Simply Residential Maintenance

Owners of investment properties seek out a valued property management partner for many reasons, with maintenance being one of the most common. Maintenance calls from tenants can come at any time of the day and night and typically require some expertise. Some issues are small and easily managed. Others take time and come with costs. Whatever the issue, Simply Residential is happy to take maintenance calls 24/7, 365 days a year. In an ideal world, maintenance issues would be corrected quickly and at minimal cost to our client. But often the reason a project takes longer and costs occur is outside of our control.

Project Time

Simply Residential strives to perform maintenance quickly, efficiently and safely. We’re aware that maintenance can affect liability and a property owner’s ability to maintain a city rental license. Many factors influence the speed maintenance can be completed:

• May-Sept is a busy time for contractors, which may delay specialized work.
•Tenants often want to be home for maintenance visits. Working with a tenant’s busy schedule will slow how quickly we gain property access.
• Retailers like Home Depot often need parts and products shipped from distribution centers, which can mean a delay of 7-10 days.

We do all we can to minimize the turnaround time of maintenance but some delays are beyond our control.

Project Cost

Simply Residential doesn’t relish asking our clients to approve a repair or replacement cost. But maintenance expenditures are often an unpleasant and unavoidable part of doing business in property investment.
appliance lifespanA common cost of doing business is managing home appliances. Like all things, appliances have varying life expectancies that are affected by age, brand, availability of parts and more. Sometimes they break down before they should. Perhaps there is some truth in the saying that, “they don’t make things like they used to.” While there is no definitive guide to accurately predicting an appliance’s lifespan, the graph to the right shows the average life expectancy for various home appliances and equipment. Appliance failure is just part of doing business. We advise clients to set aside 10% of their investment property income to cover maintenance.

Our Approach

It’s important to note that long before any maintenance incident, Simply Residential works to detect problems in advance. We regularly communicate with tenants and encourage reporting of maintenance concerns. We also offer our owners a preventative maintenance service package as a way to get in front of those issues. But we know that not all issues can be predicted nor avoided.
As a valued client, everyone on the Simply Residential team is dedicated to your property. We’re your property’s biggest fans! If your property was a sports team, we’d be purchasing and wearing their jerseys!
So, the next time you hear from our maintenance staff, please be patient and know that we’re working hard to facilitate positive change for your property.

4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Property Management Company


Photo credit: Virtual EyeSee

You’ve crunched numbers. You’ve considered all the possible outcomes and challenges. And now you’re comfortable moving forward hiring a property management company to manage your rental property. Congratulations. While you’ve made some substantial progress, your journey to rent your property still has some road left to travel.

Entrusting your investment property to a property management company is easy, though admittedly emotional. But deciding which property management company to hire is the real important decision. These should be the most important factors you consider when comparing property management companies:


One of the more important issues you’re interested in is the cost. There are fees for management, vacancy, set-up, maintenance, eviction, advertising, unpaid invoices and more. Renting a property is meant to bring you additional income, right? The less a property management company charges, the better.  But while price is obviously a major factor, don’t get too caught up in only the total cost of these fees. Consider how that cost is spread out over time. Some property management companies load up a management contract with upfront costs. Ask yourself, if they are paid up front, what’s their incentive to perform at a high level throughout the duration the agreement? Other property management companies forgo those heavy upfront costs in favor of building long-term relationships with you and proving themselves over time.

Personal Attention

You’ve heard the saying “Bigger isn’t always better.” That applies when considering property management companies. If your research shows that all factors are equal between two property management companies other than sheer size, you may receive more personalized attention from that small partner. You’ll be viewed less as a number and more as a true partner. In the end, we all want a property management company we can trust that provides timely and courteous communication throughout the relationship.


