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!

Real Estate Investment

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photo credit: MarkMoz12 flickr.com/photos/106574022@N04/

Successful investing has two important steps. The first is getting in at the right time, before substantial growth occurs. The second is getting out at the right time, when growth begins to stall and the market is ripe for selling. Real estate investment is no different.

Getting In At The Right Time

Being a landlord has been an attractive venture the past 8 years, following the recession in 2008. Rent.com has reported a steady decline in rent vacancy rates since it began preparing its annual Property Owner and Manager Marketing Report in 2009. (“2015 Rent.com Rental Market Report”, 2015) Rent vacancy is the percentage of unoccupied or vacant rentals of the total number of rentals in a designated market at a specific point in time.

It makes sense a rent vacancy decline would occur after the real estate bubble burst in 2008. It caused many homeowners to become home-renters as a result. The housing market was flooded with new renters. The post-burst economy’s struggles also caused millennials to be wary of the commitment to buy property. They’ve instead opted to rent. Those millennials added to an already large pool of renters.

Fortunately, being a landlord during a time of low rental vacancy is a good thing. The high demand means that market conditions will allow for more frequent increases in rent and there is less need for concessions and negotiations with tenants.

The past 8 years have been strong for landlords and the trends show the strong rental market should continue in 2016.

Getting Out At The Right Time

As an investment property owner, you’re keeping your eyes not only on the health of the rental market, but also the real estate market. Renting your investment property has covered your mortgage and expenses while providing a profit. But there may come a time when the real estate market is just too good to pass up. That time may be now.

Realtor.com reports that homes in April 2016 are moving 8% faster than for this time last year, even with the high asking prices (“Home Prices and Real Estate Market Trends”, 2016). In that same report, Jonathan Smoke, the chief economist of realtor.com, spoke to the current real estate market.

Quote from Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at Realtor.com

It’s clearly a seller’s market, as evidenced by the low inventory, high demand and quickness with which homes are flying off the market.

What Does This Mean For You?

With the rental and sales markets both showing considerable strength, you have solid options regarding real estate investment. You can continue to rent your current investment property. You can purchase an investment property and begin taking advantage of the strong rental market. Or you can make the move to sell your investment property. Fortunately, Simply Residential has the versatility to provide clients with both property management and real estate services. We can help you find an investment property to purchase, help manage your existing investment property or we can offer a seamless transition from renting property to selling it.

Learn more about our property management and real estate services. Email us at Amanda@simplyres.com, visit Simplyres.com or call us at 952-893-9900.

2015 Rent.com Rental Market Report – Rent.com Blog. (2015). Retrieved May 31, 2016 from http://www.rent.com/blog/2015-rental-market-report
Home Prices and Real Estate Market Trends from Realtor.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 31, 2016, from http://www.realtor.com/data-portal/realestatestatistics/


For Our Rental Property Owners: A Note About Statements

As you may know, we’ve been conducting some over-the-phone and online surveys with our clients. In the process, we’ve heard several times that the accounting statements we send out aren’t easy to read or understand. In order to make it easier for everyone to access the information they need, we provide you with a cheat sheet of information to help make the statements easier to digest.

Check Your Inbox
When Mona sends out your statements each month, she also attaches a PDF of the essential numbers for you to review. Look for it in your next accounting email!

Memorize Your Lines
The statements that are automatically generated into your owner portal contain any and all information you could possibly need each month. Because of this, they tend to be a bit redundant and ‘accounting-y’. The first 5 lines are the most critical for an at-a-glance understanding of your account, and the bottom numbers are simply explaining those top rows in more detail.

If you still have questions, contact Mona at accounting@simplyres.com!

Happy Holidays from All of Us!

happy holidays from simply residential property management

Winter is upon us, and with that first burst of cold weather comes something magical — the holiday season!

At SRPM, we love the holiday season and all that it represents. This year for our holiday party, we volunteered at Feed My Starving Children. Giving back to the community is important to us, and we love the idea of making sure hungry kids have the nutrition they need. Of course, we took plenty of pictures so keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details!

In honor of the holiday season, we thought we’d share one of our favorite holiday cookie recipes with you so you can share it with your friends and family! We’d love to see some of your family’s favorites as well, so please send them our way if you’re so inclined. Trust us, these treats will be a hit at any holiday party!

