Monthly Archives: December 2020

Even Though Much of The World is Working Remotely, Here’s Why You Should Still Consider An Office

Remote Work PlaceIt is estimated that approximately 56% of the jobs in the US are compatible with remote work. Global Workplace Analytics project that 25-30% of the workforce will be working remotely, most of the week, by the end of 2021. The pandemic has created some new norms for working that are expected to last. The question is, will working remotely work for you and your company even after the panedmic subsides? There are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account in making the decsion on whether or not to maintain an office. What things should you consider?

Is your home environment suitable for working remotely?

While it’s great to save that extra travel time to and from work, is your home working environment conducive to productivity? Who is at home during the day? Where in your home do you work? We all love spending time with our family (well, maybe not all the time) but how much are you going to be interrupted at home?  As we know, it’s impossible to plan for all interruptions from Wi-Fi to plumbing issues to your elderly neighbor needing to borrow an egg for the cake they are baking. What you need to consider is, are you going to be more productive in an office, even if it is more convenient working from home. The pandemic has put an extra burden on working parents, especially those with more than one child. Many schools have reopened and yet most children have continued their learning online or virtually. This means that many parents have now had to balance their workload with playing teacher (creating a renewed respect for teachers that they rightfully deserve). Being physically in an office means that there are fewer opportunities for you to be interrupted, and, if you can increase your productivity, then you may be able to clock off early and better manage your responsibilities at home.

Are you starting a business?

The majority of businesses have been adversely affected by Covid-19, many closing down, but some new businesses have been innovative and thrived. If you are hoping to be one of those, then working from home may not be the best option. Are you going to be happy with people coming into your home, is it even going to be possible? Renting a new space is going to be less expensive than usual, given the oversupply of space. Most new businesses involve a lot of meetings, hiring staff, receiving goods from suppliers, and pitching to investors or clients. Consider a co-working space or renting office space monthly to cater to some of the dynamics that may come with starting a new business.

It can be quick and painless to register your new gig with many companies now providing this service. The pros at Fatstacksblog have screened the best companies for this, check out their review. Most new businesses involve a lot of meetings, hiring staff, receiving goods from suppliers, and pitching to investors or clients. Consider a co-working space or renting office space monthly to cater to some of the dynamics that may come with starting a new business.

Being social is important for physical and mental health

Much higher rates of anxiety and depression have been reported this year and many clinical psychologists have attributed this to isolation and the lack of human-to-human interaction not just in working remotely, but in our lives in general. Other negative effects of isolation have been lethargy and the so-called “zoom- fatigue” from too many online meetings. When you are considering working from home, it’s important to think about how much less you are going to socialize with others because of this. It is amazing what comes from water cooler conversations. Then think about all the meetings, coffee breaks, and small talk you have when you are in the office. All of these tiny interactions and adverse health effects add up. Taking this into consideration, healthier and happier workers are going to be more effective, confident, and creative in their job. It may be worth working in an office and being a better working version of yourself.

How Much Office Space?

If you decide to return to the office, working remotely is still an option. There is nothing that says this is an all or nothing decision. The big question is how much office space will you need and where do you need it? There are a number of options. Understanting the Agile Workplace concept is important. The concept is activity-based working space and making the work space flexible. It is an office hoteling reservation technique or set up in a workplace. It is a way of utilizing a work area more efficiently, utilizing non-assigned seating arrangement and desk-sharing to maximize and creating collaborative spaces. There are many companies that have taken this to heart even before the pandemic.

Many companies are now choosing to take advantage of using executive suites or coworking space as a means of providing flexible workspace for their employees. They do not all have to be located in the same place, but can be spread around for the conveniece of employees.

The whole world has had to embrace working remotely. It was a no-brainer, no-choice decision. Technology allows us to work from wherever we are. Once the pandemic subsides, it may not always the best option for everyone. For many, it may be their personal circumstances, such as being a parent, the number of children they may have, and if they are starting a new business. there are many considerations in deciding the level of working remotely that you choose. As we mentioned, there can be some negative mental health consequences from working remotely, too, For people considering working from home or thinking about going back to the office, assess your home environment to conclude if it is condusive to productivity and if it is going to allow you to be the healthiest and most productive version of yourself.

If you need help finding office space, whether conventional or flexible space, we can help. Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion on how we can help.

