Behind Equity Lines


Real Estate Math: How To Tell If An Investment Property Is A Good Buy

The question on every new investor’s mind is simple: how do you know if an investment property will be profitable? Luckily, there are two easy formulas you can use to determine if an investment property is a good buy, financially. We’ve laid them out below. Read them over and take them to heart so...

The question on every new investor's mind is simple: how do you know if an investment property will be profitable? Luckily, there are two easy formulas you can use to determine if an investment property is a good buy, financially. We've laid them out below. Read them over and take them to heart so that you have them at your disposal when you're ready to make a move.

The One-Percent Rule

When you start looking at investment properties, you'll likely have plenty of options to choose from. Rather than being a complicated equation, the one-percent rule is simply a rule of thumb that investors use to help them narrow down their options quickly and efficiently. It's a tool that you can use to determine if a property deserves a closer look.

All the one-percent rule says is that a property should rent for one-percent or more of its total upfront cost.

For example:

  • A property that costs $100,000 should rent for at least $1,000 per month
  • A property that costs $200,000 should rent for at least $2,000 per month
  • A property that costs $300,000 should rent for at least $3,000 per month

Keep in mind that this rule looks at a property's total upfront cost, meaning that you'll have to add together the purchase price, plus closing costs, and an estimate of the total repair costs necessary to make it rentable.

(So a $100,000 property that needs $50,000 in work would need to rent for at least $1,500 per month to make sense, not $1,000.)

If a property passes the one-percent rule, it's worth considering. If not, move on. At this point, it's worth setting up showings for the properties that meet this rule's criteria. From there, you can narrow down your options further, according to your likes and dislikes.

The Cap Rate 

Once you've narrowed down your options to a handful of potential properties, it's time to look at the capitalization rate, or "cap rate" for short. This helps you calculate property's potential for return on investment.

The cap rate is found by dividing the property's net operating expenses by its purchase price. You can find the cap rate by doing the following: 

  • Find your gross income by taking the average monthly rent for your property and multiplying it by 11.5. This will show the maximum amount you can make from the property, allowing for a two-week per year vacancy.
  • Then, subtract your monthly operating expenses ( utilities, taxes, maintenance) from your gross income to get your net income.
  • Divide your net income by the purchase price to find your cap rate.
  • Multiply the cap rate by 100 to find the percentage of your potential returns on the property.

Make sure not to include a mortgage payment, if you have one, in your list of monthly operating expenses. Since every investor will use a different combination of downpayment and financing, the cap rate assumes you've bought the property in cash. This allows you to easily compare one property's ROI to another.

Each investor has his or her own yardstick for determining an acceptable cap rate. However, generally speaking, you want this number to be as high as possible.








Why 'Shop Small' every day of the year is so important


Saturday November 24, 2018 is Shop Small Saturday. Why is it important to use small businesses like Equity Management Services?  According to the SBA, the United States is home to 28.8 million small businesses  — which accounts for 99.7% of all US businesses. Small and independent businesses have undoubtedly played an integral part in spearheading the fast-paced growth of our country since 1776 — boosting the economy, creating jobs and ultimately, serving as a foundational stepping stone towards the American Dream. Yet, there are a lot more than just financial losses to consider when we allow these businesses to disappear.

Here are 10 of my favorite quotes (there are 43), extracted from For New York, that will make you reflect on the invaluable role small and independent businesses — and the people behind them — play in each of our lives. So, trade in your Starbuck’s for a cup of joe from your local coffee shop, and get to reading:

  1. “Choosing to support an independent business is an act of respect; it’s acknowledging the tremendous risk and challenges inherent to starting your own thing.” - Matt Kliegman (co-founder - The Smile, The Smile To Go, Black Seed Bagels)
  2. “These are establishments that are often the character of a neighborhood, a community. The relationships created between customers and those that work in independent business frequently go beyond just purchases — it becomes familial.” - Rembert Browne (culture critic at large - New York Magazine)
  3. “Most independent businesses are run by people - not by boards, not by stockholders, not by algorithms. And so you get a different kind of care and quality in their product because their work is a reflection of themselves. Instead of focusing on the next market they’re expanding into or the next round of funding they’re raising, they’re focusing on the details and being the best they can be.” - Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur (co-founders - Of a Kind)
  4. “Support each other. Why do you need a reason to do that besides the fact that it’s the right thing to do?” - Scarr and Los Franco (co-founders - Scarr’s Pizza).
  5. “Independent businesses feel like home.” - Yasmin Daguilh and Mackenzie Gleason (creative content producer - Alice & Olivia / head bartender - The Wayland).
  6. “Authenticity and hustle - that’s why you should support independent businesses.” - Yu Ming Wu (co-founder - Sneakernews, Sneaker Con, partner - Stadium Goods).
  7. “Small businesses provide the feeling that a real person is behind it all, someone who cares more about giving us a quality product or service, over just taking our hard earned dollars.” - Annie Bukhman (designer, founder - Gift Shop Brooklyn).
  8. “You’re helping real people - who you may know personally - do what they do better.” - DJ Neil Armstrong (DJ).
  9. “There’s a feeling of shared responsibility and ownership when you support an independent business.” - Angie Martinez (radio personality, best-selling author).
  10. “Supporting independent businesses is substantially important to supporting what you love about a city.” - Foster Kamer (writer, executive editor - Mental Floss).


