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Understanding Atlanta Rental Management Lease Agreements

Lease agreements dictate how you approach Atlanta rental management, and everything about your relationship with your tenant. But have you ever read over a lease and felt confused? Leases are filled with legal terms that can be hard to understand, but it is important to know exactly what the lease says. We are here to help you understand what is contained in a lease agreement, what can affect the agreement, and what happens when a lease is violated or terminated.

Understanding Lease Agreements

Because lease agreements are legal documents, signed by both the property owner and the tenant, it is important to read it closely before signing. A lease will outline the specific rights, responsibilities, and obligations of both tenant and owner. In every lease agreement you should find:

  • The names of the landlord and tenant
  • The address of the property to be leased
  • The term of the lease
  • Total rent owed each month
  • Rent due dates, when the rent is considered late, and late fees
  • How and where the rent is to be paid each month
  • Security deposit information

Some aspects of the lease may differ from property to property such as:

  • Pet deposit or pet rent instructions, including which fees are refundable
  • Who is responsible for certain maintenance aspects such as lawn care
  • How to contact the landlord or Atlanta rental management company for maintenance or emergencies
  • Whether parking is included on the property

Under Georgia law, a lease must contain several disclosures. The name of any party, such as a property manager, who works on behalf of the landlord should be disclosed on the lease agreement. Other disclosures include:

A lease may seem long, but every part of it is important. In order to protect yourself and your property you, and your tenant should read over the entire lease before signing. If you are confused or uncomfortable with any part of it, do not hesitate to bring this up with your property manager.

How Disabilities Affect Lease Agreements

The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, familial status, disability, or national origin. How does this affect lease agreements? The Act states that property owners and their Atlanta rental management companies must make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations vary based on individual needs, but here are a few common examples:

  • Many people living with disabilities use service animals to help with daily tasks. The Department of Housing and Urban Development explains service animals as “an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified effects of a person’s disability. An assistance animal is not a pet.” Even if your property is a “no pet” property you may be required to alter the lease to allow for your tenant’s service animal. 
  • If an individual uses a wheelchair or has difficulty walking they may request accommodations for their disability. This can include building ramps to access the unit or an assigned parking space close to the entrance of the unit. 
  • A tenant with a mental disability is afraid to leave the house, but his Atlanta rental management company has a policy that rent checks must be delivered in person to the office. An example of reasonable accommodation for this tenant would be allowing him to mail his rent check.

There are times when a reasonable accommodation must be made after the lease has been signed. For example, two months after moving into a rental home an accident leaves a tenant in a wheelchair and he requests a ramp up the front steps. This type of request can be made at any point during the lease. Additionally, landlords are required to allow their tenants to make reasonable modifications at the tenant’s expense, if these modifications can be removed when the tenant moves out. 

While the law is in place to protect those with disabilities, it does recognize that landlords should not experience hardship as a result of it. If the landlord can prove a request would cause undue financial or administrative hardship, he or she is exempt from the accommodation. To learn more about the ins and outs of reasonable accommodation, talk to your Atlanta rental management company.

When a Lease Agreement is Disputed

A lease is a legal agreement that must be kept by all parties involved. What happens if one side of the agreement does not abide by the terms of the lease? While rare, it does happen. If a tenant is in violation of the lease your first step is to respectfully point out the violation. For example, a tenant may buy a dog without paying a pet deposit or telling the landlord. Bring a copy of the lease and point out how the tenant is in violation of its terms. Oftentimes this step is all it takes to correct the violation and move forward. The tenant may choose to either pay the pet deposit and/or increased rent, or get rid of the pet. If the tenant refuses to comply with the terms of the lease, there may be grounds for eviction, which we discuss below. 

What happens when a landlord or Atlanta rental management company is in violation of the lease? The most common example of this is when a property falls into disrepair. According to the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook, “residential landlords have a duty to keep a unit in a safe and habitable condition and in good repair.” A landlord is responsible for keeping the structure safe and habitable, and the utilities in working order. If a problem occurs it is up to the tenant to report the problem immediately so the landlord can respond in a reasonable amount of time. If a landlord does not respond to their tenant’s maintenance request, and the request makes the rental home uninhabitable, the tenant has several options for moving forward:

  • The tenant can sue the landlord for damages incurred from failure to repair the home.
  • The tenant can repair the damages then deduct the costs from their monthly rent payment.
  • The tenant can contact a housing code inspector to condemn the property and inform the landlord he or she has broken the terms of the lease.
  • The tenant can move out, claim “constructive eviction,” and stop paying rent to the landlord or Atlanta rental management company.
  • The tenant can seek compensation for time spent in the home while it was in disrepair, this may include cash or credit toward future rent payments.

The condition of the rental property can be a tricky subject, and the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook advises tenants to proceed with caution when disputing the disrepair of a property. As a property owner, the best way to avoid disputes about the condition of the property is to perform regular inspections and preventative maintenance.

Eviction Process

While unpleasant, evictions are sometimes necessary. When a tenant stops paying rent, or stays in the rental home beyond the lease term, you can take legal action with an eviction. Evictions must follow a specific process, and can be tricky to navigate. It is important to note that the tenant is allowed to stay in the residence, with the utilities on, until a court decision is made. At our Atlanta rental management company, we do our best to avoid evictions by placing high-quality tenants, dealing respectfully with all our clients, and clearly communicating responsibilities. In Georgia the process for eviction is as follows:

  • Surrender Possession and Vacate: Notice must be given to the tenant to surrender possession of the property and vacate the premises.
  • Dispossessory Affidavit: If the tenant refuses to vacate the property, the landlord can file a dispossessory affidavit in magistrate court stating the details of the broken lease terms. The affidavit is then served to the tenant, usually by a sheriff.
  • Answering the Affidavit: The tenant has 7 days to answer the affidavit in court or in writing.
  • Hearing: After the tenant files an answer, a hearing is held in which a judge rules for or against the landlord.
  • Writ of Possession: When the court rules in favor of the landlord, the landlord must then request of a writ of possession, ordering the tenant to move out within 7 days. The landlord is responsible for the costs associated with eviction.

The landlord and tenant both have the option to appeal the ruling within 7 days if the ruling was not in their favor.

How to Avoid the Headache of Atlanta Rental Management

Knowledge of lease terms and disputes, fair housing laws, and the eviction process are all part of the day to day work of a property manager. Making small mistakes in property management can lead to costly fines and sore tenant relationships. Our clients save time and money, and avoid the headache of managing a rental property when they choose to let us take care of their rental home. To get your rental quote, call our office today at 404-596-8454.

Cost-Effective Fall and Winter Maintenance for Atlanta Residential Property Management

Fall in Atlanta brings a welcome break from the summer heat and sends many residents outside to enjoy the milder weather. For Atlanta residential property management companies and property owners, this good weather should serve as a reminder to perform seasonal maintenance. One of the best ways to save money as a property owner is staying on top of maintenance issues, and catching small problems before they become emergencies. Contact your property manager to check the following items at your rental property, and remind your tenants of seasonal maintenance items they are responsible for.

Fall Maintenance Inside Your Rental Property

Before you visit your rental property, talk to your tenant about the maintenance you will be performing, and schedule a time to come. Ask your tenant if there are any issues that need to be addressed, and remind them if anything comes up in between inspections they can submit a maintenance request through our online tenant portal

Make a checklist of the things you need to check inside the property. Your checklist may vary from property to property, as each will have different features. Here is an overview of the items you or your Atlanta residential property management company should inspect inside your home every fall.

  • Smoke Alarms: Check that every smoke alarm is in working order. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.” The USFA also recommends replacing the batteries in your smoke alarm once a year, and replacing the alarm itself every 10 years.
  • Electrical Outlets: Most tenants do not take the time to regularly feel their electrical outlets for warmth, but this quick check could save you from a house fire. Warm or hot electrical outlets could signal a problem with the wiring in your rental home. If you or your tenant feel heat coming from electrical outlets and switches call a professional electrician to inspect further.
  • Flooring: If your rental property has carpeting check to make sure it is all lying flat. Loose carpeting may buckle and present a tripping hazard. 
  • Loose Railings: Another safety hazard noted by Atlanta residential property management companies are loose railings on balconies and stairs. Wiggle any railings around your rental home and tighten if necessary. 
  • Heating Systems: The best way to extend the life of your heating and cooling system is to perform regular, preventative maintenance on it.  Filters should be changed every 6 months, or sooner if your tenant has pets. Before the weather gets too cold, make sure your heating system has a routine check from an HVAC company. Routine check-ups cost around $100, but could add years to the life of your system making them well worth the small upfront cost. If your home has a furnace, make sure you reset the dampers before turning it on for the winter. Oil the bearing around the blower shaft and motor, and check for damage or worn out parts around the unit. Address any blocked vents and leaky air ducts.
  • Indoor Pipes: Some home builders run water pipes through the attic. Your Atlanta residential property management company can help you determine if this is the case if your rental property. Proper insulation of these pipes is needed before freezing weather hits Atlanta.
  • Lease Compliance: Routine inspections provide an opportunity to check that your tenant is complying with all parts of the lease. For example, all residents must be listed on the lease, and anyone over 18 must fill out a rental application. If your tenant decides to move their significant other into the home that person must fill out an application. 

