Property management, Strategies for Managing Rental Property

Managing a rental property seems like a walk in the park, but all the moving parts can quickly fall apart if not done correctly. So, once you have the property, the work is far from done. Whether you are a novice or seasoned landlord, there are numerous aspects to consider, including ensuring the contracts are legally binding, maintaining your books and costs, chasing down late fees, and making sure the property is up to code. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to become a successful landlord, be it being completely hands-off, outsourcing some of it or doing it all on your own. However, starting the management yourself allows you to see all the moving parts needed, and therefore know what to outsource. In this post, we are going to discuss the common rental property management strategies and if it is a good idea to do it on your own.

Strategy 1. Mastering the Basic Processes

The Tenants

It is quite obvious you’ll need to manage tenants in your rental property. Being a successful landlord does not mean sitting back and watching the rent checks flow in. There is a lot of work involved, from finding tenants and vetting them to handling requests, late payments, and evictions.

Finding Tenants

This is the first step to have your property units occupied. The best way to do this is by casting your net far and wide. Of course, the number of units you need to be occupied and your region’s rental market are big factors. Some of the best ways to find great tenants include:

-Hosting an open house

-Advertising on rental websites and Craiglist

-Using social media to garner attention through word of mouth.

Screening Tenants

After finding potential candidates, you’ll need to screen them. This means ensuring you understand and comply with fair housing laws. Also, you will need to perform background checks to show the potential tenants’ rental and criminal history. Once you are satisfied, verify their credit by doing a credit check.

Ensuring the Property is Habitable and Safe

As a landlord, it’s your duty to provide a rental property of a particular standard. That being said, here are several considerations to make:

-The property is up to code

-It has safety equipment such as fire extinguishers

-It’s free of rodents, roaches and pests

-Heat, hot water and other basics

When the tenant moves in, you will also need to manage complaints as well as repair requests. In order to streamline the process, consider setting up processes and systems to fix any issues. This can include providing various communication channels, prioritizing repairs, and whether you want to hire professionals or do it on your own.

Strategy 2. Outsourcing

The process of becoming a thriving landlord may feel overwhelming or intimidating for most people, especially if you are a novice. That is why there are options, do everything on your own, outsource all of it, or part of it.

If you decide to manage the property on your own, you get to know exactly what’s going on in your business. However, you will be tied up and might be able to handle issues in a prompt manner. You might find yourself spending too much time in the business that you do not have the time to strategize on how to grow and scale.

On the other hand, you might lack expertise in the legalities and taxes, which might cost you more than you bargained for. Perhaps you overlooked some things in the lease agreement and need to attend to the legal issues that spruce up.

Even though it can cost more to outsource rental property management, doing so frees time and space to spend on other aspects of the investment. This is particularly the case if you have multiple rental properties or do not live close to the residence.

Keep in mind that you do not need to outsource every aspect and can always go back to doing it yourself if things don’t work out.

Austin Sparks joined CW Sparks Management in 2008, and now serves as the company’s designated broker. He is responsible for the oversight of all marketing, management, and financial operations, as well as all licensee activities and compliance with the Texas Real Estate Commission. He is a married father of 4, with a passion for investing in businesses and real estate. He enjoys spreadsheets & high adventure outdoors.

Foundation, How to Fix Foundation Problems

Have you discovered cracks in the house foundation? You need to take steps to fix any kind of foundation problem now in order to avoid major structural damage to your home. There could be a number of causes of foundation issues and it is important for you to begin the foundation repair process as soon as you discover a problem. Depending on the type and extent of the problem, you could go the DIY route or hire the services of an expert specializing in foundation repair problems.

Almost all the foundations issues can be fixed if addressed early. If you keep waiting, a small issue could turn into a major problem and then, you might have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to fix the foundation. Here is what you need to do in order to understand what foundation repairs are needed.

Before you can fix a problem, you need to determine its cause. If you do not have any idea about foundation problems or you have read a lot online but are still unable to locate the problem, get in touch with an expert with experience in foundation repair to figure out the real cause of foundation damage. These experts have worked with hundreds of foundations and can locate the real problems. You will have to pay for their services but their expertise can help you save thousands of dollars in the long run.

If you have looked around the foundation and there is a visible crack from the outside, begin by digging a hole there to uncover the crack. Keep digging till you have cleared enough soil to reach below the damaged area. If your house has a basement, call a contractor to excavate the area with the help of a backhoe. Do not try to do it manually as it will take you a long time to do it manually. If you have some experience in operating construction machinery, there is always the option of renting the necessary equipment to do everything yourself. However, don’t do it on your own in case you do not have any experience in handling these machines as you might end up doing a lot more harm.

Fix the exterior part first before moving onto the interior part. Once you have located the crack, start chiseling to remove all the loose concrete around the crack. Make sure the crack is dust free and completely dry. There are silicon-based concrete sealants available in the market. These are expandable sealants which means once you fill them in the crack, these will expand and fill the crack. Fill the crack with these sealants and give it some time to dry completely. Replace the soil only when the sealant is completely dry. This process should also be repeated on the inside.

