Category Archives for "Property management"

The investor mistake solution?

In a high stakes world like real estate, small mistakes are multiplied to cost thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars over time. OOPS... learn from others and minimize your mistakes.

In a high stakes world like real estate, small mistakes are multiplied to cost thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars over time. OOPS… learn from others and minimize your mistakes.

I recently came across an article titled “Investor Mistakes From A to Z” (http://www.biggerpockets.com/articles/4273-investor-mistakes-from-a-to-z). This article, written by Dale Osborn, lists the 66 biggest mistakes he feels investors make.

First, I want to say, I found this to be a really great list. It covers many of the obvious, as well as the not so obvious mistakes investors make. I do recommend you go through the link above to read the article.

Second, I was excited to that we can help prevent or alleviate most of the mistakes listed in the article. Our extensive experience and wide range of services protect our landlords from a multitude of possible mistakes. This makes our services valuable because in the real estate market mistakes often correlate to money being lost.

For example, Osborn lists:

“allowing tenant problems to spoil the positives of Real Estate Investing.” Not a problem…we handle all tenant problems for our landlords.

“allowing your Real Estate Business to run your life.” The only thing our landlords need to deal with is deposit the rent check we mail them each month.

“Being friends with your tenants: letting rent collections get personal.” Also not a problem! We collect the rent for our landlords. Most of our landlords have never even met their tenants because they don’t need to. We handle everything.

“Failing to Listen to Property Managers.’ We do recommend people do everything we say without question….I’m joking. We always offer our landlords the best possible advice based on our years of experience in the industry.

“Ignoring the value of your time.” Your time is extremely valuable to you, your family, your friends, and us. We handle things, so our landlords don’t have to waste their time doing it.

“Lack of Experience.” We are a property management company comprised of people each bringing years of experience to the table. We have more experience then we know what to do with.

“Not charging tenants for damages.” We charge them for our landlords and we handle the repairs.

“Not screening tenants for eviction risks.” We screen all tenants on behalf of our landlords.

“Only checking on a property when there is a problem.” We keep a close eye on all properties under our care.

“Not understanding local market conditions.” We have been working in the Lorain County area since the beginning. We know this market extensively.

“Over estimating rents.” We provide our landlords with an honest assessment of what their properties will most likely rent for.

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With more than 60 years of investment property management experience our expert team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

No spanking policy!

At Realty Trust Services we can promise you two things: 1) We won't get you into legal trouble with improper collections techniques 2) You won't be driven to using improper collections techniques

At Realty Trust Services we can promise you two things: 1) We won’t get you into legal trouble with improper collections techniques 2) You won’t be driven to using improper collections techniques

We regularly receive questions from landlords regarding why they should spend the money on a management company. What benefits will they receive from the deal? Let me start by saying the benefits of using a management company are both monetary and intrinsic. We save landlords money, we enable them to earn more money, and we provide peace of mind, which, for most, is priceless.

There was recently a story in the news about a landlord, who had clearly reached the end of his rope, and would have benefited greatly by our services. On January 22, 2012, Ron Kronenberger, a landlord in southern Ohio, whipped the bare butt of one of his tenants. The tenant had fallen behind on his rent, and Mr Kronenberger had reached his limit trying to deal with this particular tenant.

At first, the story sounds humorous…almost unreal. I read it thinking, there has to be more to the story; a grown man didn’t really spank another grown man. There really isn’t more to the story; that is exactly what happened. From here, you might be thinking that guy is crazy, he should go to jail for assault, etc.

As of his March hearing, Mr. Kronenberger is not being charged for assault as long as he does not get in further legal trouble and he stays away from the former tenant. Although he has escaped legal punishment this time, what has this done to his reputation and his business? This story made the national news. He will forever be known as the landlord that spanked his tenant.

Clearly, Mr. Kronenberger felt he was being pushed beyond his limits, and he crossed the line. That does not happen with our landlords. Our landlords do not feel desperate, frustrated, angry, or on the verge of losing control. Our landlords are home enjoying a meal with their family while we’re busy getting their units rented and tracking down their money from wayward tenants.

