Thank you for reading this interview, and thank you, The Little Dollar, for providing us with some great personal finance tips!
Each week, Personal Finance Blogs features a personal finance blogger for you to learn more about who is behind the different blogs in the personal finance space.
These interviews also provide different viewpoints and tips for improving your financial situation. Check out a couple other recent interviews below, or see them all of the past blogger features here.
With “Death to America” chants and vows to “wipe Israel off the map”, the Iranian political establishment has done its best to scare away would be tourists. But don’t be afraid.
I spent four days in Shiraz, Iran’s fifth largest city. The “old town” is full of historical and religious sites.
Here are four reasons why you should go to Shiraz…
Unlike the austere Sunni mosques I’ve seen in the rest of the region, Persian mosques are covered in small mirrors, large crystal chandeliers and stained-glass windows. It’s just not what you expect to see when you walk into a mosque.
The waiters recommended I eat the “muscle” each meal, and the “muscle” was tasty. Eat the “muscle”. You may know it as otherwise known as lamb shank.
There are several gardens in Shiraz, dedicated to the famous poets of Persia. I purchased a book of poems, here are a few extracts:
“Should that fair Shirazi maid win my heart with kindness, I’d barter Samarkand and Bukhara for the mole on her face;
Give me the wine dregs, cup-bearer, for not in heaven, You will find Ruknabad’s stream or Mossala’s garden”
“Arise O-cup-bearer! Fill the cup, O dear! And give it yourself to me, fairest than dawn;
For love at first seemed an easy affair…”
Not much English is spoken in Shiraz, but those that can are chatty. They are happy to see tourists in their country, and keen to practice their English. I hired a taxi driver for a morning of sight-seeing on my final day. He loved Metallica. He’d been in Narcotics Anonymous for 13 years, and changed from a life of LSD and marijuana to a life of Espresso. He loves Espresso.
So, don’t be afraid of Iran. The culture is rich and the people are welcoming.
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A good property manager can make your life easier. You will no longer need to deal with the details of maintaining your investment properties. Instead, you can focus on other things and allow the investment you’ve made to continue bringing in a return.
It can be hard to separate the good property managers from the bad without asking questions. Let’s take a closer look at the things you should ask a property manager before hiring them.
A bad property manager can make your life more difficult. Instead of someone taking care of your investment, they might allow things to go downhill quickly. That might manifest in the form of unhappy tenants or maintenance issues that get worse over time.
It is clear that poor management can lead to a large loss for your bottom line. Since you are working so hard to build a solid real estate portfolio, you don’t want your effort to be negated by a bad property manager. That’s why is it absolutely critical to do your homework and ask many questions before making a final decision on a property manager.
Before you start to ask questions, you can narrow your search by looking at a few key features.
First, you want to see a clean copy on their rental listings and generally good reviews. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential resident. Would you jump on the apartment that had beautiful pictures and solid reviews? Or the listing with misspelled words and terrible reviews? The choice is fairly clear. You want someone that takes pride in their work.
You also want someone that is knowledgable about the area. Look at the property managers that work in the area around your investment property. If they already have several properties that they manage in the area, then they know how to successfully find tenants.
Finally, you want someone that is responsive. When you first reach out to the property manager, a quick and helpful response is ideal. You don’t want someone that takes weeks to get back to you.
When you start to narrow your search, consider asking the questions below. They can help you get a better understanding of what they have to offer.
Not all property managers are created equally.
A few services that they might offer include:
Think about the services that you want taken off of your plate. Make sure they offer exactly what you are looking for.
The size of the company might shed some light on the experience you will receive.
If you discover that they do have other units, then consider checking out those reviews. You might find that they manage their other properties well, or the exact opposite. Either way, it is a great way to find out more about the quality of their service
Find out what they will handle for you. Will they set the rent price and the tenant rules? Will they have you do your own research for the pricing of the unit? There is no right or wrong answer, just make sure you are comfortable with the arrangement.
As with any legal agreement, it is important to understand the specifics. Consult a lawyer if you are uncomfortable with anything in the contract.
The pricing model of the property manager is extremely important. When you hire a property manager, you will pay them for their services. In many cases, the fee will be based on a percentage of the rent. But this will vary widely based on the manager.
The fee will be considered an offsetting cost in your rental business, so you need to make sure that it can be comfortably accommodated by your cash flow.
The company may send you a check in the mail or set up a direct deposit. Make sure the solution works for your lifestyle.
Do you want your tenants to have access to a repairman around the clock? Or a front desk to hold their packages? Whatever you want for your tenants, find out if the company can accommodate that request.
Most rental companies allow tenants to pay their rent electronically. However, that is not always the case. It can be inconvenient and lead to problems if the property manager is only able to accept paper checks. Since it is your property, it is important to be comfortable with this.
The tenants will be living on your property, even though you aren’t onsite to manage it. With that, you may have some requirements in mind for future tenants. For example, you might prefer a higher credit score or a clean background check. Get on the same page about the screening process upfront.
Vacancies can eat into your bottom line. The sooner a vacancy can be filler, the better it is for you. Ask how long it takes to turn over the unit. If you are happy with the time frame, move onto the next question.
Since the tenants will be living in your rental unit, you might have some specific rules that you would like included in the lease. In some cases, the property manager will not allow you to alter their standard lease agreement. Read over the lease and confirm that you are comfortable before moving on.
Think about how often you’d like an update on your investment property. See if it is possible to set up a regular schedule for check-ins that suit your needs.
You want a company that is prepared to handle your investment property in an appropriate way. Without proper licensing and insurance, you could run into legal problems down the line.
A property manager can help you enjoy the benefits of a real estate portfolio with less hands-on work. If you are ready to hire a property manager, be thorough in your search. Upfront research can save you time and money in the future.