Don't let your shop small stop November 25, 2018, shop small every day!




If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner in your home or traveling to be with relatives and/or friends, we wanted you to know our Thanksgiving wish is for you and your loved ones to enjoy the holiday. We want to reflect on all that we are thankful for: To our Property Owners, we thank you for your trust in us to manage and take care of your property(ies).  To our Tenants, we are humbled to each and every one of our residents; you are what we are truly thankful for.  To our Vendors (you rock!) you are ready to help, day or night, with the care and maintenance of all our properties. To our contacts in Real Estate, we thank you for the referrals and your continued faith in us. 

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! We wish you all a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.  










Winterizing Tips for Renters in your property


  • Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
  • Cover outside faucets with insulating foam covers.
  • Turn off the sprinkler system.
  • If the temperature drops below 20 degrees, keep one or two faucets running slowly at all times. Water running through the system will prevent the line from freezing.
  • Keep the cabinet under the kitchen sink open so warm air can flow around the pipes.
  • Cover exposed pipes (both indoors and out) with insulating foam covers.
  • Call your landlord or property manager immediately if you suspect a pipe has frozen for further instructions.


  • Cover or remove your window air conditioners.
  • Turn your ceiling fans on low in reverse (clockwise when looking up) to circulate warm air.
  • Inspect fireplaces, and chimneys before using, and have them cleaned if needed.
  • Check the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they are working properly.


  • Bring in potted plants from outdoors.
  • Cover any outside plants with insulating materials, remember to remove it once the temperature pops above freezing.
  • Brush off snow after each snowfall from trees and plants with a broom to prevent them from breaking due to heavy snow buildup.
  • Remove debris from gutters — water can back up, causing leaks and ice dams or damage to your roof and siding.


  • For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up 5 percent on heating costs.  For sleep hours or when leaving the home, setting the thermostat down to 55 degrees or off for an extended time, saving 5-20 percent of your heating costs.
  • Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use.  Changing the air filters at least every three months can save your renters 4 to 6 percent on heating costs.  If your tenants have a pet, changing filters every month is recommended.  This tip will help not only help your tenants save money, but it will prolong the life of your furnace too.
  • Insulated curtains or window quilts, can reduce an estimated 25 percent of an older home’s heating costs associated with window heat loss.  Even regular curtains made from a heavy fabric can reduce heating costs; recommends hanging curtains as close to windows as possible and letting them fall to floor for maximum effectiveness.
  • For homes with a fireplace, remind your tenants to keep the damper closed when not in use.


  • Check the antifreeze levels in your car.
  • Add freeze resistant windshield wiper fluid and spray it a couple times to circulate the lines.
  • Know when and where you can park during snow storms so snow plows can clear the streets







October 21, 2018


Successful Family Businesses Are A Win/Win.

They benefit both the local and global economies, and in a big way.  Advantages of Family Firms include:

  • Stability: Family position typically determines who leads the business and as a result there is usually longevity in leadership, which results in overall stability within the organization. Leaders usually stay in the position for many years, until a life event such as illness, retirement, or death results in change. 

  • Commitment: Since the needs of the family are at stake, there is a greater sense of commitment and accountability. This level of commitment is almost impossible to generate in non-family firms. This long term commitment leads to additional benefits, such as a better understanding of the industry, organization and job, stronger customer relationships and more effective sales and marketing. 

    Hoshi Ryokan, a Japanese inn keeping business founded in 718, is said to be one of the oldest family businesses in world. Family members have operated the business for 46 that’s right, 46 generations. That level of family commitment has led to an understanding of the business that outsiders, or those relatively new to the business, simply wouldn’t be able to replicate.  Ford Motor Company managed to stay afloat during very difficult economic times, when other companies, such as Chrysler and GM, were begging for bailouts. Why? I’m sure when all is said and done there are several reasons, but I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Ford’s family name was literally on the line.

  • Flexibility: You won’t hear, “Sorry, but that’s not in my job description” in a family business. Family members are willing to wear several different hats and to take on tasks outside of their formal jobs in order to ensure the success of the company. 