 

5 Tips to Market your Service Business

Businesses are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to market a product or a service to a wider audience. However, marketing service can be tough especially when there are a plethora of tools out there. Plus, it is different from advertising a distinguished product. When it comes to marketing a product, you design a campaign around it, highlight the benefits of the product and it gets the sales done.

On the other hand, when it comes to promoting a service, you have to market your ability and your team’s capabilities to achieve the given tasks. There is always a need for good service providers in businesses and the competition for who’s the best is cut-throat. Here, we look at five ways you can market your service-based business better.

  1. Make your business message stand out

One of the first things in your marketing strategy should include is a clear cut message that you want to convey to your audiences. Your words must focus on your service delivering on the critical fronts and calming the pain points. The message should capture the imagination of any prospective leads in one go. You need to identify your unique selling proposition. What can you do that your competitors can’t? In turn, making them into regular customers. Differentiate from your rivals by offering a unique selling message to the clients.

  1. Increase value for your customers

At times where competitors engage in price wars, it becomes evident that even though the offered price may be low but the contract will go to the one that gives the best value to the client. One of the ways businesses hone their value generation is through bundling mechanisms. It is like offering a full meal instead of just an Ala carte item in a fast food restaurant while still maintaining the profits. What does your service plan entail? Does it offer more than what the rival company is offering at the same price? Most service operators combine two or more functions as part of the deal and consider customers as actual people and offer plans that suit their needs. Personalizing a deal increases creativity which helps build brand value. Other ways you can achieve this is by offering faster delivery speeds, offering expert opinion, analysis and enhancing the customer care support for the clients.

  1.   Make the best of online

While making the jump to take your business online, you must look for a good web host provider where you can park your webpage and build on it. Talking of web hosting solutions providers, Stable Host is not bad and comes with options for a rookie first-timer and even a full-fledged professional portal. A good web host, with good 24×7 customer support and the latest data security procedures in place, goes a long way into determining how well your website will function.  

  1.   Expand your visibility

It is time to move from the Yellow Pages, if you even remember them, and local directories to appearing on online paid search engines. Attach your advertising links to a trusted website that reflects your brand and give out information about your company and how it meets targeted goals. Tap into the whole gamut of social network marketing methods and connect with your target audience via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and professional networks like LinkedIn. These are ways in which you can connect with the community and build a rapport with potential customers. 

Press releases are also a good way to expand visibility. Find out more at 6 Types of Press Releases to Promote Your Business. Getting in the news for good reasons always helps generate good feedback.

  1.   Build your existing client relationships

Give incentives and better offers to the existing customer base. Many companies offer premium services to subscribers and some of those features remain exclusive. If the customer is loyal enough to spend money and time on your service, give them something extra so that they are retained. From the existing client base, start winning contracts via referral schemes. Create marketing tools that can reach your current clients and through them reach new audiences and markets.

And if you are looking for a place to call your business home, we can help. Contact us today to find out more.

 

10 Security Tips to Protect Your Company’s Data

Hackers and online criminals are working day and night to access our data. They look for vulnerabilities in our software, and also in us. People have had their identities stolen and sensitive information accessed. Even the US government is vulnerable as demonstrated with the most recent series of attacks on sensitive servers. When this happens to a company it can be disastrous on a larger scale. Many small companies end up closing due to the financial implications of what has happened.

The term ‘paperless office’ has meant that more and more business information is being moved online. That increases the pickings for cybercriminals. When hackers are getting more and more clever, what can be done to protect company data? Let’s find out right now with these 10 security tips.

Consider Third-Party Hosting

When this option is chosen, the responsibility for data storage, updating software, and maintaining security is moved to the host company. If someone chose to use QuickBooks cloud hosting their data would be stored on a dedicated server. The advantage can be that a business is not sharing the host site with another company. With shared servers, both companies need to maintain their IT security. If one is hacked, the other company will also be hacked.

Other benefits of such hosting are that passwords and usernames are kept private, and there is automatically encrypted data backup.

Draft An IT Security Policy

One of the biggest security vulnerabilities that companies have is their staff. Employees should be advised not to leave their computer screens unlocked when unattended. USB sticks and hard drives should be securely locked away.

Businesses should incorporate their IT policy into staff employment documentation. This should include an outline of the responsibilities, accountability, and consequences of security breaches. Training sessions should be conducted as part of the staff induction process, and also on a rolling basis.

