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!

From Our Clients:

"My friend Tasha Langsley (Realtor) recommended Brandon and Tradewinds when I was considering renting my property. Over the past several years Tradewinds has exceeded my expectations."

Wendi Machen

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Tradewind Properties in Minnesota 11252 86th Ave. N
Maple Grove, MN 55369
P: (763) 657-1957
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