    Estee Lauder, who led one of the world’s most famous family businesses and was the only woman on Time magazine’s list of the century’s business geniuses in 1998, said of her company’s success, “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something I sell it, and I sell it hard.” Lauder did everything from cooking up pots of face cream to personally giving free demonstrations, from designing the packaging of her products to training the saleswomen who would sell them.

  • Long-term Outlook: Non family firms think about hitting goals this quarter, while family firms think years, and sometimes decades, ahead. This “patience” and long- term perspective allows for good strategy and decision-making. In describing his reasons why he didn’t want to take his company public, Michael Otto, second- generation CEO of Hamburg, Germany’s $18.5 billion retailer Otto Group, said, “We don’t have to come up with a good story every quarter for the investors and the press.”

  • Decreased Cost: Unlike typical workers, family members working at family firms are willing to contribute their own finances to ensure the long term success of the organization. This could mean contributing capital, or taking a pay cut. This advantage comes in particularly handy during challenging times, such as during economic downturns, where it’s necessary to tighten the belt or personally suffer in order for the business to survive.

 This is an extract from Reg Athwals book: Unleash Your Family Business DNA.

#FamilyBusiness  #RealEstate  #PropertyManager  #Tenants  #Landlord  #PropertyForRent





October 14, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Month-To-Month Leases

When it comes to renting out your property, one of the most important documents you will have tenants sign is the lease. This document will contain important information about the agreement between you and your renter.

One of the terms of a lease is the length of duration. Leases can either be long-term or short-term. Traditionally, long-term leases last for a year, although in some cases landlords opt for a two-year lease.

Short-term leases, in comparison, are usually month-to-month agreements. A month-to-month (M2M) lease offers its own unique set of positives as well as negatives.

If you are trying to determine whether you should provide a long-term or short-term lease, check out the pros and cons of a M2M lease here in contrast to a long-term lease.

Starting With The Negatives

First, if you are considering a M2M lease, you should understand the risks and negatives associated with this lease type. The following are some of the cons of using a short-term lease for your rental property.

1. Vacancies at the Wrong Time - One of the downsides of M2M leases is that it is much harder to time your vacancies for seasonality. For example, if your month-to-month tenant decides to leave in February, you might be sitting on a vacancy for longer than if you had a year-long lease timed to end during peak rental season in July.

2. Turnover Rates Increased - Turnovers can be a costly business for landlords. Unfortunately, with M2M leases, turnovers are more likely to be a constant in your life. You can face more gaps between tenants if you are in a difficult market and you can face higher costs for flipping the unit repeatedly.

3. Quality Tenants Deterred - While it is not always the case, a M2M lease could deter quality, long-term tenants. These renters are looking for long-term security and may worry that with a M2M lease they are at risk of being asked to move out with short notice.

4. Taking Screening Shortcuts - Because of the higher rate of turnover with M2M leases, some landlords are at risk of taking shortcuts in their screening process. In an attempt to fill the property quickly, it can be tempting to skip important screening steps and to lower your criteria.

While some of these negatives might seem daunting and might make you run back to your year-long lease, there are numerous benefits you should also consider that make M2M leases the number one choice for many landlords.

The Positives of M2M Leases

For landlords who choose to operate with short-term leases, they do so because of the benefits they believe outweigh the risks mentioned above. The following are the pros of using a M2M lease.

1. Easily Get Rid Of Bad Tenants - One of the number one reasons landlords opt for a M2M lease is because it makes getting rid of a bad tenant a lot easier than when you have a year-long lease. With a M2M lease, if you have a tenant that is troublesome, you can simply end the tenancy effective at the end of the next month. With a year-long lease, unless a tenant is in direct violation of their lease, you can have a difficult time getting rid of bad tenants.

2. Raising Rent - Another benefit of M2M leases is that they allow you to raise rent prices at will. Normally, you need to wait till the end of a 12-month lease to raise rent. However, with M2M you can raise the rent as often as you want.

3. No Constraints - For landlords who might be moving back into their rental property at some point, might be selling the property, or might be planning major renovations, a M2M lease is ideal. This will allow you to make changes without the constraint of a 12-month lease fulfillment.

4. Charging A Higher Rate - If you live in a competitive market, having a M2M lease can actually set you apart and allow you to charge more in rent. Just as it is easy for you to get rid of a tenant, it is easy for a renter to end their tenancy. For those who travel for work, such as traveling nurses, this can be extremely appealing.\

-Source RentOmeter






October 6, 2018

Joe Lycett - Buying a Property (from a Scammer)






 August 19, 2018                                                                                                                


The Advantages Of Investing In
Single-Family Rental Houses Vs. The Stock Market



I started my financial career in banking, eventually progressing to insurance and then to financial advisor over a 24 year career — 21 years as a Series 6 and then Series 7 securities licensed representative. In that span of time, I developed a unique perspective regarding the advantages of the rental market since I owned rental houses and also stocks and mutual funds in my investment portfolio.

