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Get A Head Start On Outdoor Spring Cleaning

Spring is finally on the way. The longer daylight hours and warmer weather of the season get people everywhere excited to refresh their living spaces, both inside and out. This year, start your spring-cleaning regime outside (at this point we all could use a little Vitamin D boost, right?). There are many tasks you can check off the to-do list as soon as the snow melts for a spring clean up that instantly increases your property’s curb appeal and preps your home for the upcoming growing season.

Eliminate Unwanted Moss
Springtime in Washington brings forth LOTS of moss on concrete surfaces and grass. If those areas are also in a shady spot on your property, moss is likely to form. When left untreated, moss on patios, driveways, or other concrete areas can become slippery. Additionally, if left too long, unwanted moss could also damage the bricks or concrete. To remove it without using chemicals, use an edger shovel to scrape it off followed by a scrub brush for any small, harder to access areas. Has moss also taken over your lawn? Fertilization can help. First, have your soil tested to determine lacking nutrients and current pH factor. Purchase the proper fertilizer blend to nourish roots, balance the soil, and prevent further moss growth.

Pruning Hedges/Bushes/Smaller Trees
Depending on the types of trees and shrubs in your yard, spring can often be a good time to prune. Be sure, however, you’re not pruning anything with new buds already waiting to bloom. For example, azaleas cannot be pruned in the spring and instead must be pruned after the flowers fall off in late summer/early fall. Shrubs/hedges such as Laurel Hedges, however, can be pruned in the spring without an issue. Prune everything that has begun to touch the home or fences to prevent damage to these surfaces. If you’re not sure what to prune in the spring, contact your local nursery or home store for help.

Tidy And Weed Flowerbeds
Spring provides the perfect opportunity to tidy up flowerbeds before your blossoms start thriving. Eliminate branches, sticks, and debris from the garden and pull some of the smaller weeds. You can also apply a weed growth inhibitor. White vinegar serves as simple, natural, and inexpensive weed eliminator. Fill a spray bottle and spritz on unwanted growth during a bright day to damage a weed’s protective outer layer. They will wither in the sun, making them easy to remove. Doing the work now helps keep your garden beds looking great all year long without trying to work in and around growing weeds later.

Plant New Seeds
Many flowers and vegetables can be planted in early spring. Again, your local garden center or agricultural extension can help you find the ones best for your yard. After you’ve tidied and weeded the beds, plant some new seeds; it’s a great way tor a fresh burst of color to your property once the season is in full swing.

Roofs/Gutters
Spring is a great time to check your roof and gutters for any deferred maintenance. Let us know if your roof/gutters need cleaning.

Happy Spring From Double Z Property Management

Looking for more tips to get your rental property ready for spring? Contact Double Z Property Management today!

 

Trending Now: The Tacoma Housing Market

The state of Washington is leading the country’s current real estate boom. It’s an upswing that experts predict will continue throughout 2018. A recent report released by Veros Real Estate Solutions, a firm that provides data-based services, singled out Washington’s home-price appreciation as demonstrating nation-leading strength, a trend that should support above-average price growth throughout the new year.

Tacoma’s Housing Market Rivals Seattle As Leading Hub For Buyers & Renters

As homebuyers flock to Washington in droves, many are setting their sites on Tacoma. A recent King5 news report revealed that Tacoma ranks 5th in the list of most competitive housing markets in the country. Additionally, in June 2017, over 50% of all Tacoma home sales sold above list price. One of the main factors driving the Tacoma housing surge? Simple economics. According to Steve Crowell of Keller Williams Puyallup, the intense and highly-competitive local housing market means, “we’re getting a lot of people out of Seattle that have discovered their money goes a lot further down here as up there.”

It’s A Great Time To Lease Your Tacoma Rental Property

Yes, now is a good time to sell a home in Tacoma. However, landlords here are learning that right now is a great time to lease their Tacoma rental properties. As Tacoma real estate continues to heat up, maintaining an investment rental home in our bustling city can mean an increase in overall market value and long-term financial gain.

Tacoma tenants are driving the rental market at almost the same pace as the housing industry. For some, despite offering more home for your buck than surrounding cities, Tacoma may still prove too expensive to buy outright. Others relocating from other regions may want to indulge in a little “try before you buy” here. Whatever the reason for their arrival, this recent influx of renters has brought a significant increase in rental property demand and a shortage of inventory.

Low rental inventory is great news for landlords; owners of well-maintained and available Tacoma properties can ask for (and get) top dollar for rental rates. Noted real estate-data firm, Trulia, announced that median rents rose approximately 8.8% from 2016-2017, raising average rents to a whopping $1,785 per month. This recent rent boost grants our city the distinction of having the biggest rent increase in the nation, making it the perfect time to list your Tacoma rental property.

