There are many factors affecting our market today. The economy is improving and interest rates are on the rise which impacts greatly an investors bottom line. In addition, the housing market has bounced back in most areas and prices are steadily rising. The demand for rentals exceeds the supply, thus allowing an investor to command a higher rental price and obtain a better-quality tenant. The Millennials’ are not interested in home ownership as they do not want the responsibility nor do they want to be tied to one place long term.

But how does this compare to other investment opportunities? Real estate, when purchased correctly and professionally managed, can be one of the strongest returns I have found with very minimal risk. In real estate, you have the future appreciation of the property, your tenants are making the mortgage payments for you and are paying down the principle, all your expenses associated with the rental are tax deductible against the income and lastly you have tax benefits of the depreciation of the asset. For the strongest return, I always coach first time investors to invest in “middle America” and stay away from high end properties or high crime areas. While both of these look good initially, they rarely perform better and usually come with more headaches. I also caution investors to not over leverage. A good rule of thumb is 30% down with a mortgage of 70%. If you are thinking of investing in real estate go talk to a licensed real estate professional or property manager who owns their own investment property. They will give you the best advice.

Sandy Ferrera, CEO
All County Property Management Franchise Corp.

Why Choose a Property Management Company?

So you purchased a new home but want to keep the old family home too? Today you might consider renting the old family home and becoming a landlord. Tomorrow, you might regret this day if you don’t make careful decisions.

Congratulations on your new business venture! Wait? Did I say business? Yes I did and there will be more on that later. Beside business stuff, there are many pitfalls that the new landlord needs to watch out for.

First pitfall might be friends and family. You might have a family member, let us call him Randy Renter, and he can’t wait to rent your old family home. This is a perfect situation, right? You have known Randy all your life, so why not let him rent your home? Since he is family, do you really need a signed lease? Also, you might feel pressured by other family members to allow the Randy Renter to move in right away.

There are a couple of scenarios that can play out in this situation.
Randy Renter might not qualify for the home. He may say he makes enough money to pay rent, but when was the last time you saw a paystub from him? I have never seen a paystub from any of my cousins, siblings, aunts or uncles. Randy Renter can move in and stop paying rent because he can’t afford it. If he can’t afford rent, he can’t afford to move to a new home. So he will sit tight and force you to evict them. This will cause a rift in the family and cost you a lot of money in lost rent, damage and fees. On top of that, if you don’t post notices correctly, you might have to start your process all over after months of delays. That is only if Randy doesn’t dispute the eviction with the courts. If the tenant disputes the eviction then you have to go to court and that can be more expense and delays. Especially if you withheld requested repairs until rent is paid. If you did this, you could lose your court case and the tenant could be granted permission to stay.

If you do your eviction with an attorney, which is highly recommended, you will pay close to $1000 in attorney fees and court costs, just to get your home back.
Then you have to do repairs and rehab just to get another tenant to rent. This is usually when I get your call. You are frustrated and broke. This business venture isn’t making any money and if you are feeling defeated now, wait until you get your property tax bill after you lose your homestead.

While this is a worst case scenario, it happens all too often. You might be a great business person but there is always a learning curve when it comes to starting a new business. My suggestion would be, find a good, professional property manager and let them manage that home for you.

When looking for a property manager, there are some things you should consider. First thing to consider is experience. Ask how long the property manager has been in business. While they might be new to property management, they might be with a company that provides systems and education for their new managers. The company that stands behind the property manager is very important. Is the company primarily a property management company or is it a primarily a sales company? Real Estate is always fluctuating and new laws are always being adopted. Choose a company that specializes in Property Management as they will keep up with the new Landlord Tenant laws for your area. You should use someone who is also a Realtor. A Realtor has certain standards and education that they must keep up with. Choose a Realtor that specializes in Property Management. Your sales Realtor should be able to give you a few recommendations.

My name is Alisha and I am a professional Property Manager with All County® Suncoast. All County® has been in the property management business for over 2 decades. We are the premier property management company that uses the most advanced technology to manage single family homes, condo and small apartment buildings. All County® is also a franchised business with franchises all over the United States.