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.

Why Should You Partner With Simply Residential?

The real estate industry touches many different professions. To buy a home, a buyer often needs financing and insurance, along with a realtor to help them with the big decision they’re making. Historically, home buyers have had to track down these services independently. At Simply Residential, we’re changing the game.

We strive to provide everything our clients will need to transition from owning their home, to renting it out, to eventually selling it. To do that, we need a large network of partners who can help our clients, and experience added benefits along the way. Here are some of the benefits that we can provide to our partners.

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Want to learn more? Visit our partner page, or email us today!

The Real Estate Counter Balance: Rent or Sell?

The Real Estate Counter Balance Simply Residential Property Management

The real estate industry is something that affects every single person, and for that reason there’s often a plethora of information available from several points of view. While most of this information is provided with the best intentions, it’s often more gossip than fact. Recently there have been quite a few articles claiming that the rental market is exploding right now. Of course, we’re inclined to agree with this statement from a business standpoint, but feel compelled to add a caveat in the interest of full disclosure. While it’s accurate to say that landlords can charge more for rent now than they previously have, these high rents are actually pushing many would-be renters into the buy/sell process.

This phenomenon is what we at Simply Residential call the real estate counter balance. When more people are buying homes, there are fewer renters in the market, and vice versa. This means that it’s advantageous for owners to be strategic and competitive when pricing their rental property in times where the market favors buy/sell. This will get your property more attention from potential renters, and ultimately get it rented faster. The faster a tenant is placed in your property, the sooner you start to see the financial benefits of your rental property.

As a property owner or investor, it’s difficult to know whom to trust in situations like this one. There’s quite a bit of conflicting information out there, and it’s hard to know what to believe. Luckily, owners and investors that work with a quality property management company like Simply Residential Property Management, have a partner to help them sort these things out. After all, that’s our job. Did you know that we perform a rental analysis for every lease agreement renewal? That way we can make sure that our clients are getting the most return on their investment.

The benefit of working with a local property management company is that they also have an intimate knowledge of specific markets. We live and work in the Twin Cities and surrounding communities and are able to understand certain nuances that often help us get properties rented faster.

Do you have questions about the value of your rental property, or are you contemplating what your next steps will be? We’re here for you! Call us today and let’s talk: 952-831-5300.

Ask SRPM: How Do We Find You a Quality Renter for Free?

free renter placement service

Finding a good renter sounds like an easy enough process — you make a list of qualifications, and compare that list to the qualifications of interested potential renters, right? Not exactly. While those steps are certainly a part of the process, there’s a lot more that goes into finding the right renter for your property than what meets the eye.

At Simply Residential Property Management, we offer free renter placement services as part of our management agreement, but we also offer placement services on their own to rental property owners who choose to self manage. Every property management company goes about finding tenants in their own way. Here’s how we do it at SRPM:

1. The first step in renting out your property is marketing — spreading the word that your awesome rental property is available. We aggressively market your property on over 170 websites, and partner with a broad network of realtors and relocation companies to further expand our reach. We do showings 7 days a week, days and evenings, whenever it’s convenient for potential renters to see your property.

2. Once we show your property, tenants begin the application process. We have a strict set of renter criteria that each potential tenant must measure up to before they’re considered for your property.

3. When potential tenants pass our criteria check and fill out a full application, we do full background checks on each person named on the lease, including criminal, credit, income verification and past tenant rental history. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to ensuring we find the best renters possible for your property. We feel so strongly about this part of the process that we guarantee our renters for the first year they’re in your property — if they don’t work out, we’ll find  a new one and cover the marketing costs ourselves.

4. If an interested potential renter fits all of our criteria and passes our extensive background checks, we draft a lease agreement that protects your interests as an owner, and theirs as a renter. This lease is a binding contract that ensures that the terms of the rental agreement are honored under penalty of fines, or even eviction if the renter fails to adhere to the rules.

5. Lastly, before the renter moves in, we have a 30-step internal checklist to ensure that every aspect of our processes have been covered for your protection. In addition, we have a 72 point move-in walk-through that we adhere to with the tenant present. We thoroughly check every possible aspect of your home for existing damage prior to their move-in date, and document with photos. Once the inspection is completed, the tenant and our maintenance technician sign the document together, ensuring each party is aware of any existing damage and agrees to the assessments made in the document.

