Saturday, November 18, 2017
RD House has proudly been a member of the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) for 11 years (18 years with our previous business affiliation), and we're proud to see GSBA CEO Louise Chernin will join Mayor Durkan's transition team as part of the Business coalition. We know Louise will serve well representing Seattle's small business interests!
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
We've watched all the cranes around Seattle, now we're starting to see the effects. A new report by Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors of Seattle shows the apartment vacancy rate in the city of Seattle has hit a seven-year high and is growing faster than anywhere in the Puget Sound region.
The report analyzed information for 252,552 units in 2,428 properties (with at least 20 units) in a survey that ended Sept. 21, and shows a 4% vacancy rate for the Seattle market, up from 3.3 percent in March. (Vacancy rate excludes new properties that are still in lease-up). The gross rate (which includes new units) is 6.8 percent, up from 5.1 percent.
As a region, Puget Sound’s gross vacancy rate exceeded 5 percent for the first time in four years, at 5.4%, up from 4.8% percent this spring. Climbing vacancy rates are slowing down rent increases across the region- rents are up 7.8% from a year ago, when Dupre + Scott said rent growth peaked at 9.2%.
Given this new data, investors should expect the rental market to soften over the next couple of years, as developers plan to open 62,000 rental units between 2018 and 2020. That is in addition to the more than 12,000 new units expected to open this year and 14,500 units in the tri-county area next year in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
Unit demand in the tri-county area has averaged 9,000 units a year over the past three years, and in the past 12 months has totaled just under 7,500 units. A year ago demand peaked at 10,500 units, so given this kind of supply hitting the market, investors should plan for higher vacancies and fewer rent increases.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
City Council approves legislation to prevent landlords from considering applicants’ criminal records
Landlords will be limited in screening tenants based on criminal records, under an ordinance the Seattle City Council approved in August. When taking applications, they will be barred from asking about records. And in choosing tenants, they will be barred from rejecting people due to their records.
The only people who may be denied rental housing will be those listed on sex-offender registries because of adult convictions, and landlords denying housing to such people will still need to demonstrate a legitimate business reason for doing so.
Landlords renting part of their own homes and sharing a kitchen or bathroom with a tenant will be exempt, as will primary leaseholders given the authority by landlords to choose roommates.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
5 Tangible Money-In-Your-Pocket Benefits of Using a Technology Oriented Professional Property Management Company
Being a landlord is much more than handling tenant turnovers or overseeing rented units and tenants. Thorough property management (and the underlying investment/asset management) also covers consultancy, market insight and knowledge, tax reporting, accounting, effective marketing, leasing paperwork, legal and legislative compliance, document management, property inspection and prospective tenant assessments. All this can be overwhelming for any individual, especially landlords who still have to chase their monthly checks from tenants.
That’s why many property owners turn to professional property management services (or should, if they don’t), who are licensed real estate brokers, and skilled in managing all these needs. But more than just that, property managers who are adept with technology can get more done, and more effectively, and as the saying goes- time is money. Specifically, smart use of technology can mean fewer days vacant, more competitive rents, faster rent collection cycles, more timely vendor payments and most importantly (to property owners), faster funds disbursement each month.
Here are 5 tangible advantages of hiring a professional property manager well versed in technology to manage your needs effectively.
|Rental syndication enables broad advertising reach|
while professional photos and virtual tours drives
1. Online advertising reach
A major benefit of tech savvy management professionals are the listing features we leverage, allowing us to broadly and effectively market rental units, by syndicating listings to highly trafficked listing platforms (such as Trulia, Zumper, Zillow, HotPads and many others)- and in doing so, providing professional listing information, photos, videos and virtual tours.
2. Valuable landlord and tenant tools/services
Effective professional property managers also develop platforms that cater to specific needs and portfolio profiles. For example, here at RD House, our management platform allows us to do things like assign utility bills to tenants in single family properties, and to apportion utilities across multiple units in multiplex properties. At the same time, all of our clients and tenants have access to online payments/deposits and personalized web portals with lease documents, bills, financial reporting, account transactions, communications and more. We also provide real-time 150-point photo documented move in and move-out inspections. Because we leverage the platform across all our properties, we’re able to provide them much more inexpensively than an individual landlord could.
