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6 Steps to Check a Potential Renter’s Rental History (2019 Update)

Are you a real estate investor who offers rental properties of some kind or another? Maybe you have retail or commercial properties and work directly with renters whenever a vacancy occurs. Perhaps you own apartments or single family homes and you need to work with your potential renters in order to keep the properties full. Either way, there is one step that you must take, but which can become a make or break issue.

What is it? A renter’s past rental history. Without it, you run the risk of major issues that could range from non-payment to property damage. You also run the risk of alienating or losing other renters if you allow a less savory renter into the building and they proceed to break rules or make everyone around them unhappy. The easiest way to dodge this issue is to just run the most thorough rental histories possible, and it is not always as simple as a credit report.

Let’s look at the six steps to check any potential rental’s rental history and background.

  1. Willingness – How would you feel about phoning various landlords and references? If you are unwilling to make these calls, you are setting yourself up for trouble. You have the right to make these calls and you owe it to yourself and existing tenants to follow through on each reference or landlord listed.
  2. Unwilling applicants – What should you do if you run against an unwilling applicant who refuses to supply references? The only reason this is acceptable is if someone is a first-time renter. Even then, personal references are a perfectly acceptable request. What should you do if you get bad feedback? Assess it! Feel out the person offering the details. Did they just have a personal dislike for the renter(s)? Did they take offense from complaints or maintenance demands? Never take negative or positive comments at face value. Instead, take the time to discuss them and flesh them out a bit.
  3. Obtain consent – Be sure written consent is granted to dig around in any renter’s history. In some places this is a legal obligation, but whether written consent is required, it is best to get key details and written permission to ask about their previous behaviors as a renter.
  4. Have pointed questions – Never “wing it” when questioning previous landlords. Instead, create a formal questionnaire that you keep on hand during the conversation. Make notes about points of concern. Verify all of the facts an applicant has given, and then find out about their behavior where rent was concerned. What about their notice of vacating the premises? What sort of condition did they return the property? Were any legal matters required to get them out? If you discover lies, be sure you are getting facts from the former landlord and then determine if you should pass on an applicant based on any half-truths or lies.
  5. Have a script – Don’t just have the questions in front of you. Instead, follow a polite script that allows you to explain who you are, why you are calling and asking if they are willing to answer the questions you present. If they cannot, ask if you can fax them or if someone in management will speak with you.
  6. Use calls to network – This may sound like an offhand step in clearing potential renters, but it is a great way to get leads on future properties you might add to your assets or holdings. For example, while speaking with a landlord, it is entirely acceptable to ask them about their property, other properties they own and if they are actively investing. You may learn they are eager to sell or know of other landlords doing so.

It is not rocket science to check up on potential renters. The key is to actually do it, and in a way that is super productive. These six steps ensure you get accurate information and increase your chances for leads on investment real estate in the area at the same time! If you are a real estate investor curious about leads in your area, you don’t have to wait to find them. Get in touch with real estate investment clubs and hear what they have available.

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5 Crucial Questions that Ensure Real Estate Marketing Success (2019 Update)

Real estate investing is one of the most popular ways for modern investors to grow wealth and secure financially stable futures. Yet, not a lot of investors are quite sure where to turn when it is time for them to enter this lucrative market. There are floods of information available, and not much of it is very clear or even targeted. If you are a real estate investor eager to effectively market your real estate investing options to others, we have five questions you must pose to yourself in order to develop the kinds of messages and campaigns that lead to success.

Note the Niche

The first of the five questions has to relate to the niche. For instance, asking yourself something like, “what kinds of investments do I make available?” or “what real estate niche do I emphasize?” will let you begin to formulate the strongest message. After all, you cannot properly convey your plans, passions or emphasis if you cannot actually explain it.

Some examples of answers might be, “I’m into flippable properties” or “I am a passive investor). These are two very unique niches, and would clearly be marketed in different ways based on their audiences. Speaking of audiences…

Know the Market

The second question to pose to yourself relates to your actual audience. In other words, “Who do you market to?” Now, before you say something like “anyone who is interested”, think again. The business that sells to everyone is the business that usually ends up selling to no one. Instead, get as specific as you possibly can. For example, let’s say your real estate investing emphasizes commercial properties. What sort of commercial properties? What kinds of clients would be interested? The more detail you can flesh out here, the better your marketing because you can write language that really speaks to them directly, choose images that would appeal most and so on.

Know the Goals

The third question touches on the whole point of the marketing – it is not just to get clients, but much more. For instance, what sort of “problem” do you solve for your potential clients? What do you need from them? You may be creating marketing for a specific investment, if you are using general terms and not explaining what you need viewers to do (using a “call to action”), the message is lost.

Know Your Solutions

Above, we touched on one issue that many marketers overlook, and it is the issue of solving a problem. You have to look at your real estate investing options as solving that problem. For instance, do you provide turnkey only properties to investors who cannot handle property management on their own? Do you steer higher capitalized investors towards bigger opportunities? Essentially, with the fourth issue you are solving their question of “how do I secure a better financial future?” How do you answer that?

Know Networking

The fifth question is about connections and networking. Ask yourself “who are the most valuable recipients of my message?” If you know all of the factors above, you will know how to best network your marketing messages. As a simple illustration of that, let’s say that your marketing was simply to raise awareness of a new real estate investment option you are making available, but which is not ready for investors. You would know to network this exclusively to those who have expressed interest in such options or who have already invested in similar areas.

If you are a real estate investor struggling to spread the word about your investment options, there are alternatives. You may want to contact an investment club that exists to work with people like yourself. They can sit down with you and assess your properties, and then direct marketing messages to those already looking for your kinds of assets. If you find marketing too complex, don’t give up on investing, but instead turn to resources like real estate investing clubs.