Training should also be given on creating and maintaining effective passwords, identifying phishing emails, and not downloading files for personal use. Staff should also be warned about using public wifi or reading private company information in public places.

Use A Virtual Private Network (VPN)

VPN software puts an encrypted (coded) layer around the person’s online activities. End to end encryption is where a message sent by one person is encoded, and it can only be unencrypted by the valid recipient. Website access and data exchange become secure as a result.

Without a VPN, staff may be vulnerable when working remotely. The wifi hotspots found in coffee houses, airports, or hotels frequently connect to insecure networks. This means it’s easier for hackers to access the data.

Install A Firewall

Companies have these as external hardware devices or internal software. They are built into Apple and Windows. Firewalls act as security guards day and night, observing all incoming and outgoing activities. They instantly report issues and block them.

There are a host of unwelcome visitors that firewalls are designed to stop, ranging from spyware, adware, viruses, and worms.

Use Antivirus Software

This is designed to supplement the effectiveness of the firewall. Defender software is installed within Windows 8 and 10. This can do the job effectively in most cases, but there is always the risk that such things as ransomware may be able to bypass it.

Warnings can also be provided by antivirus software that sites are insecure or have known risks.

Have A Strong Password System

A study found that from January to March 2019, 74% of security breaches related to passwords getting into the hands of the public.

Employees should never keep written passwords on their desks or share them with others; neither should they use the same one for different applications. Obvious passwords should be avoided too, including passwords, 12345 or previously used ones. They should be at least eight characters long and include letters, numbers, and special characters such as $£*&.

Password management software is well worth considering as it creates the passwords for you, stores them all in one place, and even logs in to programs for you.

Securely Dispose Of Data

If a computer, memory stick, external drive or laptop are thrown in the rubbish there is the chance that someone could take it. Even deleted files or reformatted drives are unable to stop criminals from gaining access to the data.

Fortunately, there are external companies that can securely dispose of computer equipment. When one looks at the financial risks involved, this could be well worth the money.

Perform Updates And Allow Patches

It may not be hard to imagine that a small item of software may have security vulnerabilities that need regularly addressing. More alarmingly, there are similar issues with big players such as Windows, Adobe PDF readers, Microsoft Office, Google Chrome, or Firefox.

Cybercriminals are constantly searching for blind spots and loopholes, so when they have discovered it’s necessary for an update or patch to be installed to keep them out.

Set Up Two Factor Authentication

This can be created for use when people log in to such applications as Facebook, Gmail, or Evernote. It can also be utilized when making online payments.

It acts as a ‘prove who you are’ question. Someone may receive a code by text that they need to enter into the computer before they can proceed. Alternatively, they will receive a phone call requiring a secure code.

Create Data Backups

USB sticks and external drives can be stolen or lost. Computers can break and websites can be hacked. When data is stored online there is an extra layer of protection.

Companies frequently create disaster recovery plans. They should include what to do when IT equipment is destroyed or a cyber attack has been effective. It’s no good waiting until it happens before such things are considered.

There are a host of actions and policies that can be put in place to protect a company’s data. When it is all adopted, a secure wall can be created to keep the villains out. Whilst many of these suggestions will cost money, the alternative can be unthinkable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buying, Renting, or Leasing Office Space?

deciding to buy, rent, or lease office space?Setting up an office is quite a task. From deciding the location to furnishing the office, it is time-consuming and requires a lot of effort. In addition to this, moving your office to a new area is labor-intensive.

This task is best left to the experts. If you are moving to a new office, consider this office moving checklist pdf to prepare you for the move.

When setting up an office, you have the option to buy, rent, or lease office space. If you are considering these options, it is always best to get a professional on your team to make sure you avoid any costly mistakes. Each of these choices has advantages as well as disadvantages.

Buying Office Space

Buying a property requires capital. Most small to medium sized businesses lack the resources to purchase office space or they choose to use their capital to grow thier businesses. However, for larger companies and corporations, buying an office space is an investment many choose to make.

Pros

  • Mortgage payments that will not increase.
  • Mortgage payments add to equity.
  • Appreciation over the long term.
  • You can rent it out excess office space and benefit from an additional source of income.

Cons

  • Buying requires a large amount of capital investment.
  • Opportunity cost of that capital investment.
  • Difficult to scale up in case of an expanding business.
  • You are responsible for repairs and maintenance, taxes and insurance.