A fall inspection is also a good time to remind your tenant of emergency procedures and their responsibilities. Make sure your tenant knows where the water and gas shut off valves are. Inside the home, your tenant is responsible for keeping certain things clean and in good shape. You may want to provide your tenant with a fall cleaning checklist of their own, to remind them of the items for which they are responsible. This can include cleaning out drains, vacuuming around appliances and air ducts, and cleaning floors and rugs. In addition, your tenant should report any issues, big or small. 

Outdoor Maintenance Recommended By Your Atlanta Residential Property Management Company

The outside of your rental home needs attention before winter hits. Regular outdoor maintenance will increase your curb appeal and extend the life of your home’s systems. Here is a checklist for you and your property manager. 

  • Landscaping: Your lease should lay out who is responsible for the landscaping at your rental property. Often your tenant is the one who must keep the yard maintained by mowing, edging, raking, and weeding. Fall is a good time to remind your tenants of their responsibility to keep the yard, grass, and flowers in good shape. With winter weather on the horizon make sure you alert your tenant to any plants that need to be covered during a freeze. 
  • Straightening the Yard: Atlanta residents spend more time outside during the mild fall weather. Now is a good time for your Atlanta residential property management company to remind your tenant to take a look around the yard. Your tenant should throw away debris, and clean up lawn equipment and playthings. Some items will need to be stored in the garage or shed during the winter. Tell your tenant to be proactive about moving these items so they do not feel rushed if a sudden cold front hits.
  • Weatherizing: According to the National Weather Service, the average first freeze in Atlanta is mid-November, though a freeze can occur as early as mid-October. Weatherizing the outside of your rental house before a freeze can protect your home and keep your tenants warm during the winter months. Make sure the home is well-insulated and replace any worn-out weather strips and peeling caulk from around windows and doors. Outdoor electrical outlets should be covered to protect against drafts. Water pipes should be insulated to prevent the lines from bursting during freezing weather. 

A well-prepared home can withstand the winter weather and keep your tenants safe and happy. Taking a small amount of time to perform a fall inspection will lead to time and money saved in the long run.

Cost-Effective Atlanta Residential Property Management

Investment property owners are always looking for ways to cut costs around their property, and for good reason. The less it costs to maintain your rental property, the more income you have from your investment. While it may feel counter-intuitive, the most cost-effective way to run your property is by performing regular inspections and preventative maintenance. For example, an HVAC check-up and routine cleaning costs around $100. Replacing your HVAC system can cost as much as $10,000. Routine cleaning will also ensure your system is running smoothly, keeping your tenants happy. Preventative maintenance for your HVAC system will extend its life and save you thousands of dollars.   

How Specialized Property Management Atlanta Can Help

While a cleaning and inspection checklist is nice, nothing compares to knowledge gained by experience. That is why we recommend leaving regular inspections to our property managers. A professional property manager from Specialized Property Management Atlanta can help you streamline your inspection process in several ways:

  • Experts in Inspection: We inspect all of our properties regularly so we know what we are looking for. We can spot small issues before they turn into large problems that cost you thousands in repairs.
  • Communication with Tenants: One of the trickiest parts of Atlanta residential property management is communicating with your tenants. Maintaining a single-family rental property comes with different responsibilities than many tenants are used to. For example, if your tenant previously lived in a large apartment complex they are not used to maintaining the landscaping. Respectful and clear communication is important so your tenants are happy and safe in their rental home. Oftentimes we see that tenants take better care of the property when they see you performing regular maintenance on it. 
  • Vendor List: We work with licensed vendors around Atlanta so when your home needs extra care from a professional plumber, electrician, or another contractor, we know who to call. We can make sure you get top quality work at a great price.

Avoid expensive mistakes and the everyday hassle of property management by hiring one of Atlanta’s top property management companies. Our Atlanta residential property management company goes above and beyond to ensure that you and your tenants are happy and comfortable. At Specialized Property Management Atlanta, we provide unparalleled expertise, ensuring that you can cut costs without sacrificing quality. Our clients often find that they save more in time and money by working with our property managers than if they self-manage their rental property.
If you’re searching for a property management team to take over your rental property, give us a call today. Our professional, experienced property management team will provide you with a rental quote. To get started, call 404-596-8454.

Advantages of Using Atlanta Real Estate Management

During the last few years, rental markets around the country have grown at an outstanding rate. The Pew Research Center reports that there are more renters now than any point in the last 50 years, making it a great time to be an investment property owner. If you’re considering real estate investment you may be wondering if you should self-manage or hire a property management company. Atlanta real estate management is certainly easier in today’s market, but property management is also hard work, and self-managing your rental property can lead to expensive mistakes. Learn how experienced property managers can help you make the most of your investment. 

What are Your Options for Property Management?

Whether you are just starting out, or you already have an investment property, you should explore all your options for property management before moving forward with one company. To make things easier when you are researching property management companies, we lay out each type of company you might come across below.

  • One-Man Operation: A property manager who does everything on his own may offer what seems to be specialized attention. The problem with a one-man operation is that property management takes time and expertise, which can be difficult for one person.
  • The Mom and Pop Shop: This type of property management company knows Atlanta like the back of their hand. They live here and have knowledge of local trends. However, similar to the one-man operation, property management is most useful when approached by a team of experts. A small, local company cannot offer the incentives of a larger company.
  • Full Service Atlanta Real Estate Management: A full-service property management company, like Specialized Property Management Atlanta, provides everything you need to make your investment into a success. A team of experts will use their knowledge of the local market, trends, advertising techniques, efficient maintenance, and more to get you the best return on investment.

Be aware of the differences between property management companies when you are searching for the right manager. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is true more often than not. 

Do it Yourself Property Management: The Pros and Cons

What if you don’t want to hire a property management company? Managing your own rental property sounds appealing, especially if you live close to the property. Many first-time landlords assume DIY property management will save them thousands of dollars. The truth? You can save thousands by managing your own property, but only if everything goes perfectly, 100% of the time. Atlanta real estate management is easy when you have a long-term tenant who takes care of your home and pays rent on time, every time. Unfortunately, tenants don’t always pay their rent on time, maintenance issues arise in the middle of the night, and a local housing regulation you were not aware of can cost you big money. Unless you are an expert in local and federal housing laws, tenant relations, screening applicants, advertising, and home maintenance, you could be putting your property at risk. The reality of DIY property management is that this method ends up costing you more than it would take to pay a full-service property management company. 

What Does a Property Management Company Do?

What exactly does a property management company have to offer? Services between companies may vary, so make sure you compare specific services when you are looking at different companies. In general, a property management company should take care of every part of the rental cycle. The rental cycle includes the following steps:

  • Property Inspection: Before you put your property for rent, you need to make sure it is “rent ready”. This could be as simple as rekeying and cleaning, though in some cases the property requires more extensive repairs. In Georgia, as in most states, property owners are required to keep rental properties safe and habitable. Our Atlanta real estate management team will conduct an inspection to ensure your property meets all safety requirements. If repairs are needed to bring your property up to code, we will help you coordinate it quickly so you can get your home on the market as soon as possible. 
  • Marketing: Advertising your rental property through the right channels is the best way to bring in high-quality tenants. Putting a “For Rent” sign in your yard and posting the listing on Craigslist simply isn’t enough, and you could end up with an extended vacancy. In order to reduce vacancy days, we advertise your rental property across dozens of websites, including our own rental property search page. This method also brings in more applicants, allowing you to pick the best one for your property.
  • Showing: We save our property owners and potential tenants time and money by posting video walkthroughs of our rental properties. Video walkthroughs allow tenants to get a feel for the property before scheduling an in-person showing. By the time a potential tenant decides to schedule an in-person showing, they are more likely to request a rental application.
  • Screening: After a tenant has filled out their application they must be screened. This step can be tricky for new landlords to navigate. You and your Atlanta real estate management team must follow all fair housing laws to ensure everyone has equal access to housing. Rejecting an applicant can only be based on their credit, employment, rental history, references, and income. 
  • Lease Paperwork: Drawing up the lease, and making sure all parties understand it, is an important part of property management. All the leasing documents should be signed and deposits secured in an escrow account in order to protect you from risk. Additionally, when paperwork is delayed it could end up costing you a great tenant, and lead to increased vacancy days.
  • Collections: Setting firm expectations for rent due dates and late fees is one of the most important, and most difficult, parts of the rental cycle. At the end of the day, owning rental real estate is a business. Always deal respectfully, yet firmly when collecting rent.
  • Maintenance: If you only visit your rental property when something breaks, you are not practicing cost-effective maintenance. Our property managers regularly inspect your rental home and perform seasonal maintenance to ensure your property is in good working order. Catching a small problem early on will keep it from becoming an expensive issue down the line. Emergency maintenance issues are dealt with swiftly by one of our experienced professionals, any time of the day or night.
  • Moving In and Out: The final portion of Atlanta real estate management is overseeing the move in/move out procedures. These procedures include; walkthroughs with your tenant, collecting and disbursing deposits, and ensuring your tenants know their responsibilities. 

