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Keep informed with Florida’s Property Management Industry, informative articles by industry leaders.  A great resource for Property Owners, Board Members of Condos & HOA’s and Property Management Professionals.

Avoid the property management roller coaster

Avoid the property management roller coaster

  • Posted: Oct 07, 2015
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Avoid the property management roller coaster by heeding expert advice.   We’ve learned a lot along the way as property managers ourselves, running our business, listening to others, and what they did, then doing our own research and offering this information to all of our fellow property managers. South Florida Property Management Association was started with the goal of bringing together Florida’s property management professionals uniting our industry learning from one another. Helping our industry grow, through information and communication with one another. Many of our goals have exceeded our expectations this year: Not only did we bring many property managers and companies together, we started bringing into the association vendors and business professionals, these hard-working Florida companies that do work in our buildings and our communities.  We will aid the managers by sales and specials service and business companies run every day.  Note that every one of these service and business members save you money off the final bills to members.  Many of the service members have got work through membership, Some are now the only companies that the community association’s and Condo Board managers use. That was another goal we exceeded and this is ongoing forming relationships within the association. This year brings many new and exciting improvements to our association, we are asking not only the buildings members but the residents living in the buildings they manage: if they need work in their homes, condos they can use companies on the directory through your management’s membership, Our service members will benefit from the addition of the owners ability to find and use the repair services members provide. The next time one of the owners in the condo’s needs work you can tell them to choose through your membership one of the service and business companies on the directories.   Here are the questions we have answer’s to on the associations website:  When investors are looking for management for the condo, new properties, vacation rentals, investment properties, they come to SFPMA.COM. We let them learn and choose one of our members for the management they need.   What Legal Status Should You Have? Does Your Team Have Proper Licensing? Will You Become a Member of at Least One Real Estate or Property Management Association? What Property Management Fees Should You Charge? How Do You Track Income and Expenses? How Many Properties Should a Property Manager Manage? How Much Should a Property Manager Get Paid? What Will Your Company Culture Look Like? How Will You Provide Amazing Customer Service? How Will You Market Your Company? How Will You Handle Property Inspections? What Vendors Will You Need? Should You Hire an Accountant and a Lawyer?…

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Partnering in our Industry – How we help!

Partnering in our Industry – How we help!

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2015
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The Maus Law Firm has partnered with Michael Ross-Public Adjuster, and Contractors: Contich Construction, & Dry Concepts they are ready for the Claim & Repairs you have. Read about the partnership.   We are always looking ahead, Building relationships in our industry and with members. Mr Michael Ross LoBiondo became a member while we were speaking it was brought up in conversation, “Why dont you contact other members that can work together helping Building Owners, Board Members and Owners with the claims they may have where they live”. In that week meetings were set uniting Joe Maus – Owner of the Maus Law Firm, located in Broward County along with connecting Michael Ross LoBiondo with Contich Construction -Its owner Curt Contich, A State Licensed General Contracting Company located in Broward County. Mr LoBiondo brought in Dry Concepts – Dry Concepts is a licensed and certified Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning company, Where this team is equipped to handle any Claim, Legal Issue, Repair & Cleanup with any given Building Claim Problem that arises.

    Many Do not know what we do? Building Relationships with Property Managers in Florida – South Florida is where is starts, but going that extra mile with members is where we thrive. Over the last year the South Florida Property Management Association has made many changes. First it is with our website SFPMA.com and the new design helps members and clients find information in a much better way. Setting up our new division FIND-A-SERVICE the fully mapped and social directory where anyone looking for Property Management, Business and Service Professionals can find these professionals.   Other Features we are working on are; Our Industry Calendar on our website now – as we get notifications for events that are going on we set these on the Upcoming Events Page and share these with our members and the industry The Sales & Specials Page – This Feature is still ongoing Categories are setup where clients, Managers, and the Industry can find any sale on services and businesses set by members of SFPMA. The Goal “Save money before you start a project” The Benefit is; through sharing these bring awareness to the top services that members provide. This year we have been going to buildings with informative meetings letting the Owners that live in these buildings know that they can Find-A-Service on our Directory – and utilize the Membership that the building has through the Property Manager.  Think of it – The Management Company is one – The Owners, Tenants, HOA’s, Multi-Family, Private Home Owners, and Rentals are Many. With this addition it is our goal to bring more awareness to our members and the companies affiliated with SFPMA. As we get calls we direct the calls to our members.

