Nicklin Property Management Company Updates

Eviction Notice Form

Well, here we go again. Another eviction moratorium. Many landlord’s we’re finally breathing a sigh of relief when it looked like things we’re going back to normal at the end of July. And for 2 days, things we’re technically back to normal. Until August 3. That’s when the CDC enacted a new eviction moratorium, that this time goes through October 3, 2021. For those rental property owners who have been relying on mortgage forbearance because they lost rent income – income they relied on – this was unexpected.

To clarify, we’re not here to discuss the reasons for the moratorium, the motivation or why it was passed. We’re here to explain how this latest moratorium works and what you can do if you own a rental property that has had its income, in essence, frozen. While what we say is not going to be a automatic fix, it can be financial damage control.

So, how does this latest moratorium work?

It applies to any county in the Unites States that doesn’t already have a moratorium in place that meets or exceeds the CDC one, like a state or county moratorium, and where the county has a substantial or high COVID transmission rate. Where does your county fall? Here’s the link from the CDC that shows transmission rates: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view

If your in Clark County Nevada, Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, which is where we’re at, well, your in a high transmission rate location and subject to the CDC moratorium.
A tenant, in order to be covered by the moratorium, has to meet some qualifications:

  • They have had to try and obtain rental assistance
  • They can’t make more than $99,000 in 2020 or if married and filing jointly, more than $198,000.
  • They cant make their rent payment due to loss of job, reduction in hours or have medical bills
  • They are trying to make partial rent payments to the best of their ability
  • They would become homeless if evicted

The moratorium covers a lot of situations.

Now of course, a tenant does have to complete a specific declaration via a CDC form to qualify. And the landlord can take steps to validate the truthfulness of it, to make sure their hardship is legitimate and meets the standard of the CDC moratorium. The moratorium does cover a broad spectrum.

So, say as a landlord, you get the declaration form from a tenant or maybe they already qualified previously under the moratorium we had between March 2020 until this past July and handed you the CDC declaration (which that is still in effect). What can you do?

Work on mitigating your losses. The eviction moratorium is in effect no matter how you look at things. Though tensions may run high, work hard to maintain a positive relationship with your tenant. This will help in preserving your property. A soured relationship, or one that turns into distrust, is never in the best interest of your property. It creates tension and hard feelings. Focus on the end result, one day getting your property back in hopefully, reasonably good condition. A positive relationship will go a long way in that.

And focus in on the options you have for mortgage assistance, beyond calling your bank for mortgage forbearance. Or simply throwing in the towel on your property. Now, this may take work and some research to find available resources in your state or county to help compensate you for lost rent. But it is possible and we’ve seen it first hand, owners getting checks for thousands of dollars for unpaid rent. Look up your states and counties housing department sites and see what available resources there are, what applications may need to be completed. Work to mitigate your losses as much as possible. In many cases, money has been set aside to offer help. It’s just a matter of finding it, applying for it and then collecting it.

So, while this is all far from the ideal and not what investors and rental property owners signed up for, it’s the new, temporary norm. And so, we’ve all had to change and adjust to the unexpected. If you approach it the right way, take the right steps, be proactive, get the help available, you might be surprised at how things work out for you.

Suburban Las Vegas neighborhood

If your looking at today’s real estate market and want to make an investment, you’ll be joining countless other real estate investors looking to get their hands on a slice of Las Vegas real estate. Though prices are at an all time high, so are rents. As a matter of fact, according to Realtor.com, rents rose 16% from one year ago. Many investors are starting to see significant returns, especially if they purchased a rental property a few years ago.
Nonetheless, many investors are in the market now, sifting through the tight inventory, looking for that gold nugget. As with any investment though, there are a number of factors that will determine how profitable a rental property can be. Or how much expense might be associated with it. So, what factors should you consider?

Age of Property
Everyone loves the smell of a brand new car. But not everyone can always flip the bill on one. And so the used car market is a popular one. The same goes with housing. Most investors would prefer brand new housing – not because of the new house smell necessarily, but because everything is, well, brand new. All major components of the house are brand new and should have a significant life expectancy, minimizing expenses for the first few years of ownership. However, brand new homes are in high demand and typically priced higher than a resale home – though that gap has closed some. The higher price keeps many investors from buying brand new. And so, the resale market is a popular one. When looking at resale properties, what should you keep in mind? Here are a few points:

  1. Are major components, such as appliances, HVAC or hot water heater nearing the end of their life expectancy? If so, keep in mind that those may fail and need replacement. Prepare for those expenses.
  2. Is the home generally older, perhaps 30 years or more? Keep in mind that certain items may be needing replacement, such as the roof. The house may need some remodeling. Repairs may be common place. Are you prepared to allocate a budget for those?

