A Tight Rent Collection Process.

System - Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The way you handle rent collection and late payments can be the difference between success and failure as a landlord. Collecting rent on time every month is the only way to maintain consistent cash-flow, and your tenants need to understand this is not negotiable. By hiring a property manager, you put a buffer between yourself and the tenant, and allow them to be the bad guy who has to listen to excuses, chase down rent, and when necessary, evict the person living in your property.

If you let them, your tenants will walk all over you. They have to be trained to follow every part of the lease or deal with the consequences. Property managers have an advantage because tenants realize that they, unlike the owner, are only doing their job and are obligated to enforce the lease terms. Many property managers will tell you that it is considerably easier to manage other people's units rather than their own for this reason.

Regarding evictions, there are strict laws concerning the eviction process, and doing it wrong, or trying to evict a "professional tenant" can be a MAJOR fiasco. A good property management firm knows the law and has a good process for obtaining the best possible outcome given the circumstances. Never having to handle another eviction can be a compelling reason to consider hiring a property management company.

Staying in Compliance With Local Rental Regulations

System - Monday, June 5, 2017

How can a landlord stay on top of rental regulations? It can be extremely nerve-wracking when you are not sure if your home will pass an upcoming inspection. Even worse, if you accidentally infringe on a tenant’s rights under the law, you could be leaving yourself exposed to a lawsuit. Using simple techniques such as scheduling and research can greatly reduce your potential liability.

Step one for any landlord, experienced or newbie, would be to find your state’s literature on Landlord-Tenant laws. In some states that may be an actual Landlord-Tenant Act, like in Virginia. In other places, it can simply be a group of laws designed to protect both parties in tenancy situations. Many times official PDFs of these documents are available online. We have a copy available at Download the information, save it and read it front to back. You may also be able to obtain these documents from your local municipality, court system, or town hall. Being intimately aware of the laws surrounding tenancy is crucial to protecting yourself. More so, you must understand what these regulations mean as it applies to you, your rental asset, and your communications with your tenant.

For example, here is a heading section from the Virginia Landlord-Tenant Act concerning repairs and emergencies.

§ 55-248.32. Remedy by repair, etc.; emergencies.

If there is a violation by the tenant of § 55-248.16 or the rental agreement materially affecting health and safety that can be remedied by repair, replacement of a damaged item or cleaning, the landlord shall send a written notice to the tenant specifying the breach and stating that the landlord will enter the dwelling unit and perform the work in a workmanlike manner, and submit an itemized bill for the actual and reasonable cost therefor to the tenant, which shall be due as rent on the next rent due date, or if the rental agreement has terminated, for immediate payment. In case of emergency the landlord may, as promptly as conditions require, enter the dwelling unit, perform the work in a workmanlike manner, and submit an itemized bill for the actual and reasonable cost therefor to the tenant, which shall be due as rent on the next rent due date, or if the rental agreement has terminated, for immediate payment. The landlord may

How to effectively screen tenants?

System - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Most of us have found that it’s not too difficult to rent your house to anyone who comes along. What really takes dedication and persistence is tenant screening. This practice helps shield the landlord from potential problems down the road. What we’ve found at The Grandin Agency is that screening tenants ahead of time saves countless hours of frustration in the future. We handle the entire screening process for our clients to save them the time and trouble. This allows you, the landlord, to enjoy the benefits of your rental without wasting excessive time finding tenants.

The process of finding a responsible tenant is not as simple as it used to be, and can even get confusing at times. Many rental property owners attempt to utilize online web searches to find information regarding their potential tenant. This is not proper screening and you can be left extremely vulnerable if you miss a critical detail. You could end up letting unqualified people into your home with direct access to your investment.

Most people don’t search the web at all. Instead, they rely on what the potential tenant says, even though he/she could easily be lying at this point. It’s safe to say that constantly repeating this type of situation can lead to some major problems in the long term. This is why you have to take your time and screen the potential tenants as carefully as possible. Even easier, we do all the work for you when you become one of our clients.

Instead of using old, out of date screening ideas and tools, The Grandin Agency harnesses the power of the latest technology, products and services! When you hire us we will check all tenants against the Terrorist Watch list, the FBI Most Wanted list, public records, and even criminal databases. Let’s face it; you never know who you are letting into your home, so it’s imperative to make sure that you protect yourself at all costs.