Renting Office Space

In renting office space, it is usually a shorter-term period. You have the option to rent the space on a month-to-month basis or for a year or two. As with any contract for space, make sure to review the agreement thoroughly.

Pros

  • Allows for more flexibility in length of term.
  • Businesses have the option to relocate according to their needs.
  • Renting does not require a large investment.
  • The money is not tied up in the real estate and can be invested in the business in another way.

Cons

  • Monthly payments will increase over time with renewals.
  • Landlord may choose not to renew forcing you to move.

Leasing Office Space

Leasing office space is for a longer term period. Usually 2 – 10 years.

According to Statista.com, tech companies prefer leasing instead of buying a commercial property. Despite COVID-19 hampering business growth, tech companies were able to lease about 1.2 million square feet in the United States alone.

Pros

  • Monthly rental payments will be consistant for a longer period than renting office space.
  • Less capital is needed to lease office space than if you were to buy it.
  • The landlord is typically responsible for repair and maintenance of your office.
  • Leasing a property offers tax deductions.
  • At the end of the leasing period, you have the option to leave or renew the contract. So it offers some growth flexibility.

Cons

  • If you renew a lease, the terms of the contract may change, and rent may increase.
  • You have to comply with the requirements of the landlord.

Conclusion

Deciding on buying, renting, or leasing a property, is a big decision. A company’s business goals and growth prospects should be cinsidereed in making a suitable choice. In addition to this, the location of the office, the terms of a contract, the duration of renting/leasing, requirements of your employee, facilities, and other factors must be considered. Hence, you should take your time in deciding.

it is always best to get a commercial real estate professional on your team when making the buy, rent, or lease office space decsion to make sure you avoid any costly mistakes. This is the type of work they do day in and day out. They know what they are doing and represent you. The biggest mistake you can make is not having a professional on your team! Find one here.

 

4 Reasons to Use a SIP Trunk to Reduce Telecommunication Costs

SIP trunk in the cloudThe world, nowadays, is all connected through telecommunication services. Businesses, in particular, rely heavily on telecommunication tools to carry out daily tasks and get in touch with employees and possible clients. Traditional communication methods can be quite costly when startinga  business, which is why they are always on the lookout for cheaper options that offer premium solutions at an affordable rate. SIP trunking is among these solutions that help reduce the telecommunication costs and allow businesses to carry out the necessary work without a hassle.

You are probably asking yourself the same thing I did. What the heck is a SIP Trunk? SIP stands for “Session Initiation Protocol.”  SIP trunking is a method of sending voice and other unified communications services over the internet. It works with an IP enabled PBX phone system and replaces traditional telephone lines.

Having a business of your own also means having to manage all the services you offer your customers; from payroll services to merchant accounts. A SIP trunk allows you the advantage of re-prioritizing your budget according to your needs. A SIP trunk is a virtual form of your analogous phone line that aids in effective communication with all your employees along with easing the constraints on your budget. SIP trunking enables an end point’s PBX to send and receive calls via an IP network, such as the Internet or private WAN. As the Session Initiation Protocol is applied as the signalling protocol for multiple real-time applications, SIP trunk is able to control voice, video and messaging applications

Here are some of the reasons why your company should start using a SIP trunk to reduce telecom costs.

1.  Minimal Initial Investment

One of the main concerns for any business when it initially starts is covering all the necessary costs to get the workflow running smoothly. When you use SIP trunking, you will ensure your initial investment in telecommunication services is minimal or almost non-existent. Even if you are transitioning to SIP trunking, you will not be needing to invest a large amount of money to get the process going.

2.  Free Internal Calls

All establishments need to communicate internally one way or another. Using a SIP Trunk service, you will save a lot of money, as you will be getting free internal calls within your establishment to make day-to-day communication easier. It is a very attractive advantage for all businesses who rely heavily on internal calls and want to allocate more money to other areas in your business. Calls made via SIP trunking are made through IP connections, making them significantly cheaper than any other telecommunication method. It is free, reliable, and quite attractive, especially for startups.

3.  Reduced Communication Costs

SIP trunking eliminates the need for traditional phone line connections, which has been shown to save companies an average of 70 percent on their monthly phone bills. Many businesses tend to rely on long-distance calls, and regular communication services can cost them a fortune. Even if the calls are not internal and free, SIP trunking still costs a lot less when making external communications than other traditional methods.