Contact Double Z

Have questions about listing your rental property? Double Z Property Management has answers. Contact our property maintenance specialists today to hear more about our comprehensive suite of rental services.

Rental Property Tax Deductions: Are You Prepared?

Your rental property is a significant investment that is a lot of work…but can also yield financial reward. As an owner, it’s critical for you to remain vigilant about protecting that investment, particularly during tax time. Unfortunately, many rental property owners miss out on major deductions when reporting the income associated with their rental. Don’t be one of them. Go into this year’s tax season armed with a few general deduction concepts to ensure you take advantage of everything relevant to your property’s earnings.

Potential deductions for your rental property are:

Interest

Mortgage and loan interest is often the most significant deductible expense on a property. Beyond the mortgage and home improvement loans, you should also ask about interest on credit cards for line items used for the rental. **New tax laws enacted recently should be discussed with your tax advisor as some limits have changed, or deductions have been removed.

Repairs/Improvements

The cost of repairs on your rental property also falls into the deduction category. Repairs keep your property in working condition. Some common repair costs include replacement of fixtures, hiring contractors, plumbing, painting, appliances, and other common property upkeeps. Improvements are a separate category and are depreciable items. These are items that add/extend the long-term value to your property like replacing a roof or replacing all of the windows. Keep all invoices so you can prove your repair expenses were ordinary, necessary, and reasonable. At Double Z Property Management, we help keep you organized by providing a year-end summary of all expenses related to the management of your investment home and maintaining copies of all receipts.

Depreciation

Depreciation, which is disbursed over several years, is a big-picture/long game kind of deduction. In general, there are three main costs to capitalize and depreciate:

  • Structure value (not land)
  • Improvement expenses
  • Equipment

Discuss these and any other relevant depreciation deductions with your accountant as current laws are confusing. Check out IRS Publication 946, “https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p946.pdf” for additional information and check back on the IRS website for any new changes.

Insurance Premiums

All business-related insurance premiums should qualify as tax deductible. Homeowners, flood, fire, theft, general liability, and any other type of coverage could qualify. If your rental property is the only reason you needed to purchase a policy, you may be able to deduct the expense.

Utilities/HOA or Condo. Association Dues

Electricity, gas, heating, water – you can deduct these costs as long as you’re the one paying for them. Also, you may be able to claim utility expenses if you receive tenant reimbursement. However, you will have to classify repayment as income. HOA/condo dues might also be a deduction. Double Z Property Management helps keep you organized by providing a year-end summary of all expenses related to the utilities/dues paid for your rental receipts.

Professional Services Related To Property

Landlords can categorize fees paid to a wide range of service professionals as operating expenses. This can include property investment advisors, lawyers, and property management firms who are paid for services directly related to your rental process. You can even deduct accountant fees related to your property rental, making it even more worthwhile to seek professional financial guidance before filing your tax returns.

Travel

Landlords can deduct travel expenses to “manage, conserve, maintain’ their rental property. Ensure you only deduct the business portion that involves rental activities if you are mixing business with pleasure.

About Double Z Property
Double Z Property Management offers a comprehensive suite of property rental services. Contact our team of property management professionals today to learn more about our services and how we can help you maximize your profits on your investment.

This article provides general information about tax laws, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice.

Merry Christmas And A Prosperous New Year From Double Z Property Management

It’s hard to believe, but the end of the year is rapidly approaching. In the midst of this joyous holiday season, the team at Double Z Property Management would like to take a moment to thank the many people who made 2017 an outstanding year for us as a company and community organization in the Tacoma area.

To Our Double Z Rental Homeowners

Our team wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our owners for entrusting our crew of property management specialists with your business. At Double Z, we recognize that our clients are the very heartbeat of our company. We truly value our established partnerships with property owners in and throughout Pierce and N. Thurston County. It is our privilege to help you protect your property investments and ensure your rentals receive the care, attention, and service they deserve.

To Our Double Z Rental Tenants

We would also like to convey our warmest gratitude and appreciation to all of our tenants. At Double Z, we genuinely believe that we have the best, most responsible, occupants in our rental properties. Our residents follow the rules and regulations outlined in their leases and take meticulous care of their rentals – it makes all the difference. The Double Z property management group hopes we can continue to help you feel comfortable and completely at home where you live in the upcoming year.

To Our Double Z Supporters

Double Z would also like to thank all of the individuals and businesses that continue to support our property management company, whether you’re a current owner/tenant or not. We are immensely grateful to the many people who continue to refer our services and capabilities to others throughout the area.

Thank you again to everyone! The entire Double Z team wishes you and yours Happy Holidays and a very prosperous New Year. We look forward to continuing our partnerships and service in 2018!

