July 13, 2016


5 Small Changes to Your Rental Property that Appeal to Every Potential Tenant

Filed under: Landlord Tips — Tradewind @ 3:20 pm

Small Changes to Rental Properties that Appeal to Every Tenant

Considering renting out your property? When it’s time to spruce up your rental, attract potential tenants with these quick, simple improvements.

 

1. Focus on that Kitchen

Today’s renters are putting a lot of emphasis on one room in the house: the kitchen. The layout, details, and functionality of the kitchen can make or break a property. While you don’t have to do a complete remodel or change the layout of your existing kitchen, there are a few quick improvements that can make the kitchen wow your tenants.

Install new cupboard hardware, a shiny new retractable faucet, and a hidden space for the trash can. Repaint the walls if they’re looking dim, and spend some time thinking of smart storage solutions for the kitchen. Making the kitchen inviting, clean, and modern will help potential tenants imagine themselves in this important space.

 

2. In-Home Laundry

Carrying around loads of laundry is a pain, and in-home laundry is one of those items that shows up on most tenants’ wish lists. Even if it is a small washer and dryer, stacking or side-by-side, see if you can fit in these appliances to make your tenants’ lives easier.

 

3. Allow Pets

There are pros and cons to allowing pets or not allowing them, but being open to dogs and cats can open up your rental pool significantly. Read more on this subject.

 

4. Clean It Up

This may seem obvious, but deep cleaning all parts of your rental space is crucial. Don’t skimp on washing windows, floorboards, door frames, blinds, and every inch of the bathrooms. Hire a carpet cleaning service to make sure your carpets are fresh. Although most people won’t notice that your place is spic-n-span, they will notice if it’s not.

 

5. Improve Your Curb Appeal

Taking time to amp up your exterior can range from repainting the entire façade, to planting flowers or putting an afternoon’s time into the lawn. Try any of these simple ideas to make your property more inviting: spray for weeds, scatter grass seed on bald spots, plant shrubs or flowers, repair cracks in the sidewalks or driveway, and repaint trim or shutters.

 

For more assistance with renting out your property―including vetting and finding tenants or conducting a Home Rental Analysis, contact the real estate experts at Tradewind Properties: 763-657-1957. We are here to help!

March 7, 2016


Upgrade or Ugly? What Landlords Should Allow Renters to Change in the Property, and When to Say No

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tradewind @ 11:36 am


As a landlord, you have two major concerns: keeping your rental property occupied, and keeping it in good shape so it appeals to tenants. Tradewind Properties takes care of the first concern for you, so let’s focus on the second.

Each tenant will have ways to make your rental property feel like home to them, as they should. But as the landlord, what changes should you allow and when should you say no?

To put it simply, think about which changes will be either reversible when current renters move out, or a clear upgrade that will improve the value of the property.

 

For example, changes that will make tenants happy, but are reversible, could include:

  • Changing the blinds.
  • Swapping out light-switch covers.
  • Painting the walls. This one can be a triumph or a disaster. It is best to either approve any colors the tenants are suggesting, or arrange a fee for the walls to be painted back to original upon them moving out.
  • Replacing shower heads, specialty light bulbs, or other easy swaps.
  • Light fixtures, although it is recommended that a licensed electrician be hired for this job.
  • Custom built-ins for the closets.
  • Any baby-proofing.

Generally-speaking, most major upgrades should come out of your wallet, as the owner of the property. But small changes to the rental can be the tenants’ choosing (and on their dime), and will help give them a say in how their living space feels. Assuming they gain your permission and that the upgrades improve the value of the property, consider giving a thumbs up to these:

  • Replacing drawer pulls and other hardware.
  • Deep cleaning the carpets, power spraying the deck, or other major cleaning endeavors.
  • Painting walls or cabinets (see above).
  • Installing shelving in the garage, mud room, laundry room, etc.
  • Upgrading the kitchen sink to include a retractable kitchen faucet, an in-sink soap dispenser, or adding a garbage disposal.
  • Bringing in their own appliances that they will leave behind (assuming they’re a step above what you currently have).
  • Bathroom upgrades like towel rods, towel hooks, or a medicine cabinet.
  • Installing ceiling fans (again, with the help of a professional).
  • Planting herbs, bulbs or flowers in garden.

 

When to Say No

Sometimes what seems like a fabulous idea to some is either too permanent, too hazardous, or too ugly to allow in your rental property.

  • Cut-outs for an A/C unit.
  • Fire pits or other fire hazards.
  • Waterbeds.
  • Basketball hoops installed on the exterior. Chances are good the next tenants might not be as keen on a game of hoops.
  • Anything that diminishes the functionality or character of a place, such as painting over original brick, closing off a fireplace, or adding an awning which only keeps light from getting in the windows, etc.
  • Changing the locks or security system. Unless you mutually agree to change the locks, and the landlord takes the lead, this is obviously a big no-no.

