Reduce Your Stress as a Landlord With These 5 Tips

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

When you become a landlord, stress levels can get very high. There may be tenants who vandalize property, are habitually late with the rent, or just disappear without notice. In general, though, the good tenants outnumber the bad ones, and you’ll able to manage your property profitably. You can cut your stress by finding ways to reduce or eliminate issues. Here are some tips for making your property management experiences go smoothly.

1. Use the Internet to Collect Rent
Collecting rent from difficult tenants is one of the most stressful aspects of the business. Automating the process can make this much easier. Whether you buy an online solution pre-made or hire a developer to create it, set up a payment system that accepts credit or debit cards, or even automatic bank transfers. You can use any one of the digital payment processing services online.

This is more convenient for both you and your tenants, and provides a transaction history for bookkeeping purposes. Your solution should also have reporting features so you can see at a glance what’s happening.

2. Outsource Maintenance
Anything beyond a few units can be a headache in maintenance, including painting and cleaning up after sloppy tenants. Hiring a crew to take care of this involves all the problems of recruiting and training employees, managing payroll and benefits, and other concerns. Hiring even a minimum-wage employee can cost you over $9,000 before they’re up to speed.

If you don’t want those additional stresses and don’t really need full-time help, outsource these routine maintenance tasks to another company. It may cost a little more than doing it yourself, but you’ll have more free time and less anxiety.

3. Keep an Emergency Fund
Whether you opt for employees or contractors or want to do it all yourself, you’re still going to pay for repairs and upkeep. Some routine maintenance you can budget for, but events such as careless tenants, storms, litigation, or burst pipes are something else. If your insurance policy won’t cover it, or units are not inhabitable, you’re losing money. It’s best to set aside what you can from the very beginning so that one major setback doesn’t cripple your cash flow.

4. Find a Property Manager
You could also pass on your landlord troubles to someone else by hiring a reputable property management company or professional. Those with special training and significant experience may be more suited to handling maintenance, budgets, and bad tenants than you are. They will definitely cost you, but they’ll eliminate all the difficulties of being a landlord while you sit back and take the profits.

5. Screen Your Tenants
Better tenants means fewer missed rent payments, less property damage, and longer tenant retention. Getting good tenants requires screening each applicant to weed out those who may represent a high risk. Screening requires verifying employment, conducting background checks, checking credit scores, calling references, and anything else you consider a good indicator.

You have to careful in how you turn prospective renters down to avoid discrimination charges. Make it clear to them why they were rejected. You also don’t want to be too fussy. If you reject one applicant after another you’ll wind up missing out on rent. No tenant at all for months on end is going to cost you more than a bad tenant. Tenant screening is another time-consuming task that you could delegate to a professional service to manage for you.

Being a landlord can be profitable and rewarding if you are thoughtful in spending your time and money.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of RISMedia.

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$347,000 :: 1050 WIMBLETON DR, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

3 beds, 3 baths
Home size: 1,410 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 04/24/17, Last Updated: 07/25/17
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21286461
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: WIMBLETON TERRACE OCCPN 336
Status: Sold

Location, location, location! Rarely do these Wallace Frost designed English Tudor condos become available in coveted Poppleton Park. This ultra private, 3 bdrm 2 ~ bath end unit has updates galore! Warm & inviting hardwood floors throughout, crown molding, cozy gas fireplace (new logs), formal dining w/arched doorways, gorgeous kitchen w/dark cabinets & granite counter, new tile floor & backsplash, antique wall cabinet & new SS appliances. Updated bathrooms, incl. new toilets, faucets, tile and shower doors. Attached garage (new door) and basement have been re-painted. Charming brick courtyard patio w/natural gas hookup for BBQ. New A/C w/booster fan (2014), HWT & laundry tub (2014), added insulation in bsmt & attic, replaced galvanized plumbing w/copper. New garage door & entry door w/combination lock. New storm door on front w/retractable screen, mailbox & conversation starting antique doorbell. Just minutes from downtown Birmingham. Nothing left to do, but move in and enjoy!

Listed with RE/MAX Defined


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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4 Steps to Take After Your Home Has Been Burglarized

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

What would you do if you came home and found your house was broken into and your property stolen? For millions of Americans every year, this nightmare is a reality. In 2010, there were 2,159,878 burglaries in the U.S., equivalent to nearly 700 break-ins per 100,000 people, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Most victims in this situation find themselves totally unprepared and at a loss for what to do. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to regain control of the situation, improve the odds of recovering your property, and prevent your home from being broken into again.

Call the Police
Call the police when you spot the first sign of a break-in. The intruder may still be on your property and pose a threat to your safety. Seven percent of all home burglaries involve violence against household members, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

You also need to call the police to get your case on file for insurance and legal purposes. A police report and investigation increases the strength of your insurance claim, as well as your odds of retrieving your property. The police also need to record crime scene evidence which can help convict suspects if they are caught. Don’t touch anything before the police arrive so that you don’t accidentally destroy evidence, such as fingerprints.

