We Need Homes to Rent!
January 3rd, 2017
It’s that time of year again. We’re running out of homes to rent. Cornerstone has just about rented every single property we have. Even the homes that are expected to be vacant soon have people lining up to move in. So if you know of anyone that needs help renting their home please refer them to Cornerstone Property Management and you will receive a $100 Referral Reward each and every time. Ask your friends and family; tell your local postal carrier, anyone is eligible to make some extra cash
January 14, 2017
We post our flyers in a variety of local coffee shops, nail & hair salons, restaurants and anywhere these establishments will allow. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a great many people inquire regularly about rental properties in just these locations alone. All-in-all it was a good day! Just another example of what we do at Cornerstone to get the job done.
Cornerstone Professional Property Management- Marketing
February 1st, 2017
The New Year has proven to be most successful and somewhat challenging but a challenge is something we welcome. Anyone in Property Management will know that the beginning of the year is usually a slow start coming out of the holiday season. So every effort needs to be made to ensure properties are rented in a timely manner. There are many ways in which Cornerstone Property Management gets the word out on your rental property.
First we post everywhere and anywhere we can on-line, on-site and around town. Some examples of the on-line posting are shown through our "Social Media". These various sites have proven to be the new way of progressive advertising. Although we utilize the web we realize it’s not going to reach those that have stood by the almighty print and the work force of the United States postal system. A good balance of the old school tried and true mail system and the new on-line mainstream media is a must.
After the mailers, posting and on-line social media we move straight to the "Open House" staging. Our goal is to create an inviting atmosphere so that every applicant can envision your property as their new home. We take the time to ask and answer the questions that lead us to a quality tenant. It’s the attention to detail that sets us apart.
Last but not least is word of mouth. This is a tactic that has been one of our favorites. Our clients know and trust in our ability to spread the news about their rental properties throughout the community. We treat people with respect and help them to find the right home regardless of their circumstances and so in turn they highly recommend Cornerstone Property Management to their friends and family.
What Are The Benefits of Using a Property Management Company?
March 15, 2017
A competent property manager can add significant value to your investment, which is why many seasoned real estate investors will tell you that a good management company is worth their weight in gold. Here are a few ways that a good property manager earns their keep.
Higher Quality Tenants
Think of tenant screening as the moat and draw bridge around your castle. It is certainly possible to get a bad tenant out of your home once they are in, but its a real hassle and you are so much better off never accepting them in the first place.
A thorough screening process results in reliable tenants that:
Pay on time
Put less wear and tear on the unit
Generally cause less problems
An experienced property management company has seen thousands of applications and knows how to quickly dig for the real facts about candidates and analyze that information for warning signs. By allowing a management company to handle the screening, you will also be shielding yourself from rental scams directed at owners, and discrimination lawsuits resulting from an inconsistent screening process. This kind of experience takes time, and insomuch as it means avoiding bad tenants, scams and lawsuits it is arguably one of the most significant benefits a property management company will provide.
Fewer costly and time consuming legal problems
Veteran landlords know it only takes one troublesome tenant to cause significant legal and financial headaches. A good property manager is armed with the knowledge of the latest landlord-tenant laws and will ensure that you are not leaving yourself vulnerable to a potential law suit. Each state and municipality have their own laws, these plus federal law cover a number of areas including but not limited to:
Tenant screening Safety and property conditions of the property
Handling security deposits
Avoiding a single law suit can more than pay for the property management fees, and spare you time and anguish.
Shorter vacancy cycles
A property manager will help you perform three critical tasks that affect how long it takes to fill your vacancies.
Improve and prepare the property for rent - A property manager will suggest and oversee cosmetic improvements that maximize revenue.
Determine the best rent rate - Too high and you are stuck waiting, to low and you're losing money every month the tenant is in the unit. Determining the optimal price requires knowledge of the local market, data on recently sold comparable, and access to rental rate tools.
Effectively market your property - An experienced property management company has written hundreds of ads and understands what to say and where advertise in order to get a larger pool of candidates in a shorter period of time. Additionally because of their volume they can usually negotiate cheaper advertising rates both online and offline. Lastly, they are familiar with sales and know how to close when they field calls from prospects and take them on showings.
