Property Management

Maximize Profits By Keeping It Simple

Finding Success in Real Estate by Keeping it Simple

The success in renting your investment property, can depend on your commitment to keeping it simple. Every home and its rental agreement has a lot of factors and variables that you must manage. Many of these variables you can remove or mitigate in order to reduce complications and expenses. Keeping it simple means less work on your part and less problems that can arise. At the end of the video you will learn the investor’s secret for which type of rental you should buy in order to keep it simple.

First of all, not everything that wears out or breaks needs to be replaced. One example is a screen door. It’s nice for tenants to have but I find it is something that frequently breaks or wears out quickly, and it is not something that prospective tenants typically consider necessary in their search for a home. If you are in-between tenants and the screen door is showing signs of wear, just remove it and don’t replace it. Other similar examples include door handles on the fridge, curtains, reverse osmosis systems or water filters, and security systems. I recommend removing these items rather than replacing them. I find that neither having or NOT having any of these items affects your ability to get great tenants quickly.

Something that can save you a lot of money is to NOT provide a washer or dryer. More than half the time, renters already have their own, and if that is the case, you will have to deal with having yours removed and stored. If something IS provided when the tenant moves in, they may argue with you that they expect it to be replaced when it wears out because it was one of the things that “drew them to the house:” However, even if a tenant is living there and it breaks, you are not required to replace it if it doesn’t affect “safe and acceptable living conditions.” I highly recommend avoiding a potential argument by making the tenant aware from the beginning, and make it clear in the lease, that the washer and dryer will NOT be replaced or fixed if they break down and the tenant will be responsible to buy their own. However, kitchen appliances like the stove, oven, fridge, dishwasher, and a microwave, if it is built in, will be the owners responsibility to provide.

If you are looking to keep things simple and as complication-free as possible, it is best to avoid swamp coolers. I highly recommend only purchasing investment properties with central air or at least move towards switching it over to central air as soon as you can. Swamp coolers require another level of maintenance and potential risks that can cost a lot of money. It also affects how appealing your rental is for potential tenants.

Lawn care is something that can quickly cause headaches if it is not kept simple. Your tenants are unlikely to care for the yard in the same way that you would your own home and you certainly don’t want the expense of providing yard care for them. Avoid a lot of flower beds, shrubs, fruit trees or garden plots that will need pruning and weeding. Grass from house to curb is the best. If all a tenant needs to do is mow, then it will more likely get done and the yard will stay nice. Make sure that the lease agreement includes that tenant’s are responsible for lawn care. You will also find that most tenant’s don’t have a problem getting their own lawnmower and that is much better than the landlord providing it, servicing it, repairing it and inevitably replacing it.

In addition to providing tenants with only the basics, you will also want to incorporate some additional procedures and practices that will keep things simple and running smoothly.

For example, when carpet needs to be replaced or the walls need to be painted, evaluate whether it is time for other upgrades or repairs. In addition to paint and carpet, this can include updating fixtures, replacing baseboards, or taking care of minor wall repair. Often doing these things at the same time reduces labor cost and vacancy time. It’s easiest to schedule these to be done right after a tenant moves out. It is standard to include in the lease agreement that tenants give you a 30 day notice before moving, so if you call the needed service providers right away, this should give them enough time to schedule repairs for the day after the tenant moves out. For more details on saving money and keeping improvements simple, see our video, 10 Best Improvements to Make on a Rental Property.

An excellent practice to keep it simple is to encourage your tenants to communicate with you via text or email, and then save those communications for future reference. This gives you a written history of what you have discussed so there are no misunderstandings. This practice has saved me a lot of trouble. When you can provide a tenant with proof of the exact details of your discussions, there is very little to argue about.

