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Are Your Tenants’ Candles Burning up Your Profits?

burned money

A couple of years ago we had three apartments turnover, all about the same time, and they all had a sort of black soot on the walls and ceilings that made the apartments look dark and dingy and depressing.

I was standing in one of the apartments with my mouth open, and my maintenance contractor said: “they must have been burning candles 24-7.”  He then showed me that the soot couldn’t be washed off…it had to be repainted.  Ugh.

This can be a big expense for landlords, and forces you to keep the apartment off the market longer to get painting done.  So here’s a great solution to cut this damage off at the pass:

Promote soy wax candles to your tenants!

Here’s how green and sexy soy wax candles are:

  • Paraffin candles are petroleum-based products.  They are full of toxic chemicals and additives, and they are unhealthy to breathe.  They leave an icky black soot on the walls and ceilings of living spaces, and in your lungs.
  • Soy candles are biodegradable, are non-toxic, are made with renewable energy resources, burn 30-50% longer, are healthy to breathe, and don’t leave soot and residue on the walls.
  • Soybeans are part of the world’s sustainable agriculture program, so you’ll be investing in a valuable product that is helping the environment.
  • Many soy candles are beautifully hand crafted by small American businesses and come in a large variety of appealing aromas.

I now attach a written info sheet to each new lease, and I pitch each new tenant on the joys of soy candles.

Lemons to lemonade.

Soy candles are available at Whole Foods and Amazon dot com.

Photo credit: jiposhy via photopin cc

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“No Vacancies” A Landlord’s Favorite Words

No Vacancies sign

One thing you can count on in business (and in life) is change…so I thought I better show off real quick before something changes.

To start off this new year, we have 87 apartments with No Vacancies!!

I can’t even remember the last time that happened.

We do have one vacant house…but houses are a different business in our world so I can brag about the apartments separately.  (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

We had huge turnover last summer.  We decided it was a perfect time to sell a few houses, so we asked a few long term month-to-month tenants to leave for that purpose.  Then suddenly we had some other long term tenants give us notices.   Gulp.

At one point last summer we had 8 vacant houses.  Eight.

Plus normal spring and summer apartment turnover.

So I was one stressed out lady when the cash/bills graphs got crossed (bills up, cash down).  Filling vacancies is always my absolute top priority, so I had little time to blog.  I’ll try to get in a little pontificating now.

Josh and I would like to add a new apartment complex this year, so I probably won’t be basking in the No Vacancies glow for long 🙂

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Pride of Ownership

Playing FootballThis morning I rented a house to a cute trio of roommates in a popular area.

This evening, on my way to pick up my dog at doggie-day-care, I happened to drive by the house again.  The new tenants were out in the front yard playing football.

I wanted to cry.  It was the cutest darn thing I ever saw.

We took the house back a couple of weeks ago, when the last tenancy ended.

My great handyman prepped and painted the interior, power washed the exterior (hey it’s white!), painted the front deck, repaired the fence, pulled the basement carpet, repaired the swamp cooler, changed the locks, plus a few other odds and ends.

My great landscape contractors cleaned up the yard and upgraded the entry landscaping to give the house better curb appeal.  When they finished, the landscape contractor texted me “now this house will sell itself.”  He was right. More…

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How Landlords Get a Bad Rap

Thumbs DownYou’re a good landlord. You’re out there working your tail off trying to provide a nice product to your great tenants.

Then wham! Along comes some tenants that have been trained how to be bad tenants by bad landlords. They’ve been taught that it’s okay to pay the rent late. It’s okay to party and disregard the quiet enjoyment of their neighbors, etc. Heck, that bad landlord might even have paid the bad tenants cash to get out of the last apartment instead of doing an eviction. The bad tenant has been rewarded for his bad behavior by bad landlords, and thinks bad behavior is the way to get ahead. [You always get what you reward!]

Here’s an example: I recently got some great new tenants that moved to one of my apartments because their last landlord would not take action to stop the all-night-long heavy traffic and partying going on in the apartment upstairs from them. Their last landlord just let my new tenants out of their lease instead. Now that former landlord has bad tenants upstairs from a vacant apartment he’s trying to rent! Where’s the logic in that?

I don’t have any of that kind of crap going on in my units. All of my tenants know that I have an evil twin…and none of them want to meet her. 😉 There’s a sort of “ethics presence” in knowing that I have the will to confront bad tenants if I have to, and that I intend to protect the quiet enjoyment of my good tenants. Consequently, I rarely have to bring out my evil twin. [Perish the thought!] More…

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Is “Trashed” a 4-Letter Word?

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Entrepreneurs are Different (and so are Great Landlords)

We all instinctively sense that entrepreneurs are different.  But what is it that makes an entrepreneur tick?  What makes an entrepreneur successful?  What is the entrepreneurial mind-set?  Let’s explore the elements of the entrepreneurial DNA.

You may have a day job, but if you are an income property owner you are also an entrepreneur.  But be careful, if you use your employee brain to deal with your entrepreneurial endeavors, you could fall short as a landlord.  Here’s why:  More…

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There’s Always a Bright Side

It’s a typical Utah Spring…one day it actually feels like Spring, and then wham! more snow.

I’m checking the 10-day forecast every couple of days, trying to figure out the exact right moment to turn our handyman loose to summerize all the swamp coolers!  🙂

But the trees and lawn and flowers look great, and we didn’t have to pay for the water.  Yippie!

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Ka-ching! That’s Your Curb Appeal Working for You

little rental propertyGosh, it is so cool to own a little rental property!

It’s (normally) growing in value, it’s a forced savings so you’re not tempted to spend your down-payment and growing equity on doo-dads and bright shiny things, your great tenants are paying your mortgage down every month, you can keep more money in the family budget every year because of the savings on your taxes, you will have nice passive cash flow from now through retirement, plus you’ll have something of value to leave to your loved ones or favorite charity. 
 
Sweet! 
 
But it takes constant vigilance to keep the property in good repair.  On the front end, it can be painful when you’re shelling out remodeling bucks.  But upgraded properties = an improved tenant clientelle, an improved qualify of life as a landlord, an improved quality of life for your tenants, plus the value that will be added to the neighborhoods where your properties are located are all immeasurable benefits!  Good landlords add a lot of value to the communities where they own property.  It’s the ONLY way to do business as a landlord. More…

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Here Comes Spring Turnover!

tenants movingCan you feel it? Spring is appearing and change is in the air.  Our landscape contractor has already begun to clean up and beautify each of our properties.  We’ve had a bunch of residents respond happily and thank us.

The last two years were “lean” so we skipped adding new black soil to the planter beds and raked them out instead.  We also planted fewer new flowers and perennials.  But this year we’ve budgeted for a little more beautification because we intend to compete like crazy for the great tenants that will be looking for a fresh new apartment.

Spring and summer are a residential landlord’s biggest turnover months, so get ahead of the curve with your marketing plans, and don’t forget to also do everything possible to keep the great tenants you already have!

Most of the turnover will be done by the end of July, so work smart to have every vacancy filled by then.  August vacancies will be much more difficult to rent because of the reduced demand, and by September it will be super difficult to attract the few tenants that will be moving in the fall and winter months. 

Now is the time to prepare to compete for the great tenants that will be in the market for a fresh new apartment in the next few months!