Better tenant retention
While its easy to see the effects of lost rent, there are other equally serious problems with a high tenant turnover rate. The turnover process involves a thorough cleaning, changing the locks, painting the walls and possibly new carpet or small repairs, not to mention all the effort associated with marketing, showing , screening and settling in a new tenant. This is a time-consuming and expensive process that can often be averted by keeping tenants happy and well cared for. A good property management company will have a time-tested tenant retention policy that ensures happy tenants with lengthy stays in your properties. These kinds of programs require a consistent, systematic approach, which is where a good property management company will shine.
Tighter rent collection process
The way you handle rent collection and late payments can be the difference between success and failure as a landlord. Collecting rent on time every month is the only way to maintain consistent cash-flow, and your tenants need to understand this is not negotiable. By hiring a property manager, you put a buffer between yourself and the tenant, and allow them to be the bad guy who has to listen to excuses, chase down rent, and when necessary, evict the person living in your property.
If you let them, your tenants will walk all over you. They have to be trained to follow every part of the lease or deal with the consequences. Property managers have an advantage because tenants realize that they, unlike the owner, are only doing their job and are obligated to enforce the lease terms. Many property managers will tell you that it is considerably easier to manage other people's units rather than their own for this reason.
There are strict laws concerning the eviction process and doing it wrong, or trying to evict a "professional tenant" can be a MAJOR fiasco. A good property management firm knows the law and has a good process for obtaining the best possible outcome given the circumstances. Never having to handle another eviction can be a compelling reason to consider hiring a property management company.
Assistance with taxes
A property management company can help you understand which deductions you can claim, as well as organize the necessary forms and documentation to make those claims. Additionally, the property management fees themselves are also tax deductible.
Lower maintenance and repair costs
Good maintenance and repairs keep tenants happy and preserve the value of your investment which make them a very important part of land-lording. By hiring a management firm you gain access to both their in-house maintenance staff, as well as their network of licensed, bonded and insured contractors who have already been vetted for good pricing and quality work. This can translate into significant savings compared to going through the yellow pages and hiring a handyman yourself. Not only is the firm able to get volume discounts on the work, they also know the contractors and understand maintenance issues such that they are capable of intelligently supervising the work.
Increase the value of the investment
Preventative maintenance is achieved through putting systems in place that catch and deal with maintenance and repair issues early on, before they grow into larger more costly problems. This requires a written maintenance check program, detailed maintenance documentation and regular maintenance visits. The management firm can also offer you suggestions and feedback on upgrades and modifications, both how they will affect the rent you can charge, as well as their impact on maintenance and insurance.
Personal benefits for owners
Less stress - Avoid having to deal with middle of the night emergencies, chasing down rent, evicting people from your property, tenants who wreck your property, rental scams, lousy vendors, piles of paperwork.
More freedom - Live and invest wherever you want with the constraint of needing to be near your properties. Additionally you can live and travel without the requirement of always being available in the event that your tenants have a need you have to tend to. Once you have found a good management company, it doesn't matter if you live in the same state. Some landlords live in other countries and simply collect their check every month without ever seeing the property.
Free up more of your time - Time is money, and for many investors, their time can be more profitably spent in areas other than servicing their properties. When you focus on asset management you're working ON your business, when you manage your own properties you work IN it. Additionally you have more time to spend with family or friends doing things you enjoy.
Its Tax Time Again- What can you deduct?
April 2nd, 2017
If you own a rental property you may have many things you can deduct for taxes each year. Generally, the expenses of renting your property, such as management fees, maintenance, insurance, taxes, and interest, can be deducted from your rental income. Check out Publication 527 under (Residential Rental Property). Take a look at all the deductions you can take before you file your taxes this year
Looking for Good Handymen
May 8th, 2017
Calling All Handymen...Cornerstone is looking for a few good "Handymen". Must have own equipment and transportation. The ideal person is experienced, reliable and above all professional. English speaking preferred. We need someone that can provide invoices, pricing and knows how to send an email in a timely manner. If you're a jack of all trades and this sounds like you give us a call and either fax, mail or email your information.