First, it should be said that having IRAs, 529 plans for children and 401(k) plans are all excellent vehicles to save for the future. Most investors are limited by the options they are offered. This is true particularly for 401(k) plans where the investor cannot take advantage of owning residential real estate. And although there is an exception for self-directed IRAs, it has limitations — the balance of the account being a notable one.

On the other hand, the advantages of investing in real estate are numerous. First, one advantage of owning rental houses is that you can use leverage of five-to-one compared to the two-to-one in stocks. For example, if an investor buys a $100,000 house, he or she can do so with an investment of $20,000 financing the balance of $80,000 thus owning $100,000 of real estate. Conversely, an investor who owns stocks can invest (“leverage”) the same $20,000 and borrow $20,000 from the brokerage firm where they maintain an account or from a bank who will accept that as collateral.

Both examples involve investing $20,000. In the real estate scenario, the investor has obtained a $100,000 asset. The stock investor will have $40,000 of stock or mutual funds. If both increase in value — let's say 5% the first year — the real estate investor has made $5,000, while the stock investor has made $2,000. That is significantly more for the real estate investor on the same $20,000 investment. Compound this over 20 or 30 years and it could account for a difference of tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The second advantage of owning rental properties is that the investor can take depreciation starting the first year, and doing so over time can reduce the tax burden in April because of the IRS’s treatment of rental property. Stocks and mutual funds cannot be depreciated to lessen the tax burden. However, they can be in accounts that are tax-deferred. Rental properties grow tax-deferred as well.


POST WRITTEN BY  Bruce McNeilage  CEO Kinloch Partners.






 Rental property, property manager indianapolis, investment property indianapolis, real estate indianapolis, real estate carmel, investment property carmel



August 12, 2018                                                                                                                 


What is a Bike Score?

Our Bike Score service measures whether a location is good for biking on a scale from 0 - 100 based on four equally weighted components:

  • Bike lanes
  • Hills
  • Destinations and road connectivity
  • Bike commuting mode share

Like Walk Score and Transit Score, our goal with Bike Score is to provide an easy way to evaluate bikeability at a specific location. Bike Score can be used by people looking for a bikeable place to live or urban planners looking to do research on bikeability.


    Bike Score Description
90–100 Biker's Paradise
Daily errands can be accomplished on a bike.
70–89 Very Bikeable
Biking is convenient for most trips.
50–69 Bikeable
Some bike infrastructure.
0–49 Somewhat Bikeable
Minimal bike infrastructure.


The Bike Lane Score is based on bike lane infrastructure from Open Street map. Bike lane infrastructure currently includes all on and off street bike lanes/paths but does not include infrastructure such as bike parking, bike sharing, etc.

Biking is social. Many biking experts argue that there is a strong social component to biking. The "safety in numbers" research indicates that more bikers on the road makes drivers more aware of bikers—and more drivers have had the experience of biking. We believe as more people in your social network bike, there's a stronger chance that you will bike.

Bike infrastructure is important, but it's not the whole story. From 2007-2010 a lawsuit prevented the city of San Francisco from adding any new bike infrastructure—and yet cycling grew faster than any other mode share. Also, a slow residential street with no bike infrastructure can be better for biking than a high-volume fast street with a bike lane.


bike benefites inforgraphic










August 5, 2018                                                                                                                 


What is a Transit Score?

Transit Score is a patented measure of how well a location is served by public transit. Transit Score is based on data released in a standard format by public transit agencies.

To calculate a Transit Score, we assign a "usefulness" value to nearby transit routes based on the frequency, type of route (rail, bus, etc.), and distance to the nearest stop on the route. The "usefulness" of all nearby routes is summed and normalized to a score between 0 - 100.


Transit Score® Description
90–100 Rider's Paradise
World-class public transportation.
70–89 Excellent Transit
Transit is convenient for most trips.
50–69 Good Transit
Many nearby public transportation options.
25–49 Some Transit
A few nearby public transportation options.
0–24 Minimal Transit
It is possible to get on a bus.
  Here is a chart showing areas of Indianapolis and their different scores



Walk Score

Transit Score

Bike Score


1 Downtown 77 55 86 14,587
2 Fountain Square 67 34 86 4,299
3 Near Northside 66 48 76 8,179
4 Broad Ripple 65 31 68 6,524
5 Chatard 56 30 66 4,142



What is your cities transit score? 