 

6 Ways To Proactively Protect And Increase Your Rental Property Value

Your rental property isn’t just an income…it’s also an investment. As a landlord, you should always look for proactive ways to protect and increase the value of your rental. Your changes don’t have to be elaborate renovations. A few simple updates can make a major impact on your overall rental property worth as well as impress potential tenants.

Consider these proven tips to increase value and optimize return on investment with your rental:

Improve Curb Appeal

The front yard is a property’s first (and sometimes, only) opportunity to make a positive impression. A few minor tweaks to the exterior of your rental can make a major esthetic difference. Mow the lawn, repaint the door, replace shabby shutters, install a new mailbox, and/or trim the hedges for an instant front yard facelift.

Repair Your Roof

Technically, the roof is essentially part of your overall curb appeal strategy – but a roof is a smidge more expensive than a mailbox, so we will give it it’s own header. Despite it’s bigger price tag, the roof on your rental is worth the expense. Ignoring peeling and deteriorating shingles is not only unsightly; it can eventually lead to serious damage to your property’s interior and exterior. Schedule periodic roofing inspections and replace as needed.

Clean Inside

This may seem like a no-brainer; however, many landlords underestimate the importance of consistent, thorough cleanings. Partner with a professional cleaning company to schedule periodic services at your rental. A professional cleaning company will have the equipment and high-end products needed to not only keep your property looking its best, but also help your rental defend itself against long-term wear and tear.

Install Better Fixtures

Kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures are some of the first things renters will notice when checking out your property. Faucets, sinks, and sprayers that are more than 10 years old can look run down and dingy, instantly dating the surrounding interior. When replacing, go beyond the standard “shiny chrome” builder grade and consider more sophisticated finishes such as brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze. Even going a step or two above entry-level fixtures can have a major impact on your rental property value.

Upgrade Countertops

Laminate countertops are inexpensive, but most landlords quickly realize you get what you pay for with these synthetic surfaces. Laminate counters simply don’t hold up to general rental wear and tear for a prolonged period of time. Once again, you don’t have to go high end. Choosing a solid material such as quartz, granite, or even cement can instantly improve durability and deliver the visual wow factor that renters are looking for.

Replace Floors

The floors of your rental property will see a lot of heavy foot (and possibly paw) traffic. In time, you may begin to notice fading, stains, and scratches on certain areas that get used most often. Install new flooring as needed throughout your rental. Forego carpet whenever possible (it’s a dirt and grime magnet) and opt for tiles, laminates, stone, and hardwood for an easy to clean option that instantly boosts your rental property value.

About Double Z Property Management

Double Z Property Management, a full-service property maintenance firm in Tacoma, Washington, specializes in an extensive suite of rental property services. Contact the Double Z team today to hear more.

5 Tips For Dealing With A Difficult Tenant

Owning a rental home offers several significant financial benefits, making it a sound investment for many. However, even the savviest property owners may eventually encounter a landlord’s worst nightmare – a difficult tenant. If you’re considering purchasing a rental home, but are concerned about navigating potentially tough tenant terrain, don’t be. While dealing with a challenging renter may prove unavoidable, you still have options.

Follow a few simple tips to best manage the situation for a positive outcome:

Set Boundaries

Let’s call this our “be friendly…but firm” approach. Always treat your tenants professionally and ethically; however, don’t be afraid to establish a few clearly defined boundaries, policies, and ground rules right from the start of your renting relationship. Managing expectations of what is (and is not) acceptable will help your tenant quickly realize he/she isn’t going to get away with certain behaviors.

Put It In Writing…And Be Specific

Standardized leases are convenient, but problematic renters can easily find loopholes in vague, generalized language used on a template agreement. Outlining all of your specific policies, requirements, and expectations in a customized lease can save you ample stress and headaches in the future. Additionally, whenever your renter fails to adhere to your rules, write that down as well. Not only is it important to keep a log of every situation, you can also use the details to serve them with a “Notice To Comply” to further reinforce requirements. Final tip – you can also use certified mail to ensure your tenant does receive any critical or time sensitive notifications.

Encourage Communication

Yes, really. While your first reaction may be to avoid a difficult tenant at all costs, you may actually be creating more problems for yourself long term. Encourage professional, objective communication at all times. Returning calls, texts, and emails can go a long way in eliminating misunderstandings and help keep your renting relationship on track.

Act Before It Gets Out Of Hand

Even great tenants can become problematic if they realize you’re slow to respond to their agreement breaches. As soon as there’s a misstep, whether it’s a missed payment or disregard of renter requirements, react. Proactively and decisively managing an episode as soon as it happens can prevent future incidents.

Hire A Property Management Firm

Perhaps the best way to effectively handle a difficult difficult? Partner with a professional property management firm to oversee your rental. An experienced property management team acts as a liaison between you and your renters to handle all the uncomfortable conversations for you. You get the peace of mind that comes from knowing your interests are protected at all times without the stress and worry that comes from engaging with someone not respecting your agreement for the ultimate landlord win/win.