There are very legal ways to get non-paying tenants out of your rental units. There are also perfectly legal ways to go after tenants and former tenants for money owed. We can help. We can make sure it doesn’t go so far that you have people living in your units rent free for months and months.

Finally, I can offer all our landlords a 100% guarantee that we have never and will never spank a tenant. We have a strict No Spanking policy here.

About Realty Trust Services

Realty Trust Services is a licensed brokerage and property management company based out of Lorain County with a service area from Sandusky to Cleveland Heights to Medina. Their team includes: Agents, David Stevoff, Christopher Obrycki, Andrew Morris, Shanon Jones- Plas, Kari Taylor, Matthew Klein, Julie Musial, Leo Dombrowski and our other unlicensed team members including Steven Taylor, Bill Taylor, Greg Zadorozny, Kris Mrazik, Joyce Thompson, Matthew Harkins and David Stevoff. For more information on Realty Trust Services and how they can help with your property call 440-220-7300.

Turning around an apartment complex

Does your property need a turn around? Give us a call. We put the same creativity we put into marketing, into helping our clients find solutions.

Does your property need a turn around? Give us a call. We put the same creativity we put into marketing, into helping our clients find solutions.

We wanted to share with you a success story. Today we filled the last of a series of vacancies for the 333 Washington, an 18 unit apartment building in Elyria. When we took over management in October 2012, this building had a 50% occupancy and of those units several were under eviction.

There were a lot of repairs to be made, as the current management was not meeting the needs of the tenants. Screening had not been done properly and it had gained a very bad reputation. Advertising dollars were spent poorly. 6 months later this property is 100 percent occupied with only 1 eviction in process (not a tenant we put in). It wasn’t easy to turn this complex around.

The owner had a limited repair budget which we had to work with. The building had a bed bug infestation that took several months to get a handle on. There were difficult tenants we had to get rid of. We had to really dial in the marketing and find out what worked for that property.

For us this is a turnaround story, we are very proud of and we think that we could bring YOU the same results.

About Realty Trust Services

Realty Trust Services is a licensed brokerage and property management company based out of Lorain County with a service area from Sandusky to Cleveland Heights to Medina. Their team includes: Agents, Christopher Obrycki, Andrew Morris, Shanon Jones- Plas, Kari Taylor, Matthew Klein, Julie Musial and our other unlicensed team members including Steven Taylor, Bill Taylor, Greg Zadorozny, Kris Mrazik, Joyce Thomson, Matthew Harkins and David Stevoff. For more information on Realty Trust Services and how they can help with your property call 440-220-7300.

Why Do North Eastern Ohio Landlords Choose Property Management?

For some people being a landlord feels like being without oxygen at the bottom of the ocean. Whether you feel that way or just need a little help so you can do something else give us a call at 440-220-7300.

For some people being a landlord feels like being without oxygen at the bottom of the ocean. Whether you feel that way or just need a little help so you can do something else give us a call at 440-220-7300.

  1. They are not local. – Using a property manager is ideal for landlords that are not local. Although paperwork and rent can be collected long-distance, properties can not be properly maintained or monitored. Using a property manager allows you to have someone in the area keep an eye on your properties, be available for emergencies, meeting with tenants, utility workers, and more.
  2. They have a large number of properties – Keeping track of multiple properties can be time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming. We have a team of people who work together to take care of every aspect of our landlords’ properties. You don’t have to drive yourself crazy trying to oversee dozens of properties on your own. Additionally, we have our own showers, maintenance staff, office staff, and more. We do not need to hire out work that you may otherwise need to do.
  3. They don’t want a home office or the expanse of separate office – If you are a landlord, your tenants and perspective tenants need to be able to get a hold of you. You need somewhere you can meet people, go over paper work, and more. Your options are to have a home office or an outside office. A home office means never being able to “leave” work and tenants always knowing where to reach you. Having an outside office means the expense of running an office. Hiring a property manager will save you the aggravation of having to deal with an office, and our fees are less than you would need to pay to rent an office space.
  4. They have lives – Taking care of multiple properties is not a 40-hour a week job. Things happen at night, over weekends, even on holidays. Hiring a property manager, like us, to care for your properties means you can have your own life. You don’t need to be on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
  5. There are plenty of people who have become landlords through untraditional methods. They may have inherited the properties or felt obligated to pick them up when a close relative was going to default. Just because someone has properties does not mean they ever wanted to be a landlord. We can help.