July 29, 2018                                                                                                                 


Walk Score measures the walkability of any address, Transit Score measures access to public transit, and Bike Score measures whether a location is good for biking. The next three weeks, we will look at the different types and how they affect your investment property.  You will see these scores on property when listed for rent or sale now.


What is a Walk Score?

Walk Score measures the walkability of any address using a patented system. For each address, Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities. Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities in each category. Amenities within a 5 minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points. A decay function is used to give points to more distant amenities, with no points given after a 30 minute walk.

Walk Score also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density and road metrics such as block length and intersection density. Data sources include Google,, Open Street Map, the U.S. Census, Localeze, and places added by the Walk Score user community.

  Walk Score®    Description
90–100    Walker's Paradise
Daily errands do not require a car.
70–89    Very Walkable
Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
50–69    Somewhat Walkable
Some errands can be accomplished on foot.
25–49    Car-Dependent
Most errands require a car.
0–24    Car-Dependent
Almost all errands require a car.
Walk Score of Indianapolis, IN Walking In Indianapolis

Indianapolis is the 47th most walkable large city in the US with 820,445 residents.

The most walkable Indianapolis neighborhoods are DowntownFountain Square and Near Northside.

Walk Score of Carmel, INWalking In Carmel    Walk Score of this location Walking In Avon
Walk Score of Noblesville, IN Walking in Noblesville    Walk Score of Greenwood, IN Walking in Greenwood 
What is your cities walk score? 






July 22, 2018                                                                                                                


How does a Squatter find your property

Squatters can usually find empty houses pretty easyn with an unkempt look, mail oozing out of the mailbox, overgrown garden, power off (they can check the electricity meter to see if the powers on), broken windows and doors etc.  Some abandoned houses can be an eyesore, so just driving through neighborhoods can make it easy for a squatter to find your property. 


The internet is changing this as well, a squatter can find your property while sitting in a coffee shop. They can look up websites, or use certain key works in a search to find out whether a property is vacant or not. Note, hile there are on line tutorials on squatting, and finding properties, we are not going to give them space here. We are just telling you about these options for preventtive measures. On line searches make it so easy, it can show a potential squatter 30 abandoned properties in a certain radius. 


This is why it is important to know how your property manager treats your property not only when it vacant, but when someone is living there as well. How are they listing the property, are they making it easy for a squatter? You don't want a tenant to move out because the property is not being maintained, nor do you want them to stop paying rent and squatting either.
Squatters will find the property, check it out to make sure it is 'abandonded' or vacant. They can then go through a broken  window to gain access, or change the locks entirely. The will either ssquat in your property themselves or take advantage of someone else by renting your place to them. Acting like the owner, and using official looking documents printed off the internet. 
It is important to know who is managing your property for you and how.








July 15, 2018                                                                                                                 


What should you do when you find a squatter in your house/property?

Try to avoid having a squatter take up residence at your property in the first place. If you plan to leave your property vacant, make sure it’s secure. You or a property management company should check on the place regularly.

You can also add a clause to your lease: “You may have one overnight guest, two nights per month.”

Call the police. Act immediately if you discover a squatter and call the police. The longer you wait, the more likely the courts will rule that you gave this person consent to be there. If the police declare the situation a civil matter, and won’t remove the squatter, start the eviction process.

Give notice then file an unlawful detainer action. Once you serve the eviction notice, you could get lucky, and the squatter might leave. If not, you’ll need to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit, which is the formal way to evict. Make sure you follow your state's laws.

Hire the sheriff to force the squatter out. If the squatter is still sticking around after you’ve won your lawsuit, you’ll need to pay for a sheriff or police officer to get the person out.

Legally handle the abandoned personal property. Find out what you can and cannot do with any stuff the squatter or holdover tenant might have left behind. You probably shouldn’t just get rid of it. You’ll need to follow proper procedure for your jurisdiction.

What you shouldn't do:

Put padlocks on the doors to keep them out

Shut off the utilities 

Try to intimidate the squatter in any way

Courts could view those acts as taking matters in your own hands, which could be illegal, so the courts could fine you. (Crazy, I know!)  Even though it may seem counterintuitive, it’s better to leave the utilities on. With a lack of electricity, the squatter might improvise and use candles that could start a fire. Or they might continue to use the bathroom facilities, even when the water isn’t running. Enough said.


Protect yourself from squatters before they move in. If you own property that’s vacant, check on it regularly. If you don’t live in the area, ask a friend to check on it for you, or hire a management company to do the job.

