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Time Tested Tenant Screening Tips

Tenant screening is quite literally one of the keys to the success of owning rental properties.

When an owner properly screens their tenants, they can have confidence in the quality of the people living in their rental properties and peace of mind that rent will be paid on time.

If you’re new to owning investment properties or are looking for tenant screening tips, this article will provide you with time tested tenant screening tips that you can use to grow your portfolio of investment properties.

Tenant Screening Tips You Should Be Using

Develop a written tenant screening criterion – This step is critical in finding new tenants because you want to establish a pattern of fairness and balance with each tenant. Your tenant screening criteria should also show that you choose tenants regardless of their gender, race, disabilities or familial status.

Verify how they get paid – 10-20 years ago it was hard to fake a paycheck stub, now anyone can go to Google Images and create a paycheck stub in minutes using the image and their favorite image editing software. This is why landlords must always verify that an applicant is still working for the company that they listed on their rental application. Doing this will help a landlord to avoid renting to tenants who only want to scam them with fake rental references.

Research the applicant online – Thanks to the Internet, and social media, it’s easier than ever before to do a background check on tenants. Doing this is important because many people aren’t afraid to post their “true” selves on social media and learning more about what an applicant is really like could save you the trouble of potentially renting to a problem tenant.

Get in touch with previous landlords – When communicating with previous landlords, it’s also important to research those individuals online to confirm that they are indeed the said landlord of an applicant’s previous renal property and not someone who is posing as a landlord.

Run background checks on adults – Don’t hesitate to run background checks on each adult living in the rental property. Doing this will help to eliminate the possibility of renting to someone who has something to hide and guarantee that you know everything there is to know about your future tenants before renting to them.

Avoid making written comments that are not based on your rental criteria – Many landlords have set themselves up for lawsuits in recent years because they made comments on their tenant’s rental applicants that nothing to do with the landlords’ rental criteria.

To avoid potential housing discrimination claims, landlords should stick with their screening criteria and not deviate from it.

Contact GoldenWest Management

Are you tired of managing your investment properties yourself? At GoldenWest Management, we can offer you a wide variety of property management services including rent collection, accounting, maintenance, customer service and more!

To speak with us about our property management services contact us today by calling (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

March 2020 Rental And Sales Market Update

In a recent interview, Roy True, business manager of GoldenWest Management met with Brad Seaman of Keller Williams in San Diego, and Ryan Loeding with Keller Williams in Phoenix, over the internet, to discuss what’s happening with the rental market and what renters and owners can expect in the coming weeks.

Coronavirus and Its Impact on The Rental Market

As of March 30th, 2020, the economies in San Diego and Las Vegas have been severely impacted by coronavirus as “non-essential” industries have been shut down.

This means that the hospitality industry, restaurants, Gym’s, nightclubs, movie theaters, and other businesses are now closed and the result has been a dramatic increase in unemployment claims.

The situation is different in Phoenix where businesses have largely remained open during coronavirus thanks to “suggested restrictions”, but that could change as Governor Ducey is just now starting to take action and has ordered schools in the state to be closed until April 30th.

With more people unable to work due to coronavirus, most owners will likely start hearing that their tenants will be unable to pay their rents by April 1st and that number could increase dramatically by May when economic stimulus checks have come and gone, and the rent payment is due again.

Las Vegas has been hit the hardest economically from coronavirus because the city relies heavily on tourism and hospitality. Sadly, with most people being laid off, Vegas could likely see 20%-30% of renters report that they will be late or unable to pay their rent in the coming weeks.

What Should Owners Do?

Now that California and Nevada have statewide moratoriums on eviction, the big question is what should owners due when there’s no money coming in from rent to cover their mortgage and other bills?

Work with Your Tenants – Start contacting your tenants now to see if they will be able to pay their rents next month. If they are unable to pay rent, offer them a payment plan so that they can pay what they can pay now while paying the remaining balance on their rent over the course of one year.

Build Cash Reserves – If you don’t have cash reserves saved up now, it’s best to take action to start building your reserves by choosing options like a cash-out to refinance loan.

