Property Management

July 16, 2015

Sewer & Drain Backup Endorsements for Rental Properties

  Not exactly what you want to find in your house.  Definitely not what you want to hear about in your rental property. If you have a rental property with a basement, this is a reality that you likely will have to deal with, but there are ways to mitigate the risk as well as outcome. Two perspectives come into play here–that of the Landlord and that of the Tenant. (Standard disclaimer here before we get into the nitty gritty:  I’m not a licensed insurance agent and the comments below are not intended to be taken as providing such professional insurance advice.  Please contact a licensed insurance agent to discuss your particular situation.) Let’s look at the Landlord issues first… Make sure you replace your sump pump approximately every 3 years, even if it is functioning.  It’s a motor and moving parts.  Things break, wear out, get stuck.  Better to […]
June 9, 2015

The Cost of Your New Water Heater will make your blood boil.

Landlords and Home Owners–get ready to open your wallet deeper. All water heaters available for purchase after April 16, 2015 will be taller and wider than prior models in order to achieve the required efficiency ratings ordered by The Department of Energy (DOE) back in 2010.  The law is just now in effect. Most manufacturers report that the retail price will increase 25%. But that’s not the only cost you could be incurring.  The new sizes of the tanks will make replacement a logistical challenge in tight spaces.  It may require reframing a utility room, doors, and HVAC run changes. So be prepared for the new costs and inconveniences, swallow hard, and realize there is not a dag nabbit thing you can do except stomp your feet and pay up. Dan Baldini is the Founder of Polaris Real Estate & Polaris Property Management, LLC and is also an Adjunct Professor in the College of Business Finance Department […]
May 19, 2015

Why you MUST collect Security Deposit and 1st Month rent at time of lease signing

  One of the most frequent questions I receive from novice landlords is what funds to collect at lease signing. As fast as an Indy 500 car slams into the 3rd turn wall I respond with “Security Deposit PLUS 1st Month’s rent”. The reasons are simple for why you should require both to be paid at once but they all congeal into one simple concept: RISK MANAGEMENT Successful real estate leasing is almost all about risk management and the simplest way to minimize this risk is to force the tenant to have skin in the game.  Collecting essentially 2 months rent value at time of lease signing is plenty of skin for most tenants. It also sets the stage for the tenants to expect a certain standard of engagement with you as the landlord–you aren’t joking around with an important business transaction. Finally, it is an excellent secondary screening method–after all, if they don’t have […]
April 9, 2015

Good Property Management is more than managing homes….

Some days, we feel like ping pong balls getting batted back and forth over a net that keeps rising higher and higher.  We bounce between tenants, landlords, real estate agents, government officials, lenders, inspectors, appraisers, and contractors.  It can make your head spin if you lose focus on the Goal. “What is the Goal?”, you ask? Simple but complex.  Yes, it’s a paradox wrapped in an enigma. The Goal is this:  Assist our Clients move towards their objectives. Sometimes that Goal is to increase wealth by generating capital appreciation of an asset.  Sometimes it is to generate cash flow for living expenses.  Sometimes it is to simply liquidate a property and harvest the equity. Thank you, Mr. McKnight, for inviting our team to assist you in reaching your Goal.  It was truly our pleasure to serve you.     Dan Baldini is the Founder of Polaris Real Estate & Polaris Property Management, […]
April 8, 2015

Meth houses

Our daily interactions with Clients, peers, and prospects is always wickedly weird and unpredictable…. I got this text message from a friend of mine after he calls and I click ‘decline’ on my phone… Uh-Oh…..                 You can tell this isn’t going to be a good conversation ending well….                           Take Away:  When your Spidey-Sense goes into orbit, listen to it!!!
March 16, 2015

More Data Points on Rental Applications = Less Risky Tenants

I’m always confused when I see rental applications that are one page long.  In large font. With lots of white space on the paper. Such a disaster waiting to happen… If you want to secure better tenants in your rental properties, the solution is simple. Ask questions.  Lots and lots more questions. Trust me.  We process hundreds of rental apps each year and NOT A SINGLE PERSON didn’t finish the application just because we asked for lots of data on their personal and financial lives. How many data points are on our application?  164.  Yep.  One hundred and sixty-four. We gather it all upfront so that the we have all the necessary information for our Landlord’s to make informed decisions on how risky a tenant profile really is prior to making a Go/No Go decision…. An additional residual value in gathering this data up front comes into play after they have moved […]
February 6, 2015

How to Hire a Property Manager Correctly…

Below is an unaltered, unedited email from Ken Anderson, a Client of Polaris Property Management.  Enjoy.} On Feb 4, 2015 7:08 PM, “Daniel Baldini” <dbaldini@polarisbrokers.com> wrote: Hey Ken, I need a favor from you, please. You have a unique situation as a landlord whereby you switched from an owner to landlord with a management guy, fired him, and hired us. I’d like to have your first-hand observations of the differences between the guy you used to use and your experience with Polaris. Would you be willing to type out your thoughts (even if simple, run of the spout stuff without editing) so we can help others understand why they should consider hiring us in the future? It would mean a lot to have it in your words, in your ideas… Dan Baldini, MBA (Ken’s response….) Sure. Here you go.. To whom it may concern, In the fall of 2013 I […]
February 3, 2015

How to Maximize your Rental Revenue from real estate

Each landlord we work with has a unique problem—filling their rental vacancy.  On the surface, It may seem like a unique problem to only this industry.  But when you apply business topology, the problem becomes quite common. In fact, there are at least 3 other industries who have almost the exact same problem. Unsold inventory. Billboards, hotels, and airlines all HATE unsold inventory because the moment when time passes, it is utterly worthless. As soon as the date changes on a hotel room with vacancies, that hotel cannot make up the lost profit.  Same with the radio station with unsold advertising slots for radio commercials. Same for airliners that taxi and take off with seats missing rear ends sitting in them. Same for landlords. Which is why we are a strong proponent of aggressive and early marketing of properties with vacancies coming up soon.  Think about the math here…. If you rent a […]
January 22, 2015

Pull the trigger and ride the bullet.

If you are going to fire a gun, there is an old saying:  Pull the trigger and you ride the bullet. In other words, you take full responsibility for what happens not just at the time when the bullet blasts out of the muzzle of the gun, but for the entire flight of that bullet–where it goes, what it impacts, and beyond. In real estate investing, responsible investors practice this principle.  They know full well that they, NOT someone else, is responsible for everything that occurs on/in/around their units.  In addition, they are responsible for making sure that they have the financial resources available to fix things that go wrong, replace parts that wear out, and the shear guts to make the tough decisions. Also in real estate practice, responsible agents practice this principle.  It has become quite fashionable for agents to provide counsel to Buyers and Investors on the […]