Cornerstone Professional Property Management
24040 Postal Ave #1375
Moreno Valley CA 92556
Moving Tips: Rental Assistance
June 10th, 2017
The summer is almost over and everyone is trying to get settled into a new place before the holiday rush. Don't panic were here to help. Here are a few helpful tips on how to get into the rental property without a hitch. There are numerous requests on our Rental Assistance page that Cornerstone is currently working on. First; I must say that in order for Cornerstone to help you we need to fill out everything on the Rental Questionnaire. If you don't enter an email or a phone number we cannot get a hold of you. Second; try to be prepared. If you're ready to move then make sure you have all the necessary documents that almost every rental agency is going to require. You're going to need a Copy of your Current ID, Social Security Card, and Proof of Income. These items are requested to check your credit, criminal background, evictions record, rental history, employment and financial responsibility. Third; have the money to make your move. Know that you're going to spend money on an application fee per adult, first month's rent and a deposit. Fourth; know how soon you can move. Don't start looking three months in advance and then waste your time looking at properties that are going to be gone in less than a month. We don't want you to fall in love with a house and then have it rented to someone else. Fifth and very important; make sure everyone in the decision making process has seen the potential rental and is on the same page with all the terms and conditions. Sometimes things get confused and moving is stressful enough. Your move should be a great new beginning!
It's time to make a move...
June 15, 2017
The Winter season is over and it’s almost Summer again. Most people would agree that summer is the best time to move. Children are out of school, the weather is almost guaranteed to be perfect and friends are available to help. So, let’s make this summer one of the best summers yet and make that move you’ve been planning all year long. If you need help finding a place to call home just visit our(Rental Assistance)page and one of our helpful staff will be happy to assist you.
How to Move: The Basic Steps
1. Plan your move using a moving checklist.
2. Decide whether you will be moving yourself or hiring professional movers.
3. Select your moving day.
4. Reserve your moving truck or moving company.
5. Get your packing materials.
6. Start packing!
7. File your change of address.
8. Eliminate items from your move.
9. Manage your moving day.
10. Start settling in.
The Importance of a Home Inspection
July 6th, 2017
Home Inspection Essentials
Although architectural details, wall and floor coverings, modern conveniences and many other factors are important in the buying decision, the focus of this inspection is on the structural, mechanical, electrical condition of the property. The inspection is designed to give the real estate agent or prospective purchaser a system to detect some of the readily accessible major flaws or deficiencies in the significant components and systems of a home. It is not designed to, nor does it profess to facilitate detection of all flaws, problems or occurrences that might exist in any given home. To maximize time efficiency and to ensure all of the major sections of the home are take into consideration, we have developed a systematized approach to the inspection. This is a simplified overview of systems that professional home inspectors use when they are inspecting a home. To assist you in following the system, we have provided a checklist that will guide you through your own inspection.
Home Inspection Items Not Inspected
home inspector's standard practice typically does not include the following, for which a specific license to inspect and identify is required:
Home Inspectors may suggest some important Environmental Testing for your property.
THE INSPECTION SYSTEM-THE BIG PICTURE
The first step in inspecting a home is to examine the big picture for the home. Notice the area the home is located in. Are there other homes of similar age and construction details relative to the home you are inspecting? A comparison will give you a general idea of the up keep of the home. Have there been significant modifications to the exterior of the building and if so, how is the workmanship?
Start at the exterior front of the house and work your way around the house (clockwise or counter-clockwise) at a distance which allows you to view a complete face comfortably. On each face (front, sides, rear) start your visual inspection at the top of the structure and work your way down to the ground and lot area. As an example, you would start at the front and note the roof and chimneys, the gutters, fascia and soffit's. Then, moving down the exterior wall coverings (brick, wood, aluminum), noting windows, doors, etc. Examine any porches or decks down to the foundation, then the grade or slope of the lot area, followed by any coverings, such as flower beds, walkway's, interlocking brick, driveways, etc. Move closer to the house, to examine more closely any details which may have attracted your attention, without skipping any items. Having completed the front, move to the side of the house and start the same procedure (roof to ground)
On the interior, begin your inspection in the basement and then follow the system throughout each floor in the house. The system for inspecting the interior is to begin with the floor, go to the walls and then the ceiling, and then consider any appliances or other items in the room. Move from room to room, always in the same direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) so as to not miss any areas. If you see a door, open it!
In the utility room in the basement, first notice the floor, the walls (possibly the foundation walls are visible here), then the ceiling (floor joists may be visible), then go to the furnace, hot water heater, electrical panel, plumbing system, etc. When inspecting the floors, walls and ceilings, scan the entire area that is visible, not just one section.
