This is the most impressive resume I’ve ever seen—based on my 20 years of hiring and interviewing

Gary Burnison, Contributor

Gonjoo } Twenty20

I’ve received thousands of resumes throughout my entire career — and believe me, I’ve seen them all: Too long, too short, too boring, too many typos, too hard to read and every layout imaginable.

To be completely honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of resumes. Heck, I even wrote a book about all the things that are more important than the resume. Yes, you do need a one, but what most experts don’t tell you is that resumes only account for 10% of the hiring decision.

That said, it would take a lot to wow a tough critic like myself. A few years ago, however, I was surprised to find a resume that actually managed to impress me.

In fact, it was one of the best resumes I had ever seen in my 20 years of hiring and interviewing. It had no gimmicks, no Fortune 500 company listed and wasn’t folded into an origami airplane. Needless to say, I hired the candidate.

Here’s what made it stand out from the rest:1. It was easy to read

This resume had plenty of white space and was two pages long, which is expected if you have more than 10 years of experience.

Everything was nicely organized: Line spacing was just right, company names in bold, titles italicized and job details arranged in bullet points. Oh, and not a single typo to be found.

I liked that the font was nothing fancy. Too many candidates waste time obsessing over which font to use. I won’t weigh in on Times New Roman versus Calibri, but I will say that it should always be simple and easy to read.

0:59These are the best fonts to use on your resume, according to designers2. It told a story

This resume told a story about the candidate’s career journey. There were no information gaps (i.e., a missing summer). From top to bottom, there was a clear “before and after.” In just a few seconds, I was able to see a “staircase pattern” of the candidate’s career growth.

In other words, the chronological list of work history — in order of date, with the most recent position at the top — showed a clear progression of more senior roles and more advanced responsibilities.3. It listed accomplishments, rather than just responsibilities

I’m not interested in reading what you copied and pasted from the original job description listing. What employers really want to know is whether you’re an above average candidate who’s capable of delivering quantifiable results — and this person did a great job of proving that they were.

It’s always better to highlight your responsibilities by detailing your most impressive accomplishments:

Examples:

  • Instead of “expanded operations to international markets,” say “expanded operations to eight new countries in Latin America. ”
  • Instead of “led marketing and sales team,” say “supervised marketing and sales team and achieved 15% annual growth vs. 0.5% budget.

4. It told the truth

There weren’t any discrepancies that raised red flags. Everything was believable and the numbers weren’t exaggerated.

Even better, the resume had links to the person’s LinkedIn page and professional website, which included a portfolio of their work. This made it easier for me to fact-check the resume, which in turn made the candidate seem like an honest person.

My advice? Tell the truth — period. A colleague once told me about someone who listed “convicted felon” on her resume. The candidate submitted her resume, then called the hiring manager and asked, “Would you hire an ex-convict?” After a series of questions and some due diligence, they offered her the job. And based on what I’ve heard, she ended up being an excellent hire.

While big accomplishments and recognizable company names will give you an advantage, make no mistake: Employers will do a reference check — and if they find out that you lied about something, it’s game over.5. It didn’t have any cliché claims

There were no generic and high-level claims such as “creative,” “hard-working,” “results-driven,” “excellent communicator” or, my least favorite, “team player.”

Including any of these cliché terms will make your hiring manager roll their eyes in less than a second. Skip the cheesy adjectives and overused terms and go for action verbs instead.

Examples:

  • Instead of “excellent communicator,” say “presented at face-to-face client meetings and spoke at college recruiting events. ”
  • Instead of “highly creative,” say “designed and implemented new global application monitoring platform.”

6. It came through a recommendation

Not everyone will have a connection at their dream company, but knowing someone who can refer you is the most effective way to get an employer’s attention.

The fact that this resume came through a recommendation from a respected colleague played a significant role in getting me to open the PDF file. That, in addition to the few seconds I spent skimming it, was the one-two punch that made me want to know more about the candidate.

Blasting your resume everywhere won’t get you anywhere. I get sent dozens of resumes on the daily from people I don’t know, and the vast majority of them go unopened.

That might seem harsh, but here’s the truth: You should always go out of your way to get a warm introduction. If you don’t have a connection, do some research and find a friend of a friend who knows someone who has an “in.”

Then, ask your potential referral out for a coffee date. Once you’ve established a genuine relationship, tell them about the job opening you’re interested in and ask if they can recommend you. If you can make this happen, I guarantee your resume will get read.

How to Buy a Small MultiFamily Property: A Step by Step Case Study

I really like small multifamily properties, and I talk about them an awful lot. Several months ago, I wrote a post called “How to Make a Million Dollars in Real Estate” which was designed to show the possibilities for building wealth through real estate – and the start of that plan was the purchase of a small multifamily property. I’ve explained many times that the goal isn’t to buy a property that fits exactly the description mentioned, but rather to teach the math behind the method. You could buy a triplex, a few duplexes, lots of single family homes, or whatever.

It’s the cash flow that really matters.

Since that post came out, I’ve been asked by a number of people how they should buy such a property. So, to help with this, I wrote this post to show you step by step how I managed to buy my newest real estate investment, with almost nothing down and significant monthly cash flow. It’s often easy to get caught up in the “theoretical world” of how real estate investing works – so hopefully this post will give you an idea of how real estate investing can (and does) work in the real world. All the numbers in this are true and accurate, though I sometimes might round slightly for simplicity! This post is quite long, so be sure to fully understand each part before moving on, so you don’t get overwhelmed! If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help answer them.


Step One: The 5 Minute Analysis

A lot of people struggle with math. It’s understandable because, although it isn’t terribly difficult, it can be overwhelming to get going. So, I had the idea that it would be neat to show the BiggerPockets community how I analyze an investment property in under five minutes. This isn’t the real in-depth analysis (which we’ll get to) but simply the first “filter” to decide if the property is worth pursuing.

I sat down at my computer and pulled up Realtor.com and picked a property pretty much at random to analyze. I made a quick video (it actually ended up being slightly longer than 5 minutes, but close enough!) and I looked at some of the important aspects of this property. Specifically, I looked at:

  • The location – the property is located in the town I do most of my investing in or around. I knew the location fairly well, because I own another property on the same street. I’d probably classify this as a “C+” area, maybe “B-” with mostly rentals. The property was listed at $120,000, but had originally been listed at $140,000.
  • The number of units– Four units total – three 1 bedroom and one 2 bedroom.
  • The rent it brings in– The listing stated a total monthly income of $1740 per month, and because I know the area well, I knew a typical one bedroom would rent for (at minimum) $400 in my area and a typical two bedroom would rent for about $500, bringing the total monthly conservative income to $1700.
  • The expenses based on the 50% rule– 50% of the income left $850 to pay the mortgage.
  • The cash-flow, based on the 50% rule– I looked at the total mortgage amount for a $100,000 loan (buying at $120k and putting roughly $20,000 down).
  • The seller

– I determined that this property was a bank repo, that had originally sold for $149,777 but the bank had foreclosed on it and was selling it at a steep discount.

If you wanna watch the video, you can check it out below:

The purpose of this 5 minute process is not to nail down the specifics on a property. I don’t drive out and look at it yet, I don’t make a lot of phone calls or even show my wife yet. I do this same process dozens of times every week, mostly in my head in under a minute. There are two prices to note about the properties I examine:

  • The List Price: For 99% of properties I find on the MLS, the price is far too high and not worth it.
  • The Ideal Price: For 99% of properties I find on the MLS – there IS a price that would make it worth it, and I like to find out what it is. That’s the point of the video above.

Some investors choose to offer the #2 price on every property they see, and while I don’t think this is necessarily a bad idea, I’d rather not waste the time on properties that I’m not a fan of. My personal strategy is to buy a few, amazing properties per year, rather than dozens or hundreds. I like the simplicity, and I’m not looking to be Donald Trump. However, when I find a property that excites me, and the listed value is somewhat in the ballpark of the ideal price, I will investigate a little closer.

Summary of the Quick Analysis
By the end of the video, I stated that “At $100,000 – this property starts getting very interesting to me.” Why? Because I like to see a MINIMUM of $100 per unit, per month on a property with nothing down using the 50% rule. If I’m putting down a large downpayment, I want to see $200 per month in income. At $100,000 with nothing down, the projected cash-flow would be right around $300, and purchasing it at $100,000 with 20% the cashflow would be around $200 per month. That would be an okay deal. However – if you know me – I don’t want an okay deal. I want a great deal. Don’t you?

