Thursday, February 26, 2015

Service Animals and Companion Animals In Your Rental In Colorado Springs

Brought to you by Muldoon Associates, Inc. - Exceptional Property Management in Colorado Springs, Fountain, and Pueblo Areas!

Let's begin by distinguishing the difference between a service animal and a companion animal.  According to Jorgette Krsulic with Colorado Casa REALTORS in Colorado Springs, CO there are differences between a service animal and companion animal.  A service animal has specific training in order to assist the person for various tasks.  For example a dog that is trained to retrieve items for a person who can't walk.  A companion animal is not necessarily trained and is used primarily for emotional support.  If you aren't aware, persons with disabilities are a protected class under fair housing and reasonable accommodations must be made.

Like many things in this world there is lots of gray in the term "reasonable accommodations".  What I do know is service/companion animals ARE NOT CONSIDERED PETS!!!!  Your "no pet" policy does not apply to either of the animals.  The Office of Fair Housing compares services animals to wheel chairs.  They are a tool for the mentally or physically challenged person and ARE NOT CONSIDERED PETS!!  I cannot stress this enough.  If a person has a service or companion animal you CANNOT charge an additional deposit.  The type of service animal is not restricted to dogs or cats, people have all types of pets as companion and service pets.  There are no breed restrictions for service/companion animals.  There is not mandatory documentation for a person to have a service or companion animal and if a disability is visible (i.e. a limp) you cannot ask the person for any information regarding the disability.


I'm going to keep this short and sweet but I'll make sure to post another blog shortly that goes more in depth with reasonable accommodations.  If you have any questions regarding property management of your home in Colorado Springs or Pueblo West please don't hesitate to contact Muldoon Associates, Inc.!



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pilot Series -How To Procure Quality and Qualified Tenants - Property Management Colorado Springs #1

Pilot Series


Hello All,

I have dubbed this the "Pilot Series" for obvious reasons.  This is the first series of how to articles I will be posting.  We will start with "How To Procure a Quality and Qualified Tenant".  This is very important for property managers in Colorado Springs and landlords of all types!  Having a good quality qualified tenant in your rental property will help keep your property in tip top shape, your rent paid on time, and a happy lease cycle!

In my experience there are a few things that should be done right from the beginning to attract qualified and quality tenants to your property.  You will want to make sure the property you are planning to rent does not show signs of disrepair or abuse.  The property should be well maintained to show the tenants you are a responsible landlord.  A quality and qualified tenant will not be interested in a property that's not well maintained this is very important!

Once the property is in rent ready condition you will need to create advertisements that attract the tenant's you are looking for.  Make sure all online advertisements have numerous high quality photo's and video if possible.  There should be a detailed description of the property and make sure to highlight any unique and desirable features of your property.  Stay away from dramatic descriptive words and try to focus on the facts of the property.  Your description should be reinforced by the pictures and vice versa.  This will help prospective tenants to get a good feel for the property and will save you time when it comes to showings.

Ok as of now you have a rent ready property and it's advertised in as many places as possible!  What's the next step?  THE PHONE STARTS RINGING!  Tenant's can't wait to see your property!  Don't get too excited, you need a way to avoid the folks who are not quality or qualified.  You should have a list of minimum qualifications for the prospective tenant's to review prior to viewing or applying for the property!  Be careful when creating this list of qualifications.  You do not want to unknowingly volunteer yourself for HUD violations.

Your objective with this step is to eliminate the bad eggs right off the bat and to give each interested party an opportunity to know what you will be looking for to approve them.  This process will result in more productive showings and less wasted time.  Again, we are only interested in working with qualified and quality tenants so we are doing what we can right from the beginning to ensure this is the case!

Feel free to email me at Daniel@muldoonassociates.com and I will send you my list of qualifications  FREE.  I also have other leasing documents and lease packages available.

I'm going to end here and we will continue this process in "Procuring Quality and Qualified Tenants #2". 


How To Deal With Water Damage In Your Colorado Springs Rental Property PART 2

How To Deal With Water Damage In Your Rental Property PART 2

Brought to you by Muldoon Associates, Inc. - Exceptional Property Management in Colorado Springs, Fountain, and Pueblo Areas!

Black Water

The second part of this two part series is going to go into detail about "black water" or water that is contaminated by sewage, asbestos, or any other harmful substances.  Black water is a major health hazard if not extracted properly and in a timely manner.  Extraction of black water by a person not certified should never be considered.  Special suits, breathing equipment, and disinfectants must be used!  Make sure you hire an IICRC certified company, I can't stress this enough!

