3 Reasons to List Your Property For Rent Now

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Rental properties can successfully be listed at any time during the year. Years of low rent vacancy rates nationally and locally due to high demand mean renters are looking for housing year-round. But there are three main reasons why spring and summer are clearly the best times to find potential renters.

The Wallet is Full

During this time of year, Minnesotans have yet to dip too deep into their summer funds. They’re likely still basking in the glow of a tax refund, which has added to their financial confidence, if only temporarily. It’s the perfect time for renters to invest some of their money into upgrading their rental housing situation. They may even hire a moving company to complete the transition.

The Forecast Calls For Moving

As Minnesotans, we’re quite aware that life is more difficult in the winter than the spring. Everything in the winter brings with it an added level of difficulty. Spring and summer are the ideal time for renters to not only view properties, but also complete the moving process. While many would agree that moving is not fun, moving with mittens and winter boots is much LESS fun.

Don’t Forget About Families

Families with school-age children are much more likely to move in the spring or summer when their children are in between school years. Moving during the school year is difficult, even if staying in the same school district. But moving mid-school-year to a new school district can be quite an emotional challenge for a child. Listing your property in the spring ensures you’re not neglecting this valuable group of potential renters.

Next Step?

Fortunately, you haven’t missed your window of opportunity. Simply Residential Property Management has seen a flurry of recent rental activity and we’re securing quality tenants even more quickly than in the past. There is still time to get in on the spring fever. Learn more about services that Simply Residential provides by calling 952-893-9900, requesting a free rental analysis or emailing our Vice-President of Operations at amanda@simplyres.com. We look forward to speaking with you!

4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Property Management Company


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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!

In Focus: How Can Other Property Management Companies Benefit From a Partnership with Simply Residential?

post-itWhen you own or manage a property management company, it’s easy to see other companies as nothing more than the competition. At Simply Residential, we believe that relationships with other property management companies can be positive and mutually beneficial. It can allow for sharing of efficiencies and other best practices, which ultimately benefits the end customer.

The rental industry is constantly in flux, and many companies are finding that there are different opportunities in the buy/sell arena. If that’s the case, it’s valuable and strategic to have connections in the property management community with whom you can discuss mergers or acquisitions.

Real estate in Minneapolis is increasing in value, and there’s truly a small community of professionals that work within that realm. Many organizations partner with each other so they have a greater reach within the state, for example, one company focuses on Minneapolis real estate while others may focus on Mankato or Duluth. Having partners in those areas helps expand your portfolio of properties, potential to earn, and ability to best service your clients.

The considerable amount of time we’ve spent working in property management has taught us that having a portfolio of under 200 properties makes little to no financial sense. Many companies of that size end up losing money, especially when it comes to single-family residential properties. In that instance, we always advise our friends and partners to consider a merger, they get to keep their clients and we both pool our resources to enhance our businesses!

If you’re thinking about venturing into buy/sell, or if you have single family residential properties that you no longer wish to manage, give us a call! We’re here to help.

If you want to learn more about partnering with Simply Residential, visit simplyres.com/partner or contact Ron Huckabee at 952-831-5300 or via email at ron@simplyres.com!

How Do You Choose a Renter?


One of the main responsibilities of property management firms such as Simply Residential Property Management is the careful screening of prospective tenants. Through a thorough and comprehensive background check into a tenant’s credit history and available public records, property management companies are better able to select responsible tenants who will uphold the conditions that are stated in the lease. The performance of background checks greatly reduces the instances of non-payment of rent, damage to property and evictions of bad tenants.

A main component of the background checks performed by the staff of Simply Residential Property Management is a comprehensive screening of a prospective tenant’s criminal history and public record information. Those tenants who have histories of property damage, theft, violence and any drug or sexual-related offenses will not be allowed to rent a property managed by Simply Residential Property Management. These offenses can greatly jeopardize and safety and welfare of both staff and other tenants.

Another important part of the selection criteria employed by Simply Residential Property Management is the verification of income. Having a consistent and stable form of verifiable income is a strong indicator that the monthly rent will be paid on time. Prospective tenants are able to send the necessary tax forms and other important documents which contain their income information to a representative of Simply Residential Property Management by telephone or by fax. In order to qualify, renters must make three times as much income as the cost to rent the property.