3. Marketing muscle
This is the real strength of professional property managers. In addition to advertising rentals on high traffic platforms, social media savvy professional managers syndicate listings to social media, and RD House has working relationships with corporate relocation and employer housing professionals. We also know what property/unit amenities and features are most desirable and how best to market properties/units based on their specific attributes.
This alone has a very tangible payback for our clients: our average vacancy (days vacant on market including turnover) is just 22 days. That means your property is generating rents more days in a year.
4. Legal and legislative compliance
Washington state, King County and cities within the Seattle Metro all have landlord/tenant and rental property regulations and requirements, ranging from tenant screening criteria, security deposit handling, rental property registration and inspection, maintenance response and mitigation requirements, and much more. Professional property managers provide a wealth of experience and skill in effectively navigating these, and often belong to industry groups that keep them engaged in the latest information. At RD House, for example, we’ve helped our clients understand and navigate an unprecedented wave of new or amended Seattle rental regulations, including the RRIO (Rental Regulation and Inspection Ordinance), First in Time Tenant screening and acceptance requirements which went into effect on Jan 1, 2017, and caps on move-in fees (which the Seattle City Council passed in January 2017, despite RD House lobbying against this alongside other industry leaders)- nonetheless, our software platform easily tracks and manages the extended period payment options which this legislation mandates, inline with our leasing and tenant accounting processes.
5. Customer Service
The importance of customer service for any business can’t be over emphasized. When people receive great customer service from a business, a ripple effect happens through word of mouth and recommendations. In the property rental arena, satisfied tenants stay longer and renew more often, saving a significant amount of turnover and vacancy costs. RD House has one of the highest tenant retention rates in the market, and has been awarded excellence in property management services since 2014, driven by our client and tenant service, flexible and mobile-enabled tenant and owner portals, ePay and direct deposit services and online maintenance request tools.
RD House is a Seattle property management company that specializes in property management for residential homes and small apartment buildings in the Seattle metro area. We work smarter to be a team you can trust to manage all the aspects of your real estate property management the right way, and our mission is simply to provide better results with residential, multifamily, commercial and association property management. We call it Simply Better Property Management.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Innovation Leader, a magazine and website focused on innovation in large companies, today released its 2017 list of the top North American cities for corporate innovation and R&D activity, with Seattle appearing at No. 5.
Topping the list is San Francisco/San Jose, Calif., with Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle rounding out the top five.
The Innovation Leader list is unique among "city rankers" because it focuses not on startups, entrepreneurship, or venture capital, but the amount of research-and-development and innovation activity that big companies do in each city — whether that’s Disney and other studios developing the future of entertainment in L.A., or Ford, Uber, and Toyota working on self-driving cars in Detroit.
Specifically, the list takes into account five factors:
1) Global 1000 companies with R&D labs or innovation centers, and their R&D investment levels
2) Major tech companies with large R&D or development partner ecosystems
3) Startup density, including accelerator programs, incubators, and co-working spaces
4) The presence of top-tier research universities
5) Conferences, trade shows, and networking events that foster interactions among corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and academic researchers
See the full story here
Seattle landlords on Tuesday sued the city over a law requiring them to allow tenants to pay move-in costs in installments. The move represented the latest pushback from property owners against a series of new city policies protecting renters. “Our members provide safe and affordable housing," Sean Flynn, board president at the Rental Housing Association of Washington, said.
The 5,400 landlords represented by RHA "set the standard for ethics and best practices in our industry," Flynn said. "Yet, this city council has never missed the chance to lambaste, demonize, and hold landlords responsible for problems they did not create.”
RD House is an Affiliate member of the RHA.
