The Most Important Strategy to Dodge Sky-High Tenant Turnover Expenses!

Sure, you might think you have all the rules-of-thumb down for keeping turnover costs low with a rental property. You know, the typical procedures like thorough tenant screenings and yearly inspections. But, there’s more to it than that, right?

Take a moment and think… What could be the make-or-break factor in deciding whether we return the security deposit to our tenant, or have to head to court to get back turnover costs chalked up to damage or negligence? Any ideas?

We get it, it doesn’t leap to mind when we’re brainstorming ways to keep rental turnover costs down.

The key? That vital move-in inspection.

Wait a minute, were you expecting some grand secret? Stick with us.

Sure, a move-in inspection is par for the course when we rent out to a new tenant. But how much care and attention do we actually pour into these inspections? We’d wager we’re not doing them as well as we should, and that might be costing us big bucks at the next tenant turnover.

The Unexpected Pitfalls of an Inadequate Move-In Inspection: A True Story

Let us paint a picture for you: most of our rental properties are sprinkled across different states, far from our usual reach. It’s a common practice in our line of business to hire property managers to supervise these far-flung properties. But don’t be fooled, dealing with property managers can be a roller coaster ride of its own. The once reliable manager merely becomes a heartache, forcing us to show them the door and find a new pair of trustworthy eyes and ears.

A few memorable years back, one of our previously trusty property managers fell from grace, and we had to replace him. Shortly after the new, seemingly competent manager took the reins, we were greeted with a sour surprise: a tenant suddenly stopped paying rent and relocated, leaving a vacant property urgently in need of new tenants.

The property manager, ever diligent, rushed to inspect the site to launch the turnover process. But right from the onset, there were glaring warning signs— the tenant’s possessions haphazardly strewn across the front yard. You can imagine the shiver of dread that ran down our spines, as we pondered on the potential chaos behind closed doors.

Unfortunately, our fears turned into reality. Upon entering, we were greeted by damaged walls, ripped carpets, defunct kitchen appliances, missing light covers, and an overall dejected condition of the property. While it could have been worse, there was enough damage to cause a serious dent in our pocket due to the hefty turnover expenses.

Of course, contemplating the possibility of a hefty repair bill, the property manager and we chose to withhold her security deposit. Not stopping there, we started preparing our case to sue her for the additional damages.

But we hit a roadblock. In response to our notice concerning her security deposit, she simply retorted, “Those things were already like that when I moved in.” A simple, yet devastating reply. If there was weight in her words, we would have no grounds to withhold her deposit or press charges concerning property damage.

Though she was blatantly lying — we knew this because the property was pristine when she moved in — we were forced to hunt down the move-in inspection report, crucial proof we needed to expose her deceit. Given that the new property manager didn’t have this readily available, a frenzied search on our part followed. With every second that passed, we grew nervous, knowing this piece of paper was our only ticket out of an unexpected financial crisis.

With bated breath, we rummaged through our records until, finally, we located the inspection report. The sight of it made our hearts jump with relief—I sighed and opened the document, confident that we could now expose the tenant’s lie.

How to Nail Move-In Inspections: Right Vs. Wrong

It’s a no-brainer, right? The greatest blunder rental property investors commit with move-in inspections is, quite simply, neglecting to carry it out.

So, we’ve taken the initiative to conduct one. Is there an approved methodology that separates right from wrong? Let’s explore.

A staggering majority of investors (99%, to be exact) focus their move-in inspections on what’s amiss with the property – documenting and photographing every flaw or damage they can find.

This, my friend, is not the optimum way to do a move-in inspection. Confused? Let us explain.

When you only document current damages at the time of a tenant’s move-in, you’re essentially covering their backs. Upon eventual move-out, you cannot bill the tenant for those damages as they were pre-existing.

So, as an owner, our main concern should shift from cataloging flaws to what is in impeccable, flawless condition at the time of the move-in. In essence, our focus should lean toward the positives about the property rather than its negatives. Sure, document the wrongs, but realize that doing so primarily safeguards the tenant, not you.