The property management company is responsible for maintaining  and hopefully increasing the value of your investment property during their time as your partner. That can be done by properly addressing existing issues and being proactive with preventative maintenance.  Here are a few questions to ask property management companies about their maintenance approach:

How are tenant maintenance requests tracked and acted upon?
What’s the process for after hours maintenance?
What can you tell me about your maintenance technicians?
Is maintenance coverage 24/7 and 365 days a year?
What’s the process for entering my property?

The Tenant

You already know how important a property management company is. The tenant chosen to live in your property is also important. The services of the property management partner should include finding, screening and securing tenants. You’ll want to know where your rental listing will be advertised, how screenings will be conducted on applicants and what steps will be taken to secure tenants. It’s important to feel comfortable with the property management company’s approach to tenants and their capability to find a great fit.

Learn how Simply Residential Property Management is simply different than other property management companies. Request a free rental analysis today!

Things to Consider Before Renovating Your Rental Property


When it comes to the renovation of your rental property, there are a number of things that you have to consider. First of all, statistics show that the majority of the money that is spent on renovations will never be recouped. This means that you should consider carefully if renovations for your property are really necessary.

The ROI (Return on Investment)
First things first, consider whether or not the renovations will up the value of your investment, or attract more potential renters. Not every single renter will be looking for a kitchen that has been recently renovated. However, a kitchen that is outdated or not decorated well can definitely be a turn off. Old or ugly cabinets or cheap and chipped counters can sent potential tenants running for the hills. Keep in mind, you can give the kitchen a facelift without having to completely redo the entire space. Consider some smaller repairs that need to be made, which will increase the ROI you receive.

The Hidden Costs Associated with a Renovation
When it comes to remodeling your rental property, there will always be additional consists that you did not anticipate – even smaller jobs. After you calculate all of the potential expenses of the project, you should always add an extra 10 to 20 percent depending on the actual estimate that you are given. This will help you get a much better idea of the costs that you will be having to pay.

You should also not forget to include the costs of any additional tools that you might have to purchase, the gas that will be necessary for picking up materials and any extra things that you may need.

Finding the Right Professional for the Job
A key to the success of your remodeling project will be to find the right contractor. If you are unsure of who to use, this may result in you using a contractor that is not as experienced as you may be able to find. This is when the contacts that a property manager has can be extremely beneficial. They will likely have on-going relationships will all types of contractors who will be able to work on your property for a fair cost and the job will be completed in a timely manner.

It is important to avoid simply choosing the first contractor that you come across. This will likely result in less than ideal results. If you have a rental property in Minnesota that you are considering having remodeled, then you definitely need to contact Simply Residential Property Management. They will ensure that your project is successful and affordable.

Questions about renovating your rental property? Contact us today at!

Temporary Housing for Your Tenants: A Guide


Life as a landlord can be stressful at times. Take the temporary relocation of tenants as an example. Despite your best efforts to prevent or foresee an issue arising in the property, something has come up that requires your tenants to temporarily relocate. You’re already worried about the cost of repairs to the property, but now you have to worry about a whole heap of other things; will they be paying rent while they’re relocated? Where will I be able to relocate them to? Should I keep them happy with a plush hotel room or risk finding them a budget motel, as it’s only temporary? All these questions and more will likely come into consideration, but it’s important to bear certain facts in mind. Your tenants are entitled to temporary accommodation, and as such it is your duty to find, reserve and show them to their provisional property. Simply Residential Property Management has compiled a few handy tips to help you with the process.

Give advance warning
If moving your tenants to temporary housing cannot be avoided, then it is important you go out of your way to limit the disturbance to their lives. Any notice alerting your tenants they will have to temporarily relocate from their property must be given at least 60 days in advance. Failure to do so could end with the tenants refusing to pay your rent for the time they are at the property, or even for that particular month. If the case should go to court, your inability or unwillingness to supply them with adequate notice will reflect badly on you.

Reasonable replacement accommodation
You must provide clean, suitable replacement housing for the entire duration of the property’s reconstruction period. Failure to do so could result in your tenants taking the matter to court, and the state of Minnesota tends to favor the tenants over the landlord, particularly when the relocation is due to a fault with the property. It’s not unreasonable to expect you as the landlord to provide comfortable and safe accommodation, but it is also important you try to find something in close proximity to the original property, so as to cause as little disruption to your tenants’ lives as possible.