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8 High Yield Improvements for Your Investment Property (2019 Update)

Did you know that home ownership, across the board, is on the decline? Did you also know that this trend is expected to continue as far as 2025? If you are already a rental property owner you are probably positioned to take in great returns on your assets. If you are just now considering investing in properties to offer as rentals, be sure you do the research and make your purchases now.

Whether you are an existing property owner or soon to be landlord, you will want to be able to ask the most for each of the properties you own. This can be more difficult than it seems, but we have eight very high yield improvements for your investment properties that will keep renters interested while earning you great returns.

Naturally, most home and property owners have already discovered that you get the best returns on investment when you update rooms like the bathrooms and kitchen. This is such a widely known truth that many forget the rest of the property. Let’s take into consideration the entire rental, and uncover eight great ways to improve the property.

  • Luxury shower heads – If hotels and luxury villas boast of their rain shower heads, why can’t you enhance the value of each bath in your investment properties with this same fixture? A rain shower head is not great where water conservation is concerned, but you can also install heads that transition from rain shower to regular or even multiple heads that allow a “standard” shower, or with just a turn of a knob, the rain shower. While we’re on fixtures…
  • Updated bathroom fixtures – It is not only the shower head that adds value to the bathroom. If you get rid of the small, outdated, or unattractive fixtures in the baths and replace them with more modern, streamlined and well proportioned models, you automatically boost the wow factor of the space.
  • Functional kitchens – Strolling through IKEA should prove to you that people love multi-purpose and highly functional cabinets and spaces. Nowhere is this truer than the kitchen. Automatically boost the value of your kitchen by filling it with space saving options. One popular choice is the cabinet designed to hid the microwave (keeping it off the counter at the same time). You should also consider pantry styled shelves and all of those clever storage solutions.
  • Update the counters – Laminate countertops are old school. Today, renters want to see quality and one way this is instantly expressed is with solid countertops such as wood, stone, granite or even concrete. Go ultra modern and do stainless wrapped if solid doesn’t work.
  • Flooring – If you want to see an instant boost in the value and appeal of a property simply replace carpeting and vinyl flooring with wood floors. Easy to clean and maintain, it has none of the headaches of carpeting, none of the smells and looks so much better.
  • Windows – Here too, most of us know that new windows boost value. Don’t go only with more energy efficient models, though. Also consider adding new windows in darker rooms or even using skylights to bring a lot more natural light into the living spaces. Real estate agents stage properties for sale by flooding them with natural light, and you’ll want to keep that in mind when improving rentals.
  • Fencing – The saying about better neighbors and good fences is true, but you will increase the value of a property with fencing because it also promises security and privacy. If renters have kids or pets, a fence brings peace of mind, and if chosen properly it adds a lot of curb appeal and good looks.
  • Outdoor entertaining – Does the property have a patio? Does it have space for one? Simply laying a stone or concrete patio, putting up an awning and supplying a space for a garden can boost the appeal and value of any rental.

See how easy it can be to enhance the appeal of your investment properties? Why not pick one of these tips and see the results for yourself.

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6 Facets of Real Estate Investing You Must Understand Before Getting Started (2019 Update)

Whether the idea of real estate investing is new to you, or something you’ve been considering for a while, it is important that you have a good grasp on the basics before you begin. However, it is altogether too easy to get bogged down in the educational process, then the research process, and in that time you may have lost out on some great opportunities.

Rather than let you struggle to get started, we are going to look at six facets of real estate investing that you must understand before you begin. These are what you should consider the essentials and they will allow you to have a speaking familiarity with it, but not so much information that you suddenly become overwhelmed and eager to toss in the towel.

  1. Financial terminology – As a major area of investment, real estate investing has a long list of unique terms and vocabulary. Most of it is associated with numbers and figures. For example, do you know what cash flow means in relation to real estate investing? What about ARV? Along with those two terms, you need to give yourself time to learn what appreciation means, monthly income and expenses, cap rate, returns, HOA, net income, and cash on cash return, as your minimum operational vocab.
  2. How to do it – Not quite an investing strategy but just a working understanding of the ways you can accomplish real estate investments. Look at the various approaches, how much they can bring in returns, what they require in output, and if they work with your goals or capabilities. In other words, consider the various routes in real estate investing and choose the right routes for you.
  3. Make or break – Once you understand how it is done, you need to learn what it takes to make successful investments and what steps each type of investment requires. In other words, take the time to find answers to questions like “what does a successful investment in this type of real estate look like, and what does a disastrous investment of this type look like?”
  4. Pulse of the market – Did you know that some areas are ripe for rental investments while others are all about commercial real estate investing? Take the pulse of the markets you are considering and then move on that information in the most appropriate ways.
  5. Risk assessment – It would be a lie to say that real estate investing is risk free. There is no such thing as any sort of risk free investments. The amount of risk you are comfortable assuming is entirely up to you. The point is to never go into a deal blind to the kinds of risks it could pose. As an example, a hospital based REIT recently took a hit in share prices when one of its assets reported liquidity issues. Would your investment returns be based on such issues? Know the landscape before entering into it.
  6. Getting out – Though most advise holding real estate for long rather than short terms, you should always have a low-loss escape plan or exit strategy. It is also part of basic investing to have an end game in mind (sell, hold, etc.). What sort of plans do you have for your real estate holdings? For instance, a big blunder made by first time “flippers” is to have no “plan b” for the property remaining unsold or for other issues to occur.

As you might realize, these are simple things to learn and understand, they are also quite easy to employ as you get started with real estate investing. Take the time to learn the basic terms, understand just how it works, learn how to gauge good from bad properties and markets, find out where to invest in any specific category, uncover risks and have plans for the end of the story as well as the initial investment. When you do this, you will never make a bad deal or decision.