In addition to these services, property management often includes managing outside vendors for repairs, dealing with legal issues when they arise, and being available 24/7 for your tenants. Property management isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of investment, which is why smart investors hire experienced, professional property managers. 

What Makes Specialized Property Management Atlanta Different?

What makes Specialized Property Management Atlanta different from other Atlanta property management companies? We are a full-service property management company, meaning we take care of everything during the rental cycle and more. In addition to managing all aspects of the rental cycle as explained above we offer the following services:

  • Vendor Partnerships: We partner with qualified, licensed vendors so that you can be sure you are getting great quality work and a great deal when you hire an outside vendor.
  • Technology Driven Atlanta Real Estate Management: Our technology-driven approach to property management makes life easier for everyone involved. Access your owner portal at any time of day or night to see property reports and records. Tenants can pay rent and submit maintenance tickets through their tenant portal
  • Local Experts: Rather than rely on one individual’s knowledge of the entire industry, Specialized Property Management Atlanta is made of a team of experts. Every aspect of property management is taken care of by individuals with extensive knowledge of, and experience with, your unique situation.
  • Experience in the Single-Family Rental Industry: Since beginning Specialized Property Management Atlanta, our focus has been single-family homes. This focus has provided us with invaluable experience in a sector of the real estate industry that is growing at an incredible pace. While other property management companies are trying to pivot their services to better fit single-family rentals, we have hard-earned knowledge from years in the industry.

For the Best Atlanta Real Estate Management, Contact Us Today

When you’re trying to decide if you should hire a discount property management company, self-manage, or hire a full-service company, make sure you are aware of all the pros and cons of each choice. The time and money you will save by hiring expert property managers is often much more than you will save by self-managing. Our property managers not only take the day-to-day stress out of owning a rental property, but they also use their knowledge and experience to keep you from making costly mistakes. 

Schedule your rental quote today by calling our office at 404-596-8454.

Atlanta Property Management Companies Make Investing Easy

Do you want to invest in real estate? Maybe you already own a rental property, but you want to expand your portfolio. As one of the most experienced Atlanta property management companies we have seen how much smart investors can make in the rental property market. Now is the perfect time to invest in an Atlanta rental property. If you aren’t sure how to get started in real estate investing the first step is to research your options. Below you can read about a few of the different methods for investing in Atlanta real estate.

Should I Flip or Buy and Hold?

Flip or Flop, Flipping Out, Zombie House Flipping, Masters of Flip, there are countless TV shows about flipping houses. Investors buy a home, fix it up, and sell it for an enormous profit. Once you sell your first flipped home you can roll some of the profits into the next purchase and keep moving up from there. There are many investors who find success in flipping houses, but just as many who barely break even. If you choose to invest in real estate by flipping houses there are some things you should know. Top Atlanta property management companies recommend taking these steps:

  • Be Patient: Don’t purchase a house if it is a good deal, wait around for a house that is a great deal. Savvy house flippers patiently wait for the perfect home at the perfect price. If you aren’t patient you may end up in the hole.
  • Brush Up on Your Handyman Skills: “Sweat Equity” goes a long way when flipping houses. If you can wield a hammer you can save some serious money. But be careful not to take on any job that requires a licensed professional.
  • Stick to a Budget: One reason many house flippers lose money is that they go over budget. In order to stick to a budget you need to know which repairs offer the best return on investment.
  • Manage Your Time Wisely: House flipping is all about time management. Unless you paid cash for the home you will be paying down a mortgage every month, including interest. Every month the home is under construction you lose money. Factor in the time your home will be under construction and on the market when you create your initial budget.

Buying and holding is the alternative to flipping homes. Our Atlanta property management company has seen real estate trends come and go, but the buy and hold method remains one of the best ways to make a profit in real estate. While this method does not bring the same kind of instant gratification as flipping does, it can make you more in the long run. Smart real estate investors find a home that appeals to renters, in a good neighborhood, at a good price. In many real estate markets property owners are able to charge enough in rent to cover their mortgage principal and interest, real estate taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. Even property owners who just break even after their costs will make money in the long run because of the equity they build.

There is not one “right way” to invest in real estate. Some handy investors love the rush that comes with flipping homes. Others enjoy the stability and guarantee that comes with buying and holding rental property. One point remains true for every investor; real estate is one of the best investments you can make. Before you decide to purchase real estate have a plan in place for flipping or holding.

Why Atlanta Property Management Companies Recommend Single Family Home Investing

NPR recently reported on a new trend in real estate. A large number of people are choosing to rent single family homes, even when they can afford to buy. In fact, home builders are jumping on the bandwagon, building communities of single family rental homes. Why are so many people choosing to rent instead of buy? Most renters enjoy the freedom that comes with renting. Buying a home means choosing to stay put for the foreseeable future, or losing money if you decide to move. Some younger renters saw their friends and relatives lose houses during the housing crash and are afraid of losing their home if another recession hits. 

Beyond the current trends there are other reasons to invest in single family rental homes.

  • Appreciation: Single family rental homes tend to appreciate more over time than multi-family rental properties. If you plan to sell at some point in the future you will likely get more from your single family rental home.
  • Outside Maintenance: According to most Atlanta property management companies, tenants of single family rental homes are responsible for landscaping and other outdoor maintenance. Property owners are responsible for this aspect of multi-family rental units.  
  • Location: Single family rental homes tend to be in nice, quiet neighborhoods, close to good schools. 
  • Less Turnover: Tenants who rent single-family homes typically sign longer leases than tenants of apartments or other multi-family rental units. 

While there are many factors that go into making your rental property a success, single-family rentals tend to be a stable and predictable investment. In addition, when you work with experienced, professional property managers you can avoid expensive mistakes that may put your investment at risk. To learn more about our full range of services for single-family rental homes visit this page.

Investing in Multi-Family Rental Units

Duplexes, quadruplexes, or smaller apartment buildings can also be a good investment for individuals who want to make a start in real estate investing. But there are big differences between single-family rental properties and multi-family rental units. Before you dive in and purchase a multi-family rental unit consider these pros and cons from Atlanta property management companies. 

  • One Mortgage, Multiple Units: A multi-family unit can be bought with one mortgage, which can be a benefit if you plan to purchase other properties. Most banks put a cap on the number of mortgages you can hold. With a multi-family unit you can use have one mortgage bringing in several income streams.
  • Overall Costs: While the cost to purchase a multi-family rental unit is almost always more than purchasing a single-family rental home, some maintenance costs are lower. For example, owning one quadruplex versus four rental homes means only one roof to fix.
  • Vacancy Days: Vacancy days are expensive, no matter what type of property you own. However, with a multi-family unit vacancy costs are offset by the income you generate with your other units.
  • Appreciation: As we stated above, single-family rental homes tend to appreciate better than multi-family rental units. If your plan is to sell sometime in the near future, a multi-family rental unit is probably not the best investment for you.

Of course, it is worth noting that with more units you are likely to have more problems. The day-to-day aspects of property management are multiplied with each new tenant. Most Atlanta property management companies will tell you there is no “right” investment for everyone. If you are considering investing in real estate, think about how much time, money, and effort you want to put into it so you can decide if single family rentals or multi-family rentals are right for you.