The Grandin Agency will also search the court records nationwide. This can provide information to us about previous evictions and other civil infractions that could affect our decision on the tenant. The inclusion of these several different screening techniques helps you find only the most thoroughly responsible tenants available. After all, you invested a lot of time and money into your property. The last thing you want to do is to have a criminal or someone else equally or more destructive in your home. When they damage your house, they are affecting your cash flow opportunity and also your ROI. We recommend you to take your time and study all options if you want to have a good experience. Hiring The Grandin Agency is a natural choice if you want professional background checks, as this is the only way to truly verify who your tenants are, and if they’re a good fit. If you want to protect your investment and make sure that your tenants are the right fit for your property, then please contact us about managing your rental property.

Should you allow pets in your rental property?

System - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Are you unsure about whether or not to allow pets in your rental property? There are both responsible and irresponsible pet owners so it can be difficult to decide if it’s worth the risk of an animal potentially damaging your property. While there is no clear cut answer, hopefully we can give you an idea of what is going to be right for you.

The downsides to allowing pets

It’s very simple, not only can they bring damage to the property in many forms, but they can also leave a distinct scent that will be very hard to remove. They might even scratch or pee on the walls, something that can lead to major costs as well. Dogs could potentially cause disturbances with neighbors and could be considered a liability if not trained and handled properly. The last thing you want is to have extra maintenance or costs to deal with, so it’s definitely good to think it out before agreeing to allow pets in your property.

The upsides to allowing pets

Allowing pets will give you access to a larger pool of prospective tenants as well as potentially having longer average tenancy rates. It can be difficult to find rentals that allow pets, so if you do allow them this can be a great advantage to your tenants and encourages them to stay. There is also the fact that you can charge either a higher rent rate or add a monthly pet fee for each pet in the home. At the end of the day, if you find a responsible pet owner, they will most likely be a responsible tenant as well.

The Grandin Agency Pet Policy

We treat homes with shared walls between units as no-pet homes. This policy helps keep down excessive complaints and issues.

All of the single family properties we handle are advertised as being no-pet properties for the first two weeks. If we haven’t yet found a tenant after the first two weeks, then pet owners will be able to rent the property, but there will be some restrictions. If you rent the property, you can bring only a maximum of 2 dogs. Their weight should be less than 50 lbs. Also, the animal needs to be covered by a renter insurance policy. You will also need to pay a $25 fee/month/pet. This fee is necessary as it will cover any potential issues caused by your dog, if any. We do not allow cats and we don’t require any additional security deposit.

If you are a landlord and want to rent your property, adding a policy about pets can be an excellent idea. You should consider all ups and downs of allowing pets on your rental property before making your final decision. We can help you find responsible pet owners after the first two weeks of advertising as being a no-pet property or you can just avoid the hassle and stop any tenants from bringing in animals to your property. The choice is completely up to you!

How to Save Money with my Rental Property?

System - Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Having a rental property can be a great source of income. However, when you own a rental property, you will also have to deal with some large maintenance and repair costs, which often come with less than perfect timing. Controlling your rental property’s maintenance costs can feel overwhelming at times so here are a few simple suggestions to help keep the most money in your pocket.

Maintain Piping System Function

Any damages in the pipe system of the home can cause major issues in other areas. Burst pipes can cause huge amounts of water or other fluids to be emptied into the home. Frozen pipes, leaking faucets, and clogged garbage disposals or drains can also all cause plumbing issues. The majority of repairs - and costs - associated with these issues can be avoided with regular maintenance and inspections.

Keep Filters Fresh

This is definitely one of the easiest maintenance tasks that the landlord can do themselves, at the minimum. Ensure that all filters in the home are clean and free of debris, such as the A/C filters, water filters, faucet filters, etc. Leaving household filters clogged can put an excessive amount of pressure on your appliances such as your furnace, your water pump, and your A/C unit.

Hold Frequent Inspections

Prevention of repairs is clearly the landlord’s best option, so regular inspections often help them to better maintain their property, and then their ROI. This is not something the landlord has to do themselves, either hired employees or property managers can do this for you. The Grandin Agency promises a quarterly drive-by your home, and also twice yearly interior walk through inspections.