WE have years of experience in all aspects of property maintenance.  There are many reasons why landlords may chose to use a property manager. Regardless of the why, we are the who. Choosing us to manage your properties will provide you with the peace of mind knowing everything is being taken care of by trained professionals.

About Realty Trust Services

Realty Trust Services is a licensed brokerage and property management company based out of Lorain County with a service area from Sandusky to Cleveland Heights to Medina. Their team includes: Agents, Christopher Obrycki, Andrew Morris, Shanon Jones- Plas, Kari Taylor, Matthew Klein, Julie Musial and our other unlicensed team members including Steven Taylor, Bill Taylor, Greg Zadorozny, Kris Mrazik, Joyce Thomson, Matthew Harkins and David Stevoff. For more information on Realty Trust Services and how they can help with your property call 440-220-7300.

Making the Most Possible with Section 8 Tenants

Is a mortgage paid by the government a gift? You decide.

Is a mortgage paid by the government a gift? You decide.

In case you are wondering what section 8 (see wikipedia) is, it refers to Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. § 1437f).  This section governs housing subsidies and housing vouchers for tenants.

Locally one of the many things we do for our landlords is navigate the Section 8 system on their behalf to ensure them the many benefits of having Section 8 tenants rent their units. This saves our landlords time, money, and aggravation; while securing them consistent and guaranteed income. Before explaining all the amazing things we do, let me review why you want Section 8 tenants.

  • Section 8 pays a portion of their rent, so you are guaranteed money every month.
  • Section 8 tenants must initially sign a year lease, which guarantees you income for one year. If the tenant breaks their lease, they’ll lose their Section 8.
  • Section 8 follows a consistent pay schedule. You’ll know for the next twelve months exactly when you’ll be receiving your Section 8 check.
  • Section 8 screens potential tenants for a criminal background prior to approving their voucher. If a tenant comes to us through Section 8 we already know that person has no violent offenses, no drug offenses, and is not a sex offender.

The benefits of Section 8 are clear, which is why we work so hard for our landlords to get and keep Section 8 tenants. Here is a run down of what we go through for our landlords.

Once a perspective tenant is approved for a Section 8 there is a good amount of paperwork that needs to be done. We do that for our landlords. This paper work needs to be delivered to the Section 8 office during normal business hours, which we also do for our landlords.

Once the paperwork is approved, an inspection is scheduled. These inspections are scheduled by the Section 8 inspector based on their schedule; not ours. They always come during normal business hours, and you have to be there. Well…our landlords don’t have to be there. They go about their normal day, while we fit the inspections into our schedule. If the unit passes the inspection, you can meet with the perspective tenant to sign the lease.

If the unit does not pass inspection, we will receive a letter in the mail a few days after the inspection with the list of items that need repaired. We then make all the needed repairs, and call to schedule a new inspection. This part of the process is vitally important. From the time the initial paperwork is turned in, you only have 30 days to get an approved inspection. After that the tenant is issued a new voucher, and they can go look at other units.

Luckily for our landlords, we have been through so many Section 8 inspections that we know the drill by heart. They check everything; every light, every outlet, every screen. We know that and we are prepared. Once we secure the Section 8 tenant, we do everything we can to keep that tenant happy and living in the unit. We go through new inspections every year with the Section 8 inspector.

Section 8 is a valuable resource for landlords, and being able to quickly and effectively close deals with perspective Section 8 tenants is the key to making the most with Section 8. We know all the ins and outs of the system, and we use that knowledge to provide our landlords with security and full units.

When is section 8 not good? Are there reasons not to use section 8?

