The Rent Rite Directory Blog - The RRDhttp://www.therrd.com/blog/Fri, 08 Aug 2014 23:16:08 +0000en-USSite-Server v6.0.0-20140808.2-536 (http://www.squarespace.com)Learn about saving money on your property to get the best ROI and finding <br/>the right tenants for your property. 8 Reasons your Residents Should get Renters InsuranceInsuranceCraig McilvainTue, 05 Aug 2014 15:13:36 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/8/4/8-reasons-your-residents-should-get-renters-insurance52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53e00949e4b0f730baf608b7 Transient

Landlords benefit from renters insurance as much as the renters do.  By encouraging the use of renters insurance for your renters, you’re improving the likelihood that renters will be able to pay rent on time and create more responsible tenants in general.  This all makes for a happy landlord.  Here are 7 benefits to your residents having renters insurance:

1. All of their personal possessions are protected.

In most cases, whether the resident possesses renters insurance or not, damage that occurs to a resident’s personal property is the tenant’s responsibility.  This helps them to ensure that they can afford to replace their personal possessions if the need arises.  

2. Guests that injure themselves are covered.

Unless there was provable negligence on the part of the landlord, most liabilities that happen inside the tenant’s personal property is the tenant’s responsibility and covered by their renters insurance.  The return visits to doctors for the same incident are also covered.   

3. The resident can afford temporary housing.

Imagine a worst case scenario such as a fire, flood, or other major property damage that displaces residents from their home.  The landlord is required by law to provide temporary housing to residents while repairs are being made.  The temporary housing or hotel bill that is paid can be contributed to by their renters insurance so that less has to be paid out of pocket.

4. The landlord is less likely to be held liable for personal injury.

Any injury that is a result of the landlord’s negligence can be a liability to the landlord, but if the resident in that unit has renters insurance, their insurance can compensate some of the bill.  Also, even if the landlord may not be liable, it can be expensive just defending themselves. 

5. You won’t Lose a Renter Due to Liability

In most to all cases, the resident is the one who is held liable for injury to a guest inside their unit.  If there is a major injury/lawsuit, the resident may not be able to afford rent and might leave before the end of their lease.  This leaves you with lost rent payments and the game of trying to collect on a resident who may never be able to pay.    

6. Residents who choose to get renters insurance are more responsible.

While not all residents see a need in obtaining renters insurance, those who do tend to be more responsible.  This translates to less late rent payments and a more well-kept property.  These are all things that property managers love!

7.  Renters insurance helps your residents pay you back for damage to your property.

Some renters live paycheck by paycheck.  If they have accidentally caused damage to your property in the commons or in their unit, you will want to collect, but he/she may not be able to pay up.  Rather than going through the struggle of collections, a resident with renters insurance can pay for damages they’ve caused with their renters insurance. 

8. The RRD Offers $5 Referral Fees for Renters Insurance!

For every resident that you refer over to The RRD for renters insurance, we’ll pay you a $5 referral fee.  That’s making a safe choice for your property and a little extra money in the bank!     

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Landlord References are far From PerfectIncident ReportingCraig McilvainWed, 30 Jul 2014 22:35:52 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/7/30/landlord-references-are-far-from-perfect52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53d97183e4b0f7f486875095Common Issues with Landlord References 

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Some Landlords seem determined to stay in the stone age of verifying a resident’s identity.  The old practice is calling up the previous landlord and asking what the tenant was like during their stay.  This can be especially problematic in terms of inaccuracies and in some cases, blatant false information.  Some of the problems in calling previous landlords to verify information are…        

  1. Landlords are not always readily available to provide the information.  They themselves are busy (or irresponsible) with their property. 

  2. If you ask your tenants for the reference of a previous landlord.  Sometimes they will provide a friend’s phone number to impersonate the landlord and lie about the rental history.

  3. When looking at a rental history, you usually are only able to go back by a couple of rental properties.   

  4. If you only are able to look back by one property, you run the risk of biased information either favorable or unfavorable coming from the landlord that you contact.  Nobody is infallible.  If any kind of personable relationship has developed with the tenant or if the landlord simply is not taking adequate documentation to alert of problematic behavior, then that landlord’s reference is useless.   

Use Supplementations to Landlord References

Because of the above issues, it’s important to have other ways to verify a tenant’s history.  The RRD has taken steps to solve these problems by creating an incident reporting database.  In supplication with other forms of verification, the incident reporting database offers landlords a more thorough investigation into a tenant’s rental history.  Landlords are pre-verified to be who they say they are before reporting incidents into our database.  The database also provides landlords the potential to look back further into a tenant’s rental history than they would be able to with a couple of landlord references. 

Another valuable way of doing this is by utilizing a tenant screening service that checks credit, criminal, rental history, and more.  This provides you information that the previous landlord would not be able to provide.  Criminal activity is not always obvious or known, but that doesn’t change the affects it has on a neighborhood.  Bad credit doesn’t tell you everything as it’s possible to have bad credit and still make your rent payments on time, but it is a measure of a tenant’s ability to pay their rent on a monthly basis.  If a financial crisis were to happen to the tenant at any point in time, they may not be able to pay you rent even if they’ve been generally responsible.

The bottom line is that while talking to previous landlords is very much encouraged, it should not be depended on as the primary or only system utilized to verify information about a prospective tenant.  By combining tools, you can have a comprehensive verification of a tenant’s background.   

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How our Incident Reporting Database Benefits Law Enforcement Craig McilvainTue, 29 Jul 2014 23:02:18 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/7/29/how-our-incident-reporting-database-benefits-law-enforcement52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53d820bee4b0b94401a2d55a Transient

The RRD offers to Property Managers and Landlords an incident reporting database that keeps track of lease violations, including crimes committed on property, in their community.  This database is the first database that is Fair Credit Reporting Act compliant, with verifiable information, and a government approved dispute process.  This has indirect, but strong benefits for local law enforcement and crime free advocates.  By promoting the incident reporting database to landlords, you’ll be empowering people to help reduce crime in your communities,.  Here are the benefits:  

  1. In addition to lease violations, our database also keeps track of on-property crime committed by residents and their guests and shares information in real time with other landlords in the area about crime related evictions.
  2. It enables community leaders to work together to get the negative elements out of their neighborhood.
  3. The system is 100% free.
  4. Many police departments are already enthusiastic about the system… 

Officer Tamara Gulisano

Palatine Police Department

Palatine, Illinois 

As a coordinator for the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, I am working daily to assist landlords and tenants with their respective problems.  Many landlords search for a way to share information with other landlords and have difficulty finding a company that incorporates all of their needs into one website.  The Rent Rite Directory is one of those valuable resources that our landlords have been looking for.  While this is still new in our area, it is a resource that is desperately needed to help our landlords research potential renters before allowing them to move onto their properties.  Everyone has a responsibility to the community and our landlords are no exception.  Having a resource like The RRD is invaluable and I am proud to provide their business pamphlets at each of my seminars.  Every landlord that participates is one more landlord taking needed steps to safeguard our communities.
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New Rules - How to Dress For a Job InterviewjobsJean VosburghMon, 28 Jul 2014 19:57:23 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/7/25/new-rules-how-to-dress-for-a-job-interview52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53d2d5d1e4b08d13cf3f9f1e

We all know making a good first impression is important.  Many look at the way we dress and present ourselves to get a picture of how we will be at work.  (The same also applies to posture, body language, etc.)  What you wear and how you wear it can convey confidence and eagerness to impress at the workplace.  Under dressing for an interview could translate to lack of enthusiasm or respect regarding the position for which you've applied.  The problem that interviewees face is that different employers expect different things in the interview.  For some companies, sweatpants and lounge wear is deemed perfectly acceptable for conducting daily activity in.  Yet there are other companies where it is never OK to take off your tie.  Much of this is related to company culture.    