Although black water is commonly caused by a main sewer line back up, fresh water that has sat too long without drying typically transforms into black water.  Since water absorbs dirt, debris, and contaminants if it's not cleaned up quickly the extent of the job will increase and the damage will worsen.  If the water is allowed to sit long enough mold will begin to grow and this creates another problem and a larger extraction job.  The point of this article and the previous water damage article is to keep you from having any additional problems arise should you have a backup or fresh water issue.  Act quickly, hire the right company, document condition and repairs and keep all this information available for future sale of the home!!!

Thanks for reading and please stop by our website at www.muldoonassociates.com, our property management specific website, www.muldoonassociatespm.com or contact me if you have any questions or comments on this blog or property management in Colorado Springs, property management in Pueblo, or property management in Fountain!


Monday, February 2, 2015

Property Management In Colorado Springs, CO- Advertising a Rental Property - Ad Placement and Content

Our last post discussed photographing a rental property so the next logical step in the series is where to post the ads with your fantastic photos!  There are a couple of "ad giants" that are a must when advertising rentals.  Truila.com and Zillow.com are key components in renting out your property.  These websites are free to post and they drive a lot of traffic to your property.  There are some paid rental sites that may be worth the investment also.  Rentals.com and their family of sites is a great place to get more interest in your property.  There are also rental hubs where a property can be posted once and it will be syndicated to numerous sites with one click.  Many management software companies include this feature in the software but individual home owners can get similar experiences without the need for a complete management program.

As important as the places you post your ad is the content included in your ad.  Make sure you address your pet policy, move in date, lease terms, address of the property and any other pertinent information about the home.  Be careful to avoid terms that could be construed as fair housing violations!!!!!  I suggest a clear list of qualifications that each prospective can review prior to viewing or applying for the home.  If you are a property manager you will want this on your website.  If you are an individual home owner you could save it as a PDF to email or read through with prospective tenants or you could include it in the body of the ad.  I cannot stress enough the importance of applying your criteria equally to anybody who is interested in your home!  Be familiar with protected classes and draft your qualifications to be in compliance.

Be sure to keep your ads accurate to the property.  Avoid terms that could potentially turn away tenants but be sure to include enough information that they can easily get a feel for the home to decide if they want to progress to a showing.  The goal for the ads are to help attract the quality tenants you are looking for while avoiding the folks who aren't qualified. When creating the verbiage of the ad be sure to include things like a written walk through of the property.  Example "The main level includes a master bedroom with 5 piece bath, an upgraded kitchen with stainless appliances and a formal dining room".  Pictures are worth a thousand words but sometimes the photos can be difficult to decipher which room is being photographed and on which level the room is located.  If you have the ability to change the title of the photos be sure to make sure it coincides with the correct rooms.  Sometimes you can change the file name of the photos to the correct rooms and when the photo is uploaded the file name will reflect the room info.

Once you have posted the ads you will need to make sure you have methods of receiving inquiries from quality tenants. The more methods you have the better but you have to make sure to monitor these closely to prospective tenants are responded to quickly and effectively.  Usually a phone number, an email address, text messaging are minimums.  Some folks also include Skype information, Instant messaging, or other forms of digital communication.

Next week we will touch on showing your property to prospective tenants!  Thanks for reading and please check back often!


www.muldoonassociatespm.com


Friday, January 23, 2015

Property Management In Colorado Springs, CO - Advertising A Rental Property- Photos

Some people think all you have to do is put a sign in the front yard, post and ad in the American Classifieds, and sit back while all the prospective tenants beat down your door to rent your home.  Unfortunately its not quite that easy.  The internet has taken place of print advertising.  A sign is a great idea and attracts a lot of attention for a small price but when you use a sign make it look nice or you could scare off potential tenants who think it's a scam.

When placing online rental ads for your property there are many things to consider.  Most importantly you need accurate information about the home, pet policy, restrictions on smoking, and your qualifications.  You need high resolution wide angle photos that are recent and accurately depict the home.  Many tenants rent sight unseen so it's important to portray the property as accurately as possible to limit any surprises when a tenant sees the home for the first time.

You can access a few of our ads here http://www.muldoonassociatespm.com/rental_listings we are constantly updating the property photos to high res wide angle photos.  You can see the difference in some of the ads between the standard angle and wide angle photos.  If you are trying to advertise the property on your own and you don't have a property manager you can hire a photographer for about 75 dollars to do this for you.  If you are a property manager you should purchase a digital SLR camera and an adjustable 10mm wide angle lens.  You will need a high quality flash to go with this.  Plan on spending around 1000 dollars for a decent set up.  I don't recommend fish eye style lenses because they distort the rooms too much and make the photos look odd.