You can also avoid stressful arguments by keeping the lease agreement simple and straightforward. Avoid nit picking everything you want or do not want the tenant to do. For example, I often have owners that want to list specific things the tenant will be responsible for if they cause damage. For example: If they break a sprinkler head, a window, ruin the carpet, and such things. Rather, a lease can simply say that the tenant is responsible for any damages that they cause. One owner even wanted to require tenants to remove their shoes when entering the home. These kind of things can make it hard to enforce the lease and lead to unnecessary confusion and arguments. If your lease agreement is overly complicated and packed with every perceivable situation then a judge may frown on it when they are reviewing a conflict between you and your tenant. For specific wording and details it is best to consult with an attorney who is an expert in landlord/tenant law when writing your lease.

Above all, the best way to keep it simple is to find the right tenant. Proper screening that includes background, income, and credit checks will reduce the likelihood of problems down the road. To learn more on this subject see our video Top 7 Red Flags When Screening Tenants. See the link in the comments below.

So what kind of rental property does a wise real estate investor buy in order to keep it simple? Usually condos and townhomes have less variables to deal with and provide a more stable investment. For more information on this see our video, What Type of Rental Property Should I Buy? A link is in the comments below.

If you found this video helpful please like it and subscribe. You can also find more short videos and helpful landlord tips by visiting our website

At Kasteel Property Management we do more than just watch your rental property. We protect it, cultivate it, and help your investment grow.

Property Management

Top 6 Ways a DIY Landlord May Lose Money


DIY can be a great way to be independent, learn new skills, and often times it saves you money.  There are a lot of people taking the DIY approach as a landlord.  If a person has the time and resources to follow best practices, it can be a rewarding experience.  However, the majority of owners don’t have the time or resources to implement the practices that will help them maximize the profits on their investment property.  In these situations I often see that a DIY landlord has lost thousands of dollars, and often they aren’t even aware of it.  In this video you will learn the most common ways a DIY landlord costs themselves money.
Here are the Top 6 Ways a DIY Landlord May Lose Money or another way of thinking about it is the Top 6 Ways a Landlord Saves Money by Hiring the Right Property Manager:
  1. Delays in getting vacancies filled.  A DIY landlord has other responsibilities such as their full time job, family, home, and enjoying the things that matter most in life.  Sometimes an upcoming vacancy doesn’t get advertised right away causing it to sit empty longer than it should.  Most of the time, at Kasteel Property Management, we can have tenants lined up to move in right after the current tenants move out.  One month of lost rent is almost equal to an entire years worth of management fees.  Property management will pay for itself in just this one aspect.
  2. Poor tenant screening.  Most DIY landlords do not have access to all the tools a good property management company has for screening.  Approving an application that a property manager would have denied, may cost a DIY landlord thousands of dollars in damages, lost rent, eviction costs, and collection costs.  See our video “Best Practices to Screen Tenants” to learn about the resources we have for screening.  You can also see our video “Top 7 Red Flags to Watch For When Screening Tenants” for more helpful information.
  3. Putting off inspections.  As a DIY landlord, your investment property isn’t your daily or even monthly focus, especially when the rent is always coming in and no problems have come up.  This can lead to putting off inspections.  Sometimes inspections can feel awkward and a landlord would rather just trust the tenants and hope for the best.  However, regular and consistent inspections are critical in order to find and resolve issues before they become bigger problems.  If the home is being mistreated, you want to get that situation resolved right away rather than allow it go on for several more months or years.
  4. The most obvious is low rent.  Almost every time I take over managing from a DIY landlord the rents have been below market value.  Sometimes this is because the DIY landlord doesn’t have his or her eye on the market the same way a property manager does, and other times it is just hard to raise the rent on someone when you are the owner and interact with them personally.  Either way, a property manager has their eye on the changing market rate for rents and as a third party they can raise rent without it feeling personal.  One situation I had was a new client of mine that had been a DIY landlord.  He had 6 units and all of them were at least $200 too low.  After taking over I was able to increase his combined rents by $1200 every month.  Even with my management fees we was making more money than he was doing it himself.
  5. Opportunity Cost.  As a DIY landlord you can only fit so many things into a day.  Your time may be maxed out with only one or two properties.  If you didn’t have to worry about the time needed to manage them, you may be able to get several more.  Over time this can be a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars in appreciation and profits.  On the flip side of that, I’ve heard many stories from DIY landlords that say they used to have a rental property but it became too frustrating to take care of, so they sold it.  They usually say they had an experience with a bad tenant that kept them awake at night and it cost them a lot of money.  This is always sad to me when the property they sold had likely appreciated tens of thousands of dollars from when they sold it and it is still appreciating in value.  They lost out on all that appreciation because of the hassle and stress involved, that I on the other-hand could have alleviated for them.
  6. Unnecessary services and equipment provided.  DIY landlords may think they need to provide things that in that local market or for that type of home is not necessary.  For example should you provide a lawnmower or lawn care? A refrigerator? A washer and dryer?  What maintenance should a landlord take care of?  What about air filters?  All of these questions would be known by a good property manager and having the right answer can save the property owner thousands of dollars.
There are many other ways the right property manager will save a DIY landlord money.  For more examples see our other video resources for landlords at
It’s also important to know that not all property managers are equal. Just as a DIY landlord can lose money, a poorly run management company or an inexperienced property manager can cause just as many problems and loses.  For help in hiring a competent property manager see our video “Top 5 Important Questions and Answers When Hiring a Property Manager.”
If you found this video helpful please like it and subscribe.  You can also find more short videos and helpful landlord tips by visiting our website
At Kasteel Property Management we do more than just watch your rental property.  We protect it, cultivate it, and help your investment grow.
Property Management