The Diversification of Company Culture

Relaxed atmosphere at Google Headquarters

Relaxed atmosphere at Google Headquarters

These days, the level of formality of dress largely depends on the culture of each particular company.  Some companies, especially in financial related industries, remain in the formal business attire.  Meanwhile younger companies have become much more casual in their dress code over the past decade.  Some industries even employ a more collegiate atmosphere including t-shirts, shorts, and flip flops being a standard workplace ensemble.  It’s probably not necessary to wear a suit and tie to an interview at a more laid-back company, but that doesn't mean you should dress too informally either. 

Get a Picture of the Company

In the end, you have to do some research on the company to find out about their dress code prior to the interview.  One great way of getting some insight into this is by looking up some of the employees on Linkedin.  What the majority of the employees are wearing in their Linkedin profile will likely reflect their company culture.  Most are aware of the diversification of company cultures.  Asking directly about dress code before the interview is usually appreciated and encouraged by the interviewer.  They want you to make a good impression as well.  If it's a large business, you can go grab some coffee near the office you’re interviewing at or drive by and see how others are dressed who work in the building.  If you still are uncertain of the company dress code for any reason, it is safer to dress up than dress down.  In many cases, there is more than one interview.  Overdressing at the first interview can often be expected by the employer.  Look at what your interviewer is wearing and then dress accordingly in the second interview.     

General Tips for Gals:

business woman.jpg
  • Try to dress ½ a step up from what typical daily dress is for that industry
  • Dress for the position you want, not the one you have
  • Pay as much attention to your grooming as your outfit
  • Keep accessories to a minimum (and the ones you do choose to wear should be simple & understated)
  • Avoid: bright colors, excessive makeup, short skirts, cleavage revealing tops, and open toe shoes
  • Also - NO wrinkles, stains, lint, holes, or snags on clothing
  • When in doubt, bring a jacket or blazer with you – you can throw it on to formalize and take it off for a more casual look
  • A well-tailored outfit implies that you are conscientious and detail-oriented in other aspects of your life.

General Tips for Guys:

  • Wear a suit and tie.  You can always take the tie off and unbutton the collar when you walk in and realize nobody's wearing one. 
  • Get a hair cut before the interview.  Even if you just got one a week ago.  You want to be looking your best.
  • Don't bring unprofessional accessories like sunglasses to the interview.  
  • It doesn't hurt to take your clothes to the dry cleaners to make sure they're in the best possible shape.  

 

Remember:

A potential employer might not always remember if you were perfectly dressed in an interview, but they will 100% remember if you were poorly dressed.  It just doesn't make sense to lose a potential job due to something well within your control, such as how you dress yourself. 

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7 Reasons to Use The RRD’s Email Alert SystemEmail AlertsCraig McilvainMon, 21 Jul 2014 23:17:28 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/7/21/7-reasons-to-use-the-rrds-email-alert-system52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53cd99bfe4b0f5f6331a0ee3

In 2010, The RRD created a Neighborhood Email Alert System to help improve communication between law enforcement professionals and community members in their area, in real time.  Here are the top 7 reasons why your department/agency should use our system as well!    

1. Supportive Recipients

The uniqueness of this system is that the email alert goes out to major property owners who utilize The RRD’s free incident reporting database and Tenant Screening services.  These property owners are especially happy to work with law enforcement to make safer communities.      

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2. Less Cluttered Streets

If there is a search going on in a neighborhood, it can be hard to find your suspect amongst a community when there are many people walking out and about.  By warning the community about a suspect being in the area, community members are more likely to stay indoors or go elsewhere.  This will make finding the suspect a lot easier.  

3. Community Assistance

By notifying community members of potential threats, the community can respond in a positive way by reporting any suspicious activity that they see in the area.  Also, many law enforcement departments use the system to advise the community on important events such as street closures, police/fire fund raisers, upcoming crime watch meetings,  parades, street fairs as well as other community events.

4. A More Informed Society

You can use our email alert system to provide our community members with important tips on how they can keep their community safe.  What are the best methods for making their property more secure?  Our property owners and managers want to know!

5. Finding Missing Persons

One of the major uses of our email alert system is to aid in finding missing children and adults.  By using our email system, you can rally the local community to your cause of finding missing people and suspects of abduction cases. 

6. Many Police Departments Are Already Using us Today

We are trusted by many police departments and are members of the National Sheriff’s association.      

7. Its Free for Both Senders and Recipients

We at The RRD want to see safer communities nationwide.  For this reason, we offer our email alert system for departments and agencies, as well as to any property owners and desired recipients of our email alerts absolutely free.  We’re happy to make a positive impact!       

How to Sign Up

Call: 214-520-7577 or email info@TheRRD.com

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Tips to Vendors for Building an Effective Website:vendorsJean VosburghMon, 21 Jul 2014 14:23:29 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/7/21/tips-to-vendors-for-building-an-effective-website52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53cd18cee4b02facb9401c76Simple Is Better

Make it as simple and easy to understand as possible.  Look at your page objectively, as your audience would view it.  In most cases, less is more.  Just make it obvious who you are and what you do.  Try to communicate that in as few sentences as possible.  Maybe create a video on the home page to promote your services.  Make it easy for your consumer to find the next steps.  Make buttons to make a purchase large and pronounced.    

Contact Info

Make sure your contact information is easy to find.  There’s no reason to make people search your site for it.  If it’s not convenient for your audience, they will be more likely to bounce and move on to a competitor whose information is more readily available.  A way to do this is putting your phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the website.  Call to action buttons for each of the services that you provide need to be large and pronounced.

SEO

Make your presence known on search engines.   Fill your website with rich content focusing on keywords your customers most often use.  Code your site so that it is “Crawlable” by Google (and other search engines) and include keywords in the page tags.  Pay close attention to title tags, Meta-description tags, page names, internal links, navigation, and the site map.  Utilizing both Google and Bing webmaster tools can be a good system for monitoring how your site is being interpreted and ranked by these search engines.  Bing webmaster tools will make continual suggestions on specific improvements that you can make to your site to make it SEO friendly.