4.  Easy Compatibility

When you choose to invest in SIP trunking for your company, you will not have to worry about spending more money on device upgrades as it is easily compatible with most existing devices. You will not have to worry about replacing any old hardware as SIP works with the majority of phone systems and can easily be integrated into your communication system.

Effective communication is the life and soul of any modern business. Establishments in all industries need easy and cheap solutions to communicate internally and externally in order to keep the workflow going smoothly. SIP trunking offers many businesses the chance to save a lot of money on telecommunication costs without having to worry about investing a fortune in replacing their existing phone systems entirely. Before you make the transition to SIP trunking, make sure you do some research in advance to ensure that your business communications will run smoothly without a hassle.

You may be wondering why we are starting to post articles such as these. At OfficeFinder we help businesses find and negotiate for office space, but we also want to help businesses improve their bottom line. We have taken upon ourselves to expand our blog to incorporate ideas for businesses to do just that. We hope you find it beneficial.

7 Benefits to Using Time Tracking Software

Time tracking software is a computerized, automated, and digital system that does more than record time spent on projects and employee working hours. It provides companies with analytical data that can improve the business, minimizing the redundancies that hold businesses back.

However, the notion of time tracking has always been viewed as something bothersome and hectic. It’s why many businesses prefer not to put a lot of effort into managing and monitoring it. Times change and now companies need to change their stance about time tracking because the system can streamline their daily processes significantly. Read on to learn more about the 7 benefits of time tracking software that can revolutionize your business.

1.  Increases Productivity Levels

The system can help companies increase productivity levels because it’s designed to target weaknesses, focus on strengths, track the right trends, and improve efficiency levels. The importance of employee productivity goes beyond their performance because it helps companies achieve more than that. They can achieve goals on time, create positive working environments, and eliminate distractions. The time tracking software will record every detail for you to analyze, address, and minimize the operational and personal inefficiencies that slow companies down. The insight and analytical data you get will allow you to modify your strategies and implement ones that can help your staff be a lot more productive every day.

2.  Helps You Manage Your Finances Correctly

The priority of every business is to maximize earnings while minimizing overhead costs, allowing the company to expand and grow. The software can help you trim costs by revealing the unnecessary or hidden expenses that hold your brand back. It allows you to differentiate between fruitful projects and unprofitable ones, giving you the insight to make correct estimates for future projects. If small companies lack the funding for a certain project, then applying for a loan can speed things up. The data you get from the software makes it easier for you to compare business loan offers for your small business and get the right one that suits your needs. The system gives you accurate data for each profitable project, allowing companies to focus their efforts and expenses correctly. Time tracking will give you the correct estimates to fund the project, the employees needed, and the time required to adjust work rates. It will ensure maximum profitability for every project you work on.

3.  It Guides Employees Optimally

Another amazing benefit of this software is that it can guide your employees and prevent them from feeling lost on which task to do next. Keeping your staff members on track will minimize idling times and remind them of a pressing deadline that they must meet. Letting them use the software will show them all the tasks or jobs they have in the queue, making them feel the urgency around deadlines. It will also let them track the time they’ve spent on previous tasks, motivating them to beat that time on their next task. The software will help them take ownership of their duties and respect the schedule or deadlines that were assigned to them.

4.  Makes the Billing Process Accurate

When companies utilize this system, it will make the billing process a lot more accurate because it gives you precise quotes and bills for projects/jobs. It all depends on the time it takes, the effort needed, and the manpower to work on the job. With this data, the system will accurately calculate how much a certain project will cost, allowing you to bill your clients correctly by the minute. The software can produce helpful reports that will list every task done in the project, the timestamps, materials used, and the price for every point. Clients will appreciate the transparency and accurate bills, increasing your chances of doing work for them again.

5.  Improves Planning and Scheduling

Businesses will utilize this software to plan future projects efficiently, scheduling every task correctly, and assigning the right employees for it. Most projects get delayed because companies fail to pinpoint the redundant tasks that can be automated or the inefficient ones that should be ignored. When you implement time tracking for future planning, the system will review previous projects, organize important analytical data, and set up the right scheduling plan for optimum efficiency. The time tracking system will go through every employee’s jobs, alternate between them, and assign the right people with a realistic schedule to finish projects on time.

6.  Enforces an Overtime Compliance System

Many businesses have an overtime issue, especially when it’s not tracked correctly. However, enforcing an overtime compliance system will ensure that every employee meets the industry’s regulations. Governments have certain laws when it comes to overtime and companies that don’t distribute the overtime pay correctly will be subjected to fines. The same goes for employees that abuse the system and do not track accurate overtime hours. Time tracking will prevent any lawsuits, fines, or issues in the office.