Put the Right People In

Having tenants that are respectful and responsible changes everything. They call you back, they pay on time, they utilize the technology we as landlords provide them instead of making us do things the old fashioned way. Instead of becoming enemies or resentful, these tenants are appreciative and become your teammates in maintaining the home. Once you do have these great tenants placed, it’s also crucial to maintain the relationship with them.

Regular Roof System Checks

Roof system checks should be done at least yearly, if not twice yearly. The roof is the absolute last thing on the property you want to malfunction, especially with tenants occupying the property. A malfunction in this critical system leaves your tenants vulnerable to water damages and temporary forced relocation. Simply checking the roof for and repairing pinholes, removing debris, and checking for other damages/wear can extend the life of the roof.

Keeping your gutters clean helps prevent drainage issues (which can affect your foundation) and corrosion of the gutters and roof. This is a no-brainer fix that can save thousands.

While sometimes it can be challenging to control rental property maintenance costs, the need for them can be greatly reduced by following the advice we’ve outlined in this article. Keeping your costs low is crucial to steadying your cash flow, so we recommend you always keep your property in optimal condition.

Are Rental Inspections Necessary?

System - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Rental property is clearly in the portfolio of thousands of wealth building investors. There’s no doubt there is money to be made in real estate, but what is the secret? The truth is that this business is real: there is no secret to success.

Even if most owners understand the importance of regular inspections, the reality is that some of them think such a process is a waste of time. While inspections do take time and/or money to accomplish, they are often able to detect the straw that would have broken the camel’s back. Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons of inspections.

  • Detect Damage before Disaster
    A significant benefit of periodic inspections is that they can help you pinpoint problems with your rental. Since plumbing issues or even structural problems can appear out of nowhere, it’s a good idea to track and monitor the condition of the property closely. Some landlords are afraid of inspections, thinking that they may have to make costly repairs if anything is found. Finding rotted floor beams is never fun, but knowing and repairing it before someone gets seriously injured is probably a better practice.
  • Eliminate Concerns of Sub-letting
    Many tenants sub-let the property to make money. It’s a practice that we encounter more and more often, which is why you have to take it into consideration. Regular inspections will give you a peace of mind that nothing is going on under the table.
  • Avoid Criminal Activity
    Simply having someone from your team or yourself walk around the property occasionally for inspections can help reduce criminal activity. Advertising the fact that you do routine inspections can also prevent tenants who may be planning on engaging in criminal activity away from applying to your rental. Monitoring the property carefully will produce an environment that is not friendly towards illegal activity.
  • Vacant Home Protection
    Even if your rental is not currently occupied, it is a good practice to check up on it frequently. Vacant home monitoring will give you peace of mind that there is no looting or breaking in. Damage done while the home is vacant is extremely frustrating; you must not only pay for the repairs, but the time to repair will prevent any paying tenants from moving in. It’s a great idea to have vacant home checks included with your inspections.
  • Maintain the Relationship with Tenants
    One of the best things about regular inspections is that it improves the level of communication between the tenant and landlord. There are fewer unexpected problems, and the overall atmosphere between the two can become calm and mutually respectful.
  • You spend less on repairs
    Since regular inspections identify any potential problems early on, any issues over the long term can be avoided. Maintenance on a water heater, for instance, is usually much cheaper than replacing one. If you, your tenant, and your property manager can work together to find any issues and tackle repairing them it makes things much easier on everyone.

The key to success in maintaining your property is close monitoring and early detection of issues. Regular home inspections, offered by The Grandin Agency, can increase your satisfaction with your rental property by making it much easier to monitor the property. By contract, we do an interior inspection of all our properties once every six months. We do a drive by every three months.

Welcome to our new responsive website!

System - Saturday, May 28, 2016

Welcome to the new Grandin Agency Website! 

Our new website is fully responsive and uses the latest technology, allowing you to have a better browsing experience on any device no matter if it is a desktop, tablet or cellphone!

Why is this a big deal? Well, it allows you to have access to our site anywhere, at any time. 

We hope you find the site useful and easy to use!

Contact Us

Roanoke Office
11 S. Jefferson St.
Commercial Suite
Roanoke, VA 24011

P: (540) 404-1184

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