Content Creation (Also Good for SEO)

Google is pushing more and more for regular content creation.  A “dead” site that does not create its own content will suffer in search rankings no matter how precise the Meta data is.  Meanwhile a company that is creating content is naturally engaging its own audience.  In the eyes of Google, this is a measure of a company’s value to the consumer that strongly affects both its organic and PPC rankings.    

Differentiate Your Data Gathering

Don’t rely solely on your “contact” tab or page for lead generation – intersperse your website with different levels of involvement for the user.  Some users are still dipping their feet into the water.  Meanwhile others are ready to make a purchase immediately.  Give your potential consumers multiple options to interact with your brand in different ways and at an individual pace.

  •  Request a quote or purchase online
  • “Call Now” or online chat feature
  • Allow users to order free samples
  • Offer a registration for a seminar/webinar
  • Have a request for access to “premium content” – whitepapers, knowledgebase, articles, etc.
  •  E-mail newsletter subscription

Utilizing Social Media for Continued Consumer Interaction

While referrals based on word of mouth will never be dead, the internet is a growing way that people find the products and services that they need.  Many word of mouth interactions are beginning to move online. One of the best ways to promote your business, in addition to building a website, is by incorporating social media to encourage referrals both on and offline.  While many B2B businesses have experienced difficulty in getting new consumers on an immediate basis through social media, you should consider social media an excellent use of remarketing to continually engage your most avid supporters of your brand and to keep the brand salient.  By staying in front of this base, those supporters are more likely to push and promote you to their friends and family because you’re at the forefront of their mind.   

Create a Remarketing List on Facebook

Just like Google, Facebook gives you the ability to use remarketing for every visitor to your website. This increases the number of interactions your consumer has with your brand and the likelihood that you will receive further engagement through a Facebook like and future engagements when your consumer is ready to make a purchase.

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For Landlords and Property Managers Electronic Payments Equals Less Late Payments and Better Cash Flow.Craig McilvainWed, 16 Jul 2014 20:46:52 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/7/16/for-landlords-and-property-managers-electronic-payments-equals-less-late-payments-and-better-cash-flow52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53c6dd9be4b0e7db2be62f23 Transient

For a long time now, technology has been available for property owners to accept rent through various methods of electronic payments with companies like Merchant Services Nationwide.  There have been some reasons in the past why landlords may have been reluctant to make these options available to their renters or tenants.  The reluctance has primarily been due to the small but additional expense they may incur.  In addition, properties in lower income areas may have a larger population of residents that do not use credit/debit cards.  Even so, there are many more benefits to having an electronic payment system in place, than there are costs associated with it.

Payment Methods

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There are a variety of ways to make payments convenient for an owner/manager and their tenants. These range from a terminal at a front desk to a credit card and check by phone platform, which is simply done over the phone with a computer. Residents who need to make a last minute payment to avoid late fees or eviction no longer have to go searching for their checkbook or panic about being late.  Owners/managers and tenants may also wish to set up automatic monthly payments. This will help your cash flow on a per tenant basis, especially for those who are often late with making their payments.

Having an Ecommerce system on your website is another way to accept payments from your tenants.  No matter where the tenant is, they can make a payment online.  And again they also will have the option to set up automatic payments.  No matter what platform fits your business best it can be set up in a safe and secure way for both you and your tenants.

Why it’s Time to Make the Change

Today Almost Every Business Offers Electronic Payments

Except for very large non-routine transactions, almost every payment that you can think of can be made with a credit/debit card or by a guaranteed check.  Throughout society and for almost all businesses, electronic payments have become the norm.  The previous method of mailing a paper check to someone is now becoming obsolete.  In addition, many companies dislike the old paper check method because of the risk of a bounced check due to a significant lag time from when the check is written and when it is cashed at the bank.  With a credit/debit card or electronic check, the payment is either accepted or denied immediately.  No more bounced checks and no more trips to the bank to make deposits. All electronic payments are funded directly into your account typically within 24 hours.     

Millennials are the Largest Demographic of Renters

Millennials are more likely to forget to make a rent payment since everything else they pay for is on a credit or debit card.  They are so digitally oriented in their spending habits that most of them no longer carry a check or cash with them.  Whether the bill is for a cell phone, utilities, internet, cable, insurance, you name it, most people are paying for these services automatically with their credit / debit card or by electronic check.  Millennials also are renting more than they are buying homes due to the rising housing prices, harsh job market, and affordability of renting.  Millenials represent one of the larger segments of the rental population. 

While older generations Y, and X, are more familiar with paying by check, they also have been migrating to electronic payment methods.  Because so much of society has moved on to making electronic payments, it would be a smart choice on your part to accommodate these clients.  It’s in the business’s best interests to make it easy for clients to make payments.  

Avoiding Additional Costs   

Charge the Tenant

Some property owners may not want to pay the extra fees associated with accepting electronic payments.  If presented correctly however, charging the tenant for these fees is a win-win for everyone.  (1) The tenant pays less than they would if you charged them a late fee, (2) they get cash rewards or travel miles in most cases, (3) and you get paid on time! 

Make it a Business Write off

Just like most to all of your business expenses, the surcharge from credit card companies actually can be used as a tax exemption.  Combine this with the benefit of getting paid on time and you’ll find that you’re getting ROI from having the system.

You will be surprised how many renters are willing and even wanting to pay this way not only for the convenience of doing so, but also for the benefits they receive by using their card.  

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Landing the Job You Want Using Industry-Specific Job SitesjobsJean VosburghThu, 10 Jul 2014 14:54:08 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/7/10/landing-the-job-you-want-using-industry-specific-job-sites52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53be985fe4b0933d117e5493

As a job seeker, you shouldn't depend solely on web-based job posting sources, but here's some advice for when you do opt to browse listings – look for niche sites.

These days, most job searchers are more inclined to use popular job sites like Monster, Indeed, CareerBuilder, and the never-know-what-you’re-gonna-get Craigslist. But tapping into niche sites, which offer listings for a specific industry or location, not only increase your chances of finding the job for which you're looking, but also your chances of succeeding in procuring said job.  Sales professionals use Sales Gravy, which is a networking community for sales professionals.  Tech companies post job openings on the CrunchBoard, from the technology website, “TechCrunch.”  And now, property management and real estate professionals who want to hire staff can post job openings on The RRD, a central location for real estate and insurance services. 

The Disadvantage to Larger Websites

A major disadvantage to large job sites is that they don't actually aggregate ALL listings.  Smaller, more industry-specific sites tend to offer openings that don't appear elsewhere.  They also occasionally list contact information for the hiring manager (rather than automatically routing to a generic application, which means your resume is less likely to disappear into a black hole).  Also, applicants from niche sites tend to be more qualified as their skill set more closely matches what the employer is looking for, so you'll compete with fewer candidates than you would on well-known sites.  Essentially, you're a bigger fish in a smaller pond.  You have a greater chance of standing out on a niche job board than you would on a big job site.

Small Companies Favor Niche Websites 

Smaller companies often favor niche sites to source prospects because they tend to receive responses from higher quality candidates.  This means they have fewer applications to sift through in order to find the best contender.  An employer is more likely to hire prospective employees who have an affinity for and/or experience in their given industry as opposed to someone willing to settle for anything; these types of candidates are more likely to hop from job to job.  