Finding a renter on your own can be tough. Working with a property management company like Simply Residential makes it easier, we take on the heavy lifting and you get the advantage of our broad network of partners, marketing resources, and full time staff working for you. If you’re looking for a renter for an existing rental property, or just have questions about the rest of our processes, contact us today

Renter Placement vs. Property Management: What’s the Difference?

placement vs property management featured image (1)

Many property management companies, like Simply Residential, offer both property management and renter placement services. For this reason, we often encounter questions about what a homeowner truly needs in order to rent out their home — do they need a property management service, or do they just need someone to help them find a renter? The right solution can often be found by a quick discussion about resources. Essentially, if you plan to use a renter placement service, you’re taking all legal responsibility for that lease agreement upon yourself once the renter has signed it. Property management services are different. For example, at Simply Residential, we don’t charge for renter placement with a management agreement, and we take on all risk and liability from a legal standpoint by actually signing the lease with the tenant.

do you need property management or renter placement

There are a few more distinguishing factors between renter placement and property management that have helped our clients decide what is best for them. Let’s start with the basics.

What is Renter Placement?

There is more to renter placement than you might anticipate right off the bat. This service should include marketing your property to help get the attention of prospective renters, screening applicants through criminal background and credit checks, and ultimately choosing which renter will be best for your rental property. That is the extent of the scope of a renter placement service.

If you feel confident taking on legal responsibility, even in the event of an eviction, and are able to draft a solid lease, this could be a good option for you. Keep in mind, there are going to be maintenance needs and emergencies that will arise during the time you rent out your home, so be prepared for those situations as well.

What is property management?

Property management services can vary from company to company. When we talk about property management at Simply Residential, we’re referring to the services that we provide to our clients, and they may not be the same as another company’s services. Generally speaking, property management covers the services provided by renter placement and adds on maintenance services, rent collection, lease signing and renewals, and anything else you may request in the management of your property.

Ultimately, the majority of our clients choose to take advantage of our property management services for the peace of mind they allow. It’s good to know that someone has things under control in your rental property, especially when you have other things going on that require your attention. After all, being a landlord is a big job, and nobody likes late-night maintenance emergencies and tracking down tenants for late rent. Those are the kind of details we thrive on at Simply Residential.

If you’re curious to find out what services you need, take our new quiz! Otherwise, give me a call at 952-831-5300 — I’m happy to discuss options and services with you for a more personalized set of information.

Ethics in Property Management: What You Need to Know

business ethics property management

If you’ve been following the news this last week, you may have noticed that the property management industry has been getting some less than flattering coverage. Unfortunately, in a burgeoning industry, when one company behaves unethically it can tarnish the reputation and perception of the industry as a whole. Luckily, cases of bad business practices aren’t entirely common among property management companies.

As a consumer, it can be hard to decipher which companies are acting in your best interests, or strictly in their own. However, it is endlessly important to ensure that the property management company you choose to work with not only abides by legal standards, but high ethical and moral standards as well. It comes down to the idea that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. There are several reasons why this rings true across industries and relationships, the risks of associating yourself with unethical or unreliable vendors or organizations are very real.

Guilt by Association

When you choose to do business with a company, especially when it comes to property management where the company represents you as the homeowner, it’s important to ensure that their organizational values align with your own. In business, as in real life, guilt by association is a real thing. Working with a property management company with questionable business practices is a lot like washing a brand new red shirt with your white socks. The red from the shirt bleeds all over the white socks, changing the way they appear to others. In this instance, low ethical standards are the red dye. You could potentially tarnish your reputation if you employ a management company that isn’t exactly on the up-and-up.

Financial Risks

Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your life. As with anything that you spend a considerable amount of emotional and financial resources on, you shouldn’t hand it over to a company you can’t trust. Even if they offer guarantees and assurances, chances are unless they abide by a strong ethical code, they’ll find a way to legally get around it in the interest of making more profit. Be sure to do your homework when choosing a property management company to work with, evaluate their claims and do some background research.

Additionally, hidden fees and up-front charges are often the hallmark of questionable business practices. When you’re working with a service-based company, it doesn’t make much sense to pay them up-front with the promise of continued dedication to your property. If all the money from the transaction is made up-front, where’s the incentive to truly care for your investment?

Safety, Protection, and Trust

When a business only holds themselves accountable to their interpretation of legal standards without showing much concern for the ethical implications of their actions, it’s ultimately the consumer who suffers. A huge part of doing business with another person or company is the element of trust. Companies that don’t have strict ethical standards simply aren’t trustworthy.