If you take every precaution and still end up with a squatter, stay levelheaded. Call the police, and then file an eviction notice. Hopefully, you’ll get a lawful tenant living in your rental as soon as possible

-Author Unknown

Next week: How do Squatters find and then get into your property








July 9, 2018                                                                                                                 Karen S


What is a Squatter? 

According to Wikipedia Squatting is the action of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or a building, usually residential, that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use.

There are several types of unwanted inhabitants

One reason some landlords refer to their tenants as “squatters” involves the lapse of the tenant’s lease. However, tenants with expired are not technically squatters; they are Tenants at Sufferance or Tenants at Will. 

A Tenant of Sufferance is a “hold-over” tenancy after a lease has expired, but before the landlord has demanded that the tenant quit (vacate) the premises. During a tenancy at sufferance the tenant is bound by the terms of the lease (including payment of rent) that existed before it expired. The only difference between a “tenancy at sufferance” and a “tenancy at will” is that the latter was created by agreement.It is important to note that if the person residing in the property ever had a lease agreement, they fall into the “worn out welcome” category and state law must be followed accordingly. Even a tenant of sufferance must be given a 30-day notice before they can be served an eviction notice.

A second type of unwanted tenant is one who breaks and enters your property. This type of “tenant” is referred to as a trespasser, and still does not qualify as a squatter.

A trespasser is NOT: someone whose lease has lapsed, someone who stopped paying rent, someone who breaches the lease in any way.A trespasser IS a transient, and never had a lease agreement. Even a family member can be considered a trespasser if they never had a lease agreement and are unwelcome in the property.In the absence of a rental agreement and when the parties intend that the occupancy will be temporary, the occupant or guest may be considered to be ”transient.” To make this determination, the law provides a presumption that when the dwelling unit occupied is the sole residence of the guest, the occupancy is non-transient, and when it is not the sole residence of the guest, the occupancy is transient.


A squatter has no legal claim to the property, but they intend to gain possession of the property through adverse possession through involuntary transfer. A property owner who does not use or inspect his/her property for a number of years could lose title to another person who makes a claim to the land, takes possession of the land and uses the land.


Unlike a trespasser, squatters are intentionally trying to take possession of the property. Like a trespasser, they never had a lease agreement (or any agreement) with the landlord.In time, squatters can actually earn ownership of the dwelling. There's a legal precedent in most of the United States called adverse possession. This doctrine says that if a squatter lives "openly, continuously and hostilely" in a home for a prescribed number of years, he or she can become the owner. This applies to property that's vacant and where property taxes aren't being paid. The three criteria that must be met are making no attempts to hide the inhabitation (open), living in the dwelling continuously and without permission (hostile). If the squatter pays property taxes on the home, when the time limit is reached, he or she is considered the owner. 

The time requirement before ownership through adverse possession kicks in varies from state to state.  We will talk more about Indiana Squatters rights in the next couple weeks.  Squatting isn't a one, two, three concept. There are challenges to taking over a house at every turn. If police find squatters, there's not a whole lot they can do. Police uphold criminal law -- not civil law. Civil law is worked out in the courts. Once police determine that a squatter has established some sort of tenancy, the issue becomes a civil matter. By settling into a home in a generally respectable manner, a squatter can create the appearance of tenants' rights. This appearance alone can confound an easy rousting of squatters.There's another party to consider in the issue of squatting: the property's owner. An unused house that is hijacked by squatters might be in a transition between tenants. Once squatters have moved in, any potential revenue that may come from the property screeches to a halt. While a landlord may feel like the loser in a squatting situation, if he or she follows the law, the landlord will most likely emerge as the victor.  If the property holder follows the law to the letter, the duration of the legal battle between landlord and squatter can actually be shortened. Acting quickly upon learning that his or her property has been taken over by a squatter lends legal weight to the landlord.


Next week: As a property owner, what to do when you find a squatter in your house










 July 1, 2018                                                                                                                 


Unsupervised access to your property, is it a good idea?

Two houses down from our house was a property available for rent recently. One day while coming home, I noticed a moving truck unloading furniture. It was blocking my access to the ally to get to our house. I then noticed a SUV sitting on the side of the road watching all of this, so I stopped and asked him if he was unable to get to his house either. It was then that he told me this was his house and the police were on their way to remove these people.

He continued to tell me, they had a lockbox on the front door, and these people called the office to get access to see the house with the possibility of renting it. They only had to text a picture of thier driver's license, answer a few questions, then given the code. Once they were given access, instead of looking at the house, they just backed their truck up and were moving in. Fortunately, before they could finish, someone tipped off the owner. It was a LONG afternoon, lot of yelling, items being thrown and police cars.  These people had only been there a of couple hours, but they did not leave without a fight, or doing a lot of damage to the house.

