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MRLANDLORD.COM MONTHLY TIPS ON MANAGEMENT

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DO YOU USE MOLES/SPIES NEAR YOUR RENTALS?

The following tip is shared by a regular contributor to LandlordingAdvice.com. Thanks Roy(AL)!

I have rental houses scattered all over town. In every neighborhood that I buy a house in, I make it a point to get to know the neighbors (mainly homeowner types) that live next door or across the street to my rental property. When I am done rehabbing a house and got it rented, I will give my card to any of the neighbors who I have established some type of bond with. I tell them to call me if my new tenants start doing something unusual that you think I need to know about. Some landlords would call this a “spy network”, however, I just refer to these underground people affectionately as my “moles”.

Just yesterday, I got a call from a mole telling me my tenants across the street had a U-Haul trailer in their driveway last Saturday and it appeared they are moving out. My reaction was, “Great news, now I don’t have to evict those deadbeats that stiffed me this month.”

Do you have any kind of spy network set up?  I do reward my moles, but not with money though.

TIP IF YOU USE A REALTOR TO HELP FILL A VACANCY
While opinions differ among landlords on whether to use a Realtor to help fill a vacancy (most of respondents on our website shy away from doing so), one landlord/Realtor gave the following advice on LandlordingAdvice.com:

Nobody screens better than you (rental owner), but I am a Realtor, and I only use MLS for advertising my rentals.  I’m happy to pay the commission.  However, I screen all the applicants myself.

I think using a Realtor has many advantages.  The biggest advantage is that when an agent takes on a lease client, they do some form of screening to avoid wasting their time. Also most undesirable don’t use agents so it automatically screens them out.The agents show the house so I don’t have to worry about it.

Use an agent, but do your own screening. Be up front with that expectation when hiring.

SEND BILLS/INVOICES TO TENANTS REGARDING JUDGMENTS  
The following tip is shared by a regular contributor to LandlordingAdvice.com.  Thanks NE(PA)!

Well, it worked 1st time I tried it. Got a judgement two months ago on a guy that skipped town. Started sending a monthly bill for the judgment amount of $792.00, due Immediately. I sent two so far.
Today, GRANDMA calls! Explains dear grandson lost his job and she wants to start paying the past due bill! I asked what she has in mind, she said she could do $25 per month. I said I don’t know if that will work but Ill ask my boss and get back to her.
I do the math. $25 into $792 is 31 months. That’s too long.
In the past, I have spread out filing fees with tenants over 3,4,5 months. So I decided to try it here. I called Dear Old Granny back and told her that “they” have done payment plans in the past and will send her out some paperwork and SHE CAN CHOOSE the best method for her.
My paperwork consists of the following:
An explanation of whats owed and why the judge said its owed. Followed by 4 choices on how to pay.
#1 – one time payment for a 20% discount of $633.60
#2 – 6 monthly payments for a discount of 10% for monthly payments of $118.80
#3 – 12 monthly payments for face value of amount owed in monthly amount of $66.00
#4 – 18 months with an additional convenience charge of 10% for a fee of $48.40
Hey, the tax people do it!!!
HINT # 1 When I have done this in the past, #4 is typically chosen
HINT # 2 “The Greedy Become The Needy.” I’ll gladly knock 20% off to get it in one month. Well see if Granny starts paying.
USE FACEBOOK TO PRE-SCREEN RENTAL APPLICANT CALLERS

The following tip shared by contributor to MrLandlord.com. Thanks Travis(OK)!

4 Steps I do everyday to pre-screen callers:
1. They call my google voice and leave a message.
2. Using their phone number I search Facebook looking for their account and full name
3. I look for pictures of pit bulls (or other big red-flags)
4. If no pit bulls, I search their name on county court records.

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