We hope that you will make the decision to join SFPMA and get listed on FIND-A-SERVICE DIRECTORY.  ( MEMBERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES )…

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How to Find (and Screen) Awesome Vendors

How to Find (and Screen) Awesome Vendors

  • Posted: Jul 12, 2015
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Be Prepared When the Unexpected Happens It is not a matter of if a natural (or manmade) disaster will strike, but when. I suggest making a list of the vendors you will need if your property is affected by a natural disaster and have them screened now! For example, it is a well-documented fact that unscrupulous people crawl out of the woodwork as soon as the all clear is sounded and will try to take advantage of storm victims. This precautionary step may prevent you from becoming a victim for a second time.   How to Find (and Screen) Awesome Vendors So how do you find and screen vendors? Here are a few tips: Location and hours:You should start the process of elimination by the distance from your property, hours or operation (having the ability to reach someone 24/7 if you need to), and other aspects you like or don’t. Business and professional licenses:Has either license been suspended or revoked? Unlicensed vendors should be avoided. You want to know the status of the state, county, or city license if required by local statutes. Insurance and bonding:It is important to know if the vendor has insurance to cover any damages if necessary and who is the bonding agency and how much is the bond. Experience and dependability: How long the vendor has been in business and at the current location? You might want to go to the business, meet the owner, get feel of how the operation is run (is it clean, organized, etc.), and sign the necessary documents. I am suspicious of a business that only gives a post office box as a physical address. Civil and criminal history of the vendor:To get a full picture, it is necessary to search the records of the county and circuit clerk of court. Clearly a business that has been sued for breach of contract or has a criminal record for fraud, for example, is to be avoided. Background check and drug screening:Does the vendor require pre-employment background checks and conduct random drug testing? As the person hiring a vendor, you have a legal responsibility to show due diligence in the selection process to protect not only the property but the tenants. Inspection records:If this is a business that is required by law to pass regular inspection, when was the last inspection, and what were the results? Having unsafe or unreliable equipment is the last thing you want on your property! Professional network:A vendor who is a member of the Better Business Bureau or the local Chamber of Commerce tends to be more reliable and dependable — and have an established reputation.   Seeking Professional Help Now you ask: Why should I hire a consumer reporting agency like Gold Shield to conduct the screening? Can’t I just log on to a website? There actually are a few reasons: A consumer reporting agency (CRA) that conducts this type of screening has the expertise and resources to get the answers and can take time to verify the results. Some searches are, by their nature, better handled by hand. No vendor is going to brag about having a record of cutting corners, so the investigator may have to dig for that one.  …