Be prepared to pay for travel/transport expenses
While this may seem like a trivial issue, you have to remember that it is your responsibility as the landlord to provide these things. If the temporary property you have assigned to your tenants requires them to travel to work, college, school, etc., then it is up to you to pay for travel expenses. Of course, a two minute move down the road does not warrant you reimbursing any of your tenants on travel costs, but anything that could warrant an extra bus journey or substantially increased car journey could justify your tenants requesting you cover travel expenses. The same applies to any increase in utility costs or an increase in rent while they are based at this temporary address.

Remember, it is your duty as a landlord to provide alternative accommodation if repairs or reconstruction is required for the original property. How you decide to provide this alternative accommodation is up to you, but it is best to keep the tenants happy, even if this means paying a little bit more money. This eases tensions, shows you’re caring for the needs of your tenants and means future interactions should be a little bit easier.

How To Winterize Your Rental Property

Winter is a tough time of the year for us all, but it’s especially hard on houses. There are several things you can do to ensure you’re prepared. Here are a few key items to consider.
How-To Winterize Your Rental Property (3)
Have you made sure your properties are ready for the cold months ahead? If not, don’t worry! Our professional maintenance staff is happy to take care of these concerns for you. While they’re on your property, they can also perform our $99 full-property assessment to check for any other potential maintenance issues or things that may need to be addressed after the next year. If you’re interested, contact our Maintenance Manager today!

How Does Simply Residential Protect Your Rental Properties?

How simply residential property management protects your rental property

Ensuring the safety of what is arguably the largest and most important investment you’ll make in your life is something that we take very seriously at Simply Residential. Here are a few of the services we provide to make sure that your property is protected and being used in a responsible and non-destructive way:

Every month we send an email to our tenants to ask them about any maintenance needs. This email includes a list of seasonally appropriate things to check. Since many renters haven’t owned their own home, we take the time to educate them about what they need to look out for and when.

With this optional service, we go to your property once per quarter to change your furnace filter. While we’re there, we do a property walk-through to determine if there are any lease violations on the part of the tenant that need to be addressed.

This optional service allows us to perform a full assessment of your property and identify any maintenance issues that may come up in the next year. That information allows us to plan out and budget for necessary maintenance needs so you don’t end up having to pay all of the costs at the same time.

Move-in, Move-out
When a tenant moves in, the first thing we do is a walk-though of your property to make thorough notes of its condition, including extensive photographic documentation, with the new tenant. We then collect the tenant’s signature for verification that they were present and agree with our findings. Upon move out, we do the same walk-through to assess for any changes in the condition of your property. This walk-through is fully and extensively documented with photos and covers over 70 points within your property.

No matter what time it is, or the nature of the issue, we have a team of full time, professional maintenance technicians who are available 24/7/365 to our tenants. This allows us to quickly and efficiently rectify any damaging problems and handle emergency needs immediately so they don’t escalate or create more problems in the future. This makes it convenient for tenants to report any problems with the property at any time, which is their responsibility per the signed lease agreement.

Taking care of your property is our first priority. If you’re interested in learning more about our optional annual walk-through and/or quarterly furnace filter change and lease violation check service call us today!

Contact our Maintenance Department: or 952-715-6183.

3 Steps to a Rent-Ready Property [Infographic]

Thinking about renting out your property? There are a lot of considerations that need to be made before your property will be ready for a new tenant. The most important things to remember are to determine your needs first, to evaluate the condition of your property, and to document everything.

3 steps to a rent-ready property

contact us renter placement quiz

Working with a property management company eliminates almost all of this responsibility for you as the property owner. To find out how we can help you get rent-ready, and stay that way, contact us today!

Fall Is Here, Are You Ready?


