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You're Selling My Property???

There is a lot in the news lately about how great the market is for the acquisition and disposition of multifamily assets. You see the big players out there “wheeling and dealing” getting in on the action and proudly announcing their companies being assigned new properties in receivership. But no one ever talks about what happens to the onsite team caught in the middle. No one ever discusses how they weather the storm, the upheaval of not knowing what is going to happen next, and how to transition through the changes.   “A Negative Thinker Sees a Difficulty In Every Opportunity.” Well, I can well imagine how the onsite team might fall into this trap. After all, sometimes completely out of the blue you are told, usually in an impersonal telephone call, that your property is for sale. Maybe you did have a faint inkling it was coming, maybe you didn’t. Either way, most people will internalize this news and rationalize a plan of action.   The onsite team may well first think, “What will happen to us?” followed quickly by “What will happen to me?”   Change is difficult. Everyone understands this, but the questions a sale raises can blind any employee into not being able to see the forest for the trees. With today’s economic climate, employees may well worry about their financial well-being. They begin to worry whether or not their paychecks will be good, whether their current company will honor their accrued sick and vacation pay, whether......
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How To Handle An Abandoned Property

By Carla Toebe, New Century Realty, Kennewick, WA They say that abandonment is a landlord’s or property manager's worst nightmare when dealing with a tenant. How do you know it is really abandonment? Sometimes it’s obvious when everything is gone, the place seems perfectly empty, and the tenant's keys are lying on the counter. But what if the place is full of furniture, the food is still in the cupboard, and you can't get a hold of them? They haven't paid their rent, they haven't returned your phone calls, no one has seen them, and you can't get a hold of anyone on the emergency contact form you had them complete when they moved in. Surely this means they must have abandoned the place. So you change the locks, and uh-oh! There they are coming back claiming you have now burglarized their place. Oh no! This can't be, they clearly abandoned the place and you took all the steps you had to take that were required by law. Maybe it isn't that clear cut. Maybe a tenant still has some rights. Now you are facing penalties, a criminal investigation, and a whole slew of troubles you never knew you had. Let's back up and figure out how to determine that this is really abandonment and you have the right to take possession of your unit. You spelled out what abandonment was with your tenant and you had it written in the lease, right? Good, well at least you tried to get......
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Property Management - Let's Talk Bare Necessities

By Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA In my last entry, we discussed how it was possible in this great country of ours that a burglar could sue a property owner for injuries he sustained while robbing that same property owner.  In my next entry, we will discuss why it is in the fine state of California that a tenant can sue his landlord for injuries sustained on the property which are inflicted by criminals.  But in this entry, I will get a little more practical:  we will discuss just what your responsibility is to your tenants regarding the liveability of the unit. Just what do you – the property owner – have to provide to your residential tenant to remain in compliance with the law?  Well most of this is just common sense.  If people are going to live in the premises, if you do not provide the following, not only are you not being nice, but you are breaking the law: A weatherproof environment.  The unit has to have a roof and walls as well as doors and windows that are unbroken (more on this next entry!) Electricity.  It may come as a surprise to you that most will not want to rent your unit if they cannot plug in a TV and refridgerator.  Or it may not. Plumbing.  It may also come as a surprise to you that not only would most tenants enjoy a good shower and functioning toilet, but the law generally requires it. Gas and heating.  People don’t like to be col......
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Property Management Stories from the Front Lines

We need your help! Throughout the course of writing the Buildium Blog we’ve covered countless property management scenarios. We hope that our property management tips, advice, and best practices have been helpful to your company — at the very least we hope that they have provided you with an opportunity to reflect on the way that your company does business.

We constantly hear stories from property managers — those of you who are out there managing your properties day-in and day-out — pertaining to specific challenges, nightmares, or unique occurrences encountered on the job. Whether your story is funny, horrifying, or enlightening we’d like to give you the opportunity to share. Buildium will now be accepting submissions for our “Property Management Stories from the Front Lines” series of blog posts.

So what do you need to do? Send us an e-mail detailing your story and what you think makes it unique. The best stories will become a series of blog posts on the Buildium Blog, which can then be weighed in on by other industry professionals. In exchange for your story we will highlight your company, your expertise, and your company website at the end of each post. This will provide great visibility for your business, and great discussion points for all of our readers.

Please e-mail submissions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We look forward to hearing your story!