Your goal should be to have at least $3,500 in cash reserves per multifamily tenant and up to $5,000 in cash reserves for single-family tenants because this money will also help you to cover repairs on your properties when needed as well.

Consider Refinancing or HELOC – As recommended by Ryan, another option is to consider using is a home equity line of credit. Yes, the credit market is tightening but if you pull the cash out of the home equity line of credit and put it into savings, the bank can’t touch it.

Talk with Your Lender Before Things Get Bad – You should speak with your lender ASAP and find out if they have any options for you like a forbearance to keep your rental from foreclosure. Being proactive now and reaching out to your lender now will save you the hassle of having to wait to wait for them to call you back once they do start getting a lot of calls.

The fallout from coronavirus (COVID-19) is evolving because it’s affected each rental market differently so during this time it’s important to focus on getting your news from qualified sources, avoid fake news, and social media posts that promote hype.

Remember, we’re all in this together and until coronavirus is over it’s up to owners and tenants to work together to create an outcome that’s best for everyone.

Contact GoldenWest Management

For more information about what’s happening with the rental market in San Diego, Phoenix or Las Vegas, during coronavirus, or to speak with us about the property management services we can offer you, contact us today by calling (866) 545-5303 or click here.

GoldenWest Management Is Still Open During Coronavirus

Over the last 30 days, coronavirus has been on the minds of everyone as the virus has caused many cities nationwide to issue “shelter at home orders” which has also resulted in some businesses shutting down.

At GoldenWest Management, our team is still working remotely from our home offices. This has enabled us to continue serving our tenants as normal during the coronavirus crisis without shutting our business down.

We’re continuing to serve our existing clients as before because building maintenance is considered to be an “essential service” so if you’re a GWM tenant who has a maintenance request, please contact us at (866) 545-5303, or to learn more about our property management services please click here.

Reasons Why Short-Term Rental Properties Are Overrated In 2020

Short Term Rental properties like Airbnb’s are a byproduct of the 2008 financial crisis because they’ve been able to benefit from a Bull Market that’s lasted for over 10 years.

Sadly, even though Short-Term rental properties are common in the rental marketplace of 2020, they are highly overrated, especially for these reasons:

Reason #1 – The Business Model Hasn’t Been Truly Tested Yet

Yes, even though we’ve had vacation rentals for years, Airbnb’s and other similar short-term business models have not been “tested” yet.

With the onset of CoronaVirus, short term rentals are being increasingly tested by the day as the threat of this virus has prompted many people who were booking stays in short term rentals to cancel their vacations due to fear of Covid-19 exposure.

Reason #2 – Not Enough Competition in The Short-Term Rental Marketplace

Even though Airbnb may be the “go-to” website for booking short term rentals, this isn’t necessarily a good thing because it means that owners either have to be on Airbnb, or their rental properties will not get the exposure that they need to generate money for their owners.

Reason #3 – High Regulatory Risk

Last of all, but most important, another reason why short-term rentals are overrated in 2020 is that this industry faces a high risk of regulation from city, state, and local governments.

The increased regulations imposed on short term rentals have a lot to do with the rental housing shortage that states like California are facing right now.

Many cities and states are pushing back against short term rentals and Airbnb because of the obvious fact that if most of the rental properties on the market are short term, those properties eat up the supply of long-term rentals and this leaves a rental housing shortage.

What’s the solution to the problem? Short term rental properties are here to stay but if you’re looking for stable income from your investment properties you should consider investing in long term rental properties.

By investing in long term rental properties, you can expect consistent monthly income because the average lease is either month to month, six months, or one year. This means that you can grow a portfolio of investment properties without having to spend a lot of time and effort keeping your rentals occupied.

Contact GoldenWest Management

To learn more about the property management services we can offer you contact us today by calling (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

What Are The Essential Items That You Should Include In Your Lease Agreement?

The key to success as a landlord is having a “rock-solid” lease agreement because it’s the one thing that will provide your tenants with all of the rules for things that they can do, and can’t do, when they are living in your rental property.

If you’re new to owning investment properties, or have already had a portfolio of rentals, this article will provide you with a list of things that you should have in your lease agreement.

