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Top HOA Violations You Need to Avoid

Top HOA Violations You Need to Avoid

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If you’re renting or buying a home in a community governed by an association, it is important to know the top HOA violations you need to avoid.

Moving to a new home is always an exciting adventure. You find the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood. You make plans to make it your own, and dream of the future. However, if that neighborhood comes with a Homeowners Agreement, (HOA), there might be some conditions or restrictions that you should know about before you sign on the dotted line.
Top HOA Violations You Need to Avoid

Vehicle & Traffic Violations

Speeding or reckless driving, especially in a residential neighborhood, is never a good thing. An HOA may choose to have its own regulations and fines for violations. Typically, HOAs prohibit parking a commercial vehicle, recreational vehicle, or a boat in front of your house. As a result, owners may face the expense of having that vehicle towed.

Yard & Garden Restrictions

Keeping up with weeds can be a full time job, but some HOAs require homeowners to keep gardens weed free. In addition, an HOA may address pruning, mowing, and even the types of plants and trees allowed in the front yard.

Trash & Recycling Requirements

Often there are time limits for trash bins to be visible or on the street. Having the bins out too early or left out too late can result in fines from the HOA. Trash containers should be stored in the garage. So, to avoid unnecessary fines, don’t leave them out in driveways or on the side of the house.

Top HOA Violations You Need to Avoid with Your Pets

For everyone’s safety, it is important to walk your dog on a leash and only in the designated areas. It is also essential to clean up after your pet and properly dispose of waste. Some HOAs have restrictions on the size of a pet (usually a dog) that they allow. Invest in training so that your precious pet doesn’t bark and create a noise nuisance that your neighbors will object to. It would be horrible to have to choose between your home and your pet.

Holiday Decor Restrictions

Many associations have restrictions on the timeliness and types of holiday decorations. These usually pertain to flashing lights or music that might annoy neighbors. Leaving decorations up too long also creates problems. Thirty days before and thirty days after is a reasonable time to celebrate a season.

According to the Community Associations Institute, more than 69 million Americans live in community associations. If you are considering renting or buying a home in a neighborhood governed by a community association, be sure to read the fine print. Familiarize yourself with the “CCRs”, the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions laid out in the HOA. If you know the rules, you can abide by them and save yourself the inconvenience of receiving an unpleasant letter or fine.

At Vineyard Property Management, our trained experts can advise and explain the HOA violations you need to avoid at any of our properties. Contact us today for more information.

Tax Advantages of Owning a Rental Property

What Are the Tax Advantages of Owning a Rental Property

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Do you know about the most popular tax advantages of owning a rental property? As it turns out, being a landlord works in your favor come tax season. Sure, buying a home is a considerable investment. But, if you can make money off of that investment, you’ll see an even bigger return when your taxes are due. Don’t forget to ask your tax advisor about these deductions the next time you file.

Tax Advantages of Owning a Rental PropertyMortgage Interest

If you have a mortgage on your property, you’re paying a hefty amount in interest every month. The good news is that you’ll most likely be able to deduct this amount from your taxes. Why is that? Since you are operating the property as a business, it counts as a business expense. Be sure to save your Form 1098 at the end of the year, so you know how much interest you paid. Your tax advisor will help you claim this deduction on the correct tax line.

Property Depreciation

You can deduct the purchase price of your property from your taxes. Be careful when you do this, however. You can’t claim the entire amount at once. Instead, the value depreciates over 27.5 years. The longer you own the rental property, the more money you’ll get back in return. Even if the market value of your home goes up, the depreciation amount will stay the same.

Repair Deductions

As a landlord, it’s up to you to provide your tenants with a property that is in good condition. To do this, you’ll inevitably need to make a few repairs or upgrades throughout the year. While maintenance costs come out of your pocket, you can deduct these expenses from your taxes. Some common repair expenses include buying new lightbulbs, replacing a broken window, or fixing the stove.

However, you cannot deduct all maintenance costs this easily. Some more substantial expenses, such as replacing the roof, count as a capital improvement. These get depreciated over time. Once again, a tax expert can help you determine which repairs fall under which category.

Administrative Costs

Being a landlord is a business. Whether you do it full-time or not, you can still deduct any administrative costs from your taxes. These may include travel, advertising, or office expenses. If you work from home, you can even claim a home office. Be aware, however, taking the home office deduction may trigger an audit. Always keep receipts and records to validate your expenses. And, make sure to consult with a tax advisor when filing.

Make Sure Your Rental Stays Occupied

Of course, these deductions mean nothing if your property is vacant. That’s why you need to make sure you keep it occupied with reliable tenants. Vineyard Property Management can help you do just that. We offer many property management services, including leasing, accounting, and maintenance. We know how to find and keep trustworthy tenants! If the tax advantages of owning a rental property caught your attention, then connect with us online to quickly fill your rental vacancy.

Tips for Renting a House

4 Tips for Renting a House Through a Property Management Company

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Tips for Renting a HouseA lot of property owners have considered renting a house through a property management company. However, most hesitate to follow through. It can be overwhelming to try to find the right fit with a company that will manage your rental home and has your best interests in mind. Instead of doing a Google search and picking the first in the results, there’s a better way. A little research will go a long way to a good working relationship and better return on your investment. Take a look at these four tips for renting a house and for using a management company:

Tip #1: Take a Look at Their Experience

Look for a company with experience. You want someone who knows the area and who understands the market. Consider how long they’ve been in business and what types of clients they’ve had. Ask potential candidates for examples of properties similar to yours and their success rate with them. Treat this as if it were an interview and they’re the job candidate. Because they are. Their experience matters.

