Six Tips for Successful Atlanta Property Management

There is no denying it, the Atlanta rental market is hot. Rents in the Atlanta metro area are increasing as the economy continues to grow rapidly. If you are considering investing in Atlanta real estate now is the time to get started. Owning a single-family rental home is a good investment because it can bring you immediate cash flow as well as build equity for the future. However, before you jump in, you need to do a little research on how to be successful in real estate. Too many first-time real estate investors make mistakes that cost thousands of dollars and put their investment at risk. To help you begin your journey on the right foot we share six tips for Atlanta property management success.

1 – Pick the Right Property

Before you purchase a rental property, you need to think like a renter. Buying a home with the intention to rent it out is different than buying a home for your personal residence. When you are searching for a property to invest in, keep these factors in mind:

  • Location, location, location! Find a property with access to public transportation, good schools, shopping, and restaurants. Buying in a prime location will reduce vacancy days.
  • What amenities does the home offer? Single-family rental homes with laundry hook-ups and fenced-in yards will be more attractive to tenants and allow you to charge higher rent. 
  • Look for a home with three or more bedrooms, and over 1,500 square feet. Tenants who are looking for single-family rental homes are often doing so because they want more space than an apartment can provide.
  • Find a home with good curb appeal, a standard layout, and away from busy intersections. Homes like this will appeal to more renters.
  • Buy a house less than 15 years old. Newer homes typically require less maintenance, reducing the cost of your Atlanta property management services. If you buy an older home try to find one with a new roof and HVAC system as these cost the most to replace.

Finding the right rental property will give you a leg up in the market. For more information about buying a rental property, visit this post.

2 – Decrease Vacancy Days

Vacancies are one of the highest expenses facing property owners. Turning over a rental property costs $1,000-$5,000 after factoring in rekeying, professional carpet cleaning, repairs, and advertising. In addition, the longer your property sits vacant, the more you lose. If your property usually brings in $1,500 in rent you will lose $4,500 if the property sits empty for three months. How can you avoid long vacancies? Follow these steps:

  • Be prepared: As soon as your old tenant moves out start on your checklist of turnover tasks. Schedule professionals for larger repair jobs as soon as possible. Make sure your home is rent ready before putting it back on the market. 
  • Take pictures: These days most tenants find their rental home online. Good pictures are a must, and should be posted as soon as the home is rent ready. We also recommend creating a video walk-through for tenants to view online.
  • Advertise online: Top Atlanta property management companies advertise across dozens of websites so their rental homes get more exposure. If you are only advertising on Craigslist you will find it difficult to find great tenants quickly.

3 – Pick the Right Tenants

The best tenants always pay their rent on time, are not a nuisance to neighbors, and maintain your property with the same care as a homeowner. How do you find a tenant like this? Tenant selection is a tricky part of managing a rental property. You must find a tenant who qualifies and is a good fit for the home, while adhering to local and federal fair housing laws. Attracting the right tenants starts with picking a great property, pricing it correctly, and advertising across multiple websites. When potential tenants fill out an application, you need to determine whether or not they are a good fit. Federal housing laws state you cannot deny housing to potential tenants on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, family status, or disability. Determine whether or not a tenant qualified by looking at their credit history, rental history, income, and employment status. For more information on tenant selection and the Fair Housing Act, visit this post.

4 – Atlanta Property Management Services Include Cost-Effective Maintenance

Maintaining your rental property is a crucial factor in determining how successful your investment will be. If your tenant is constantly submitting maintenance requests, chances are they will look for another place to live as soon as their lease ends. Additionally, no tenant wants to live in a run-down house, so if your home is not properly maintained it will not attract new tenants. However, maintenance is expensive and time-consuming. Finding the right balance between maintaining your property and not breaking your budget is tricky. After nearly 30 years in property management, we can confirm that the most cost-effective way to maintain your home is through preventative maintenance. For example, you can pay $100 per year to have your HVAC system serviced. This simple maintenance means your HVAC system will last 25 years instead of 15, giving you an extra 10 years before you need to spend $10,000 to replace it. This example is true for most things around your home. A little bit of regular care will save you thousands of dollars in the long run, and help you rent out your home faster.