The RHA took the city to court today, seeking to block a law the Seattle City Council approved in December, which requires landlords to allow tenants to pay their security deposits, fees, and last month's rent over the course of a payment plan. The law, which passed unanimously under the sponsorship of city council members Kshama Sawant and Lisa Herbold, also caps the total amount of security deposits and nonrefundable fees landlords can charge at no more than one month's rent. Nonrefundable fees can't exceed 10 percent of one month's rent unless the cost of the tenant's screening report exceeds that amount.
Josh Whited, the lawyer representing the RHA, called the requirements "onerous." He argued the law violates the state ban on rent control, constitutes an illegal "taking" of private property, and violates landlords' due process rights.
Court precedent in Washington, Whited said, has found that “local governments are not entitled to shift the burden for solving societal problems to individual property owners.”
We will follow this story with updates as they develop.
Friday, May 26, 2017
2017 GSBA Scholarships
RD House is proud to be a member of the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA), which understands that today's students are tomorrow's leaders and is committed to supporting our community's future leaders by providing financial resources, role-models and hope to outstanding LGBTQ and allied students. This year, GSBA is proud to have awarded its 3 millionth dollar through its scholarship programs!
At the 2017 dinner on May 19 Hearts were bursting with pride as over 500 guests including scholars, donors, community leaders and elected officials gathered to witness history as GSBA gave out its $3 millionth dollar in scholarships awarded since 1991.
This Fund, and the hope it provides, has changed the lives of over 500 LGBT and allied students but, perhaps the biggest game changer is the launch of the GSBA Guarantee. The Guarantee promises up to four years of support to GSBA Scholars as long as they continue their part by doing their best in school. This extraordinary commitment is possible because of you, and your understanding of the power of education to change lives.The exciting news continued as long-term GSBA member and Antioch Board member,Steve Crandall, came on stage to announce the GSBA Leadership Academy, an innovative leadership experience created through a partnership between Antioch and GSBA with support from Microsoft and input from several GSBA donors. This Leadership Academy will hold its first immersion weekend this August at Islandwood Retreat Center on Bainbridge Island during which all 45 scholars will be brought together to go through a three-day leadership curriculum.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
For decades, Silicon Valley has been the epicenter of the tech industry, and it’s easy to understand why: Silicon Valley hosts many of the world’s most successful tech firms including Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix and PayPal. These firms offer employees prestige, high salaries and opportunities to work on cutting-edge projects. In addition, there are thousands of startups in Silicon Valley to attract those who want to build something from the ground up.
And in their Digital Exodus article, Indeed .com uncovers a bit about why experienced tech workers are searching for, and moving to, jobs outside Silicon Valley. Their recent analysis of Indeed job search data reveals growing numbers of Silicon Valley tech workers between the ages of 31 and 40 are searching for work elsewhere.
This report also calls out the cost of living as likely a major contributing factor. To take just one measure: according to a real estate brokerage, the median sale price of a home in Silicon Valley is $1,050,000. Sky-high housing costs are driving what is described as a “digital exodus.”
Seattle is one of the key engineering hubs to which they are migrating (the Puget Sound Business Journal said of the Hired report that Seattle is the top landing spot for tech transplants from Bay Area, which is hard to see directly from the data in their report, and the Indeed posting puts Seattle at #5 in terms of search location (not actual work migration).
For Seattle Property Managers and rental property owners, the implications are clear: a steady stream of tech workers who will be looking for housing here. The key, however, will be in offering units and amenities that will meet their needs. We'll be looking that those factors in upcoming posts here, so stay tuned.
Friday, February 10, 2017
Effective January 15, the Seattle City Council approved legislation capping move-in fees at the first months rent plus no more than that for any move-in related deposits. Renters will be able to opt for payment of move-in costs above this (such as last months rent deposit) over a 6 month payment plan.
Historically, landlords could charge security deposit, last months rent and pet deposit fees up front before a tenant could move in. Now, combined move-in fees cannot exceed the equivalent of the first month’s rent. The ordinance also forces landlords to accept additional payments in installments, allowing tenants to pay gradually over a period of six months if they cannot afford the fees when they first sign the lease. Landlords are now also limited in how much they can charge for pet deposits: No more than 25% of one month’s rent (and payable over a 3-month payment plan).