All in all, if you know what to look for, using niche sites can increase your chances of finding the jobs you're looking for.

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What are the Warning Signs of a Bad Tenant? tenant screeningCraig McilvainWed, 09 Jul 2014 19:43:42 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/7/9/what-are-the-warning-signs-of-a-bad-tenant52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53bd92d2e4b06c9c69221484You should ask yourself the following questions when showing a unit to a prospective tenant.    Transient

1. Is the applicant in a hurry?

Apartment hoppers are likely to behave in this manner.  Also, applicants that are rushing the process are very likely to be hiding something in their past and don’t want you to look at them in closer detail.  A good candidate will be at ease when they contact you.  They’re not in a hurry because they want to find the best possible property for them.  This also indicates that they have the resources and time to wait and find the best one.     

2. Is the applicant inconsistent in their information?

Closely watch for change in a tenant’s info at the beginning and end of the application process.  Often there can be subtle changes so as to hide important credit or criminal information during the screening process.  This can be missed without closer scrutiny.   

3. Does the applicant scrutinize the process/asks too many questions?

If an applicant is asking too many questions about the screening process, this can be a clear indicator of the person wanting to hide important info about him/her.  They’re asking you questions so that they can think fast on their feet and alter how they provide you their info.      

4. Is the applicant unable to complete their application on the spot?

Most tenants will have all of their information together on-site because they have a strong intention to rent soon.  Asking to finish the application at a later date may be an evasion tactic to provide misleading information in the application.  This also might just be an indicator of irresponsibility or lack of motivation.  The question you have to ask yourself though is, will the prospective tenant also be forgetful of thing like rent? 

5. Does the applicant question having to fill out an application?

This often can happen with friends and relatives.  This individual will probably be under the impression that since you know them so well they should receive special considerations while living on your premises.  Firstly, you actually don’t necessarily know them that well.  You probably don’t spend that much time with your cousin.  Secondly, they should appreciate that you’re running a business.  Everyone legally must receive fair and equal treatment when applying for rent.  Finally, no matter who they are, if the prospective tenant is expecting special considerations when making the application to rent, they’re probably going to expect leniency when they’re late on their rent or damage the property, or get into some kind of trouble.           

6. Are there bad references?

If an applicant’s references are all their best palls, its cause for some concern.  It would be nice to have some previous property owners/managers as references as this is the most directly relevant   

7. Is there indirect answering of questions?

A common tactic in providing dishonest or sugar coating information is by “telling a story.”  This is an answer that is longer than 4 sentences.  Explanations sometimes are important considerations, but if you’re asking a yes/no question you should be able to get a yes/no answer and then the applicant can explain.  If after pushing for a more direct answer you’re not able to get it, something’s up.   

8. Is the applicant currently under the influence?

Plenty of people drink, but they shouldn't be doing it when making a rental application.  If other substances are involved, you should give this person a little bit more scrutiny before deciding to sign the lease with them.  Responsible people will work hard to make a good first impression.  Being sober during the application process should simply be an expectation.  Seeing the applicant in an otherwise state of mind might indicate that they are unable to remain sober during important events.

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"My Vendor Was A Killer"vendorsJean VosburghWed, 02 Jul 2014 19:04:59 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/7/2/my-vendor-was-a-killer52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53b4389de4b0d035feb8c717

The following is a personal story about my experience in working for a property management company and experiencing firsthand the negative results of not screening vendors before using them. 

In the Spring of 2007, I was working as an admin for a Miami-based property management firm that was commencing renovations on a newly acquired Class-A commercial property in Las Colinas, Texas.  It was already a gorgeous property, yet vendors from all over the DFW Metroplex had submitted bids for contract work on a patio installment, elevator cab remodel, and a new exercise facility exclusively for tenant use.

I remember one afternoon the management office received a disturbing phone call from in-house security conveying that a homicide had occurred in one of the two buildings on our property.  Authorities and emergency personnel were contacted immediately and the building went on lock down. Time seemed to stand still as I frantically dialed my mom to inform her that I wasn’t permitted to tell her what the nature of my call was, but that I might be home late (or not at all), and not to worry.

After the initial chaos died down, pieces of the story of what occurred began to unravel.  In the midst of the new tenant exercise facility build-out, a subcontractor had bludgeoned another subcontractor with a paint extender pole in a fit of rage during a dispute.  Luckily the perpetrator voluntarily turned himself in to security, but there was a period of time during which no one in the building knew whether there were additional suspects, murder weapons, or immediate threats.  Calling around to source the “best” bio hazard clean up company was an experience I don’t harbor fond memories of.

It appears nearly impossible to find any record of these events, which makes perfect sense since the property manager instructed everyone in the building not to leak any information to the press.  The construction of the gym went on as planned and was completed not long after this horrible and ultimately avoidable tragedy occurred.  Had property management implemented some kind of vendor screening by running an initial background check on the perpetrator prior to hiring him, it likely would have been apparent that he had a criminal history of violence and would be a liability to the impending project.  Perhaps his employer had neglected to look into his employee’s past as well.

This is a pretty extreme case of how lack of a vendor screening process can have negative consequences when outsourcing a project, but is a true story to be learned from.  A vendor can look like a reasonably good deal at first, but having an objective process in selecting the right one is the safest decision you can make for your company.    

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Examining Skips, Evictions, and Crime in Tenant Incident ReportsIncident ReportingCraig McilvainTue, 01 Jul 2014 19:48:00 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/7/1/examining-skips-evictions-and-crime-in-tenant-incident-reports52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53b308c0e4b005e3210f4d20We took a look at a sample from our tenant incident reporting system and analyzed the data to see what were the common behaviors exhibited by tenants that had a report made about them and what was the frequency of these occurrences.We took a look at a sample from our tenant incident reporting system and analyzed the data to see what were the common behaviors exhibited by tenants that had a report made about them and what was the frequency of these occurrences.

Skips table

Skips

According to our sample, s skipping tenant is 4 times more likely to have caused significant damage to the premises than a tenant that was evicted.  Landlords did not frequently report late payments for skips.  This is likely because tenants skip early in their tenancy, thereby reducing the opportunity for them to be late in their rent payments.  A tenant will typically skip on a property an average of 6 months before the end of their lease, resulting in lost revenue from rents as well as the cost to make ready the unit and re-let it. 

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Evictions

Landlords tend to prefer tenants who plan to live at their property for a long period of time vs. a short period of time, but sometimes landlords will overlook problem signs because the tenant stayed for so long.  Sometimes a tenant can abuse this leniency and force the landlord to evict the tenant.  There are other ways that a tenant can become a problem for the landlord other than through a simple skip.  Most to all evictions occurred due to tenants having a history of late payments.  In only two cases in our sample were late payments reported for tenants that skipped. 