Disclaimer – The most important thing to do when creating or editing a lease agreement is to consult with an attorney because you want to make sure that your lease is in compliance with all State, Federal and local laws.

The Essential Items for Your Lease Agreement

#1 – Name of Every Resident – This is the first thing that your lease agreement should have because you want to know the identity of each person (over age 18) who is living in the property.

Each resident must be responsible for paying the rent and they should abide by the terms of the lease agreement.

#2 – Communication Preference – Another thing that you should have in your lease is your preference for how you expect your tenants to communicate with you. If your preference is email or text message, make sure that you have the ability to backup all communication with a tenant should you need to have records of that communication later on.

When it comes to repairs that the rental property may need, you should ideally tell your renters to communicate those repair requests in writing because written communication will create a paper trail and prove to be helpful should you have to face them in court.

#3 – Description of The Rental – This is another important part of the lease because you want to specify what your tenant gets with the property, and which items stay with the property after they move out.

Tip – If your rental property includes an assigned parking space or storage area, you must specify the parking space number or lot number for the storage.

It’s also important to be clear about any areas of the rental property that are “off-limits” like a locked shed just so your tenant knows what they should not attempt to access when renting from you.

#4 – Term of Tenancy – If your lease is month-to-month then you should specify in your lease that it’s going to renew automatically until either you or the tenant chooses to terminate their lease. For annual leases, you must be specific about the start date, tenancy length and expiration date so there’s never any question about the length of your lease.

#5 – Rent – Obviously this is one of the most important parts of the lease. You should be very specific about when rent is due, how it’s to be paid, when it’s late and how late fees are assessed if your tenant is late paying their rent.

Besides the points in this article that we’ve offered you, your lease should also include the following information:

  • Deposit and fees
  • Landlord access
  • Your rules for the property and or policies
  • Any additional restrictions that you may have

Contact GoldenWest Management

We’ve covered a lot of information in this article that you should consider adding to your lease. To speak with a property manager about the services we can offer you contact us today by calling (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

What to Do When A Tenant Wants to Terminate Their Lease Early

Over the years that you own an investment property in Las Vegas, Phoenix or San Diego, you may encounter at least one tenant who wants to break their lease early. This is to be expected because there are a variety of reasons why a tenant may need to break their lease while they are renting from you.

Before falling back on your lease, or penalizing your tenant for wanting to terminate early, there are a variety of things that you should consider before responding to your tenant’s request to terminate their lease.

Find Out Why They Want to Terminate Their Lease

Although it’s natural for any landlord to want to take the hardline approach with their tenant regarding their desire to terminate their lease, the reality is that there are a variety of things that you should take into consideration regarding your tenant’s reason for them wanting to break their lease

Military Deployment – The first reason why you should be willing to let your tenant terminate their lease early as if they’re in the military and deployed. Since 9/11, our military has had to work harder than ever before so it makes sense to be compassionate with a member of the Armed Forces if they tell you that the reason why they have to break their lease is that they’ve been deployed.

Domestic Violence – Another excellent reason to let your tenant out of their lease is If they’ve been the victim of domestic violence. This is an important thing to consider because, even if the state where your rental property is located doesn’t have any specific laws on the books protecting victims of domestic violence, you should seriously consider letting them out of their lease especially if their safety is at stake.

Job Loss – Let’s say that your tenant has informed you that they’ve lost their job and are unable to find another job in the city or town where your investment property is located. In this situation, you should also consider showing compassion and be willing to let them terminate their lease rather than forcing them to fulfill the remaining months that they may have left with you.

Some of the other reasons to consider letting your tenant terminate their lease include if the property that they’re renting from you is uninhabitable.

In cases where you may have inadvertently violated your tenants’ rights by entering the rental property without providing them with a 24-hour notice to enter, your tenant is to provide you with a written warning telling you that you must stop coming around the rental property unannounced.

If you continue showing up unannounced, they have every right to terminate their lease without having to worry about dealing with repercussions from you.