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Associations Right to Evict

Associations Right to Evict

  • Posted: Jul 12, 2015
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Associations Right to Evict . . Associations can evict Tenants of property owners. In response to the unreasonable amount of property owners who are renting out their properties and collecting rents but have unpaid Association dues or assessments, the Florida legislature changed added a new weapon for Associations. For Condominium Associations, its Sec. 718.116, Florida Statutes, and for Homeowners Associations, its Sec. 720.3085, Florida Statutes, which allow for the evictions of tenants directly by Associations.     When Can Associations Evict Tenants? A unit owner owes a duty to pay assessments and dues to the Association. If a unit owner has unpaid assessments, dues, or owes any other sums to the Association, the Association can perform an eviction of the tenant as if the Association was the landlord of the tenant.     What Are the Conditions to the Association Evicting a Tenant? The Association must first send a Notice to the unit owner and tenant, informing them that future rents must be paid to the Association until all unpaid sums due the Association are paid.   Is There Specific Language for the Notice? The Notice to be sent to the unit owner and tenant should state, in materially the following form, as follows:     For Condominium Associations: Pursuant to section 718.116(11), Florida Statutes, the association demands that you pay your rent directly to the condominium association and continue doing so until the association notifies you otherwise. Payment due the condominium association may be in the same form as you paid your landlord and must be sent by United States mail or hand delivery to …(full address)…, payable to …(name)… Your obligation to pay your rent to the association begins immediately, unless you have already paid rent to your landlord for the current period before receiving this notice. In that case, you must provide the association written proof of your payment within 14 days after receiving this notice and your obligation to pay rent to the association would then begin with the next rental period. Pursuant to section 718.116(11), Florida Statutes, your payment of rent to the association gives you complete immunity from any claim for the rent by your landlord for all amounts timely paid to the association.     For Homeowners Associations: Pursuant to section 720.3085(8), Florida Statutes, we demand that you make your rent payments directly to the homeowners’ association and continue doing so until the association notifies you otherwise. Payment due the homeowners’ association may be in the same form as you paid your landlord and must be sent by United States mail or hand delivery to (full address), payable to (name) . Your obligation to pay your rent to the association begins immediately, unless you have already paid rent to your landlord for the current period before receiving this notice. In that case, you must provide the association written proof of your payment within 14 days after receiving this notice and your obligation to pay rent to the association would then begin with the next rental period. Pursuant to section 720.3085(8), Florida Statutes, your payment of rent to the association gives you complete immunity from any claim for the rent by your landlord.     Can the Unit Owner Evict the Tenant if they Pay Rent to the Association? Under Florida law, the unit owner complying with the Notice requiring the tenant to pay the rent to the Association is precluded from evicting the tenant for alleged failure to pay the rent to the Association.     THE LANDLORD’S LIEN – LANDLORD IS SEEKING MONEY FOR UNPAID RENT The following procedure can be used when the tenant(s) is evicted and Removed by the Sheriff, but leaves personal property in the rental property and the Landlord wants to sell the personal property to satisfy money owed for accrued rent. Note that the best procedure is to allow the Sheriff to perform the Removal even if the Landlord knows that the tenant(s) has vacated or abandoned the rental property. The lease agreement must be consulted to ensure there are no provisions therein which contradict the procedures allowed a Landlord as to asserting and enforcing a Landlord’s Lien. The process involves filing a new lawsuit against the tenant(s) which includes a count for foreclosure of a Landlord’s Lien. It is commenced after the eviction is concluded, including the Sheriff’s Removal. The starting point is for the Landlord to determine that there is personal property in the rental property after the tenant(s) is evicted. Also, the Landlord does not have a lien on property that is not the tenant(s). The Landlord’s Lien Foreclosure Action is a separate lawsuit, and general rules of court apply. However, the Landlord is allowed expedited proceedings, meaning the Court must move the case along quickly to conclusion, and only the 5 day summons, such as in evictions, is used. However, generally, the evicted tenant(s) must be personally served by a process server with the Landlord’s Lien Foreclosure Action and Summons, as compared to an eviction where the process server can post the notice on the door. Thus, an address to the evicted tenant(s), such as a new residence or work, has to be determined. The conclusion of the case allows the Sheriff to hold a public sale wherein the evicted tenant(s)’ personal property is sold. The Sheriff takes a small fee for the services it provides, and the remainder, up to the amount owed the Landlord for unpaid accrued rent and the Landlord’s attorney’s fees as well as costs, are given to the Landlord.  …

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checklist to help you so you can get your chores done quickly, leaving you time to go outside and play in the sunshine

checklist to help you so you can get your chores done quickly, leaving you time to go outside and play in the sunshine

  • Posted: Jul 12, 2015
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Changes in your life or lifestyle mean you should update your auto, home and umbrella insurance coverage. You may find you can save money by dropping unneeded coverage (say, for a child who has left for college) or that you need extra insurance (say, for heirloom jewelry you’ve just inherited)   Renovations to your main home or a new building on your property (say, a gazebo) can mean you’re underinsured and need to increase the value of the structures coverage on your home policy. This is especially important if you’ve put in a lot of money into renovation, or expanded your square footage You need a policy review if you’ve bought (or inherited) any jewelry, fine arts, furs or collectibles such as wines, instruments, coins, guns or cameras. These are items you may want to list separately, or it may be cheaper to include them under a “collectibles rider.” You also need revisions if your collectibles have appreciated in value. It’s hard to believe, but people forget to take old cars off their policies when they trade in one car for another. If you have any motorized toys, such as all-terrain vehicles, boats, or jet skis, make sure that your underlying auto or home policies, as well as your umbrella, cover your use of these. If your teenager starts driving or you let an au pair or nanny drive your car, you must add him or her to your policy. Before you buy a car specifically for this new driver’s use, check the impact on your premiums. Some carriers will let you assign a young driver to a clunker, while others assume a young driver is using most valuable car in your garage, making it cheaper not to add another car.   Your Kids Are Leaving Home If your kids go to college out of town, call your auto insurer–they’ll still be on your policy, but the policy’s cost should go down. If they move out permanently, make sure to take them off your auto policy. If you transfer ownership of your house, artwork, a car or any other asset into the name of a trust, limited liability company or family limited partnership, you need to add the entity as an additional insured on your policy. If you’ve transferred the home you live in to a trust for estate planning purposes, you want both your name and the name of the trust on the policy. No matter what’s going on in your life, you should review your insurance coverage at least once a year. The easiest time to do this is when the renewal notices come. Your insurer (or agent) will notify you of changes or “amendments” to your policies, for better or worse. Read that new fine print, as it may mean you need to take action.   Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris. Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects. Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood. From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer. Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep. Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete. Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure. Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot. Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis. Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yardwork easier.   DID YOU KNOW? Your homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover flood damage. That requires a separate flood policy. Your homeowner’s policy could, however, cover other damage that is water related. Call us today to see what endorsements and exclusions are on your homeowner’s policy!   You visit your doctor for a yearly checkup… why wouldn’t you do the same with your insurance agent? An annual review of your insurance policies is recommended because your financial situation can change year to year. A review doesn’t have to be time consuming like most people think. If you haven’t been getting a yearly review, it makes sense to start now. There is little to be gained by carrying the wrong types or amounts of insurance and so much, potentially, to be lost!  …

