Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why we do not Like American Home Shield

Sometimes I am on call on the weekends in case of a property emergencies. This time of year we get a lot of air conditioning problems so that makes up the majority of our emergency calls.

This past weekend we received a call from a resident of a property we manage whose owner has purchased a home warranty from American Home Shield.  Their a/c was not working and the temperature was climbing.  I promptly called AHS to report the problem.  After a 35 minute hold, I was informed that a technician would be at the property within 24 hours. Of course I told them this was unacceptable. This is Florida in July. Temperatures were approaching 90 degrees in the home. I was then asked by AHS whether I considered this an emergency. I responded that it was. When the customer service agent returned to the phone she stated that they checked the temperatures for our area and did not find them extreme enough to consider it an emergency. (It was 88 degrees outside with high humidity).  I was then asked whether there was a known health condition of any of the occupants. I responded that I did not know of any but that there would be shortly if we did not get service that day. After more arguing she reluctantly agreed to send this out as a Health emergency but informed me that if the technician discovered this to be untrue, then I could be responsible for after hour charges. I was willing to take that risk.

In the end, their a/c tech never responded and the tenant spent another sleepless night (and I spent another half hour on hold.  At that point we were allowed to use our own vendor but they had to call AHS with a diagnosis and get authorization. That meant that the tech, which was extremely busy, would have to wait around for ½ hour waiting on hold to speak with someone.  In the end, it was not a covered repair and the owner had to pay for it anyway.

If we had been able to use our vendor in the first place, I would have saved an hour on hold on a weekend, the resident would have had service that day and would have been much more comfortable, safe and less angry.

A few days later, we had another property with an A/C problem which was “protected” by AHS. After responding to the property it was determined that a part was needed and the repair would take place in 3-5 business days. We promptly informed them to take a hike and called our own vendor (with the owners approval). 

That is why we do not like American Home Shield

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

So How is the Rental Market?


I get this question multiple times each day from existing and prospective investors so I want to share some information that I have been gleaning from articles and observations.

The short answer is the rental market is strong and projected to remain strong for the foreseeable future.  Fannie Mae says the foreclosure crisis will drive 3 million former homeowners to rent single family homes between 2010 and 2015. Single family home rental was the fastest growing part of the rental market from 2005-2010.

In the next 5-10 years, you’ll see tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions, of dollars of private equity pouring into the single family rental business says Justin Chang, Principal of investment firm Colony Capital. So are we becoming a “Renters Society”?


We have been hearing a lot in the press about how we are becoming a renters society. They espouse the theory that the recent real estate upheaval has changed people’s perception of owning their own home.  Articles in USA Today for example tout that people are discovering the joys of renting as opposed to owning their homes.  Cited as examples are no maintenance expenses, no property taxes, greater mobility, more discretionary money available from not having mortgage payments, taxes and repairs.

I don’t buy it though. I still believe that the American Dream is to own your own home, and there are statistics to back this up. A recent Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Coldwell Banker, found that 83% of renters want to own homes. However, I believe we will not see people moving back into home ownership for the next several years.  Down payments have to be saved up,  credit history mended, and employment security achieved.

So, where does that leave us now in the rental business?  We are just beginning to catch the wave. How big the wave or how long the ride we don’t know, but we are in the right place at the right time. So lets jump in and enjoy the ride. Invest now at a discount, Enjoy rising rent rates while watching your property appreciate. SURFS UP EVERONE!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Best Time to Get Your Property on the Market

Dear Scott,

If you just purchased a rental property, had a tenant move out, or are thinking of converting your vacation home into an annual rental, you're probably wondering what your chances are of getting your property rented quickly. You'll be glad to know that now is the best time to get your property on the market.
More people rent annually during the first half of the year than the second half. There are a variety of reasons for this:  
  • Most people move around the end of the school year.
  • People want to be in their new home and settled for the new school year.
  • The second half of the year has many family holidays, and most people don't want to move during that time.
One of the slowest months for annual rentals is August, in fact reports that there is a two-thirds drop in online traffic during that month, owing to the reasons listed above, and last-minute vacations. So if you're even marginally thinking about getting your rental home on the market, do it sooner rather than later. 

Higher Demand
And if you need another good reason to get your feet wet in the rental market, you need to know that this is more than just a great season for rentals. It's a great year. There is greater demand for rentals, so you'll get a quality renter quicker and be able to command higher rent rates, which translates into more money in your pocket.
So now that you're seriously thinking about joining the scores of other homeowners who are cashing in on their rental homes, seriously consider calling us at Sarasota Management and Leasing. All the homes, townhomes and condos we manage for our clients have the shortest amount of days on the market because we are aggressive and highly-effective in our marketing and leasing practices. We know our market inside and out, and we know how to find the best and most responsible renters for your property.
What's more, we know how to handle challenging renter issues. We have clear policies and procedures that we follow to protect you and your property. We also know how to effectively and tactfully handle many situations with the goal of keeping valuable renters in your property, so that you have as much ongoing rental income as possible.

Get Your Feet Wet
It's truly a landlord's market right now, so hike up your jeans and wade into the rental market. If you use Sarasota Management and Leasing as your partner, you'll be really glad you did.     

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Investors Get Ready for FHFA's Foreclosure Bulk Sales

For any "Mega Investors" out there, here comes Fanny Mae sale of foreclosed properties to rental investors. Its the governments way of bolstering home prices, but what it will do to rental rates is unclear. It will certainly put some downward pressure on rental prices, but just how much is anyone's guess. Whenever the government tries to "fix" something they broke in the first place it is wise to take cover.

Investors Get Ready for FHFA's Foreclosure Bulk Sales

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tenants, Not Price, Key to Successful Real Estate Investments, Says MACK Companies | Page 2 of 2

This is a great article about looking for A rated Tenants and offering A rated properties in A rated areas. The success formula for owning rental properties.

Tenants, Not Price, Key to Successful Real Estate Investments, Says MACK Companies | Page 2 of 2