Looking at a potential tenant’s work history goes hand in hand with the verification of income. A stable work history shows not only that a prospective tenant can handle the responsibilities that come with employment as well as shows a verifiable and steady source of income. Additionally, if a prospective tenant is consistently employed in an occupation that is a higher-salary position, that could be a factor that can be weighed a little heavier than other factors.

A renter’s credit history is also thoroughly reviewed by staff at Simply Residential Property Management. Credit reports can indicate the overall financial shape a prospective tenant is in at the time of application. Credit reports are histories which show what financial obligations tenants have and how those obligations are being paid. Additionally, credit reports can have property management staff an indication of how prospective tenants have honored past debts. If a tenant has a past history of bankruptcy, collections activity or has unpaid rent from previous residences, the chances of renting decrease. However, it is important to note that if potential clients are upfront about their past credit mistakes, property management firms may be more likely to try and work with those tenants.

In the unfortunate event that a prospective tenant’s application has been denied, Simply Residential Property Management will be notified by staff regarding that decision by first class mail. Staff at Simply Residential Property Management may also deny applications from tenants if they feel those prospective tenants may jeopardize the stability of both the property and residents. While extensive background checks are not able to catch all bad tenants, they greatly reduce those instances so residents can enjoy both safety and peace of mind.

Classic Mistakes to Avoid as a First-Time Landlord


The right property for the right price
Location is one of the most important aspects to bear in mind as a landlord. It’s important to consider the type of rental income you will get in an area as well as the overall return you will get on the property.

While it’s tempting to look for properties in close range of your own home, your particular neighborhood may not be suitable for your unique requirements. It can be worth looking further away for better rental returns, and you can always look to a property management company like Simply Residential Property Management to take care of the property if accessing them personally is too time-consuming.

Remember to balance the demand and the strength of your rental returns against the cost of investing.

Don’t be afraid to ‘upgrade’ your property
Speak to your leasing agent about refurbishing the property and renting it for a higher rate. This could increase your yield considerably with only a little extra spending comparatively. You could also consider renting the property as a multi-unit or house of multiple occupancy.

Be firm on rent payments
While it can benefit you to be flexible on rent levels, it is never advised to be lenient on late rent payments. Remember, as a landlord, your main source of income comes from the rent, so it is vital to make sure this is paid in full and on time. This requires a clear rental agreement and time taken to ensure your tenants are paying punctually and enforcing repercussions if they are not.

Talk to Simply Residential Property Management about taking out an insurance policy against your tenant failing to pay the rent, or rent your property with Simply Residential Property Management and let us deal with late payments for you.

Don’t jump straight to eviction
As a landlord, you must be prepared to work with a tenant when they are required to repay any debts. Opting for immediate eviction will cost you money and time, not to mention the prospect of your property sitting vacant for weeks or even months. Many property management companies will help alleviate some of that stress with an eviction protection plan. Ask us about ours for more information!

Choose a good property manager
As long as a tenant is paying the rent and bills on time, they are entitled to live in a safe and well maintained property. It is vital to maintain a good relationship with your tenants to ensure the rent is paid and they don’t just leave the property in disrepair. If you rent with a property management company like Simply Residential, they can usually guarantee repairs are carried out quickly, efficiently with minimal disturbance to the tenant.

Ensure all repairs are done before renting a property out
As a landlord, one of the most important aspects of your job is ensuring the property is fit to rent on day one. This will reduce overall maintenance costs throughout the tenancy. At Simply Residential, we perform regular checks and send you regular status updates with regards to your property. This way, you can rest easy as the landlord knowing your property, and your investment, is being properly cared for.

Purchasing Your First Rental Property: What to Look For


Investing your money in property can be a hugely rewarding venture. Regular income, consistent potential to increase your monthly yield and the prospect of a major profit when you sell all make for good arguments. That’s not even mentioning the potential tax deductions. But do you know what you’re looking for when considering your first investment property? Simply Residential Property Management has compiled a handy list of the most important criteria to look for.