7.  Integration With Other Tools

The perks of this software allow companies to integrate it with other tools, making them track invisible tasks. Integrating time tracking with tasks that involve client calls, meetings, emails, travel, project communication, and task management will achieve maximum convenience and efficiency. It can capture any tool you use every day, ensuring that every task is done correctly with minimal delays. The data you receive will make every task visible and manageable, optimizing it for complete efficiency. The integration process will increase productivity, trim costs, and ensure that every employee is utilizing their time correctly for the betterment of the company.

The amazing thing about time tracking software is that the system is designed for everyone, whether you own a company, firm, agency, startup, or you’re a freelance consultant. People can modify the system to make it suit their needs, the type of business they run, and the number of employees or clients that they have. The traditional manual methods of time tracking are outdated, flawed, and easily manipulated, but implementing the software type will minimize any mistakes, errors, and dishonesty. Time tracking will streamline all of your daily tasks, increase productivity, help you cut unnecessary costs, and maximize your profits over time.

16 Tips to Finding Your Next Rental Property

looking for rental property

Finding a quality rental property, whether commercial or residential, can be tedious and time-consuming. This might be caused by the broad range of choices available, the prices, or the quality of these rental properties being different. So, what should you do to find the perfect rental property? 

If this is your concern, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips that you should consider when searching for your next rental property:

  1. Work with an Experienced Buyer Broker

There is no reason not to. It won’t cost you anything. In fact, it will save you from making costly mistakes. They do this day in and day out. They do not get paid until you get what you want. They are on your side. Listing agents are solely responsible to the seller, not matter what they tell you. You’ll find an experienced buyer broker by working with top agencies, such as Kuba’s company.

Check the following advantages of hiring a buyer broker:

  • Buyer Representation: While many property buyers are working directly with listing agents to find their next rental property, they’re only middle players. Listing agents connect buyers with rental properties, but are far more invested in safeguarding the seller’s interest because they receive a commission based on the property’s sale price. Hiring a buyer broker is a good idea to protect your best interest and close the best deal for you.
  • Powerful Negotiators: Place the financial future of your investment on the hands of a qualified buyer broker once you have found the perfect rental property. Buyer brokers understand price negotiations as they provide advice on how to make the best offer and what factors to consider when buying a rental property.
  • Know What to Look For: A buyer broker can help you find the right property and give honest advice about your property prospects. It will avoid impulsive buying, so you can get the best terms for your prospective rental property. 
  • Prepared for the Challenges: Make your rental property buying experience smoother, as a buyer broker can manage the minute details, from inspections to appraisals. Overcome all hurdles of the process to close the deal faster.
  1. Closely Examine The Local Rental Regulations  

Before you even buy a rental property, you need to familiarize yourself with the local rental regulations. But to do this, it’s best to have help from reliable and licensed professionals, such as those you can find at Rooftop Real Estate Management. This is especially important if this is your first time purchasing a rental property. Doing this entails going through the tenant security deposits, laws and regulations for property registration, rent control, evictions, tenant security deposits, and a lot more.  

After understanding the local rental regulations, you’ll be more than capable of running a successful rental property venture while simultaneously avoiding any legal disagreements.  

  1. Make Sure to Separate Your Business and Personal Finances  

One common error many new rental property owners make is investing personal funds into the business venture. However, this isn’t advisable as it opens you up to the possibility of your personal money being used to settle your business liabilities. 

Moreover, mixing up your business and personal finances might also result in tax complications, further complicating your investment into the business.  

  1. Place the Down Payment 

When investing in a rental property, you need to determine how much down payment you’ll be required to pay. This value is typically between 20% to 30% of the property’s value, and you can get its financing either through a personal loan or bank financing. 

When saving for the down payment, here are some useful tips that’ll enable you to have the money in the required timeline:  

  • Getting a second job.  
  • Reducing your rent.  
  • Opening an automatic savings deposit.  
  • Cutting off unnecessary living expenses.  
  • Settling all present debts. 
  1. Have a Long-Term Investing Strategy  

Real estate is a long-term investment. Therefore, to guarantee its success, you need to approach this venture with a long-term strategy. The best way you can attain this is by having a particular goal and devoting a lot more time to fully understanding the real estate market. As you do this, it’s essential always to be realistic and to base your expectations on your financial capabilities.  