When taking photos make sure your lighting is sufficient, close all the doors in each room and turn on all the light fixtures.  Make sure all light bulbs are in working order and open or close the blinds as needed to create the proper lighting.  Take photos from different angles and use the flash in different ways to produce the best photographs for your home.  Make sure you include a front photo and interior photos of all rooms.  I prefer sunny photos for the exterior so if it's a snowy day when you take the initial photos make sure to update the photo with a sunny pic when the weather permits.  Try to include as much of each room as possible when taking photos so prospective tenants get a good feel for the home.

Staging your home for photos can be useful.  I like when properties are vacant because it helps me visualize the size and layout but some people prefer some type of staging.  This is up to you.  Just make sure to have photos without a lot of clutter or distasteful images or furniture.

Since this post is running longer than expected I'm going to stop here and start again next week on where to place your ads and more specifics on what should be included in the ad.  See you next week!!


Friday, January 16, 2015

Property Management In Colorado Springs, CO

If you own a home or are looking at investing in real estate you may need a property manager to look over your asset.  Property managers provide excellent service for a relatively small monthly fee or commission.  This series of property management in Colorado Springs is going to cover all the things a property manager will provide for you.  The benefits of using a property manager for your home in Colorado Springs, and many things you can use on your own if you prefer not to use a property manager.

This first post is an overview of why a person or investor may want to own a property in Colorado Springs.  Read on to learn more about places to purchase, rents to expect in your area, and statistics on the local economy.

Colorado Springs is a large sprawling town.  If you are from the east coast you may be used to small (geographically not in population) towns and states.  The western portion of the United States has a lot of land and therefore tends to grow outwards instead of upwards.  El Paso county, where Colorado Springs is located is 2130 sq. miles and has a population of 655,000 people.  The unemployment rate is 5.1 percent and over 40% of the economy is driven by Fort Carson Army Installation, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base and military defense contractors.  We are home to the Air Force Academy and the United States Olympic Committee.

Many rental properties are purchased by military service members and when they get permanent change of station orders or deployments they rent out their homes.  Some folks love the beautiful views of Pikes Peak and the close access to open spaces like Garden of the Gods.  Whatever the reason is that brings you to Colorado Springs let this series help you in renting out your home, deciding on whether to hire a property manager or try it on your own!

Homes range from the low 100's up into the millions so there is sure to be a home that fits your needs.  Next week we will be discussing advertising your rental home in Colorado Springs.  If you don't have the proper advertising you will miss out on dozens of potential tenants which could net a lower rent or longer days on market.  Learn our secrets on where to advertise, how to create attractive ads, and things to include or omit from your ad in order to stay compliant with fair housing laws.

In the meantime if you have questions about property management for your home in Colorado Springs please don't hesitate to contact Muldoon Associates, Inc. by visiting www.muldoonassociatespm.com/contact_us






Thursday, March 6, 2014

Property Management in Pueblo West, CO 81007



I apologize I haven't posted anything recently, it's been a busy year so far.  I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday season and have started off the New Year well!  This post is more specific than some of my previous posts and we will be starting a whole series on owning investment homes or rental homes in specific areas in El Paso and Pueblo Counties.  Today's focus is Pueblo West.

Pueblo West is located approximately 10 miles west of the town of Pueblo, CO.  Pueblo West is a separate entity of Pueblo Proper and is governed by a Metro District.  I won't go into too many details about the town specifically but it's good to have at least a little bit of background for those of you who are not familiar with this area.  Pueblo west offers a variety of living from single family homes on agricultural lots typically ranging from 1-5 acres, and residential lots averaging about .25 acres.  There are hundreds of miles of equestrian and walking easements and plenty of outdoor opportunities.  Desert Hawk Golf Course is a beautiful course to play 18 holes or spend a day at the bar/clubhouse, or whack a few balls at the driving range.

The Southern portion of Pueblo West is located in close proximity to Lake Pueblo which is one of the top 50 bass lakes in the country!  The lake also offers tons of recreational opportunities from their 2 full service marinas, water skiing, jet skiing, and more!  Pueblo West offers a multitude of restaurants from fast food to steaks.  The shopping available includes Wal-Mart, Safeway, multiple gas stations and convenience stores, a general store at the west end and many other establishments.

The Northern portion of Pueblo West borders the south end of Ft. Carson and offers quick access to I25.  Many Soldiers have found the prices to be appealing and the location quite convenient to Ft. Carson.  There is an industrial portion of Pueblo West located in this area also with lots of shops and small businesses.