Property Type

Las Vegas has an abundance of housing. There are single family homes, condominiums, town homes, mid and high rise units and multi family buildings. Have you decided what you want to own? Perhaps your budget will determine what you will be considering. For example, the median price of a single family home is higher than that of a condominium in Las Vegas. However, what other factors should you consider?

  1. Many communities have homeowners associations. Each month, quarter or annually, they assess fees for maintaining a community. These fees can vary, depending on the community amenities. Are you prepared to absorb those?
  2. Back to HOA’s on this point. Keep in mind that condominiums and town homes typically have HOA’s to maintain the community pool, park and perhaps gated entry. Monthly fees are used to cover that expense. However, many times those fees also cover the insurance necessary for those common areas as well as the exterior of the building, roof and some components of the building. As a result, homeowners insurance may cost less.
  3. Single family properties typically need insurance for the entire dwelling and property. As a result, those costs can be higher than that of a condo or town home. On the other hand, you might find that the HOA dues are lower.

When all is said and done

In the end, you have to do a side by side comparison to see what the constant, ongoing costs will add up to. This, coupled with potential repairs, will prepare you for owning a rental property. Of course, researching what the potential rent for a property will be is necessary as well. A good property manager can be an invaluable asset in this process. This way, you can be a well prepared, savvy investor who has done their homework and knows exactly what kind of a property you are looking for.

While most homeowner’s are primarily concerned with obtaining Homeowner’s/Landlord insurance, covering the property, liabilities and damages from unexpected malfunctions and disasters, some fail to keep up with their tenants renter’s insurance policy, making sure it’s current and active. While it is highly important to maintain homeowner’s insurance (or called a Landlord / Fire policy if property is a rental), what’s the advantage of requiring tenants to carry a renters policy?

Tenant Benefits

First, there are significant benefits to a tenant! For example, should a fire or water event occur within the  property, the homeowner’s insurance will typically cover the damages to the structure itself. However, many times it will not cover the tenants personal belongings and furniture. Homeowners insurance may also not cover injuries that occur, exposing a tenant to liability.

On the other hand, renters insurance is designed to cover personal property, just in case of the unexpected – a theft, fire, water damage, etc. If someone gets hurt inside the property, renters insurance can offer a measure of protection, offering liability coverage. Other covered items can include: Coverage of a tenants personal property in the event of a windstorm, frozen pipes (that eventually leak and create a major water event), vandalism or a vehicle impact!

If a tenant is temporarily displaced from the property due to these items, renters insurance can cover the cost of alternate living arrangements.

Finally, renters insurance is typically inexpensive to obtain for a tenant and can potentially save thousands of dollars in the event of an unexpected situation.

As a Landlord, requiring renters insurance adds a measure of protection and can help a tenant with unforeseen costs. To ensure that a renters policy is obtained and maintained, you can request to be added as an additional interest. That way, you are updated by a insurance company when a change takes place.

A room with purple door and purple wall

If your circumstances changed and you have to move from your home but don’t want to sell it, you will most likely look to rent it. As you move your furniture and effects from the home, you’ll probably notice years of wear showing up along with the personal touches you made that made this house your home. So, what should you do – and what not – as you prepare the home for a prospective tenant?

First, you have to accept that not everyone will appreciate the personal touch you had. The various painted colors throughout the home or custom drapes or curtains, while they matched your style, may not be embraced by a potential tenant. It can actually detract from the home renting within a reasonable amount of time. So, what should you do?

For walls painted in non neutral colors or earth tones, it may be in your best interest to repaint. That bright pink or purple room can throw someone off. Neutral wall colors, on the other hand, tend to match nearly all furniture styles and personal tastes. Even some well chosen earth tones can do well. So, as much as you probably don’t want to paint the house, it will go a long way in getting it rented.

Second, invest in getting your carpets professionally shampooed. While you may decide to do it yourself, a professional company with professional equipment will leave the carpets looking great and smelling fresh. Their equipment can pull dirt that’s deep in the carpet fibers. They might also be able to apply enzymes for any pet damage. Of course, find a reputable company or get a referral for one. It’s worth the effort!

Third, make sure your home is nice and clean. Cabinet interiors, appliances, baseboards and fan blades are all part of getting the home prepped for rent. Also, be sure to check the bathrooms to make sure the toilets and showers are thoroughly cleaned. If in doubt, ask yourself: Would I be happy moving into the home in the condition it’s in?

Why is prepping a property for rent so important? Because it will affect how quickly the home will rent for and how much rent you might get. Even more important, it will set the standard for the tenant. So, never view your rental property as “just another rental.” View it as a successful investment and take the steps to make that happen!