Let me show you how this turned from okay to great…


Step Two: The Closer Look

After publishing the video on BiggerPockets, I kinda forgot about the property. I’m not exactly sure why, but I figured I’d take a look later and just kinda dropped it. A couple weeks later I was driving near the property and remembered it, so I took a drive by. (Silly, yes, I know!) I called my real estate agent and asked him to meet me over there to look at it. Because three of the units were currently rented, we could only get in the fourth unit to check it out without giving 24 hour notice (which I don’t like to do unless I’m really really interested.) I was surprised by the overall cleanliness of the unit, though while the unit we were in was listed as the “two bedroom” unit – it was functionally only a one bedroom (one of the bedrooms was really more of a walk-in closet.) However – at this point the deal got a little better for me because I realized the units were not as ugly on the inside as they were on the outside. I could easily expect $450 per month in rent from these units, not the $400 previously thought.

The Game Changer
While looking at this property, my Agent told me something else exciting about it: this property was not a 4-plex, but actually a 5-plex. The bank had “decommissioned” the 5th unit in order to make the sale easier (4-plexes are MUCH easier to finance than 5-plexes, because a 4-unit is considered “residential” in the loan world where 5 units and up are considered “Commercial” and require a whole different set of standards and a much different approval process.) We walked to the third floor and I was shocked at what I found – a large, 3 bedroom apartment that was in decent shape. The sellers had locked all the bedroom doors and called them “storage” for the other four units.

Boom.

The numbers I had run before were based on 4 units and $1700 per month in income. Now, it seems, the potential for income was MUCH higher. This was the catalyst to turn this 4-plex from a good deal to a great deal.

A Quick Estimate of Repairs Needed
Overall, the property was in pretty good shape, it looked pretty ugly from the outside (my favorite, really! It drives away competition!) It definitely needs a new paint job on the outside, and some of the shingles from a fairly new roof had blown off in a freak windstorm we had several years back (missing shingles are very common in my area because of that storm, though most homes have been fixed since then. This place had not.) Additionally, the 5th unit needed some help to bring it into a rentable shape. I estimated about $10,000 worth of work to get the place fully finished, including finishing up the 5th unit.

Immediately, I recalculated my numbers based on the new unit that I could eventually get rented out. As it turned out, it looked like this:

  • Units 1-4 rent: $450 each x 4 = $1800
  • Unit 5: $600
  • Total Income: $2400
  • x 50% expenses: $1200
  • Mortgage at $100,000 = $550/month ($650/month cash-flow)
  • Mortgage at $90,000 = $470/month ($730/month cash flow)
  • Mortgage at $80,000 = $430/month ($770/month cash flow)

Remember, these numbers are based on having no money down – so they are far above my threshold.


The Offer and Negotiation

Before I let you know the details about my offer and negotiation – understand that this strategy worked for me, in my market, because I knew my market. The market has not exploded like the rest of the country seems to have, and there is not a mass amount of competition for this kind of property here (another benefit of small multifamily properties… often less competition.) Last week, Clay Huber wrote a great article about making your first offer your “highest and best” instead of worrying about negotiating up and down, so you don’t miss out on deals. I agree, this is generally the best way to go in a busy market, but since I figured I had time and no real pressing competition- I sent a low ball offer first: $80,000.

Before I get into negotiations – I want to share one more thing that I tested on this offer. Although this was a bank REO, I also know that this was a small, local community bank with a very small department (or one person, probably) in charge of approving or rejecting offers. As such, I added a touch of “personality” to my offer – something usually only done with private sellers:

I drafted up a one-page cover letter that briefly explained that my wife and I wanted to buy the property for our portfolio, and we are local investors and we want to improve the neighborhood. Then – we included a photo of us ON the paper. My theory was that the person in charge of accepting an offer would feel more inclined to sell to a local nice couple than some faceless investor. Before doing so, I actually went on to the BiggerPockets Forums and asked if anyone had done this – and received a mostly “Well, it wouldn’t hurt” response. So I tried it – and I think it kinda worked…

The official offer I had my agent draft up on the Realtor® form basically consisted of:

  • $80,000 Cash Offer
  • No Financing Contingency
  • 7 Day Inspection Contingency
  • Close in 45 days.
  • $1000 in earnest money

So I submitted the offer, via my agent, and surprisingly, the selling agent didn’t laugh at us but actually said “well, that might work.” The next day I got a call from my agent saying they verbally accepted but had to hand it upward to get signed off! I was super excited, but after several days of no response, I finally heard back that the deal was killed when the man in charge said “We will not take a $40,000 loss on this property!”

I said okay and let it go.

Several days later, the sellers called my agent and asked if I could do $100,000 and close in two weeks. I told them no (this is all verbal.) but if they sent something over in writing for $90,000 – I would accept it and close within two weeks. This kind of weird verbal negotiation went on for several days. Finally, after a week of negotiations, the bank signed off on $90,000 and they would do a few thousand worth of repairs that they had planned on doing – and I would close in two weeks. With that, I had a deal under contract. It might not be the $80,000 I really wanted, but it’s still a killer deal at $90,000.

The takeaway from this section on negotiations: every single negotiation and deal I have ever done with a bank has been unique. No two deals have ever been the same for me. It’s always a little weird.


The Inspection

Because I had seven days to inspect the property, I immediately set out to arrange my inspection. After all – I had not even been inside 3 of the units because they had renters in them and I didn’t want to waste everyone’s time until I had time to get inside. This is why the “inspection contingency” in the offer was a non-debateable clause.

If you are just beginning – I highly recommend that you hire a professional home inspector to go through any property with a fine-tooth comb. On this property I hired my favorite contractor to go through the property with me, so we spent several hours running through every aspect of the property, and he gave me a bid at the same time. We crawled onto the roof, under the building, in each unit, every closet, every fridge, every nook and cranny. In the end – I saw nothing that surprised me which is always nice.

My early analysis of repairs needed were almost perfect – $10,000 to get it painted and get the 5th unit fixed up and ready to go.


A Deeper Analysis and the One-Hour Awkward Webinar

At this point, I had looked over every square inch of the property and had an accurate look at how much this would take to fix up. I also knew generally how much everything would cost. As I discussed earlier – I had already done my quick “5 minute” analysis of the property and decided it was worth pursuing. However, a quick analysis – and the 50% rule – are only “rules of thumb.” It was time to actually dig into the numbers and make sure this property would actually pencil out the way I think it would.

Since I started this project with the BiggerPockets Community, I thought I would continue it by doing my in-depth analysis with the BiggerPockets Community as well. So, I scheduled a Webinar and gathered all my numbers ahead of time and then live, in front of dozens of BiggerPockets Members, I spent a very awkward hour explaining the deal live on the internet via the first BiggerPockets Webinar. If you missed it – you can watch a replay below (though, it’s an hour long, so be prepared!)

The numbers looked even better than I had hoped. I entered all the numbers into my trusty spreadsheet and came up with the following spreadsheet:

According to my spreadsheet, in a perfect month when I had no repairs and no vacancies, I would be cash flowing a $1356.86 per month! This, however, is where most newbies screw up! This is also why the 50% rule is so important. I understand that in reality, I will have repairs, I will have vacancies, and I’ll need to plan for them. I don’t have a separate spot on the chart above for vacancies and repairs (I include it under “other monthly expenses”) but I typically assume around 10% of the monthly rent for vacancies/repairs and another 10% for long-term/big-ticket planning (new roofs, new parking, etc.)


Financing

I delayed talking about financing until this point, but understand that I had been working the financing angle from the beginning – even before I found the property. I always make sure I have several avenues to buy a property before I offer on one – or else I’m just wasting everyone’s time.

If you’ll recall, I initially asked for 45 days to close – which would give me plenty of time to go with a conventional loan. However, when I agreed to a two-week close, I closed that option off to me. Instead, I made a call to a private lender that I had actually met through BiggerPockets (You probably know this lender – J Scott, from the

BiggerPockets Forums and 123Flip.com … I actually found out on “the air” that he was a private lender, when we interviewed him on the 10th Episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast! This is why building solid relationships on BiggerPockets is so important!)

I explained the deal, sent him all the paperwork, and requested the full purchase price – $90,000. He looked it over and agreed to fund the deal. I would cover the repairs and closing costs and he would cover the purchase price. I would be taking a one-year note (meaning, I’d have to pay the whole thing off in less than one year. More on that in a second.) Thus, I would need about $12,000 in cash to make this deal happen ($10,000 in repairs, $2000 in closing costs.)