Top 7 Problems When Renting Out Individual Rooms

Often landlords are looking for ways to maximize the rental income from their investment properties.   One common practice, especially in college towns, is to rent out individual rooms to single adults.  The hope, is that the accumulation of individual rents would add up to more income than what you would get when renting out the whole home on one lease.  Although this might sound like a great idea, there are several reasons this can cause you a lot of trouble.  I’ll go over the top 7 problems you can run into when renting out individual rooms.  You don’t want to miss the last two.

To examine, let’s imagine a fictional character named “Joe the landlord”.  Joe the Landlord has a 5 bedroom home and rents it out to five individual female adults, with 5 individual contracts.  Things start out great for Joe the Landlord but he quickly runs into some issues.

In order of smallest problem to biggest problem, here are Joe the Landlord’s top 7 problems that resulted from renting out individual rooms:

  1. Joe’s phone was always ringing because generally his tenants were young and inexperienced and in the middle of a lot of life changes.  As a result, someone was always needing to move and sell their lease to someone else or swap rooms.  Oftentimes parents of the tenants would call as well to discuss or negotiate something.  The phone calls never seemed to end.
  2. To attract his target market Joe the Landlord had to furnish the home.  Not only was this expensive but it exposed him to more maintenance and upkeep costs.
  3. During an inspection, Joe the Landlord discovered a broken cabinet in the kitchen, a rip in the couch, and a broken towel rack in the bathroom.  When he asked about them, none of the tenants fessed up to the damage.  With individual leases for each bedroom, the rest of the house was considered “common area” and without evidence or someone claiming responsibility, the repair costs fell on Joe.  Had the tenants all been on the same lease, he could have held them all equally responsible.
  4. When a vacant room came up, Joe the Landlord started advertising that a woman’s contract was available because all of the other tenants were also women.  Joe was soon contacted by an attorney that told Joe he was being sued because Joe’s advertisement discriminated against the attorney’s client that was a male.
  5. After changing his advertising so it didn’t specify the sex of the tenant, a 40-year old man applied.  The applicant did not have any credit or background problems so Joe had to approve him.  Joe the Landlord quickly had a lot of complaints from the four young women that were already living there and then his phone really blew up when the parents of those tenants started calling him.
  6. The city contacted Joe because neighbors were complaining about all the cars parked in the street.  Joe discovered he was violating city zoning laws by allowing so many unrelated, single adults to live in his rental.  He was now facing fines and legal action from the city.
  7. Joe the Landlord received a letter in the mail informing him that he was being investigated by Federal Fair Housing because the attorney suing him had reported him for discriminating against a protected class of people in the case of advertising a women’s only contract.