Foundation problems could also be caused by other issues. If the basement walls bow inwards, you will need to get in touch with a structural foundation contractor as it is a serious problem. Before doing anything, the foundation needs to be stabilized or the house will move. One of the simplest ways to fix the problem is to bring in some extra soil to create a slope. It will make sure that the water moves away from the foundation and does not get into the soil near the foundation.

Overall, it is important for you to take steps to fix the foundation issues as soon as you notice a problem instead of waiting for the problem to bloom into a structural issue. Call a foundation repair expert to find out the real cause of the problem and get it fixed right away.

Richard Earls Construction is a general contractor that has 28 years of experience and provides the New Orleans area with foundation specialist, new home construction, residential construction, commercial construction and more.

Drain cleaner, What can I pour down a drain to unclog it?

Stuck with a clogged drain? Don’t fret. You are not alone. Millions of households deal with clogged or Overflowing drains regularly, and it is not that uncommon. Any kind of drain such as those in the sink, shower or bathtub can get clogged and here is what you should do to unclog the drain.

One of the first things you should do when you’re dealing with a clogged drain is to pour some water down the drain before doing anything else. In case regular water doesn’t work, try again with boiling water. When you are pouring boiling water in the drain, only pour a few cups first and wait for a few minutes to allow it to work. Do not forget to wear some protection to avoid accidentally burning yourself. After pouring the hot water, try pouring in regular water after a few minutes. If the clogging is still there, pour some more boiled water followed by regular water. Repeat this process a couple of times. If it doesn’t work, here is what you should do next.

When the hot water trick doesn’t work, try pouring hot water mixed with a dish liquid soap. Take a good amount of liquid soap, preferably a few cups and pour it down the drain. Since the dish liquid soap is extremely slippery, it should help whatever is clogging the drain to slide down. After pouring the liquid soap, wait for a few minutes and pour some regular water into the drain to see whether the material clogging the drain has gone down. If the drain is still clogged, boil some water and pour it down the drain after pouring a few cups of liquid soap. Repeat this cycle a few times and the clogging should clear.

If the mix of hot water and liquid soap doesn’t work, you can try a mix of baking soda and salt. Baking soda and salt is usually there in every kitchen. So, you need to mix baking soda and salt in equal proportions. Pour this mix down the drain and let it work its magic for 30 to 60 minutes. After waiting for around an hour, pour some regular water into the drain. If the clogging is still there, follow the baking soda and salt trick with a combination of liquid soap and hot water and that should clear the clogging.

Baking soda has a lot more uses when it comes to clogged drains. If the combination of baking soda and salt doesn’t work for you, you can try a combination of baking soda and vinegar. Mix vinegar and baking soda in the ratio of 2:1 and pour this mix down the drain. Allow it to work its magic for around 40 minutes. Pour some water into the drain after 40 minutes and see if the clogging is gone.

The point of using these tricks is that all the materials are easily available in every house and these materials do not cause any harm to the pipeline. When it comes to using off the shelf drain cleaning products, keep in mind that not all the products are meant for use in all kinds of drains. Some of these drain cleaners might damage plastic pipes or other kinds of pipes. In short, you need to know which drain cleaner to use for your drains depending on the material of the drain pipe.

Overall, there are a number of ways you can unclog a drain with the help of some common household products lying around. The combination of baking soda, vinegar, salt or hot water and liquid soap should work most of the time. However, if any of the tips mentioned above doesn’t work, it’s better to call in a professional and let them figure out a safe way to unclog the drain.

SOS Drain Services is a Calgary drain cleaning and clog removal specialist, providing prompt, affordable drain cleaning to both residential and commercial clients since 1992. SOS Drain Services 4544 14 St NE4544 14 St NE Calgary, AB T2E 6T7, Canada

Designer Guide to ADA Signs, Regulatory compliance

It is important for all businesses to meet California ADA guidelines. If a business is open to the public, then the business must mount certain types of signs. While having to mount signs can be a hassle, there are serious legal repercussions for businesses that do not display the right type of signage. If designers keep these tips in mind, they’ll be able to comply with regulations and display all necessary signage.

Determine Which Signs Are Required

While the ADA Standards for Accessible Design have a lot of information about signage requirements, these requirements aren’t always clear to designers. For example, many types of signage, such as signs that contain braille, only need to be hung in permanent rooms. How can designers determine whether or not a room is temporary? As a rule of thumb, signs need to be hung in any room that will have the same function for more than seven days.

Beyond that, signs need to be hung in or around any space that is related to safety, such as elevators or fire exits. Signs do not need to be hung in areas that are not designed for public use or outside of the building. However, signage does need to be displayed in accessible parking spaces.

Find Out Where Signs Need To Be Hung

Any permanent space that is open to the public needs to display the appropriate ADA signs. In addition, these signs must be hung in the right location. Signs should be hung in the interior of any public room that will serve the same function for 7 days or more.