RD House is fully prepared to work with these new requirements and are able to collect Last months rent and pet deposits in installments. There is an administrative cost to billing, tracking and collecting installment payments, and we will have to charge a $9.95 per month fee to owners when tenants request this option (but only during the period of installments). We generally would pass tenant-related costs like this to tenants, however the council legislation specifically prohibits doing so.
Seattle Landlords Push Back
Tenant Protections in Other Markets
Saturday, January 28, 2017
By far the largest source of resident/landlord disputes is the disposition of the resident’s security deposit. Using proper move-in and move-out documentation procedures is the best tool to protect you and your residents from these kinds of disputes.
With clear documentation on condition at possession and at move-out, and provisions in the lease that specify expectations and responsibility, you will have an objective baseline for the entire residency. It can also demonstrate to the residents satisfaction that at move-in, the property is in good condition and any general wear and tear exceptions are noted and agreed.
Even more, with mobile and cloud tools readily available today, landlords can perform detailed inspections with room-by-room condition, photos and notations that can be signed onsite with the tenant in just minutes, with a documented report file that’s saved with the lease information. These save time and add much detail to the inspection report.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
The average sale price for Condos in West Seattle -December 2016
If you're thinking of selling this year, stay up with the stats, with RD House Real Estate.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
The new year is still taking shape, but there are already a few notable items rental property owners should be aware of.
1099 deadline changes
Tax season always brings a mixed bag of changes from forms to regulations, and this year is no exception. Beginning in 2017 (for the 2016 reporting year), many important deadlines will change. Filers will be required to send 1099-MISC recipient copies and submit the forms to the IRS by January 31, 2017 for both paper and e-filings. February 28 for paper and March 31 for e-file for reporting to the IRS, allowing some additional time for review and any corrections. However, the new 1099-MISC filing deadline only impacts filers reporting non-employee compensation payments in Box 7, and rental property income is reported in Box 1 (Rents) and Box 3 (Other income).
For the 2016 filing year, RD-House will be using e-filing for both recipient (property owner) and IRS forms, and will, as we have in the past, report, audit and deliver these by January 31.
New or pending City of Seattle rental regulations
The City Council remains busy proposing and implementing various rental regulations.
- The RRIO (Rental Regulation and Inspection Ordinance) was fully implemented as of 12/31 2016, meaning that all rental properties regardless of location or the number of units are now required to be registered with RRIO. RD-House completed registrations for managed units in 2016, and now have RRIO as a checklist item for onboarding new managements.
- First in Time Tenant screening and acceptance requirements went into effect on Jan 1, 2017. This requires acceptance of the first submitted and qualified application for a unit or property. RD-House has clear acceptance and denial criteria for applicant screenings, and had always operated under this general rule, do we don't forsee any specific impacts with this for our managed properties.
- Caps on move-in fees (pending vote) at no more than one months rent, in addition to the first months rent. We are monitoring this item as it is debated by the City Council.
- Limits on the use of credit, evictions and foreclosure information as screening criteria. This is only proposed at this point, and final legislation and process have not yet been determined. We are closely monitoring this item as it is debated by the City Council.
Review your annual maintenance checklist
- Paint common areas every five to seven years. When they start to look worn and paint starts to chip or wear off, or has an uneven sheen, it’s probably time.
- Re-carpet hallways and other shared spaces every five years. This is about the time carpet will start to unravel and become a tripping hazard.
- Change light fixtures (not just bulbs) every 10 years or so. Quality fixtures can last for years, but many older ones aren’t compatible with new LED bulbs. Most buildings don’t tend to change the fixtures, however, until it’s time to repaint.
- Clean the exterior annually, and look for paint or siding wear that may indicate additional maintenance.
- Clean and inspect downspouts, gutters, and other water-related features annually. Either in the fall when leaves are falling or in the spring after trees flower to avoid debris getting clogged and causing backups.
- Service and repair furnaces, water heaters and other major systems annually. Check or replace filters, etc.
- Touchup landscaping seasonally. Curb appeal is everything: invest in your outdoor plants every season to keep your property looking its best.