This may seem like an extreme scenario with Joe the Landlord, but every one of these problems are very real and really do happen.  Had Joe watched our video about Federal Fair Housing Laws, see the shared link, or hired a competent property manager, he would have been able to save himself a lot of grief and expense.  For your own property management needs, and to avoid the fate of Joe the Landlord, contact Kasteel Property Management today.

If you found this video helpful please like it and subscribe.  You can also find more short videos and helpful landlord tips by visiting our website

At Kasteel Property Management we do more than just watch your rental property.  We protect it, cultivate it, and help your investment grow.

Property Management

Is Your Plan the Best Plan to Accomplish Your Real Estate Goals?


Real Estate is a fantastic way to diversify your investments and create financial security for a stable retirement.  Establishing a plan is important for accomplishing those goals.  In doing this, you need to be careful that your plan does not become more important than your goal.  I’ll give you several examples of what I mean by this and how it can be easy to put hard work and money into efforts that don’t produce the level of financial success that was in your goal.  It’s easy to slip into these subtle mistakes, so make sure you pay attention to each example that I give.

A common plan is to rent out your current home when you decide to move rather than selling it.  This can be a great plan to reach your goal, but in some circumstances it may not.  Owning a rental is always a good idea, but stop and ask yourself if this particular home is the most profitable as a rental or whether a different one would be better. Simply because you already own the home does not always mean it should also be the investment property you want.  In many circumstances, you may be better off selling it in exchange for something that will be a more profitable rental.  See our video, What Type of Rental Property Should I Buy for a better understanding of what makes a good rental property. .  I have heard people say they want to keep their home as a rental so they can avoid paying taxes on the capital gains.  However, this can be avoided through a 1031 tax exchange when you sell one investment property and take the profit directly into the purchase of a different investment property. (See our future video on 1031 exchanges)

Just as a thriving company can go out of business because they won’t adapt to a changing market, your real estate is the same.  You need to be willing to adjust and change so that your goal stays more important than your plan.  To keep this focus you may need to clearly define what your goal is and even write it down.

Sometimes we fall in love with a particular house or plan to the extent that we are willing to go to great lengths to stick with that specific property or plan, when in reality there may be better, more profitable options out there.  For example, lets imagine you own an older home that needs landscaping, a sprinkler system, has a partially finished or functional basement, an outdated kitchen, or faded siding.  Or maybe it doesn’t have the problems of an older home, but the yard is really big or complicated.  It has difficult neighbors or is in a rough neighborhood, or it’s in a remote location.  There are many reasons a particular property may not be the best investment in the long-run.  The important thing is to remember what your goal is and to let your plan change, as needed, to best accomplish your goal.

I’ve seen real estate investors that have been dreaming of moving out of their home and turning it into a rental property for so long that they are unwilling to consider any alternative courses of action.  Even when the home has a long list of things that need to get fixed, updated, changed, or improved upon that will cost tens and tens of thousands of dollars and take many years to accomplish.  There isn’t anything wrong with owning or buying a home like this to live in if a person’s goal is something like being closer to family or having a project to work on, or getting more square footage for a growing family that they otherwise couldn’t afford.  However, if our goal is to maximize our profits in the real estate market, this would not make a good investment as a rental property.

Another common situation is inheriting a home and wanting to keep that home as a rental.  Again, having a rental property is always a great idea but you need to ask yourself, is your goal to keep that specific home or is your goal to have a successful investment property.  Either goal is a great goal but if your goal is the latter you should ask yourself if your inheritance could be used better by selling that home and using those funds to purchase something that will perform better as a rental property.