The best move-in inspections involve detailed accounts of the property’s overall condition, spotlighting areas in tip-top shape.

Maximizing Profits: Why Rental Properties Make Sense in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Did you know that as an investor in rental properties, one of your most powerful tools is the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, especially if you’re based in the U.S? This type of mortgage stands out among its global counterparts as most countries tend to lean towards adjustable, variable, flexible, or renegotiable rate mortgages. These alternatives carry a level of unpredictability, subjecting investors to the potential risk of sudden increases in the interest rate during the property’s tenure. 

Fixed-rate mortgages are not only great for providing immunity against unforeseen rate hikes, but there have also been instances where interest rates were incredibly low, making the cost of borrowing money seem inconsequential. 

But what’s the scenario when interest rates start to climb potentially to unfamiliar levels? Suddenly, monthly mortgage payments become noticeably steeper, impacting your cash flow returns. Should this mean halting or slowing down investments in rental properties? And more importantly, how can you counteract higher interest rates to continue garnering profits from your rental property? 

Determining the best course of action requires an understanding of how rental properties generate income, the factors within your control that affect its profitability, and what to look for in a prospective rental property. This knowledge can give you the upper hand in achieving successful returns, even amidst rising mortgage payments.

The Long-Term Investment Appeal of Rental Properties

Let’s cut right to the chase: rental properties are a sure-fire, long-term investment plan. Of course, there are instances where individuals might score a sizable equity profit by enhancing the property’s value or by clinching a lucrative deal that offers considerable cash flow right away. However, bear in mind, like fine wine, rental properties tend to yield more substantial profits over an extended period.

Unraveling the Profit Potential of Rental Properties

Ever wondered why rental properties have such a coveted status in real estate investing? Allow us to shed light on their lucrative potential and how they are profitable money-minting machines. 

Here are five primary ways rental properties shower you with profits: 

  1. Generating steady cash flow
  2. Witnessing appreciation in their value
  3. Availing tax benefits
  4. Building equity through mortgage payments
  5. Serving as a hedge against inflation

Once you comprehend the intricacies of these income streams

The Power of Rising Rents

Let’s delve into an essential point here, the expected cash flow from your rental property is based on current rents, not future ones. These rents tend to surge over time due to two primary driving forces: property appreciation and inflation.  

Can you guess what remains steadfast, irrespective of the rise in property value or the inflation rate? Yes, you got it right! Your fixed-rate mortgage payment remains the same—no surprises or increases over time. 

This stability, in turn, broadens your cash flow margin as you increase your rental rates over your property’s lifespan. 

Sure, your outlays such as property taxes and insurance may slowly creep upwards over time. However, these hikes are typically minimal compared to the growth rates of rental income. Ultimately, you’ll notice your rental earnings leading progressively further away from your immutable mortgage expense. Consequently, your profits are primed to experience a robust upward trajectory.

Boosting Profits and Reducing Costs

As we focus on the long haul, remember there are proactive strategies to build equity faster. Allow me to walk you through some. 

Enhancing the Property

Increasing the appeal of your property can fuel its value and demand. While time often fuels profit growth by enhancing your property’s value and rents, there are immediate steps you can take. These steps can make your property more desirable and expedite profit increases. 

Rehabbing your property is one straightforward way to do this. Personalizing and uplifting a property can do wonders in raising its overall value while allowing you to request higher rents. Essentially, you’re accelerating profits beyond what the increased interest rate costs you. 

Refinancing your Loan

Remember, the higher interest rate isn’t a life sentence. Like property and rents, mortgage interest rates also flutter. If the rates dip below your locked rate, refinancing your property at that lower rate could be a smart much time hesitating, or you just might lose the deal. With the right timing, gentrification can certainly result in bonus profits. 

Inflation: Friend or Foe?

While inflation mostly adds stress to our lives, it can be advantageous for rental properties. Your fixed-rate mortgage stays the same over the loan tenure, regardless of the dollar’s fluctuation. Essentially, you’re repaying the loan with dollars from yesteryears, not the future. 

