Any time of year is the perfect time for Wine Country residential landlords to conduct a property management check up. Whether your rental property is a single family home or a complex with multiple units, several benefits come from visiting the property and evaluating its condition and investment performance. Here are five easy tasks that should, at a minimum, be included in the check-up.
1. Property Inspection
A thorough interior and exterior inspection will identify problems before they get worse or that could be grounds for a tenant complaint if not addressed promptly.
Tip: At the conclusion of your inspection, ask the tenants to sign the inspection report to acknowledge that they are not aware of any problems other than those noted.
2. Market Analysis
Conduct a market survey to determine if your rents are competitive under current market conditions. Also look at features competing properties offer their tenants, such as additional parking, storage and on-site laundry facilities.
Tip: If you adjust the rent, make sure to comply with local and state laws regarding maximum increases and minimum notice periods, especially for seniors.
3. Expense Analysis
Evaluate recurring expenses to see if they can be reduced or eliminated. Ask service providers (lawn care, pool cleaning, etc.) to update their pricing and obtain competing bids.
Tip: Transferring responsibility for a recurring expense to tenants reduces the landlord’s expenses, but it also adds to the total rental cost for current and future tenants. Structure leases to maintain a competitive market advantage for your rental.
4. Make One Improvement
Adding one property improvement per year accomplishes two objectives: 1) helps to retain good tenants and 2) increases the property’s market value, thereby justifying rent increases.
Tip: Improvements don’t always need to add functionality. For example, installing drought resistant landscaping can reduce lawn care costs (often paid by the landlord) while also reducing the water bill (usually paid by the tenant).
5. Hold-Sell Analysis
Neighborhoods or properties can lose value over time due to a number of factors. Evaluate financial performance to determine if your equity could generate a better return on investment elsewhere.
Tip: A hold-sell analysis should take into account current conditions, trends that could influence future financial performance and other neighborhood influences (e.g. re-zoning of the neighborhood or adjacent sites that could reduce your property’s income potential).
If you would like assistance with conducting a rental property check-up or have any other property management needs, please use Contact Us or call (707) 317-0280 for service throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.