Guidelines for Buying Rental Property

When you decide what type of rental property you want to purchase, how do you find the right one? As experienced property managers we know a thing or two about what makes a rental property a good investment. Oftentimes the property owners we work with are simply turning their former family home into their first investment property. This can be a great way to get started in real estate investing, but it is not right for everyone. If you are considering this route talk to our experienced property managers to help you decide if it is right for you.

Picking a single-family rental home to purchase is different than picking a home for your personal residence. You need to think like a renter in order to get the best return on investment. Atlanta property management companies can help you narrow your search for the perfect rental based on their local expertise. In general, your rental home should include these things:

  • A location close to good schools, restaurants, and public transportation.
  • A fenced-in yard.
  • Laundry hook-ups.
  • Three or more bedrooms.
  • Built in the last 20 years.
  • Good curb appeal.

Look for a home that supports a family lifestyle. Homes that have unusual layouts, small backyards, or are located on busy streets are more difficult to rent out. When you think you have found the perfect investment property make sure you check local regulations and HOA bylaws before you purchase it. Unfortunately, we have seen over-eager investors purchase a property only to discover they cannot use it as a rental. 

Get Started With Specialized Property Management Atlanta

Ready to start investing? Don’t lose money on your investment by making common, avoidable mistakes. Specialized Property Management Atlanta helps first time and veteran investors make more money on their rental property. Unlike other Atlanta property management companies we are offer full-service property management. That means we take care of everything during the rental cycle. To learn more about investing in Atlanta real estate call us today at (404) 596-8454. 

How an Atlanta Property Manager Can Help You with Untidy Tenants

Trash piled up around the house, wet towels laying on the floor, dishes stacked in the sink. We can all be untidy from time to time, but when does it change from being a little messy to living in an unsafe space? One of the most important, and most tension-filled, aspects of property management is communicating with your tenants about keeping the rental home clean. An unkempt home will bring down your property’s value, and can lead to expensive clean up when your tenant moves out. In addition, seeing your investment property deteriorate because of an untidy tenant can be frustrating. So, how do you deal with an untidy tenant? Read below to find out how the top Atlanta residential property management recommends handling this situation.

Dealing with an Untidy Tenant Versus an Unsafe Tenant

At what point does a tenant move from being untidy to being unsafe? Before you talk with your tenant about their cleaning habits you need to determine if they’re just untidy or if they are creating an unsafe living environment. A tenant who leaves dirty clothes lying around or doesn’t clean the toilets more than once every few months may gross you out, but chances are they won’t cause permanent damage to your rental home. However, if your tenant’s behavior makes your rental home hazardous you should step in to explain the tenant’s responsibility. Examples of hazards include: 

  • Messes that attract rodents or other pests
  • Animal urine or feces in the home
  • Mold growing in wet areas
  • Anything that blocks air vents or a furnace intake

Your property manager will check for cleanliness during a routine property inspection. Property inspections are always scheduled beforehand with the tenant, and most of the time your tenant will straighten up in preparation for the inspection. If your Atlanta property manager notes pests, a persistent bad smell, or other hazardous conditions during a scheduled inspection it may be time to sit down with your tenant and talk about their behavior.

What are Landlords and Tenants Responsible For?

According to the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook a landlord is responsible for maintaining the structure of the property, keeping utilities in working order, and ensuring the tenant has safe access to the property. A landlord must also keep the rental home in a safe and habitable condition, and respond to maintenance requests in a timely manner. A leaky roof, broken windows, or rotten siding all fall under a landlord’s responsibility.

Your tenant is responsible for most of the daily aspects of maintaining the rental home. Cleaning up after a pet, taking out the trash, and making sure the home is generally tidy all fall under the tenant’s responsibilities. If there is any question about who is responsible for a certain aspect of maintaining the rental home you and your tenant should first consult the lease agreement. In order to avoid confusion we write clear and concise lease agreements and review them with the tenant before signing.

How Your Atlanta Residential Property Management Company Communicates Expectations

Hazardous conditions can oftentimes be avoided through clear communication about tenant responsibility. Most lease agreements state a tenant is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the home. Some tenants only need a gentle reminder of their responsibilities, which is why routine inspections are so important. Talk to your property manager today if you have concerns about your tenant’s cleanliness. They can schedule a routine inspection to check the state of the home. They will take note of lease violations and the general state of the property to give you peace of mind. Property inspection reports are available 24/7 through your online owner portal.

It is also important to remember that security deposits exist in part to cover expenses beyond normal wear and tear after your tenant moves out. If you have an untidy tenant who is not causing hazardous conditions you may need to be content knowing you can use the security deposit to hire a cleaning crew, replace some carpets, or repaint. However, if your tenant’s behavior causes expensive or irreparable damage it is time to communicate expectations as laid out in the lease agreement.

Why Atlanta Property Managers Need to Know About Hoarding

Hoarding is a hot topic, with numerous television shows dedicated to the disability in the last decade. What do property owners and managers need to know about hoarding? Since 2013 hoarding has been a defined mental disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5) defines hoarding as, 

“Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. This difficulty is due to a perceived need to save the items, and to distress associated with discarding them. The difficulty discarding possessions results in the accumulation of possessions that congest and clutter active living areas and substantially compromises their intended use. If living areas are uncluttered, it is only because of the interventions of third parties (e.g., family members, cleaners, authorities). The hoarding causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (including maintaining a safe environment for self and others). The hoarding is not attributable to another medical condition (e.g., brain injury, cerebrovascular disease, Prader-Willi syndrome). The hoarding is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., obsessions in obsessive-compulsive disorder, decreased energy in major depressive disorder, delusions in schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder, cognitive deficits in major neurocognitive disorder, restricted interests in autism spectrum disorder).”

Hoarding can be a difficult disorder for Atlanta residential property management companies to navigate. Property owners are required to make sure their property is safe and habitable. According to the DSM-5 hoarders accumulate possessions in a way that makes their living areas unusable, which often means emergency exits or air vents are blocked. Hoarding can also lead to insect and rodent infestations, mold, and other hazardous conditions. However, hoarding is a recognized disability protected by the Fair Housing Act, and as such reasonable accommodations must be made for tenants who struggle with hoarding.

What to Do if You Discover Your Tenant is a Hoarder

If your renter is diagnosed as a hoarder he or she can request reasonable accommodations in order to stay in the rental home. What are reasonable accommodations in this scenario? Here is what we recommend:

  • Sit down with your tenant to create a plan. Be respectful at all times while you work out a strategy to get the home back into shape. Give your tenant a reasonable amount of time to address the problem, and make sure both parties sign a written agreement before moving forward with a plan to clean the space.
  • After the specified time you or your Atlanta property manager must inspect the property. If nothing has changed you can consider eviction. According to the Fair Housing Act a landlord can deny housing if they can prove keeping the tenant would put undue financial or administrative burden on their rental property business. Hoarding can cause additional financial and administrative burden by leading to code violations and property damage. 
  • Even if your tenant has cleaned and disposed of enough items to satisfy the agreement, hoarding habits may return. You or your property manager should perform regular property inspections. Be respectful and sensitive to your tenant, and create a new agreement if the hoarding gets out of hand again. There is no limit to the number of times a tenant can request reasonable accommodations for their disability.

An experienced, professional property manager can help you deal with a tenant who is hoarding. Oftentimes a property owner can let their emotions get in the way of acting fairly toward their tenants. Your Atlanta residential property management company acts as a third party, enforcing the lease and any other agreements respectfully and in accordance with the Fair Housing Act. If you suspect your tenant may be hoarding talk to one of our property managers. We can help you speak with your tenant and create a plan that works for everyone.

How Professional Property Managers Take Care of Your Rental Property

One of the advantages of hiring professional property management is the peace of mind you gain. Our property managers are experts at caring for your rental property. As part of our full range of property management services we perform regular inspections to check for lease compliance and maintenance issues. In addition, we perform cost-effective maintenance, such as periodic AC and heating system check ups, to extend the life of your rental home’s systems. 

At Specialized Property Management Atlanta we want you to enjoy your investment, not worry about it. We take care of the day-to-day aspects of property management, as well as the once-in-a-while tasks. Our property managers know how to communicate clearly and respectfully with tenants, leading to less turnover and fewer evictions. We remind tenants of their responsibilities, and check in with them regularly.

If you are considering hiring an Atlanta property manager contact our office today. Our clients often tell us the money they save by working with property management experts more than offsets the cost of our management fees. Additionally, some management fees are tax deductible. And working with full-service property managers means you can sit back and relax knowing your investment is in good hands. To get started today call our office for a professional rental management quote at (404) 596-8454.