When the police arrive, they will want you to file a report. Take pictures to document what was stolen, and provide the police with a list of everything that was taken and its approximate value. As a preventive measure, it’s wise to take an inventory of valuable items ahead of time in case you are ever robbed.

Call Your Insurance Company
You should also copy your list of stolen items for your insurance provider. To maximize your odds of receiving reimbursement for stolen items, contact your insurance provider within 24 hours. They will need your police report to process your claim, so make sure you have already filed a police report before calling. Your insurance provider will probably send an adjuster to review the crime scene, so in order to avoid disrupting the evidence, you may wish to stay somewhere else until they arrive, if possible.

Review Your Security Camera Footage
If you have security cameras installed on your property, you should review them to see if there is any additional evidence. If you’re fortunate, you may have captured footage of the burglar breaking in, walking through rooms, or rummaging through items. You may also notice more clues or additional information about which items were stolen. Provide copies of any relevant footage to the police and to your insurance provider.

Evaluate Your Home Security
After the police and your insurance adjuster have finished reviewing the crime scene, you can begin cleaning up. You should also conduct a review of your home’s security with an eye towards preventing future burglaries. Once burglars have successfully broken into a home, they often return in the future, so it’s important to make sure you secure any vulnerabilities that enabled the initial break-in. The National Crime Prevention Council provides a home security checklist you can use to review your home security and identify any vulnerabilities that need to be fixed.

Having your home broken into is a traumatic and disturbing experience, but taking these steps can help you recover and restore your life to order as quickly as possible. Filing a report with the police, calling your insurance company, and reviewing your security footage will maximize your chances of getting your property returned and bringing those responsible to justice. Reviewing your home security can help prevent future burglaries and restore your peace of mind.

Roy Rasmussen, co-author of “Publishing for Publicity,” is a freelance copywriter.

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$1,199,000 :: 2345 FAIRWAY, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

4 beds, 7 baths
Home size: 4,975 sq ft
Lot Size: 22,215 sq ft
Added: 05/02/17, Last Updated: 07/24/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21289498
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: GOLF VIEW HEIGHTS
Status: Sold

Kevin Hart won architect of the year for this stunning New England style home which creates the perfect balance of traditional and innovative design. Built in 2001 by Maresca Builders, this home features attention to detail and extensive custom mill work. It is an entertainers dream! Grand open floor plan; custom designed gourmet kitchen; master suite complete with cathedral ceiling, fireplace and his and hers walk in closets. The home is placed elegantly on over 1/2 acre of lush grounds. 4 bedrooms with 4 full baths. The home features 2 spacious additional rooms for use as art studio, computer room/study, gym, entertainment or convert one to a fifth bedroom. One of the bathrooms features a dry sauna. Finished basement with wet bar, bathroom and movie/entertainment theater.

Listed with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices HWWB


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$1,199,000 :: 2345 FAIRWAY, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

4 beds, 7 baths
Home size: 4,975 sq ft
Lot Size: 22,215 sq ft
Added: 05/02/17, Last Updated: 07/24/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21289498
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: GOLF VIEW HEIGHTS
Status: Sold

Kevin Hart won architect of the year for this stunning New England style home which creates the perfect balance of traditional and innovative design. Built in 2001 by Maresca Builders, this home features attention to detail and extensive custom mill work. It is an entertainers dream! Grand open floor plan; custom designed gourmet kitchen; master suite complete with cathedral ceiling, fireplace and his and hers walk in closets. The home is placed elegantly on over 1/2 acre of lush grounds. 4 bedrooms with 4 full baths. The home features 2 spacious additional rooms for use as art studio, computer room/study, gym, entertainment or convert one to a fifth bedroom. One of the bathrooms features a dry sauna. Finished basement with wet bar, bathroom and movie/entertainment theater.

Listed with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices HWWB


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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5 Ideas to Increase the Value of a Basement

basement_bar2

Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

Article Submitted by Fixr.com

The basement doesn’t just have to be a space to throw all of that extra storage. Show it as usable space, and it may even help you increase the value of the home. Basement remodels typically recoup about 70 percent of their costs at time of resale, which can add a tremendous amount of value to your home.

Making it the coolest room in the house may not be too difficult either. After all, basements tend to stay cooler during the summer months, making this an ideal place for the family to hang out when the weather heats up outside.

Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

1. Create an In-Home Theater

Basements not only are typically cooler than the rest of the home, but they’re also usually darker. For that reason, they’re an excellent place to add a theater to watch movies on those hot summer nights. Best of all, you don’t have to do a complete basement remodel, with costs around $50,000, to gain this space. A TV mount costs around $250, while built in seating costs around $840 – $1,680. (Just be sure for safety to completely waterproof the room before running wires through the basement.)

2. Make a Children’s Play Area

Basements are often neglected areas of the home, used primarily for storage and not much else. So why not turn your unused basement space into a new playroom for your kids?