Sunrise at Red Rock Canyon in Nevada.

Another month. Another record. Despite a pandemic and struggling economy, the Las Vegas housing market continues to rise and remain in demand. November 2020 saw yet another record in the median price of a single family home – $345,000 according to the local Las Vegas Realtors Association.

As in previous months, inventory remained low with under 4000 available homes for sale on the local MLS. This, coupled with interest rates remaining low, has continued to fuel demand. Homes under $350,000 are selling quickly and condominiums are also a popular option, being priced lower than single family homes. However, even condominiums are a far cry from the price point of a few years ago.

As we turn the corner into 2021, we will have to wait and see how inventory will play a role in the current upward trend of the market. Will homeowners look to sell? And how will the newly implemented eviction moratorium, which is in effect through May 2021, affect the market?

Those are questions that only time will answer. In the meantime, homeowners and landlords are excited to see significant appreciation with their properties.

As the economy twists and turns during this pandemic, the Las Vegas real estate market is seemingly immune – so far. Properties are selling at record prices and rental homes continue to be in demand for tenants while maintaining strong rental rates.

Last month (September 2020), brand new properties averaged a median sales price just over $411,000 (Home Builders Research) – a new record!  Meanwhile, the resale market in Las Vegas has continued to impress, setting another record as well. During the month of September 2020, resale homes averaged $337,250 (Las Vegas Realtors).

As in prior months, a very low interest rate contributed to the Las Vegas housing market appreciating as did a lower than normal inventory of available homes.

As of the beginning of this month, though, showings of tenant occupied homes and open houses are permitted again (previously restricted due to Governor imposed mandates – now allowed with some restrictions and safety measures), giving sellers more flexibility to sell their homes. How this will affect available inventory and price point into future months has yet to be seen. Currently, the unemployment rate in Las Vegas continues to be a concern as tourism struggles with hotels and supporting businesses seeing the effects of the pandemic. However, low interest rates appear to be here to stay at least for the foreseeable future.

How all of this will mix together is yet to be seen and no doubt, many are watching the market closely.

Managing a rental property comes with responsibilities. While many individuals aspire to own rental property and embark on the path to purchase one or more, most find that they are ill equipped to actually manage it. They don’t know how to list the home for rent, how to screen a tenant, where to obtain a lease or how to effectively manage a property. Here are 5 tips for managing a rental property:

1. KNOW WHERE TO LIST FOR RENT. While we don’t advocate one site over another, it is true that much advertising these days for rental properties occurs online. Prospective tenants may use a search engine or go to their trusted site for finding a property to rent or even buy. Some online sites have become dominant over others. Advertising on sites that do not draw interest or traffic to your property will cost you time and as a result, money. So, finding trustworthy and popular sites is key to getting the prospects you need and as a result, timely rental period.

2. TENANT SCREENING. Once you have someone interested in your property from the advertising you do, what do you do next? Do you have an application you would like for them to complete? What parameters will you use to screen them? Will you want to run credit? If so, where would you go to do that? It’s best to ask yourself these questions ahead of time and prepare well and do your research to know exactly where you will turn to once you have a prospect. And don’t forget, fair housing laws apply! So be sure not to violate those.

3. GET A LEASE. If you search for a lease online, you’ll find plenty that have been posted. However, not all leases are created equal and some may be less than desirable, without having solid provisions to protect you as a landlord. Also, keep in mind that landlord – tenant law varies from one state to another. So, using a lease from one state may not work in another. Did you know? Nevada has specific requirements for leases – specific things that must be part of a lease! Curious as to what they are? They are found in Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 118A.200 at https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-118A.html#NRS118ASec200

4. KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS. Developing a method to keep track of maintenance, expenses, income and more via, for example, a spreadsheet, will help you stay organized. You can track and see if the tenant has paid their share of utilities or maintenance. This way, when months pass, you have an easy and accurate reference tool to go back to. Be sure to keep copies of leases and other paperwork in a safe place, organized and easily accessible.

5. FOLLOW THE LAW. Real estate and property management is based on law and ethics. In Nevada, statutes are in place to protect both landlords and tenants and ensure a smooth transaction. Keep these handy and become familiar with them as many processes in the rental business are governed by them. NRS 118, 118A and 118B discuss landlord and tenant dwellings. Of course, keep in mind that additional regulations can also be imposed, such as is the case now during the COVID-19 pandemic, which must be followed. This includes fair housing laws and equal housing opportunity provisions against any and all discrimination.

Many landlords realize that managing a property can be overwhelming. That’s where licensed property managers step in. We help guide landlords everyday with their rental properties and make them a profitable and successful investment.