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What Not to Ask Potential Tenants

As a property owner, you probably have a list of things you like to ask your potential tenants when they express interest in your property. You want to know the basics – who they are, can they pay rent, when they want to move in, etc. However, there are some things you shouldn’t ask.

Anything concerning ethnicity, religion, disabilities, or children should not be asked. Asking about any of things, according to the Fair Housing Act, could be construed as a discriminatory practice. It’s important to stay consistent with the questions you ask so as not to be favoring one potential tenant over another. Even something as simple as “do you go to church around here?” can be seen as discrimination against people that are a different religion. You can easily be taken to court and sued for this, so we recommend sticking to a predetermined set of questions you would like to ask and being conscious of what you are asking when straying from that list.

Family questions toes the line of being discriminatory as well, so tread carefully with asking anything about family. If asking about family history or the tenant’s national origin, these are grounds for discrimination. If you are worried that you will say something wrong, let the tenants ask questions. You do not have to be the only one asking things – in fact, the potential tenants probably have plenty of questions to ask you.

As long as you have plenty of information and back up questions, nothing should go wrong when you are talking to your tenants. Trust us, there are plenty more questions you can ask than ones you can’t. If you are still nervous about giving tours of your property, or just simply don’t have the time to, contact CAB Group to see how we can help you manage and maintain your property!

How to Give the Best Tour of Your Rental Property

Landlord showing property to tenant

No matter how many pictures, videos, or testimonials you put on your website about how amazing your rental property is, you’re still going to have to give physical tours of it. To some property owners, this could be the worst part of the leasing process – you might not be very good at public speaking, or maybe you just feel awkward about the whole thing. We’ve come up with a few tips to help you rock your tour, whether this is your first, or your 9,000th!

#1: Triple Check the Property.

You don’t want to be showing your rental property and have any unexpected surprises waiting for you. You want your property to be spotless and pest free when showing it (and while people are living there), so doing a check up right before the tour will give you peace of mind knowing everything is in its place and in working condition.

#2: Dress Up.

Prospective tenants don’t want to see their potential landlord wearing sweatpants and a stained t-shirt. Look the part of a property manager – you’re trying to make an impression that convinces these people you are a respectable and responsible landlord. This includes smelling nice, hair styled, and clean, professional outfit.

#3: Be Nice.

No one wants to talk to someone that’s being crabby or antisocial. Make it a point to call them by their names and ask them a few questions to get to know them. After all, if they end up becoming your tenants, you will want to have a relationship base already formed!

#4: Be Prepared.

Know the answers to the questions you know they’re going to ask. Also know the dates of any major changes that have happened to the property. Be prepared with information on what is located around your property as well as what school district it’s in and any local attractions to highlight. To make this easier, you might come prepared with a small packet of this information.

#5: Rinse and Repeat.

The odds of you giving just one tour for your vacant rental property and them signing the lease is slim to none. Most rental property owners must give many tours before they find the perfect tenants. However, it’s important to realize that just because you’ve done this tour multiple times, to potential tenants this is their first time every seeing your beautiful property – so treat them as such!

It’s easy to get into a rut of giving tours and answering the same questions, but to get great new tenants you have to be willing to keep up this cycle! And for those of you about to give your first tour of your property, don’t be nervous. You’ll be a pro in no time! If you’re more worried about the time aspect of giving tours, consider hiring a property management company to take care of tours for you! A company like C.A.B. Group can maintain your property and highlight its best features so you have the time to do other things.

Renting to Retirees

With the ease that comes with renting, more and more retirees are turning to this option rather than staying in their houses. Older generations are not wanting to have to deal with the hassles of maintaining their own property, and many find that renting is cheaper anyway. In New Jersey, the most popular towns for retirees are Allenhurst, Saddle River, and Englewood Cliffs (click here to see the whole list). There is a growing market for property owners as Baby Boomers are retiring, so to help you gear towards renting to them we’ve compiled a few tips:

Accessibility is key: Not too many steps, wheelchair accessibility, and large showers are extremely good selling points for retirees. They don’t want to have to stress about getting up and down flights of stairs or being able to get in and out of a high-walled bathtub. If you’re worried that your properties won’t appeal to retirees, think of adding some mobility features.