Tip #2: Consider the Tech They Use

It’s important for property management companies to use technology that makes your tenants’ lives easier and that makes your life easier. They should have online portals for making and receiving payments and the ability to send and receive electronic invoices. It’s a huge benefit if you can log in and see any maintenance requests, billing history, and a record of issues, should there be any. Don’t settle for a company that isn’t willing to bring their business up to speed with the latest technology. It will only become a burden in the long run.

Tip #3: Get Referrals

Sometimes the best place to find the top companies is by talking to people you know. Talk to your friends and see if they have any stories, positive or negative, from working with a property manager. Ask a real estate agent you know or work with; they’re an excellent resource for this type of service. And ask for tenant information so you can talk to them directly for feedback. Get several referrals from different sources to weed out any biased opinions. If you find someone who is happy with a company, ask them what they like about them, what they don’t like, and then get the company or contact info and give them a call.

Tip #4: Look at Their Marketing

One of the best sources of information is their current work. Take a look at their current ads for other house rentals. Does it look professional? Is it appealing and compelling? Do they advertise in multiple locations or do they stick to one platform? Make sure their marketing strategies are in line with your expectations.

Before you hire someone to represent you and take care of your rental property, make sure you do your due diligence. Talk to the professional team at Vineyard Property Management for more tips for renting a house.

hiring the best property management team

Top 3 Secrets to Hiring the Best Property Management Team for Your Rental Property

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hiring the best property management teamWhen it’s time to hire a property management team for your rental property, there are some important considerations to make. After all, the team you choose can make or break your property’s profitability and long-term success. Check out these three insider secrets from the property management experts to ensure you are hiring the best property management team to give you results.

#1: Make Sure the “Team” Is Actually a Team

Many property owners don’t realize that some property management companies may actually be one person—not a team of professionals. One or two people simply can’t provide the high level of attention and range of services your rental property must have to operate optimally. So, first of all, take a close look at the company before you hire to find out how many people they have on staff and how many professionals will be working to provide your property management services.

#2: Ask the Right Questions

As you search for a property management team, take the time to interview each candidate and ask the right questions. By getting all of the information you can about the team up front, you can avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. Plus, asking questions will give you valuable knowledge about the team’s experience, processes, and track record.

Here’s a list of must-ask questions to get you started:

  • What is your team’s process for screening rental property applicants?
  • How many rental properties are you currently managing?
  • How many people are on your property management team?
  • What is the process you follow for handling tenant maintenance requests?
  • How long does it take for you to fill any vacant units with new tenants?
  • What is your process for handling late tenant payments?
  • Do you have experience with tenant evictions? What is your process for facilitating evictions?

A qualified property manager will be able to easily and clearly answer each of these questions. If not, you have your red flag. Also, consider the quality of the manager’s communication skills and rapport with you. You’ll need to have a positive, strong working relationship with this manager. And fortunately, the interview is a great time to test the waters before the commitment.

#3: Verify that the Team Provides Start-to-Finish Property Management

You may assume that all property management teams will provide comprehensive, start-to-finish property management. However, that’s not always the case. There is no standard job description for property managers. So, it will be up to you to clarify and define the duties you expect from your new property management team. Communicate your expectations as clearly as possible with your candidates to ensure you are on the same page when it comes to the job’s duties.

Vineyard Property Management Is Your Top Choice in Alpharetta and Beyond

At Vineyard Property Management, our expert property management services are no secret to rental property owners and investors in the Alpharetta, GA, area. Our team of highly experienced professionals has been exceeding expectations with our full-service property management for more than forty years. So, connect with us online now to get started with a free rental property analysis or to learn more about hiring the best property management team in the area.

hiring your investment property manager

Top 5 Qualities to Look for When Hiring Your Investment Property Manager

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hiring your investment property managerHiring the best investment property manager is a crucial decision. This is the person you will count on to keep your property in top condition and as profitable as possible. In your search, you will likely find several companies and individuals in your area who claim to offer excellent property management services, so how can you choose the right person for the job? Here are the top five qualities a high performing property manager will possess.

#1: Several Years of Experience

One of the most essential characteristics of a successful property manager is someone who has several years of experience. Find out how many properties they have managed and ask about references and reviews from their previous clients. An inexperienced manager will likely not have an in-depth understanding of local real estate laws and standard operating procedures. You don’t have time to provide training, so make sure to hire an experienced manager who can hit the ground running.

#2: The Right Mindset

Choosing a property manager who has an “investment mindset” will ensure your property is in expert hands. After all, you don’t just want a property to run without profitability or growth. You are in this business to make a significant return on your investment. With the right mindset, your manager will be able to see the big picture of your investment property, so they can make crucial business decisions that will contribute to your bottom line.

#3: Organization Skills

Property management has many moving parts, and the manager needs to have excellent organization skills to balance all the tasks with ease. From handling advertising and property tours to rent collection and property maintenance, the right manager will have established systems and processes to keep your property running like a well-oiled machine.

#4: Professionalism

Your property manager will be the face of your property. They must be able to maintain good relationships with tenants and contractors while handling all business matters with expertise and professionalism. How they present themselves to others makes all the difference when it comes to your property image and long-term success.

#5: Stellar Communication Skills

Because communication is such a critical component of property management, strong communication skills—both written and verbal—are a must for your manager. Once you bring in candidates for an interview, you should be able to tell right away if a candidate has the kind of communication skills necessary to represent your property, communicating clearly and effectively with tenants, contractors, and other members of your team.

Choose Vineyard Property Management for Hiring Your Investment Property Manager

At Vineyard Property Management, our property managers bring more than forty years of professional industry experience in the Alpharetta area. We are locally owned and operated and go above and beyond to give you consistent, profitable results for your property. To schedule services with a team that has all the best investment property manager qualities, connect with us online now.