Author Archive: Amanda
If you are responsible for choosing tenants for a rental property either as part of your work or for your own investment property, it’s a good idea to have an application form ready for potential tenants to fill in. One or two pages is usually enough, but there are several pieces of information which are particularly important to include. Try to ask for all or most of the following on your tenant application form:
- All the basic details – name, date of birth, current address and telephone number.
- Current workplace and how long they have worked there, plus the name and contact details for a workplace referee.
- Salary details and, if applicable, information on other income that the tenant receives.
- How long they have lived at their current address, and the contact details for their current landlord if applicable; if not, details of a previous landlord are also useful to have.
- Information about whether the potential tenants have children or pets.
It is important to conduct the tenancy application procedure fairly, and by giving each potential tenant the same application form to fill in, you can easily show that you are asking everybody for the same information – that’s much easier to do in a tenancy application form than by interviewing them or just having a chat.
There are lots of choices when you are considering making a real estate investment – will you buy a family home, a condominium, a vacation rental property – or even a vacant block of land. Buying land is probably the least common alternative so it’s good to consider the pros and cons of this kind of real estate investment.
Some advantages of buying vacant blocks include:
- If you don’t have a lot of money to make an investment with, vacant land may be one of the cheapest ways of getting into the market.
- You might be able to decide later whether or not you want to build a home there – or just sell it off at a profit – but if you decide to build, then you’ve already paid of part of the block value.
- Paying less for your investment than you would for another kind of property means you are at a lower risk from falling prices, and at a lower risk of foreclosure or a forced sale.
On the other hand, disadvantages of buying vacant land might be:
- There is no income on your vacant land – nobody will pay rent to use an empty block.
- Some land releases will have particular rules about keeping the block tidy, leading to maintenance costs for you, or there may be rules about a time frame within which something must be built on the block, which may not fit your schedule.
There are all kinds of bits of paperwork that your property manager is taking care of if they are looking after your rental property investment. Before you decide whether you would like to take on the management yourself, consider if you’ll have the time and energy to be responsible for maintaining all of these kinds of records:
- Record of rent paid by the tenant, including the dates and the amounts; if the tenant falls behind in the rent, you will need to write letters or send breach notices to them and keep doing so until they pay.
- Lease agreements and inventory reports for the start and end of each lease.
- Records needs for tax purposes: for example, detailed listing of any repairs or maintenance carried out on the property, and a full list of all other expenses occurred, such as taxes or utility charges not paid by the tenants; you need to file all the relevant receipts for these items in some organized way in case they are needed later.
- Depreciation records of the value of the property and sometimes of the value of particular items inside the property, depending on state laws and depending on whether your property is leased in furnished or unfurnished condition.
- Government or legal documents – for example if electrical safety inspections are required at particular intervals, you need to make sure you have the up-to-date inspection reports organized.