Should You Hire A Real Estate Property Management Company?

To start off, I don’t own a real estate property management company, nor am I trying to send business to any real estate property management company. The purpose of this article is to make sure that you think things out (Look before you Leap) when you purchase your first rental property!

If you currently own rental property, or are planning on purchasing rental property then read on! It takes an effort to find good tenants. Everyone hopes to find someone who will appreciate your property and maintain the standard of living that was offered to them when they became your tenants. A possible solution is to find a competent real estate property management company.

Ideally, a company that specializes in the type of property you currently own, or are looking to purchase? Be it, a home, condo, apartment building, commercial, etc.

Who will be responsible for property maintenance?
In every state the law mandates that landlords perform certain repairs to maintain the property and keep it habitable. When searching for a real estate property management company, ask for referrals from current clients who use their maintenance service? Find out if they have a good reputation?

If you have no experience and/or no desire to manage your rental property, then I would suggest you hire a professional real estate property management company to over see your investment. It can take you years learning everything you need to know about managing your properties.

If you really have your heart on managing your properties there is one simple thing to do right from the start! That is setting up a DBA (Doing Business As). Create a name for your real estate property management company, and then file with your Local County Clerk’s office. Rent a P.O. Box where your tenants can send their rent payments. You don’t want to let your tenants know where you live! This could become a disaster! Also, don’t for get to open a checking account with your bank.

You might even want to use a professional business name instead of your real name when dealing with your tenants, and/or repair vendors? This really comes in handy especially when your tenants are asking for the carpet to be replaced? When you just spent $4,500.00 replacing for the last tenants, just before your current tenants moved in? You could inspect the carpet, then tell your tenants that you would have to talk with the owner to see if he/she would approve replacement of their carpet?

Side Bar: The only time I replace carpet is when the unit is vacant, to prepare for the next tenants to move in. If the carpet has a tear, then I just send out a carpet repairperson to fix it! This is a lot less expensive then installing brand new carpet!

This way they can’t confront you, because you don’t own the property, you just work for the real estate property management company? This places an invisible wall between you and your tenants, so you won’t be nickel and dime to death! Because right after you replace their carpet, the next thing they will ask for is getting their apartment painted, but not before replacing their kitchen & bathroom cabinets!

I hope by now you are starting to see how some tenants will take advantage of your good nature? Now I’m not trying to scare you out of having your very own real estate property management company? What I’m trying to do is warn you… it’s a lot of work! You must have the time and patients to deal with all types of people?

In the long run you can save a ton of money being your own real estate property management company and performing most of the repairs yourself. Of course you will need some maintenance experience when it comes to replacing toilets, sinks, faucets, etc. Plumbing will be your biggest repair expense with rental properties.

So knowing something about plumbing can really save you some serious money! Stop by your nearest hardware store or home Depot and check out their books on home repairs. You can also go to the library and check out one or two books on plumbing repairs?

In conclusion, if you manage only one or two buildings, then I would say… give it a try? If you plan on buying more then two, you probably will want to hire a professional real estate property management company. So you can spend most of you’re time searching and buying more properties.

Well, I hope that this gives you a little insight on real estate property management?

One last thing, when buying your rental properties try to purchase them fairly close together so you won’t have to do too much driving getting from one property to the next? You’ll need all the time you have focusing on more important things!

Taking Emotion Out Of Remodeling

Remodeling is emotionally taxing. Anything involving the expenditure of that much cash makes me want to weep from the very first down payment. But, there are other issues as well. I have seen couples argue bitterly about a choice of tile or overly festive paint color. Then there is the stress of choosing a contractor and making sure the project goes as planned. Many remodeling jobs can spiral out of control once a wall is opened or the wiring is really scrutinized.

One would think it’s easier when a remodel is planned for the purposes of resale. Theoretically, this kind of update takes the personal choices out of the equation and leads to less debate. But, I have never seen it happen that way. Designing for the market” means designing for an unidentified subjective consumer. This unidentified purchaser will not voice their opinions about whether they prefer a tile shower surround or tub, they will not tell you if slab granite counters are worth the money over tile and they will not ask you to carpet the bedrooms. Until it is too late.

Once the work is done every prospective buyer shown the property will have an opinion. Particularly about the price.

Whether a seller is flipping a property, updating a rental, or upgrading a unit they have equity in the price of the remodel is going to be the base of this balancing act. Spend too much and the profits are lost or worse you have priced your property out of the market and will have to sit on it for a long period of time. Spend too little and your cheap materials will offend buyers who will only replace your replacements with better products.

Every remodeler understands this when they put together their budget but, then the devil is in the details. Or perhaps he just lurks the aisles at Home Depot. For somewhere along the lines there will be a raging debate on the acceptable quality of low flow toilets and whether or not that fiberglass tub truly must leave.

The experts will tell you that you will recoup the most market value out of a kitchen or bath remodel. I will tell you that flooring is key and oversized tile is a worthwhile investment. Your realtor may tell you that smooth ceilings are an absolute must have. And the guy living below you will beg you to replace the potentially leaky hot water heater. And unfortunately, you will have your own personal preferences and ideas that could lead you straight to remodeling hell.

So what’s a remodeler to do? Remember that you will not be living there. View the property as a renter or temporary guest. Remember that the average showing time is less than 20 minutes per property. The potential buyer will get an overall sense of construction quality but, will not be assessing every detail. So be sure the focal point of each room is of good quality but, do not stress on every item. If the tile surround the tub is awe inspiring then no one will notice that you replaced the towel bars with a three-pack set from Wal-mart.