Here are a couple of useful questions that can help you develop a long-term investment strategy:

  • Should you buy multiple rental properties?  
  • How much should you pay for the rental property?  
  • What property types and investment strategies should you consider?  
  • Does the real estate investment tie-up with your retirement plan?  

Once you answer all these questions, you’ll be in a great position to put in place a great plan to purchase the rental property.  

  1. Be Wary of High-Interest Rates  

If you take out a loan to buy your first real estate property, it’s wise to be cautious of the high-interest rate charged by lenders. Usually, this rate lies between 5% to 7.5%, which is much higher than the mortgage rate. 

Lenders usually do this since you’re far more likely to default on this payment, unlike with your home. Therefore, the higher the interest rate compensates for, the greater risk they’re taking.  

  1. Ask Other Landlords for Advice 

In any business venture, you choose to partake in, seeking advice from those already experienced in the industry is essential. This means that as you look for a real estate property, make sure to consult other landlords to get useful insights from their past experiences. As you do this, also take into account their investment bias, that is, the landlord’s purchasing strategy, experiences, and ultimate objective.  

By talking to other landlords, you also get useful advice on how to identify hood tenants, which is a crucial skill for your peace of mind as a property owner. Another alternative to get these useful insights is to become a member of a local landlord association. With guidance from other experienced landlords, you’ll be able to avoid mistakes. For example, you get to understand why hiring a property management company is recommended.  

  1. Budget for Vacancies  

A rental property won’t always have tenants. This means there are months when one or several units are vacant, which will cost you money. Therefore, as you search for the ideal rental property, make sure not to overlook this factor.  

The vacancy rates differ from one market to another. Low-demand rental properties have a greater vacancy rate of more than 20%, while that of the highly demanded areas is less than 2%. With that said, it’s always advisable to consult with other landlords in the area to get a rough estimate of the vacancy rate. By doing this, you’ll be able to determine whether the investment in a specific rental property is worthwhile.  

  1. Identify Your Property Expenses

One thing that’s standard across all rental property investments is that they accrue expenses over time. These expenses can either be monthly or annually, but you should also be well prepared for an unexpected expense that might occur. 

The possible expenses you might need to settle are:

  • Unforeseen and anticipated maintenance and repair expenses.  
  • Property taxes that are owed to the state, which depends on the county, town, or state the rental property is found.  
  1. Calculate The Margin 

Setting the margin rate of return is vital since it determines whether you’ll generate the desired profit. You need to set the margin rate at 10% and set the maintenance cost at around 1% of the property’s value. This means for a property valued at $500,000, the maintenance cost should be $5,000. 

In addition, you need to consider other expenses such as possible property taxes, monthly expenses, including janitorial, landscaping and pest control, as well as homeowner’s association fees.  

  1. Examine If There Are Short-Term Rental Restrictions  

The increased popularity of short-term property rentals for residential properties has seen some neighborhoods putting in place short-term rental restrictions. For example, some homeowner’s associations put in restrictions that forbid the rental of houses for less than 30 days. Therefore, you should confirm whether there are such restrictions on a property you’re planning to buy.  

  1. Get an Inspection

You must never overlook the significance of an inspection. Making sure the property is inspected is essential as it saves you money and time since you get to identify if there are any issues with the property. If you already purchased the property without getting it inspected, this leaves you with a huge loss that can amount to thousands of dollars.  

Therefore, make sure the rental property is inspected before you make the purchase. If any issues are detected, this improves your bargaining power since you’ll need to do the repairs independently. Alternatively, you can ask the current owners to do the repairs before making the purchase.  

  1. Get Pre-Qualified  

If you want to get a better picture of the property that you want to invest in, pre-qualification is more than necessary. But for you to get pre-qualified, you need to know several aspects, including the following:

  • Ensure a low debt-to-income ratio.  
  • Have liquid cash to pay the down payment.  
  • Have a credit score that’s at least 680, but a score of 740 or higher is better.  
  • Access to cash that can settle at least six months’ expenses.   
  1. Look into the Neighborhood  

Even after finding the perfect rental property, you need to make sure to confirm that it’s located in an ideal neighborhood. This means considering essential factors such as the rental property’s access to public transportation, crime rates, and available amenities.  

