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Move Out Basket... Epiphany!

During this time of year I am able to get out of the office and help maintenance turn units.  Now granted my responsibilities include taking orders from them (which they seem to like) and clean bathrooms and kitchens.  Both of which I hate, but since I am a “team player” I do it with very little whining, although they may say differently!   This last time, I was thrown in the trenches of cleaning a relatively clean bathroom I noticed that the residents did their best with attempting to clean the soap scum off their tub surround but it still remained.  Their soap scum has now become my soap scum and I don’t like that too much, hence the very little whining that I do!  I actually found myself calmly saying to myself, “if only they used Magic Erasers this would have came right off and they would not have spent all that time scrubbing with no results”.  Then I had an epiphany of sorts… the light bulb clicked in my head and threw off my rubber gloves and ran to my phone.   I began texting my supervisor as though I have came across the holy grail of ideas… life as we know it will never be the same.  Although, he probably did not feel my excitement as I sent a one line text that read, “we should do move out baskets”. I ran to tell maintenance of this new exciting idea, this idea that will change the world as we know......
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10 Simple Ways to Save Energy

The recent Global Financial Crisis has made people in various states and probably across the globe to rethink the way they use electricity and other energy resources. Even if energy deregulation in certain states such as Texas have given consumers the power to select Retail Electric Providers that will supply their electricity, it doesn’t mean that they are given free reign of their use of electricity. Prudence and practicality is now the adapted norm that many homeowners and business establishments practice with respect to their use of electricity. Unless a very viable and inexhaustible source of very cheap electricity is discovered, all other homeowners and business owners should have the same mindset and practice all means to conserve energy. The following are 10 of the simplest and easily implementable means of saving energy no matter what state, city or location you are in. Whether you are from Dallas or Houston, it would be wise for you and your household or business to practice these ways to save on your electricity. * Try a little bit of air drying power – Dishwashers consume considerable amount of water as well as electricity, that when accumulated would amount to something significant that would hurt both your pockets and the environment. Go back to basics and use a bit of cloth and air drying power to dry your dishes. * Some like it hot, but better to wash them cold – turn off your washing machine heaters for a while and use cold water instead.......
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Resident Retention: Alert! Alert! That Deposit Won't Cover Your Turn Costs!

Touch up paint for the entry? The deposit will cover it. Tub needs new caulking? The deposit will cover it. The carpet is 7 years old and it's looking terrible from all that daily wear and tear. It's going to need to be replaced... the deposit... Hmm. The unit is sitting empty for 10 days, 20 days, 30 days. The deposit? It has not been that long ago that conventional wisdom said that turnover was not a bad thing. In fact, it was a good thing because more often than not, the unit could be re-rented for a higher monthly rate.  It's time to take a closer look at that "old wives' tale" and examine the facts, and not just because the economy has been challenging. It's time to take a closer look because often, I believe, our industry may not be looking at the whole picture when it comes to true turnover costs. When evaluating an individual property’s true turnover costs, one must have a clear picture of the impact each resident’s move-out decision has on the property’s financial well-being. So, how do you calculate turnover costs? Average market rent Average vacancy loss days Average wages for the leasing team to re-rent the unit Average wages for the maintenance team to turn the unit and make move-in ready Advertising and marketing costs Referral or locator fees Concessions Leasing commission Repair and replacement costs to make the unit move-in ready   Here's what it looks like on the national average: When......
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Top 6 Benefits of Energy Deregulation

Despite all the negative publicity and media issues posted against energy deregulation, several states continue to push through with its implementation, each formulating their own system on how to effectively implement the system within their boundaries. The state of Texas is at the forefront of this implementation, with several Retail Electric Providers and other new players in the Texas electric industry stepping forward to participate in the energy deregulation roll out. The following are the top six benefits that can be derived with the implementation of energy deregulation, not only for consumers but for the community and the environment as well. * Consumers are Given the Power to Select – Probably the most important benefit that consumers derive from energy deregulation is the privilege and opportunity to select the Retail Electric Providers that will bring Texas electricity to their homes or business establishments. Whether their motivation for switching providers is to get cheap electricity, better customer service or the option to choose alternative energy resources, consumers are now not restricted by what the utility monopolies of old dictate. * Eradication of Energy Monopolies – in an industry that has been characterized by monopolies and cartels, the playing field is now leveled with the influx of new industry players all competing to provide electrical services and products to the consumers. With a new atmosphere of competition, the consumers now dictate the quality of services that they deserve from the electric companies. * Better Quality of Services from Providers – the new ......
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6 Simple Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill

Energy deregulation have made it possible for the people of several states such as Texas to choose an electric company that will provide the electricity to power their homes or businesses. This power to select provided a competitive element to an otherwise monopolized industry. However consumers should continue to implement ways how they can conserve electricity. Studies have shown that a typical household would spend 44% of their power bills on heating and cooling, another 33% on lighting and other general appliances, 14% on heating water and the last 9% for the refrigerator. Knowing this info would give homeowners an insight as to what areas they should focus on to conserve energy. The following are the top ways for homeowners to conserve electricity. * Insulate Your Home A large portion of the electric bill is spent on temperature regulation. This is due largely to heat exchange or loss in the home’s interiors due to poor insulation. With good insulation, the heating and cooling systems can work efficiently and would consume less energy in order to regulate the temperature. The home should be checked for leaks that will allow heat or cold air to pass through. Check areas where insulation is weak allowing heat exchanges to occur, resulting in temperature imbalances inside the home that heaters or air conditioning would need to compensate. * Set Your Thermostat to Comfortable Levels Still on temperature regulation, limiting thermostat settings to maximum or minimum limits without compromising on comfort can give considerable savings on your......
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Quick Fixes

