Our Blog

Welcome to our blog.  We strive to provide timely, relevant information that you might find useful.  Thanks for visiting!

Painting your rental property

Paint and painting is a major aspect you’ll have to deal with in rental property management. It’s not just for esthetics, a high-quality paint job is critical to attracting the right kind of tenant. Simply put, high-quality tenants (those who rent for long periods of time and have no issues paying on time) will not rent a place with worn, chipped and otherwise dirty paint on the walls and baseboards. So if you own a rental property, it’s practically a guarantee that painting is something you’ll have to deal with at some point during your ownership of the property.

Fresh paint is very attractive to prospective tenants. If your rental unit is on the market, a fresh coat of paint can brighten up the place and make it seem newer. This is especially true when it comes time to show your rental property. A freshly painted unit simply shows much better than an old, dingy one.

A new paint job is surprisingly affordable for landlords. Think about it this way – a small investment in painting can potentially secure you a lease with a new tenant for one year. You are investing a few hundred dollars to return many thousands. This is a good thing considering landlords need to paint their properties much more frequently than an average homeowner. Rental property tenants turn over quickly due to many reasons, and this turn over tends to create dings, nicks, and holes in the wall due to the constant move-ins and move-outs. Even the best tenants can mistakenly damage a wall while moving their stuff!

It’s not necessary to repaint your unit every time a tenant moves out, but it’s much easier (and cheaper) to paint a vacant unit. Often, the best way to plan a thorough re-painting of your unit is to coordinate the painting work with other repairs. That way, you can give your painter a specific set of dates to work with in order to get their job done. Professional painters are often busy and booked well in advance, so planning their work to coincide with a tenant moving out is ideal. If you update other aspects of the property along with the new paint job, you can market your rental property at a higher price point for the next tenant. So consider having the property vacant for one month to allow you to complete the necessary work and then put it back on the market for a higher price. You’ll lose one month of rental income, but easily gain it back plus more by charging a higher rent in your next lease.

Another factor landlords should consider is not allowing their tenants to paint the unit. This should be clearly stated in the lease. Tenants often paint in colours that only they find appealing (like black and neon green, eeek) and after they skip town, you’re left with an undesirable unit that will be more difficult to put back on the market. Not only do you have to pay for a new paint job to replace their unappealing colour schemes, but the job itself might also be more expensive due to the tenant’s inexperienced work and additional coats of primer needed to adequately cover certain paint colours. So do yourself a favour and build paint protection into the lease by way of an addendum that clearly states the tenant cannot paint the unit whatsoever.

How to get a mortgage for an investment property

Are you thinking about investing in real estate?  A rental property has a lot of upside, but mortgage loans for rental properties are subject to different rules than a traditional mortgage for an owner-occupied home.  With mortgage rules more strict than ever, we hope this article helps you prepare yourself to enter the investment property market.

The first step when preparing to purchase an investment property is to determine how much you can afford.  Typically, the prices of investment properties are higher than owner-occupied properties, because rental properties generate income which assists in offsetting the costs associated with owning the property.  You are allowed to use the value of this income, along with the value of your down payment, to determine how much you can afford.  A rental property will always require a down payment, and the amount can vary depending on your local jurisdiction.  Expect anywhere from 20-35%.  Don’t forget to add estimates for closing costs and other one time fees, like marketing, property management and repairs.

The next thing you should do is run the numbers for each property you are considering to purchase.  Each rental property is like its own small business.  There is income, and there is expenses.  Do your best to estimate these figures, based on your projected rents per month, principal and interest payments, property taxes, property insurance, property management, repair and maintenance, etc.  Chances are, whoever is administering your mortgage loan will want to see your profit and loss projections for the property.  The net profit you project will be a factor in deciding whether or not you’ll receive a mortgage loan for the investment property.

Look at getting a pre-approval next.  Just like in the case of a traditional, owner-occupied mortgage, obtaining a pre-approval gives you negotiating leverage when you are making offers on a property.  Simply put, if two people make an offer on one property, and one person has a pre-approval, while the other does not, the person with the pre-approval looks stronger to the seller and has a better chance of purchasing the property.

If you need assistance shopping for a commercial mortgage or obtaining a pre-approval, a mortgage broker is an excellent resource.  A mortgage broker works for you, not one particular bank.  They are able to negotiate on your behalf and find you the best deal.  In most cases, they only get paid if they are able to secure you a mortgage loan, so it’s in their best interest to try and get a deal done for you.

Last, but certainly not least, is you’ll want to educate yourself on your local landlord and tenant laws.  If this will be your first time being a landlord, you should start at this step first.  Speak to other landlords and try and learn from their mistakes and experience.  In the real estate game, making mistakes often costs you big money.  Minimize your chance of making critical errors by interviewing experienced landlords.  Pay them for their valuable time.  Do whatever it takes to sit down with them for 30 minutes and pick their brain.  What was their biggest mistake, what’s their biggest challenge, what books do they recommend you read, what would they do differently if they had to start all over again?  Hopefully, you’re able to learn from their experience to increase your chances of success in the investment property realm.