Obviously price needs to be one of the key considerations. Expensive properties usually give you a higher monthly yield, but less expensive properties can be just as rewarding. If you’re willing to put in some time and effort rehabilitating a property, you could dramatically increase its rent value and improve your chances of a healthy profit when or if you choose to sell. But beware; properties that seem too good to be true often reveal themselves to be just that in time. If you do your research and follow the market trends closely, you have a better chance of finding the right property for you.

This doesn’t just mean finding a property with good views.  A first time property buyer needs to consider what kind of tenant they’re likely to get based on that area. Buildings located close by to schools and hospitals will likely appeal more to young families, so the potential for long-term tenancies is increased. This is usually preferable because it limits the amount of time your property sits vacant, meaning you go less time without collecting rent.

Resale value
Most first time landlords had to take out a mortgage on their first investment property. This means relying on a consistent yield in order to keep up with repayments. If the payments stop or the profit becomes too untenable, you may have to consider selling the property and moving on. But you want to know that you won’t be selling at a major loss. That’s why you always have to take the resale value into account when considering a property. Try to find out about any future plans for regeneration projects or upcoming attractions that could increase the value of your property further down the line. If a unit is situated in an area with increasing levels of crime, it could lead to house prices in your area dropping to a level below your profit margin.

Property condition
The condition the property is in should always play a decisive role in whether you go for it. Ask about every aspect of its structure, plumbing, wiring and anything else you consider relevant. It’s important to know everything you can about a property before purchasing. This can include investigating similar, nearby properties and comparable, as well as establishing potential issues. Anything from potential damp spots to an outdated heating system could go on to become a massive headache if you were to choose to become the landlord of this property.

There will always be exceptions in the property world, but if you try to follow these rough guidelines, you could find purchasing your first buy-to-rent property is easier than you think.

So, You Want to Purchase Your Second Investment Property


Owning investment rental properties can be trying. It requires patience, research, excellent interpersonal skills and a financial stability that allows for things to, on occasion, go wrong. But if you find yourself successfully balancing all the aspects of being a landlord and want more, then you might want to think about investing in another property. It may be tempting after you’ve already cut your teeth as landlord of the first property, but there are several new things to consider before investing in a second property.

No two properties are ever the same
While you might be thinking you have a strong understanding of what being a landlord requires, you have to go into the venture of second properties with your mind open to every possibility. So your first property was a dream; it didn’t require much maintenance, you had model tenants, it was within easy reach of your own property. You need to bear in mind that, while your first property was easy, there is still a chance of your new property causing you problems. Obviously you have a better knowledge of what to look for, and you will be going into the venture with more understanding than a first time landlord, but this is no excuse for leniency. That’s why so many experienced rental property owners choose to utilize the services of a property management company.

Try to remember what caused you the most time, money and effort to correct your first property, and prioritize these aspects in your search for a second property.

Don’t always buy close to your first property
While it may be tempting to purchase that property just down the road from your first, this should not be your number one reason for purchase. Remember, it’s still important to do your research into the current housing situation. If the properties close to your first are not doing well, then it may be worth looking a little further away. While it does mean more time driving, it could actually save you money in the long run. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look nearby, especially if your first property is a good area. This also helps you get a rough gauge on extras, like the most likely tenant type in that area and possibly housing bills such as heating and electricity.

Markets fluctuate, so can your property value

Although you will be more experienced than a first time landlord, it’s important to remember that there’s no guarantee the experience of buying a second buy-to-rent property will be the same. The housing market can fluctuate dramatically, lowering the value of your properties. With two purchased properties, it can mean losing double the amount of money should housing values drop. Take some time to research the market, and the area you are considering. If a new transit route has been built near the property, this could increase its value over time. Simultaneously, a new building appearing nearby could obscure views from the property and bring its value down.

The most vital aspect to remember when considering the purchase of a second buy-to-rent property is that you already have a strong grasp of the fundamentals, so use this to your advantage. Remember what worked for your first property and avoid making the same mistakes. If you’re unsure, or you don’t want to take on the additional responsibility of managing a second property, it’s wise to consider investing in a property management company to take care of the minutia.