-The Buildium Team

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The Property Investment Checklist

ChecklistWhen it comes to selecting an investment property, there are a few issues that every landlord must take into account. No matter how wonderful a property is or how eager you are to invest, never make a property investment without carefully evaluating the following items on your property investment checklist. 1. Calculate your profitability.Although determining the likely profitability of an investment property may seem like a given, you might be surprised how many investors find themselves in a losing situation simply because they fail to do the math. Before buying an investment property at any price point, be sure you carefully determine how much rental income you are likely to generate on an annual basis. Weigh this against not only your mortgage and property taxes, but also all of the other costs that are likely to occur over the course of a year, such as advertising vacancies and doing general repairs and maintenance. When calculating these costs, be conservative when estimating income and err towards over-estimating your outgoing expenses. You want to make sure you have enough wiggle room in your profit margins to afford your investment property payments no matter what unforeseen events may unfold in a given year. About.com’s real estate business page offers some great calculation tools that will help you calculate your risk based on several different variables. 2. Get inside renters’ minds. Sure, you’re the one who’s purchasing the investment property but never forget that you are purchasing it for the purpose of renting it out......
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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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Denver Apartment Trade Show-May 20, 2009

How many of you apartment managers, apartment personnel, investors, contractors are going to the Denver Apartment Association Trade Show at the Merchandise Mart on May 20, 2009? Not many? A Few? None?With today's economy, it's more important than ever to get the best value for your money? Am I right? So IF you are going to the Trade Show; and IF you want a Reputable Vendor who can assist you with your cabinet, countertop, or custom casework needs, then you need to stop by our booth #414-Front Range Cabinets and visit us. At Front Range Cabinets, we offer over 8 Different cabinet lines, everything from Truckloads for Multi Family Projects to single kitchens. From Contractor cabinets to Semi Custom as well as Frameless cabinets. Are you looking for Countertops for a project? We do laminate in house and have access to Granite, Quartz, and Solid Surface materials as well.Custom Casework needed? We do that too. We build in house our own Frameless cabinets and have done MANY Teller lines for Banks, Custom desks, and cabinetry. Do you need cabinets, countertops, or casework delivered or installed? We can help you with that as well.Give us an opportunity to give you a competitive quote on your next project. Front Range Cabinets wants to work with you and will offer you not only competitive pricing, but exceptional service, delivery, and installation.Look us up and lets talk about how we can help you upgrade your property to get higher rents, remodel to sell a property, or just......
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Selling Against the Shadow Market: New Info You Need to Know!

I'm constantly researching new and different ways for our industry to lease, market, retain and manage our assets. I came across this Wall Street Journal article , The New Condo Reality by June Fletcher, this weekend and the information it contained is essential to any property that fights the condo market.If you have a prospect or resident who is considering purchasing a condo because it is a 'good deal', they need to know some facts:If the building is not fully occupied: With fewer people in the building, those who are left wind up footing the bill for all of the building's expenses, from window washing and pool cleaning to big-ticket costs like roof repair and boiler replacement.If the developer is still in the picture...the need for major repairs will inevitably come. And since many developers subsidize maintenance and amenity costs to keep condo dues low and attract buyers, you should expect that these fees will rise, possibly precipitously, once the developer leaves (hopefully because he has finally sold all of the units, not because he has gone bankrupt because they didn't sell).If the building has a lot of amenities: Keep in mind that the more fancy amenities your complex has, from exercise rooms to elevators and tiki bars, the more you and your neighbors will eventually have to pay for their upkeep. Before you buy, look at the association's "reserve study"-assuming it has one-to get an idea of replacement costs for the various items in your complex. The study also shows......
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Who Are Your Comps Really? A Third Take.

single family housingGabriele Preston started this conversation with her great blog about apartment competitors and Mark Juleen continued the discussion on ILS's as apartment comps. I'd like to expand their discussion to include another group, single family housing. When I first jumped into property management, I was amazed at how our industry has seemed to have given up the fight against this competitor, and to this day, it never ceases to shock me when I hear a leasing consultant actually congratulate a resident for leaving to buy a home! It seems that our own employees have bought into the belief that we cannot compete against the "American Dream". Do we have a self-esteem issue, or have we not clarified what the true benefits are of apartment living?    This has been especially apparent during the foreclosure crisis recently. Of course, there are issues with credit-worthiness of some foreclosed residents, but this was our opportunity to make a giant push against single-family housing. We could have institituted a marketing push to show the apartment industry with their arms open, saviors to those losing their houses. This would have gained us market share and great press. But this concept was not on the radar. Ultimately, I think we haven't established ourselves as worthy competitors to single-family housing because we haven't coalesced a central list of benefits for living at apartment communities, which makes sense since these benefits have been relatively unimportant in our struggle against other apartment communities. We talk about great maintenance, but only in......
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The Risk and Reward of Previously Foreclosed Residents

Multi-housing News put out a great article today showing that there is actually less risk from renters, even after the foreclosure crisis (http://www.multihousingnews.com/multihousing/content_display/industry-news/e3i1752bc99a224d58049587d86107de9a2). In other words, undoubtedly many of those who have experienced foreclosures have entered the rental market, and yet the risk of nonpayment for the market actually went down during that time span. I had written a month or two ago questioning whether these type of renters were inherently risky, as evidenced by their foreclosure, or if they had really just gotten caught in a bad circumstance. Trust me, I'm not an apologist, but I do look at things economically, and it seems to be showing that it makes sense to actively pursue this market.

Another interesting quote from the article was, "Renters-by-choice is the fastest growing group in multifamily." This is huge as these renters are more attracted to the lifestyle and specific benefits apartment living brings. Therefore, they will be less price conscious. Of course, that also means you have to provide a differentiated living experience to realize those price benefits.

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