Start with the staircase. Most basements have only partially finished staircases so installing a new one will help make the space more comfortable as well as safer. Next, ensure that you have egress windows installed, and that the basement is fully waterproofed. From there, you can carpet the floors to make the space more comfortable, and move your children’s toys downstairs to make more space in their rooms.

3. Create an Adult Entertainment Space

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Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

If you love to entertain, consider building a bar into your basement. Basements are already the ideal place to install a wine cellar, so why not take it a step further and put in an entertainment area and bar for parties as well? Basements that walkout onto patios can be the ideal place for summer entertaining, giving guests a way to get in out of the heat or a summer rainstorm. Consider putting in a tile floor to give the room a finished look and keep the floors easy to clean. Match the bar countertop to the color of the floors for a fresh, stylish appearance.

4. Create a Garden Utility Room

If you spend any time out in the garden, you probably know about the dirt, tools, and pots that accompany this hobby. Basements are a great place to install a utility sink and counter, and to store all of your garden paraphernalia. Installing a french drain and a hose will make cleanup a snap, while shelving placed just beneath the windows will give your plants a place to sprout before you take them outside for the summer.

basement_media2

Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

5. Create a New Family Room

Family rooms often get even more use than the more formal living room, so family rooms in a cooler basement can get a lot of use during the summer months. Basements finished as family rooms may be coveted by homebuyers too, giving you the maximum return on investment. This includes not only tiling or carpeting the floors, but also putting up drywall to complete the walls as well. Consider adding a suspended acoustic ceiling to help insulate the basement from the sounds above, while making the rooms more attractive at the same time.

To find out more about projects to tackle around the home, be sure to visit the Cost Guides.

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$165,000 :: 1920 GRAEFIELD RD, Birmingham MI, 48009

2 beds, 1 bath
Home size: 908 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 07/21/17, Last Updated: 07/23/17
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21345442
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: GRAEFIELD VILLAGE CONDO
Status: Active

Stunning! Wonderful light filled townhouse end-unit condo. Updated open floor plan! Living room is open to dining room which adjoins the Gourmet Kitchen with beautiful cabinets and granite counters. All upscale kitchen appliances are included. Hardwood flooring throughout. Spacious Master Bedroom with two closets and ceiling fan. Full Bath in neutral tones with tile and granite. Charming second bedroom with subtle colors and ceiling fan. Finished 18 x 13 cozy den area in lower level with generous glass block newer window. New 2016 Furnace and Roof. One parking space. Well-manicured grounds. Shows beautifully.

Listed with RE/MAX Showcase Homes


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$550,000 :: 851 S GLENHURST DR, Birmingham MI, 48009

3 beds, 3 baths
Home size: 1,928 sq ft
Lot Size: 14,374 sq ft
Added: 07/21/17, Last Updated: 07/23/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21345116
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: MEYERING LAND CO’S BIRMIN
Status: Active

Attention builders and homeowners looking to create your dream home close to downtown. Rare opportunity on a double 14,400 sq foot lot (120’x120′). Either remodel current home or tear down and start fresh. The value is in this sprawling yard that goes 120 deep. Great location near Seaholm High School, Birmingham Country Club, and many local parks. Space like this doesn’t come around often!

Listed with Keller Williams Domain Birmingham


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$899,900 :: 1710 WEBSTER Street N, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

4 beds, 0 baths
Home size: 3,200 sq ft
Lot Size: 6,098 sq ft
Added: 07/22/17, Last Updated: 07/22/17
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 217064298
Community: Birmingham
Tract: LEINBACH-HUMPHREY’S WOODW
Status: Active

**NEW CONSTRUCTION*120 DAYS TO COMPLETION* Located within blocks of downtown Birmingham! This stunningly beautiful 3200 sq. ft., 2-story, 4 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home is designed with an open layout, and timeless elegance. Many generous upgrades; breathtaking front exterior brick and stone, exquisite millwork throughout, custom cabinets, elaborate tile work, 10 ft. 1st floor ceilings w/8 ft. interior doors, hand scrapped oak flooring, Anderson Windows, 2nd floor laundry room, solid wood tread staircase, and stone fireplace in great room. The stately master suite provides plentiful space with 10 ft. tiered ceiling, ample walk-in closet w/built in shelves, claw foot tub, stand up shower, and large vanity with double sinks. Come claim this gem and start making your selections!

Listed with Trillium Homes


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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Home Price Change Expectations Flat

Many homeowners have enjoyed a return to positive equity in recent years, with home prices on a consistent upward trend in most markets. How high will values go?

Potentially not much further, according to consumers in the June 2017 Survey of Consumer Expectations by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who held firm on their expectation of a 3.5 percent change in prices—the same expectation given in May.

Consumers, in addition, anticipate the median inflation rate to be 2.5 percent in one year and 2.8 percent in three years. The likelihood of finding a job, based on their perceptions, grew to 59.2 percent in June, and the likelihood of losing a job shrunk to 13.5 percent. The share of consumers surveyed with improved finances over the last year soared to 34.8 percent—a record.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

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