Chocolate Snowballs:


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Shape dough into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 15-20 minutes or until set and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on pans 2 minutes.

Roll warm cookies in confectioners’ sugar. Cool completely on wire racks. If desired, reroll cookies in confectioners’ sugar.

Yield: about 4 dozen. Enjoy!

A Letter of Thanks from Ron

simply residential property management thank you for your business

When the fast pace of summer dies down and a noticeable chill (and even show!) are in the air, we know that fall is upon us. For me, fall has always been a time of reflection and introspection. It’s an opportunity to look back and see how far I have come and where I want to go next. This has been a great year for the SRPM team and for me!

Through our relationships with you, our clients, we’ve gained a unique understanding of how grateful we truly are for the opportunity to serve you. This year, we have seen rents increase in many cities, especially in the summer months, your properties have rented faster and renewals were strong. This means more profitability for us all.

In particular, we thank you for your loyalty and willingness to learn along side us when strange situations arise, as they often do in this industry.

These learnings, whether experienced first-hand or passed on through conversation, have helped many of you invest more into acquisition and preventative maintenance to improve the return on your investment. Proactive maintenance has been the key to reducing overall maintenance costs and saving all of our sanity along the way.

I’m personally thankful for your kindness with my team. Each one of them is committed to working hard for each of you, all day, every day. From foregoing summer vacations to working long hours, often through nights and weekends to help an owner with an urgent need. I couldn’t do it without them.

We are excited about the direction we are headed and services we will be rolling out over this next year. Our partnerships and network are expanding to better service your needs.

We are here because of each of you. From the entire SRPM team, we thank you for your business and wish you a spectacular season!

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!

To Our Clients: A Letter from the President

Ron Huckabee President Simply Residential Property ManagementWe are very thankful for each of our clients and associates. Your loyalty over the past seven years is much appreciated. 2014 was a transitional year with many positive changes. Our new look supports that 2015 is proving to be even more exciting! We have introduced more services. Allow me to name a few rolled out in the first quarter:

New Monthly Magazine! Our monthly magazine is created with the intent to educate our clients and partners about industry related information and trends.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys! We know we can’t be the best-in class property management company without your feedback! Expect to see a survey upon completion of all maintenance related work orders as well as twice during the lease cycle. The input from you via surveys ensures our ability to continually deliver top-notch service.

Complimentary Preventative Maintenance Walk-Through! In an effort to keep your property up-to-date, our Maintenance Team performed a review of your property early this year. This review resulted in a report back to you with recommendations on maintenance and updates that should be done right away or at some point over the next 12 months. Our goal is to help prepare you with a plan for repairs/updates over the next year versus having to worry about maintenance costs all at once. We’e being proactive, instead of reactive.

Increased Rents! Over the last seven years our economy has realized many ups and downs leaving many owners reluctant to raise rents for fear of losing a tenant. In the past year, we have focused on bringing all properties to fair market with great results. In completing a full market analysis on all properties that are due for renewal, we have raised rents anywhere from $50 to $300 per month. This focus has increased cash flow and profitability for many of our clients. We foresee more opportunity with this in the coming year.

The Property Management business has many moving parts. From marketing, leasing, maintenance, accounting to legal… I couldn’t do this without a great
team. I’m proud of each employee as they all work diligently to help provide best-in-class service day in and day out. Our upcoming magazines will introduce each one of our team members so, be sure to watch for that in the months to come!

I personally appreciate your business and the opportunity to serve your property management needs. If you want to stay up to date with the property management industry, our magazine will provide a higher level of communication with regards to new services, seasonal nuances, market conditions and trends. Subscribe here today!

If you have questions about your rental property, or want to learn more about the additional services we provide for our clients, call me and let’s chat: 952-831-5300.

The Basics of Owner Protection: The Best Defense is a Good Offense

property management best defense good offense

“The best defense is a good offense.” That old adage has been used for many purposes and spanned many generations. Why is that? Simply put, it’s solid advice for any endeavor. Often, that offensive protection comes in the form of a legal contract or document. If you’ve ever heard someone say ‘get it in writing,’ then you’ll know what I mean.

That statement of fact is something I’ve seen proven in the property management and real estate industry time and time again. Especially when it comes to landlord/tenant relationships. Even the very best renters can encounter difficult problems with their rented property that can cause an argument, or worse, legal action. This doesn’t just hold true for writing the lease itself, but the entire process of renting out your home — before it is rented, when the renters arrive, and after the renters leave.