In a finished room you would notice the floors, walls (including windows) and ceiling. Next look for the heat sources, electrical outlets and switches, fireplaces, closets etc. In bathroom or kitchen, notice the floor, walls and ceiling, then the plumbing fixtures.
While performing the inspection, whether at the exterior, the interior or one of the mechanical systems, note the system first, then its relative condition. For example, if you were inspecting a wall on the interior of the home you would first note that the wall is plaster, and then examine the wall for cracks and irregularities.
The following are some typical problems or occurrences to look for in the major components and systems of the home.
Is the ridge (peak) showing a sag, or is it straight and level?
Is the roof sagging between the rafters or trusses?
Are there any signs of deterioration of asphalt shingles, such as curling, warping, broken edges, rounded corners or key holes(slits) becoming wider that normal? Any loose flashing's, at the chimney, roof-to-wall connection or elsewhere?Does the wooden roof deck appear rotten or delaminate under the last row of shingles? Are there any roof vents visible?
Is the masonry cap cracked or broken? Are any bricks flaking or missing? Mortar missing? Is the chimney leaning?
SOFFITS AND FASCIA
Note whether the soffit and fascia are wood, aluminum or plastic. Any loose or missing sections?If wood, are there any paint problems? Any visible rot?
GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
Ensure gutters slope down toward downspouts. Any rust or peeling paint?Apparent leaks or loose/sagging sections?Are the downspouts extended away from the foundations?
Look for missing mortar. Are the bricks flaking or cracking? Look for loose, missing or rotten siding, deteriorated paint. Does the siding appear new? Does it hide the foundation wall? Exterior walls bowed, bulged or leaning? WINDOWS AND DOORS
Look for problems with paint or caulking, and rotted wood components. Are the windows new or older? Are they the original windows? How old are they?PORCHES AND DECKS
Cracking or flaking masonry? Check for paint problems, rotted wood, and wood-earth contact. Note any settlement or separation from the house. Inspect the underside, if accessible.
Check for cracks, flaking or damaged masonry. Note any water markings and efflorescence (whitish, chalky substance) Any bowing, bulging or other irregularities? Soft mortar?
Does the grade slope away from the house? Any settled/low areas next to the foundation, or cracked walks/driveway? Is the property lower than the street or neighboring properties?
Note any evidence of water penetration (stains, mildew/odors, efflorescence, loose tiles etc.)
Check for deteriorated coverings or cracked ceramics. Any water staining or other damage? Sloping or sagging?
Randomly sample to check that the windows and doors work. Are the walls straight vertically and horizontally? Look for cracked or loose plaster. Look for stains, physical damage or previous repair evidence. Any drywall seams or nails showing?
Check for cracks in the plaster or loose, sagging plaster. Look for stains, mechanical damage or evidence of previous repair. Seams or nails showing?
BATHROOMS AND KITCHENS
Check that all fixtures are secure. Are there any cracks in the fixtures? Note the condition of the tiles and caulking in the tub/shower area. Are the faucets working? Do they leak? Sufficient water pressure? Look for staining and rot under the counter-tops. Randomly sample the operation of the cabinet doors and drawers.
Type, style and age of heating & cooling systems. When were they last inspected or serviced? Type of water supply piping and drains - any visible rust and corrosion? Size and age of electrical service - are the outlets grounded? Visible wiring in good condition? Have there been any upgrades?
Buyer Beware: Home Warranty
Buyer Beware: Home Warranty
July 31st, 2017
Many Home warranties sound wonderful when you first sign up. They boast that their services will cover those unforeseen items that you might need fixed. They lure you in with the promise that their services will save you money hand over fist and that the contractors they choose will be the best of the best. Buyer beware! We can't stress this enough. Do your due diligence and thoroughly research several Home Warranty companies before you choose to purchase; if at all. Being in the property management business we come across maintenance repairs almost every day and Home Warranty more times than not will find a way NOT to cover the repair. Heaven forbid if you need multiple service completed since that's a $65-$85 service fee per trade. Not to mention the $300-$600+ you spend each year for the so/so contractors that may or may not complete the repairs properly. Don't get me wrong we do have a small percentage of those contractors that actually do their job and fix the problem right the first time and when that happens we sing their praises. There very well maybe Home Warranty companies that are worth the cost and have proven to be the exception. However we have yet to see the quality in any one particular company our clients have regrettably entrusted.