You should buy the rental property once you’re satisfied that it’s in excellent condition and also the neighborhood it’s located in. 

  1. Make Sure Your Credit Is in Check  

When searching for your next rental property, your credit rating is crucial. If you’ve got a great credit score, you enjoy a better negotiating power and higher chances of getting access to credit needed to finance buying the rental property.  

In contrast, if you don’t have a great credit rating, you’ll find it a lot harder to find a great rental property since the lenders won’t be willing to offer you the needed finance. Therefore, you’ll need to finance the property’s purchase either by using your savings or having to pay high-interest rates if one lender is willing to take the risk with you.  

  1. Calculate the Property’s Operating Expenses  

Knowing the operating expenses is crucial as this will also guide you to determine how much rent should be paid for each unit. In most cases, the operating expenses range between 35% to 80% of the total operating income. This means that if the total rental income paid by your tenants is $5,000, your monthly operating expenses should be approximately $2,000. 

Takeaway  

The search for an appropriate rental property is never easy. However, after reading this article, you now know some useful tips to consider that’ll help you find the perfect rental property to generate additional income.

 

 

When and How to use Drug Test Kits for Your Office Employees

Drug test

For employers, drug testing is an important way to determine if an applicant has a substance problem or not. When a drug is detected during a background test, it usually results in an immediate denial of the application.

The main purpose of drug test kits available today is to test drug use in the workplace. An individual’s ability to get a job is often affected by their past drug use, which makes it crucial to have an accurate drug test kit on hand. 

When To Use Drug Testing For Employees

A drug kit is often an ideal solution for pre-employment measures against drug use in the office. Drug test kits, such as urine drug test kits, include a sample kit and instructions, are affordable, user-friendly, and offer quick results. 

Most drug test kits usually test for the presence of certain illegal drugs in an individual’s blood by utilizing a saliva sample. This sample can then be analyzed by a trained laboratory technician who can determine the drug’s concentration within minutes. An employee may also receive a notice that their application has been denied, as an employee failing to produce a reliable test result could put their job in jeopardy. 

Here are some basic facts about when and if employees should be tested.

  • Each state has different legal requirements. Some states require employees to be tested for a drug at the start of employment, while other states only allow testing after a notice has been given to the employee. 
  • For employers, drug testing kits come in handy when hiring new employees. Employers need to ensure that drug abusers don’t have access to sensitive information within the company, such as sensitive documents, computers, and other devices that could potentially expose company secrets. Drug test kits can help catch employees who are using drugs, giving the employer peace of mind.
  • Most states don’t require employees to submit to random drug testing.
  • When a person first starts to take the drug tests, they’re usually asked whether they had used illegal drugs in the last year. However, many employers don’t require drug tests for employees who have not used drugs in the previous year. This is especially true if the employee has taken a drug-prevention class or has shown a willingness to follow an anti-drug program.

How To Use Drug Testing For Employees

As a general rule, employers who want to drug test their employees should consider taking a sample of urine or blood. Since urine contains more concentrated substances than blood, an employer may receive more reliable results. 

However, there are a few factors that determine whether an employee will be positive for a drug. 

  • First of all, the test may be able to detect recreational drugs. In addition, certain types of drugs can have a delayed effect on an employee’s response. Therefore, if an employee has a problem with drug use, the test can often give false negatives because the employee has no prior problems or is using the drug for the first time.
  • Once an employer decides to test employees, there are a few questions that should be asked before administering a drug test. These questions can include: Are there any physical signs of abuse that cannot be ignored? Is the employee willing to let their doctor know about drug use? Are there any signs of withdrawal? Does the drug make the individual feel nervous or anxious? Are there any negative changes in the way that the person acts?
  • Many of these test kits will also include instructions on how to prepare the employee’s urine samples. Therefore, the employee will know when and how to use a test kit for their own urine and will know what to do when they’re ready to test their urine. 

In some cases, the employee will be able to send a urine sample home with the employee kit, but they’ll only be able to do this if they have had a chance to get a hold of the kit before it’s time for the test.

  • There are many different drug test kits available on the market today, some of which are very accurate. However, it’s essential to know how these kits work before you actually decide to purchase one for accurate drug test results.

Conclusion

Regardless of the reason that an employer decides to test for drugs, it’s important to know when employees need to take their tests. By understanding when and if they should be tested, employers can avoid having an employee suffer the consequences of drug addiction as well as keeping the office running smoothly.