Area around your property: Retirees want to be able to have close access to the things they like to do, and the most common places they frequent. Centered areas close to hospitals, grocery stores, and local restaurants will give your property the convenience factor they’re looking for.

Your reputation: Older generations will not want to make any immediate decisions. They will want to read your reviews and ask others about their experience with your property. Be prepared to meet with them more than once to cover all of their questions. This is an important step in creating a trusting relationship you want to have with them.

Using a property management company like CAB Group can greatly increase your chances of appealing to retirees because we have experience in adding mobility solutions to properties, handling maintenance issues quickly, and know what retired tenants are looking for in a property. If you are interested in letting us take care of your properties and tenants, give us a call today!

Spotlight on CAB Group Owner Candace Ritz

Candace Ritz doesn’t just spend her time working on CAB Group-related business. In her spare time, she does a lot of volunteering – so much that you might consider it her second job!

After a visit to South Africa, Candace learned about the significant effect wildlife conservation had on community

development there. She was inspired by the sense of community and genuine concern for protecting the surrounding area’s wildlife and land. After her visit, she decided to become involved and make a difference. She set out to leave a “legacy gift” for an organization called African Wildlife Foundation, an organization that focuses on wildlife conservation, land and habitat protection, community empowerment, and economic development. As her gift to the foundation, Candace has made AWF a beneficiary in her Will.

Not only does she actively help with AWF, Candace also volunteers for animal rescues around the world. To help raise money for various animal sanctuaries and wildlife areas, she has also begun a new venture selling greeting cards as a fun way to fundraise online. (Once it’s up and running, check it out: www.furkidsince.com)

While many people are perfectly content with staying busy at one job, Candace has tackled multiple jobs, volunteering programs, and other opportunities to help the world’s wildlife. If you were inspired by Candace’s story, check out AWF’s website to see how you can help!

What to Do After Your Property Floods

Flooding can be an extremely infuriating nuisance for property owners in New Jersey and surrounding areas. For most, escaping flooding is impossible – all properties are subject to it to some extent. As an owner, it can get overwhelming when multiple properties flood at the same time, so we’ve compiled some tips on how to handle it and what you should check to make sure your property hasn’t been permanently damaged.

One of the first things you should do when entering your property for the first time after a flood is to shut off all electric and water sources. You never know when a spark will fly and standing in flood waters when that happens is not a good idea. Also, be sure not to touch anything with your bare skin – you don’t know what is in the floodwater, so protect yourself. Try to open all windows and doors to start airing out the property.

Inform your insurance company of the flooding and be sure to take pictures before attempting to fix or clean anything. When you can, start getting water out of the property (you can do this through pumps, using buckets, or hiring a company to do it for you). Once the water is out, you can actually start to see where the damage lies. Inspect drywall, carpet, flooring, appliances, outlets, windows/doors, and overall structural stability.

Cleaning up after the flood is the most time-consuming part – go through each part of the property to either throw things out or repair them. Drywall will probably have to be replaced, as well as carpet if it was not allowed to dry out within 48 hours of being flooded. If the property hasn’t been able to dry out, you will most likely have a problem with molding as well. Have a professional come in to check on electricity and plumbing to ensure they are safe to use.

While it is extremely hard to prevent flooding when in a high-risk area, there are some things you can do to minimize the damage that might occur. Consider raising electrical outlets above expected floodwater levels, move appliances upstairs, install backflow valves on sewer systems, and use sandbags outside the property.

Flooding could cause damage to electricity, plumbing, and even structural issues so it’s important to assess the property as soon as it is safe to do so. Getting caught up in multiple property’s flooding issues can quickly overwhelm owners, so hiring a property management team with experience with New Jersey flooding can be incredibly helpful. C.A.B. Group has been involved in real estate building, development, and property management throughout New Jersey and it’s surrounding areas for over a decade.