Long-stay residents had highs of 10-20 late payments of rent.  A couple of late rent payments are permissible, but routine late payments can represent a significant cost to property management primarily when the bank is expecting monthly payments on the mortgage of the property.  There also is a significant time investment in having to follow up with tenants about making payments.  To alleviate some of the costs associated with late payments, we strongly recommend charging a $50-$60 late payment fee to cover your own late fees that you will have to pay to the bank.    

Crime

One incident report out of forty in our sample had three counts of criminal activity reported.  A larger sample will need to be taken in order to accurately determine what percentage of incident reports occur due to criminal activity.  However we believe that number to be somewhere between 1% and 2% of tenants that have an incident reported on them.  That means if you find yourself evicting tenants frequently, about 1 out of every 100 tenants that you evict will have caused criminal activity on your premises.

What’s worse is that landlords can be held liable for having criminals such as drug dealers on their premises, whether knowingly or not.  In some cases, the government will even seize your property.  Screening a tenant’s backgrounds is a great way to decrease the number of incidents that happen on your property.  It’s also helpful for you to write in the terms of the lease that you reserve the right to evict anyone you catch dealing drugs on your property.  Finally it’s important to listen carefully to what other tenants are saying in order to monitor criminal activity on your property.                                  

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Vendors, your most powerful marketing is through referralsvendorsCraig McilvainTue, 24 Jun 2014 21:35:42 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/6/24/vendors-your-most-powerful-marketing-is-through-referrals52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53a9e459e4b0f45ec036d98dThe importance of building up a business out of references is very well established, especially in B2B industries.  This is because it’s much easier to persuade somebody who has otherwise never interacted with your brand through a personal reference.  If people don’t use a point of reference, they are significantly more likely to scrutinize your material because they are building trust with your company.  But if you connect your brand to one of their friends, then the user can actually “tune down” their brains.  What I mean is that people won’t think too much about something if they don’t have to.  Why go through the effort of scrutinizing what my friend has already done for me?  It becomes a point of convenience to utilize a social reference in choosing a brand. 

The importance of building up a business out of references is very well established, especially in B2B industries.  This is because it’s much easier to persuade somebody who has otherwise never interacted with your brand through a personal reference.  If people don’t use a point of reference, they are significantly more likely to scrutinize your material because they are building trust with your company.  But if you connect your brand to one of their friends, then the user can actually “tune down” their brains.  What I mean is that people won’t think too much about something if they don’t have to.  Why go through the effort of scrutinizing what my friend has already done for me?  It becomes a point of convenience to utilize a social reference in choosing a brand. 

Authentic vs. Inauthentic Referrals

So if referrals are so great, why not just ask for them?  Seems simple enough.  If I ask for 3 referrals from each of my clients, then I’ll quadruple my leads!  My answer is, unfortunately this doesn’t quite pan out.  I assert that the answer to this problem is that we are not creating “authentic” references when we try to be so straight forward about it.  People are exceptionally good at reading people; better than we give them credit for.  As a result, it might actually impede on a sales attempt because the person doing the referral just isn’t saying it “with feeling” like you would see in an authentic point of reference.  This problem happens in psychological experiments all of the time.  The psychologist will ask for a certain behavior from the subject of an experiment, but the results of that experiment are confounded because the subject is aware that they are being asked by the experimenter to elicit that behavior.  That in itself changes the behavior.  The best references happen because the individual wants to make the referral for you autonomously.   

Staying in front of Users Makes You Referrals

Whether it is through a newsletter, social media, remarketing display advertising, or having dinner with a client, staying in front of your client base is the best way to turn them into referrals.  Make them love you so much that you don’t have to ask for the referral.  It should come as naturally as breathing.  The only way you can get somebody to be like that for your company is if you become a regular part of their weekly life.  You might only be in the peripheral, or you will be the center of their attention at 5 min increments.  Whatever you’re doing to stay in front of them, you’re reminding them of their positive interactions with your company/brand.  That’s not only keeping your company salient enough in your consumer’s mind’s eye for them to remember to refer you, but also encouraging them to continue to use your service.  After all, it’s easier to convince somebody that already knows you to buy from you again, than it is to get an entirely new customer.      

Does this mean we can’t ask for referred leads? 

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Not necessarily.  But you need to be aware of the timing.  At which stage is it best to ask somebody to make a reference for you?  When first selling them the service?  When they make their initial sign up?  When they have purchased your service?  When they’ve used your service for a full year?  How about when they’ve used your service for a full three years?  The further along they are into involvement with your company, and with that being a positive experience, the easier it will be to get a referral from them.  You also need to read your leads.  If you’re getting the vibe that one of your clients is still warming up to the company, then the best thing for you to do is nothing except continue to perfect the quality of your service.  If they seem more comfortable with your company/brand, you may be able to elicit some help from them, but never be so pushy as to scare them off.    

How About Incentivizing Referrals?

Interestingly, this can have a substantial effect with users that haven’t even experienced your brand yet.  The friend’s motivation for the referral can be strong enough in this instance to not require the drawn out process of building familiarity with a client.  Keep in mind, the person making the referral isn’t likely to be able to effectively communicate the value of your brand.  What it will do is extend your reach to individuals that are most in need of your services today.  This reduces the barriers associated with most references.             

A Business Listing is like a Referral Source

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You could call a “search engine” a “referral engine.”  When somebody searches for something on a search engine and clicks on your listing, it’s like receiving a referral.  Users who search on a search engine trust that search engine to provide them with the most relevant information in their search first.  It’s easier to trust a business at the top of a search engine listing than it is to trust one that is at the bottom.  All of this substantially bolsters the importance of having good SEO.  Newsletters/blogs are an excellent tool because they can better impact your SEO by having the content on your website and build your personal referral sources as well when you email and post your content on social media.  

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How do I Decrease Property Insurance Premiums?InsuranceCraig McilvainTue, 17 Jun 2014 20:46:56 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/6/16/how-do-i-decrease-property-insurance-premiums52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:539f72dee4b017961edfa11bConsider all of the things that property insurance covers; storms and natural disasters, fire, lightening, earthquakes, explosions, impact damage, and malicious damage.  Taking steps to reduce the risk of each of these things happening to you can reduce your premium.   

Changes to the Property

You may not have any control over natural disasters, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the potential damages. 

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Trees & Surroundings

For example, consider the distance of trees from your property.  In the event of a bad storm, larger trees that are closer to your property will result in higher premiums.  While you can’t uproot trees, this is something to keep in mind when choosing a property. 

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Property Structure

The structural and material design of your property is also important.  For homeowners, there are many design choices for the roof you can make such as having a lighter color so that it ages more slowly under the sun and investing in an underlayment system to provide extra protection of the roof.  For commercial property owners, some roof designs are better than others and might require further research to be addressed accordingly.  Cave-ins due to snow building up is common in older roof designs.

Age of Property

Although you have no control of the age of a property, if you take good care of it and refurbish the elements that need it, you can keep your premium down by maintaining its quality.

Safety

Other precautions you can take are more in regards to safety.  Installing a sprinkler system will reduce the chance of fire and an alarm system can help to prevent malicious damages. 