Now that the geographical areas are discussed lets look at the benefits of owning a rental home or investment property in Pueblo West, CO.  The variations in lot sizes and lot restrictions will appeal to a large amount of people.  The ability to purchase or rent homes with fencing and facilities for equine is a major bonus to anybody who enjoys the company of Horses, Mules, or Donkeys.  Although Pueblo West has been established since the 1970's much of the growth began in the 90's and 2000's therefore the homes are relatively new and should require less maintenance.  Add to that the convenience to Lake Pueblo, the mountains outside of Canon City, and the amenities, and it's hard to go wrong!  Pueblo West has great potential for growth and is only approximately 50% built out.

If you currently own, or are looking at purchasing a rental home in Pueblo West, please contact us if you need any assistance!  As always thank you for taking the time to read this post and make sure to check back often!

Sincerely,

Daniel Muldoon
Muldoon Associates, Inc.

 



Friday, November 22, 2013

How To Deal With Water Damage In Your Colorado Springs Rental Property PART 1

Fresh Water

Brought to you by Muldoon Associates, Inc. Exceptional Property Management

This first part is going to cover the lesser of two evils in the water damage world, fresh water.  Some of you may be under the impression that fresh water events are no big deal.  The carpet got a little wet, you can shop vac it dry, and everything is good to go!  Unfortunately this is not the case and you are going to want to make sure this type of work is done right or you could be opening yourself up to lawsuits or health hazards.

Water extraction is a complex business now.  There is specialized equipment, chemicals and training required to properly extract and dry affected areas.  If your affected areas are not properly dried you could be creating the perfect atmosphere for mold growth which will cost much more than just doing it right the first time.  Fortunately, fresh water sources if tended to quickly are less of a health concern than contaminated water.  If drywall is not "too" wet it can be dried, carpets can be peeled back and padding replaced, and there will not be a need for as much removal of materials.

Fresh water can turn into contaminated water if it's not cleaned up quickly enough.  Every minute the water is left in the home it collects more debris, germs, dust and dirt.  It also wicks and soaks more and more areas in your home.  This is why it's so important to act quickly.  As the water gets more contaminated the cost of mitigation goes up.   Most water damage situations will involve humidity readings, specialized drying equipment and time.  The wetter an affected area is the longer it's going to take to dry.  This all seems common sense but you would be surprised how many folks I talk to are under educated when it comes to this type of damage and they are shocked with they get bills that often times range in the thousands.  I suggest contacting your insurance company and checking what kind of water damage coverage you have.  If you don't have proper coverage for fresh or contaminated water damage I suggest purchasing it or finding a company who offers what you need.

That finishes up our post on fresh water mitigation!  Check back soon for the second and final part of this series which we will cover contaminated water mitigation!

www.muldoonassociatespm.com


Friday, November 15, 2013

How To Deal With Water Damage In Your Colorado Springs Rental Property Introduction

Water Damage Introduction

 Brought to you by Muldoon Associates, Inc. Exceptional Property Management!

I'm writing this blog post to help property owners and property managers get more educated about water damage in a rental property or personal residence.  This is important information because incorrect actions can result in fines, health risks, and excessive damage to your property.  I'm not certified or licensed in the water extraction business but I do have a lot of first hand experience and that's what I'm going to be sharing in this 2 part series.  

There are 3 categories to differentiate between levels of contamination in the water source.  

Category 1 would include water from a fresh/sanitary source.  For example, the plumbing to your sink breaks and floods the kitchen.

Category 2 is somewhat contaminated water.  This also includes fresh water that has been left for an extended period of time.  Using the scenerio above, the water that came from the fresh water supply has been left on the floor, carpet, etc for a few days and has become contaminated with the dirt dust and debris on your floor.

Category 3 is grossly contaminated water.  For example, your sewer line backs up and floods your basement. 

For the sake of this blog I'm going to break it down into two category's, "Clean Water" and "Contaminated Water".  I'll also be touching briefly on insurance claims and insurance coverage.  Please stay tuned for the first part in our series!!

www.muldoonassociatespm.com 



Friday, September 13, 2013

How To Avoid Water Damage In Your Colorado Springs Rental Property

In Colorado we have a semi arid desert climate but during our monsoon season it's not uncommon to have leaky roofs, flooded basements, and other water related issues. The water itself is a big problem but the potential for mold due to the water is an even bigger problem.  In order to avoid these issues it's imperative you take the steps in this blog to protect your rental property from water damage and mold.

At least once per year you should have a roofer come out and inspect your roof.  Many companies will provide this service for free and you should take advantage of it!  They will not only check out your shingles but also the soffit, gutters, flashing, etc.  All of these areas are possible points of entry if they are not totally sealed off.  Many times a roof leak will cause damage to ceilings and it's possible to drip into ceiling fixtures and create a fire hazard.