Perhaps you have heard about the “65% ARV” number that most hard money lenders stick to when making deals, and perhaps you are wondering how I got the full purchase price covered? A few thoughts on that:

  • Funding the whole $90k was very generous. If you are just starting out, a private lender or hard money lender may not lend the full amount, even if you are under the 65% number. That’s just the truth. However, there are MANY lenders out there -so get to know a lot of them. Their terms may differ quite a bit. Be sure to check out the BiggerPockets Hard Money Lender Directory for the most comprehensive list of lenders available.
  • The after-repair value of this 5-plex would be around $150k or more – so I am under the 65% so the lender was covered.
  • I have been building my reputation for many years on BiggerPockets, which helped the lender feel comfortable lending on this project.
  • The property was already rented – thus the cash-flow was there to pay the lender each month – meaning he had even less risk. With a typical flip, there is no income coming in at all, which means YOU have to pay the loan each month. Having tenants pay the bill definitely helps on this front.

But wait… a private loan is going to be short term!? What then?

Like I said, I asked for a one-year loan on this property.

Why one year?

It comes back, again, to my desire to have multiple exit strategies with everything I do. I cannot stress this point enough – you need to ALWAYS have multiple exit strategies. So, my strategies are as follows:

  • Refinance the Property Through a Bank– This is my first plan, and I am 99% confident this will happen. I was already pre-approved through a bank to buy this property in the first place, so unless something drastic changes in the lending world in the coming months – I can refinance this without a lot of problems. However, in order to refinance – the bank requires that it be “seasoned” for 6 months- meaning I have to wait six months before the refinance will go through. Knowing that my monthly payment will drop significantly once I refinance, you can bet on day 6 months and one day – I will be closing on that refinance. However, if that doesn’t work, there is always option 2:
  • Find a long-term private lender– If the lending environment changes and I cannot get a loan, I would look for a private lender who wanted a long-term investment. With the stability of the property, and the magnitude of the deal, I’m confident I could find a wealthy individual looking to earn a solid interest rate for 15 years or more.
  • Add a Partner on and Refinance– If I couldn’t find a long-term private lender, I would bite the bullet and find a partner to add to the deal. I’ve talked about this strategy a number of times, and while I would be giving up a significant portion of equity, it would work to get me out of the deal. I have a partner who I’ve worked with on a few projects who makes great money, has excellent credit, and a stable job – so getting a loan is as easy as signing a piece of paper for him. I would simply add his name to the title on the loan, wait for the seasoning to end, and have him refinance the deal. Again, this isn’t ideal – but it’s an exit strategy (and would be excellent for him!)
  • Fix and Flip– Finally, if all other options were not possible, I would simply sell the property. With the $2400 per month in income this property produces, I know I could make a hefty profit by simply selling it. However, this is my last option because I don’t care about the $30,000-40,000 I would make – I care about the $800 per month I will be making if I can get exit strategy #1 to turn out!

But what If I don’t have any money!!?

Like I said earlier, the private lender will be funding the purchase price of $90k on this deal, and I will be funding about $12,000 in repairs/closing costs. But what if I didn’t have that money? Because I’m a big fan of learning how to invest in real estate with no money, let me share just a few ideas:

  • Credit Card– I could pay for all the repairs on credit. I don’t necessarily recommend doing this, but it is possible. For a good article on using credit cards to buy real estate, check out Ali Boone’s article “How to Buy Real Estate With a Credit Card.” **
  • Partnership– I’ve mentioned this before – but I could add a partner to the deal. I could find a friend with an extra $12,000 and offer him part of the deal.
  • Another Private Lender– Finally, I could use another private lender and borrow the $12,000 secured with a 2nd mortgage on the property. This would probably be the most difficult to do – but also plausible.

Remember – there are not a whole lot of “rules” when it comes to investing in real estate, and one of my goals of this epicly long post is to bring you inside my mind and share some of the ways I look at creative real estate investing. Before moving on, I want to share a tweet quote from one of my favorite author’s Ken McElroy, who wrote The ABC’s of Real Estate Investing (which, if you haven’t read – you need to pick up a copy right now… click here to find it on Amazon and order yourself a copy.)

See? Ken agrees.


The Closing

In my state, we close real estate transactions with Title Companies, though in some states you might use an attorney. Either way, the process is pretty much the same.

Let’s do a quick re-cap:

  • Found the property online
  • Did a quick, 5 minute analysis of it
  • Walked through the property quickly
  • Offered on the property
  • Negotiated on the property and finally agreed on terms
  • Inspected the property
  • Arranged financing

At this point, I was ready to proceed. My real estate agent sent over the “Purchase and Sale” agreement (the signed agreement between both parties) to the Title Company and the Title Company went to work. It took about a week or so to finish the process, where they did a title search and prepared all the documents, including the “Promissory Note” and “Deed of Trust” between myself and the private lender. I arranged for insurance (which was a little less than I thought!) and made an appointment to sign the documents.

So, last week I closed on the property. As an added bonus, the property management company who was looking after the place before closing actually found a tenant for the 4th unit before closing, so I inherited the property completely full (except for the 5th unit.)

Going forward – I will get the 5th unit repaired and in six months, I plan on refinancing the whole property into a 30-year fixed mortgage. Between now and then, I expect to pretty much break even, due to the higher loan payment and vacant 5th unit. You see, I can’t completely finish the 5th unit before six months is over because I want to refinance this property as a “residential” property, not a “commercial” property. So, the 5th unit will stay “decommissioned” for the time.

Now comes the fun part – landlording. If you want to learn more about my landlording tips, definitely check out “How to Be a Landlord: Top Ten Tips for Success“.

Anyways, that’s the story! If you stuck through this whole time, I sure hope you take a second and leave me a comment below and let me know what you learned or what I forgot! Ask any question, I’ll do my best to help!

What’s it Worth? Tips to Finding Commercial Property Values

For commercial property appraisers, buyers, and sellers, finding the assessed and market values of a commercial property is not always an easy task. With growing access to CRE data, however, that could be changing for good. In fact, in a lot of U.S. markets, commercial property values can now […]

For commercial property appraisers, buyers, and sellers, finding the assessed and market values of a commercial property is not always an easy task.

With growing access to CRE data, however, that could be changing for good. In fact, in a lot of U.S. markets, commercial property values can now be found with a quick online search. In this article, we’re going to show you exactly how to do so.

But first, a bit about commercial property values…

(Skip ahead to see how to run a property value search.)

Commercial Property Values

There are a few different values attached to any piece of commercial property or land. Overall, they can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Market Values
  2. Assessed Values

Different values cater to the differing needs of appraisers, buyers, and sellers, and therefore can be found in different ways.

Simply understanding them and knowing the difference between them is important when planning your commercial property value search efforts.

Commercial Property Market Value

First, there are property market values in place as a rough value of the holding and selling price of an asset (assuming it is sold in the near future).

Market values are highly in-tune with everything influencing a commercial property’s value and perceived value.

Factors that influence the total market value of a commercial property include:

  • Lot size and condition
  • Building size and condition (interior and exterior)
  • Proximity to cities, jobs, transportation, and other attractions
  • Building and lot amenities
  • Current demand of the market and asset type
  • Comparable Sales
Reonomy Comps

Commercial property market value can also be influenced by a number of other intuitive and aesthetic factors that may not affect a tax valuation.

From trending designs and architecture, to the properties potential future value, to local crime rates, and schools, the number of factors on market value can be quite large.

Property market values can fluctuate quite a bit year-over-year, and are largely the driving factor in property sale negotiations.

To get to a total market value, you have to sum up the market value of a parcel’s land and building.

Land Market Value

Land market value is based on what the actual land of a property is worth on the market, not counting any buildings that sit atop the land.

This number is based on the aforementioned factors, but as they apply only to the grounds itself.

In other words, when buying the entire parcel, what would a buyer be gaining from the land itself? This would include proximity to transportation, the potential use of the land, and so on.

Improvement Market Value

Improvement value is simply the value that sits atop the land. What buildings are on the parcel, what is the use of the building, and what is the income that can be generated from it?

While there are many factors that affect the improvement market value of a parcel, it can essentially be looked at as the value of what sits atop the natural land.

