Whether you are a new or seasoned landlord, landlords are humans. And humans make mistakes. There are some common mistakes landlords can make. Avoiding these mistakes can make achieving success easier.
Poor Tenant Screening
Finding the right tenant is essential to making landlording successful. The ideal tenant is one who will pay rent on time and live in the rental property with care. Tenants who do not pay rent (on time) or destroy the rental property take up a lot of a landlord’s time. In these unfortunate cases, landlords have to track down rent or consider eviction which is a time consuming process. Taking the time to review a tenant’s rental and employment history can provide long term benefits. And conducting criminal background checks and credit checks will give landlords additional insight. Tenant screening services like TransUnion’s Smartmove make it easy for landlords to screen tenants. Having a good tenant screening process in place saves landlords time and contributes positively to the business’ bottom line.
Old School Methods
Among the common mistakes landlords can make include doing things the old school way. Today, the internet and smartphones are a significant part of our lives. Applying technology makes landlording easier, and it can create happy tenants. For example, instead of collecting rent the old school way by cash, check, or money order, landlords should use online rent payment. By collecting rent using a service like ClearNow, landlords save time and eliminate trips to the bank. At the same time, tenants just need to have funds in their bank account. Tenants don’t have to write and mail a check or meet the landlord to hand over cash.
Lack of Organization
Whether you are a full time or part time landlord, landlording is a business. And with any business, you want to be profitable. How do landlords know if they are profitable? They need to stay organized and keep good records. In addition to knowing profitability, landlords have to file tax information to the IRS at tax time. So maintaining good records make this information filing to the IRS easier. Lack of organization is one of the common mistakes landlords can make. Accounting software makes organization really easy. There is a lot of choice for landlords for tools for managing income and expenses. Landlords should take the time and see which software works best for their needs.
As winter abounds, landlords should take the appropriate steps to prepare their rental property for cold temperatures. Doing so will help keep tenants comfortable and ensure the safety of the property and its occupants. Landlords who winterize rental property are taking steps to protect their investment while keeping everyone safe and happy.
The first step in preparing a rental property for cold temperatures is to inspect the building’s exterior. Specifically, landlords should check the condition of the roof, gutters, and windows. Any evidence of damage should be repaired immediately to prevent further damage and energy loss. Adding insulation to walls, ceilings, and attic can reduce energy costs and maintain a comfortable temperature.
Moving on to an interior inspection, landlords should make sure the heating system is in good working order. This includes checking for proper ventilation, ensuring the thermostat is functioning correctly, and making sure there are no drafts or leaks. Having the HVAC system inspected and serviced by a professional in advance of the coldest months will ensure it is running at peak efficiency.
Finally, landlords should remind tenants to take the necessary steps to stay safe and warm during the colder months. Using heavy curtains, sealing off drafts, and keeping the temperature at a comfortable level are ways tenants can help winterize rental property. And landlords can keep tenants safe at home even when it comes to paying rent. With online rent payment, tenants can stay safe at home in the winter and eliminate mailing or dropping off rent in person.
Rent is an unavoidable expense that most of us have to pay. Landlords rely on it as their primary source of rental income. What if there was a way to make the rent payment and collection process easier and more convenient for tenants and landlords? How to do online rent payment is easier then you think. There are a lot of services for landlords and tenants to make rent collection and payment easier.
Online rent payment is a convenient and secure way to pay your rent. It is a way to pay rent without having to write a check and mailing it or going to the property management office to drop it off. So it saves time and money. Instead of paper, online rent payments are electronic in the form of a credit card or ACH transaction. With ACH transactions, there is a debit to the tenant’s bank account and a corresponding credit to the landlord’s bank account.
2) If your landlord accepts online rent payments, ask your landlord how to get set up with the service he/she is using. Also, ask about associated costs, if any. For example, with ClearNow, tenants can enroll only after the landlord has set up a ClearNow account. ClearNow does not charge tenants to use its service.
There are a variety of reasons why a landlord may not live near their rental property. Job relocation may force a physical move but you don’t want to sell your home. So instead of leaving the property empty, you’re willing to rent it out. Another reason could be inheritance. You may have inherited a property in another state and wish to rent instead of selling it. Regardless the reason, we’ll share a few simple tips for a long distance landlord to make landlording a success.
Organize a Local Team
As a long distance landlord, you are not physically present. To handle situations that arise, you need to rely on people who can be present and help you quickly, honestly, and successfully. Having an electrician, plumber, and handyperson that can address a situation quickly (and bill you later) will give you peace of mind. Adding to that local team could be a landscaper who will ensure your property looks good and is cared for. An alternative to organizing a local team would be hiring a property management company. It is important to interview a few to compare their services and fees.