Keep Your Rental Safe and Up to Code with Atlanta Property Management

According to the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook landlords are required to keep their rental units in a safe and habitable condition. Most of us have heard horror stories of unsafe rental properties. Hazards like faulty electrical wiring, mold, and rodent infestations are a landlord and tenants worst nightmare. As a rental property owner you should be aware of potential hazards at your property, both for your tenant’s safety and your own protection from liability. Our Atlanta property management company can help you keep your investment secure through regular inspections, efficient repairs, and expert knowledge of housing codes. 

Atlanta Housing Codes

Why are housing codes and requirements important to know? As a rental property owner you could be liable for damages if you are made aware of unsafe living conditions and do nothing to address the problem. Local, state, and federal housing codes are in place to keep renters safe and healthy in their home. Knowing what constitutes unsafe living conditions will help you react quickly and efficiently to your tenant’s maintenance requests. In Atlanta, property owners must maintain the structural integrity of the rental unit, keep utilities in working order, and ensure their tenants have safe access to their unit. If your tenant submits a request in writing stating that an aspect of your rental property is unsafe it is your responsibility to fix it in a timely manner. Failure to do so could result in you being held liable if your tenant is injured.

Property owners are not responsible to fix any defects noted during move-in, as long as the defects do not make the home unsafe. For problems that arise during a tenant’s lease, your tenant is responsible for submitting a maintenance request as soon as possible. At Specialized Property Management Atlanta we make maintenance requests simple through our online tenant portal. In addition, our property managers are available 24/7 for emergency calls. After you or your property manager are made aware of the maintenance issue you must respond within a reasonable time. The Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook states that a “reasonable time is determined by the seriousness of the condition and the nature of the repair.” For example, a busted pipe that is flooding the home will require a faster response time than an interior door handle that has come loose. No matter how serious the request, your best course of action is to respond immediately. Slow response to maintenance requests is one of the major factors in tenant turnover.

In our decades of experience in property management we have dealt with countless requests from tenants. So what does responsive, efficient property management look like on a day-to-day basis? If your tenant submits a maintenance request to you or your Atlanta property management company stating the front door is defective and will not stay closed or lock, you should respond and fix the door the same day. If you wait a week to visit the property and fix the door, and in the meantime the tenant is harmed as a result of the defective door, you could be held liable for the injuries. This is because you were made aware of the issue, but did not respond in a timely manner to ensure the habitability of your property. 

Not every aspect of rental home maintenance is the property owner’s responsibility, but it is important to know what is. Property codes are varied around Georgia, so if you own rental property in multiple cities, chances are there are different requirements for each property. Our team of experts has worked in Atlanta and the surrounding areas for decades. We know the ins and outs of local, state, and federal housing codes and will help you keep your property safe and habitable.

How Specialized Property Management Atlanta Keeps Your Home Up to Code

Making your home rent ready is the first step to ensuring a safe and habitable space for your tenants. Before you put your rental property on the market your home should be completely ready for a new tenant to move in. During our make ready process we will identify all potential hazards inside and outside of the rental property. Hazards include buckled carpets, loose railing on stairs and balconies, and hot electrical outlets among other things. We will also ensure your home is up to code and includes required safety features such as smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and easily accessible entrances. 

In addition, we perform regular property inspections during a tenant’s lease. Inspections are done to ensure the property remains up to code, and address any maintenance issues. For example, a small leak under the sink may go unnoticed by your tenant, but given long enough will result in water damage and mold. Our property management experts know how to identify safety problems before they turn into safety emergencies. Routine maintenance, such as AC and heating system check ups, extend the life of your home’s systems and save you money in the long term.

Sometimes tenant behavior can put your rental property at risk. For instance, if your tenant has unplugged all the smoke alarms in the house both person and property are at risk. During routine inspections our Atlanta property management team will address risky tenant behavior and clearly express expectations and responsibilities. Our team also checks for lease compliance and will note issues such as unauthorized pets or roommates. Oftentimes lease compliance issues are a simple matter of miscommunication. However, left unchecked these issues can turn into serious hazards at your rental property.

Making Your Home a Safe and Happy Place to Live

Meeting health and safety requirements is just one way to make your rental property stand out in the Atlanta rental market. Adding a few extra, inexpensive safety features can result in fewer vacancy days, help your tenant feel secure in his or her rental home, and lead to less turnover.

Every home should be rekeyed between tenants, and we always take this step during our make ready process. These days keypad entry locks for front doors and garage doors are popular, secure, and easy to use. If you choose to install these on your rental property make sure you or your Specialized Property Management Atlanta team change the codes between tenants just as you would change the door lock.

Some tenants feel more secure in a home with a security system, however most security systems require a monthly fee. As a property owner you are not required to provide a security system or keep a system in working order. If your tenant wants to add a security system they should contact you or your property manager to discuss the details, and be prepared to pay the monthly fee. Some landlords will offer to pay for the start-up costs of a security system, then leave the monthly fee up to the tenant. 

Outdoor flood lights are another easy and inexpensive way to make sure your rental home feels safe and secure for your tenant. Most hardware stores and online markets have a variety of flood lights to choose from. Motion-detecting outdoor lights are also easy to find and install. 

How Specialized Atlanta Makes Running Rental Property Easier

Knowing the ins and outs of property code can be tricky. That is why our team of specialized experts is on hand to help. When you choose to work with our property managers you benefit from the hard earned knowledge and years of experience we have. 

In addition, we make your life easier by taking care of day-to-day tasks so you don’t have to. Our comprehensive Atlanta property management services include: 

  • Communicating with tenants about rent payment, maintenance issues, and more.
  • Providing clear instructions regarding what maintenance a tenant is expected to perform, and what tasks the property owner is responsible for.
  • Performing routine inspections and maintenance so your home is safe and secure.
  • Maintaining a list of trusted, licenced vendors so you know who to call when you need help.
  • Overseeing efficient make ready procedures so your home is prepared for a new tenant as soon as possible.
  • Responding quickly to emergency calls as well as non-emergency maintenance requests.

Your rental property should be a safe and happy place for every tenant who lives there. With our help your home will be up to code, free of hazards, and well maintained.

Our property managers can also help you decide which upgrades will give you the best return on investment. Our knowledge of the local rental market provides insight into what renters are looking for in a home, and which safety features will be worth the out of pocket expense.

Contact Specialized Property Management Atlanta Today

Are you ready to start making more on your real estate investment? With our comprehensive property management services you can avoid common landlord mistakes that will put your property at risk. Whether you are a first time investment property owner, or you are simply tired of dealing with the headache of self management, we are here for you. To request a quote for professional rental property management call (404) 596-8454

Four Atlanta Rental Property Management Horror Stories

Sometimes the property owners we work with come to us at the beginning of their investment property journey. These property owners know real estate is a great investment, but they don’t want to deal with the hassle of Atlanta rental property management. Others seek out property managers after they have acquired too many properties to manage efficiently on their own. Unfortunately, some property owners only decide to hire a property management company after they have had a bad experience that cost them hard earned money. To help you understand the advantages of professional property management at every stage we put together four landlord horror stories, and explain how you can avoid them.

Horror Story #1 – Toilet Trouble

Responding to plumbing problems is just part of the job as a property owner. Unfortunately, nature calls at every time of day or night. Property owners need to be ready to respond to plumbing calls, and work to fix the problem or call in an expert. But every once in a while you may encounter a situation like this.  At 1am Tenant #1 calls frantically, explaining his toilet backed up and now it is overflowing everywhere with sewage. You tell him to turn the water valve on the back of the toilet and wait for you to come help. When you arrive at the rental home the sewage is several inches deep in the bathroom, and has seeped through the ceiling and into the downstairs living room, soaking the carpets. Cleanup takes several hours, and you leave with just enough time to get ready for the work day.

Solution #1 – Let Atlanta Property Management Services Take Care of It

Our comprehensive property management services include responding to emergency maintenance calls, even in the middle of the night. You never need to lose sleep because of a maintenance emergency. We will work to make sure the problem is addressed thoroughly and your tenant is happy with the solution. In situations like the one above we will assess the damage and bring in vendors, such as carpet cleaners, when needed. It is also important to look into why the toilet overflowed in the first place. If the toilet was faulty chances are the tenant knew it was acting strange and waited too long to call in a maintenance request. Our simple online tenant portal makes these requests simple and helps you to catch small problems before they turn into huge issues.