Are you concerned about a potentially difficult tenant with your rental property? Double Z Property Management can help. Contact us today to discuss our property management services.

 

4 Reasons You Should Hire A Professional Property Manager To Manage Your Investment Property

Many rental homeowners assume that hiring a property management firm may possibly convolute the process, or potentially prove cost prohibitive. Fortunately, this is simply not the case. A skilled and reputable management team can quickly streamline your rental experience in a wide range of ways.

 

If you are a currently a landlord, or are considering investing in a rental home, you should partner with a professional property manager to reap several key advantages such as:

 

Convenience

Renting a home can quickly prove a full-time job. Your chosen management firm will coordinate all the many moving parts on your behalf. A top-quality provider will collect rent, impose late fees, handle occupant complaints, coordinate contractors, and even evict tenants if necessary, saving you precious time while mitigating stress and inconvenience. Seasoned vendors will also offer vital client services like consistent drive-bys and interior inspections to further minimize your responsibilities and deliver optimal peace of mind that your investment is well protected.

 

Save And Make More Money

Yes, really. Rental homeowners are often surprised to find that a professional management team actually helps protect their bottom line in a variety of ways. A qualified firm will offer low cost in-house maintenance as well access to an extensive network of vetted contractors to properly manage upkeep on your home. Consistent care and maintenance retains property value, proactively prevents costly repairs, and even helps command higher rental rates for a financial win/win/win.

 

Access To Best Tenants

When it comes to a successful renting experience, it’s not just about finding and retaining tenants. It’s about finding and retaining good tenants. You can spend countless hours trying to source and screen potential residents on your own without any guarantee you’ve effectively eliminated lodgers who may have red flags in their renting history. Property management companies grant you access to the best possible pool of prospective tenants. Your management team will tirelessly advertise your home using a comprehensive range of resources. A high-caliber firm will also offer extended operational hours for live showings whenever requested. Once a potential renter has been identified, a professional provider will utilize innovative, residential screening technology to confirm the most qualified renters possible.

 

Industry Authority

Most importantly, working with a professional property manager means you are entrusting your investment to a rental authority. Your trusted partner understands the laws and regulations, ensuring your rental contracts remains legally compliant at all times. Additionally, throughout the rental agreement, your vendor will act as a liaison between you and your occupants. When presented with a necessary eviction, your provider will manage the process, ensuring your best interests are always protected.

 

Contact the team of property management specialists today at Double Z Property Management to learn more about our comprehensive range of services. (more…)

Get Your Rental Property Winter Ready

7 Tips To Get Your Property Winter Ready

Winter. It sneaks up on us every year, unleashing cold, harsh temperatures and all manner of seasonal storms. As a landlord, it’s important to get your rental home ready for winter before the temperature starts to plummet. Don’t get caught unprepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store for us this year – get a head start on winterizing your property by following 7 easy tips this fall:

 

Drain Yard Sprinklers: Now’s the time to not only cut off the water source into your sprinklers, but to also empty out any leftover water that may be trapped inside the system to ensure it doesn’t freeze and burst as the temperatures drop.

 

Tend to Other Outside Water Sources: Beyond your sprinkler systems, you also need to consider other pipes and water sources. Detach all garden hoses from nozzles and drain the lines to eliminate any resting water. Additionally, you should wrap any exposed, un-insulated pipes and spigots as well to help prevent them from bursting and causing potential water damage to the property.

 

Prune: Cold winter weather can weaken branches and limbs, causing extensive breakage. Trimming your shrubs, trees, and bushes now can help prevent seasonal damage and get them ready to thrive again in the spring.

 

Roof and Gutter Maintenance: Winter weather can wreak havoc on your property’s roof and gutters – are they ready for the weather that lies ahead? Contact your property management team to ensure they schedule the maintenance needed to keep your roof and gutters working as they should.

 

Perform Alarm Check: Functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are critical to renter safety. Perform a check on all of your alarms to guarantee proper functioning (and make a note to check them again in the spring!).

 

Test Heating System: No renter wants to turn on the heat for the first time in the season…only to realize it’s actually not working. Test your heater now. While you’re at it, you may also want to have your fireplaces and furnaces tuned up. Remember to change your furnace filters every 2-3 months and leave your heat at 55 degrees if you go on vacation to prevent an entire home freeze during your absence.

 

Purchase De-Icing Agent: Frost is definitely a factor to consider with your rental. Slippery decks, porches, and walkways can not only be a nuisance…they can be a hazard. Have a good de-icing agent on hand so you can proactively mitigate frost around your property.

 

Double Z Property Management offers a comprehensive range of property maintenance services to keep your rental ready for whatever winter has in store. Contact our team today to hear more.