Also, sometimes circumstances can change and what was a good plan, now needs to be adjusted to stay on track with your goals.  Maybe the property is getting older or the community is changing, HOA rules can change, markets can change, etc.  If you aren’t willing to also change and update your plan as needed, you will have a much harder time accomplishing your financial goals.

You can find financial freedom and success in real estate if it’s done right.  Define your goals, stay focused on them, make plans, and change plans as needed to reach those goals.

If you found this video helpful please like it and subscribe.  You can also find more short videos and helpful landlord tips by visiting our website

At Kasteel Property Management we do more than just watch your rental property.  We protect it, cultivate it, and help your investment grow.

Property Management

Is it a Good Time to Buy an Investment Property?

With home prices and interest rates going up people are often asking if they should wait to buy investment properties until it’s a better time to buy.  My good friend Peter Skaggs with Innovative Mortgage took on this question and put together a presentation that clearly and  expertly answers it better than I’ve ever seen anyone answer it before.  When I saw the value of his presentation I asked him if I could share it on my website.  He graciously agreed and put together the following video.


Wow. Thank you Peter.  What an amazing and valuable presentation of information.  I’ve always been impressed with Peter’s knowledge of the real estate industry and his desire to share that knowledge with others. 

I think a couple of the most eye opening things Peter teaches in this video is how even when a rental property has a negative cashflow it will still out perform other investments.  I really loved that he showed how expensive waiting until “the perfect time”, to buy Real Estate can be.

On Peter’s website,, you will be able to learn not only about real estate investing and mortgages but also the ins and outs of life style assets.  Something very few people truly understand.

If you found this video helpful please like it and subscribe.  You can also find more helpful landlord tips by visiting our website

At Kasteel Property Management we do more than just watch your rental property.  We protect it, cultivate it, and help your investment grow.



Property Management

5 Ways You Might be Violating Fair Housing Laws and Not Know It

You are a good person and treat everyone fairly.  Therefore, you don’t need to worry about breaking Federal Fair Housing laws.  Right??  Maybe, but you will be surprised how a decision or policy can unintentionally affect a protected group of people in a negative way. As a rental property owner, consider the following:

Federal Fair Housing prohibits discrimination based on: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.  You should also be aware as to whether or not your state has some additional protected groups.  This law seems pretty straight forward and I believe that, for the most part, people do not want to unfairly discriminate.  However, let me give you some examples of where one can unintentionally get yourself into trouble.

Example #1: A tenant is late with their rent.  Their ecclesiastical leader calls and offers to pay their rent but not the late fees and asks if you‘ll waive them. This can really pull at your heart strings and you might want to say yes.  However, consider how this could be perceived.  You would be making exceptions for people of a certain religion.  Now imagine how much worse it looks if they also happen to belong to the same religion that you do.  Then you would be making special exceptions for people that worship the same as you.  Ouch – Not a good idea.

Example #2: If you have a listing that says “No animals allowed, no exceptions” you may be discriminating against those with a disability that need a service animal or emotional support animal.  It is important to be aware and distinguish between pets and service animals.

Example #3: You receive a text message regarding a vacancy that is written in Spanish, but unfortunately, you don’t know Spanish. You write back and explain that you only speak English, so you can only rent to those that speak English.  Your response may only reflect your concerns regarding the logistics of communication, and your ability to provide good service, but that text just discriminated against the national origins of some people.

Example #4: When working to fill a vacancy, people will often collect several applications and then carefully look through them to pick the one they like best.  This might seem like a good idea, but the problem with this practice is that it can create a lot of variations in your approval process.  This lack of consistency can lead to a strong argument for discrimination against a protected group.  It’s best to screen applications in the order they come in.  Based on your written criteria, they are either approved and given a chance to sign up or they are denied and you move on to the next one.  This will make you much more consistent rather than picking and choosing your “favorite”.

Example #5: You rent out individual rooms in your townhome to college age single women.  One of the tenants is moving out, so you advertise Women’s Contract Available.  Fair Housing laws say this would be discrimination based on sex.