5 – Reduce Tenant Turnover With Effective Atlanta Property Management 

As we pointed out above, tenant turnover and vacancy days can be the most expensive part of property management. While some tenant turnover is expected (no one stays in their rental home forever!), turnover can be reduced through good management. Running a successful rental property means creating a space where your tenants feel at home. Here is how you can reduce tenant turnover:

  • Respect Their Privacy: It can be tempting to “drop-in” on your tenant every now and then. In fact, some first-time landlords think they are doing their tenants a favor by stopping in to see how they are doing. However, what seems helpful to a landlord feels intrusive to their tenant. Unless there is an outstanding maintenance need or you are checking in on a lease compliance issue, resist the urge to drop in on your tenant. Schedule quarterly inspections to check in and address routine maintenance. In between inspections respect boundaries and give your tenant privacy.
  • Stay in Contact: Good communication is an important part of your Atlanta property management services. Make sure you have your tenant’s current contact information, and you know how they prefer to be contacted. Be clear in all your communication to avoid confusion and frustration. 
  • Respond Quickly: When your tenant has a question or maintenance request you should be quick to respond. Nothing is more frustrating to a tenant than a landlord who is difficult to get a hold of. If you miss a phone call from your tenant make sure you return the call within 24 hours. Provide an easy way for your tenants to contact you with maintenance requests and in emergencies. Specialized Property Management Atlanta offers a tenant portal where your tenant can go to submit maintenance requests and pay rent. In addition, we have a team working around the clock to make sure all emergencies are handled immediately.
  • Set Clear Expectations: Your lease agreement should cover the house rules that apply to your property. A clear set of house rules will set you and your tenant up for a successful relationship. House rules include things like, how many pets a tenant can keep, who is responsible for lawn care, and how long a visitor can stay at the house. Review the house rules at lease signing to ensure your tenant knows them. 

6 – Hire Professional Atlanta Property Management

If running a successful rental property sounds difficult, that is because it is! Even in a great rental market like Atlanta and the surrounding areas, plenty of property owners lose money or barely break even on their investment. In property management the learning curve is steep and the consequence for making a small mistake is big. One small argument with your tenant can snowball into property damage and an eviction. 

That is why smart investors trust the experienced professionals at Specialized Property Management Atlanta. With nearly 30 years of experience managing single-family rental homes, we know how to avoid common mistakes that put your investment at risk. As a full-service property management company, we take care of every part of the rental cycle. From handling maintenance to communicating with your tenants, we have everything covered. All that is left is for you to sit back, relax, and enjoy your successful investment.

To learn more about Specialized Property Management Atlanta, including our full range of services, visit this page. Contact our specialized team today to request a professional rental management quote. Simply call 404-596-8454 to get started! 

Five Ways Atlanta Real Estate Management Companies Reduce Turnover

One of the many benefits of working with the top Atlanta real estate management company is reduced turnover. Tenant turnover is one of the most expensive parts of owning an investment property. After factoring in cleaning, re-keying, repairs or upgrades, advertising, and loss of rental income, turnover can cost $1,000-$5,000. Often turnover is expected and unavoidable, such as when a tenant buys their own home or moves for a job. However, landlord-tenant relationship problems can lead to unnecessary turnover. Learn five ways to keep your tenants happy and reduce unnecessary turnover.

1 – Good Communication

Good communication between landlord and tenant seems like a no-brainer, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Tenants do not always respond to your messages, and even when they do there may be miscommunication and frustrations. Start by being clear and concise every time you communicate. Provide a phone number where your tenant can call in case of emergency and be diligent to respond quickly when your tenant calls. In order to stay in contact with your tenant, keep their contact information up to date, and make a note of how they prefer to be contacted. It doesn’t matter if you use the mail, phone calls, or email as long as your tenant receives the messages you send.  Part of your Atlanta rent out my home procedures should be keeping a good record of your communications. Some management companies prefer to send messages through certified mail to ensure they have a record of all communication. 

2 – Respect Your Tenant’s Privacy

Many single-family rental homeowners live close to their rental property, and it can be tempting to drive by or pop in to check on your investment. Property owners view this as helpful and hospitable, but tenants find it intrusive. However tempting it may be, you need to resist stopping by unannounced and respect your tenant’s privacy. Regular property inspections are beneficial, however, they should always be scheduled ahead of time so your tenant is not caught off-guard. We recommend quarterly or semiannual property inspections. Unless your tenant has a maintenance request, or there is a lease compliance issue you need to check in on, you should not be visiting more often than that. Giving your tenant privacy will help them feel like their rental house is a home. 