A trend has started recently where people want to see houses ‘on demand’ and realtors/landlords don’t always want to stop what they are doing to show a property right then. So, they let the ‘potential buyer/tenant’ have the lockbox code so they can view the vacant property unsupervised.

Here is at least four reasons why this is not a good idea:

Who is going to check to make sure the person did not back a truck up and move in?

Who is going to check to make sure lights are off, water is not left running, toilets are not overflowing, doors are locked, etc.

Who is going to ensure the property was not damaged by graffiti, or stolen appliances?

What if someone said they got hurt at the property, and wanted to sue? 

Is it illegal to give the lock box code to strangers?
It may not be. It all depends upon the agreement you have with your realtor/property manager. You need to make sure your agreement does NOT allow them to show the property without being present. Does your agreement specify who can be allowed access (buyers, workers, realtors, etc)? You need to know these options and decide who will be allowed in your property before you sign anything with any property manager.  Even though it may not be illegal, it is a code of ethics violation and the realtor/broker could/should lose their license for doing this. 

We at Equity Management Services, treat your property as if it was our own, your investment is our priority, You can rest assured we will always be present when showing your property to prospective tenants.


Next week begins a new series: Squatters. How do they gain access to your property, how do you get them removed, how to prevent this from happening.









June 18, 2018                                                                                                             High Maintenance


National Safety Month


June is annually recognized as National Safety Month for work, home, or while you are out and about.  Here are the top 10 safety tips for your home according to ADT:

Create the illusion that someone is at your house.

Make sure all exterior doors have reliable locks.

Always look before opening the door.

Don’t leave spare keys in obvious locations.

Secure your sliding glass doors.

Keep garage doors closed at all times.

Keep drapes and blinds shut.

Store cash, jewelry and other valuables in a safe or safety deposit box

Don’t leave notes on the door for others when you’re not there.

Adjust your telephone ring to its lowest volume setting.


**High Maintenance, is a quarterly post from our Maintenance Department.  Look for posts from our other departments throughout the year.


If you have any questions or comments about this post, please feel free to:

Call 317-575-1990 or email






This was the end of our 5 part series on how to find a Property Manager.   Next week is a post from High Maintenance


Property manager property manager indianapolis rental properties property manager carmel property manager fishers property manager westfield property manager noblesville property manager zionsville 



June 11, 2018                                                                                                                              

Step 5: Review the Property Manager’s tenant lease agreement. 

Rental Agreement CartoonAsk these questions:

How much of a security deposit is required of the tenant?

What is the monthly rent and how long are the lease terms (i.e. months, years)? Ask the manager how they came up with the proposed rent amount and ask for comparables. Also do your own research on Craigslist and on other sites to see if the manager’s rent is on par with similar rentals in the area. While you want a good price for your property, if the manager is charging too much, it will sit empty for a long time.

How are late rents handled? Is the process clearly written and will a tenant understand the consequences?

Make sure the tenant’s responsibilities are clearly outlined. For example, who is responsible for keeping the lawn maintained, the tenant or the owner?

What are the consequences of breaking the lease?

Who will the tenant call with questions? Sometimes, property managers have different contacts for leasing questions versus maintenance issues.

Finding a property manager is not an easy task, but devoting extra effort in the beginning will save you hours of headaches later on. Make sure you do your due diligence, and your property manager will reward you with a worry-free investment.


These 5 steps are from HGTV 5 steps to finding a Property Manager






June 4, 2018                                                                                                                              

Step 4: Negotiate terms of the contract for your Property Manager.



Read through the Owner/Property Manager agreement and look for the following information:

Who is your main contact and what is their information? Make sure you’re able to communicate with your property manager through various means, including phone and email.

How much do they charge for their services? Make sure the monthly fee as well as the leasing fee for placing a tenant are documented. Is the fee within the average for other managers in the area? Beware if the fees are too low or high, as this may be a sign that the manager is not experienced or too good to be true.

How many days notice does the property manager require to terminate the relationship? If you are not satisfied with your property manager’s services, it’s important to be able to terminate their services within 30-60 days, which will give you enough time to find a replacement.

How are maintenance and repairs handled? For example, are repairs outsourced, and do they charge a percentage fee on top of the cost? How much of a retainer does the property manager require for emergency repairs? Will they only call you if the repair costs more than the retainer, and are you okay with that?

When should you expect to receive the tenant’s rent each month? Is direct deposit an option, or will you receive a check in the mail?   

Will the property manager be responsible for keeping the tenant’s security deposit, or will you?

How will the manager deal with a delinquent tenant? What are their eviction proceedings? Ask the manager to describe their process in detail.