In Focus: How Can Finance Professionals Benefit From a Partnership with Simply Residential?

Finance Professionals Property Management Partnership Blog ImageOne little known fact about the property management industry is that we work very well with finance professionals. It’s a natural partnership. Often, your clients will have investment properties they need managed, and we’re happy to help. Alternatively, there are various benefits our financial partners experience through our working relationship.
Before we get into those benefits, take a second to consider the following:

  • Does your client have one or more investment properties?
  • Are they realizing their full ROI?
  • Are your clients self-managing one or more rental properites?
  • Do you want referrals from a company you trust?
  • Do you have a personal relationship with a property management company that benefits you and your clients?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, but no to the last question, you may be missing opportunities to help your clients experience the maximum return on their real estate investments, while building a trusted referral network for yourself.

There are many areas to consider when advising your clients to use a property management company. One of the most overlooked areas is tax preparation. How many times have you had to track down bits and pieces of information to accurately track your client’s income from their rental property? We make that part simple for our finance partners by providing comprehensive and complete year-end tax information to all of our clients. We also make ourselves available to answer any questions that may come up during or after the tax process. We keep detailed records so we’re ready for anything.

Another key benefit for our financial partners is an additional service we like to provide for our clients. If one of our owners has a property that isn’t cash flowing, we refer them to a financial advisor we trust to help them refinance and make the most out of their investment. Those referrals often turn into much more than refinancing, as the guidance of our trusted partners remains crucial to our clients.

Are you ready to see how you can benefit from a partnership with Simply Residential? We’re here to help, so contact us today!

If you want to learn more about partnering with Simply Residential, visit our partner page or contact me at 952-715-6186 or via email at  amanda@simplyres.com!

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!

Why Hiring a Property Management Company for a Single Rental Property is a Good Idea


For many rental property owners, a common question that they ask is if they need to hire a property management company for a single rental property. The answer from property managers and rental property owners alike is a resounding “Yes.” The fact is that a professional property management service can be a real asset and the services offered are likely much more complex than you might imagine.

Property management companies do much more than simply collecting rent checks and fixing broken appliances – their real value lies in risk mitigation, which should be your top priority when renting out a property. For example, Simply Residential signs the lease with the tenant, taking on some of that risk and allowing our owners to remain anonymous to our tenants. We also offer protection services like our Eviction Protection Plan and our Quarterly Furnace Filter Change and Lease Violation Walk-Through. These services protect our clients from the dangers of evicting a tenant, and help us identify any problems with their property before they become full blown emergencies. This also allows us to provide an efficient and regimented way to ensure that our properties are fully protected.

Choosing a property manager for a single rental property, or even for multiple rental properties, can be a challenge for first timers. The key to this choice lies in knowing what you want and need from a property management company. Some of the specific services you should look for are:

  • Finding high quality tenants.
  • Determining how to advertise your rental property.
  • Screening all tenants, including background checks and credit reports.
  • Drafting legal leases that will hold up in court.
  • Collecting evidence and documentation to reduce chances that property owners will have to pay for tenant caused damages.
  • Maintenance of the rental property.
  • Handling tenants who don’t pay.
  • Evicting tenants without violating their rights.

While property owners can complete their own research and learn how to do the things listed above, this is an extremely time consuming and legally convoluted process that can often land owners in a difficult situation, especially when evictions are a factor.

A knowledgeable property management service can also ensure that rental property owners understand legislation changes and how it will affect them, as well as their tenants. This can be extremely complicated and difficult to understand, and keeping up with the changes requires dedication and time. However, when you hire a property management service, they will know what the legislation means and ensure that you, and your property, meet all new or changed requirements.

One of the most important services offered by a property manager is the ability to respond to emergency situations in a timely manner. This will prevent property owners from having to halt their day – or night – in order to handle a tenant issue or emergency.

Hiring a property manager can eliminate the possibility of your rental property turning into one of the horror stories you have likely heard. In fact, a reputable property manager will handle all aspects of managing and maintaining your property. If you have questions, we’re happy to help. Call us today at 952-831-5300 or email me!

[Photo credit: Rental Realities on Flickr]