We have talked about section 8 benefits and how we can help place a section 8 tenant and take care of the administrative burden.  However section 8 is not for every house.  There are several issues with CMHA

  • Not all administrators are the same- so Lorain County Metropolitan Housing Authority (LMHA), Erie Metropolitan Housing Authority (EMHA) and Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) are all very much different in their time frames and requirements. EMHA and LMHA are reasonable in their practices and all though not perfect, we like to deal with them.  CMHA is usually a last resort because they lose documents, have much more stringent inspections, every part of their process is likely to break at any time delaying landlords in getting their money and sometimes they will delay months in moving in a tenant only to tell you later that you will get $200 less than you had required for monthly rental and you also need an additional $5,000 in repairs that you wouldn’t need to do just to get market rent.
  • As alluded to there is a process to get a tenant qualified for a unit. For LMHA we can get this done in several weeks and EMHA is similar. CMHA can take several months. All of these have their delays however from the time a tenant puts a deposit down even on a non section 8 unit, there is usually a several week period before they move in and start paying rent.
  • It is understandable that if the government is paying a tenants rent, they want to make sure the unit is safe. Inspections are required but they can make delays and then of course they may require repairs. Some of those repairs should be done anyways but sometimes they are silly requirements that no open market renter would require.
  • With EMHA and LMHA it is possible to pretty much know up front what we can get for section 8 rent. For CMHA they do not tell you till after the inspection and the evaluation at time seem what they will pay seems random.  Basically however section 8 programs dictate what rent they will pay.  For most properties we can know up front if it is even a possibility to place a section 8 tenant.

Many landlords worry that a section 8 tenant will destroy their property.  Generally the area a property is in dictates the tenants that apply just as much as whether it is section 8 or not. We can screen section 8 tenants the same as every other tenant and the section 8 programs themselves police destructive tenants and they can lose their voucher for for destroying properties they rent.

About Realty Trust Services
Realty Trust Services is a licensed brokerage and property management company in based out of Lorain County with a service area from Sandusky to Cleveland Heights to Medina. Their team includes: Agents, Christopher Obrycki, Andrew Morris, Shanon Jones- Plas, Kari Taylor, Matthew Klein, Julie Musial and our other unlicensed team members including Steven Taylor, Bill Taylor, Greg Zadorozny, Kris Mrazik, Joyce Thomson, Matthew Harkins and David Stevoff. For more information on Realty Trust Services and how they can help with your property call 440-220-7300.

Do you have the Ohio’s worst tenant?

Think you have Lorain, Sandusky or Cleveland Areas worst tenant? Tell us about it and maybe we can help.

If you have yet to watch the show World’s Worst Tenant, you really need to watch it. It is a combination of hysterical and insightful. During each episode the team sets out to help a landlord deal with a difficult tenant situation. They face a wide variety of crazy situations. I’ve seen shows dealing with drug dealers, vandalism, and even an old couple that refused to stop smoking in the unit despite the fact they were on oxygen. One show in particular blew my mind; it was discovered that the tenant was running an illegal sweat shop out of his garage. Every night around 2:00 AM a van showed up and dropped off between 20 and 30 illegal immigrants, who then went to work sewing clothes in this guy’s garage. It was insane.

The World’s Worst Tenant team goes to great lengths to get to the root of the problem. They stake out the properties, they interview tenants and neighbors, and they even conduct property searches. Once they discover the issue, they are in contact with the landlord and often the police to get the situation resolved. However, they are working from behind. By the time they are called in, the issue being addressed has already caused other problems and cost the landlord a great deal of money. The better approach would be to work to prevent problems as opposed to dealing with them after the fact.

After seeing several episodes, something became increasingly clear. The landlords involved were mostly out of town landlords, who were not able to have daily or even weekly contact with their properties and tenants. In addition to frustration, these landlords were losing mass amounts of money trying to resolve the issues, repairing damages, and losing other tenants. The other common thread that becomes increasingly obvious throughout the show is that if these landlords had attentive property managers acting on their behalf and looking after the properties; these situations could have been avoided. This is true for out of town landlords, as well as local landlords, who just want to have a life away from their properties.

Among other things this is what we provide our landlords. We find tenants and carefully screen them before allowing them to sign a lease. Additionally, we monitor all the properties carefully, so if problems do arise, they are dealt with quickly and effectively. We maintain awareness of what is happening at each and every property, so our landlords don’t have to. This saves our landlords a great deal of frustration and money. We take care of damages to the properties when they happen to prevent the damage from increasing. We also work closely with the city inspectors, Section 8 inspectors, and police, when necessary. We do everything we need to in order to provide our landlords with the best possible service.