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Failure to communicate can lead to a manager’s failure

Failure to communicate can lead to a manager’s failure

  • Posted: Jul 12, 2015
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Since I work closely with management professionals, one of the more difficult questions I routinely face from community association leaders is how the community should go about the process of selecting a new community association manager. It causes me great concern when I first hear that a community is thinking of changing managers as most of them I know are conscientious and hard-working individuals who truly give their all for their clients. My first reaction is to ask the board members why they are even considering changing managers. Among the more common answers I hear are:   Too many residents complain of the manager not getting back to them after an issue is reported Projects aren’t getting done on time This manager is charging us too much for the service provided It just isn’t working out The follow-up comment I usually get is to “please not tell the manager” that we are looking to replace him. While I understand this sentiment, the secrecy between board and community association manager highlights the much larger problem to me. Quite simply, there has been a failure of communication between all parties involved. Unfortunately, it is often the association manager who becomes the scapegoat for this communication failure and will lose not only a client but also valuable income for years to come. That is why it is in every association manager’s best interest to be proactive in his managed communities’ communication efforts. A well-informed client is a happy client.   Communicating with board members is simple enough. Association managers already attend numerous board meetings, annual meetings and even committee meetings. However, with the exception of those homeowners who attend the annual meeting, most residents are largely unaware of the professional who manages their association. Worse still is that the only communication some residents ever receive from their association manager is a notice of a rules violation or a fine. That is why communication tools such as letters, e-mails, newsletters, community websites and even social media are vital to helping association managers properly communicate with the vast numbers of residents whose communities they manage.   Of course, there are numerous other advantages to establishing and maintaining great communications within the communities you manage. Better informed residents tend to be better behaved residents. You can use your communication efforts to build civic pride and create a better sense of community. Perhaps, most importantly, successful communication efforts create loyal clients. Wouldn’t you rather have the board come to you to discuss management shortcomings such as those listed above instead of going out shopping for a new manager behind your back? Of course, you would!   Taking the time to produce great communications is not always at the top of a busy manager’s “To Do” list. Understandably, there are numerous distractions and emergent matters to deal with. However, if you neglect a community’s communication needs, don’t be surprised to learn your clients have been secretly looking to replace you. You can avoid that disappointment by making communications a top priority. If you need help telling your story, don’t be afraid to seek out an expert. Communicating with your clients is the best way to assure they will stay loyal to you for years to come.  …

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23 Totally Awesome upgrades for Landlords

