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We Are Not a Cookie-Cutter Industry: Don’t Quote Your Services That Way! Part I

Cookie cutter 1By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL When I was on the front line, running a full-service real estate firm, I would be the point person on all new business calls. The first question from a potential client would almost always be "How much will you charge to manage my property?" Or "What percent will you charge to manage my property?" It was a frustrating position to be in, but one that was easily answered: "There's no fixed quote to manage your property." Of course, the argument would be that they called several other management companies and were quoted X or Y. But no matter what, I learned that providing a quote to anyone on the phone is a slippery slope, and a very dangerous approach to gaining new business. Two things are certain: No two properties are alike. No two property owners are alike. Based on years of experience and knowing these basic fundamentals, I would always learn about the property and client before offering any opinion on what the cost would be to manage their property. Why? Since I could not possibly know the scope of service required for a property without a site visit and further investigation into so many pieces of information, quoting a fee over the phone would do the client and my firm a disservice. However, it was a balancing act on so many different levels -- I would have to keep the client interested enough in my answer and approach as to why just......
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Could You be in Violation of Fair Housing Laws Without Even Realizing It?

b2ap3_thumbnail_RCauley.jpgAs we all well know, the Fair Housing Act prohibits any type of discrimination from Real Estate Professionals when choosing who to rent their property or unit to in regards to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, family status or national origin, and in some counties: section 8 voucher status (tenantsunion.org). But what about disparate impact?   Disparate impact is the legal theory that people of certain races and ethnicities are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. This theory was previously used in regards to employment, but in recent years has moved into the real estate industry as well. The theory states that the use of criminal records for tenant screening purposes has a disparate impact on certain minorities who have been disproportionately represented in the legal system, and who therefore have criminal records that could be used to determine that they should not be rented to. Fair Housing Advocates argue that in effect, while you may be following all Fair Housing Laws, and screening every applicant, you could be inadvertently discriminating against certain minorities (Wikipedia). The Landlord Times gives a great example: “…a property management company has a policy of charging a set rental amount for the first three residents in a household, plus $100 per month for each additional resident. This policy, although applied equally to all applicants and residents, will have a disproportionately negative effect on families with children, and thus likely violates fair housing laws. Similarly, a policy of denying rental to everyone who has any criminal recor......
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DIY Versus Professional Property Management

APM Infographic - DIY v Professional Management JPEG

A guest post by All Property Management, Seattle, WA

This week, we've got a great infographic to share with you. To quote directly from it, "Being a landlord isn't easy, especially for someone with a day job, but this is sometimes a hard lesson to learn. ... As a DIY landlord, the to do list can be extreme. Is it wise to take that all on yourself?" Read on and find out!

APM Infographic - DIY v Professional Management JPEG

Special thanks to AllPropertyManagement.com for sharing. Enjoy!

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Property Management and Crime

By Carla Toebe, New Century Realty, Kennewick, WA One of your responsibilities as a property manager is to maintain a safe, secure, crime-free property. Unfortunately, there are a number of scenarios within property management that a criminal – or even just an opportunist – could exploit. The list below outlines some situations to avoid and some precautions to employ. Never accept cash. Never, under any circumstances, accept cash as payment of rent. By never accepting cash, you will prevent possible thefts by employees or outside people who have marked you as a target, and you will also attract fewer criminals who want to deal only in cash so they can launder money or keep their money trail off the records to avoid being tracked. Screen your applicants. Application screening is another very effective way of recognizing criminals, or people living beyond their means. Naturally a criminal record is a red flag and is generally considered a reason for denial. Another red flag is having a number of items in collections that are not being dealt with. This could mean the individual is living beyond their means. You have to consider the possibility that their wages might be garnished to take care of these bills. Would they be able to still pay the rent? Where is the rent money coming from in that case? Be aware when showing units. Showing a rental unit could also be potentially dangerous if you do not take appropriate precautions. When you are showing a place ......
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