Window wells are another problem area that can allow water to enter basements or lower levels.  Make sure none of your downspouts empty near or around your window wells.  Place a couple inches of river rock in the bottom so the water can drain without eroding the dirt at your foundation.  Verify your gutters are draining properly to the downspouts and rain water is not flowing over the tops of the gutters.

Last but not least you need to make sure the drainage around your foundation is such that the water runs away and into the street as opposed to pooling up or draining into your foundation.  You will want to make sure your neighbors drainage does not come towards your property also.  In Colorado Springs it's against the law to have your drainage affect another property and water must be diverted towards the street.

I hope this information has been helpful to you and will help avoid issues with water damage or mold.  You will want to check with your insurance company and see if your policy covers this type of damage in case it does happen or if they offer a rider policy that will cover you.

Daniel Muldoon
Muldoon Associates, Inc.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Things To Do To Your Colorado Springs Rental Property Before Fall

Things are going great!  You have read my previous blogs on properly vetting tenants and keeping your rental property occupied and you have had months of smooth sailing!  Remember you still need to stay ahead of repairs and upkeep on your property.  As we come into fall it's a good thing to have a list of items that you will check and repair before fall hits.

Summer in Southern Colorado involves hot days and 60-70 degree nights.  There is little to no risk of freezing so hoses are easily forgotten and left attached to spigots, or sprinklers are set on auto-pilot with no fear of breaks.  As we come into the fall season the days will stay warm but the nights will begin to cool.  You will need to start the furnace soon and turn off the A/C.  Here is a list of things you should do to your rental property as we transition into fall.  Some of these items are tenant responsibility but use this as an opportunity to walk your tenant through the processes or provide them with preferred vendors to take care of it if they cannot.

  1. Have the furnace serviced and cleaned
  2. Keep an eye on your gutters as the leaves and sticks begin to fall
  3. Get into the habit of spooling up your hose and removing it from the spigot
  4. Fertilize and aerate your yard
  5. Check all weather stripping and caulking around doors, windows, vents, etc
  6. Winterize your evaporative cooler
  7. Turn off your sprinklers are nights that are below freezing
  8. Make sure you have secondary heating options in case there is a problem with the central heat
  9. Mow your yard at higher depth to help protect the grass from the coming cold season
  10. Remove all dead and overgrown vegetation
If you have completed this checklist you are well prepared for fall in Southern Colorado.  I'll be back shortly with a list of items to prepare for winter!

Daniel Muldoon
Muldoon Associates, Inc.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

How To Effectively Complete A Move Out Property Condition Report on your Colorado Springs Rental Property Part 3

WHAT SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT BE WITH HELD FROM A DEPOSIT

This can be a tricky subject but here is a list of things that should never be with held from a deposit.

  1. Yard Rehabilitation-A tenant moves out and your wonderful green grass is now dead.  Unfortunately there are too many variables that put you at risk of a deposit dispute.  Colorado is a desert climate, vegetation does not grow without human intervention in many areas.  Yards are like anything else in your home.  They have a serviceable life and once that's exceeded you cannot collect money to repair or replace without risking litigation.  Make your yard as maintenance free as possible.  If a tenant does not complete a final mowing, trimming, weed pulling at time of move out this could be a legitimate charge.
  2.  Anything that has exceeded it's serviceable life-  Carpet is good for 5 to 7 years, if you have gotten longer than that, consider yourself lucky but don't plan on charging the tenants if it's damaged at move out.  Even if you went to court and won the case the magistrate may very likely award you a pro rated amount based on it's serviceable life.  In this case it would be zero dollars since the carpet exceeded it's serviceable life.  
  3. Anything that is not documented on the move in inspection- If you failed to document any part of the home and it's damaged now, chalk it up as a learning experience.  If you go to court you will lose. Refund the money, kick yourself in the pants, and do a more thorough job next time.
  4. Anything that is not outlined as a cost in the lease packet-  If you have not made a detailed lists of costs for repairs it's very difficult to enforce.  Include this form in the lease packet at move in and have the tenants sign it.
  5. Ordinary wear and tear- Per Colorado State Law, ordinary wear and tear is allowable by law and cannot be charged back to the tenants.  Flooring, paint, windows, etc.  Scuffs, nail holes, fraying carpet by thresholds, are all considered ordinary wear and tear.  
This obviously is not an all inclusive list and there are limited circumstances where some of these may not be applicable but use this as a rule of thumb on your next disposition.

Daniel Muldoon
Muldoon Associates, Inc.

Friday, June 21, 2013

How To Effectively Complete A Move Out Condition Report On Your Colorado Springs Rental Property Part 2

MOVE IN AND MOVE OUT INSPECTIONS

After you have completed all of your repairs and upgrades and you have approved a tenant for move in you you will need to complete a move in inspection.  This will be for your records so you can refer back to the condition of the home after the tenants vacate.  We currently use written reports and photos but we will be converting to video inspections in the near future.  I suggest you use the method that works best for you but make sure you are thorough and have some type of visual documentation (photos or video).  