Horror Story #2 – The Cat Lady

Pets are a sticky issue with rental property owners. Most of the time a pet deposit or pet rent with cover the cost of any repairs related to allowing pets at your rental property. However, tenants sometimes break the rules when it comes to pets. Before signing the lease Tenant #2 asks if you can bend your one pet policy since she has two cats. Requests like this are common, and everything else in her Atlanta rental property management screening is fine. She signs a lease for two years and you perform an initial walk-through. Tenant #2 never puts in a maintenance request, and always pays her rent on time. Toward the end of her lease you drive by the property and notice a window is broken, so you contact her to schedule a time to fix it. When you arrive you see that instead of two cats she has closer to 40 living in the home. The carpet is filled with cat urine and the smell is terrible.

Solution #2 – Perform Regular Inspections for Lease Compliance

If you only visit your property at move in and move out you will most likely encounter situations like the one above. Regular property inspections, biannually or quarterly, lead to a higher rate of lease compliance. When our property managers inspect a rental property they perform routine maintenance, and check for compliance issues such as additional residents or pets living at the property. Tenant #2 most likely moved in with the original two cats, then added more cats over time without telling her landlord. At a routine inspection the property owner would have noticed the additional pets. The issue of too many cats could have been addressed quickly and respectfully before too much damage was done to the property.

Horror Story #3 – When Atlanta Rental Property Management is Lax on Screening

Vacancy days are expensive, but evictions can be even worse. Proper tenant screening can help you avoid situations like this. Tenant #3 fills out a rental application for your property, which has been on the market for six weeks. In order to speed up the process and reduce vacancy days you only perform a background and credit check. Two months into the lease the tenant asks to pay half the rent at the beginning of the month and the rest two weeks later. During routine maintenance and inspection you discover your tenant has trash littered everywhere and an insect infestation. By the sixth month of the lease your tenant has stopped paying rent and the pests are taking over, despite your warnings that the tenant needs to clean and hire an exterminator. You decide to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent, an expensive and time consuming process. Additionally, you spend thousands of dollars getting rid of the pests, repairing items the angry tenant broke before leaving, and getting the property ready for the next tenant.

Solution #3 – Thorough Screening is Part of Atlanta Property Management Services

Serving an eviction is every property owner’s nightmare. But one aspect of evictions that most owners don’t factor in is maintenance and repairs left from angry tenants. As experienced property managers we know that placing the wrong tenant is usually more expensive than waiting around for the right fit. Placing a tenant with poor credit, bad references, or insufficient income is simply a bad idea. At Specialized Property Management Atlanta we take care to properly screen every tenant with a background check, credit check, income verification, and employment verification. Additionally, if you’re going to bend the rules to allow for things like split rent payments you must agree in writing and enforce firm due dates with late fees.

Horror Story #4 – Move-In Day

Move-in day is a big deal for tenants and property owners. On top of getting their keys and moving boxes tenants should expect to do a thorough walk-through of the property, and receive instructions from the property manager. However, move-in day can sometimes coincide with other plans you have. When Tenant #4 moves in you happen to be out of town on vacation. If you don’t have a trusted Atlanta rental property management company you may ask a friend to cover move-in procedures. Your friend takes a check-list to go over, but skips through some important points, including the fact that the fireplace is not in working order. A few days later your tenant decides to light a fire in the fireplace. The home fills with smoke and Tenant #4 calls the fire department. Just when you begin to relax into your vacation you receive a call about the fire. The home is saved, but there are substantial damages.

Solution #4 – Hire a Property Manager and Enjoy Your Vacation

Property owners who self-manage often tell us that they feel worried about their property every time they go out of town. Murphy’s Law dictates that as soon as you begin to relax away from your property, something will go wrong. With professional property management you don’t need to worry about the state of your property. The property managers at Specialized Property Management Atlanta are available 24/7 for you and your tenants. We handle walk-in procedures, emergency calls, and every other aspect of property management. Our Atlanta property management services are comprehensive, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your investment.

How to Avoid Landlord Horror Stories 

Managing your own rental property comes with a steep learning curve. In a perfect world, with perfect tenants, your property will succeed easily. You will never encounter a tenant who doesn’t pay rent, brings in too many pets, or breaks the law in your rental home. But that isn’t the world we live in, and more often than not you will experience the negative side of self-management. Every situation above could have been prevented by hiring experienced, professional property managers. 

Contact Specialized Property Management Atlanta Today

When you’re ready to talk with our property managers call for a professional rental management quote. Our team of experts will help you make your rental property investment into a success, cutting costs without cutting corners. We take care of every part of the rental cycle, which includes inspecting, marketing, showing, screening, signing, collecting, maintaining, renewing, moving, and reporting. Whether you already own rental property, or you are just starting out in the business, working with our property managers will help you get a better return on investment. Let go of the stress and hassle of Atlanta rental property management by letting our property managers take over. To request your professional rental management quote call (404) 596-8454.

Real Estate Property Management Atlanta, GA, On Why You Should Invest Now

Are you investing in Atlanta real estate, or thinking about expanding your portfolio into the Atlanta area? According to real estate property management, Atlanta, GA, rents are rising, making now the perfect time to invest. Learn more about our local rental market, and how you can make the most of your investment, by reading below.

Rents on the Rise

According to national statistics, rents are on the rise all across the country. Reports show that rents have risen as much as $37 compared to last year’s average. In fact, rents have risen steadily every year for almost a decade. While nationwide rents have risen around 3% in the last year, the biggest growth goes to Las Vegas at 8.8%. In third place, and tied with Sacramento, CA, is Atlanta at 4.7%.

Anecdotally, we have seen this statistic hold true for our clients. Those lucky enough to have bought investment property in the last decade are seeing their properties appreciate and their rental income soar every year. Even if you have not yet purchased rental property, it is not too late to start out as an Atlanta investment property owner. If you have ever considered rental property management in Atlanta, GA, now is the time to start.

According to RentCafe, single-family home rentals are becoming more popular than apartment rentals. The average real estate investment property in Atlanta brings in between $1,000-$1,500 in rent. Depending on your unique situation, such as your PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) and maintenance costs, you may be able to profit several hundred dollars per month, perhaps more as rents continue to rise. Additionally, a rental property can be part of your tax strategy, as you can claim a tax deduction on things like property management fees.

Atlanta Rentals are Some of the Highest In Georgia

Which areas in Georgia can get you the best return on investment?  Statistics gathered by RentCafe reveal 23 of the most expensive rental zip codes in Georgia are located in Atlanta. Even with statistics like this, it can be difficult to pick the right rental home. If you choose to work with our real estate property management Atlanta, GA, professionals will help you pick the right location, and a house that appeals to renters. One of our areas of expertise is finding you the perfect investment property, whether you are looking at buying in Atlanta or any of the surrounding areas. Choosing the right property will allow you to keep costs low, attract high-quality renters, and get the best return on investment. 

Who is Renting? It is Not Who You Think

In the article, “The Rise of the Rich Renter,” the author discusses the increase in highly-paid renters. In metro cities like Atlanta, individuals and families who earn well above the median income are choosing to rent, and driving up the price of rental homes and apartments. Who are these high-earners? According to AJC, both Millenials and Baby Boomers are choosing to rent now more than ever. 

Young adults who came of age in the 2000s (known as Millenials) are choosing to rent for several reasons. First, it gives them freedom. As someone considering rental property management in Atlanta, GA, it is important to be aware of this factor. Gone are the days of spending 30-40 years working for the same company. Without a mortgage to tie them down, Millenials are able to move as soon as a new opportunity arises. Some renters may even ask for a shorter lease so they can exercise this freedom. While less common in single-family home rentals, don’t be surprised if a potential renter requests a 6 month, 3 month, or even 1 month lease. Second, Millenials have nearly $42,000 of debt on average. Between paying for student loans, personal loans, and credit cards, many Millenials are putting off saving for a down payment and buying a house until they pay off debt.

As Baby Boomers enter retirement, they are increasingly moving back to renting. There are several reasons for this. First, many Baby Boomers are looking to downsize from the home they raised a family in to a smaller, more manageable home. Leaving the hard tasks to real estate property management, Atlanta, GA, Baby Boomers are able to spend their retirement relaxing instead of fixing up a home. Second, renting is often less expensive than owning when you factor in things like taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. By selling their current home and moving to a rental, Baby Boomers can invest in other ways. For those entering retirement, simplicity and saving money are attractive qualities. Third, like Millenials, Baby Boomers enjoy the flexibility that comes with renting. Whether they want to spend a few months traveling or are trying to decide whether or not to move to a new city, renting allows Baby Boomers much-needed flexibility.