Consider this comparison: mortgage interest paid on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage versus buying the same property with cash. Many experts argue that, thanks to inflation, the former scenario results in less overall expenditure. 

So, when inflation rates go beyond your mortgage interest rates, your profits stay ahead of your mortgage expense.  

Key Takeaways

Now, you might think that holding onto a rental property for extended periods will inevitably be profitable. However, this is not always the case. Multiple factors can impact profitability. It’s important to note that not all speculations pan out and such risk-taking should be avoided or minimized. 

The aim of this article is not to sell you on the idea that any property can be profitable. Rather, it’s to help you understand how to analyze potential rental properties and realize that a higher interest rate won’t drain as much of your income as you might think. Luckily, Bigger Pockets How To Buy Rental Property Guide provides the insights you need to get your portfolio off to a terrific start. 

Lastly, stay educated. What may seem like a high-interest rate could be just “normal” given historically low rates. Resist the perception that low-interest rates are necessary for profitability. And if the interest rate still stresses you, you might want to consider more down payment to decrease the monthly payments and potentially bag a lower interest rate.

If you’ve navigated higher interest rates, we’d love to hear your experiences. What innovative financing structures worked best for your rental properties? And how did they fare 10 or 20 years down the line? Drop a comment and let us know!

Managing Below-Market Rent

Dealing with below-market rent can be a challenge for landlords. While it may feel uncomfortable to raise rents, it’s essential to consider the financial and legal aspects of managing your rental property. In this guide, we’ll explore the reasons you may find yourself at below-market rent and provide practical advice on how to handle it effectively.


Why Below-Market Rent Happens:

  1. Inherited Residents:

Many landlords find themselves with inherited tenants when they purchase a property. It’s common knowledge that new ownership often leads to rent increases, especially when capital improvements are planned. Tenants usually anticipate this change, so it’s not usually a surprise.

  1. Not Raising Rents Annually:

It’s advisable to increase rents annually, even if it’s a modest amount. Fearing vacancies, some landlords hesitate to raise rents, resulting in properties rented far below market rates over time. Remember, a slight increase each year is often better than a sudden large hike.

  1. Long-Term Month-to-Month Tenants:

Month-to-month leases without renewal dates can lead to forgotten rent adjustments. Even long-term tenants can find themselves paying below-market rent if rates in the area have increased substantially.


How to Decide on Rent Increases:

Ethical Considerations:

Charging market rent isn’t immoral; it’s a business decision. If you can offer a lower rate that benefits your tenant more than you, it’s a generous gesture. Just remember, it may not always be appreciated or acknowledged in a special way.

Financial Considerations:

Empty properties cost more than slightly below-market rent. Analyze your overall business strategy, especially during times of high turnovers or property maintenance. While raising rents is generally wise, assess whether it aligns with your business goals.

Legal Considerations:

Local and state laws can restrict rent increases. Research your area’s regulations to ensure compliance. Rent control and eviction laws vary widely, so be aware of the legal framework in your location.


How to Raise Rent Effectively:

  1. Set Expectations:

From the beginning, communicate to tenants that rent increases may occur annually. This helps manage their expectations and reduces surprise when it happens.

  1. Written Notice:

When it’s time to raise the rent, provide written notice in accordance with your state/counties required number of days before the lease ends. Sending both a physical letter, posting on the door and an email ensures your tenant receives the information.

  1. Keep it Professional:

Maintain a respectful and professional tone in your communication. If the increase exceeds 1-3%, provide a brief explanation, such as mentioning inflation or the property’s lack of rent adjustment in recent years.

Managing below-market rent requires a balanced approach. While it’s crucial to run your rental property as a business, it’s equally important to consider the impact on your tenants. By understanding the reasons why investments fall below-market rent at times and following ethical, financial, and legal guidelines, you can make informed decisions that benefit both your business and your tenants. Remember, it’s a business decision, and treating it as such will help you navigate this challenge effectively.