Please note that safety issues, repairs and major upgrades are part of a landlord’s responsibilities. The staff at Tradewind Properties can help you manage all of these, including emergency handyman visits for repairs.

Final Tip:

Keep an open line of communication with your tenants, and be open to suggestions for how they can make your property feel like home. It’s beneficial to both parties if tenants and landlord are satisfied and in agreement.

If you have any questions about becoming a landlord, or renting out your property, Contact Tradewind Properties. We are here to help!

February 15, 2016


Allow Pets or Don’t Allow Pets? A Landlord’s Guide to The Pet Question

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tradewind @ 1:35 pm


If you’re a pet owner, you know how difficult it can be to find a rental home that allows pets, and how out-of-the-question it would be to leave them behind. But as a landlord, should you allow pets in your rental property or just say no? Consider these points when deciding whether you’d accept dogs, cats, other pets, or none at all.

 

Pros to Allowing Pets

  • Higher Rent: If you’re open to allowing pets, increase your rent/month or establish a monthly pet fee. Pet owners are usually asked to pay more per month in rent than non-pet owners due to the probability of extra clean-up or property damage.
  • Higher or Additional Deposit: Similarly, landlords should require an additional or increased deposit to cover any pet-related costs.
  • Appeal to Pet Owners: Opening your property to pet-owners widens your pool of potential renters, many of whom may be having trouble finding a place for their whole household.
  • You’ve Been There: If you’re a pet owner yourself, you know how it feels to have your animals be a part of your family. You would be helping a similar family find a home that suits their needs.

 

Cons to Allowing Pets

  • High Risk of Damage: Between claws, teeth, and the habit of urinating inside, pets can bring a whole range of damage to your property. Young puppies, kittens, and older pets who have trouble with incontinence can be especially risky.
  • That Smell: Dog and Cat smell is nearly impossible to avoid, and even harder to get out of a home. Especially if they’re having accidents on the carpet or spraying like male cats can do, ridding your rental of that odor can be difficult and can make it hard to rent out again.
  • Barking or other Nuisances to Neighbors: If your renters’ pet is being noisy, roaming into others’ yards, or worse, being aggressive or a danger to others, you as the landlord will have to deal with it. It is much harder to tell a family they have to move out or get rid of their pet than just saying no to pets in the beginning.
  • Taking someone’s word for it: Experience says that even though renters will promise that their pet doesn’t bark, doesn’t bite, doesn’t have accidents, and is an absolute angel, they may just be trying to get into your rental. As a property management company, Tradewind Properties vets your potential renters to be sure that you know what you’re getting into. We ask for updated veterinarian records on the pet’s health and behavior and request a detailed pet rental reference from a current and/or past landlord.

 

If you are going to allow pets, consider these tips:

  1. Add a monthly pet fee or an additional pet deposit. The experienced agents at Tradewind Properties will help you determine the right deposit or pet rent to ask for based on the individual home and market.
  2. Check with your city ordinances, HOA, and landlord’s insurance to see if certain breeds are not allowed or not covered by insurance.
  3. Landlords may want to require dogs and cats to be over one year old, potty-trained, and up to date on all shots. Puppies and kittens can do significantly more damage than trained adult pets.
  4. If you’ve decided not to allow dogs and cats, what about birds, reptiles, or small pets like hamsters, rabbits, or guinea pigs? Think of the above pros and cons, but on a smaller scale.

 

When you work with Tradewind Properties, we will help you set your preferred pet policy (within the guidelines of your HOA). At a minimum, we require all pets to be 1 year or older, be up-to-date on all shots, and be licensed within the city (if applicable). When a potential renter applies, we will verify the vet records and behavior of the pet for you, and will perform a routine inspection of the property 1-2 months after a new tenant moves in to ensure no lease violations are occurring.
Generally, we at Tradewind Properties have found that allowing pets is beneficial as it broadens your pool of potential renters, and we’d love to help you prepare for renting out your property, pets or no pets!

**Please note that the above tips are strictly related to pets and do not pertain to the laws governing service animals.

If you have any questions about becoming a landlord, or renting out your property, Contact Tradewind Properties. We are here to help!

January 12, 2016


Landlord Insurance: What’s Covered?

Filed under: Landlord Tips,Tradewind Properties — Tradewind @ 12:53 pm


When considering becoming a landlord and renting out your property, you may be wondering how insurance will help you manage the risks of your new arrangement.

Landlord Insurance is a specific type of coverage for this situation, and, along with working with a good property management company, is one of the best ways to be fully prepared to be a landlord.

 

What’s Covered by Landlord Insurance?

Each insurance company is different, and coverage will differ. Talk to your insurance agent for full details. But in general, Landlord Insurance may help you in the following situations.