3 – How Atlanta Real Estate Management Companies Define The Rules

Part of keeping your tenants happy is setting accurate expectations for living in the rental home. Your lease agreement should define the “house rules” that apply to your specific rental property. House rules vary from property to property, but some common rules for Georgia tenants are:

  • Whether your home is a no-smoking property.
  • Pet restrictions such as a limit on the number and size of pets.
  • Landlord rights of entry including when the landlord can access the property and how much notice they must provide.
  • Who is responsible for lawn care.
  • Whether or not a tenant can add a satellite dish.
  • How long a visitor can stay.
  • Restrictions on repairs or alterations, for example, painting the interior or exterior of the rental home.
  • When the rental payment is due, acceptable forms of payment, and late fees.
  • Prohibiting illegal activities such as drug dealing and use.

All house rules written in the lease should be clearly stated and reviewed at lease signing. Experienced Atlanta real estate management companies avoid confusion by talking through all the house rules with tenants to ensure they understand what they are signing. Give your tenants the opportunity to ask questions about the rules and try not to rush through your explanations. 

In addition to the house rules, define the consequences for breaking the rules stated in the lease. Will you impose a pet fee if the tenant keeps an unauthorized pet? When is the rent considered late, and what are the late fees? What actions trigger an eviction? 

Enforce rules and late fees when applicable, and always be consistent with your policies. Try not to get frustrated or discouraged by tenants who break the rules. Patience and strict adherence to the rules set out in the lease agreement are always the best course of action. Be kind and respectful rather than emotional and confrontational and your tenant will likely respond the same way. 

4 – Respond Quickly to Tenant Requests

One thing Atlanta “Rent Out My Home” ads don’t mention is the number of tenant requests you will receive. Every tenant is different, some do not ever submit a request and others seem to have a new need every day. No matter what type of tenant you have, you must respond quickly to each and every request. Nothing is more frustrating to a tenant than a landlord who does not respond to their requests. 

Responding to your tenant’s requests takes more than just picking up the phone or answering an email. Here are a few tips for responding when your tenants reach out:

  • Always pick up the phone, return a missed call, or answer an email within 24 hours.
  • Determine the severity of the problem. For example, a roof leak necessitates a more immediate response than a tear in a screen door. However, both issues should be resolved quickly.
  • Communicate with your tenants about when they can expect their issue to be resolved. If needed, schedule a time to visit the property and investigate the problem. 
  • If the issue requires professional work schedule an outside vendor and inform your tenant of the time and date the work will occur. 
  • After the issue is resolved, follow up with your tenant. Is everything working properly? Do they have any other needs?

Atlanta real estate management companies agree that responding quickly to your tenant’s requests is one of the best ways to keep them happy. However, it isn’t always easy. Tenant requests can come through in the middle of the night, on holidays and weekends, and when you’re in the middle of an important meeting. Working with experienced property managers takes the pressure out of responding to tenant requests, and gives you time to focus on other aspects of your life.  

5 – Provide Amenities Tenants Love

Keeping your tenants happy means making sure their rental home has everything they need. If your rental property is lacking in a few basic amenities adding them will help you rent out your home faster, or keep your current tenants happy in their home. Low-cost amenities include:

  • Appliances: Georgia landlords are not required to supply certain appliances such as a washer and dryer, but doing so can be beneficial. Many tenants do not own their own appliances, or do not want to lug them from rental home to rental home. Additionally, make sure the appliances you provide are in good working order before you start your Atlanta rent out my home process.
  • Covered Parking and Storage: A garage provides storage space and a place to park your car out of the Atlanta heat. Not every Atlanta area home has a garage, and if your property doesn’t consider adding a covered parking area. A small outdoor shed can be added to provide extra storage.
  • Privacy Fence: If your property has a yard a privacy fence is a must. Knowing they can relax in the privacy of their backyard will make your tenants happier. A sturdy fence is also a bonus for tenants with pets. If your rental home already has a privacy fence make sure it is in good shape before you put your home on the market.
  • Fresh Paint: We know, paint isn’t considered an “amenity”. But a fresh coat of paint can go a long way when you are trying to keep your tenants happy. Paint is one of the best, low-cost ways to spruce up your rental home and make it like new. 