Why is it important to know who the new generation of renters are? In order to pick the right rental property and advertise it efficiently, you should know your demographic. Before you invest in real estate think about to whom your property will appeal. Is it in a good school district? Is it close to public transportation, parks, or shopping centers? Is the layout of the home a good choice for families, or better for someone who works from home? As the top rental property management in Atlanta, GA, we know how much you should weigh each of these factors when buying a rental property. 

How Specialized Property Management Atlanta Helps Property Owners and Tenants

A strong rental market makes it easier for property owners to make a good return on investment. But even with a strong market, mistakes can happen that cost you money. We offer a full range of services in order to cut down on costly mistakes and help you get the best return on investment. During a typical rental cycle our services will include:

  • Inspecting: We will inspect your home to make sure it is up to health and safety standards, and alert you to areas that need attention in order to bring in new tenants. We also perform regular property inspections during a tenant’s lease to ensure lease compliance. 
  • Marketing: We do more than just put a sign in your yard. Our marketing specialists work to aggressively market your rental property over dozens of websites, helping you bring in qualified tenants quickly.
  • Showing: Our video walkthroughs offer potential tenants a first look. When a potential tenant requests a showing we are quick to respond. 
  • Screening: Tenant screening is one of the most important parts of real estate property management, Atlanta, GA. We do a thorough screening of every applicant over 18 to ensure you get a qualified tenant.
  • Signing: In order to protect you from liability and risk we draw up all the appropriate documents for the lease. We also provide training for tenants on what to expect and who to call for maintenance and other issues.
  • Collecting: To avoid confusion and ensure you have a steady and predictable rental income we are firm and respectful with our rent collection procedures. In addition, we make paying rent easy with electronic payments.
  • Maintaining: We perform regular, proactive maintenance to keep your home in working order as well as respond 24/7 to maintenance emergencies.
  • Renewing: When it is time to renew the lease we reach out to your tenant and coordinate renewal. We start the process well in advance in order to avoid any delays.
  • Moving: When a tenant has decided to move out we organize every aspect in order to protect you from risk. From legal documents to the final walk-through we take care of it all.

In addition to the above services, we offer accounting, legal assistance, and partner vendors who work for a discounted rate. 

Online Portal for Real Estate Property Management Atlanta, GA

Our online portals offer you and your tenants a simpler way to do the business of property management. An online portal is available for your tenant, making it easy to submit maintenance requests and pay rent any time of day or night. Our owner portal allows you to see your property details at any time of the day or night. Detailed accounting documents, inspection and maintenance reports, and weekly communication about your property while in the leasing period are all available via your portal. This portal makes it even easier for our clients to live outside of Atlanta and take advantage of the great investment opportunities. 

Contact Specialized Property Management Atlanta for More Information

Our team of experts is here to help you make your investment into a success. Whether you are just starting out as a rental property owner, or you already have several homes you are renting out, we are here to help. With decades of experience in rental property management in Atlanta, GA, we know how to make the most out of your investment. Learn more about our services by visiting this page. Call us at 404-596-8454 to schedule your rental quote.

The Six Myths of Atlanta Property Management

Are you considering self-managing your rental property? Atlanta property management may seem easy, especially in a hot market such as Atlanta. But before you dive into the property management world, you should know it isn’t as simple as it is made out to be. We are here to dispel six myths of property management to help you decide whether self-management or hiring a property management company is right for you.

Myth #1 – Leasing a Property is Simple

The basics of leasing your property sound simple. Post a “For Rent” sign in your front yard, market the property on free sites like Craigslist, and wait for the qualified candidates to request a showing. Not sure what you should price your rental? Just look at a few other rentals in your neighborhood and average their price. Atlanta is a booming rental market, and your home should rent in no time. Now all there is to do is sit back and enjoy that cash flow. Hiring an Atlanta rental management company will only take money out of your pocket.

Fact #1 – Leasing is Harder Than it Looks

The average number of days a rental home is on the market is 52. This number will increase drastically for inexperienced property managers due to several factors. First, your home should be rent-ready before you begin to show it. Tenants will have a difficult time picturing themselves in the home if the bathroom is in the middle of a remodel, or the carpet is being replaced. Additionally, many tenants want to move in right away, and ongoing construction may scare them away. Secondly, you must market your rental on a wide variety of sites in order to get the exposure you need to bring in a qualified tenant. While you may have heard an anecdote about someone finding the perfect home by just walking by and seeing a sign in the front yard, the truth is that does not happen often. Specialized Property Management Atlanta will market your home on 90+ sites, including MLS. In addition, we do a full property assessment before you put it on the market, ensuring it is fully prepared for a tenant. Our Atlanta property management fee also includes all showings, screening applicants, lease signing, and collecting funds. 

Myth #2 – All Property Management Companies are the Same

You may have heard this myth from other property owners who self-manage. All property management companies are the same, and you should pick the company that offers their services at the cheapest price. You won’t get anything extra from a company who charges more than one of the “discount managers”, so why pay more?

Fact #2 – Hiring Specialists Will Give You a Better Return on Investment

Have you ever heard, “you get what you pay for”? That phrase is especially true in property management. Most property management companies have a handful of property managers, and will assign one to handle every aspect of your property. This model requires each manager to be an expert in all aspects of the rental cycle, rather than focus on their strengths. Instead of following this model, which is used by most Atlanta rental management companies, Specialized Property Management Atlanta has a team of professionals dedicated to their specific job. Our team includes experts in marketing, leasing, maintenance, collections, accounting, compliance, real estate law, and more. Our experienced professionals will give you a better return on investment by ensuring you get the best possible outcome at every stage of the rental cycle.

Myth #3 – Finding a Qualified Tenant is Easy

Finding a qualified tenant to rent your Atlanta property will be easy, right? Even if it takes a few weeks (as we stated above), most families who are interested in your home will easily qualify. After a quick background check, your new tenant can move in without hassle. If circumstances arise requiring your tenant to move out, re-marketing your home and finding a new tenant is simple and the home should still be in rent-ready condition. Simple maintenance tasks like re-keying and cleaning can be done in a day, making turnover easy.

Fact #3 – Placing the Wrong Tenant Can Cost Thousands

Our Atlanta property management experts take great care when placing a tenant because the truth is, placing the wrong tenant could cost you thousands. For example – if your tenant fails to pay rent for one month it can cost $1,500 in lost rental income. Add to that, eviction court fees ($500), the cost of additional days to evict ($750), repairing damages ($1,750), and re-marketing and vacancy days ($2,250). The average total cost of placing the wrong tenant is $6,750.

We perform a background and credit check on every person over 18 who will be living in the house. With today’s technology, it is easier than ever to create false documents, or appear more creditworthy than you are. We are trained to identify these issues, ensuring any tenant we place is qualified. We know it will cost less to wait around for the right tenant than to place a risky tenant.

Myth #4 – My House Will Bring in More Than Enough Rental Income

Some Atlanta rental management companies will tell you that when you have worked hard to get your house in good shape for a tenant, you can expect to bring in rent high enough to cover your costs. What’s more, your rental income should cover PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance), other out-of-pocket expenses, and leave you with cash at the end of the month

Fact #4 – Most Rental Property is Cash Flow Neutral

Your home may be in great shape, but that does not always mean your rental will have positive cash flow. Most property owners can expect to break even on their rental property, and some owners must pay a small portion of their yearly expenses out of pocket. You may be asking, “is it really worth owning a rental property?” The answer depends on your unique financial situation. However, property owners we work with realize benefits beyond monthly cash flow. These benefits include using their property as a tax strategy, gaining equity as the home appreciates, and deducting property management fees on taxes. 

Myth #5 – Tenant Maintenance Requests Will Be Easy to Handle

When a tenant has a maintenance request, you should be able to respond quickly and efficiently. Getting an Atlanta property management company involved will only slow down the process. After your tenant contacts you, you simply need to send a reputable company to address the issue. Treating your tenant fairly and using common sense should help you avoid any tenant issues.

Fact #5 – Stringent Laws Mean the Landlord is Liable

Tenant-Landlord Law is strict, and ignorance of the law is not a defense for breaking it. The property must meet Health and Safety requirements, or you could risk a lawsuit brought by a tenant. According to Federal laws, local ordinances, and property codes, a landlord is responsible for certain, specific aspects of the property. Communication between tenant and landlord, items that must be fixed, and even the type of technician you hire to repair your rental home are all dictated by property law. Specialized Property Management Atlanta has property managers available 24/7 to take your tenant’s call. Every vendor we use has the proper licensing and insurance to keep your property safe and fix it correctly. Maintenance requests are not always easy to handle, but with our experienced professionals and proven processes, you will never need to worry about the health and safety of your tenants.