What has been added to the parcel to-date that provides current and future value to the parcel within the market it exists in? What are the cost of potential repairs? What stylistic features of the building make it more in-demand?

Improvement value would also depend largely on the demand for the asset typer at-hand.

For example, if multifamily properties were scorching hot in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the market value of the asset will rise regardless of the other influencing factors.

Commercial Property Assessed Value

Second, there are property assessed values—in place for tax purposes.

Every year, tax professionals, usually representing a county, assess commercial properties to measure applicable dues.

Assessed values are typically more rooted in current, hard property value—from the size and condition of the parcel and its buildings, to the interior of the building, cost of improvements and repairs, potential income from ownership, and more.

Naturally, some of these determinants are tied to the surrounding market. Still, while the market does have an effect, a commercial property’s assessed value is based on higher-level market influencers, and therefore is less likely to fluctuate year-over-year.

Assessed property values will also factor much less into property transactions.

They may arise as a point of negotiation justification if a property’s assessed value has dramatically risen or fallen, or if it is far off from the properties market value.

As is the same with market value, to get to a total assessed property value, you need to have assessed land and improvements values.

Assessed Land Value

In this case, the land value is merely the tax assessed value of the actual land parcel, not counting any buildings that sit on the property.

Factors that might influence assessed land value are based on the parcel’s functionalities, amenities, and relationship to nature.

Specific examples include a property’s drainage abilities, accessibility to transportation, and susceptibility to consistent weather damage.

Assessed Improvement Value

Much like that of market value, assessed improvement value determines the tax value of what sits atop a parcel of land.

Again, it is the value of the buildings and other assets on the property, their functionalities, and the potential revenue they could generate for an owner.

Together, the land and improvement values can be summed up to find the total assessed value of that property.

How to Search and Find the Value of a Commercial Property

There are a few different routes you can take to find the market and assessed values of a commercial property in the United States.

In some cases, it may be easiest to hire others to provide you with property values. In many other cases, however, you can simply hop on the computer and run a quick property value search on your own.

One way to do so is by using Reonomy.

Reonomy Commercial Property Value Search

There are a few different ways that you can search for property values on Reonomy. You can use Reonomy OffMarket to search for property values by address, zip code, or owner.

You can also use Reonomy Comps to look at comparables to your subject property.

Let’s first look at how you can search by location and owner details.

Commercial Property Values by Address

When using Reonomy OffMarket, you can very quickly lookup and find property values by address.

To do so, simply use the search bar at the top of the property search page.

Property Value Search by Address

There, you can enter the exact address of the property you’re looking to find the value of. When the address appears in the dropdown, you can click it, to which you’ll be brought directly the profile page of that property.

Reonomy Property Value Search by Address

Once you’re in the profile page, you can then visit the Tax tab, where you’ll be given the latest recorded total assessed value, assessed land value, assessed improvements value, as well as the total market value, land market value, and improvements market value.

You’ll also be able to see the current taxes on that parcel.

Reonomy Property Tax Data

To gain even more insight into the value of the property, you could use Reonomy Comps to see a list of other similar properties (more on that later).

Commercial Property Values by Zip Code

You can also search for property values by zip code.

To do that, enter the Location tab of Reonomy’s search page. Here, you’ll see a search bar specifically for zip code entries.

Reonomy Property Value Search by Zip Code

In this case, upon applying your filter, you’ll see a list of all commercial properties within that zip code.

To narrow down your search, you can add asset type, sales, debt, and owner filters if need be. Once you see a property of interest, you can simply click into its profile page, then take the same steps as mentioned above.

Commercial Property Values by Owner

Another way to look up commercial property values is to search by owner.

In this case, enter the Ownership tab of the search page and enter the necessary owner details.

You can search by owner name, by owner of record (for LLCs), and by owner mailing address.

Reonomy Property Value Search by Owner

Once you’ve entered the name of an owner or owning entity, you’ll again see a list of properties that match your applied filters (as you would when searching by zip code).

Scroll through your target owner’s portfolio to an individual property of interest, click into its profile page, and visit the Tax tab.

Reonomy Comps

Reonomy Comps can be used on their own, or in conjunction with the aforementioned searches.

When you are in the profile page of any commercial property, there will be a button to view comparables.

Reonomy View Comparables

By clicking this button, you’ll be given a list of similar properties, based on over 20 million property sales records. Once again, from that list, you can click into any individual profile page and visit the Tax tab to see assessed and market values.

You can also look at the sales history of each property comp, which can be found in the Salestab of the profile page.

Looking at the sales history of multiple similar properties to that of your target, especially those sold recently, can give you a great idea of what the current market value of a property is.

Public Records Property Value Search

Another way to understand a properties market value is to search through local property sales records to again look at properties that have recently sold.

You can search your local assessor’s online portal to find sales deeds and other records that have been filed in recent months.

While ACRIS Document Search typically serves as the best example of what a public records search can look like, other states and counties around the country also offer very useful search platforms. Examples include Harris County, Texas (HCAD)Maryland’s State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT)Broward County, FL, and New Jersey’s “Open Public Records Search System.”

Using any of these sites allows you to see sales documents tied to local commercial properties, working in a similar way to that of Reonomy Comps.

Commercial Appraisal Services

If you’re a bit more strapped for time, or simply would rather let someone else do the value searching for you, you can turn to a consultant or commercial appraisal service.

CBRE serves as a great example of a company that offers extensive property appraisal services. Their services include market values, taxation, IPOs, mortgage security, and more.

No matter the case, finding commercial property values does not have to be as difficult as it once was—and getting started only takes a few clicks.

How to Find Multi Family Homes for Sale

When searching online for multi family homes for sale, there are quite a few decisions that need to be made before any search even begins. Given the broad nature of the multi family asset type – covering everything from duplexes , to apartment buildings, to dorms, mobile home parks, […]

When searching online for multi family homes for sale, there are quite a few decisions that need to be made before any search even begins. Given the broad nature of the multi family asset type – covering everything from duplexes, to apartment buildings, to dorms, mobile home parks, and more, you can use a number of either commercial or residential listings platforms to work your way through and analyze your desired market.

Choosing the right search platform(s) comes down to knowing exactly what kind of multi family property you’re looking for – from a physical, financial, and market-related standpoint. Based on the type of investment you’re looking for, and based on the market in which you’re searching in, your multi family property search can happen in many different ways. To make sure your time is used efficiently, it’s important to be aware of what you can find on different search platforms.

Find Multi Family Homes Off-Market

The first thing to consider is the ability to utilize an off-market search to find properties, that, albeit are not technically “for sale,” can still be purchased at the right price. At the very least, you should incorporate off-market research to inform the buying decisions you make, even if those purchases happen on the market.

Off-market searches give you a more in-depth understanding of any market, and any property. The only limits on your search will be the filters that you add to hone in on specific properties. On top of that, buying properties off-market lets you avoid broker fees and the competition of other on-market buyers.

Reonomy Data CTA

Multi Family Homes for Sale Listings

To search on-market for multi family homes for sale, you can simply use one of many online on-market listings platforms. We’re going to dive into the best of those available platforms, starting with those that are for commercial listings, then working through residential platforms, and a few examples of local/regional listings platforms.

Commercial listings platforms:

Residential listings platforms:

Examples of Local/Regional listings platforms:

Commercial Listings Platforms

Use the following national platforms when searching commercial listings to find multi family properties:

LoopNet Multi Family Homes

LoopNet is always going to be one of the first places online users end up when searching for virtually any commercial property for sale, as it has perhaps the widest on-market coverage of U.S. commercial real estate.

LoopNet has more than 500,000 total property listings, many of which are multi family properties.

LoopNet Multi family homes for sale

When searching for multi family properties on LoopNet, you can add further filters to make your search more specific, including filters for GardenLow/Mid/High-RiseDormitory, and Manufactured Housing/Mobile Home. In your multi family search on LoopNet, you’ll find many apartment buildings and complexes for sale, as well as duplexes, triplexes, and much more.

CREXi Multi Family Homes

CREXi is another all-encompassing commercial real estate listings platform that includes multiple searchable property types, one of which is multi family.

CREXi Multi family homes for sale

You can begin your search by choosing a property type and a location. From there, however, there are a great deal of filters you can add to make your search much more specific, including property size, price, individual unit measurements, lease type, and more. You can also add custom keywords to narrow down your search.