Creating a Stress-Free Relationship with Your Tenants

Your relationship with your tenants can be make or break for profits. If your tenants aren’t happy with this relationship, they most likely won’t stay past one lease term. They could also damage the property, leave early, or something worse. On the other hand, if you can have a stable, good relationship with them, they’re more likely to recommend you to others and to stay at your property for longer. As a property owner, you can feel stressed when you don’t feel like you’re on the same page as your tenants. As a tenant, they can feel stressed when they think their landlord doesn’t care about them. If you think that the relationship with your tenant could be improved, we’ve got some tips you can use!

Be open and friendly. This is probably the easiest way to encourage your tenants to see you as a person and not only as their landlord. Make sure you give an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding so your relationship with your tenants can thrive and they can feel that they can talk to you about anything.

Have a good middleman. Your property management company is critical in developing this relationship. As the crew that your tenant will be seeing quite often, your property management company should be experienced and professional in whatever they are doing on the property. Having a trustworthy team to lean on to fix any issues is critical for tenants.

Have a quick maintenance turnaround. Your tenants don’t want to deal with property issues for longer than they need to. If you do have a property management team, they should have a routine for dealing with property maintenance problems to keep your tenants satisfied.

Because it’s National Stress Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to really get to thinking about what is stressing you out as a property owner. For many owners, the work overload is one of the primary factors of stress in investing. To combat this stress, think of delegating your work. A property management company like C.A.B. Group can be extremely helpful in cutting down on the burden of caring for your property!

How to Move a Tenant in Properly

While we have already written about how to move a tenant out, moving a tenant in can be completely different. Especially if the property has been vacant for quite some time, there are some things you want to check on before your new tenant moves in. Having a clean, well-groomed property can give your tenants a good start to your renting relationship.

  • While this should be a no-brainer, take your time deep-cleaning the property before you move your new tenants in. Hire a professional cleaner if you feel you won’t be able to do all you can, or if you don’t have the time. Make sure the floors are polished, carpet is shampooed, appliances are scrubbed clean, and vents have been wiped down. Don’t just focus on the things on the surface – really do your best at getting everything within reach.
  • Get health and safety inspections done. If you have had to do any major remodeling or fixing before the new tenant moves in, it’s a good idea to get your property inspected to ensure it is perfectly safe to live in. Check on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they in working condition. You could have certain laws governing how often the property is inspected, so be sure to ask your local officials.
  • Go back over your lease agreement. If anything has been changed or if you wish to update anything within your lease, now is the time to do it! You don’t want to bring your tenant in to sign the lease and realize that it still mentions a chimney that you’ve gotten rid of 5 years ago.
  • Prepare new keys, codes, etc. As a property owner, you want to provide a safe and secure environment for your tenants. As new tenants, you want to know that your landlord cares about your safety and is willing to switch locks on the property, so you know other previous tenants can’t get in.

Having a routine move-in checklist is important to your credibility as a property owner. If you have an established way of handling new tenants, there’s less of a chance for something to go wrong. If you’d like for a professional, credible, and experienced property management company that has a systemized way of moving tenants in and out of properties, contact C.A.B. Group!

Questions to Ask a Property Management Company

Landlords and owners can get tired quickly from caring for their properties – either by stretching themselves too thin, realizing that they’re not as handy as they once thought, or simply not having the time to be fixing a hole in the drywall. Searching for a property management company is a daunting task though. There are a lot of options to choose from, each with so many different perks. Across the board, however, there are certain questions you will want to ask each property management company to ensure you are all on the same page.

  • Ask for their management history, as well as references. For a professional company, this should be easy to provide. However, don’t be afraid to really research the details they provide for accuracy and call on their references to back them up.
  • Ask for proof of licensure and to see their certifications. It’s important for property management companies to be licensed so that if they do anything wrong, you are not held responsible. Property management companies should be up-to-date on any certifications and licenses that are needed for your area, so check your local laws for this.
  • Ask them what makes them special. This will give them time to highlight what they believe are the best features they offer – sometimes, this could be your deciding factor between two companies. For example, if one company highlights their great communication with tenants, while another emphasizes their modern rental software and quick property maintenance issue solving qualities, you would probably go with the latter.
  • Ask them how well they know the area (AKA: How big is their business?). While there are perks for hiring national property management companies, many times it is better to hire more local businesses. Companies like C.A.B. with a radius spanning New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia will have a better understanding of what people like in the area and have their own roots and ties to the places around the property, whereas a national company will only be able to provide a generalized understanding of your tenants.