The best course of action you can take is to:

1) Be aware of the laws and choose your words and policies carefully to avoid unintended discrimination of protected groups.  You should consult an attorney or hire a competent property manager.

See our video, “Questions to Ask When Hiring a Property Manager

2) Keep it simple.  Always stick to the lease no matter who the person is or their circumstance.

3) You should have your policies written down and follow them to make sure everyone is treated the same.

Keeping these things in mind, my tenant screening criteria centers around three main questions that I want to answer:

1) Are they likely to pay the rent on time?

2) Are they likely to take proper care of the property?

3) Is it likely they will be good to work with?

To learn how I answer these questions fairly and without discrimination, you can see our other videos shared in the description below.  If applicants will meet those standards, and I apply those same standards to all people, then whether they are in a protected group or not won’t be a concern.

If you found this video helpful please like it and subscribe.  You can also find more helpful landlord tips by visiting our website

At Kasteel Property Management we do more than just watch your rental property.  We protect it, cultivate it, and help your investment grow.



Property Management

What Should I Charge for Rent???


Property Management

How to Send a Tenant to Collections

As a property owner, you did everything right. You checked credit, background, landlord references, and income; so why did the tenant end-up being terrible?  Proper screening and avoiding the top red flags we’ve shared in previous videos, will drastically improve your odds of getting a great tenant.  However, when working with people there is never a guarantee that you won’t still have problems. You may have a tenant that lost their job, had unexpected medical expenses, death in the family, a sickness, or they just turned out to be unreliable and difficult to work with despite doing a thorough screening of their application.  Most of the time people take responsibility for getting back on track with their bills or they move out of the rental and into a living situation they can better afford.  Unfortunately some people walk away from their financial obligations and the owner suffers. Whatever the case, it’s important to move on the issue quickly in order to limit financial loss.  Usually this means sending a tenant’s bill to collections.  If in the unfortunate circumstances an eviction is required, you can see our other video and blog post about how to handle an eviction by following the link in the comments section below.

Lets fast forward to the point where a difficult tenant has left or has been required to vacate the property and you’ve processed their deposit. You can learn the correct way to process a security deposit in our video “Top 6 Common Mistakes Landlords Make When Handling a Tenant’s Security Deposit”.  After using the tenant’s security deposit to cover expenses they have incurred, you will often find in these situations that the tenant still owes you money.  You will need to send them a bill informing them that unpaid bills have been sent to collections.  Now what do you do?

Schedule a reminder 30 days from the time you sent them the bill to send them to collections if they haven’t paid by then. At Kasteel Property Management we make it easy for tenants to make payments in their online portal that they can access with an app on their phone.  If the 30 days comes and goes without payment, you will need to prepare the following documents for the collections agency.

The Lease

Tenant’s Ledger

Security Deposit Statement Letter

Invoices for each charge on the security deposit

Tenant’s Rental Application

Pertinent video or pictures

Any other pertinent information or communications

You will want a good attorney or collection firm.  Our attorney handles all our collection needs.  Having been in the industry for many decades and specializing in landlord tenant law, they have all the resources and tactics that give them the best chance of collecting.

At this point do not interfere or get involved with the tenants anymore.  Leave that completely in the hands of the attorney or collection firm.  If the tenant contacts you, do not engage in conversation and do not allow them to make payments to you.  This compromises and complicates the collection process. Direct them to the attorney to handle all their needs and payments.  How long should you expect to wait before money is collected?  It’s hard to say.  Every case is different.  It could be a few days, it could be a few years, and it’s possible it will never get collected.  The best thing to do at this point is to put it out of your mind.  Trust the collection efforts that are being made and move on.  When in the fortunate circumstances that it is collected, it will be a welcome surprise.

You can find more valuable landlord tips like these by watching our other videos and by subscribing to our channel.

At Kasteel Property Management we do more than just watch your rental property. We protect it, cultivate it, and help your investment grow.