CityFeet Multi Family Homes

Despite being owned by LoopNet, CityFeet still has a large amount of multi family home listings of their own, with a majority of their focus being on New York.

CityFeet Multi family homes for sale

You can begin your CityFeet search by choosing whether you’d like to see commercial properties for sale or for lease, and then select a property type and location. Multi family home listings are only available to search when looking for properties for sale.

Showcase Multi Family Homes

Showcase is a commercial listings service with two individual search platforms – one for the U.S. and one for the U.K.

Showcase multi family homes for sale

Showcase is owned by CoStar Group, and gives users access to on-market listings of retail, industrial, office, land, and, of course, multi family properties for sale.

CIMLS Multi Family Homes

When searching properties on CIMLS, you must first enter a location for which you’d like to search. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be brought to a more elaborate search page, where you can add more filters, like specific location filters, property type filters, and price. CIMLS offers roughly two dozen property types to search through, one of which is multi family properties.

Catylist Multi Family Homes

Catylist is another listings platform for a variety of different types of commercial properties, including retail, office, industrial, vacant land, multi family, and more.

Catylist currently has listings in more than 40 markets across the entire U.S., and lets users filter by a number of filters, even within the multi family property type itself, including duplex/fourplex, government subsidized, high/mid/low-rise, mobile home park, senior living, and more.

Catylist multi family homes for sale

Brevitas Multi Family Homes

You can start your Brevitas search by selecting a property type and location, and dive further into the market from there. What sets Brevitas apart from many other platforms however, is the fact that they offer listings for both on-market and “private” listings, which is not something that is always available on commercial listings platforms.

Residential Listings Platforms

These are the best platforms to use when searching through residential listings to find multi family properties for sale in nearly any national market:

Zillow Multi Family Homes

In a lot of ways, Zillow is to residential listings, what LoopNet is to commercial listings. It has perhaps the widest spanning coverage of on-market properties in the country, many of which are multi family properties.

Zillow multi family homes for sale

Trulia Multi Family Homes

Trulia is another residential platform that is primarily known, on top of its property listings, for its user friendly, intuitive interface.

trulia multi family homes for sale

The platform is used by property buyers, as well property sellers and renters. There are many different types of multi family properties on Trulia, including many apartment buildings for sale, as well as duplexes, triplexes, and other types of multi family homes.

Owners.com Multi Family Homes

Owners.com takes a bit of a different route when it comes to the way users search for properties on their platform. They use different language and search filters to allow users to feel more casual when running a property search.

On the home search page. Instead of price, they use, “I’m willing to spend,” where you can apply your price limit. They also let you search for a home based on its features, such as having a pool, a fenced-in yard, or whether it’s on a main street or a waterfront.

owners.com multi family homes for sale

Oodle Multi Family Homes

Oodle is more of an overall listings marketplace, including cars, job listings, and merchandise. It also has a fair amount of real estate and home for sale listings.

oodle multi family homes for sale

On their real estate listings page, you can search for many different property types, including both commercial and residential. While most of their listings are for single-family homes, they do also have a fair amount of multi family home listings – for example, over 5,000 in New York alone.

Asset Column Multi Family Homes

Asset Column is a listings platform that has a focus on informing property buyers and sellers beyond letting them know what multi family homes are for sale on the market. They have resources specifically for home buyers for wholesaling and flipping homes for profit, and for sellers looking to get the right price for their properties.

Homes.com Multi Family Homes

Homes.com is another site that lets users search for properties using more casual language, similar to that of Owners.com.

Homes.com

When adding your property type filters on Homes.com, you have to instead choose a “Home Type,” as the site’s listings are only for homes for sale.

homes.com multi family search

Realtor.com Multi Family Homes

Realtor.com is a listings platform for home owners, renters, and sellers. Despite having a heavier focus on the New York market, Realtor.com has nationwide listings across many asset types, letting users search for multi family homes for sale, as well as other house types, farms, and land for sale.

Realtor multi family homes for sale

They also offer mortgage information for users to see current available mortgage rates applicable to their property search.

Point2Homes Multi Family Homes

Point2Homes offers multifamily listings across the U.S. and in various other markets around the world, such as Canada, Mexico, Panama, the Bahamas, Philippines, and much more.

Point2Homes Apartment Buildings for Sale

After first entering your location, you’ll be brought to a more extensive search page, where you can filter by multi family, or a number of other property types and measurements.

Examples of Local/Regional Listings Platforms

The following platforms are examples of more localized listings – the type of platforms that you might find when searching something like, “multi family homes for sale near me.”

The above listings platforms will likely do the trick even when searching locally, but these are also worth utilizing, especially when looking for residential properties for sale. Since the sum of all regional and local listings platforms is extremely large, below, are just a few examples of the variety available to property buyers searching locally.

Examples include local FSBO (for sale by owner) properties, a local media publication, local brokerage listings, and a regional commercial platform:

Craigslist (FSBO) Multi Family Homes

All listings types on Craigslist are broken down to their individual markets, thus making the site great for very local property searches. Not to mention the fact that they have a ton of markets to search through.

Craigslist multi family homes for sale

Within these markets, users can search for specific sub-types of multi family homes for sale, but not for multi family homes as a whole. Under “Housing Type,” users can add filters for apartment buildings, duplexes, townhouses, as well as other commercial and residential property types.

NJ.com Multi Family Listings

NJ.com is a great site to utilize when searching for multi family homes for sale in NJ. This is a specific example of the type of local listing platforms available for property buyers in different locations around the country.

nj.com multi family homes for sale

NJ.com’s real estate page offers news, listings, and other resources to visitors. You can search properties within HomesCommercialNew Construction, and Foreclosures. Within the homes for sale page, you can search for multi family, apartments, mobile homes, and duplexes for sale.

Pelletier Group Multi Family Homes

Pelletier Group is a New Hampshire-based realty group, serving listings for commercial and residential sales and rentals. This is another great example of what is available within local markets for both buyers and sellers to search and list properties for sale.

pelletier multi family homes for sale

On Pelletier’s site, you can add filters to search specifically for condos, land, mobile homes, and multi family properties for sale in NH, or more generally for commercial, residential, or rentals.

Commercial MLS Multi Family Homes

Commercial MLS is a Northwest-based listings platform, primarily serving areas of Oregon and Washington. This site is an example of a regional site who’s focus goes beyond just a single state.

Evident by the site’s name, listings are only for commercial properties for sale, but users can search many different asset types including retail, office, industrial, land, multi family, mixed-use, farm, and mobile home parks. The site currently has over 3,000 listings for multi family homes for sale within their regional coverage.

Make Your Property More Versatile

Regardless of the platform you end up choosing, it’s most important to try different types of listings tools, from commercial, to residential and local – even combining them to use to your advantage.

Bolstering your searches with off-market data is also very important. It will make your searches more versatile and in-depth, while helping you strengthen your overall knowledge of commercial real estate across a variety of markets.

The Top Ten Lease Terms You Should Have When Renting

A lease or rental agreement is the foundation of the landlord-tenant relationship, and there are certain lease terms that should be in every agreement you create or sign. Here are the most important lease terms you should include in your agreement: 1. List of Tenants: When multiple adults plan […]

A lease or rental agreement is the foundation of the landlord-tenant relationship, and there are certain lease terms that should be in every agreement you create or sign. Here are the most important lease terms you should include in your agreement:

1. List of Tenants: When multiple adults plan on living in the same rental, it’s crucial to get the name of every adult living in the rental unit on the lease. By getting every tenant’s signature, each tenant becomes fully responsible for all of the terms of the lease. This means that you can collect the full rent from any one of the tenants, as well as terminate the entire lease if one of the tenants violates material terms of the lease.

2. Amount of Rent Due: Besides obviously spelling out exactly how much is due, don’t forget to include acceptable forms of payment, where payment should be made, whether any grace period exists and any fees for late payments.

3. Define the Rental or Lease Term: The proper terminology depends on the state you live in, but generally rental agreements are month to month and leases are for longer periods (typically a year). You need to be specific as to the time period contemplated, otherwise you may find your agreement being defined by the common law of your state (which often has unfavorable terms).

4. Any Deposits and Fees: Security deposits are one of the most commonly disputed items between landlord and tenant, so in addition to defining the amount, also include how the deposit can be used, any non-refundable fees (such as cleaning fees), and how the deposit will be returned after the tenant moves out. Security deposits are governed by state law, so check your state’s laws, which typically define maximum amounts and time periods for returning the deposit.