Providing these amenities will help you attract high-quality tenants, and keep them longer. For more information on making your property ready for tenants visit this post

How Atlanta Real Estate Management Companies Keep Tenants Happy

As experienced property managers, we know that keeping your tenants happy and keeping your business lucrative can be a delicate balance. As a property owner, it is easy to feel frustrated when your tenants don’t act how you would like. However, letting these frustrations affect your management is a big mistake. Over the years, we have seen property owners put their investment at risk through miscommunication, failing to respect their tenant’s privacy, or lack of concern for their tenants needs.

Fortunately, we have nearly 30 years of experience managing single-family rental homes. When you work with our team of experts, you can rest assured that your investment is in good hands. We work hard to keep your tenants happy, and keep your investment profitable. We offer a full range of property management services, taking care of every aspect of the rental cycle. With experienced professionals and proven processes, we have the tools to make your investment into a success.

Contact Specialized Property Management Atlanta today to request your professional rental management quote! Simply call 404-596-8454 to get started!

Why Atlanta Property Management Firms Never Skip Inspections

If you live in Atlanta, “Rent My Home” ads may have caught your eye. The Atlanta rental market is booming and savvy homeowners are taking advantage of it. In fact, NPR recently reported that even builders are getting in on the single-family rental home trend. However, jumping into the property management industry is not as easy as it looks. Before you decide to put a “For Rent” sign in your front yard, you need to educate yourself on a few property management basics. One task that should never be overlooked is the property inspection. Learn why experienced property managers always perform regular property inspections by reading below. 

Why Regular Inspections are Important

Many first time landlords make the mistake of only inspecting their property at move in and move out. Move in and move out inspections are vital to running an investment property, but you are doing your property a disservice if that is the only time you inspect it. Most Atlanta property management firms, including Specialized Property Management Atlanta, recommend inspecting your rental property two to four times per year. Here are three reasons regular inspections are important:

  • Lease Compliance: Let’s face it, tenants do not always follow the rules set out in their lease. Sometimes they are forgetful, but other times they intentionally break the rules and hope they won’t be found out. A tenant may get an unauthorized pet, let a friend become a roommate, or even smoke inside a non-smoking rental home. During a regular inspection, you can be on the lookout for compliance issues.
  • Safety Checks: Your rental home was safe and habitable when your tenant moved in, but has that safety been maintained? Believe it or not, tenants may unknowingly put themselves in harm’s way. Hazards like expired smoke alarms or an outlet that feels hot to the touch go unreported, leaving your property and your tenant at risk. Regular property inspections will allow you to address these safety issues before they become a bigger problem.
  • Preventative Maintenance: Regular, preventative maintenance should be performed in order to extend the life of your home’s systems and save you money. For instance, tasks such as changing the AC filter or cleaning the coils can improve the efficiency of your AC and add years to its life.

In Atlanta, rent my home procedures like regular inspections also signal to your tenant that you care about their well-being and the habitability of the rental property. In turn, your tenant will care about keeping the property in good shape, and be more open when maintenance issues arise. Taking on this simple task ultimately leads to a better cared-for home, clear landlord-tenant communication, and less turnover.

What is the Property Owner’s Responsibility?

What are Atlanta property owners responsible for at their rental property? Responsibilities can be a sticky part of property management, especially when one or both parties claim the other is not holding up their end of the lease agreement. Furthermore, negligence on the part of a property owner that results in injuries to the tenant may lead to a lawsuit. According to the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook, a rental property owner is obligated to maintain the structure of the property, ensure the utilities are in working order, and keep the home safe and accessible for their tenants. For example, a front door with a broken lock or an electrical outlet that sparks fall under a property owner’s responsibility. A tenant is not responsible for keeping up the structure of the rental home, however, they are responsible for providing a written notice when a maintenance issue arises. Regular property inspections ensure you are doing your part to make your rental home safe and habitable.

