Corporate Housing: Standards and CHBO Complete ™

CHBO has long been a supporter of Corporate Housing Standards and that is why we believe CHBO Complete ™ is the most important tool CHBO offers to both our travelers and our properties.

In a recent Worldwide ERC Mobility Magazine article “Online Marketplaces – What you see is not always what you get”  Amanda Cook, Director of Membership and Marketing for the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) talks about the lack of housing standards for the Corporate Housing Industry and says “Not All corporate housing is created equal.”

We totally agree and that is why from the very beginning of CHBO we setup the CHBO Complete ™  standards to allow tenants and properties the platform of standards and sCHBO Complete Logoet expectations.

What is CHBO Complete ™?

CHBO Complete ™ is a quality seal that identifies properties that meet or exceed the minimum standards as stated by the corporate housing industry and expected by the standard corporate housing tenant.

We created CHBO Complete ™ as a way to quickly identify properties that include everything experienced renters expect to find in a quality furnished rental. When a property listing bears this seal, it communicates value, indicates the housing provider has followed the guidelines given in the CHBO Handbook.

CHBO Complete

CHBO complete includes specific inventory items and utilities (phone, cable, internet, utilities) are all included in one monthly rental rate facilitating a quality rental experience. The “tenant review process” successfully serves as a checks and balance system.

News: Mobility and Corporate Housing Trends

For the last few years since our article “Corporate Housing Myths Debunked” appeared in Mobility Magazine in 2009, Mobility Magazine features an articles on Corporate Housing.  corporate housing key exchange

This month there were two articles: “More Like Home” and “Online Marketplaces”

Two Trends mentioned:

1) Corporations are combining their business travel and corporate housing functions.

2) Business travelers expect accommodations that suit their lifestyles no matter the length of the assignment.

According to “More Like Home”  - “The hybridization of corporate housing and business travel is creating new audiences for relocation firms.  Smaller firms and entrepreneurs who traditionally relied on hotel stays may find that relocation firms can help them get better prices and offer help moving in and out.”

“Discriminating travelers and businesses merging their travel and housing functions will continue to create opportunities, relocation professionals agree.”

“As travelers have become more savvy and they travel more, they want more.  Today, business travelers accustom to corporate housing go to a city from the onset wanting to be in a space that is larger than a hotel room.”

Learn more about corporate housing standards in The Corporate Housing Handbook

Read more NEWS about Corporate Housing

Investor Tips: Corporate Rental Home Upgrades

One of the great things about a CHBO Complete corporate rental home is that the property owner has paid attention to all the important details both big and small that will make any extended stay renter feel right at home.  This is way 18% of CHBO renters last year rented for a year or longer.  Since we are experts in corporate housing and not in home decor, I thought you could use some simple tips from a real decor expert – Kimberly

 

Easy Ways to Upgrade and Make Your Corporate Rental Feel Like Home

By Jennifer Lutz

CHBO Rental PropertyRenting out your property as a corporate housing rental doesn’t need to dampen your decorating style.  There are plenty of ways you can make a rented space as fabulous as you want it to be. Turn your corporate housing rental property into an inviting home and a property everyone wants to rent by using these fun and easy tricks!

Lighting

Rental LightingChanging your lights is a simple yet effective way to change your rental home without spending a lot. Most rentals have stark white walls, so lessen the impact by changing out white lighting for yellow or orange lighting using lamps and pendant lights.

Lighting with lower wattage creates a more intimate feel to your space while keeping the focus away from the walls. You can also install decorative light fixtures to update your rental’s overall look, and make your space warm and inviting.

Walls

Paint

Rental UpgradeUse bold colors to make a statement and always paint over chipped and marked walls.  This will help you create a smooth look without rebuilding the entire wall.

Temporary Wallpaper

Wallpaper is an efficient way to cover up cracked or hCorporate Rental Designole-filled walls. If it’s within your budget, you can use removable wallpaper to cover up your walls. This type of wallpaper is easier to put up and peel off–just use a knife to peel off the corner before pulling off the rest of the wallpaper.  Have fun and make it fresh each year.

Wall Decals

Wall decals are a creative way to hide the most unbecoming parts of your walls. There are plenty of designs you can choose from, and you can even make your own if you’re feeling inspired. There are tutorials on the web like this one from Home Life that you can follow.

Portraits/Framed Pictures

Framed photos and portraits make it easier to creatively hide marks and nail holes on the walls of your rental space. Photos are also effective solutions when dealing with a lone crack or hole on the wall.

Floors

Rug Accents

Rugs are your best friend when it comes to camouflaging the floors of your rental home, especially the unsightly tiles or cracks. Also, choose rugs that cover most of your floor to reduce nicks and scratch marks made by furniture.

Storage

Open Shelves

When renting a small apartment, the best way to maximize your storage space is to look up. Utilize all the storage space your walls provide by installing shelves, giving you space for your books, photos, and other mementos.

Personal Touches

Hardware

Changing out the old hardware is a quick and affordable way to update your décor and give your rental space some personality. Choose door knobs and cabinet pulls that complement your style and the rest of your interior design.

Curtains

Decor items

If your apartment comes with unflattering metal or plastic blinds on the windows, hide them by using drapes and curtains. Hanging curtains also gives your home a fresh look without a huge investment.

Furniture

Even if you’re only renting for a short term, think long-term when choosing your furniture. Buying furniture that lasts a long time, both in quality and style, saves you money in the long run as you can always use these pieces when you move.

Open ShelvingDesigner Kitchen

Remove your cupboard doors to turn your drab cabinets into open shelving. Doing this makes your rental space look more spacious, and you might even find extra storage space you ordinarily wouldn’t notice.

Artwork

Whether you buy or create your own, decorating your space with artwork brings your personality into your décor. From modern paintings to paper crafts, add visual interest to your rental space to make it livelier.

Plants

Rental Home

Add a bit of green to your décor to revitalize a bleak rental property. Whether in flower boxes outside your window or potted herbs on your kitchen countertop, you can quickly and affordably liven up your home with a few plants.

You can turn your rental space into a warm and inviting home without going over the budget. Enjoy a beautiful rental property with these fun tips and tricks!

Jennifer Lutz is the home décor expert at www.christmastreemarket.com. Jennifer frequently blogs about home decorating, including this recent article about decorating your home for summer: http://blog.christmastreemarket.com/2014/06/5-tips-for-a-summer-friendly-home/.

TIP:  Now that you have done all this work it is time to UPDATE your marketing photos.  Have you tried the new easy way to upload all your photos at once into your CHBO account?  Need Help?  Watch a CHBO How to Video!

And as always if you log into your CHBO Dashboard you will find more resources to make your corporate housing rental as successful as possible.

Homeowners: Insurance Adjusters and Corporate Housing

Corporate Housing is the solution smart insurance adjusters offer you when water and other damage forces you out of your home.

Welcome to summer – tis the season for water damage!  Maybe it is just me, but there seems to be more that our fair share of too much water.

Insurance Claim from Water Damage

Time to call the insurance adjuster!

One of my neighbors was just washing a pair of baseball pants, turned the sink water on and forgot about it for a few hours.  After a month of cleaning and drying the entire family, dog and cat all need to move out for at least 2 weeks while the hardwood floors get done.

Their homeowner’s insurance offered them a month in corporate housing or two weeks in an extended stay.  With the dog and the cat and 3 kids a corporate housing rental home would be their best lodging solution.  The insurance adjuster gave them a list of property owners who rent out their homes and said they use CHBO everyday to help find the right furnished temporary home solution.  The adjuster also mentioned they try and stay away from AirBnB because a lot of times the properties really aren’t designed as rentals and are dirty and too filled with personal items so they prefer to have their displaced homeowners stay in corporate housing rentals that are designed for these types of housing needs.

TIP:  Turn your water off when you go on vacation!

Ok, so then another neighbor two weeks later goes on a 10 day cruise.  They noticed the washing machine wasn’t working but thought they would fix it when they got back and forgot to turn off the water to the house.  5 days later the housekeeper arrived to find gallons of water pouring out of if the washing machine.  Time for cleanup again!  We have not heard how long they will need to be out of their house and staying in short term housing.

Lightning Strike!

This morning I was talking with our managed corporate housing company in Fort Collins, Colorado and they just found a perfect corporate housing rental for a displaced homeowner who’s home was struck by lightning.  The insurance adjuster in this case is thinking the family will need to be in their furnished corporate housing rental for at least 6 months.

TO DO:

  • Call your insurance company and confirm your policy comes with extended stay lodging coverage should you be unable to live in your home.
  • When leaving for an extended stay turn off your water at the main valve or ask the house sitter to walk the house every other day.
  • Have a great water free summer!

 

Mistakes: Don’t loose money with your rental property

10 Mistakes Rental Property Owners Make

  1. Not properly screening a potential tenant
  2. Thinking Craig’s List will give you the quality tenant you are looking for
  3. Listing your rental on too many sites without updating availability
  4. Allowing a tenant to move-in without a written agreement
  5. Pricing your property too high or too low
  6. Taking the first tenant who calls
  7. Ignoring your gut instinct
  8. Not getting the rent payment before the tenant moves in
  9. Sending the keys in a basic envelope and way before arrival
  10. Furnishing the property with less than the tenant expects

Hmmm – Have you done any of these?  At CHBO we work hard to give you the informational tools you need to avoid these and other pitfalls that can cause your rental property’s income to be lower than you expected.

Register for Free on CHBO and access the “Resources” tab for handbooks, annual reports and document templates to assure you avoid any of these pitfalls. 

Corporate Housing Handbook

Tips: Reduce Liability

12 Tips for Reducing Your Rental Management Liability

 Adding rental and property management services can boost your profitability. Be sure to protect those gains with these 12 risk-management ideas.

By G.M. Filisko

It can be a wise move to broaden your business base by expanding the services your brokerage offers, and handling rentals and property management is a natural segment into which to expand.

That’s especially true given market changes in the past few years. “For the past couple of years, we’ve seen more first-time landlords—people who couldn’t sell their home and wouldn’t have ordinarily been landlords,” explains T.J. Rubin, managing broker of Fulton Grace Realty in Chicago, a leasing, management, and brokerage company. “We’ve also seen a growth in single- unit condo investors. Maybe they’ve seen a foreclosure and bought it intending to rent it out. Finally, there’s been a trend of more luxury units being rented.”

Rubin’s experience is being repeated throughout the country, and all those rental markets present opportunities for brokers. However, rental management isn’t hazard-free. Without savvy planning and controls, you can expose your company to liability that could wipe out any added profitability you generate. Here are 12 great ideas to safeguard your company when you offer rental management. Rental Property

1. Create a separate legal entity.

Operate your rental management business out of a company separate from your brokerage, advises lawyer Bruce Ailion, ABR®, CRS®, CRBsm, e-PRO®. Ailion is an associate broker
at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta in Marietta, Ga. However, through Success Real Estate Brokers, at which he’s the principal broker, Ailion manages about 110 rental units.

“It is easier to do the management though a separate company,” he says. “Our structure was done for accounting convenience. But it’s also a good strategy for minimizing liability.”

2. Don’t manage a property here and there.

“Don’t just rent out a property as a favor
to someone,” says Kimberly Smith, CEO
of CorporateHousingbyOwner.com and Avenue West Global Franchise, a Denver-area brokerage that manages furnished residential units and trains franchisees to do the same. “Make sure rentals and management are part
of your core business model. Unless you know who to connect with—like the most appropriate insurance vendors—you’ll fail.”

“You also need to know your local laws,” adds Smith. “They’ll dictate whether you need to collect use taxes on rentals; whether owners have to provide a written notice within a certain period of time to keep any of a tenant’s deposit, along with what charges can be deducted and not; whether you have to keep security deposits in escrow; and when and how in your marketing you must disclose you’re a broker. Don’t dabble in property management because there are penalties if you get those things wrong.”

3. Train your agents before they handle rentals.

“Careless agents not following procedures is the quickest way to get in trouble,” says Rubin. “We have a property management handbook to make sure everyone learns our processes and procedures. But agents also have to jump right in. So we have junior managers mirror senior managers. Then the junior managers get their own accounts while still having their mentor’s help. Finally, they become proficient and operate independently.”

4. Properly screen all potential landlord clients

“When we’re managing properties, if there’s a lawsuit for premises liability, we’ll be named as a defendant in addition to the owner,” explains Melania Mirzakhanian, a lawyer and director of operations at Tomea Inc., a full-service brokerage in San Diego with about a third of its business from property management. “So we do credit and criminal background checks on potential landlord clients. I also like to get a feel for their character. I really like one-on- one and face-to-face meetings, but a lot of our clients live out of state and have a second home here. In those cases, we do a lot on the phone and through Skype. If we find out owners aren’t honest with us about their financial situation— say they’ve filed for bankruptcy or their property’s in foreclosure and they haven’t told us—that’s a red flag.”

Another red flag? A too-involved owner. “I need a property and an owner I can represent,” says Smith. “A lot of times, owners are too hands on, saying things like, ‘I’m going to pop over every other week and check the backyard.’ A key benefit every tenant is entitled to is the quiet enjoyment of the property; that can be lost if an owner is too invested in it. I deal
with relocation clients, and one Fortune 500 company may be leasing 10 of my units. If one landlord messes things up, it could mess things up with all 10 units.”

One additional point on owners: Be sure they have the authority to do what they’re agreeing to do. “In one situation, it turned out there were several owners,” says Smith. “I was dealing with one owner who hadn’t properly disclosed the situation to the rest. It got messy fast.
Verify the potential client owns the property. If there’s more than one owner, understand that dynamic, and make sure the contract reflects their consent.”

5. Personally inspect properties before you accept the business.

“We inspect every property, and it’s mostly about the safety of the premises,” says Mirzakhanian. “If a hazardous situation needs to be repaired, my legal background kicks in. We tell the owner what needs to be fixed before we can rent out the property. We won’t let tenants move in with a landlord’s promise to fix that type of thing in a month or two. Pools are also a big issue. We need to be sure they’re maintained and don’t have hazards that can harm children.

6. Be sure to have solid contracts.

Absolutely have a management contract with clients. “Whatever we ask the landlord to do, we put that in the management contract so it’s clear,” says Mirzakhanian. “We also ask landlords to indemnify us for all the things we’ve listed in the contract that need to be repaired. I don’t think we should be liable for those problems.”

Always use written leases, and make sure they’re kosher in your state. “Some states don’t allow you to change their lease forms,” says Smith. “Also, be sure to put any discussions with tenants and owners in writing. One mistake I made was when a tenant asked to leave early and have new tenants take over. Over the phone, the owner agreed. But I didn’t get that in writing, and the owner changed his mind overnight. Get all changes to leases in writing.”

7. Get and require applicable insurance.

Be sure your company has professional and general liability insurance, and ask your clients to include your company on their policy. “In our contracts, we require owners to name us
as an additional insured on their homeowners or landlord’s business policy,” says Rubin. “If people get hurt at the property, they know only us as the landlord, and they’ll sue us.”

8. Communicate with clients and tenants the way they prefer.

“You can reduce liability by learning from your clients how they want to communicate,” says Ailion. “Some want in-person meetings, some want to be contacted by phone, others only

by e-mail or text. Some want regular updates, others want a quarterly call. Some are annoyed if a voice mail isn’t returned within two
hours while, for others, the next day is fine. Learning what the client’s communication preferences are and meeting those expectations reduces liability.”

Do the same with tenants. “A short time ago we had a tenant who was recently discharged from active duty in Afghanistan,” adds Ailion. “We were told by his mother that he had PTSD and anger management issues. He required special handling. While we had some tense moments, understanding how he needed to be responded to and making the extra effort to accommodate his lower ability to tolerate inconvenience and delay allowed us to keep him happy as a tenant and the property leased.”

9. Track business to identify your market’s high-risk clients.

“When you’re first trying to get business, you take any business you can,” says Rubin. “After
a while, you start to spot trickier situations that cost you more time and money and as a result possibly greater liability. We started to limit our service areas because we found that multi-unit buildings further outside our core market are tougher for us to manage. It’s harder to respond to maintenance requests, which increases
our liability.

“We’re also very cautious of managing buildings that haven’t been well run before the owner approaches us,” adds Rubin. “Maybe they don’t enforce rent requirements or late fees, and we might have to begin numerous eviction proceedings. We’ve inherited improperly screened tenants, and when we tried to evict, they argued over things previous managers said that we had no idea about. Or maybe buildings aren’t in great shape or there are code violations. It’s sometimes impossible for us to bring a property up to code and make sure the tenants are perfect. If we step into a situation like that, we could get sued because of some dangerous aspect of the property.”

How can Rubin tell the status of a building’s management? “We look at whether we have contact information for tenants and whether clients are aware of the building’s situation. They can’t hire us expecting a 180-degree turnaround in a few days. Also, there are costs to turning a building around. We’ve managed for owners who are cash strapped and been handcuffed. That reflects poorly on us.”

10. Identify a visible point person for owners and tenants.

“Having a strong customer service person as a point of contact for owners and tenants goes a long way to reducing liability,” says Ailion. “Both owners and tenants want to reach someone who can hear and begin a resolution to their problem.”

Also remember that problems don’t go away the longer they’re not addressed. “A small issue or problem grows over time,” adds Ailion.
“If a mistake has been made, acknowledging, addressing, and resolving it goes a lot further than ignoring it, avoiding it, denying it, or making excuses. How we make a bad decision right makes all the difference. Those I work with know they can make a decision that binds the company, and even if I wouldn’t have made the same decision, I’ll support theirs. Ultimately, a happy client is more important than a few dollars.”

11. Network with others in the field.

Whether it’s through NAR’s Institute
of Real Estate Management or another professional group, networking expands your knowledge base. “The most significant decision I made to reduce liability was joining the National Association of Residential Property Managers, attending
its meetings, and taking its training,” says Ailion. “It’s a group of seasoned professionals willing to train and share their knowledge and experience.”

12. Remember who pays your bills—and that it may not matter.

“It’s important to keep in mind that property management is an odd industry from the standpoint of the definition of a client,” says Rubin. “Technically, it’s the property owners who pay your bills. But you also need tenants to keep your business going. Essentially, you may need to learn to become an effective mediator between the two.”

G.M. Filisko is a lawyer and freelance writer who specializes in real estate, legal, business, and personal finance topics.

Tip:  Want to learn more?  You can search any term on this blog to learn more from one of our hundreds of posts.

What is relocation talent management?

What is relocation talent management?

A few years ago I served on the Advisory Board for ERC Worldwide / Employee Relocation Council.  Relocation is the single biggest reason tenants stay in corporate housing.  In the beginning individuals receiving a corporate housing relocation package would generally be allotted 90 days to stay in a corporate rental while they found and setup a new permanent residence.  In these days specific services were given as part of the package with everything from home buying and selling to neighborhood orientation tours.  Relocation Talent

Then about 10 years ago companies started using the “lump sum” relocation concept where services were not provided but rather a large sum of money was given to the employee could spend as they wish.  However employees were sometimes known to not spend the relocation money as wisely as they could and as a result the employees were not as happy and less productive at work.

Today companies are leaning toward a hybrid relocation package that gives employees some flexibility on how the money is spent but also manages specific services.

Relocation and Divorce: When I was on the ERC advisory panel a large international corporation that relocated a lot of people did an in-house study and found employees who did not have a well managed relocation were 50% more likely to get a divorce.  Talk about non-productive at work…

Talent Management:  When I talk about talent management a lot of times I get blank stares because people just have never hear or thought about this.  Basically what it means is for companies to be the most successful and profitable they can’t just rely on hiring the right person for the job.  Successful companies must manage their current talent and move people from one office to the best office to get the desired results they expect.

By the Numbers: ERC’s Global Workforce Summit Data – Corporate Benchmarking

71% – Yes, we have a talent management function at our organization.

Is your organization facing shortages for talent in critical roles?

  • 5% – Very Large Shortfall
  • 32% – Large Shortfall
  • 37% – Some Shortfall
  • 21% – Modest Shortfall
  • 5% – No Shortfall

Learn more about Corporate Housing Trends in the CHBO Annual Report eBook!

Learn More about Corporate Housing Trends

Leasing: Tenant wants your furnished rental property

The Tenant Wants Your Property, Now What?  Time to Lease.  

The 3 step process…

Corporate housing furnished rental propertyCongrats you found the right property, got it ready, did the right marketing and now a tenant wants your property.  Remember this is great news even though new landlords may start to feel overwhelmed and not know which direction to turn at this point.  Once again life is all about one step at a time and just knowing where to find the right information is all you need.

  1. Step one is as simple and doing a casual Q & A with the potential tenant.  Really what you are doing is confirming the tenant is legit. Ask questions such as why they’re looking to rent your property, who will be staying there and for how long, pets, kids, etc.
  2. Step two have them complete your paperwork.  Once you feel they would be a “fit” for your property, have them complete a formal rental application. There are lots of places to find template applications, contracts and checklists on the internet and in real estate books.
  3. Step three confirm their details.  You’ll also want to protect yourself by running a credit  and background checks to verify their credit and eviction history. Read “Making Money with Rental Properties” to learn how to do a credit check on your own and hassle-free.

Details:

Complete lease agreement. You’ll want to create your own lease agreement based on your state and HOA laws. Find Samples in your CHBO Dashboard.

Collect security deposit and/or letter of responsibility. Be sure to collect a security deposit upfront to reserve the property for the tenant or read this article to learn how you can avoid the security deposit altogether. If it’s a corporate renter and his/her company will be paying the bill, you’ll want to send the tenant a Letter of Responsibility to give to his/her company representative for completion. A sample Letter of Responsibility and a template invoice and receipt are available in “Making Money with Rental Properties”. Find Samples in your CHBO Dashboard.  Free Resources from Corporate Housing by Owner

Arrange for key exchange. Many landlords are able to personally welcome someone into the home, while others have lock boxes on the property. Lock boxes should be kept in a safe and well-lit area. There are also keyless entry door locks that require a code and can be changed after each tenant.  Also, if you provide a garage door opener, be sure to write down the make, model and code so it can easily be replaced if lost. Record serial numbers of access cards so they can be deactivated by building management if lost or stolen.  Read more about keys.

Follow up. Shortly after arrival, be sure to call and check in with tenant to make sure everything is ok. Starting the rental relationship with good communication will establish the foundation for future dialog and rental success through the tenants departure.  At the end, inspect the property for damage. If all looks good, promptly return the tenant’s deposit. Each state requires security deposits to be returned within a specific timeframe. Yeah, you did it.  Congratulations on your first furnished rental.  Read more in The Corporate Housing Handbook.

Book Review: Making Money With Rental Properties

Idiot’s Guides: Making Money with Rental Properties

Earlier this year I published a book on the entire scope of residential real estate investing from understanding what kind of investor you are to finding and renting the property.

What do people think?  This is what Andrew Waite publisher of Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine had to say.

“Welcome to the opportunity to “get rich slowly and surely” by investing in rental properties.

Direct ownership of well-bought rental properties offer three opportunities; first to earn income, then to shield that income from taxes and finally to watch the asset grow in value. Simply income, tax advantages and long term asset appreciation.Making Money with Rental Properties

Owning rental properties is less about real estate more about owning a business. In two words it is about cash flow.

But wait…..before you rush into this, maybe you have heard the “tenants, toilets and turnover” warnings.

The “wisest among us “have a wonderful habit of sagely talking us out of things they have not tried.

Earning income from renting residential property is one of the most common mistakes naysayers advise against. “Tenants, toilets, and turnover” are the most frequent reasons these sages cite as reasons not to invest in income real estate.

The truth is these “negatives have positives” and are exactly the reasons to invest in real estate:

Tenants as a source of income. This market rental income that goes to paying for the expenses of operating a rental property, but more importantly having these tenants pay for your investment. To assure uninterrupted cash flow recent product developments allow an investor to insure against an interruption to rental cash flow.

Toilets as a piece of physical property. Toilets a reflection of the fact this is an investment in real property that requires maintenance, but more importantly is an investment in a hard asset located in a unique physical location that can be recorded as a material asset in your name. The fact it is a capital asset means that it can be insured against loss unlike the Wall Street instruments. Like Wall Street paper, real estate has proven history of long-term appreciation.

Turnover as part of the process of matching your property with the best tenant. Turnover is a fact of life in rental investment. This should not be positioned as a negative unless someone is making poor tenant selection decisions, otherwise this is both good and better news. The good news is that using a professional property manager can completely shield an investor from the day-to-day issues and liability of managing tenants and rental property.

For a relatively small fee of less that 10% of the market rent the property manager takes most all of the professional and legal responsibility for the process of finding, screening, placing and managing tenants. The great news is that upon a change of tenant or a lease renewal anniversary, the annual rents can be increased and adjusted for inflation and changing demand. Tenant turnover can increase income turnover and all of this can be taken care of by a professional “for fee” manager. We don’t just recommend it we strongly advise it. You will sleep better.

Owning rental properties is mostly a slow way of getting rich. These a brief snapshot as to why the asset, ownership of rental property and association with trusted providers are an essential elements of a successful residential rental business.

Kimberley Smith is not just an expert in providing property management services. Kimberly is a strategic thinker and expert in leveraging profits out of general and specific property management strategies.

Read and enjoy, as this Idiots Guide will help you become a “rich idiot” by following the commonsense advice in this book.

God Bless and Great Investing”

Andrew Waite - Publisher
Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine
Www.PersonalRealEstateInvestorMag.com

Thanks Andrew – Check it out 

Tips: Tenant Reviews

Have you also discovered Cottageblogger.com?  They are one of my favorite blogs for great ideas and tips on furnished rentals.  Since Tenant Reviews are so important on your CHBO property listing for connecting with that next great tenant I asked Cottage Blogger if we could re-post this and they said yes.  Thank you to Heather Bayer for all your great information we all really appreciate your willingness to share – Kimberly

10 WAYS TO PREVENT COMPLAINTS AND NEGATIVE TENANT REVIEWS FOR YOUR VACATION RENTAL

Oh no…..a negative review! The day you get the first of these is never a happy one and there’s always a knee jerk reaction that will throw you into defensive mode. How dare they? Don’t they know what damage publicly displayed bad feedback can do? It’s completely unfair and we have to get it removed.  Tenant Reviews

But hold on a moment. Take a deep breath and take some time to consider what prompted the negative comments. Could it have been easily prevented by taking a proactive approach? Although some situations are impossible to predict many complaints arise from completely preventable scenarios and taking steps to avoid them can save you time, stress and the potential for negative reviews - Heather Bayer, Cottage Blogger

Here’s a few you may want to consider. Some have examples drawn from real Flipkey reviews.

  • The property was not as described

Giving a misleading impression or being economical with the truth of a situation will generally come back to bite you with a complaint that the property was not ‘as described’. Nobody wants surprises and if the reality doesn’t match with the description and photos you’ve provided, because you have omitted a significant feature, a complaint is bound to follow. Being transparently open about the shortcomings of your property can bring you more satisfied customers because people appreciate honesty and candour.

Prevent this by: Being upfront with the negatives as well as the positive of the property

  • Beds are uncomfortable

“the twin beds were squeaky and not terribly comfortable”

This is a prime cause of complaint – just read a few poor reviews and this will probably be mentioned at some point. There really is no excuse for uncomfortable sleeping options in any room – and that includes the twin bedded rooms that you might think will be used only by children. Here’s a rule of thumb – if you wouldn’t sleep in any of the beds in your vacation rental don’t expect your guests will be happy either.

Prevent this by: testing out every bed in the home personally; ensuring all mattresses are new or nearly new, and not going cheap on the secondary bedrooms.

  • Guests run out of stuff or expected items are not there

“there was no backup toilet paper, no washcloths or absorbent bathmats”

Being clear on what is provided and what is not is crucial, but it’s equally important to ensure that if an item is to be supplied it is there when your guests arrive, and if they are to purchase their own replacements they understand this.

Guests have higher expectations than in the past, and since most have come to the vacation rental option with experiences of hotels and resorts, they often expect similar facilitites and supplies. The days of providing a single roll of toilet paper and no soap are over if you want to get positive reviews.

Prevent this by: Sending guests a list of the provisions that will be there on arrival. Ensure a complete check is carried out between rentals and resupply when required.