5. Specify a Right to Entry: Spell out exactly when and under what conditions you as the landlord can enter the tenant’s unit. State law regulates how and when a landlord can enter tenant’s property, so be sure your lease terms comply with state law.

6. Maintenance and Repairs: Both the landlord and the tenant have responsibilities to maintain the premises, so spell out the obligations of both parties. Tenants typically have a duty to keep the premises clean, and are responsible for any damage caused by neglect or abuse. Landlords typically have a duty to maintain a livable property and are responsible for necessary repairs not caused by the tenant (such as repairing a leaky roof or fixing a heater). Create an obligation for the tenant to contact you for repairs as soon as he or she becomes aware of the problem and give the tenant contact information to ensure that repairs can be completed quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

7. Define Limits on Occupancy: Ensure that your agreement specifies that only people who have signed the lease (and their minor children) can legally live on the property. This prevents tenants from moving in their relatives and friends or subletting without your permission. It also gives you grounds to terminate the agreement if the tenant does not comply.

8. Pets: Specify whether you allow pets at all, and if you do, carefully spell out how many are allowed, what kinds are allowed or prohibited and the tenant’s responsibility to keep both the rental and surroundings clean. It is also useful to outline procedures for dealing with any other animal related issues, such as noise complaints from neighbors.

9. Restrictions on Disruptive and Illegal Behavior: If you don’t restrict certain disruptive and illegal behavior in a tenant’s, your other tenants may have justifiable grounds for terminating their agreements based on that tenant’s offensive behavior. To prevent this, spell out that certain behavior, such as excessive noise, and certain conduct, such as drug dealing, are prohibited and are grounds for terminating the agreement.

10. Miscellaneous Terms and Restrictions: State law will define many other terms that should be included in your lease or rental agreement. Typical things that states require include notice requirements, rights on subletting, flood and chemical disclosures and anti-discrimination notices. Other lease terms to consider include items on parking, common areas and whether tenants can run a business from the property.

Need Help Drafting the Lease Terms in Your Agreement? Talk to a Lawyer

Writing out a landlord tenant contract can be tedious and also time-consuming. While you could use boilerplate language you find on the internet, why take the risk? Contact an experienced landlord-tenant attorney to help you carefully craft your next lease agreement to make sure it contains the terms you want and is legally-binding.

7 Extraordinary Lease Clauses That I Can’t Live Without

Most standard leases will include basic information about the agreement, such as property address, dates, names of tenants, rent amount, security deposits, etc. However, the Devil is in the details. Most experienced landlords will tell you that the Devil is in the details. The real headaches come when a […]

7 Extraordinary Lease Clauses

Most standard leases will include basic information about the agreement, such as property address, dates, names of tenants, rent amount, security deposits, etc. However, the Devil is in the details.

Most experienced landlords will tell you that the Devil is in the details.

The real headaches come when a situation arises that is not addressed in the lease. By that point, the landlord is emotionally involved in the issue, and can’t truly be objective in his/her decision on how to handle it.

To help you prevent some headaches, I’ve listed seven of my favorite (and useful) lease clauses in the section below. 

These clauses have saved me dozens of hours of correspondence, and thousands of dollars in legal drama, simply because I put them in the lease.

With that said, I am not a lawyer so you should consult with a licensed local attorney before using these in your own leases. You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all applicable laws in regards to your unique situation.

1. Severability

Though a legal precaution, this is perhaps one of the most important clauses in a lease. This clause states that if one aspect of the lease is found to be illegal, the rest of the agreement will still be legally binding.

SEVERABILITY. If any provision of this Agreement or the application thereof shall, for any reason and to any extent, be invalid or unenforceable, neither the remainder of this Agreement nor the application of the provision to other persons, entities or circumstances shall be affected thereby, but instead shall be enforced to the maximum extent permitted by law.

Without this clause, a judge who has found one small clause to be illegal, even if accidentally so, might consider the entire lease to be void. No matter how rock-solid your lease is, you should include this clause in your lease.

2. Late Fees and Allocations

Though I’ve never had a late rent payment since I started using Cozy to collect rent, I always include this clause – just in case my tenant turns rebellious.

Further, if you don’t specify a late fee in your lease, it will be nearly impossible to charge a late fee after-the-fact.

Please check your state laws because some have statutes that require a specific “grace period” and limit the amount you can charge.

Regardless, this clause should specify the exact amount of the fee, the time at which it will be assigned, and if there are any additional, daily late fees for nonpayment.

LATE FEE AND ALLOCATION OF PAYMENTS. In the event that any rent payment required to be paid by Tenant(s) hereunder is not paid IN FULL by the start of the SECOND (2nd) DAY OF EACH MONTH, Tenant(s) shall pay to Landlord, in addition to such payment or other charges due hereunder, an initial late fee as additional rent in the amount of 5% OF THE MONTHLY RENT AMOUNT. Further, a subsequent late fee of TWENTY DOLLARS ($20.00) PER DAY will be incurred by the Tenant(s) for every day payment is delayed after the 2nd day of the month.

All future payments will be allocated first to any outstanding balances other than rent. Any remaining monies will be allocated lastly to any rent balance.

The last sentence in this clauses ensures that all fees are paid first with whatever money the tenants choose to give me. The reason I allocate payments first to fees is because it’s much easier to sue a tenant for “unpaid rent” than it is for an “unpaid late fee.”

3. Subleasing

If you don’t outlaw subleasing, your tenants will do it when you’re not looking. Worse, you can’t penalize them for it.

You might be able to terminate the lease, but that’s not always preferable because then you have to find new tenants.

I always prefer to allow subleasing, for a price. I give my tenants the option to sublease, but they have to pay a one-time fee. Further, the sublessee has to submit an application and is subject to my normal screening process and subsequent approval, only to eventually sign a subleasing agreement.

ASSIGNMENT AND SUBLEASING. Tenant(s) shall not assign this Agreement, or sublet or grant any license to use the Premises or any part thereof without the prior written consent of Landlord. Consent by Landlord to one such assignment, subletting or license shall not be deemed to be a consent to any subsequent assignment, subletting or license. An assignment, subletting or license without the prior written consent of Landlord or an assignment or subletting by operation of law shall be absolutely null and void and shall, at Landlord’s option, terminate this Agreement and start the eviction process of all Tenant(s) and occupants.

If subletting is approved by the Landlord, a one-time fee of THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($300.00) PER SUBLET, is assigned to the lease. All subletting individuals are required to submit an application to the Landlord for evaluation and screening. Landlord reserves the right to reject any sublessee that does qualify. If any sublets are initiated by Tenant(s) without the prior written consent of the Landlord, for each individual sublet, Tenant(s) will be assigned and responsible for the subletting fee, for each sublet, spanning the entire term of this Agreement.

Subleasing is common with my group houses. Many times, three of the five tenants will travel home for the summer and ask to sublet their room.

The answer is always “yes” and then almost instantly, my wallet feels $900 heavier. To help with the subleasing fee, many of the tenants increase the cost of their room, thereby offsetting the fee (which I’m fine with).

Related: The Landlord’s Guide to Tenant Screening

4. Joint and Several Liability

In respect to a residential lease, joint and several liability means that each tenant is jointly AND individually responsible for the entire rent amount and for any damages.

It allows you to consider all tenants as a single entity, for the purposes of giving notice, serving court documents, collecting rent or suing for damages.

MULTIPLE TENANTS OR OCCUPANTS. Each Tenant(s) is jointly and individually liable for all Lease Agreement obligations, including but not limited to rent monies. If any Tenant(s), guests, or occupant violates the Lease Agreement, all Tenant(s) are considered to have violated the Lease Agreement. Landlord’s requests and notices to any one Tenant(s) constitute notice to all Tenant(s) and occupants. Notices and requests from any one Tenant(s) or occupant (including repair requests and entry permissions) constitute notice from all Tenant(s). In eviction suits, each Tenant(s) is considered the agent of all other Tenants in the Premise for service of process.

Related: What is “Joint and Several Liability” and Why You Need It

5. Default

Many states have a set list of landlord and tenant obligations, in which either party can terminate the agreement if the other doesn’t fulfill his or her duties – with proper notice.

I go a step further and actually list the triggers for default in the lease, so that the tenant is aware of them. The logic is that if I ever have to terminate the lease for a violation, the lease should back me up.

