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Property Management Blog

Published on Friday, October 24, 2014

Beware! 8 Things that Make a Property Nightmare

Scary Lease Prospects

Lurking behind some lease prospects is pretty scary information, like poor credit histories and criminal backgrounds. Take the time to check out those who want to lease your property and do so in accordance with Fair Housing laws. A good background check goes a long way, and understanding all FHA laws can help avoid a costly lawsuit.

Unsavory Characters in the Neighborhood

Drugs in the Neighborhood – A tell-tale sign that illegal activity is going on in the neighborhood is shoes hanging from overhead electrical or phone lines, or laying on the front porch for a long time. They may be particularly large so they can be seen. These aren’t shoes left by fat-footed werewolves, but a sign that drugs are being sold nearby.

Invasions of Bed Bugs and Other Pests

Bed bugs and other pests can be a huge nuisance to property owners. Pests like termites are more noticeable than bed bugs, which may exist in a unit without detection until a resident complains. Work closely you’re your pest control vendor to keep problems at bay. Frequent preventative treatments and inspections will often keep creepy crawlers away.

Horrifying Websites

A website that does little to engage prospective residents and be a useful lease-up tool is simply terrifying. That website that you employed a couple of years ago may well be out of date, as consumer shopping habits have changed significantly. Consult with an industry web professional to get the most out of your bandwidth and avoid driving people away.

Jolting Electrical Charges

This is a two-fold recipe for terror. First, an improperly trained maintenance technician can get the charge of his or her life when working around electrical equipment. It’s a good idea to adequately train your maintenance team to help prevent electrical accidents. Secondly, high electricity costs attributed to not closely watching utility bills can be equally shocking. If you’re not energy benchmarking, start today. Help is available through energy benchmarking and tracking software.

Demonic Landscapes

Curb appeal is everything to a property, and a landscape that looks like demons have been at play is a sure way to drive off potential residents, even existing ones. Case in point: Leaves will be falling soon, and that means the grounds can look cluttered if left unattended. Stay ahead of Mother Nature and maintain a clean, healthy landscape.

Zombie-like Employees

Beware of the “Ids”, self-absorbed workers who only are interested in taking care of their most basic needs – food, water, shelter – through a paycheck. They may not have bloodshot eyes, look disheveled and speak in tongues, but they could be walking through your halls, usually a result of a bad hire. Choosing the best applicant based on track record doesn’t always mean you’ve found the right person. When interviewing job candidates, keep the culture of your company in mind and how the interviewee may fit.

Haunted Properties

It’s a fact. Some properties are haunted. The reasons for their spookiness are varied and may involve a horrifying experience or other paranormal event. Unexplained noises, chilly drafts of air, smells and even a nervous or obsessed pet may mean an apartment or common area is haunted. Ridding evil spirits may require an exorcism or something even more drastic, like hosing down the place with green goo (that’s not legal advice because we couldn’t tell you where to find green goo).

You may or may not be able to control whether your property is or becomes haunted. But there are things you can get a firm grip on to keep it from being a place that scares away potential and existing residents.

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Author: Web Master

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Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.

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