You will need to test and document the condition of every light bulb, switch, socket, door, window, knob, blind, etc.  Don't forget anything!  Open drawers, inside of fridges, furnace and filter, EVERYTHING!  Once the lease has terminated and the tenant has turned over possession you will use the same process.  Now that you have the move out and move in inspections complete you need to go line by line and compare the condition.  Many of the items that need to be repaired or replaced will be normal upkeep items that the landlord is responsible for.  You need to decide what damages are beyond normal wear and tear, complete the work, and keep receipts for the deposit disposition.  

Your disposition will need to be written and delivered to the last known address of the tenant or a forwarding address if provided.  Make a copy of the stamped envelope and place it in the file in case you ever need proof it was completed and mailed.  Hopefully if you did everything according to the law the tenant will not dispute any of the damages and you are in the clear.  If the tenant does dispute the damages they must do so in writing requesting their deposit be returned because it was wrongfully with held.  The landlord has 7 days to return the deposit (right or wrong) or the precedence in Colorado is you are already wrongfully with holding a deposit.  At this time the tenant can litigate for 3 times the with held amount.  Based on my experience it's best to just refund the deposit except in extreme circumstances.  This will cost you less in the future and even though it can be a tough pill to swallow it's the right financial decision.  

You may have legitimately with held the items owed but this can only be proven by a magistrate or judge.  It could take you month's and thousands of dollars to "prove them wrong" or "prove your right" but that does not make sense in the scheme of things.  I have also heard but not experienced that some magistrates will not award any money that was not addressed at move in.  You should have a form that outlines how much each charge will be if the tenant does not take care of it at move out.  I.E. cleaning is 250 dollars, locks are 75 dollars, furnace filter is 25 dollars, and the list goes on for virtually everything in the home.  This should be given to and signed off by the tenants.  A rock solid lease packet, inspections, and disposition will help keep your return on investment high and your days in court short.  





























Thursday, June 13, 2013

How To Effectively Complete A Move Out Inspection Part 1

DEFINING SECURITY DEPOSIT

Security deposits are probably the most litigous aspect of a tenancy.  The deposit is regulated by Colorado State law and how the deposit is to be handled post move out is dictated by law.  You must be certain you know every aspect of the laws pertaining to security deposits and dispositions in order to limit your legal liability.

In the state of Colorado a tenant is able to sue for treble damages when their deposit is "wrongfully with held".  This could mean a deposit was not returned in the allotted time (30 days by law unless agreed upon in writing by tenant and landlord at which time it will be extended to no more than 60 days.), with holding for damages or repairs that were not beyond normal wear and tear, or a number of other situations.

The security deposit belongs to the tenant but is held by the management company in order to secure the condition of the home at move out.  This means you better not use the deposit for anything during the term of lease.  It cannot be applied to last months rent, late fees, or anything else while the lease is in effect.  These fees can be with held from the deposit post move out if the tenant has not paid the account in full but you must wait for the lease to terminate and handle it on the deposit disposition.  I may sound like a broken record but I can't stress enough how important responsible and legal handling of the deposit is.

Now that we have defined the deposit and the disposition rules we will proceed to the move out inspection itself.  Per Colorado Law your lease must state that wear and tear damage is acceptable and will not be with held from the deposit.  This means nail holes, trim scuffs, carpet wear, blind wear, etc.  At every single move out (and likely more frequently) you need to be prepared to touch up paint, replace door stops, and other repairs as needed.  This is why long term tenancy and keeping your tenant happy is so important.  The longer they stay the less often you are doing touch up work.  Some landlords are under the impression the tenant is responsible for all damage and do not take normal wear and tear into consideration.  This is a complex subject because wear and tear does not apply equally to every situation.  If you have a property with one individual living in it compared to a property with 4 individuals living in it, the wear and tear will be more, typically, with more occupants.  This does not change the fact it's wear and tear and should be handled as such. 

There are things that can be with held from a deposit.  Major damage, abuse, or neglect.  For example the tenants take your brand new carpet and change their motor cycle oil with no oil pan.  The tenant would be responsible for the carpet but only in that area.  If it can be patched it should be patched and not replaced.  Remember, you are trying to avoid legal disputes so "sticking it to the tenant" is not the methodology you will want to use.  You must be fair and you must document thoroughly.

Your move in inspection is your first tool that needs to be taken seriously. Make sure you have pictures and written documentation, or a video with voice over.  If you ever do have a dispute you are going to need a rock solid inspection.  Your move out inspection must be just as thorough in documenting condition.  These are the first things magistrates will look at if you go to court.  The best thing to do is avoid court all together.  Many times it will cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees and many days in court and you may not even get legal fees awarded.

Daniel Muldoon
Muldoon Associates, Inc.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Reasons To Hire Muldoon Associates, Inc.



Muldoon Associates, Inc. has perfected the art of managing single family residential properties in and around Colorado Springs, CO and Pueblo, CO.  Whether you have a 1 bedroom home or a 10 bedroom castle we can handle your property management needs efficiently, effectively, and professionally.  We are so confident in our tenant placement services that we offer free eviction protection coverage.  If we have to evict a tenant that we placed in your property, we will absorb the legal fees.

We offer a simple flat management fee with no hidden costs, and no percentages!  Our costs do not increase based on rent, we offer our flat rate management fees to everyone.  Our flat fee includes tenant placement, security deposit disposition, rent collections, showing your property to prospective tenants, advertising, maintenance correspondence, tenant correspondence, online owner portals, tenant portals, and much more!
    
Let us handle your asset for only 99 dollars per month.  Nobody can match our services or our prices!  Muldoon Associates, Inc. has managed thousands of homes over the past 30 years.  We have implemented virtually fool proof systems and policies which allows us to keep our fees low and our quality of service unsurpassed.

Property management isn’t just a business to us.  It’s our name, our livelihood and our passion.  Investment properties can be risky but we do everything we can to minimize your risk while maintaining your return on investment.  Call or email Daniel Muldoon to discuss your specific needs and situation.  


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Retaining Tenants In Your Rental Property!

Hello All!

One of many things that contribute to a successful investment in residential investment properties is tenant retention.  Your tenants are paying a lot of money to reside in your rental property and you want to keep them as long as possible!  Many costs involved with owning investment properties incur at move out so the longer you keep your tenants the better your cash flow will be!  I have outlined a few things below to assist in retaining tenants.

1.)  Don't chase market rents!  Although it seems like the right thing to do, constantly chaning your rents to chase markets up and down will result in lower occupancy.  If you have a good tenant you should reward them by maintaining the rent and keeping them happy.  If getting an extra 25 or 50 dollars a month is more important to you than keeping tenants long term, owning a rental property may or may not be the best investment for you.

2.) Be Responsive!  Since your tenants are paying you to live in a home and you have agreed to do certain things as a landlord which is outlined in the lease you need to be punctual and have open communication with your tenants.  If your tenants feel comfortable with you as a landlord they are more likely to stay when the lease comes up for renewal.

3.) Complete maintenance as needed!  This is very important!  There will be minor and major repairs needed at your rental property throughout the term of the lease.  It's imperative you respond quickly to all maintenance items brought to your attention by your tenants.  If you ignore, postpone, or forget about items that are concerns to the tenants they likely will not renew.

4.) Explain the lease terms prior to move in!  Setting expectations right from the start is a good way to avoid confusion and conflict later on.  Make sure you encourage the tenant to ask questions about the lease prior to signing so any concerns can be addressed in advance.

5.) Appreciate your tenants!  The folks living in your home are either paying your mortgage or adding to your retirement portfolio.  You should express to your tenants that you appreciate their tenancy and you would like to keep them long term.  Many tenants are willing to stay for multiple lease renewals if the relationship with their landlord is professional, courteous, and mutally benefical for the landlord and tenant.

Please visit by website to view information about my company, our software, and lots of other good information!  You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and my Residential Investment Property Blog!

Daniel Muldoon
Muldoon Associates, Inc.
Property Manager
Colorado Springs, CO

Friday, March 29, 2013

How To Maintain Quality Tenants During a Zombie Apocolypse

Hello All!

In a market full of zombies I think it's important that we address the quality of tenants in your rental properties during the current/future zombie apocalypse.  I realize this may not seem important but the fact is if brain eaters take over our local markets we need to be prepared!!  I have outlined 5 important items for your consideration in order to protect your investment property and maintain your quality of tenants during this crisis!

  1. Zombies are not a protected class!  Feel free to reject any applicants who are zombies without worry of HUD violations if you so choose.
  2. Install razor wire fencing and security windows/doors on your property.  Although there will be dozens or hundreds of zombies running rampant you will need to provide some additional protection for non zombie folks.  They will definitely be more interested in your property than a property that does not protect them from brain eaters
  3. Don't get lax on your minimum qualifications!  Zombie or not, if your applicant is well qualified you want to do business with them!  You don't particularly care if they are eating people for dinner instead of pork as long as they are clean about it.
  4. Only accept month to month leases.  Since zombies are a new phenomenon in real estate it's best to approach with caution.  It's much easier to terminate a month to month lease than it is to deal with an eviction.
  5.  Create a zombie addendum.  This will be much like a pet addendum, possibly charge increased rent or a higher security deposit.  This will help your new zombie occupants to understand your expectations of them. 
This concludes my blog post on maintaining quality tenants during a zombie apocalypse.  I hope this was an entertaining and light hearted post to make your Friday more entertaining!  Please visit us at www.muldoonassociates.com!