7 Reasons to Hire a Professional Window Cleaner

Cleaning windows is a chore that often gets put on the back burner or gets avoided altogether. The task itself is tedious but very much needed for many reasons.  

Windows are our connection to the world. They provide warmth, vision, character, light. And more than just curb appeal, windows improve the quality of our homes, the comfort level of our lives. 

So taking care of your windows and keeping them clean is necessary to maintain the health of your home.

Here are seven reasons to hire a professional window cleaner:

Save your time

Cleaning your windows from the inside of your house is one thing, but reaching all the outdoor surfaces of your windows takes time. There’s a reason that people don’t often take up this quest. It involves gaining knowledge of best procedures, securing the materials and tools, climbing ladders, avoiding damage, etc. Professional window cleaners will take care of the cleaning in what will feel like record time, giving you less stress.

Avoid the dangers of window cleaning

Window cleaning means reaching surfaces on the outside of your home. If you don’t have experience with ladders or dealing with heights, there are potential dangers of falling. Professional cleaners have experience in even dangerous conditions to reach the full scope of your windows for cleaning. Leave it to the professionals to do the dirty work and stay safe. 

Improve curb appeal

Mowed lawns and fresh paint jobs only take your home’s appearance so far. Dirty, stained, streaked, or neglected windows will depreciate the value of your home and its curb appeal. We all want a well-maintained house that shows care on the inside and outside. Professional window cleaners, like the ones at sudburywindowcleaning.com, make sure your windows are pristine and add to the value of your home.

Lets more light through

The cleaner a window, the easier it is for light to shine through. Natural light is essential for human health, boosting the immune system, increasing vitamin b and d intake, and elevating mood. It also cuts down on winter heating bills, saving energy and money. 

In fact, you can improve your sleep with more access to light. Most people spend the majority of their days indoors, getting little exposure to sunlight. Our bodies rely on a circadian rhythm to manage when we wake and sleep so having access to the sun allows your body to sync with a natural cycle. Professionally cleaned windows will allow more light, more health, and more sleep regularity. 

Professionals have the right tools

If you were thinking of cleaning your own windows, you might be looking into a pressure washer, a squeegee, window cleaning solutions. But do you know how to use the tools, and choose the right window cleaner? Pressure washing and the wrong cleaner can both damage the integrity of the windows as well as leave ugly streaks. Professionals will have the right tools, the right procedures, and the most reliable cleaner.

Get your windows inspected

Getting up close to the outside of a window allows for professionals to assess any possible damage. Cracks or scratches, if left unnoticed will need to be replaced. If there are worn seals, the elements could be seeping into your home. Poorly-fitted screens can cause insects and unwanted debris to enter your home. Professional window cleaners can keep an eye out for these spot problem areas, giving you a heads up on the health of your windows.

Lengthen the life of your windows

Besides the benefits of having experts attend to the cleanliness and health of your windows, it is a chore that most simply don’t want to do. But as dirt and dust settle into a window’s pores, it can seep in over time. This causes scratches and streaks that further damage the integrity of the glass. If you don’t take care of the dirt, the lack of maintenance leads to possible replacement and repair costs in the future. Invest in professionals who will lengthen the life of your windows and keep your home healthy.

Hire a professional window cleaning service to benefit your health, your wallet, and the life of your home.

Commercial Property Management

Welcome to Property Side Kick!  This is our first of hopefully many blog posts.  How do you manage your commerical properties?  If you’re still using Excel spreadsheets, then it’s time to consider upgrading to a software package that will automate parts of your management process.

Features you should look for in a such software are:

 

  • Reminder System – Know in a moment who hasn’t paid rent on time! You can also use a reminder system to see leases and insurance policies due to expire, incomplete work orders, and bills to pay.
  • Site Map – Be able to customize a site map for each location. Automatically color code each location according to balance due, space available, or paid in full.
  • Automatic Billing – Schedule an unlimited number of charges to appear automatically for each tenant. Set the amount, income account, and frequency for each charge that will appear on a regular basis.
  • Letters and Leases – Merge specific tenant information into a Microsoft Word letter template. The software should come with some examples of letters and leases which you can use and edit, or create your own.
  • Banking and Accounting Package – Enter income and expenses for all properties, keep a check register for each bank account, print checks directly from the program, create journal entries, enter bills to be paid, and memorize recurring transactions.
  • Quick Reporting – Easy-to-read reports for all levels of management, including Rent Roll, Vacancy Reports, Late Rent List, Next Period Invoice, Work Order By Priority, and Profit and Loss Statements. Save time and be organized for tax season.
  • Property Maintenance – Create work orders for maintenance requests and keep track of who reported the problem, who is assigned to complete the repair, and when it is due to be completed. This feature should also include the ability to track labor and material charges.
  • Remote Access Capability – Allow staff members and business partners to access the program via a local network connection or an Internet connection from anywhere around the world.
  • Simple Rent Collection – View a tenant’s open charges with two clicks. Then post one or more payments in just a few seconds. Print a receipt and you’re done!
  • Complete Tenant Information – Keep all contact information, pictures, application data, references, incidents, notes, and lease information in one easy-to-access tenant record.

We hope this information helps you find the software package that will make managing your commercial rental units much easier!