DEFAULT AND COMPILING OF RENT. If Tenant(s) fails to comply with any of the financial or material provisions of this Agreement, or of any present rules and regulations or any that may be hereafter prescribed by Landlord, or materially fails to comply with any duties imposed on Tenant(s) by statute, within five (5) days after delivery of written notice by Landlord specifying the non-compliance and indicating the intention of Landlord to terminate the Agreement by reason thereof, Landlord may terminate this Agreement. If Tenant(s) fails to pay rent when due and the default continues for five (5) days thereafter, Landlord may, at Landlord’s option, declare the entire balance (compiling all months applicable to this Agreement) of rent payable hereunder to be immediately due and payable and may exercise any and all rights and remedies available to Landlord at law or in equity and may immediately terminate this Agreement.

Tenant(s) will be in default if: (a) Tenant(s) does not pay rent or other amounts that are owed; (b) Tenant(s), guests, or occupants violate this Agreement, rules, or fire, safety, health, or criminal laws, regardless of whether arrest or conviction occurs; (c) Tenant(s) abandons the Premises; (d) Tenant(s) gives incorrect or false information in the rental application; (e) Tenant(s), or any occupant is arrested, convicted, or given deferred adjudication for a criminal offense involving actual or potential physical harm to a person, or involving possession, manufacture, or delivery of a controlled substance, marijuana, or drug paraphernalia under state statute; (f) any illegal drugs or paraphernalia are found in the Premises or on the person of Tenants(s), guests, or occupants while on the Premises and/or; (g) as otherwise allowed by law.

As you may have noticed, upon default, I force the compiling of rent for the remainder of the lease term. Meaning, if my tenants start selling drugs from my rental in month three of a 12-month lease, I can still hold them responsible for the other nine months of rent (or until I find a replacement if I’m forced to mitigate damages).

Related: Landlord-Tenant State Laws and Regulations. Your state will have their own rules about how many days are required before you can terminate the lease after nonpayment or a lease violation.

6. Renewal

Lease renewal is a tricky thing. Some landlords prefer an automatic renewal approach, however, I prefer not to be tied down like that.

All of my fixed-term leases don’t automatically renew, however I still require a tenant to give me 60 days notice of their intent to move out at the end of the lease. Meaning, the assumption is that they will be renewing (assuming the rent doesn’t go up too much), even though the lease doesn’t automatically renew.

It just means that we need to sign a new lease if they want to stay.

The reason for this clause is that it guarantees that I have 60 days notice to try to find a new tenant. If they fail to provide 60 days notice of non-renewal, they are still held responsible for 60 days of rent, unless I can find a replacement sooner.

I usually set a Google calendar reminder, and I try to notify my tenants of their responsibility at 70-75 days from the end of the lease – so that they can start thinking about their options.

RENEWAL. This lease agreement is not constructed to be automatically renewed at the end of the term for which drawn, however the intent to renew this agreement by the Tenant(s) will be assumed. All parties will need to sign a new agreement in order to activate a renewal term. If Tenant(s) intends to vacate the Premises at the end of the lease term, Tenant(s) must give at least sixty (60) days written notice prior to the end of this lease. If sixty (60) days’ notice of non-renewal is not given prior to lease term, Tenant(s) are responsible for the equivalent rent amount due for the sixty (60) days after notice is given, even though this lease does not automatically renew.

7. Use of Premises

Though I can’t discriminate based on familial status, I can restrict the number of people based on the number of people in the initial group of tenants. Meaning, if a family of four moves in, the lease should restrict usage to only those four people.

This clause keeps existing tenants from moving in unapproved “family” (yeah right), and keeps unemployed boyfriends or girlfriends from becoming rogue tenants.

USE OF PREMISES. The Premises shall be used and occupied by Tenant(s), for no more than FOUR (4) persons exclusively, as a private individual dwelling, and no part of the Premises shall be used at any time during the term of this Agreement by Tenant(s) for the purpose of carrying on any business, profession, or trade of any kind, or for any purpose other than private dwelling. Tenant(s) shall not allow any other person, other than Tenant’s immediate family or transient relatives and friends who are guests of Tenant(s), to use or occupy the Premises without first obtaining Landlord’s written consent to such use. Any guest staying in the property more than 2 weeks in any 6 month period will be considered a tenant, rather than a guest, and must be added to the lease agreement. Landlord may also increase the rent at any such time that a new tenant is added to the lease premise. Tenant(s) and guest(s) shall comply with any and all laws, ordinances, rules and orders of any and all governmental or quasi-governmental authorities affecting the cleanliness, use, occupancy and preservation of the Premises.

BONUS: Surrender of Premises

Last but not least, this clause saves the day every time I have a tenant moving out.

A few weeks before they plan to move out, I simply remind them of this lease clause and send them the “move-out cleaning instructions,” which details my expectations and suggestions to ensure they get their full deposit back.

SURRENDER OF PREMISES. Tenant(s) have surrendered the Premises when (a) the move-out date has passed and no one is living in the Premise within Landlord’s reasonable judgment; or (b) all Premise keys and access devices have been turned in to Landlord – whichever comes first. Upon the expiration of the term hereof, Tenant(s) shall surrender the Premise in better or equal condition as it were at the commencement of this Agreement, reasonable use, wear and tear thereof, and damages by the elements excepted. Tenants are responsible for hiring, coordinating, and paying for a professional cleaning of all carpets prior to lease end.

Where can I get a Full Lease?

Though I think these clauses are helpful, they are not a complete lease.

There only four websites that I recommend for premium, state-specific leases.

I, nor Cozy, are NOT affiliated with any of these companies. I just think they have excellent state-specific residential lease templates. You can read more about them on the Landlord Directory page.

A better way for landlords to manage rentals

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7 Property Management Blogs Every Landlord Should Be Reading

A while back, Feedspot voted us #36 on a list of the top 80 Property Management Blogs. We were thrilled and flattered, but more so surprised and excited to see all of the resources out there for landlords and rental property investors. We pride ourselves on our blog and […]

A while back, Feedspot voted us #36 on a list of the top 80 Property Management Blogs. We were thrilled and flattered, but more so surprised and excited to see all of the resources out there for landlords and rental property investors. 

We pride ourselves on our blog and do our best to provide the highest quality content and to educate anyone who wants to learn. 

Although we hold our blog in high regards, we realize that there is a wealth of knowledge and many other outstanding resources for individuals like yourself. 

So, we decided to use our expertise to make our own list of Property Management blogs that we think are the most helpful. 

  1. All Property Management:

    All Property Management is one of the largest networks of property management services on the internet. Their goal is to “provide property owners the resources to turn their real estate holdings into thriving, lucrative investments.”

    Basically, they help individuals who own rental real estate connect with property management companies to handle their investments.

    Their blog offers some fantastic articles that are relevant to anyone who owns rental property. You’ll definitely want to check it out.

  2. Rentec Direct:

    Rentec Direct is a property management software company based in Grants Pass, Oregon.

    They have one of the highest ranked softwares according to software.com and their blog is just as top notch.

    This blog offers TONS of great articles for landlords and hits on some of the most important and asked about topics in the industry.

  3. BiggerPockets:

    If you’re in the real estate industry and haven’t heard of BiggerPockets, then you probably live under a rock.

    This site offers second to none resources for landlords and property managers, even beyond their blog. They have forums, guides, and webinars just to name a few.

    You’ll want to bookmark this page and refer back to it often. Whenever you have a question about ANYTHING related to property management or real estate in general, you’ll be able to find an answer there.

  4. Landlordology:

    This blog is one of my personal favorites. Landlordology exists to provide education and resources to landlords, property managers, and renters alike.

    They offer software and services as well as great content. Make sure you spend some time checking out what they have to say.

  5. Green Residential:

    Green Residential is a property management company based Texas.

    Their blog impressed not only with the quality of the content, but the variety of topics.

    They have 47 categories to choose from so you definitely won’t get bored and may even find some topics that you’ve never thought about.

  6. Real Property Management:

    Real Property Management started back in the 80s and has grown to be the largest Property Management organization in the nation.  So it’s no surprise that their blog is on our list.

    Offering advice, tips, and trends to property owners is one thing they do best. Their blog contains some really unique pieces and topics that you don’t find on most other websites.

    7. BMG Rentals:

    BMG Rentals is a property management company based in Utah/Idaho.

    Their blog stuck out to me because they offer articles that really resonate with the common, everyday landlord. Much like our own content, they seem to get into the mindset of their audience and try to provide answers to the most frequently asked property management questions.