Contact GoldenWest Management

To learn more tips about how to deal with tenants who may be trying to terminate their leases, or to speak with us about our Property Management Services, contact us today by calling (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

Disaster Preparedness Tips for Renters

Are you ready for a disaster?

This is something that no renter ever wants to be asked but the reality is that a disaster like a fire, earthquake, or man-made disaster can occur at any moment.

If your home isn’t prepared for a disaster, this article will offer you tips that you can use to get yourself and your family ready for a disaster.

Tip #1 – Get Your Insurance Paperwork Ready

This tip is important because, insurance paperwork is something that just about everyone, including renters, has a hard time finding when they need to find it quickly.

You should invest in a fireproof box or choose a central location in your property where you intend on storing all of your important paperwork including your renter’s insurance, life insurance, health insurance, and auto insurance policy.

Let’s say that you don’t want to store all of your insurance documents in your rental property, no problem.

One option that you may want to consider is storing each of your insurance documents online by uploading those documents to a cloud storage drive. Some of the most common solutions for online storage include Dropbox or Google Drive.

Tip #2 – Have an Emergency Evacuation Plan in Place

Regardless if it’s a fire, flood, or another type of disaster, the next thing that you should do is have an emergency evacuation plan in place.

This plan should include a document which shows were every exit in your rental property is located so that regardless if it’s a single-family home that you’re renting, apartment, condo, or town home, you and the other members of your family will know how to exit the rental property safely at a moment’s notice.

Besides having an emergency evacuation plan in place, you should also create a plan for you and other members of your family to follow just in case can you become separated if an emergency or disaster were to occur.

Knowing where each member of your family will go in the event of an emergency will give you peace of mind knowing that you can easily reconnect with other members of your family should you be unable to contact or communicate with them after a disaster.

Tip #3 – Create A Disaster Preparedness Kit

Last of all, but most important, another thing that you should do to prepare for disaster or emergency is to create a disaster preparedness kit. This kit should include common household items that you would need to use after an emergency has occurred especially if the power, sewer, or other utilities are shut off for any length of time.

Some of the items that you should consider adding to your disaster preparedness kit should include batteries, candles, matches, water, canned food, toilet paper a first aid kit and anything else that you would need to use to get you through a brief period of time following a disaster or emergency in your city or town.

Contact GoldenWest Management

To learn more about the things that you need to do to be prepared for disaster, or to speak with us about our property management services, contact us today by calling (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

Property Management Tips – What to Do When Your Tenant Abandons Their Property

There’s no doubt that owning rental properties can be an adventure, especially when your tenant abandons or leaves property behind after they move out. If this has happened to you recently, here are several tips you can use for dealing with their abandoned property.

Tip #1 – Determine That the Tenant Has Moved Out

Before taking steps to deal with your tenant’s abandoned property, you should make every effort to determine that they have moved out.

Obviously, if the tenant gave you a 30-day notice then it’s likely that they have moved out in accordance with their notice but it’s possible that they may have left abruptly and you will have to legally determine that they’ve moved.

To verify that your tenant has moved out you will have to go through the court system and file a “Notice of Belief of Abandonment”.

This notice can be served either in person or by mail and the tenant has up to 18 days (California) to answer it. If they have not answered this notice within this time frame then you can move the belongings out of your tenant’s rental and rent the property to another tenant.

Tip #2 – Store Their Belongings

After moving your tenant’s belongings out of their rental property, it’s best to store everything in a storage unit.

Instead of cleaning out their belongings yourself, it’s best to hire a neutral (3rd party) to clear out the rental unit because you don’t want to be accused of stealing if your former tenant contacts you with claims that some of their belongings are missing after they pick them up.

Take pictures of the items then give them one week to contact you to pick up their items. If they are not answering their cell phone, or it’s been disconnected, you can still find your former tenant by calling their references and mailing the pictures to their address because they may already have a forwarding address set up for receiving mail.

Always remember to create a paper trail when dealing with abandoned property, this way you can have records to back up any calls that you made or other efforts to contact your former tenant regarding their property.

If your former tenant contacts you regarding picking up their belongings, you will want to charge them a fee for storing their personal items because you’ve taken the time and effort to deal with those items even if they didn’t want to.