23 Totally Awesome upgrades for Landlords

  • Posted: Jul 12, 2015
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1. Never Forget a Paint Color Again This hack comes from my good friend, who suggests writing the exact paint color/brand used for every rental lease agreement. This way, you will always know what paint was used when the tenant moves out and the property needs touching up! In a related tip (and something I also do,) use the same color paint in all your units. No need to remember what color each place is painted that way, and no partial gallons of leftover paint sitting around – it just gets used on the next rehab.  I also use the same color on both walls and ceilings, which allows the painter to “spray” the entire unit rather than roll, cutting down the costs significantly (tip: choose a very light color if you are going to do this. No one likes a dark ceiling!)   2. Save Money on Mini-Blinds We like to make sure all units have clean, white mini-blinds in every window. When buying those miniblinds at Walmart or Home Depot, they typically cost around $4 for blind up to 36″ in width and $20 for blinds that are wider than 36″. Rather than spending $20.00 on each window for blinds, we simply use 2 blinds, side by side. Not only does this still look great for half the cost, it also makes it cheaper to replace just one side in the future if a blind gets damaged.   3. Forget the Mini-blinds Altogether While I love using mini-blinds, they do get destroyed easily by kids and pets, plus they are a nightmare to clean.  – Put up a 99-cent curtain rod and some cheap curtains from Goodwill or eBay (like $4). This way, there are multiple benefits: Cheaper than the $8 mini-blinds for every window. Makes the place look nicer and more of a home feel. When the tenant departs they can be washed and rehung – no more throwing away damaged miniblinds that wind up in a landfill.  Then you don’t have to buy more mini-blinds either. Better for the environment and saves money on turnover. 4. Easy, Low Cost Carpet I’ve tried a lot of different methods for getting carpet installed – from doing it myself to hiring contractors on Craigslist. However, for me, nothing has come close in terms of cost or convenience to just have Home Depot install it. In my area, Home Depot’s contractors will usually install a whole house of carpet for $37 (flat fee) if you buy the carpet through them. Carpet prices vary, but I typically spend under $1.00 per square foot for the carpet and choose the “72 hour guaranteed install” option. It is easy, simple, and cheap. Plus, I can order it, schedule it, and do 90% of the work online.   5. Angry Tenants+Hollow Doors=Easy Fix Maybe I just live in an angry part of the world, but I have a real problem with holes getting punched in hollow-core bedroom doors. Maybe it makes them feel more powerful knowing they can punch through 1/16″ thick piece of cardboard.  However, I’ve discovered a great fix for this.  Rather than replacing (or trying to patch… which never works), just buy a $6 mirror at Wal-Mart or Home Depot (they are about 4 feet long and 12 inches wide, like this one) and screw it to the door. Not only does it hide the hole, it makes the hallway look larger and ads some decoration to a boring space! Another similar suggestion: If you have a bad spot on the bottom half of your interior doors just go buy 2 cheap square metal vents (look like hvac return covers) and cut out the square almost the same size to fit one on each side of the door. It also helps airflow in the home.   6. Replace Flooring the Quick and Easy Way If you have ugly vinyl flooring in a kitchen bathroom, or anywhere else, the demo can be expensive and messy. Instead, just install a floating vinyl right over the top!  My favorite flooring is called “Allure” made by TrafficMASTER and it comes in both a wood design and tile design. It works in the kitchen, bathrooms, or anywhere and anyone can install it in just hours. I can’t recommend this stuff enough! I actually have actually begun to install it through entire homes, both for aesthetic reasons and because it lasts forever. This stuff can withstand kids, pets, spills, and anything your tenants throw at it.  It runs about $2 a square foot at Home Depot.   7. Appliances Looking Bad? Don’t Replace, Repaint! I learned this trick from a local appliance repair company.  If you have a stove or refrigerator that is showing signs of age, usually with small rust stains shining through, a $5 can of “appliance paint” from the hardware store can make your appliances look as good as new. I always keep a can of this handy when turning over a unit and am continually amazed at how great it works!   8. No More Slippery Stair Treads If your rental properties have wood steps, it is easy for those steps to get slippery after rain. For the safety of your tenants (and to reduce your risk of being sued!) nail down strips of roofing shingles on your stairs with roofing nails. Trust me – it actually looks great (no one will know it’s a shingle) and is extremely cost effective.   9. Appliance Sale! Appliances go on sale at the big box stores around Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the Fourth Of July, so take inventory each year of what you need and plan your purchases around those holidays. (The same is true for paint!)   10. Quick, Easy, Cheap Lock Changes Several BiggerPockets members recommend using either KwikSet Smartkeys, which allow you to quickly change a lock in just minutes, which allow you to change the lock cylinder easily and for around $5 each time.   11. Use Apps to Simplify Your Life Use those portable scanners that can quickly take receipts, leases, invoices, checks, etc and turn…

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10 Real Estate things agents should know and do.

10 Real Estate things agents should know and do.

  • Posted: Jul 12, 2015
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1. Immediate Response: As a real estate agent you need to make your response time, when your prospective buyer calls or emails, as quick as possible. If the buyer doesn’t find you available then he may call somebody else. Buyers want instant response and will not wait for you to call them back or respond to mails only when you are in office.

 

2. A person he can trust: An agent needs to tell the buyer the truth even if it means losing the sales. While you speak volumes about the virtues of a home, you need to point out the possible defects as well so that the buyer can think twice and not be blinded by only the positive features. The buyer should feel that you are on his side and fluff and untruth will make him lose his confidence in you.

 

3. Keep learning on the job: A person is smart when he hires people smarter than he is (Henry Ford). A buyer wants to use your education and experience in order to feel that he has employed the right person to do the job. You should come across as an expert in the field. The best and only way it is done is through constant learning. This can be through trainings and also reading relevant stuff. You should have a ready knowledge about the property that you are highlighting.

 

4. Good communication skills: You need to be extremely good at handling your communications. There are all kinds of buyers and while some prefer an e-mail others may like you to call them. The best course is to ask them their preferred mode of communication. Always remember to promise less and deliver more.

 

5. