abandoned house

What To Do If Your Tenant Skips Out

If you have a tenant that all of a sudden has dropped off the grid, it’s frustrating. Unfortunately, your options as a landlord have been curtailed by some federal and state regulations centered around COVID-19. Here’s some advice about what to do if your tenant skips out. 

 

Don’t Jump to Conclusions

If there’s anything we’ve learned lately, it’s that you never know what to expect. Try to avoid jumping to conclusions when you discover that your tenant is no longer in residence at your rental. In these challenging times, all kinds of scenarios are possible. Your tenant may have had to leave suddenly to care for a sick loved one. They may be so distraught that they aren’t aware of the rent due date and haven’t thought to contact you. It’s also possible that your tenant has come down with COVID-19. They could be in the hospital and unable to contact you.

 

What You Should Do

The first thing you should do if your tenant has skipped out is to wait a bit. Often, things become clearer with the passage of time. Just give it one week. If you don’t hear anything, take the next step. The next thing you should do, because of the unusual circumstances of the pandemic, is to reach out to all the contacts related to your tenant. Dig out the lease agreement and see who they listed as their emergency contact. Find out if anyone in their social circle knows what’s going on. If possible, check with the neighbors. Do they know anything or did they see anything that might explain your tenant’s absence? 

 

If You Find Your Tenant

Let’s say you actually find your tenant. It turns out that they had a reasonable excuse and you’re willing to give them a second chance. Consider offering them a payment plan to catch up on the rent payments. Put them in touch with local or federal resources where they can get financial help to cover the rent. At least if you do this, you’ll have a tenant instead of a vacant unit.

 

Read published article on BiggerPockets.com….

 

Why Your Business Needs SOPs

SOP is an acronym that stands for Standard Operating Procedures. SOPs are an operating manual that consist of step-by-step instructions to run various aspects of your business. They should consist of a general oversight of how the company operates, as well as detailed instructions on how to conduct an assortment of tasks.

What is the Purpose of SOPs?

The purpose of having standard operating procedures is so that everyone in the organization is on the same page about how to undertake certain tasks. If there is ever any discrepancy or disagreement about how something should be done, then the employees can always refer to the SOPs to find out what the standard expectations are regarding that task.

To understand how this might unfold in a real life situation, consider an e-commerce operation where a customer is requesting a refund. The employee doesn’t need to decide on their own how to process the refund or even whether the customer should get a refund. They would simply turn to the section of the SOPs that refers to refunds and follow the step by step instructions.

Why Many New Businesses Don’t Have SOPs

Unfortunately, because many newer businesses start quickly on a shoestring budget, they may neglect to create SOPs. This oversight is understandable. SOPs often seem like a luxury, not a necessity. When you’re a business owner trying to get product out the door, spending time and money on internal documents can seem like an expense you can’t afford to have right now. The creation of SOPs often gets pushed to the back burner so that limited resources can be dedicated to getting the business off the ground and building momentum. However, there are many reasons to make SOPs a priority.

How SOPs Help Your Business

If you have not yet created SOPs for your company, consider what SOPs can do:

Provide A Working Manual For A Temp Worker If Someone Is Out Sick

When you have SOPs in place, no department in your company needs to be set back if a worker suddenly becomes sick and unable to work for one day or more. Your temp worker can simply refer to the SOP manual for assistance in performing the essential tasks of the job.

Allow Your Business To More Easily Scale

It’s very challenging to grow a business when the rudimentary tasks are still being performed by key personnel who just “know” what to do. How can you expound upon the basics when the basics haven’t yet been explained?

Offer Proof Against a Lawsuit

If for any reason your company is sued, your SOPs can be used to prove that your employees are supposed to operate within certain guidelines as set forth in the manual. With a solid SOP manual, you can demonstrate the intentions of your company and help defend your business against legal action.

Enable You To Quickly See Processes And Streamline Where Needed

With SOPs, you can review existing processes and make changes where necessary to alter the direction of your company or streamline so that your business operates more efficiently.

Helps You Create Processes For Your Real Estate Business

Even the process of actually writing the SOPs is beneficial to your business. During the writing, you and your employees can develop systems and processes that enhance and speed up workflow within your organization.

In short, creating SOPs for your business is a smart idea that will prove to be worth every minute of time they take to write. It may not seem like it now, but later on you’ll glad you made the effort to write the standard operating procedures for your business.