Personal Decisions

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Stop Smoking

Do you or anyone else on your property smoke?  Cigarettes are a leading cause of fires on a property.  If you can quit the habit, you can dramatically drop the premium as this significantly decreases the chance of a fire. 

Deductibles

By choosing a higher deductible on your insurance, you can pay a significantly lower premium as a result.  You should look at the money that you have put away for a rainy day and ask yourself how much you’d be willing to lose when paying for repairs on your property after an incident.  Keep in mind that if you place the deductible too high, you may end up in a similar financial bind to paying too small of a deductible.   

Shopping Around

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Keep close track of when your policies will be up for renewal.  It’s best to get two quotes for insurance 2 months before expiration.  Always keep a copy of your “loss runs” for the last three years.  You will need them to get a new quote.  If you don’t have your loss runs documented, you can ask your insurance carrier for a copy of them as they are required by law to give them to you.

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How to Recruit the best CandidatesjobsCraig McilvainTue, 10 Jun 2014 20:46:14 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/6/10/how-to-recruit-the-best-candidates52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:5397605ee4b02d32b20bb2a5Reading the Resume

Finding Relevant Skills:

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Have a clearly defined position before you post the job opening and look at resumes.  Unless you know specifically what you’re looking for, you will have significant pitfalls.  You can potentially get great candidates, but not for the right position.  That’s still a bad candidate because you are not able to utilize their real potential value. 

With a bullet point list of the skills you need, scan through resumes for these skills and achievements.  Not every candidate will have all of them, but good candidates will have close to 75% of what you’re looking for.                       

Warning Signs:

There are many things to look out for in a bad resume.  This includes…

Job Hopping: The candidate stays at each job for no more than a year and appears to “hop” from job to job.  This decreases the likelihood that the candidate will stay at your company for an extended period of time.  For some entry level positions this might be ok.  Some jobs are even designed to be seasonal, but if you’re looking to keep somebody on for the long-term, it’s best to watch out for this trait. 

Not working: Some candidates may take extended periods of time before working again.  This can be cause for following up on in a phone interview.  There could be good reason for the period without work.  Given the recent recession, it’s more likely for candidates to have increased difficulty in finding work, but it is always good to ask the candidate directly about the period of time without work.

Poor Writing: This is probably the most obvious thing to watch for.  If the resume is unorganized or as multiple grammatical errors, this is likely the type of work you can expect at your company.  A resume is a very important document.  If there are errors there, there is a very high likelihood that you will find significantly more errors in their work.

In the Interview:

1st Impression Phone Call:

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It’s always good to have a phone interview before a one-on-one meeting.  This is advantageous for a few reasons.  Firstly, when you call the interviewee, they haven’t yet had the chance to prepare for speaking with you.  This will give you a partial glimpse at their authentic self.  In some cases the individual will be very nervous and this has to be taken into account.  But second, also consider how the person will act and behave in first time phone calls with your clients, employees, etc.  How well does this person interact with new people they have never met before?  In some positions this attribute won’t be as important.  In all cases, it is important that they are able to effectively communicate when under pressure and when they’re not.  According to APA.org, people are very effective at evaluating extroversion and sociability based on first impressions, so you can go on your gut instinct with some of that.  Not everything is revealed in the first interview though.  You’ll need to spend more time in interaction with this individual before you can be relatively sure about other aspects of their qualifications and personality.        

2nd Impression 1-1 Interview:

The follow up interview is a great way to check for consistency.  It’s ok to ask some of the important questions from the first interview a second time because sometimes you’ll get a different response.  Getting a different response often can indicate there is something the interviewee is trying to hide. 

Asking for both their favorite and least favorite aspect of their jobs can be very revealing.  You might be disturbed by how they talk about their previous boss.  This could be how they talk about you later on!  An authentic answer won’t overly preach how great their boss was either though.  A good authentic answer will provide constructive criticism of the former employer.  Employees need to be able to provide positive and negative feedback to others in a constructive way.  It is the only way to have effective communication moving forward with your prospective employee. 

As well, asking questions that probe for how the employee plans to improve him/herself overtime is also important.  It’s equally important that the employee is able to receive positive and negative feedback in a constructive manner as it is for them to give that feedback.        

Screening Your Prospective Employee:

You can’t expect to gain all of the necessary insight on your prospective employee in just two interviews.  It’s important to thoroughly check the background of every employee you hire in terms of criminal, credit, working, and even sometimes rental history.  Some people are very good at appearing authentic when you meet them, but in reality they have a secret past/present.  Screening is also a good tool to cross reference with the employee’s own story with their actual history.  Credit scores can indicate to you how responsible the employee will be in the work place.  All in all, while interviewing can be subjective, performing a background check helps to objectify your choice of employee with hard numbers and data.         

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Writing a Good ResumejobsCraig McilvainFri, 06 Jun 2014 18:04:06 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/6/6/writing-a-good-resume52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:5391ff46e4b05366f07d81c0 Transient

The look and style of a resume is important, but even more important is the content within that resume.  Often employers are looking for specific things when they choose to hire any particular employee.  Vague content that does not clearly articulate your accomplishments and your value will be ignored.    

Content:

Take Your Time:

The first step to writing a good resume is taking a little bit of time each day to make improvements.  Chances are you won’t remember everything that you have accomplished the first time around.  Memories will come back to you sporadically.  You need to be ready at a moment’s notice to stop what you are doing and write those accomplishments down to add to your resume later. 

Specific, Quantifiable Accomplishments:

As most will tell you, you’re never simply listing tasks you worked on, but explaining how you completed those tasks successfully.  You should have some quantifiable data to your successes.  How many leads did you generate?  How much money did you save the company?  You won’t have everything on hand the first time around.  Take note of the information you need to gather and bring it back to your resume at a later date.

Proofread:

Many consider this to be a given, but I have seen enough major mistakes over time that it needs to be emphasized here.  As an example, I have received resumes that stated in their objective: “I believe my background and skills closely match your job requirements and I am confident I can make a positive contribution to ABC Company.”  Whoever ABC is, it isn’t us.  These errors can deliver a significant blow because it appears to the employer that the individual did not take the time necessary to provide a quality resume and doesn’t care about the position.

Style:

Structure:

You may already know to have sections designating your objective, education history, work history, and special skills.  The precise order is not so much important so long as each section is clearly defined and is easy to navigate.  The structure of each section though is more important.  To be easy to read, you should only provide bullet points rather than large sentences.  If your bullet point goes beyond 7 letters, it’s really more of a sentence still rather than a bullet point.  You know you’ve gone too far if the point is two lines long.  When listing jobs as sub-categories underneath your work history, it is better to list your position first and then the name of the employer.  Think about what the employer is looking for.  It’s more important to an employer what you did than where you did it.            

