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Where the heck is the laundry room?

laundry roomTwo weeks ago I moved into a 2 bedroom 2 bath with one of my friends. For me this move was from one apartment to another in the same complex. This is my 4th lease in the 1,200 unit complex that I live in. Since it has been a while since I was a newbie to this village of an apartment complex I had forgotten how confusing it was when I first moved in ... that is until I became the live-in question answerer for my roommate. In the past 15 days I've: told her on two different occasions she was parking in a place residents aren't allowed to park overnight directed her to the nearest ATM given her directions to the grocery store directed her to the laundry room in our building directed her to the place on the property where she had to go to buy a card to pay for the laundry machines And still on MY to-do list is to figure out how she can get her name and cell phone number on the call box in our building so she can buzz people in. As well as ... show her where to put in a service request online for our silly oven drawer that falls on the floor if you open it. So my question, and really my point is - why on earth did no one tell her any of these things when she moved in? Granted there is a lot of information to share......
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Increasing Property Values

No matter how big or small your budget is, there are always ways to increase the value of your investment property. Whether you’re looking to make updates for efficiency, improve aesthetics, or just make general miscellaneous upgrades, following are some ideas for boosting your property’s worth. Roofing If you suspect you may be selling your property any time in the near future, consider your roof’s condition. Yes, this is a high-ticket item (approximately $10,000 to $15,000 to replace your current roof), but it’s also one of the first thing inspectors, real estate agents, and potential buyers will look at. Even if your roof isn’t in need of repair at this precise moment, chances are your property value will go down if buyers think that they may have to re-roof within the next few years. If your roof is on the older side but not quite ready for replacement, consider getting a roof certification. For the comparatively inexpensive price of about $250, a roofer will guarantee that your roof will not leak for two years—and if it does leak within that period, he will make the necessary repairs free of charge. Energy Efficiency When the time comes to replace unit appliances, you should strongly consider installing energy-efficient upgrades (such as EnergyStar). This is a great selling point for tenants and buyers alike and it will also pay off on a month-to-month basis that really adds up in the long run. If you are covering your property’s electric bills, energy rates can be......
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How to Avoid Being Blacklisted

the black listIn a discussion yesterday, in the Multifamily Insiders Forums, Ray Thorton asked if properties were contacting residents and prospects via email. Ray also mentions that they were blacklisted from Yahoo for spamming. Here are some resources to help improve your email deliverability and to reduce your apartment property emails being flagged as spam or blacklisted: What is a Blacklist? A blacklist usually refers to a list of e-mail or IP addresses known to send spam e-mails or some other type of unsolicited messages.This list is used by mail servers for filtering incoming e-mails and blocking the ones listed, in order to improve mail security and integrity. Watch your attachments the type of attachment you send with your email can cause different spam filters to block your email and may result in reporting your I.P to a black list database. avoid using script or any type of attachment besides PDF. Many corporate mailboxes as well as virus filters block attachments that end in .exe, .avi, .swf, .zip, etc. Our mail server only accepts pictures in .jpg & .gif format. Don't send bulk emails using the BCC field Sending mass emails using the BCC field is okay if you’re forwarding something of interest to your friends or co-workers, but don’t ever do this when sending your newsletters. Using a BCC field is a trigger for spam filters that you want to stay away from. Instead, your email program should send just one email to one subscriber at a time. Never send your newsletter......
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Selling Your Property

StagingIt goes without saying that selling your property is a large undertaking. Arming yourself with as much information as possible, surrounding yourself with knowledgeable professionals, and exercising due diligence when it comes to pre-sale property preparation can make all the difference in the world between a smooth, profitable sale and a stressful selling experience. Your REALTOR® is your best friend. Or at least he should be. Picking a REALTOR® is one of the most important decisions you will make when it comes to selling your property. Do your research and make sure to speak with other property owners and trusted friends for recommendations. After you have created a short list of potential REALTORS®, bring a few of your top choices in to take a look at your property and to “interview” with you. During this interview, you’ll want to gauge not only their industry knowledge and neighborhood expertise, but also determine how their personality and sales style meshes with yours. After all, this is someone you’ll be working closely with and entrusting with one of your most valuable financial assets. This is the time to be picky. Make sure the price is right. While it’s obviously important not to undervalue your home, it’s just as crucial not to overprice it. Generally speaking, overpriced properties linger on the market, potentially developing a bad stigma with agents and buyers. In short, an overpriced property is far more difficult to sell in the long-run and chances are the price will ultimately have to be......
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Resident Retention: Movin' On Up

  or  ?I just got back from Boise, Idaho recently to visit family and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Northwest U.S.  I found out a cousin who has been living with her parents for various family reasons is now looking for a rental situation. I asked her what kinds of deals she was finding in the apartment market in Boise, and while she told me what I expected to hear – that the move-in deals were pretty amazing – she had chosen to submit a rental application for a single family home with a yard. This is no new story to any of us, and she shared all the reasons we’ve heard before: - Fenced in yard - Same price as an apartment - No shared walls - Lots of space - And the neighborhood even had a pool and clubhouse! Yes, the shadow market is alive and well, there’s no point in denying that. We’re competing with it for prospects as well as our existing residents! While there are many experts on the leasing side who can offer strategies and approaches to get new prospects in the door, there is a need to continue to use some of these same strategies to keep the residents we have. Remember the TV show, The Jeffersons? The theme song is all about moving to a “deluxe apartment.”  How do we re-kindle that pride of residency in our own community?  When it comes to existing residents telling us at renewal time that they......
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Managing Problem Tenants