Read published version at Business2Community…

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How to Leverage the 1031 Exchange to Grow Your Wealth

If you’re a real estate investor and you aren’t taking advantage of the 1031 exchange, you’re missing out on a valuable wealth-building opportunity. It’s widely said that the biggest advantage of the 1031 exchange is being able to defer capital gains tax. And while that is certainly a huge benefit, it’s not the biggest. The biggest benefit is the chance to grow a real estate portfolio worth millions of dollars with a comparatively small initial investment.

What Is the 1031 Exchange?

The 1031 exchange references a section of the Internal Revenue Code. Although it may be new to you or your accountant, the 1031 exchange rule was created back in 1954 as an amendment of Section 112(b)(1) of the tax code. The details have been altered over the years, but the essential spirit of the law has remained. Essentially, the 1031 exchange allows for the tax-deferred exchange of like-kind property under certain circumstances. As recently as 2017, Section 1031 property categories included assets like collectible art, securities, franchises, and more. However, with the passing into law of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, as of December 22, 2017, the only property category allowable under Section 1031 is real estate.

 

Continue reading complete published article on Mashvisor.com…

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Top 5 Real Estate Podcasts That Are Actually Worth Your Time

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Be Cautious About Overspending on Rehabs

When doing rehabs on fixer upper properties, be careful to avoid overspending. Spending too much time and money on the rehab takes its toll on your budget as well as over factors. These are some of the dangers:

No Budget Left For Critical Issues

When you’re too loose with your money on cosmetic “niceties” you run the risk of being caught short if you run into surprise critical issues later on in the project. For instance, you order Italian mosaic backsplash tiles and other high end features for the kitchen, then discover later on that you’ve accidentally purchased a home built with the dreaded Chinese drywall, and the entire house is going to have to be brought down to the studs. Now you’re faced with a huge outlay that you weren’t expecting, and your budget’s already been stretched as it is.

More Time Needed For Custom Deliveries

If you’ve ordered custom products or specialized materials that need to be delivered from third parties or overseas, this could hold up your rehab timeline. Ultimately, while you’re waiting for materials it will take you longer to finish the rehab and, subsequently, longer to get the property cash flowing for you.

 

Continue reading complete published article on BiggerPockets.com…

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3 Reasons Not to Raise the Rent

Most people will tell you that raising the rent is a good thing. In fact, a lot of landlords and/or property managers raise the rent as a matter of course whenever the lease term comes up for renewal. But there are sound arguments against raising your rents.

1. A Good Tenant Might Leave

if you have a tenant in place that pays the rent on time, lets you know right away when there’s a problem with a water leak and is keeping up the place, why would you want to jeopardize that situation? By raising the rent, you may just force your good tenant out and wind up with a tenant that you wish you never signed. Good tenants offer value that goes beyond what they pay in rent each month.

2. You Disrupt the Rent-to-Income Ratio

When you started looking for a tenant, you likely had a certain rent-to-income ratio in mind. If you purchased a turnkey rental property, that company may already have a tenant in place for you that had to meet a certain rent-to-income ratio, such as three or four times what the rent is. But when you raise the rent, you’re disrupting that ratio. Unless the tenant is making more now than when they moved in, they may no longer be meeting that three or four times the rent criteria. This in itself may force the tenant out if they can no longer stay within their budget after your rent increase.

 

Continue reading published article on BiggerPockets.com…

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The Cheapskate’s Guide to Rehabbing a Flip

They say you make your money when you buy. Even so, you can really wreck your profits if you don’t watch your wallet when you rehab. If you’re doing a rehab for the sole purpose of flipping, you don’t need to vie for an interior designer award. Just get in and get out with as much cash left in your pocket as possible. If you’ve done a decent job, prospective buyers will see the potential and be eager to put the finishing touches on it themselves. Here are some practical, real life ways to redo a flip on the cheap without actually looking like a cheapskate:

Source Inexpensive Materials

The Home Depot doesn’t need as many of your hard-earned dollars as you’ve been handing over recently. Buy as much of your materials used as you possibly can.

Habitat For Humanity Restores

Habitat for Humanity Restores are overflowing with flooring, sinks, cabinets, doors, windows, and buckets of hardware to go with them. This should be your first stop after assessing your rehab needs. You’ll also find low-priced decorative items that will be useful should you decide to do a bit of staging.

Craigslist is the cheapskate’s shopping mall. Set up alerts for items you need like paint, primer, tile, laminate, appliances and anything else you can think of that might be useful. You could also score free or cheap tools to do the rehab work.

Continue reading published article on BiggerPockets.com…

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How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus

As parents, we do everything within our power to keep our kids safe. We teach them about dangers as soon as they can comprehend the word, “no.” We try to shield them from online predators and warn them what could happen if they disobey. But what can we do when the threat is not only invisible, but at our front doors? As of today, there are over 100 possible or confirmed cases of coronavirus in the contiguous U.S. If the recent events in China are any indication, Covid-19 has the potential to spread rapidly to every city and state across America. Will it be in your neighborhood? No one—not even the experts—can accurately predict the virus’s future behavior. But what parents can do now is try to help kids continue to feel safe and protected as much as possible.

 

Continue to read complete published post on Today.com

network to transition to new career

How to Network to Transition to a New Career

Are you preparing to transition to a new career field? It’s challenging to convince potential employers that although you don’t have direct work experience in the new field, you do have transferrable skills. One way to achieve the credibility you need is to take relevant coursework. Once you’ve taken inventory of your transferrable skills and acquired any certifications or formal degrees you need, it’s time to start composing your cover letter. Of course, you’ll need to compile a list of recipients. That’s where networking comes in.

Networking is essential when you want to transition to a new career field. This is how you’ll rebrand yourself with people you know, professionals you’ll meet and with companies who are actively seeking viable candidates for open positions. Plan your networking activity with a multi-pronged approach that you’ll implement in stages.

Leverage existing connections

Once you’re fully committed to your new career field, it’s time to start sharing the news with your existing network. The more personal you can be with sharing your decision, the better. In other words, this isn’t something you want to put in a generic email blast or a quick Tweet. You want the news to come across as the thoughtful decision that it is. Another reason why verbal sharing is better is because it gives the other person a chance to ask questions and understand your choice. It also gives you the opportunity to expound upon your decision as well as to ask for their support. For close friends, consider sharing your news during a personal phone call or an intimate lunch for two or three. For colleagues and acquaintances, consider bringing it up during a conversation at work or at the gym. After you’ve notified all the inner circle people, then it’s okay to start posting about your new interest on your Facebook page, Instagram account and so on. Ultimately, the more people you can inform, the wider your network may grow, and the more likely you are to eventually get a job out of it.

Tip: When you announce your new career path on social media, make sure you mention that you’re in the market for that first job. Otherwise people might assume you’ve already found something.

Join online community forums

The next networking step is to start joining online community forums with members who work in your new career field. You can find many of these groups right on Facebook. Professional Facebook groups often have an “apply” policy, so you might have to answer a few simple questions first and then you’ll be notified if you’ve been accepted into the group.

Another online community forum that’s helpful for career growth is Reddit. This one is more for seeking and giving advice, but posting here can help you gain exposure as a professional in your newly chosen career. Conduct online searches for other online communities in your specialty. There will certainly be several that focus on what you’re interested in.

Tip: After being accepted to a group, write a brief first post to say thanks for the add and to introduce yourself. Then spend plenty of time reading what others post before publishing your own posts or commenting on what others have said.

Continued…

Read completed published article on Quill.com

 

woman traveling solo

Solo Travel Tips Every Woman Should Know

As a strong, independent woman, solo travel holds a special allure. It offers a unique attraction that transcends traveling with a romantic partner or a group of friends. Solo travel affords you the chance to experience yourself in entirely new surroundings. The opportunity to learn about new cultures is magnified by the prospect of learning something new about yourself in the process.

Yet, there are real risks associated with solo travel. Those risks are multiplied because you’re a woman. Whether or not you truly are more vulnerable, the perception alone can make it appear so. Here are solo travel tips every woman should bear in mind.

1. Consume Alcohol Moderately

Many people enjoy drinking on vacation. It loosens inhibitions and helps you relax and mingle with others. Just remember that alcohol’s effects can creep up on you. If you go too fast while traveling solo, you could find yourself in a condition that leaves you vulnerable to strangers. You don’t need to read a news headline to recognize the dangers of inebriation abroad. Keep in mind, too, that when you’re in another country you’re in a state of adventurousness. You’re more likely to drink something you’ve never tried before, and the results could be unexpected. You don’t have to become a teetotaler on vacation. Just take it slow and you should be fine.

2. Initiate Contact

As a woman traveling solo, both tourists and natives may assume you’re with someone else. They may think that you’re only sitting alone because you’re waiting on your companion. As a result, they may refrain from reaching out to you.  When you’re traveling alone, you may have to be the one to initiate contact with others. You don’t want to come back home without having had any real conversations with others! If you tend to be an introvert, you may hesitate to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Just remember that this trip is just as much about exploring new versions of yourself as it is about exploring museums. Reach out to others with a simple request or comment. You may be surprised how much interest fellow travelers or natives take in you!

Continued……….Read published version