Quick-Win Tips

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 […]
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 […]
July 26, 2015

Top 7 reasons why Tenants lose Security Deposit money

There’s an old Landlord saying…. If it wasn’t for the dealing with Tenants and property maintenance, Landlording would be Easy! If you’ve been a Landlord for more than 2 months, you’re silently nodding your head acknowledging the above with a smirk.  It’s OK.  Everyone does it, too. You also know that, as required by State law, you are required to send the outbound tenant a letter accounting for deductions to their security deposit. With this in mind, here’s the Top 7 reasons why tenants frequently see deductions made from their security deposit funds: 1.  Light Bulbs.   If your lease document does not require the tenant to replace burned out light bulbs in your property, you are literally throwing money out the window.  When our management company moves in a new Tenant, all the light bulbs are confirmed to be working and in good condition via photographs in our extensive […]
April 26, 2016

The importance of Tenant keeping Utilities on….

If you’ve noticed a common thread to my posts, it is the critical nature of setting proper expectations for ALL PARTIES in a lease transaction.  In other words, it’s critical for the Tenant to know what is expected of them just as it is for the Landlord to know their role. Today’s article is about the need to properly and repeatedly communicate with Tenants about utilities.  And keeping them turned on! Now, most leases will have clauses in them about who pays for the utilities–Tenant or Landlord–and that is good to have this clarity.  Where I see the expectation “break down” between Tenant and Landlord or Tenant and Property Manager is this:  What about the time period when a Tenant voluntarily moves out of the home before the end of the lease and they turn off the utilities thinking they’ll save money? Case in Point:  The picture of this once-beautiful […]
May 27, 2016

Winning the Indy 500 and your Financial Freedom–The Commonalities

It’s Race Weekend! Indianapolis buzzes excitedly during the month of May with the Indy 500.  If you’ve never attended, it is a highly recommended ‘bucket list’ item.  Over 300,000 spectators watch 33 drivers strap themselves into horizontal rocket ships zipping at 230 mph around a 2.5 mile oval.  It is simply a spectacle to watch. Before the weekend activities commence, I thought it would be enjoyable to compare how the best racing teams win this pinnacle event with how the best investors, landlords, and property managers win their own pinnacle event–their Financial Freedom. Rules of Racing As with every kind of sport, there are rules, regulations, laws, and customs that must be obeyed.  Some of the rules are for playing fair with each other, some are there to provide a base level of safety, and some are there to provide an element of controlled risk/enjoyment for the players.  Just like in the […]
July 8, 2016

In Case of Emergency, Part II….

So yesterday I posed this hypothetical question of:  “What would you do if your Tenant was incapacitated and a friend of theirs needs access to the property to pick things up?” (https://danbaldini.com/2016/07/08/in-case-of-emergency/) If your lease agreement doesn’t contain specific language and data to address this situation, you as the landlord or property manager are in a tough spot. Do you deny access to the friend or do you allow him access to the tenant’s personal property? How do you know he isn’t a scam artist? How do you know he is not perhaps an identify thief who happens to know the tenant is traveling out of the country and unreadable for a few more weeks? Fact is, unless you have protocols in place prior to this event happening, you simply don’t know and you are unprepared to deal with it appropriately. Not a fun position to be in, is it? […]
July 11, 2016

Oh $%^^!!!! My Tenant just declared Bankruptcy!

A common question from my clients is “My Tenant just declared bankruptcy and I got the notice in the mail today.  What does this mean for me as the landlord/property manager/investor?” Here’s a single page, well-written explanation from this month’s National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) magazine of what to do/what not to do. Landlord Loses Because Tenant Went Bust, Broke, and Bankrupt As with other legal issues, it’s best to seek counsel from an attorney in your state/city who deals with these issues in their primary practice. Why subscribe to our weekly tips?  Because…..
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 […]
August 18, 2016

Top 20 Questions (that will spawn 20 more….)

Questions. We all have them. (If you don’t, run away from real estate.) Here’s the Top 20 questions asked by landlords and investors when choosing to hire a property management company. Some are deeper questions than they might seem the first time you read them, which is why the first question on the list is the first question on the list.  If you are thinking about them in the correct mindset, you should realize within 2 breaths that the questions spawn subordinate questions and will take you down a rabbit hole even further. What do you charge? If I have a question and send in an email or call, what is the expected response time from your company? Is the prop mgr available on weekends if issues arise? How do you handle repairs? How does money get to me each month? What happens if the tenant doesn’t pay rent? What […]
August 22, 2016

The Most Feared Activity for Landlords

Over many years of coaching Landlords, Investors, and Real Estate Agents I’ve come to this conclusion: Your Dreams and Nightmares are always about THE SAME THING. Your most dreamed about issue?  It is always making large amounts of money so they can have Financial Freedom.  It’s you visualizing their bank account balance swelling up.  It’s you visualizing your ROI numbers and seeing it start with a larger integer than last year. Your most Nightmarish issue?  It is always procrastinating the grunt work of actually running the financials on your rental properties.  It’s “stepping on the scale”.  It’s the attitude of “What I don’t know can’t hurt me, right?”  “If I don’t look at the numbers, they’ll certainly improve on their own….” I’ve learned that I can ask clients to run a simple worksheet and they don’t want to do it.  They’d rather talk to 10 life insurance salesmen than actually get a […]