Types of rooms that require signs include restrooms, breakrooms, and kitchens. Designers should look closely at buildings and determine where signage is needed and what kind of signage is necessary. For example, if a pictogram sign is displayed, a text description may also be necessary.

Make Sure Signs Are Displayed At The Right Height

When signage is hung, it must be displayed at a height that will allow people to see and read the sign easily. The lowest that an ADA sign can be displayed at is 48 inches from the floor. A sign cannot be hung higher than 60 inches from the floor.

If a sign is hung at the wrong height, you could face penalties, even if the sign meets all other guidelines for ADA compliance. Because of this, it’s important to clearly define the location where signs should be hung. Make sure that any signage that is in use can easily be seen.

What To Do If You Can’t Mount A Sign In A Specified Location

In some cases, it may not be possible to hang a sign in a specific location. As an example, there may not be enough space to hang a sign in the area that is specified. In these scenarios, the ADA allows the sign to be mounted on the nearest adjacent wall, providing that the sign is still clearly visible.

With that said, there are areas in which signs cannot be hung. As an example, a sign should not be mounted on a door. Designers need to work to find the best location for any signs that need to be hung. When in doubt, it is always best to consult ADA regulations before proceeding.

Regulatory compliance is crucial for all businesses. Any business that is open to the public needs to display the appropriate signage in permanent spaces. Designers should work to determine the type of signage that is needed and find the right locations for signs to be hung. Signage can promote safety and keep a business safe.

David LoPresti, co-owner of ADA Compliance Professionals, brings years of architectural design and ADA compliance experience to the table. With a mother who has had a life-long disability, he has seen first-hand the complexity and challenges of making a property ADA compliant. This experience has led to him dedicating his life to improving ADA access for businesses across California so they can be enjoyed by all.

What To Check When You’re About To Buy A Home

Buying a new property can be both exciting and stressful. Exciting because you’ll finally have a property you can call your own and stressful because it’s not as easy as shopping for a pair of jeans. It’s much more complicated than that. Many people seem to think that house hunting is all about presentation. While it’s true that design is crucial, it’s not the only factor to consider. First time homebuyers make the mistake of buying properties without consulting professional real estate agents from They buy houses out of impulse because they simply loved the location or because they were drawn to the color scheme of the house. They didn’t go down to the nitty-gritty and in the end, they ended up in regret. You see, in real estate you have to be wise. Making mistakes are risky because remember, properties cost millions of dollars. When you invest in these properties you are taking away a huge chunk of your savings. Therefore, as much as possible, avoid making mistakes. The upside to have a broker is they know what you want and they’re going to help you find the right home for you.

If you’re going house hunting, there are several things you should look into. Let’s find out what these are.

Check the Roof

One of the most common mistakes homebuyers make is failing to check the condition of the roof. It’s easy to miss this one because you don’t see it. As they say, out of sight out of mind. However, this is very important especially if you are moving to a hurricane-prone area. Roofs should be made of durable, high quality materials so they can withstand extreme weather temperatures and other external elements. It should also be free of mold and mildew as this can create health problems for you and your family.

Check the Structural Integrity Of The House

Of course, anyone who is trying to sell his or her home is going to repaint the walls to make it look more attractive. Don’t be fooled by a property’s paint job but be more concerned about the structure of the home. The foundation of the property is more valuable than painted walls so make sure to check it out before you commit.

Check for Mold and Mildew

You’ll know if a property has mold if you notice a strong musty odor inside. Black spots on kitchen counters, sinks and bathroom tiles also indicate the presence of mold. You see, mold is highly toxic so if you buy a house, which has mold, you are putting you and your family’s health in danger. Inhaling mold spores can cause lung problems and in rare cases even death. If the only problem the house has is mold you can ask the previous homeowners to pay for a mold removal/remediation service.

Check the Plumbing

There is more to what meets the eye. Even the most grandiose-looking house can turn out to be a real horror if you don’t do a careful inspection. One of the things to check is plumbing. Evaluate the condition of the pipes under the sink and check for mold, water damage and leaks.

Check the Neighborhood

Assuming the house is in 100% pristine condition, are you going to buy it? Before you sign that contract and before you hand over your payment, make sure you’ve done your research about the neighborhood. Many homeowners regret living in a particular house because they were not informed of the high crime rate in that area.

As you can see, house hunting can be complex but with the assistance of real estate agents, they can make experience a breeze!

Nancy Alperin of Maxwell Realty has not only a keen understanding of real estate, but a genuine passion for it. She believes in garnering client respect by listening to their needs and delivering results for them. Her in-depth knowledge of the Philadelphia real estate market plus her ability to broker complicated deals with infinite finesse enable her to navigate the challenging elements of buying, selling or leasing properties while making it all appear seamless. This is also strengthened by her years of owning, buying and selling for her own portfolio. Committed to the health and longevity of her father's company, Nancy has helped Maxwell Realty Company, Inc. achieve its reputation for unparalleled service as well as for being an innovative and rewarding work environment for its associates.