Fonts/Sections:

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Your fonts should help you to clearly section off every piece of your resume.  Take this article for example.  “Content” and “Style” are in two main categories with multiple subcategories relevant to those.  It helps the reader who is skimming this article to find the information that is most important to them.  Your smallest font should never be smaller than 12 points so that your resume is easier to read.  Don’t make smaller fonts to squeeze the content onto one page.  Your recruiter is less likely to take the time to read your resume with smaller fonts.        

# Of Pages:

Not everyone agrees on this point, but I would strongly assert that a clean and concise resume is more important than a one page one.  Some argue that you need your resume to be on one page because the recruiter will never get to the second on the first read.  Clearly the most important information needs to be on the first page, but if you have more to say, have it go onto the 2nd page.  Never cram information into a space thereby rendering it difficult to read.  If your larger fonts cause you to go over one page, this is OK.  It is important that you are as detailed as possible and you should do your best to structure your resume in such a way that is cover the majority of both pages.  A small excerpt hanging on the 2nd page creates less positive impressions.  Bigger fonts are OK, but don’t go overboard.  Going back to content, you should take a great length of time embellishing your resume with important accomplishments in each of your previous activities/positions to fully fill each page.        

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Using Time Effectively in the Real Estate IndustryCraig McilvainMon, 02 Jun 2014 22:42:54 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/6/2/using-time-effectively-in-the-real-estate-industry52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:538cf666e4b05c7d4d6271b4 Transient

Being successful in the real estate industry requires an extreme amount of time efficiencies.  From filling vacancies, to providing sales, marketing, doing research on vendors and advertising, there’s a lot on a Landlord’s or manager’s plate.  You need to know which tasks to focus on and which ones can go on the back burner for a while.  These skills are applicable in any industry, but there will be case examples for real estate provided for each skill.

Prioritize Tasks:

Everyone knows that they have high priority and low priority tasks.  But more important than simply choosing to prioritize tasks by the feel of it, you should try to quantify in an estimate how much that task is worth to you.  Even if you can’t give it a specific value, you should be able to answer this question with every task that you do.  Does this action substantially impact revenue?  Or will this task be substantial when coupled with other tasks throughout the company to impact revenue? 

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Often times the second question will be most relevant to you.  If you’re in sales, you can send emails all day long, but if you don’t follow up on those potential leads on the phone, the ROI is substantially reduced.  When you have an interdependent task list, you logically need to evenly spread those tasks throughout the day, such as sending emails in the morning and making phone calls in the evening.  You may find that these two tasks are of equal importance and so you will evenly split your day in half to accomplish the two tasks.

You can also slow yourself down in doing various tasks that are not important to you.  You might think they’re important, but they don’t impact revenue directly, or a significant span of time will need to pass before the task has ROI.  These tasks do have importance, but should be spread throughout the week.  Example tasks like this include researching new forms of advertising and vendors.  You are always actively looking for new things to improve your work, but it should never consume your day as the ROI on this research is not always guaranteed. 

Following up on tasks:

The easiest way to rack up costs is to have set backs on a task.  This isn’t always avoidable, but the worst thing you can do is have a high priority task that has a set-back, be forced to move on to other tasks to wait for the right time to finish your high priority task, but then forget to accomplish this task at a later date.  Not only have you kept yourself from accomplishing your more direct sources of revenue, you have also wasted time working and not making money.  It’s not until you’ve finished your task that it has value.

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A common example of this might be in real estate sales and trying to close with a client.  Your client has told you that they may not be able or willing to use your service immediately, but may be able to consider it in the future.  Sales agents will frequently move on from this client.  The big mistake that is made is when they don’t follow up at a period of time that is convenient to the consumer.   

This is one of those times that using a calendar or outlook is imperative.  You’ll want to keep your task on the radar, even if you have to finish it at a later date.  You should be able to put your lower priority tasks on hold when your high priority task is ready to be accomplished. This often takes some planning ahead.                

Plan Ahead:

Unless you set aside a specific time to finish a task, it may never get done.  There’s a difference between having a follow up in outlook and setting a specific time into your calendar.  Setting a task into your outlook is more passive and simply specifies a day to follow up on a task or sits on a list indefinitely.  Having a calendar reminder that you also email out to your co-workers showing that you will be unavailable during this period of time is of great benefit. You may even need to forward calls to your answering machine so that nothing distracts you from accomplishing this task.   

Quality > Quantity:

Sometimes taking time can actually save time in the long run because there are less costly mistakes.  Taking time on a task often has higher payoff.  For example, it’s better to thoroughly screen prospective tenants before having them sign a lease as this significantly reduces the number of times that vacancy will need to be refilled.  Was a little more time invested to perform the screening?  Yes.  But it is dwarfed in comparison to the time spent redoing a make-ready, marketing the vacancy, and leasing again. 

The same is true in real estate sales/marketing.  It’s easier to sell your service to users who are familiar with you/your brand than it is to sell to somebody who doesn’t know anything about you at all.  It’s a significant time investment to build up a marketing/contact list, but it’s well worth the effort in the long run.        

Automate Tasks:

You should do this as much as you can, especially with repetitive tasks.  For the real estate marketing, there are a lot of tools available to automate your work in social media and emails so that it’s easy and efficient to schedule your content posting.  The Real Estate Industry also has software for property managers and other online tools to simplify your work.

The RRD is a great way to save time in the real estate industry.  You don’t want to spend all of that time searching the web for the real estate services you need.  We put these services all in one place and often at discounts to help you get the things you need right away and at a good price.  Our dashboard makes it easy to use each of these services online, as well as monitor your entire portfolio all in one location.

Services Offered by The RRD:

  • Tenant Screening
  • Employment Screening
  • Free Incident Reporting
  • Free neighborhood email alert system
  • Discount on Debt Collection
  • Find Vendors
  • Find Property Management 
  • Find Energy
  • Property Insurance
  • Liability Insurance
  • Renters Insurance
  • Post/Find Real Estate and Insurance Jobs  
  • (Coming Soon) Rental and Property Listings

Explore The RRD

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Sex Offenders Come From All Walks of LifeCraig McilvainFri, 30 May 2014 21:47:14 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/5/20/sex-offenders-come-from-all-walks-of-life52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:537be16fe4b0b354ea73b0e9 Transient

In New York City, investigators are cracking down on child pornography usage and sales big time.  70 people have been arrested so far including a rabbi, boy scout leader, police officer, and a paramedic.  These are people who occupy normally honorable and trustworthy positions in society and really reinforces the fact that regardless of how a person may seem in person, you never know what's underneath the surface.  They may check out when undergoing a screening, but then will still have a 2nd life that very few know anything about.  

The best way to prevent this kind of activity is through shared information in the community.  Incident reporting is a great way for landlords to protect their communities because they can help to create a paper trail on criminal activity, or even just suspicious activity that may not otherwise be easily traceable.  It empowers you to prevent unsavory people from renting in your property and provides you with a tool to protect other landlords as well.  Help us to build better and safer communities today! 

Our system gives tenants the ability to use our appeals process when there is a dispute about the information in our system for accuracy.     