How Atlanta Property Management Firms Conduct Regular Inspections

Now that you know why property inspections are important you may be wondering how to go about conducting them. The first step is to communicate with your tenant about the planned inspection. During lease signing make sure your tenant is aware that you will be inspecting the property quarterly or semi-annually. Prior to each scheduled inspection communicate with your tenant about the time and date you will arrive, and how long the inspection should take. In Georgia, most lease agreements state a landlord is allowed reasonable access to the property as long as they provide sufficient notice. However, individual lease agreements differ so it is important to go over this with your tenant at lease signing. Be aware that if your lease does not cover whether or not the landlord is allowed to access the property, the tenant can deny access.

Bring a check-list to go over while you conduct your property inspection. Make sure you include items such as checking faucets for leaks and ensuring all smoke detectors are in working order.  Take pictures of anything you need to note for repairs or security deposit purposes. Remember, your Atlanta rent my home journey will include normal wear and tear. For more information about what constitutes normal wear and tear, and how security deposits work visit this post.

What to Do When an Issue Arises During an Inspection

What happens if your rental home inspection reveals a problem? The answer depends on what type of problem you find. Here are a few examples of common issues and how you can handle them.

  • Small Maintenance Need: Did you find a leaky showerhead or a loose stair rail? Most tenants don’t even bother to submit a maintenance ticket for something so small, however, we recommend being proactive about these issues. Consider bringing a small toolbag when you perform your inspection so you can address these issues immediately. This method will save you time and money, and let your tenant see how much you care about their home and comfort.
  • Large Maintenance Need: Occasionally we find problems during inspections that require more than just a hammer or wrench. When large maintenance issues arise most experienced Atlanta property management firms recommend calling licensed professionals to help. Make sure you have a list of trusted professionals to call when you need them so your tenant does not have to wait for repairs.
  • Lease Compliance Issues: What do you do if your tenant adopted 30 cats despite a clear “no pet” policy? First, you need to remain calm. It can be frustrating to see your lease agreement disregarded, but getting angry won’t help fix the situation. Be respectful and firm when you bring up lease compliance issues, and always have a copy of the lease with you when discussing them. Most lease compliance issues can be resolved quickly and favorably this way. 

While you may not have a tenant with 30 cats or an AC system that decides to call it quits prematurely, we guarantee you will encounter issues with your rental property eventually. We recommend taking notes and pictures, and keeping good records of every rental inspection and encounter with your tenants. 

Running an Efficient Atlanta “Rent My Home” Business

Regular property inspections take time and effort, so how do you budget them into your bottom line? Why not let the professionals handle it? Experienced, professional property managers have the tools and knowledge you need to make your investment successful. Here is how the property managers at Specialized Property Management Atlanta do it:

  • Our team of professionals never skip a routine property inspection. We know how important it is to be aware of what is happening at your property.
  • With our inspection checklist, no stone goes unturned. We know what to look for during an inspection in order to keep your property in good running order.
  • Cost-effective maintenance is important. We are experts in proactive, money-saving maintenance techniques that keep your property from falling into disrepair.  
  • Our property managers communicate clearly and respectfully every time we encounter your tenant, leading to less frustration and turnover. We deal with lease compliance issues swiftly so problems do not get out of hand.
  • We keep detailed records with pictures, accessible via your Owner Portal, so you are never in the dark about what is happening at your property. Bookkeeping was never so easy.

Working with our Atlanta property management firm gives you access to a team of experts in every area of property management, as well as a list of professional vendors. Simply put, working with Specialized Property Management Atlanta is an easier and more efficient way to do business.

Contact Specialized Property Management Atlanta Today

Specialized Property Management Atlanta is one of the top Atlanta property management companies for a reason. With the hot Atlanta rental property market, you may be tempted to think you can self-manage or hire a “discount” property manager who is less experienced. However, our property owners find they save money, reduce stress, and experience less turnover when they work with our team. Our proven processes, like regular property inspections, will help you increase your cash flow without increasing your workload. In fact, our team of experts takes care of every aspect of the rental cycle. All you need to do is sit back and let our team do what we do best.

If you are considering renting out your Atlanta home, call the experts at Specialized Property Management Atlanta. Request a quote by visiting this page, or call our specialized team at 404-596-8454.