Is your rental property ready for fall?

As summer comes to an end, Minnesotans begin the process of preparing for the fall and winter seasons. Much of that preparation involves buying new back-to-school clothes, sealing up the windows, and making sure that all hats, coats and other winter gear are up to snuff. With all that preparation, homeowners often overlook the needs of their home due to the changing weather.

For example, while changing leaves are stunning for sight-seeing, they’re an absolute nightmare for your gutters. If you have a rental property, the last thing you’re going to want to do is come home from watching the changing colors to clean dead leaves out of the gutters. Luckily, when you work with Simply Residential Property Management, these things don’t need to be a concern. We offer this service at a nominal charge as part of our maintenance services.

Along with cleaning your gutters, it’s also necessary to blow out your sprinkler system. While it isn’t necessarily a difficult task, it can certainly be a burden to take the time out of your day to do this amidst all of the back to school hubbub. Are you going to want to take a day off of work to take care of this? In our experience, it’s easier and more effective for us to perform this service for our clients. After all, what is your time worth?

Lastly, it’s important to remember to check your furnace before the cold weather sets in. Unlike your air conditioner, you can check your furnace at any time and at any temperature. Don’t get caught off guard and end up with cold and angry tenants! We offer this service to our clients on a yearly basis to ensure they’re always ready for the season. You can have any of these services on their own, or we can do an annual maintenance walk-through to help you get a better understanding of what maintenance issues may come up in the next year. As we say goodbye to summer and usher in a beautiful Minnesota fall, don’t forget to consider the special needs of your rental property.

If you’d like us to take these tasks off of your plate, give us a call: 952-893-9900!

The Facts About Security Deposits


In the nearly ten years I’ve been in the property management business, I’ve helped my clients circumvent the myriad of lawsuits that seem to stem from one simple location — the security deposit. Of all the litigation that could possibly arise from the landlord/tenant relationship, this single factor has caused the most grief for the former. The argument mostly comes down to what is considered normal wear and tear, and what is considered excessive damage. Who is responsible for these damages? Luckily, we have the experience to protect the best interests of our clients. Here’s what we do to ensure that your investment, and your reputation, remain in good condition.

As a rule, property owners are responsible for normal wear and tear. This means that as a landlord, you may not use your tenant’s security deposit to perform routine maintenance or repair damage related to normal use. For example, if it’s your policy to paint or clean carpets between each move-out and move-in, that can’t be taken out of the renter’s’ security deposit. The trick with this language is that it’s fairly open for interpretation — just like there’s no baseline ‘normal’ standard for most things in life. A good metric is to consider whether the damage was caused intentionally or through reckless behavior, or if it’s simply from normal use of high-traffic areas. For example, small nicks and chips in paint on the wall, small holes from nails and pins, loose grouting and bathroom tiles, faded or thin carpet from foot traffic, or sun-faded curtains or lampshades are considered normal wear and tear. These things would have happened no matter what tenant was in your home, to a certain extent.

Alternatively, tenants are responsible for excessive damage. This damage is typically caused by abuse or negligence. In these cases, it’s perfectly acceptable to withhold some or all of the tenant’s security deposit to reasonably cover the cost of repairs. A few examples of excessive damage include large holes in the walls, broken windows, removed or missing fixtures, water damage on the walls from hanging plants, doors removed from hinges, or appliances malfunctioning from improper use. While much of this may seem like common sense, I’ve learned through experience to not take chances when it comes to ensuring that your property is protected.

Minnesota happens to be a tenant-friendly state as far as the courts are concerned, so it’s important to be extra vigilant. Especially with the language written in the state statute:

The landlord may withhold from the deposit only amounts reasonably necessary:

  • (1) to remedy tenant defaults in the payment of rent or of other funds due to the landlord pursuant to an agreement; or
  • (2) to restore the premises to their condition at the commencement of the tenancy, ordinary wear and tear excepted.
    • (c) In any action concerning the deposit, the burden of proving, by a fair preponderance of the evidence, the reason for withholding all or any portion of the deposit shall be on the landlord.”