  • Place was not clean

“ I was very disappointed in the cleanliness and how worn out everything was. The fans have so much dust built up on them I don’t believe they have ever been dusted, and there was long black hair in the bathroom and master bedroom (obviously not mine).”

Don’t ever give a guest cause to complain about cleanliness by doing a thorough clean at the beginning of the season, and allowing enough time on changeover to cover the areas that can cause issues through the busy months. Always vacuum under couch cushions and under beds, and check kitchen cupboards and drawers for spills and food marks.

Prevent this by: Using a checklist on each changeover to ensure nothing is missed. Use block capitals on your checklist to say LOOK UP, LOOK DOWN and LOOK UNDER. Have a schedule for replacing furniture and furnishings and bring the schedule forward if there are early signs of wear.

  • Facility was not available and things that don’t work

“Many problems with the refrigerator not working, showers that leaked from second floor, hot tub that was dirty. When you pay 10,000 per week you should get top quality experience.
I would not recommend this property to anyone else.”

Things happen during rentals that will make a facility unavailable for the next guests – perhaps damage to a hot tub or sauna, a damaged boat, or an appliance that breaks down unexpectedly. However if you don’t let the incoming guests know they will be upset at the loss of a facility they were expecting to have available, and it’s amazing how great the impact on them can be.

Regardless of the rental rate, appliances should work, regular maintenance should be carried out and attention to detail at every level.

Prevent this by: Being proactive and letting future guests know promptly if there’s a potential of a feature or facility being unavailable. If using a property manager, ensure they are on your wavelength in terms of your required standards.

  • Couldn’t access property

Keyless entry systems can fail; caretakers can input incorrect codes into lock boxes, and keys can be put back in the wrong place – in fact there are many ways to create an access problem for guests. As I write this I’ve just heard from a guest who can’t get into a property he booked because the code he was given is not working. Fortunately we were able to give him the location of a spare key so he was only outside in the rain for a short time, but the situation has impacted on the anticipation and enjoyment of arrival and caused stress that was completely unnecessary.

Prevent this by: Triple checking codes and having a spare key hidden on the property that you can direct guests to when they call to tell you they are locked out

  • Teflon and other worn out stuff!

“The pots and pans were not usable. Teflon peeling off and not very appealing. They need to change the toilet seat, shower curtain and bath rugs. Would make a big difference.”

Even in top dollar properties complaints of this nature are common. They usually relate to small items that have seen a long period of rental in homes that are consistently rented. Swapping Teflon coated pans with stainless steel can make the difference this reviewer was referring to.

Prevent this by: Don’t allow anything to get worn out before replacing. The cost of a bad review is far higher than the expense of buying new equipment and furniture

  • No instructions about garbage disposal

Getting rid of garbage can create quite a bit of stress whether there is municipal pickup or guests are asked to transport their waste to a local landfill or transfer station. When used to a structure for garbage disposal at home where there are precise instructions for recycling and separation, and fixed pickup times, they can become anxious about how to cope in unfamiliar surroundings with different rules and schedules.

Prevent this by: Providing detailed instructions on garbage disposal & make it as easy as possible

  • Insufficient outdoor seating

People on vacation want to sit outside to enjoy the summer weather and al fresco eating – and they usually want to do this together. Not providing enough seating will result in indoor furniture being brought outside, where it may be left exposed to the weather and nocturnal visitors. If there is a firepit, everyone will want to sit around the fire at night and if they can’t without dragging heavy patio chairs across the yard, you will hear about it.

Prevent this by: Ensuring there’s enough outside seating for the amount of people the property will accommodate, and create permanent fire pit bench or log seating.

  • Construction & neighbor issues

Your guests arrive for their peaceful vacation and are greeted by construction going on at a neighboring property or a wedding taking place over the weekend. Although situations of this kind are not preventable, the surprise element certainly is. Letting guests know about things that may happen during their stay reduces or removes the surprise altogether and the honesty you deliver creates a higher degree of trust and confidence.

Prevent surprises by: Asking your neighbors about any planned events or building plans before the season begins so you can forewarn your guests.

Is there anything else you do that proactively prevents a complaint? Or, have you had a negative review that could have been prevented. I’d love it if you could share your experience with us.

 

Read more at “How to encourage Corporate Housing Guest Reviews”