Bonus Blog:

  • ARPOLA:  With a name like, The American Rental Property Owners and Landlords Association, you would expect some really helpful content and this blog definitely doesn’t disappoint.  

    The articles you’ll find on this site should answer many of the questions you will come across in your rental property investment career. Everything from maintenance to dealing with Tenants is covered in detail. 

In order to be a successful landlord, you have to stay up to date on trends and information. 

These blogs will be a great place for you to start learning and make sure you check back here often as we post new articles every week! 

What if a Tenant Stops Paying Rent – Quick Solutions

The dreaded part of being a landlord is having to deal with a tenant that won’t pay. The investment you calculated isn’t paying for itself, and time is against you. The reality sets in that rent isn’t coming in, and you still have a tenant living in your rental. […]

Tips for Landlords and Tenants

The dreaded part of being a landlord is having to deal with a tenant that won’t pay. The investment you calculated isn’t paying for itself, and time is against you. The reality sets in that rent isn’t coming in, and you still have a tenant living in your rental. There are formal legal proceedings and processes to follow as well, but what if there is a faster way? Let’s consider an alternative method as well as the formal processes at your disposal.

Quick Move-out Solution

The quick solution isn’t always the easiest. It takes some humility to understand the math of the rental business. If your tenant hasn’t paid for at least three weeks, it’s clear they won’t pay. Understanding that most tenants want to pay their rent is important. Their inability to pay is often due to some unforeseen circumstances. If the tenant fights your eviction, it can drag out to as much as 45 days in most states. After the 45 days, the tenant is probably also quite disgruntled with you, as the landlord, and won’t leave the rental in great condition. With an average of $1,200 a month in rent and repair costs at an average of $1,800, that’s a total of $3,600 before you can even get the rental back on the market.

Time is always important, so getting your rental on the market before fall or before cold weather sets in can be the difference of $100-200 in rent. If the tenant does trash the house, yes, you have a deposit of maybe $1,000, but that can easily be eaten up with the time to finish repairs.

As an alternative, what if you were to offer the tenant their deposit back in cash if they can be out within seven days? I know it sounds insane—why offer money to the people who owe you rent? The reason is tenants are up against a wall and looking to find an alternative place to live, but are obviously hard up for cash or they would pay you. If they had $1,000, they could find another place, but the additional step is to require that the place be left in reasonable condition. This has worked for me 90% of the time and saved me a tremendous amount of money.

In weighing the costs, you see that having the tenant out within seven days for $1,000 is great, because you save on repairs, lost rent, and timing. Most of the time I have the rental back on the market within the first weekend of the tenant moving out.

To do this requires some savvy, though. Make sure you inform the tenant they won’t get the $1,000 until they are moved out and you have inspected. Also, have a simple letter for them to sign stating they are handing over the property to you. This can be quite simple, with no lawyer necessary. Another important thing is don’t screw your tenant! I have proffered this advice to many and found that some cheat the deal after the tenant moves out by not handing over the cash. It’s true the tenant owes you and didn’t keep up their end of the bargain, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same.

Standard Process

In most cities the standard process is to inform the tenant they are late via a notice. A service like TenantCloud that does your accounting for you will give you automatic reminders of late notices. Once a notice is sent (usually after the grace period), then a formal 72-hour notice can be posted. The 72-hour notice is usually required to be mailed and posted on the door. If the tenant hasn’t paid within the 72-hour period, you can usually file for eviction.

To file for eviction, you will need to have all the occupants’ personal information, a copy of the lease agreement, an accounting of the tenant’s payments showing the missing rent, and a copy of the 72-hour notice and first letter demanding rent. Once filed, you will be given a court date and have to pay to have the local magistrate provide notice to the tenant to appear in court. The typical cost for this is around $150, as it pays for filing and formal posting to the tenant.

In court you will wait all day for the judge to finally hear your case, and when it’s your turn, the judge will prompt you and the tenant to step outside and see if you can find a compromise. If one cannot be found, then the judge will listen to the tenant for a bit and then order a time frame for the tenant to move out—often in the neighborhood of one week or so.

If the tenant still has not moved out by the time the judge ordered, then you can file for a 24-hour notice. This will require you to formally request the notice. You will need the court order from the eviction court hearing and usually a check for $150. The sheriff will then post a notice for 24 hours, and the following day will be present as you pay to have the tenant’s belongings moved out of the house.

During the move-out, you, as the landlord, will be required to care for anything of value. In most states, value is defined as anything over $50, but this is very subjective. You will need to store everything they don’t take with them for up to 45 days in most states. After the 45 days, you can dispose of their belongings.

As you can see, finding an alternative to the standard eviction process is the fastest and most advised method for moving a tenant out. It doesn’t work all of the time, and usually isn’t advised for larger property management companies, but for the self-managing DIY landlord, it is great.

Top Online Tools for DIY Landlords and Property Managers

Often, landlording is just like a full-time job. Most landlords are playing a lot of different roles in their business – investor, bookkeeper, marketer, inspector, etc. That’s why many landlords feel like they are working multiple jobs at the same time! Fortunately though, now is an excellent time to […]

TenantCloud Property Management System

Often, landlording is just like a full-time job. Most landlords are playing a lot of different roles in their business – investor, bookkeeper, marketer, inspector, etc. That’s why many landlords feel like they are working multiple jobs at the same time!

Fortunately though, now is an excellent time to be a landlord. Advanced technology makes landlording easier than ever before and thanks to the internet most of these tools are available online. So here is the list of most useful tools and resources landlords will need nowadays in order to save time and money.


1) Rental Management Software (Rent Collection, background checks, marketing, work orders management)
There are plenty property management software solutions on the market, however, if your are looking for something that can really help you cut costs and save time, you may find value in a brand-new service TenantCloud. TenantCloud is not actually a piece of software you have to install on your computer and pay for, it’s a cloud rental management service you can open in your browser on a desktop or smartphone, it allows landlords, property managers, tenants, and service professionals to get personal accounts and communicate within the system. For landlords, TenantCloud is a unique service which allows you to keep track of every aspect of the property management process:

  • Control property occupancy
  • Collect rent online
  • Manage visual work orders
  • Run credit and background checks
  • Track finances with easy accounting
  • Store move-in/out pictures, leases or any other important documents
  • Advertise units on 8 rental listing websites
  • Get a personal marketing website
  • Store communication


TenantCloud is totally free for landlords, tenants, and property managers, so if you’re still hesitating, just do some simple math:  if you manage 50 units, you can save up to $1500 per month!

Rental management services give you the freedom to run your business more efficiently while providing your tenants with the flexibility to submit online work orders 24/7 and ServicePros to grow their business. With online tools like TenantCloud  you can use only what your business needs right now and be flexible as it grows, no need to change pricing plans. Overall, it’s hard to imagine a modern landlord not utilising a cloud property management system in our time.

2) Landlord.com (Info, advice, laws)
Landlord.com provides tons of useful information for landlords and allows you to sort landlord/tenant laws by your state. Landlord.com is a website that brings together most of the things that the typical DIY landlord or property manager will need so as to successfully own and manage his property or portfolio.

The website’s core is the Information Center with lots of necessary info, there are also sections like Landlord Law, Tools and Calculators, E-Forms Center, Discussion Board, Tip of the Week and more. Landlord.com also allows visitors to discuss problems, ask questions, and get advice on dealing with any relevant issues. Connect with other landlords or property managers that have experienced similar issues and get advice!

3) Getrented.org (Online education for landlords and property managers)
As a landlord you know that there are a lot of things you have to know, everything from rental marketing to property inspections or tax management. Fortunately, there is an easier way to learn landlording.

Getrented.org is a resouce for landlords who may not have time to attend a class. Now homeowners can educate themselves on how to avoid expensive mistakes, nasty arguments and lawsuits online. Property owners who complete the $40 online class and pass the quizzes will receive a certificate of completion good for $250 off the fee for converting an owner-occupied residence to a rental.

4) The Lighter Side of Real Estate (Entertainment)
The real estate industry can be stressful sometimes, and obviously landlords have a lot on their plates, so a portion of good humor is a must in this endless can of work.

The Lighter Side of Real Estate is an entertainment resource for everyone involved in real estate industry with an abundance of articles, photos, videos and other fun stuff. The content is updated every day, so you definitely won’t be bored!

What do you think? Which tools and resources do you find helpful?