Before the Renter Arrives

Your home is an investment, certainly, but it also has sentimental value. We’ve found that because a home is such a big part of a person’s life, our property owners and investors are even more keen on protecting them from bad renters. At Simply Residential, we make sure to run full rental histories, criminal background checks and credit checks on all prospective tenants. This process helps us avoid the renters who are most likely to cause damage, steal, or violate their lease.

Once a tenant is placed, it’s time to draft and sign the lease agreement. It’s imperative that your lease is well written to fully protect both the owner and the tenant. Minnesota state laws tend to favor the tenant and put the burden of proof on the landlord, so that calls for an extra layer of protection for people like our clients. Luckily, if you work with a good property management company when renting out your home, they will have the experience to write an air-tight lease, and deal with any issues that may arise while that lease is active.

In your lease, it’s important to make sure you’re not violating any fair housing laws. Most of them are pretty straightforward, but a landlord needs to know the laws to which they’re made to adhere. Some of them may not feel like common sense, and knowledge is key to keeping yourself out of trouble. That way, even if you use a property management company that will handle any lease violations for you, you’re not in the dark about what can and cannot be done. If you’re working with a property management company, they’ll likely have a template to work from. If you’re on your own, you may want to consult a lawyer while writing your terms.

When they sign the lease, you can set a move-in date. Before that date, it’s important to collect the security deposit and first month’s rent from the tenant. Before they move in, make sure to do a thorough walk-through of the property with the tenant, take pictures, and document any existing damage. Don’t forget to note the condition of the carpet, woodwork, and any major appliances that will remain in the unit. It’s helpful to have a checklist of items, so that nothing gets missed by either party and walk-throughs remain consistent pre- and post-move out.

Arrival and Occupation

While there is a renter living in your property, you’re still responsible for maintenance. For example, if your water heater decides to kick the bucket, or you have some leaky pipes in the basement, you need to pay to have those fixed. At Simply Residential, we have a maintenance coordinator to handle all of the paperwork and logistics so that your property is well maintained at the best possible price. If you’re working with a property management company, they’ll be the ones who oversee these kinds of issues. If you’re on your own, this may be your least favorite part of the experience. Emergencies happen, and they have to be dealt with as they come, even if it’s 2:00am.

Property management companies also handle rent collection and late payment notifications. Many of our clients prefer it this way, because this is the area of the business that seems to get the most emotional. Nobody wants to fight over money, and nobody wants to wind up saying something they can’t take back. If you are handling rent collection on your own, always be sure to document each time contact is made as thoroughly as you can.

After the Renter Leaves

Eventually, even the best tenants must move on. Before your tenant moves out, complete another thorough walk through of the property and assess any damages. Small things like normal wear and tear of carpet in high traffic areas, small pin holes in the wall, etc. are to be expected. Be sure to note any damage that you would consider excessive, like holes in the walls or missing windows. Working with a property management company on this will help you determine how much of the tenant’s security deposit you should give back, and what portion  will be needed for repairs. There are many legal issues surrounding this simple process, so if you aren’t working with a property management company, you may want to consult with a lawyer before you make any decisions.

Other times, you may need to evict a tenant. There are a variety of reasons why this could happen, but more often than not, it will be failure to pay rent. If this is the case, there will likely be a long, time consuming process ahead of you. At Simply Residential, we handle this entire process for our clients, from notification through litigation if necessary. If you’re on your own, again, this would be a good time to consult a lawyer.

Being a landlord isn’t easy. There are many facets and possibilities that need to be assessed and regulated throughout the entire process. That’s why working with Simply Residential Property Management  is the right option for our clients and many other property owners. But, if you’re self-managing, make sure you’ve done your research and are protected from the potential dangers associated with bad renters.

If you want to learn more about how Simply Residential keeps property management simple, call us today: 952-893-9900!

Should you become a landlord?

Rental HomeInvesting your money is a difficult task. Choosing where your money could thrive is a decision not to be taken lightly, and much of how you decide to invest should depend on the kind of person you are.

With housing prices dropping, now could be a good time for you to invest in property. But whereas investing in a property for yourself could earn you money in the long run, the majority of property buyers today need a regular flow of income to help keep up with mortgage repayments.

