Woodbridge Property Management Blog

Local Property Management News

New Landlords - we request that you read through all of our blog entries as some of the older posts contain the most important information that we’d like to share.

Deciding Whether to Raise the Rent at Lease Renewal Time…

Michele - Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Property Management Blog

I recently attended a meeting of local Property Managers where there was a serious discussion regarding the pros and cons of raising the rent for current tenants at lease renewal time. Nearly every Property Manager in the room had a policy in place that included NOT RAISING THE RENT for exiting tenants EVER!! 

Since we have a process in place to provide an updated market analysis to the owners at lease renewal and often suggest a small increase in rent if the market shows it is warranted, the discussion with my colleagues brought to light some important factors to consider…. 

Putting a rental property on the market to procure a new tenant typically costs the owner at least one full months rent due to the following costs: listing fee, average of 10 days vacancy between tenants, utility charges during vacancy, average cost of minor maintenance items that need to be addressed at check-out/in, and probability of the need for paint or carpet costs with each tenant turn-over. 

So, unless the current tenant isn’t paying on-time, or the current tenant is causing excessive wear and tear on the house, it almost NEVER makes sense to procure a new ...

Balancing Between Maximizing Cash Flow and Minimizing Vacancy Rate

Michele - Thursday, January 27, 2011
Property Management Blog

At RPM Direct LLC, we realize that when putting a home on the market for rent, the owner’s goal is to get the highest rent possible and find a tenant to move in as quickly as possible. Effective market analysis, aggressive marketing, and consistent follow-up are necessary to meet those goals. When one of our agents puts a home on the market for rent, a significant amount of time is spent on the market analysis and on educating the owner on how to make a pricing decision that strikes the right balance between cash flow and vacancy potential. 

For instance, if an agent suggests that a home is optimally priced at $1900 for marketing purposes, but the owner wants to put the home on the market for $2000 in order to maximize their cash flow, the agent will educate the owner on the potential risks and potential benefits of that approach. At higher price, an agent may estimate that it will take an additional 3 weeks to find a tenant. That 3 weeks of marketing time could equate to a loss of $1500 in potential income, combined with the possibility of a home being vacant for 3 weeks. If marketing at the lower price attracts a tenant in earlier, the owner would lose $1200 worth of ren...

Budgeting for Maintenance

Michele - Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Property Management Blog

When the traditional real estate investor is making decisions about his or her investment property, he is considering Return on Investment (ROI), vacancy rates, interest rates, depreciation, tax implications, maintenance costs, operating costs, capital investments and exit strategy. Most of our landlords, who are “unintentional investors” are considering two important things: Will the rent cover my mortgage? and Will the tenant pay on time? Based on this perspective, owners sometimes find themselves unprepared for decisions regarding maintenance needs. 

While the lease specifies that the tenant is responsible for changing light bulbs, changing filters, and maintaining the lawn and shrubs, all major maintenance remains the responsibility of the owner. In order to minimize unexpected financial stress in the future, I strongly encourage all owners to establish an annual maintenance budget or fund to prepare for any maintenance issues that may arise. 

The size of the maintenance fund needed depends on the age of the house, the age of the appliances, and whether the appliances or systems are covered by a service plan...

Goals/Commitments for RPM Direct

Michele - Monday, January 17, 2011
Property Management Blog

On January 1st, my family and I sat down to document our goals for the year.  As RPM Direct continues its strong growth, here is the goal that I set for myself and our company: 

In order to attain the goals I have for myself and my company, I intend to provide EXCELLENT service to property owners who entrust their properties to me.  I will also provide prompt and efficient service to the tenants in those properties.  RPM constantly strives to be the best Property Management Company in Woodbridge!

The Rise of the Unintentional Investor

Michele - Sunday, January 16, 2011
Property Management Blog

Between 2002 and 2007, thousands of men and women, many of them members of our Military, participated in the “American Dream” by purchasing a home of their own in our area.  These homeowners, like many before them, had planned to live in the Northern Virginia area, often in Prince William County, for 3 to 6 years and then sell their home when they were transferred to another job, assignment, or duty station. 

Unfortunately, their plans did not work out as intended.  They are now moving across the country or across the world.  The value of their home has plummeted.  They now owe more than the home is worth, so selling the home is not an option.  Allowing the home to go into foreclosure or participating in a short sale is not an option either.  

Many of these homeowners are members of our Military, Government employees, or Government contractors.  They often have security clearances that require them to maintain an excellent credit score.  These homeowners must keep their homes, continue to pay their mortgages on time, and ensure that they keep the financial commitment they made to their mortgage company while thousands a...

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