When it comes to tiny property repairs, a molehill can very easily become a mountain if it’s not resolved quickly. Whether you’re a DIY kind of person or would prefer to have a contractor or handyman take care of your property’s repairs, time is of the essence. Not only is it important to take care of repairs and maintenance quickly for your tenants’ sakes, but also for your bank account’s. In so many cases, a little problem that goes unaddressed can turn into a big, expensive problem not so far down the line. Budget for the unexpected. As we’ve discussed before, setting money aside for those unexpected repairs that always come up sooner or later is one of the smartest moves you can make as a landlord. No matter how good your intentions are, it’s almost impossible to move on any repair quickly if the funding simply isn’t there. Move quickly, no matter how innocent an issue appears. Cracked plaster? Leaking roof? Chipped window? All of these are examples of “little” issues that are easy to set aside, but will only grow with time. Cracked plaster can easily begin to crumble, resulting in a much bigger mess. A leak can expand and run rampant, causing significant water damage. A tiny window chip can quickly spread, leaving no other option than a complete window replacement. Maintenance and small repairs go hand-in-hand. There are some maintenance duties that count just as much as repairs, and should be performed just as efficiently. Cleaning gutters......
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THE COST OF A REPLACING A RESIDENT? WHAT’S THAT NUMBER?

  As I was reading some old blogs I ran across one where the conversation revolved around the value of retaining existing residents. One of the points that was in the center of that conversation was the cost of loosing and replacing a resident.   Here are my questions: Is it accurate that it costs about $4,500 more to replace a lease than to renew? Is it accurate that the average turnover is 60% in an apartment community?   Both these numbers seem high to me (as an outsider) and they certainly show a tremendous opportunity for apartment communities to improve NOI by either lowering acquisition cost of a new resident or increasing the renewal rate. Even a 1% or 2% improvement can be a huge impact to the net profitability of a community....
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People change when the pain of changing is less than the pain of not changing... True or false?

leaky bucketThis statement was made on a call I was on and at first I agreed. Something did not ring right though... Here are my thoughts and I would love to hear yours. No doubt this economy is impacting all of us in some way and it is safe to say that many are now looking at change as a necessary evil. It is human nature to be content with status quo in most cases. So here is the question that came to mind; have we changed over the last 200 hundred years because we had to or because we felt we could make things better? I strongly believe that most changes have come from the possibility of a better way to do things and not from the pain that could be caused by not changing.   In fact most inventions may have been looked at unnecessary by many and are now "indispensable". Do you believe that Thomas Edison thought that electricity was a need or did he see opportunity for a better and more comfortable life? I know my great grandmother did not let electricity be connected to her home until 1974 because she was just fine that way it was... What does that have to do with you?... Everything! Today's challenges are tomorrow's opportunities. By embracing change as a new and better way to do things you will gain a source of excitement rather than a feeling of beating beaten up. The key word that I see tied to cha......
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Heating Oil Pricing – What YOU Can Do About It

With crude oil prices hovering around $80 a barrel in recent days following the end of the nationwide cold spell, it is an opportune time to discuss the importance of crude oil prices for multifamily building owners and management. This is especially important to owners in Harlem, the Bronx and the Upper East Side, where older heating systems using oil heat are still prevalent.

After real estate taxes, heating oil (for those who use it) is the greatest expense in a multifamily building. More importantly, oil is an expense that is completely out of your control as a consumer. Major global investment bank energy analysts are predicting short-term prices above $80 per barrel before oil markets tighten in the coming years.

Throughout the New York City area, many residential and multifamily buildings are still heated by oil – but you don’t have to be at the mercy of market price swings, which are affected by any number of factors around the world. It may be possible that switching your heating source from oil to natural gas may decrease your building expenses considerably over the long run. Natural gas is currently selling for less than half that of oil per million BTU and is therefore a less expensive alternative. However, replacing an oil boiler with a gas system (complete with gas lines) can be a costly endeavor. Electing to replace a failing boiler with a natural gas system can be a sensible, cost-saving idea. Alternatively, if your heating system is running well, you should calculate the life-cycle cost of replacing your system, as you may be better off investing your money elsewhere right now.

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Property Repair Forecasting

No matter how meticulously you look after your property, there are certain long-term maintenance items and repairs that are inevitable. Sure, by staying on top of things you may be able to stave some of them off for a bit, but some things are impermanent by nature and are going to have to be repaired or replaced sooner or later, no matter what you do. A savvy property owner will always keep these items in the back of her head because the big repairs are almost unfailingly also the expensive repairs. In order to avoid being submerged in massive expenses all at once, be sure that you keep the following long-range maintenance items and repairs in mind, stash savings away, and know how up-to-date you are at any given time in order to better project just when these expenses may come due. Roofing Price tag: $10,000 or higher How frequently you have to replace your roof depends on a variety of factors, including the type of roof you have and the sort of climate you live in. For example, shake or wood shingles will last from 20 to 25 years; composition shingles will last for 12 to 20 years; rock roofs will last for 12 to 15 years, and metal roofs will last for 50 to 75 years. Even though most of these time spans are rather lengthy, it’s important that you always know exactly how old your roof is so that you can forecast inspections and, ultimately, replacement. The lifetime......
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