Technology can make the lives of long distance landlords easier. Something as simple as communicating with tenants by text or email can be easy and effective. Online rent payment is another very simple yet powerful technology that makes the rent collection process easy. ClearNow is an online rent payment service that has been serving landlords and tenants since 2000. Rent is automatically deposited to your bank account making rent collection easy and efficient.
Find Great Tenants
Having a tenant you can trust, that will take care of your rental property, and pay rent on time is every landlord’s dream. Screening tenants become even more important for long distance landlords. Taking the time to review applications, interviewing tenants, and performing background checks become essential in an attempt to finding great tenants.
Simple tips for a long distance landlord include having a local team in place, using technology, and screening for great tenants. Today, landlords can be successful even when they do not live close to their rental property.
Much has been written on ways to help landlords succeed. This blog post is not wholly different other than taking the view of how to help tenants. Happy tenants can make landlord lives easier. If there are tools to make tenant life easier, then it is a win win for both landlord and tenant. We’ll take a look at a few tips that are easy for landlords to implement with a long term goal of making tenant life easier.
Use Technology to Make Tenant Life Easier
Many tenants today consider the use of technology essential to daily living. When it comes to paying rent, tenants do not want to write and mail checks. In fact, many tenants may not even own a checkbook as all of their banking may be online. So online rent payment becomes a selling point when looking at properties to rent. Landlords have a lot of choice when it comes to finding the right online rent payment service. Services can vary by way of price, payment types, and benefits. For example, ClearNow’s online rent payment service not only makes paying rent easy and automatic, but it will furnish its rent payment data to Experian for tenants looking to build a credit history.
One of the basic applications of technology is communication. Many tenants have smartphones, which allow them to be accessible. Landlords who communicate via text or email make tenant life easier. Talking on the phone, mailing letters, and meeting in person are time consuming and slow.
Smartphones are powerful tools. Beyond the immediate provides of communication via text, phone, or email or information gathering from the Web, smartphones can be the key to your rental property. Literally. Landlords can install keyless locks on their rental property. With keyless locks, tenants do not have to keep track of a key. Depending on the type of lock, tenants can use a code or their smartphone to open and lock doors.
Something as simple as providing in unit clothing washers and dryers make tenant life easier without a doubt. Carrying around clothes – dirty or clean – is not fun. If dishwashers are becoming a standard appliance in rental properties, then why shouldn’t washers and dryers?
Successful landlords attract and retain good tenants. The tenant selection process can be time consuming. Time is money. Landlords win when they find great tenants and have low tenant turnover. This post will provide landlord tips for eco friendly rentals. Embracing green living can be important to certain tenants.
Reducing or eliminating paper altogether is an easy first step towards an eco friendly rental. For example, online rent payment eliminates checks, envelopes, and stamps. Furthermore, it makes rent payment and collection fast and efficient for both tenants and landlords. There are many online rent payment services available for landlords. Another easy way to go paperless is with electronic signatures. Landlords can have tenants sign leases electronically and save the environment because you do not need printers or paper.
Another landlord tip for eco friendly rentals is to provide recycling bins along with trash bins for tenants. Curbside bins make it easy to reuse or recycle and helps the environment.
Lastly, using energy efficient lighting and water saving fixtures are two more landlord tips for eco friendly rentals. For example, LED bulbs and toilets and faucets that use less water help with efforts towards environmental sustainability and attracting tenants where green living is important.
When you are at the store and ready to check out, we sometimes hear the store employee ask, “Will you be paying by card?” In years past, “card” usually referred to “credit card”. Fast forward to present day, and now the definition of “card” is not so crystal clear. Mention of the word, “card”, could mean “credit card”, “debit card”, or “prepaid card”. Fortunately, many tenants can now use a prepaid card for online rent payment and discover its convenience.
Unlike debit cards, prepaid cards are not linked to a bank account. Instead, you deposit money into an account so that when you use the prepaid card, funds are deducted from that account. Credit cards allow you to pay for items by borrowing money. When you hear “payment on credit”, it usually refers to payment by way of a loan. You are obligated to pay charges made on your credit card within a period of time after the purchase. While different, all of the cards come with fees of some sort.
When it comes to online rent payment, not all services accept credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards. For example, ClearNow does not accept credit cards or debit cards, but it can debit some prepaid debit cards. Tenants wanting to use ClearNow with their prepaid debit card need to first check with their card company to ensure their card account can accept an ACH debit. If it can, then tenants may use their prepaid card for online rent payment with ClearNow.
One of the biggest challenges with rental property is paying and collecting rent. Collecting rent from tenants is time consuming. If you receive payment by check or cash, you have to then find time to deposit it. This process becomes more laborious the as the number of properties you manage grows. ClearNow’s online rent payment service has tools that can make the rent process more manageable. Here are some ways where ClearNow’s benefits of online rent payment reach both landlord and tenant.