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Tenants Caught Owing $40,000 in Rent to 8 Different LandlordsCraig McilvainMon, 19 May 2014 22:41:56 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/5/16/tenants-caught-owing-40000-in-rent-to-8-different-landlords52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:53769e5ce4b08aad017bea33 Transient

According to CBC, two tenants went around from apartment to apartment scamming as they go for the past 2 1/2 years.  They look pretty innocent in this photo don't they?  What's the total amount of money that they owe?  Almost $40,000!  "They know every single rule in the book," Matthew Huotari, the eighth landlord to come forward told CBC.  Finally Landlords started wising up.  Now they're working together to expose the scam.  This story of how landlords watched out for one another is inspiring for us at The RRD to do what we do.    

While this story should be unnerving to landlords everywhere, it could have been avoided by older landlords making the information available for future ones.  This is what motivated us to create our incident reporting tool.  It's a free service that enables landlords to upload documents and other information detailing the issues they encountered with a tenant.  By making this information public, landlords can help to prevent future problems and create better communities.  CBC advises landlords to cross check their tenants ID information with previous landlords and there is no better way to make this possible than our incident reporting system.    

Property owners should also consider tenant screening services to prevent this kind of disaster from happening to them.  Using a cheap screening service mat not be enough for cases like these.  The RRD provides a comprehensive screening that cross-references across multiple sources to ensure a thorough understanding of exactly what kind of renter you're about to receive into your property.  We can provide you a larger number of checks, a la carte and at an excellent value.

The RRD is a credit reporting agency in compliance with the fair credit reporting act.  Tenants are able to make appeals here.      

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The Cost of an Eviction vs. Tenant ScreeningCraig McilvainWed, 14 May 2014 21:24:39 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/5/14/the-cost-of-an-eviction-vs-tenant-screening52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:5373d12fe4b0a4617ea5961aI wrote up this article to help illustrate the importance of practicing a thorough screening of your prospective tenants before you sign their lease.  Let’s compare and contrast the costs of an eviction vs. simply running a screening on your tenants beforehand.  First comes the long section…

What is the Cost of an Eviction?

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In most cases an eviction will happen because the tenant didn’t pay their rent.  After ample warnings you give them a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit.  Great, but the tenant hasn’t left yet.  If your tenant is struggling financially, they won’t be able to turn on a dime.  A good rule of thumb, is that the true cost to evict a non-performing tenant is equivalent to about five months’ worth of rent.  

True cost of evicting a tenant

  1. Lost rent (typically two-three months of rent during the eviction proceedings, sometimes longer)
  2. Make Ready Costs (to get the apartment ready to rent) between $500-$2,000
  3. Lost time to lease (one month of revenue)
  4. Concessions given to a new tenant and/or advertising (1/2 month)
  5.  Legal Fees to Attorneys ($200-$750)
  6.  Court Costs ($100-$300)

Perhaps you’re planning on charging the tenant for all of your eviction fees.  You might be pushing your luck.  There may not be any money to collect.  Then it’s still on you to pay those costs.  You may think to yourself that’s ok, you’ll get it from them later when they are able to pay up.  Maybe you’ll hire a debt collector to follow up with them.  The problem here is that the debt collector is going to pocket 60% of what is collected.  So you’re still left with a loss of potentially thousands of dollars.  If you do end up needing debt collection services, there is one with a 20% discount here.  Just mention The RRD to get the discount.    

And now we’ll discuss the short section of this article.

What is the Cost of Tenant Screening?

A thorough tenant Tenant screening, including bankruptcy, rental history, ID Verification and credit reports is as low as $16 per run.  

Also, the likelihood that a tenant will default is directly related to the FICO scoring in a tenant screening report.    

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FICO Score Percentage of Population and Delinquency Rate
300-499                                87% 
500-549                                71% 
550-599                                51% 
600-649                                31% 
650-699                                15% 
700-749                                 5% 
749-799                                 2% 
800 and higher                      1%

Conclusion

As an investor who’s looking to get the greatest ROI on your property, screening every tenant to avoid eviction fees, lost rent, and debt collection fees is simply a no brainer.  You would screen your tenants for many of the same reasons you would get property insurance.  This time, instead of insurance, it’s like having an assurance that rent will be paid each month and the property will be in good condition.  It’s not a guarantee, but it’s the best investment you can make.     

Already evicted a bad Tenant?  You can warn other property owners and landlords with an incident report.  

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Landing the Real Estate Job You’ve Always WantedCraig McilvainTue, 06 May 2014 22:44:07 +0000http://www.therrd.com/blog/2014/5/6/landing-the-real-estate-job-youve-always-wanted52b0d9c9e4b0734795d727cf:52b1440fe4b0d9c93d4ca174:536964ade4b09cc1fdb1db13The Real Estate industry is an easy one to get into, but you will never be able to perfect your career.  There will always be room for improvement.  Here are some suggestions for improving your fit for that perfect real estate job you have always been looking to get into. Transient

The Real Estate industry is an easy one to get into, but you will never be able to perfect your career.  There will always be room for improvement.  Here are some suggestions for improving your fit for that perfect real estate job you have always been looking to get into.

General Self Improvement

Start Small and Build:

If you’re new to the industry, it is beneficial to get any general work experience associated with the industry that you can.  You can start out as a property management assistant or as a marketing/executive assistant without prior real estate experience and work your way up.  Just being involved in a real estate company will build you a working knowledge in real estate that will propel you to your next position whether through a promotion or going on to your next company.  

Get Proper Registrations and Certifications: 

You’d be surprised how many people apply for higher positions in real estate that do not have the proper certifications for the position.  While it is not required for you to have certifications for many real estate positions, this will put your resume ahead of the pack.  These certifications are easy to get and are even attainable while you are working!

Polish your Resume:

Many of your skills are applicable to real estate.  Make sure that the unnecessary fluff is gone and take some extra steps to pinpoint the skills you have that are immediately useful in the real estate industry.

In the Interview…

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Have a plan of action:

Be able to tell the interviewer how you will go about tackling your position.  If you’re applying to be a marketing assistant, create a customized marketing portfolio showing some basic design and strategy ideas for the company.  They’ll be very impressed that you went to that effort.  A similar strategy will also be good for anyone applying to become a real estate agent.  If you’re going down more of a property management route, be able to identify and address how you would respond to general problems or challenges associated with the position.  The more that you are able to develop a personalized plan of action, the more impressive you will be perceived. 

Ask Questions:

Have many questions about the job position and its procedures.  You’re not expected to know everything there is to know about the job position, but you are expected to want to continually learn more.  If you are not proactively asking about the job, it may indicate to the interviewer that you’re just looking for a job because you need a job and not because you’re particularly interested in the industry.  

Write a Thank You letter:

Just like the certifications, you’d be surprised how many people don’t bother to write a thank you letter after the interview.  What the thank you letter shows is that you were willing to go to that extra step to follow up with the interviewee.  If you’re applying to be a real estate agent, the thank you letter is imperative because you’ll be following up with clients for the rest of your career.  If you’re not able to follow up after the interview, it’s not a good sign to the interviewer. 

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