I would also advise anyone preparing to remodel for the market to get in to the market. Have your realtor take you to properties similar to yours before you begin your remodel. Not only will it give you great design ideas but, will give you a better understand of your competition. These are the properties a buyer will be comparing you against. Be sure you measure up in quality but, do not inappropriately exceed in price.

Tips On Sanding Hardwood Floors

Sanding hardwood floors is not always easy. In fact, some hardwood floor owners prefer to hire a professional to do the sanding for them.

Waxing and buffing the floor does not provide as good shine when the hardwood floor is sand instead. Regardless if your hardwood floors were just recently installed in your house, or has been there for years, they could regain back their original beauty and richness of the wood when you refinish them.

Sanding your hardwood floors can be time consuming and may be a bit expensive should you decide to hire a professional to do the job. If you can spare the time, you may also opt to do it yourself. Anyways, all of the necessary equipments are available at almost all rental home depot centers. Also, the steps you would have to do are straightforward so you shouldn’t find sanding very difficult.

However, before you start to set out on the task yourself, you may want to consult a professional to estimate the total costs of the project. It might be shock to learn that it could cost a thousand dollars just to have one room refinished. If you find the difference not wide enough, then you can just contract a professional to do the sanding.

Because of the high costs of sanding all of the floors of the house, some even decide to just cover old hardwood floors with carpets. But that would be such a waste, to put beautiful hardwood floors out of sight, right? That’s why most people just go through doing the messy sanding jobs themselves to cut on costs.

Sanding can also be scary for some. Who wouldn’t be afraid to ruin their hardwood floors, especially if they were quite expensive? If you’re not careful enough, you can easily damage your floor with the sander.

If you don’t have a sander, you can rent one from your nearest hardware supply store. You’ll be needing a drum sander or a belt sander, depending on your hardwood floor type. If you’re not sure about the type of sandpaper you need to use, you could always ask the hardware store salesman for advice. Of course, you may have to get yourselves some dust masks so you could still move around even if your room will be filled with saw dust.

The sander is not as difficult to operate as you may have believed. It is self propelling making it easy for the user to move it. However, you would have to keep a firm grip on its controls. It wouldn’t take a while when you get the hang of operating it. Some even think that operating a sander is fun.

However, you would still need to be cautious in using the sander. It is like a flat iron that when you keep it in one spot on your clothes, it could burn your clothes. You would have to keep the sander in constant motion to reduce the possibility of damaging the floors.

Also, expect your place to be a bit noisy whenever you turn on the sander. Aside from being noisy, it’ll also be creating a lot of saw dust. So you can also expect your room to be full of messy saw dust afterwards.

Sanding removes the old finish of your hardwood. Once you’re done with that you can start applying a stain on the floor. Some people though don’t apply stain and just prefer to leave the wood in its natural color. Then you would have to give the floor the finish to protect it.

There are two kinds of floor finish. There is an oil-based and water-based floor finishing. Under these major types, are a few subtypes. For example, there are semi-gloss, satin or gloss oil-based finishes.

Satin is a great choice for your hardwood floor. It provides a good cover for hardwood flaws while letting its natural beauty show without that bright shine. Though oil-based finish are good in giving the floor a natural amber glow, it doesn’t dry as soon as water based finishes. Water based finished also have the advantage of keeping the wood from yellowing.

Before you start applying the next coats, by the way, ensure that the previous coat is completely dry. Of course, it is as important to follow the instructions on the finish. Usually, you may not occupy the room within a ceratin amount time. Then when everything’s ok, and you’re satisfied with what you’ve done, you can move all your furniture back again.

Reducing Your Car Rental Costs

It’s not hard to find a car rental deal on the internet these days. But a lot of them aren’t as good as they might first appear. It’s the total package that you have to look at, not just the appealing number flashing on the home page. As they say in the classics, “the devil is in the detail”.

Don’t go grabbing the first “great looking” offer that you come across. There are a number of questions you need to have answered before you sign up, and several more before you take delivery of the car.

Before signing up for anything you need to ask about:

* Check offline: Yes, rental companies still do business on the phone too. They may have a cancellation, or too many cars in one location, and will offer a special deal to move that excess stock, rather than have to transport the car to another depot.

* Local taxes/fees/charges: Many local authorities and airports levy rental car companies for access, use of facilities etc. Be sure these are included in your quote.

* Frequent Flyer points surcharge: Many car rental companies now add a surcharge to offset the costs of issuing frequent flyer points. Be sure these are included in your quote.

* Insurance: The cost of insurance waivers can vary greatly. Rental car agents’ earn commission selling these add-ons, which can double your daily rate. Find out if your own car insurance covers you for rental cars as well. Some major credit cards will cover you if you charge the cost of the rental to their card. Find out what cover you already have, in advance.

Before you take delivery of the rental car:

* Check the car’s condition thoroughly. Some unscrupulous companies will try to blame pre-existing scratches & dents on the first ‘victim’ they can find. If you have a digital camera or camcorder, then take a few “happy snaps” of any pre-existing damage to the car. Then you have photographic proof of the exact condition of the car when you first took delivery.

* Carefully check the terms of your car rental deal. Make sure you’ve got unlimited mileage if you’re planning on a long trip. Some deals have a mileage allowance, after which you get charged a high dollar amount for the extra miles.

* Check the terms to see what time you have to return the car, and if you need to have the gas tank full or nearly empty. You don’t want to give them a full tank, only to find out later you didn’t have to.

Before you return the rental car:

* If you got the car dirty, clean it. If you don’t the car rental company will add an extra cleaning charge onto your credit card.

If you follow these simple suggestions then your car rental experience should go smoothly, and need not include any nasty surprises at the end.