Property Management

Top 6 Common Mistakes Landlords Make When Handling a Tenant’s Security Deposit

In this video you will learn the top 6 common mistakes landlords make when handling a tenant’s security deposit. You can find yourself in a lot of trouble if the deposit isn’t properly used so make sure you catch each one of these tips. 

  1. Collect the right amount for a deposit. A security deposit is all about risk management. Typically an amount equal to one month’s rent is sufficient. Sometimes a particular applicant will be a higher risk than the average person, because of credit or income for example. A double deposit might be necessary to bring the risk down to an acceptable level.  If the risk is still to high with a double deposit then deny their application and move on to the next one. See our video on tenant screening in the comments section below to learn more about screening applicants. 
  2. The deposit must be completely paid when signing the lease. Never let someone pay the deposit over time. By doing so their risk level just went up and your risk coverage just went down. When someone asks if they can pay it over time or sometime later after signing the lease, this should tell you they can’t afford to live there. Simply tell them that is the conclusion you have come to based on their request and move on to another application. 
  3. Do not let the tenant use the deposit to pay rent or other charges. Eventually this may happen AFTER they move out but the deposit is not to be used while the tenant is living in the property. By doing so your risk level would go up because you don’t have the risk protection you had before. Even on their last month they still need to pay rent. If they don’t they should be charged a late fee as usual. The deposit is not to be used on their terms. You don’t want to give up the deposit until after they have moved out and you’ve determined the condition of the property and the status of their account. 
  4. After the tenant moves out wait as long as possible before processing the deposit. You have to process it and return the balance eventually but wait the maximum amount of time you are allowed. Each state may have different laws, but in Utah, the tenant must receive an accounting for the deposit and, if applicable, the return of money within 30 days.  The reason for waiting as long as possible is that sometimes issues are discovered after the initial move out inspection. For example, a clogged bathtub or unpaid utilities. If you rushed to return their deposit early you may be stuck paying these bills yourself. 
  5. Do the math. Often landlords think they can just keep a deposit because of some issue or damage. That may be true and it may not be true. Do the math to find out. You need to determine the actual financial damages. Either there is a balance owed or a balance to return. To determine actual financial damages you will need to calculate losses based on actual invoices, repair bids, and determining the depreciated value of damaged items.  Be fair. Don’t over charge.  Make sure you can back up each item you are charging them for.  Let the math determine if there is money to return or if you need to send them a bill. 
  6. Provide the tenant with a statement. They should be able to see exactly how much was taken out of their deposit and what it was for. Itemize as much as reasonably possible. For example, if you were charged $500 for a handyman to fix a list of repairs simply list those repairs on the statement and put $500 next to the list. You don’t need each repair itemized if you weren’t billed that way. 

You can find more valuable landlord tips like these by watching our other videos and by subscribing to our channel. 

At Kasteel Property Management we do more than just watch your rental property. We Protect it, cultivate it, and help your investment grow. 


Property Management

10 Best Improvements to Make on a Rental Property


In this video you will learn the 10 best improvements you can make to your investor rental property that will give you the biggest bang for your buck to keep your vacancy times low and your rents high.  You won’t want to miss the common misconceptions and mistakes people make so make sure you stay until the end.