For this reason, your best friend will always be ample evidence of the condition of your property. The burden of proof is on the owner. That’s why I always advise our new clients, or current clients bringing us new properties, to take photos independently of the condition of their property before anyone else has the chance to touch it. Of course, we always take photos of the property before any tenants move in, sometimes even upwards of 100. That’s also the time when we do a walk-through before the tenants move in. We have a thorough, room by room, floor to ceiling checklist that allows us to document the condition of your property in its entirety, and the tenant signs off on it. We repeat that same process when the tenants move out. This way, the risk of a lawsuit or complaint is mitigated. Even in the event charges are brought about, you’ll have enough documentation to make a strong case, including documentation that the tenant was present and agreed with the damages listed in the walk-through process. Additionally, doing walk-throughs with the tenant sometimes helps add a level of accountability that can dissuade them from doing something irresponsible and potentially damaging to your property.

Since protecting the best interests of our clients is our number one priority, we offer quarterly furnace filter changes and property walk-throughs, so we can help identify any potential lease violations or maintenance concerns before they become irreparable. Prevention, in our opinion, is always better than avoidable and expensive repairs. If you want to hear more about this optional service, contact us today at 952-893-9900!

[Image credit: Tax Credits]

How to Maximize Your Rental Property’s Curb Appeal


It’s common knowledge that first impressions are important, and that you never get a second chance to make it a great one. This fact holds true for your rental property as well. When prospective tenants first arrive at your property, many will have already made a decision about whether or not they like it by the time the get to the front door. While having a warm, welcoming interior is a must, your property must also have a certain degree of curb appeal to inspire potential renters to get inside in the first place. So, how do you up your curb appeal? Here are a few easy steps.

Clean Up Your Act

A clean rental property is a happy rental property! When considering your curb appeal, take a the following into consideration: Is your property in need of a new coat of paint? Do the windows need washing? Is the lawn trimmed to a level that makes your property look lived in? As simple as they are, these factors can mean the difference between a tenant walking away or putting down a deposit there and then.

It’s OK to Be Garden Variety, Sometimes

Not all of us have green thumbs, but if you happened to be blessed with the talent, having a garden at your rental property will make it look beautiful to future renters and will also add value to the property itself. Bright flowers, an open garden plan and a well maintained lawn can all go a long way in ensuring those viewing your home can see themselves living there. If you’re less inclined to garden, simple hanging plants or even some cool new landscaping can also improve the perception of your property right off the bat.

Don’t Keep Up with the Joneses

While you can make the exterior of your own property stand out with just a few quick improvements, it’s more difficult when it’s your neighbor’s property that stands out for the wrong reasons. Sometimes you’ll have a neighbor that finds stray auto parts and yard gnomes to be the cutting edge in exterior design. There’s not a lot you can do in the way of improving their taste in decor, but you can find a way to help detract the attention of your prospective tenant from the neighbor’s home to your own. If it’s truly terrible, you may want to consider erecting a partition or fence to help block the view from your yard.

The Rental Property Golden Rule

On the same ticket as ‘treat others how you’d like to be treated’ — make your rental property a place that you’d enjoy renting yourself. Remember, the same reason this property seemed so appealing you in the first place could be the same reason tenants want to live in it. When trying to increase your property’s curb appeal, think of what would make it more enticing to you. A garden chair swing, hammock or built in barbecue could add that extra allure to prospective renters.

Deciding how much time and money you spend on your property’s curb appeal is up to you, but my experience in residential property management has taught me that the more time and care you put into the exterior of your rental home, the more appealing your property is likely to be. If you’re wondering if updating your landscaping or sprucing up your paint job would be helpful for your rental, I’m here to help — leave a note in the comments or give me a call at 952-831-5300.

Love our blog content? Subscribe to our digital magazine for even more information and fun facts!