Investing in property that you can then lease could be the answer, with regular rent payments, helping buoy your finances and eventually leading to a solid income. But before you decide to invest in a buy-to-rent property, there are several questions you should ask yourself.

Are you connected?
Leasing property comes with its own unique challenges, one of which is maintenance and repairs. While many involved in renting property for a long time have built up a trusted list of contractors, first time landlords often have to rely on people they don’t know, which makes finding discounts and enhancing your profit difficult. If you go into the landlord game with several established contacts, repairs and maintenance can be cheap and easy. If you own property in the Twin Cities area, leasing your property through Simple Residential Property Management can take the hassle out of repairs. Their trusted full service maintenance department will be on hand to provide regular assistance to all your properties.

How handy are you?
If you enjoy doing repairs yourself and are capable of maintaining a property, then being a first-time landlord could be easier than relying on contractors. This will also save you money in the future, although it will take up more of your own free time.

Do you deal well with people?
Being a landlord requires you to interact regularly with all kinds of people. Having a good eye for who will be a responsible tenant and who is going to cause you acrimony will save you time and money. You have to accept that the majority of tenants will not care for a property as much as you the owner would like them to. To be a successful landlord, you have to embrace peoples different values and focus on maintaining a positive relationship with them.

Can you cover your own costs?
While there will always be unforeseen costs to a property, there are several regular costs that will drain your overall yield. Before embarking on this venture, you need to work out a budget and consider just how little you can get by on. If you paid for the property with a mortgage, remember that the rent of your property will need to be high enough to match this and cover the cost of repairs, maintenance, taxes and several other hidden costs. Remember that this is about turning a profit, so if the amount of rent required to achieve a profit is too high for the area, it’s probably not worth it.

Remember, you get out what you put in. Being a landlord isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve done your homework and know you can turn a profit, the financial rewards can be great.

Simple updates: The beginning of the year is a great time to tidy up

It’s a good time to reflect on repairs, updates or maintenance that needs to be accomplished; to make sure the rentals are fully occupied and make any changes necessary to make sure they stay that way; and to make sure properties are earning enough.

Repairs and Maintenance

Property ManagementRegular maintenance and prevention go a long way to make sure little things don’t end up costing far more than they should. Take some time at the beginning of the year to go through the property records. Have a look at the major  pieces in the house; the roof, water heater, heating/air conditioning units, etc. Perhaps the roof is getting on in years? Budgeting and planning for a new roof now, prior to leaks and damage, will save you considerable headache and money than waiting for a problem and having to not only repair but clean up the damage as well!

Sending a survey to tenants with detailed questions can also be valuable. The best people to tell you if a small problem is going to blow up down the road are the people living daily in the property. Detailed questions help to make sure that tenants who have gotten used to small issues don’t forget to report them. For instance, a sink that keeps backing up or a toilet that doesn’t flush quite right could be symptoms of a plumbing problem. Having a professional in now could prevent something simple, like a partially clogged drain, from turning into a sewage back-up that would require extensive cleanup.

Updating a property that is functioning

Rental PropertyConsistent updates, make sure that the rental is attractive to potential tenants, as well as making sure that the property isn’t losing you money. Updates to the efficiency of a property make sure you aren’t losing money. Have a look at the heating/cooling costs of a property. If they are eating into your profit, it’s time to update! First have a look at the insulation and windows of a building. If the windows are old and drafty or the insulation is insufficient, even a brand new heating or cooling system won’t fix the problem. If the windows and insulation are adequate, have a look to the units themselves. Purchasing a high-quality, efficient system will save you money on monthly expenses down the road.

Ensuring full rental

Property rentals that are empty do nothing but cost money. Now is a great time to assess any empty units and remedy the problem. Go through any empty properties, and make sure that they show well. Perhaps they need to be repainted a more neutral color, need some minor repairs or updates to be more attractive, or simply need a really thorough cleaning. Check out the neighborhood and make sure there haven’t been any changes that would affect the rental. Perhaps the price needs to be adjusted slightly to take the rental into a new market.

Remember, a rented property is bringing income to you, an empty one is costing you! Check the area and make sure the rental is appropriate prices. If it is the cheapest rental around and is unoccupied, perhaps think about updating it throughout and charging a higher amount to bring a better profit.