Property Maintenance Tips

September 27, 2017

An ounce of prevention……a pile of cash saved

Like you, I try and plan my day and evening activities to minimize windshield time.  On Tuesday of this week, after dropping one of the kids off at his Boy Scout meeting, I zipped over to Lowe’s to pick up some Super Glue and Krud Cutter (to wash siding mildew). After paying for the items, I head over to the restroom before leaving the store and walk past the drinking fountains.  Here’s what I saw: Normally I would have kept walking, done my business, and left the store. But this actually made me stop, chuckle a bit, and shake my head. Notice the stream of water? Now, I get that things break all the time.  (Certainly not picking on Lowe’s….goodness knows they get plenty of my money each month as does Home Depot.)  One of my operating companies manages commercial properties, so I understand that part.  Kudos to the store […]
September 8, 2017

Did you dig your well before you were thirsty?

Hurricane Harvey.  Hurricane Irma.  Wildfires consuming thousands of acres in Oregon, Montana and Idaho. The U.S. is experiencing a horrible end to Summer 2017 in terms of natural disasters and, yes, it will impact your rental operations and profitability even if you don’t have rental properties in the affected areas. It’s the tsunami wave that will impact the marketplace after the flood water have receded and the last fire ember has been extinguished–the rebuilding efforts. The U.S. construction markets and supply chains were already overtaxed due to record housing sales and new home construction and overall improvement in GDP growth this year.  Supply of skilled labor was already critically short–everyone from framers to electricians to hvac installers, carpet installers to drywall crews,painters to even low-level punch-out guys and cleaning crews. If you heeded the age-old wisdom of Harvey Mackay which recommends “dig your well before you’re thirsty“, you can survive […]
August 25, 2017

5-Minute Friday

Good morning, Everyone! Here is your weekly 5 Minute Friday, highlighting a couple of the questions or issues posed to me this week. From Terri:   Does offering a house fully furnished change how much I can charge for rent? My Response: Terri–Thanks for the question.  The short answer is Yes, it can and will change how much you can charge for rent…..or rather, a better answer is it can and will change how much you will earn in rental revenue.  Here’s some things to consider when choosing to offer a property fully furnished or completely unfurnished: What is the actual market for furnished rentals in your area?  In most market segments across the country, especially in SFR’s (single family residences), furnished rental demand is a small sliver of the total demand.  As in less than 10%.  So, if you have a 4 bedroom home, if you offer it only fully […]
August 10, 2017

5 Minute Fridays

(No, the title picture isn’t tilted by accident, it is intentional.  Interrupting Broca’s Region of the brain with unusual visual stimuli wakes up our brain matter.) Starting next week, I’ll be posting some fun new items for your consumption.  I’ve been asked to do this for some time now, and fortunately the schedule has cleared up enough to do it thanks to streamlined processes added this Summer. Here’s what is coming for you: 5 Minute Fridays (yes, 5 balls in the air…..) This is where I’ll be answering your quick questions in a rapid fire format.  What questions are fair game?  Questions which can be answered in  5 minutes or less, hence the name.  So, pleasse, no long drawn out deep rabbit hole questions.  (For those scenarios, you’ll be best served with this link http://danbaldini.com/resources/private-client-consulting/)   I guarantee that if you’re thinking of a question about your rentals or your property […]
August 3, 2017

Waikiki Waves + iphone6 = new iphone7 + Process Interruption….what a beautiful mathematical equation, eh?

Ahhhh….Paradise.  Waves, surfing, sunshine, sushi, and luau’s. This is the story of how I recently re-learned the principle of Process Interruption. I took the family on vacation to Hawaii this Summer; truly is Paradise on Earth.  One sunny afternoon, as the wifey and I are lounging on the beach, sipping Mai Tai’s, and watching the kids play with their boogie boards in the waves, she looks up from her book and says to me,”Why don’t you go in the water for a bit and join them?”  So I get up and go down to the waves and do what middle age men do best–I proceed to play like a big child in the waves with them (I gave up caring long ago what most of society thinks of my behaviors; the freedom is liberating…you should try it sometime.). And just like happens with little kids, after 15 minutes of frolicking […]
February 2, 2017

Chuck Yeager: A very slow test pilot who broke the sound barrier.

The Right Stuff.  Astronauts.  Jet planes.  Test pilots. The stuff of childhood dreams.  The stuff adults might want to study again. Chuck Yeager was one of my childhood hero’s and still is one of my adult hero’s, but not simply because he broke the sound barrier.  If you’ve ever read his autobiography, you get a picture of a self-deprecating, fun-loving, Appalachian born man who was born to fill his destiny in history.  He loved to fly.  He had the physical abilities for it.  And he had grit.  Plenty of it. But the real story of Yeager’s success and place in history is that it shouldn’t have happened to him.  Instead, probability says there should be a street named for him at Edwards Air Force Base in California.  Dozens of test pilots with college degrees and more “stick time” than Yeager have streets in their names there.  (Streets at that base […]
November 22, 2016

Year End Planning Questions

Tick Tock…..time stops for nobody. We are quickly approaching the end of the calendar year and for most investors and property managers that means the end of your tax year, too. As such, it’s time to consider how to best wrap up your 2016 for maximum effect towards your Financial Freedom.  Here’s some boxes to flip up the flaps and peer into: YTD P&L:  Yes, it seems like this should be self-evident.  But after counseling hundreds of investors and property owners, what constantly comes across is how frequently this review gets skipped, especially when profits are strong.  However, doing a quick review now is beneficial to compare the P&L to past years to confirm if any expenses are perhaps out of line–both too high and too low.  Both can be valuable indicators of something to dig into deeper.  (Sidenote:  To get a quick and accurate ROI on your property’s profitability […]
July 15, 2016

If it’s Chunky grab it–If it’s runny Dab it

  Your Financial Freedom with rental properties is achieved by improving your margins for continuous profitability. This improvement should include how to instruct your tenants on best practices to clean up the “Whoopsies” they make or perhaps their pets make. I asked one of my favorite contractors to do a quick write up on what he tells his customers on how to handle spills and such. Here’s the advice from Todd Francis, Owner of First Serve Cleaning and Restoration. “One of the most common mistakes we see that homeowner’s make is Scrubbing carpet to get a spot out.  They think “if I just scrub a little bit harder-put some elbow grease into it, maybe just maybe this spot will come out”.  What you will end up with is a section of carpet that is damaged as a result of your scrubbing and more than likely the spot will still be […]
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 […]