Next week Step 5: Review the Property Manager’s tenant lease agreement.                                                                                                                      








May 28, 2018                                                                                                                            

Step 3: Find out how the Property Manager handles advertising and vacancies.

Ask these questions:               
Where does the property manager advertise vacant homes?                                        
What kind of signs do they put in front of the property?
Do they advertise in newspapers, websites, at nearby colleges?
How many vacancies does each property manager have?
What’s the average length of time it takes to place a tenant?                                          
What kind of vacancies does the manager have? For example, if you have a 2 bedroom condo and the manager only specializes in single-family homes, they may not know how to target the right demographic to search for tenants. 
If the property manager has a website, take a careful look:
Are you impressed with its look and features?
As a prospective tenant, is it easy to find the rentals list?
As an owner, are you able to login online to view your account and statements?
Next week Step 4: Negotiate terms of the contract for your Property Manager








May 21, 2018                                                                                                                            

Step 2: Note the first impression of the Property Manager.




First impressions matter but substance has the final word. ... As important, pay attention as to how your first impression may prejudice you against a property manager. First impressions matter, for good and bad. They are fine when you like someone on first meeting; they are not so fine when the first meeting is negative.

It takes just one-tenth of a second for us to judge someone and make a first impression.  Research finds that the more time participants are afforded to form the impression, the more confidence in impressions they report. Not only are people quick to form first impressions, they are also fairly accurate when the target presents him or herself genuinely.

The rate at which different qualities are detected in first impressions may be linked to what has been important to survival from an evolutionary perspective.  people are fairly good at assessing personality traits of others in general, but there appears to be a difference in first impression judgments between older and younger adults. Older adults judged young adult target photos as healthier, more trustworthy, and less hostile, but more aggressive, than younger adults did of the same photos.  Some things to think about:

Are they confident? Are they making eye contact or are they constantly looking down at notes?

Do they answer questions gracefully? Do they try to turn it into an idea for new research or put it off as something to discuss after you leave? Or do they answer a different but related question instead.

Are they a good listener? People love to talk about themselves. Are they changing the topic constantly or do they seem uninterested in your time, questions, or concerns? Conversations are a two-way street, even when getting to know a Property Manager.

Put yourself in a prospective tenant’s place. Would you want to rent a home from this person?  


Next week Step 3: Find out how they handle advertising and vacancies.








 May 14, 2018                                                                                                                            

There are always stories in the news about bad Property Managers, but we always think it could never happen to us... until it does. That's why you'll need to hire a responsible, trustworthy property manager who will not only collect rent and other fees on your behalf, but also handle day-to-day maintenance and respond to your renters' needs. Hire a crook and he/she could easily steal the tenant’s security deposit, your rent and even the appliances from your home. Whether you go with a local independent contractor or a regional management company, over the next several weeks, we will discuss the steps to help you find the right property management company for you.


Step 1: Get referrals.
The best way to find a reputable property manager is by referral. Who sold you your home? Does your real estate agent know any good property managers? Do you have friends with investments in the same area?  Next, check the state’s Real Estate Commission and the Better Business Bureau to make sure your prospective property manager is licensed and has no complaints against them. Once you have a short list of people you’re considering, interview each one.


Get Referrals From Different Sources. The first tip for finding a property manager is through word of mouth. By talking to real estate agents and other property owners in your area you may be able to find some great options.  You should get a list of the property managers or property management companies they have used or are currently using. It is important to ask what they have been happy with and what problems they have had.  A referral can be biased. Therefore it is important to get referrals from different sources. If you hear the same thing about a property manager or company multiple times, whether it is good or bad, there is a greater chance that it is true.



Next week: First Impressions



11/2/2016    There are many things you need to know before using certain real estate websites. Austin, Texas is having a problem with showing several forecloseres in one area. Becasue of Texas laws there is a lot of misinformation. Websites like Zillow and are great places to start but some of the information thay have can be inconsistent. Indiana laws are just like Texas where it is a non-disclosure state. Some advice we can give to prospective buyers and sellers is to contact a local agent. Here at Equity Management, we have all the right sources to help the buyers and sellers with information that they may not get on Zillow and other real estate websites. If you have any questions about the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, contact us and we can help you out!                     Real Estate Websites



4/29/2016    This week's article was sent to me by my good friend Bryan Rodda. It is an article from the IndyStar (local newspaper) which talks about a woman who has been scamming amateur investors by moving into their rental properties and then never paying rent. This is a great example of how having professional management can help you avoid being bamboozled by these kinds of people. This woman targets investors that do not have management companies because she knows her scam would never fly with somebody who actually knows what they are doing. Check it out and let us know what you think.     Landlord Scammer Exposed