Tip #3 – Sell or Donate Their Items If They Don’t Contact You

Let’s say that your former tenant doesn’t respond to you within one to two weeks after abandoning their personal items.

In this case, you can move forward with confidence that you did your best to reach out to them and were unsuccessful.

Once again, you should document all of the steps that you took to contact them regarding their property then move forward with selling or donating their property if they don’t respond to you.

Contact GoldenWest Management

To learn more about the property management services we can offer you contact us today by clicking here to connect with us online.

Tiny Houses – Will the Movement Take Off in The San Diego Area?

If you’ve watched HGTV for a length of time you may be familiar with tiny houses. These are homes that are typically under 250 square feet, built on wheels or can be constructed for tenants in any backyard in the San Diego area.

With the housing crisis, it makes sense to build more tiny homes because each tiny home could provide space for up to two people but the reality is that environmental regulations and building codes may stop tiny homes from taking off in the San Diego area.

San Diego Housing Panel Gives Tiny Homes The OK

As of October 2019, tiny homes are now approved in the San Diego area. The panel recently voted to approve tiny homes in San Diego as long as homeowners choose to follow a long list of city regulations and their requirements.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Councilwoman Dr. Jennifer Campbell. “Let’s do it.”

– San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego joins a long list of cities in California, like Los Angeles, who have recognized the benefits of approving tiny homes and they now are approving their construction in cities across California and nationwide.

Good News for Local Homeowners and Investors

Besides benefiting the local housing market by bringing affordable housing to the market, tiny homes also immediately benefit homeowners and investors because they can be built within 30-45 days (or sooner), are less expensive to build than traditional granny flats and can rent for $900 per month in some areas.

Investors who want to get more ROI out of their existing properties will be thrilled to be able to consider tiny homes as another source of revenue for their portfolios.

Contact GoldenWest Management

To learn more about the San Diego rental market, or to speak with us about our property management services, contact us today by calling (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

What Can You Do to Attract the Most Qualified Tenants In 2020?

The New Year is in full swing and as many landlords are dealing with lease renewals right now, or are going to have tenants who will be renewing their leases in the coming months, this article will provide you with a variety of tips for attracting the best tenants in 2020.

Tip #1 – Market the Area, Not Just the Rental

The first key to attracting the most qualified tenants in 2020 is to market the area where your rental property is located instead of just marketing the rental itself.

To effectively market your rental property, you should focus on the benefits that the area where your property is located has to offer potential tenants.

For example: Is your rental property in a convenient location that’s close to shops, stores and other fun things that people like to do in your city? What about ease of access? Can tenants easily get to the freeway or access bus lines and other forms of public transportation? These are important questions to ask before you write the first ad for marketing your rental online.

Once you’ve written a great rental advertisement, don’t forget about writing about the cool features that your property has to offer prospective tenants. The features that your property might have to offer may include built-ins, washer, and dryer, swimming pool or pay utilities.

Never make the mistake of using terms like “quaint”, “retro” or “cozy” because these terms will create pictures in the mind of your prospective tenants and make them think that your property is old or outdated.

Tip #2 – Focus on Improving Your Rental Property

When was the last time you made some serious upgrades to your rental property that went beyond just a coat of paint? If it’s been a while, it’s time to consider making some improvements like resurfacing the cabinets, adding new cabinet hardware, new appliances, flooring, smart appliances, and anything else that will upgrade your rental property and make it competitive with other properties in the area.

Tip #3 – Hire A Professional Photographer to Take Great Photos of Your Rental

Many owners make the mistake of taking photos of their rental properties on their iPhones and then calling it good. These pictures aren’t always effective because the camera on your phone can only go so far.

For best results with taking pictures of your rental property, it’s best to hire a professional photographer to spend an hour taking great shots of your property. You may even want to consider renting some furniture if your property is vacant just so you can stage your property for the pictures and give prospective tenants an idea of what they can do with the space that your property can offer them.

Contact GoldenWest Management

To learn more about how you can attract the most qualified tenants in 2020, or speak with us about our property management services, contact us today by calling (866) 545-5303 or click here.