Before ever making a decision, always meet your property management company in person. Nothing will tell you more than coming face-to-face with someone. This type of interaction can tell you how they will act towards others (your tenants), how timely they are (how responsive they will be to problems), and overall how well they communicate with people (extremely important for the face of your property).

How to Deal with Tenants Moving Out

With renting, you expect tenants to move in and out of your properties. While you may be sad to see your awesome tenants go, you should be focused on getting that spot filled as soon as possible – but not before doing certain things.

Understand why your tenants are leaving. If your tenants have a specific issue with your property, see if there is any way to fix it. It is much easier (and cheaper) to retain tenants than to find new ones, and keeping them happy will ultimately bring a better reputation for your properties. However, if your tenants are looking to move to a bigger place, for example, understand that you can’t win them all. What you can do, is ask them if they would recommend a new tenant to fill their place. Maintaining a good relationship with former renters is always a good idea and might even bring you new ones!

Do a proper inspection. While it isn’t your goal to stiff your tenant out of their security deposit, it’s important to hold them accountable for any damages they have done to the property. Be sure to send a notice stating why your previous tenant did not receive their security deposit back (or only a portion) within the required amount of time. States require this notice to be sent out by different dates, so make sure you check with your state’s laws.

Put out an ad for the property ASAP. The best time to start putting out an ad for the open property would be as soon as you know your tenant is moving out. This gives you at least a little more time to start the process of finding a new renter – which includes tours, screenings, and interviews with potential people. Most people aren’t ready to move the day an ad is put up, so the sooner it is out being seen, the better.

It can be extremely helpful to tenants who are provided with a checklist of everything they are expected to have cleaned and in good condition by their move out date. This takes away the confusion of what the tenants are liable for and shows what you as an owner expect. Having a property management company that has experience with handling tenant cycling takes away the worry of promising too much or too little to tenants. C.A.B. Group can do it all from tenant procurement, to rental collections, to construction, to landscaping!

Spring Cleaning for Your Properties

Spring cleaning can give your properties a fresh look and bring more appeal to potential tenants. It will also reflect your responsibility and desire to retain current residents by maintaining their living spaces and keeping them, ultimately, happier. Your residents want to take pride in where they live and will appreciate your efforts to clean it up – what better way to kick off the spring season than by starting with your current residents first?

Ask your residents what (if anything) is broken and needs fixing on their end. With everyone being cooped up in the winter, things are more prone to being broken. Take this time to do a quick inspection of your properties – be on the lookout for things like holes in the wall from mice, cracked countertops, warped flooring, ripped screens, etc. Replace air filters and be sure to check smoke detectors so you know they are working. Doing a systematic check like this every few months will give you a better idea of how your residents are treating your property, and will help you assess the value of the property as it ages.

Spruce up common areas like parking lots, athletic courts, gyms, and property office space. After using salt to get rid of ice over the winter, be sure to sweep it off the sidewalks and lots for a cleaner look (do NOT sweep salt into grassy areas – the ice will damage or even kill the grass). We recommend annual power washing of outdoor courts in the spring before the gaming season starts so you know it’s in tip-top shape. If your parking lot lines have started to disappear due to sun exposure and friction from tires, you may need to repaint. Get rid of clutter in the main office and use the same maintenance checks you would normally do.

Begin landscaping again. Winter is often the hardest on your landscape, so it’s important to start early on bringing it back to life in the spring. Start by removing any debris and figuring out which plants you want to remove and what types of flowers you want to plant. A property’s landscape is what will attract many potential residents, and having a bright and beautiful landscape will add to your curb appeal.

Keeping up with the seasons in your properties will help you create the environment you want for your residents. Stay on top of maintenance issues before they even begin by using these preventative measures. C.A.B. Group offers these spring cleaning services as part of their regular upkeep property management program. To see how they can provide all-encompassing property services for your New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York properties, give them a call today!

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