Rent Payment on Autopilot
ClearNow makes it easier for tenants to pay rent online. Once set up, tenants just need to have sufficient funds in their bank account on their debit day. That’s it. They do not have to deal with checks, mail, or any interaction to pay rent with ClearNow. Similarly, landlords using ClearNow simply wait to receive rent payment directly into their bank account. ClearNow eliminates the time and expense related to picking up rent from tenants and depositing checks at the bank.
Build Credit History
The benefits of online rent payment extend to helping tenants build credit history. With ClearNow, tenants can build credit history by having their ClearNow rent payment data furnished to Experian RentBureau. The drive to build credit history encourages tenants to pay rent on time which in turn, benefit landlords. Landlords want to get paid on time.
The benefits of online rent payment with ClearNow are evident for landlords and tenants. While landlords get paid on time, tenants benefit in the process of building credit history while making the rent payment process easy.
One of the conveniences of the smartphone revolution has been the introduction of “mobile check deposit“. With the help of an app, you can photograph a check for deposit while never leaving your home. For landlords and property managers, mobile check deposit for rent payment is an improvement over driving to the bank or ATM. It is convenient, but there are drawbacks making it not the best way for landlords to receive rent payment.
Downsides of Mobile Check Deposit
Mobile deposit still relies on a paper check. Mailed checks take time to receive. In some cases, they get lost.
Because mobile deposit is check-based, most banks put a hold on accessing funds until funds clear. In some cases, the first $200 may be available the next day, however, the delay can be much longer on larger amounts.
Mobile check deposit for rent payment can still bounce. If the tenant does not have enough funds by the time you deposit the check, you will likely be charged an insufficient funds fee.
Online Rent Payment is the Superior Solution
Online rent payment eliminates paper. Rent payment is electronically withdrawn from the tenant’s bank account and then directly deposited to the landlord’s bank account. The beauty of online rent payment is that checks cannot get lost or delayed. Even if the landlord is on vacation, the deposit will still happen.
One of the oldest and most trusted online rent payment services is ClearNow. With ClearNow, landlords save time and collect rent faster. Rent is directly deposited three business days after the debit day. A landlord can enroll with ClearNow at www.ClearNow.com.
Landlords have choice on how they want to collect rent. Cash and checks are still methods used today. More efficient methods like online rent payment can range from focused rent payment services to basic money transfer apps to full service property management software. There are pros and cons for each method, so landlords should consider things like fees and ease of use before committing. In this post, we will compare ClearNow to Venmo for online rent payment.
ClearNow for Online Rent Payment
ClearNow is a focused online rent payment service where payments are initiated by the landlord. Serving landlords and tenants since 2000, ClearNow directly deposits rent three banking days after the tenant’s debit day. For a monthly debit, ClearNow starts at $14.95/month. This fee includes the debit of one tenant. Additional tenants are $2/month.
Unique among all online rent payment services, ClearNow has an owner proceeds feature where property management companies can directly deposit tenant funds to the property owner’s bank account for just an additional $2/tenant.
In addition to online rent payment, ClearNow provides landlords with various reports including a Schedule E Helper report for tax time. With ClearNow, landlords can record income and expenses, screen tenants, and esign leases. In 2011, ClearNow was the first online rent payment service to allow tenants to report payments to Experian. So tenants can build a credit history with their ClearNow rent payments. Unlike other services, ClearNow provides telephone and email support, so you can talk with a person if you wish.
Venmo for Rent Payment
Venmo is similar to Zelle in that it is a money transfer app. Tenants can use Venmo to transfer rent payment directly to the landlord’s bank account. To send and receive funds via Venmo, tenants and landlords have to have the Venmo app. Unlike Zelle, Venmo does not require both parties to have a bank account that is part of a specified network of banks. Generally speaking, money transfers occur within minutes, even though it can take a few days for funds to clear. Venmo charges businesses who receive funds a transaction fee of 1.9% + $0.10 of the payment. This fee is a consideration for landlords who operate as a business entity.
One of the biggest considerations for landlords accepting Venmo for rent payment is the issue of partial payments. Because tenants initiate the Venmo payment, tenants may not pay rent in full thus making it difficult to recoup the full amount due or even evict if necessary. Some states prevent eviction if partial payments are made.
Summary of ClearNow vs Venmo for Online Rent Payment
Pros and Cons
+ Focused online rent payment service + In business since 2000 with an “A+” BBB rating + $14.95/mo for one tenant. $2/mo each additional tenant. Rent payments received in 3 business days. + Reports for landlords such as Schedule E helper and P&L + Email and phone customer support + Tenants can build credit history for paying rent +Automatic income & expense tracking for landlords + Enroll at www.ClearNow.com
+ General money transfer service + Landlord and tenant need to have the Venmo app + Tenants initiate payment and can make partial payments + Pricing is generally free. There is a transaction fee for businesses to receive funds. + No reports specifically for landlording activity + Set up account at Venmo.com or download the Venmo app