About Realty Trust Services
Realty Trust Services is a licensed brokerage and property management company in based out of Lorain County with a service area from Sandusky to Cleveland Heights to Medina. Their team includes: Agents, Christopher Obrycki, Andrew Morris, Shanon Jones- Plas, Kari Taylor, Matthew Klein, Julie Musial and our other unlicensed team members including Steven Taylor, Bill Taylor, Greg Zadorozny, Kris Mrazek, Joyce Thomson, Matthew Harkins and David Stevoff. For more information on Realty Trust Services and how they can help with your property call 440-220-7300.

Is a profesional property manager worth it?

I found this article in allthingspropertymanagement.com to be very instructive in what is happening in Lorain County.  There is a whole cottage industry of unlicensed property managers out there.  Many people are going into it because of the flood of out of town money coming in to take up the slack in the depressed sales prices.  Of course out of town money means out of town owners who need in town folks to manage the property hands on.

Salvatore Friscia, a long time property manager recaps a conversation with a down on his luck business owner that mentions off hand he plans to do a little property management on the side to make ends meet.

This is of course a very scary thing that one would think of property management work as a kind of contingency plan.  If you are a owner, you want a professional team with a plan and the resources to implement the plan with your property.  Repairs need to be taken care of in a timely manner.  Your money needs to be handled carefully and you need up to date reports of how your assets are being handled. You need someone who can screen tenants and deal with their complaints professionally.

Steve Aubertin an experienced manager commented on that blog:

In 2005 I began managing a 13 unit pre 1978 multifamily apartment building for a property owner that was new to the business. To make a long story short He thought I was a little too strict about the rent being on time. He thought if I was “nice” his tenants would be happier and get caught up. I tried to explain to him that it was a safer practice to put out notices as soon as the rent was late if the tenant paid it could always be canceled. Unfortunately for me he decided to rely on a tenant as the resident manager, then he tried a couple of other sales agents over the next couple of years.

Finally, about a month ago I got a phone call and they were ready to have a professional manager. The building had a 40% vacancy rate and half of the current tenants were between 6 to 10 months in arrearages.

I have a lot of work to do to get this building back on track but it does make my fee look cheap when you compare it to lost opportunity and rent.

Steve’s comment summarizes my sentiments on this subject well. For years before getting into property management I wanted too. However I was well aware of how risky for my clients it would be to be a part time property manager. So as a company we delayed doing property management until we could put together a team of experienced individuals that we were assured could do an A Plus Job at servicing clients.

We hear a lot of stories of people coming to us after having had a friend of their managing the property and now the property is vacant and destroyed and we have to try and get in their and make it profitable again. It is amazing how quickly a property can go from hero to zero with management that is not quick to respond.

Bedbugs… what is the Lorain County landlord liability?

Bed bugs are becoming a huge problem for Lorain County Landlords these days.  The question is what is the liability to landlords?  Does a landlord need to pay to exterminate bed bugs, when it is the tenants fault for possibly bringing them in to the home in the first place? We aren’t attorneys and can’t answer that question directly for every scenario.

However landlords do have the responsibility for maintaining the safety of their buildings.  In multi unit properties a landlord should probably shoulder the responsibility as blame for infestation is even more difficult to ascertain.  In a single family home it is still possible that a landlord will be responsible as the cause of an infestation is very difficult to prove and the bugs are a real health threat.

Here is a research paper on bed bugs from Ohio State University.

Here is an attorney article on bed bugs and rentals.

Lorain County Bed Bugs Article.

Feel free to comment below on local bed bug experiences.  Bed bug mitigation is very expensive and often doesn’t work. There are however many new treatments coming out.

If you as the landlord have bed bugs on your property, this is a real bummer, regardless of whether you have professional property management or not.  At Realty Trust Services we are able to help you in treating infestations and handling the tenant dram that is involved so you can go on with life as usual.

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With more than 45 years of investment property management experience our expert team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

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