For the most part, laws are put into place for the protection of the consumer. However, laws are often up for interpretation. There are also some things that are technically legal but truly unethical. Working with a property management company that dedicates itself to the best interests of their clients is absolutely essential — there is a lot at stake on the part of the homeowner.

At Simply Residential Property Management, we dedicate our time to providing the best service we can to our clients, while representing them and their best interests. Integrity is a key pillar in the foundation of our organization and we take pride in the fact that we work well within legal and ethical standards. If you want to learn more about the way Simply operates, or you want to hear more about the services we provide, I’m here to help! Send me an email and let’s chat:

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]

6 Tips for Advertising Your Rental Property [Infographic]

6 tips for advertising your rental property (1)

Finding the right tenant for your rental property can be a challenge. These 6 tips can help you understand how to advertise your property to attract a great selection of renters.

1. Take awesome photos. Good photos can help bring your property to life, finding the best angles and showing off its best features. Try to make sure there are at least eight photos of your property, including a few exterior shots. It may be worth looking into hiring a professional.

2. Include a floor plan. Understanding the layout of your rental property will allow potential renters to visualize the space as their own.

3. Include details about local amenities. If your property is conveniently located near to schools, hospitals or shops, then say so. Features like quick access to public transit and shops can massively increase a property’s appeal.

4. Know your audience. Look at what types of property appeal to which kinds of people. For example, If your property is located in a student area, then tailor your message to emphasize the requirements you believe they will prioritize.

5. Be realistic about rent. Charging too much for rent can result in extended vacancies, leading to a loss of profit. Conversely, charging too little for rent can make you miss out on your max ROI.

6. Hire a management company. When you work with a property management company like Simply Residential, they handle the advertising from strategy through execution, leaving you with more free time to enjoy your earnings.

Advertising is key to the success of your property investment — make sure you’re doing it right! If you have questions about how to market your property, or want some help getting all the steps right, let’s talk: 952-831-5300!

Protect Your Rental Property by Being Proactive With Maintenance


One of the toughest parts of owning a rental home is keeping your investment in good condition and looking good through the normal wear-and-tear of tenants. That’s why homeowners who rent out their homes will often perform basic upkeep tasks like painting and cleaning carpets between tenants. When faced with a property that isn’t rented, take that time to evaluate your property and determine what projects need to be tackled before the new tenants move in. Making a list of necessary repairs and replacements is a great way to keep this information organized and keep yourself motivated. If you’re using a property management company, making a list for them is a great way to hold their team accountable and keep yourself in the loop.

Who is moving in?

It’s often helpful for homeowners to consider who their usual tenant is or will be. For example, a three bedroom house is more likely to rent to a group — whether that’s a family or college students. A studio will more likely be rented by a single person. This information can help guide your decisions, because it will tell you how much wear and tear you can potentially expect. Each type of tenant will use a home differently and it will help you decide where it is important to spend money. Families tend to be financially secure, long-term tenants, but they can be damaging the property. After all, children aren’t known for their tidiness. If this is the case, consider replacing worn-out carpets with laminate creates flooring that cleans easily and is very hard to damage. It might not be worth the extra expense to put in hardwoods, since they can be damaged by kids. College students are notoriously hard on rentals, but some of the damage can be mitigated. Set the home up with hard to damage flooring like laminate or tile. Pins and nails can be a pain to fill in and students love to decorate their space, so put poster strips in the bedrooms and state in the lease that they are not to hang posters in the walls, only on the provided areas. Single professionals can be difficult in their own way. While they often are not as rowdy as their young student counterparts, they are often gone for large portions of the day, and sometimes even travel for weeks or over weekends. It might be wise to invest in a quality security system to make sure that the rental doesn’t suffer from damage due to theft or vandalism since the somewhat absent tenant can make it attractive to criminals.

What areas are used the most?

Take a look around the rental itself. How is it faring? Go back through your records and see if there is any one area that is a repeated problem. Sometimes putting a little extra money into one section of your rental property makes sure you save on costly repairs and service-workers later on. For instance, if the home is a family rental and the dishwasher keeps needing repair, it might be worth investing in a high-quality new dishwasher since families will inevitably use one heavily. Along the same lines, if the multi-family home keeps destroying the grass, try looking into a stone patio to minimize lawn space without minimizing the outdoor space for the families to use. If you work with a property management company, you will be able to bounce these ideas off of a maintenance specialist who can tell you whether or not you should invest in these kinds of changes.