Myth #6 – Atlanta Rental Management Companies Just Collect Rent

After the hard work of placing a tenant all that is left is to collect rent and handle the occasional maintenance issue. Why hire a property management company for these easy tasks? The rare legal compliance issue can be dealt with swiftly by any attorney you know.

Fact #6 – Property Management Companies Do Much More Than Collect Rent

In a typical rental cycle, much more is needed than simply collecting rent and performing routine maintenance. To manage your own property, you must stay up to date on all housing laws, property codes, and city ordinances. Responding quickly to tenant needs, scheduling a licensed vendor to handle maintenance, and keeping your books in order are just a few of the daily tasks you will need to complete as a landlord. Even small mistakes could cost you thousands of dollars, putting your investment at risk. Our team includes experts for every aspect of rental property management, reducing costly mistakes and giving you a better return on investment. 

Call Us For Your Atlanta Property Management Quote

Specialized Property Management Atlanta provides comprehensive property management services. We take the hassle and stress out of running your rental property. You can trust our property managers to take care of the day-to-day tasks like rent collection and emergency maintenance, as well as rare issues like evictions. Your management fee covers our comprehensive services, so all you need to do is sit back and watch your investment take off. To learn more about all the services we offer, visit this page. Call 404-596-8454 today for a rental estimate.

How to Read Atlanta Real Estate Management Reviews

Reading online reviews is a great way to research before you buy. Reviewers share their own experiences, the pros and cons of the product, and whether they think it was a worthwhile investment. Reviewers may also share helpful tips, such as ordering a certain t-shirt one size smaller than your normal size. A television set may look like a great deal, but if reviewers state it stops working after a year your money would be better spent elsewhere. When evaluating Atlanta real estate management companies, you may be tempted to take the same approach to research. It is a smart idea to gather information through other’s experiences, especially before choosing a property management company. But before you begin, there are some things you should know about online reviews. Read below to learn more about deciphering online reviews in an interpersonal industry like property management.

What Makes Property Management Different?

Property management is a unique industry because it centers around a basic human need: shelter. Property managers, tenants, and property owners must be able to communicate about things such as finances and emotions efficiently in order to maintain a good working relationship. When this relationship breaks down it can end in tenant turnover, financial loss, property damage, or even eviction. In addition, property owners are often renting out the house they used to call home. If they are still emotionally attached, it can be difficult to see another family living there. This complicated interpersonal relationship leads property owners to rely on rental property management companies in Atlanta to handle the day to day aspects of managing the property. At Specialized Property Management Atlanta, we do our best to keep the lines of communication open so both tenant and property owner are satisfied with the agreement. 

Specialized Property Management Atlanta specializes in managing single-family homes, which is a unique niche in the market. Many tenants move from an apartment complex to a single-family home, and are unaware that there are different laws and regulations for these two types of dwellings. While we try to set correct expectations for the property owner and tenant, sometimes there are miscommunications when it comes to who is responsible for certain things around the home. Incorrect expectations, assumptions, or miscommunications can lead to negative reviews, in the same way that good experiences can lead to positive reviews. 

Why Online Reviews are Important for Customers And Businesses

Reading online reviews is an important first step when looking for a property management company. Reviews allow you to gather information about Atlanta real estate management from a wide variety of past and present clients, in a way that was impossible before the internet. Think about the last time you bought something or signed up for a service. How did you gather information about it? Did you get a recommendation from a friend who bought that thing or used that service? When someone you know and trust gives you a recommendation you are more likely to buy that product or service. Online reviews serve in the same way as a personal recommendation. According to research by the Spiegel Research Center, “the purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews.” Clients benefit from this quick and easy way to judge whether a business or product is worth their time. Businesses also benefit because reviews on the internet spread much faster than the typical word of mouth process. That means that when we do a good job, you are more likely to hear about it.

What to Know About Negative Reviews

For Specialized Property Management Atlanta, and other rental property management companies in Atlanta, negative reviews do happen. Even with our experience and commitment to superior standards, emotions and tensions can become tough to navigate. In addition, studies have found that consumers are much more likely to share a bad experience than a good one. One study found that 95% of respondents told others about a bad experience, while only 87% told others about a good experience. 

However, there are several situations that can lead to negative reviews where they shouldn’t be. Here are two ways to spot a review that doesn’t provide the whole picture.

  • Laws and Regulations – Rental homes are heavily regulated by the Department of Real Estate. In particular, there are maintenance items for which the tenant is responsible, and other items for which the landlord is responsible. Tenants sometimes write negative reviews complaining that they were forced to pay for a repair, without realizing it is their responsibility according to the Department of Real Estate. The professional property managers at Specialized Property Management Atlanta work quickly to inform each tenant of their responsibility so there is no guesswork involved. 
  • Speeding Up Requests – Some work, such as processing a rental application or lining up an outside vendor to do maintenance, takes time to complete. Specialized Property Management Atlanta is one of the top Atlanta real estate management companies in part because we keep our owners and tenants in the loop about these processes. Occasionally tenants and owners think if they write a negative review it will help them get through the process faster, which simply isn’t true. Additionally, we value high-quality work and do not cut corners in order to get something finished faster. If you are concerned about the time it takes to finish a task, we welcome you to reach out to our office. In these situations communication is key.
  • Failing to Communicate – When a problem with a rental property arises, our property owners and tenants are given instructions regarding who to contact and how. Our team is available 24/7 to address both major and minor issues. However, there are individuals who decide that rather than communicating an issue and finding a solution, they prefer to vent their frustrations online. In these cases we reach out to the reviewer, try to understand their frustration, and work to make it right. 

Where to Find (And Leave!) Reputable Reviews About Rental Property Management Companies in Atlanta

How do you find reviews you can trust? You need to know where to look. Fake reviews plague the reputation management industry making it difficult for consumers to know what is true. One study found as much as 16% of Yelp reviews are fake, posted to boost a business’s reputation or harm their competitor. To get a better picture of how a company does business, look at the reviews on Google and the Better Business Bureau. These sites allow the business to reply to reviewers, addressing some of the concerns found above.

  • Google Reviews – Google has algorithms for everything, including which business reviews are truthful and included on their website. Google reviews, while not perfect, are a more accurate representation of how the business you are viewing is run. 
  • Better Business Bureau – The Better Business Bureau rates businesses on a variety of factors. Each business is rated, from the lowest rating of F to the highest rating of A+ (or NR for no rating if there is insufficient information to rate with). What makes the BBB different is how they gather information for their rating system. Rather than only relying on consumers to rate the businesses, including Atlanta real estate management companies, they monitor a business’s interactions with their clients. They also take data from public data sources to aid the rating process. 

The BBB uses seven different elements to rate companies. 

  1. Complaint history 
  2. Type of business 
  3. Time in business 
  4. Business transparency
  5. Honoring BBB commitments
  6. Licensing
  7. Truth in advertising

The BBB also provides accreditation for businesses that abide by a set of high standards for trust. Accreditation standards include building trust, advertising honestly, being transparent and honest, honoring promises, responding quickly to disputes, safeguarding personal information, and showing integrity. To learn more about BBB accreditation, visit this page.

Specialized Property Management Atlanta is one of the highest-rated rental property management companies in Atlanta. We have 5 stars from 135 BBB customer reviews, an A+ rating, and have been accredited since 2012. We have 4.4 stars from 27 Google reviews including one from user Steve P. stating, 

“…After SPM took over, that [rental] property’s revenue generation increased significantly; I no longer had the burden of maintenance and tenant calls; and SPM’s online portal made bookkeeping/tax prep a breeze.  But what really distinguishes SPM (and prompted me to write this review) is their customer service. It. Is. Excellent. My account with them was for a SINGLE property. They treated me like I was their largest account, and I always felt like they were on top of even the smallest issues.  SPM didn’t ask for my trust … they earned it.”

Our high standards, proven processes, and commitment to clients have earned us trust in the Atlanta community, despite the challenges inherent in the rental property management industry. To read even more testimonials written by owners and tenants, visit our testimonial page.

Atlanta Real Estate Management You Can Trust

The professionals at Specialized Property Management Atlanta are ready to help you make your investment property into a success. Our excellent customer reviews and BBB accreditation are a result of years of hard work and dedication to our clients and tenants. To learn more about all of the services we offer, visit this page. Call us today at 404-596-8454 for a rental quote