I got a call today from the former tenant of a property we just took over from another property manager. Seems the property manager had been getting slower and slower on paying the property owner and was now two months behind paying the property owner his proceeds. The former tenant (when we took the rental house over it was in good repair and clean) had just vacated the property when we acquired the house to manage.
She was calling to say how frustrated she was because she had super cleaned the home (and I would agree) in hopes of receiving her deposit back. She had even had a final walk thru with the property manager and he promised her the money but “didn’t have his check book” at that time.
It’s a couple weeks later and now the manager isn’t returning her calls. Neither is their leasing agent. And now she hears me telling her that they weren’t legal managers anyway because they were not licensed real estate agents and that is a requirement in Missouri.
Checking to see if the property is something you like is important. But knowing who and where your money will be held is equally important. My guess is she’ll not see that money again. And neither will the owner of that property.
Maintenance of a home that is occupied by people that do not have a vested interested in the long term care of the home (renters) is something that must be kept up on or the value of the rental property (and the neighborhood?) will soon deteriorate to a very expensive proposition down the road. Is it easier to fix a little wood rot and keep the place painted now or tons of wood rot and paint later?
Some deferred maintenance is acceptable. If the windows work but they leak a little, fine. You can replace those when it’s time to sell. A furnace that is inefficient can also be deferred…until it becomes a safety issue and then it needs to be replaced immediately.
Keep up on the property’s maintenance. You’ll be glad you did 6-8 years later.
From a Yahoo! article I read this morning:
“Rather than creating wealth, homes had enabled people to gain cash by refinancing mortgages and live beyond their means until the crisis sent them into bankruptcy.”
You can find the article here:
How can I explain this? If there was money to pull out then the house created wealth. Just because some home owner decides to spend it on a SUV and a Bahamas Cruise rather than leave it for their future… Jeez.
I have to tell you, the Kansas City Real Estate Market is Red hot. Two years ago I was begging for people to listen to me. Those that did have made some good money because 8 months ago I was still begging people and still getting people to listen. But somewhere about 6 months ago the worm turned and started rolling down hill. Example:
Raytown, Missouri. I used to do searches for real estate investors for houses priced between $25,000 and $45,000 with 3 bedrooms and I’d come up with search results of about 20-22 homes. Now? I just did the search and there are 5. That pattern is repeated all around the KC metro area.
For real estate investors it is a different game. For home buyers you better be prepared to make offers quickly. For home sellers, you now hold some of the cards again.
When it comes to effective property management in Kansas City (or anywhere, really) don’t underestimate the power of neighbors to help you run your business. Just this morning I had a neighbor of one of the rental houses we manage give us a call to confirm that we knew that the tenants had moved out over the weekend. We did, in fact, know.
But that’s great that she picked up the phone to check with me. I love to look for neighbors that care about their street. I don’t hide from them. I knock on their door and introduce myself and give them one of my cards. I like to explain that their interest and my interests are the same…a nice quite tenant that takes care of their property.
Plus, every once in a while there will be something we don’t know about and the neighbor will clue us in. Tenant using the driveway as a dump? The neighbor will call. Tenant not mowing lawn? They’ll call. Tenant away on vacation and house looks broken in to? They will call.
Don’t hide from the neighbors. Introduce yourself to them and help them to help you.
This is the BBQCapital, right? So I need to talk Bar-b-q every once in a while. LC’s in KC is the best, Jerry, the best! Check out their Yelp! page I linked to and you’ll see glowing reviews except for some woman who clearly needs to eat real BBQ more often. Yes, it’s safe to park your car there. And YES! it’s delicious. My out-of-town clients that I have taken there all thank me over and over and over again.
Looking for ambiance? Go to Jack Stack in Johnson County. Looking for the best BBQ in town that will clog your arteries, add an inch to your waste line and make you dream of hickory smoke? LC’s.
Last year in the Kansas City area we had the drought of a lifetime. We’re still not quite out of it but things have been improving. And I’m not looking forward to two straight days of rain forecasted for tomorrow and Thursday. Sure we need the water. But…
Cracked basements and settled dirt have been the two big results of the drought. Now so much water is running towards the house and not away. (Or it’s just sitting there next to the foundation which really isn’t any better.) The the ground is so anxious to soak up the water and as the newly moist soil 6 to 8 to 20 inches deep swells it presses against the cracks and well, you know how water always finds the simplest path?
Basements that heretofore have never had a crack now have cracks. Basements that have never leaked now leak. Not all, mind you. But too many. We just went through a tough time with this month’s earlier rains. By the end of this month I expect another couple of problems but by then we’ll about have them all identified and a plan to subvert.
Still, it’s a lot of work just because mother nature decided to take a year off.