  1. Use the right carpet.  When replacing carpet, some owners take the approach of either getting something cheap because they assume tenants will destroy it, or installing industrial office carpet that will last, as they say, “30 years or more”.  Both of these approaches assume that you will be renting to terrible tenants; unfortunately it then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  This is because the average person wouldn’t want cheap or uncomfortable carpet in their home, so quality tenants will not want to live there.  By assuming the worst of your tenants, you are actually attracting the worst kind of tenants.  These are tenants who don’t really care about their surroundings and will likely not care properly for the home as well, thus costing you more money.  Ask yourself, what would you want in your home?  You don’t need the most expensive carpet and you don’t want the cheapest, but get something mid-priced that is nice.  Then make sure you do a thorough screening of your applicants to find the right tenant that will care for your property.  You can learn more about that in our videos regarding proper screening and common red flags.  See previous blog posts.
  2. Fresh paint when needed.  Re-painting is an expensive maintenance cost and so you only want to do it when necessary, but don’t push if off too long or you won’t attract quality tenants.  Certainly don’t paint after every tenant moves.  Too many coats of paint can become ugly over time and it’s an unnecessary expense.  Instead, think ahead by deciding, after each move out, if the property will need to be repainted after the next round of tenants. Then make a note of it so you can get painting scheduled as soon as you learn the tenants will be moving.  Scheduling it in advance will help avoid excessive vacancy time.  Be aware that if you have one of those properties that has high turn over, it will probably need to be painted more often than if the same tenants live there for several years.  If possible try to coordinate painting to be at the same time you replace the carpet.  The labor costs of painting may be less expensive if they don’t need to tape off the carpet.  Bring it up with your painters when getting a quote.  Also, avoid flat paint. Something like semi-gloss cleans easier and is easier to match when a repair is needed.
  3. Kitchen cabinets.  The kitchen is one of the most important things to prospective tenants.  So when painting, also consider painting your kitchen cabinets.  It’s surprising the new life it gives to a kitchen that otherwise looks like it needs an expensive overhaul.
  4. Update light fixtures, door handles, doors, outlet covers, and light switch covers.  This is often overlooked, but can dramatically change the way a home feels and can quickly update it.  You can also save money by doing this at the same time the home is getting painted.  When painting, all those fixtures are taken down and then put back up after the painting is done.  You can save labor costs by taking the opportunity to update them at the same time that you paint.  Just talk to your painter about it before they get started.
  5. Fully fenced backyard.  Sometimes a backyard can become fully fenced with only a little bit of fencing to close off the side yards.  This creates a lot of appeal, especially for a home that is most likely to attract young families.  A fenced yard is always an important feature to advertise when you can.
  6. A low maintenance yard.  Keep it simple.  If the yard is not too complicated, it can often be the responsibility of the tenants, which will save you money.  A yard with a garden or lots of flower beds and shrubs that tenants are expected to maintain, will decrease your potential tenant pool making it harder to get it filled, or you will have the problem of tenants not keeping up on it and then it will require an overhaul before you can rent it again. Therefore trees, bushes, flowers, and gardens should be minimal and avoided if possible.
  7. Avoid exterior wood.  Wood fencing and decks are expensive to maintain and need repairs more often than synthetic material.  Material like Vinyl and Trek may be more expensive upfront but will save you money over time.  For a rental property you want to keep things low maintenance.
  8. Don’t use cheep materials, especially when you hire out the labor for your maintenance repairs.  Labor is usually more expensive than materials and if you are using cheep materials, it will break down and you will be paying those labor costs again.  This can be applied to light fixtures, door handles, plumbing fixtures, flooring, appliances, and just about everything else.  Remember, if the cost concerns you because you don’t want to pay for expensive things that will then be destroyed by tenants, Pause for graphic then you may need to work on your application screening process, rather than going with cheep repairs.  As mentioned previously, watch our videos Best Practices to Screen Tenants and Top 7 Red Flags When Screening Tenants.  See previous blog posts.
  9. Central Air rather than a swamp cooler or radiant heat is important to a lot of prospective tenants.  People will very often pass on a property that does not have central air.
  10. Updated windows.  Old windows is one of those subtle things that really detract from the feel of a home.  If your windows have old metal frames or are fogged up between the double panes, then it may be time to replace them.  Modern windows brighten up the home and help people feel like the home has been well taken care of.


Some of the 10 items mentioned are just part of regular maintenance and others are more applicable for older homes that need to be updated.  It’s important to consider both these things not only for rental properties you already own but also for ones you are considering to buy.  For additional tips on this subject see our video What Type of Rental Property Should I Buy? And please subscribe.

At Kasteel Property Management we do more than just watch your rental property.  We protect it, cultivate it, and help your investment grow.