  • Fair Rental Value Coverage. This is the biggest difference between home insurance and landlord insurance. If your property becomes uninhabitable for a reason that is covered, Landlord Insurance should cover your lost rental income while repairs are being finished, usually up to 12 months.
  • Dwelling Coverage of your rental property from fire, hail, vandalism, and other dangers.
  • Coverage of other structures on the property, such as garages, sheds, etc.
  • Coverage of Items that you own on the property, like appliances, furniture you’ve provided, or even tools you keep there.
  • Liability Coverage; Legal Counsel and Medical expenses should someone become injured on the property.

 

Landlord Discounts

Some insurance companies will offer discounts for certain circumstances, such as:

  • New/ Recently-Renovated Home Discount, for rental properties newer than approx. 13 years old, or newly renovated.
  • Multi-policies Discount, for those covering several properties, or a property and car, for example.
  • Protective Devices Discount: may apply if you use a security alarm, a sprinkler system, deadbolts, fire extinguishers, etc.

 

Other Questions Insurance Companies May Ask

In order to determine the right coverage for you, your insurance company may want to know some additional information.

  • Do you currently live in the same home as your tenant?
  • How many properties are you renting out?
  • What type of unit are you renting out?
  • Do you rent out your property intermittently, or on a regular basis for longer periods of time?

If you have any questions about becoming a landlord, or about landlord insurance, Contact Tradewind Properties. We are here to help!

December 22, 2015


When Should a Landlord Hire a Property Management Company?

Filed under: Landlord Tips — Tradewind @ 12:55 pm

Congratulations! Now that you’ve made the choice to rent out your property, think about whether it’s best for you to take on the role of landlord and manage your rental yourself, or hire a property management company for help.

Depending on your skills, free time, and experience, it may be best to hire a property management company if:

1. You’re not up for the detailed organization and upkeep of managing a property.

City ordinances, affordable housing programs, and local practices can overwhelm some landlords when it comes time to rent.

2. You’re not sure how to draw up a rental agreement, or run the proper background checks.

Management companies will perform the necessary credit and background checks on possible renters, and will supply the legal agreements as you enter into your new landlord/tenant relationship.

3. Your daily life keeps you busy and you’d like to leave the management tasks to professionals.

Being a landlord can be a breeze one month and require more hours of troubleshooting and on-site visits the next. If you maintain a full-time job and have a busy schedule, you can pass along these tasks.

4. You may be renting out several properties, but you’re not looking to make “landlord” your day-job.

If you’re looking to take on several properties, a property management company can definitely help with the volume.

5. You’re not going to be living nearby.

Many savvy homeowners who are moving out of town will choose to rent out their home instead of selling. But being far away can prevent a landlord from being able to show the space, meet potential tenants, or do home repairs.

6. You’re not looking forward to taking on the risks associated with managing a property.

If the thought of tenants missing payments, finding new tenants, or dealing with unexpected home repairs makes you cringe, there’s an easier way to meet your real estate and renting goals.

Contact Us to Learn More

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Tradewind Properties is locally and veteran-owned, and can assist new landlords with all aspects of the renting process.

October 28, 2015


Why Renting Out a Home Can Be Better Than An Apartment

Filed under: Home Rental — Tradewind @ 3:13 pm

renting-a-house

If you’re considering renting out your home, but you’re unsure whether there’s a market for renters, consider these reasons why a home can be an even better fit for potential renters than the usual apartment.

 

1. Privacy

No shared walls, and no upstairs or downstairs neighbors! Add in the personal space of a yard, garden, patio, or deck, and your tenants suddenly have much more privacy than they would in an apartment.

2. Amenities

The amenities available to apartment dwellers are very different from what a single family home can offer, and often appeal to different types of tenants. Apartments often have great amenities like indoor or outdoor pools, party rooms, exercise rooms, or shuttle buses. But a home competes with these by offering in-house laundry, private garages, and private yards or gardens.

3. Space

From the size of closets, to the garage stall, bedrooms, and outdoor space for children and pets, single family homes generally mean more space. If the budget allows, many tenants will gladly choose a bit more breathing room.

4. Management

Some potential tenants may incorrectly assume that a single family home rental means working directly with the homeowner. Depending on the homeowner, this experience can be less consistent and less responsive than a management company.

Tradewind Properties is the answer to that, as we manage all components of the rental for homeowners, from finding tenants and performing background checks, to collecting rent, to answering maintenance calls if something needs repair.

5. Location

Although the Twin Cities is less bound by this generalization, apartment buildings are often located in more urban areas, and single family homes for rent are often farther away from the city-center. You can certainly find single family homes for rent in quiet areas of Minneapolis, and apartment buildings dot the suburban landscape throughout the Twin Cities. For those looking for a quieter, suburban place to call home, a single family home can be the perfect fit.

6. Personal Styling

A homeowner, and by extension their tenants, have more freedom to make decisions about the property without needing to follow apartment complex guidelines. Whether you’d like to paint, install a satellite dish, or display your collection of garden gnomes, it will be easier to have those conversations if you’re renting out a single family home.

Considering renting out your home or purchasing a rental property?
Our team of realtors will meet with you to determine your goals and get those rent checks coming in!

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