Sincerely,

Daniel Muldoon
Muldoon Associates, Inc.










Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How To Establish A Rent Price For Your Rental Property

Hello All!

There are a couple things to take into consideration when you are pricing a rental property.  This post is going to touch on these details to help ensure you are not over pricing or under pricing your rental property.  The rental market is much like the sales market in regards to fluctuations.  Don't assume you can just automatically raise the rents every year and don't assume your property will have higher rents in the future than they do today.  I have worked with many properties where quite the opposite is true.  Units that were renting for 700+ per month have dropped into the 500's.  Homes over 1000 per month got hit hard in our last rental recession.

There are some online rental analysis websites but unfortunately these are typically not an accurate representation.  You will need to get more in depth to really find out what your property is worth.  It's important to price a property appropriately in order to obtain the best tenants with the least days on market.  Over pricing a property and you will have much longer vacancy times, under pricing a property could affect your bottom line. 

Make sure you don't just look at "active" rental properties.  By this I mean the properties that are currently being advertised but have not rented.  Although it's important to know your competition you will need to understand that folks can ask any amount for their rent they want. The active rental prices are not necessarily what the property actually rented for.  You want to find currently rented properties and that will be your best gauge.  Unfortunately there is not a method for an average home owner to obtain this information easily.  I suggest calling property managers in your area to get some information about their inventory.  I also suggest hiring a property manager but that's for a different article!

Once you have gotten information about a few similar homes and what they have rented for you will need to see if it's inline or not with the active rentals.  Since markets can change surprisingly quick this is an important step!  Just because a property rented for 1000 3 months ago doesn't mean it will again today.  If there are more homes in the area currently listed at 900 than at 1000, it makes no sense to advertise for 1000. Don't get caught up on the rent price!  I hear frequently that an owner needs to get at least X amount of dollars for rent to break even.  Unfortunately home owners and property managers do not dictate the rental prices, the rental market does. 

It will cost you far less to have a quality tenant in the property paying a large portion of the mortgage and maintaining your property than it will to leave it vacant!  Price aggressively, screen tenants thoroughly, hire a property manager and enjoy a smooth landlording experience!

Sincerely,

Daniel Muldoon

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

5 Ways to Maximize your Profit With your Rental Property

I have compiled a short but informative list of ways to maximize your profit on your rental property.  This is based on my decade of experience managing, renting, and owning residential rental properties.

  1. Hire a property manager - There are too many things that you need to know and connections you need to have in order to properly manage your property.  A property manager can get work done quicker and cheaper than you can.  A property manager is knowledgeable in landlord tenant law, state and federal laws affecting property management and habitibility laws.  A property manager will not only save you money and time but their services can literally pay for themselves!

  2. Keep a nice rental property - Squeezing every last penny out of a property, skimping on maintenance, etc are all ways to create long term profit issues.  If you stay up on anything that goes wrong in the home as it happens you will have fewer big ticket items to replace at the same time, your rents will remain at the higher end of your market area, and you will create a more optimum rental experience.

  3. Screen Tenants - This is VERY important!  You should never descrinimate against people for their familial status, gender, sex, religion, disability, age, color, ethnicity!  You can however establish a realistic list of qualifications and apply them equally to everyone interested in your property.  Your goal should be to find a responsible tenant who understands your expectations as the landlord.  Without proper screening you could see your profits diminish very quickly!

  4. Establish rents that are in line with your market area - Your goal should not be to ask for the highest rent possible and hold out for someone to pay it.  You will alienate more people than you will attract and your days on market will be negatively impacted.  Don't only look at available home pricing in your area, call around and see what homes have actually rented for.  Much like selling a home, the listing price and purchase price can be dramatically different.

  5. Join a Landlord Group or Association - Organizations such as the Landlord Protection Agency can be very beneficial when it comes to being a landlord.  Their memberships are inexpensive and they provide lease docs, legal advice, and many other invaluable services.


I hope this helps you in your landlording adventures.  Feel free to contact me or comment here!  As usual, thanks for reading and I'll be posting again soon!

Daniel Muldoon
Property Manager
Muldoon Associates, Inc.
Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Daniel Muldoon
Call: 7193579478