residential tenancy agreementChances are every landlord will encounter a problem tenant at one point or another in his career. Whether issues arise based on noise levels, delinquent rent payments, illegal roommates, or any number of other violations, dealing with problem tenants can be tricky. Following are some tried and true suggestions for dealing with issues as effectively as possible and—better yet—avoiding renting to problem tenants in the first place. Prevent problem tenants from getting a foot in the door. The importance of carefully screening tenants before locking yourself into a lease cannot be overstated. No matter how eager you are to occupy a unit, renting to an unqualified tenant is never worth it in the long run. In addition to checking credit and criminal records, be sure to call former landlords for applicant references. Remember, some landlords may be unwilling to explicitly state that they do not recommend renting to a potential tenant for fear of litigation. Bear this in mind when speaking with references, and be sure to read between the lines when necessary. Sometimes what a reference doesn’t say is just as important as what she does say. Ask the applicant’s former landlord if she would rent to the tenant again. If the answer is “no,” think long and hard before handing over that lease. Have a system in place. Many leases neglect to cover behavioral expectations. Be meticulous and specific when it comes to setting forth your expectations, whether it be in your lease or as part of a lease......
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Get More of the Right Stuff Done

Keeping out of overwhelm appears to be a mantra this summer.  In speaking with numerous on-site managers recently there are many conflicting priorities that are compounded by a shortage of staff.  Perhaps you can relate?  So we’ve been talking about how to stay on top of the most important actions and stopping the overwhelm feeling!The best practice that appears to make the single greatest difference is … being organized.  No surprise here. Yet it sure can be tough in the throws of day to day demands with so many moving expectations and demands.  One manager’s solution is using Microsoft Outlooks Calendar.  She has loaded ALL daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual to-do’s into this system with reminders attached to each task that will pop up when the activity is to be started and completed.  She has even color coded the tasks by who is responsible for doing it.  Yes, her calendar looks complex albeit pretty with all the color coding, yet it’s her ‘working bible’.  She and her entire team live by it. This process keeps the lines of communication and expectations very clear. With this organization, when the daily challenges and requests come in she’s on top of what can slide and how to re-prioritize to get the most important things done.  If you have Outlook Calendar accessible, take a look at all it can do and give it a try.  If you’re thinking, ‘I don’t have it so I cannot be this organized’. Think again!  It really does not......
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Preparing Your Properties for Summer

Summertime means it’s time to head outside and enjoy all the activities the season has to offer. And if your property provides amenities like a pool or grills, chances are your tenants are particularly happy at this time of the year. However, with these amenities come additional risks and hazards, many of which can be easily prevented with clear policies and a little bit of enforcement. Read on to find out about some simple measures that will help keep your tenants happy and safe during the summer months. Pool Policies Chances are at one point or another in our childhood, all of us were sternly told to “slow down” or “don’t run” by the pool. And, sure, it may have cramped our style a little bit but it also kept us safe. As a landlord, it’s your job to remind tenants about smart poolside practices—and to protect yourself from litigation that may result from pool-related injuries. Make sure that rules and regulations for pool use are highly visible and that all your tenants know what is expected of them. Along with posting pool rules around the swimming area, you can also include the policy as a lease addendum to ensure that all tenants sign off on your property’s rules and regulations from day one. This addendum can include everything from basic rules to (if applicable) expectations on how tenants are expected to maintain the pool and surrounding area. A sample of this addendum can be downloaded here. In terms of pool......
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Unlawful Detainer

Unlawful Detainer by Attorney Tamara Cross Many community owners and managers have been through the unlawful detainer process. Not all of them, however, have encountered just how different and difficult one unlawful detainer action can be from another with regards to time frames, discovery and even trial. If you are lucky, your encounter with an unlawful detainer action took approximately three to four weeks and ended nicely in a default judgment without the need to go to court. This article will walk you through the non-default unlawful detainer action and address some of the options that resident/tenants have to delay the process and to make the unlawful detainer action a long, expensive experience. In discussing the difficult unlawful detainer trial, this article will address the delay tactics taken by residents and their attorneys, the defenses raised to complicate the issues, and finally, suggestions on how best to avoid these delays.  Summary proceeding The unlawful detainer trial was intended to be a “summary eviction proceeding,” which means it was intended to be a quick and limited proceeding in comparison to the general civil litigation matters. For example, in a general civil lawsuit, the defendant has 30 days to answer the complaint, but only five days to answer in an unlawful detainer action. Also, the trial in a general civil lawsuit may take over a year to be heard, where the unlawful detainer trial is required to be set within 20 days of the tenant’s answering. The issues in an unlawful detainer action......
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Which is more important? Price? Quality? or Service?

What is more important to you as an apartment investor, owner, or contractor doing a remodel in a rental property?

Is everyone only looking at price now because of our economy? Or do some people still give credence and importance to quality of materials, loyalty to the vendor they are getting a bid from, timeliness of receiving the bid, the delivery, and installation?

 I would really like to know what is more of the  driving force in the market. We have seen a large upswing in people wanting a bid, but putting more emphasis on Price than anything else. What does that say about the relationships you have built with your vendors? About our society as a whole?


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