When should you assess the property?

When a rental is empty, it’s a good time to truly assess its condition. Walk through and make a complete list of any and all cosmetic damages. Use all the appliances and make sure they are functioning properly. Note any plumbing or electrical issues that need to be addressed. If the property has a lot of damage, don’t simply blame bad tenants. Take a look at the quality of materials being used, and add it to the previously asked questions. If the home is not really set up to handle a large family, even though it’s attractive to them, make a note of that.

In a situation where the rental isn’t set up to withstand the market it attracts, you have two choices. The first is to screen tenants and select someone that will better suit the home. This can cause problems since it narrows the pool of potential renters and can lead to the property sitting empty. Or, you can make a budget, hire a contractor and re-finish the home with new materials that can withstand the tenants that the property attracts. With this option, you have to make sure that how much you budget will be absorbed into the rent to make sure you don’t lose profit, but rather gain it over time. Whichever one you choose, making the changes will make sure your rental looks good and wears tough for tenants to come.

At Simply Residential Property Management, we frequently advise our clients on how to get the most ROI for their rental property. We believe that there is no point in owning a rental property if there’s no profit to be made. If you have questions about how to improve your investment, or just want to bounce around some ideas, give us a call: 952-831-5300!

Simply Residential Property Management’s Tips for Tenants: Performing Maintenance

Rental PropertyMoving into a new apartment or home is an exciting experience. Everything is new to you, and it feels like a fresh start. When you rent an apartment or house, you have confidence and trust in the fact that your appliances and other fixtures will be in perfect working order. However, even in the best of situations, things can happen that will require maintenance. While the maintenance staff at Simply Residential Property Management is happy to repair any issue, as a tenant there are things that you can do and check for when your appliances or other fixtures malfunction. Sometimes, the fix is simple and easy to handle on your own. Before you call maintenance to your home or apartment, it’s important to check things yourself first.

One of the most common maintenance issues you’ll encounter in your time as a renter is smoke detectors that aren’t working properly. For that reason, it is important to perform regular monthly tests to ensure these devices are functioning properly. If you are testing your smoke detector and it won’t work, be sure to check your battery. It way seem like a no-brainer, but try to remember the last time you though about your smoke detector battery — chances are it wasn’t within th last month. Sometimes batteries that come straight from the packaging can be defective or damaged and may not work, so make sure you check them with a battery tester and replace them when necessary. Some more common signs of battery related issues are if your smoke detector starts beeping on its own without the presence of smoke or fire, and if the beeps are weak and intermittent.

Property ManagementAnother common issue has to do with electricity and power outages. If you don’t have power to certain appliances or if the power goes out, the first thing you should do is check your breaker panel in the main fuse box. If the fuse to a certain appliance has been tripped it will be indicated by the on/off switch being in the off position or the indicator color of a certain breaker showing a red color. Reset the breakers and if you are still experiencing power failures call maintenance immediately. Trying to reset faulty breakers can increase the risk of fire. Unless you want a ‘Tim the Tool Man’ situation on your hands, it’s best to leave the electrical work to the professionals.

If you’ve ever taken an unexpected cold shower, this third common issue will be very real to you. In the case of having no hot water, you want to check the thermostat located on the hot water tank. Additionally, you want to see if the pilot light is lit in the tank and check the appropriate breaker in the fuse box. In the case of water being too hot, you want to check the thermostat and turn it down to a tolerable level. However, if you are experiencing leaks in your sinks or toilet, you need to immediately turn off the fixtures under the sinks or toilet and immediately notify maintenance.

Have you ever heard the “is your refrigerator running?” joke? Believe it or not, that hits home for many renters. Another common occurrence in apartments and homes are refrigerators that are not properly functioning. Before calling maintenance, you first want to check the thermostat and readjust it if the temperature is too high or low. You also want to routinely clean the front and back grills of the unit since dust and debris and restrict air exchange. If your freezer has excess accumulations of ice, you will need defrost for a couple of days to fully remove ice buildup.

Renting a home, for many people, is an excellent way to avoid all of the irritating maintenance issues that go along with owning your own home. But, as with anything, there are some minor things that need to be routinely cleaned and checked to ensure that things continue to run smoothly. Keep these common issues in mind, and you should be able to have an easy and low maintenance experience in your rental home!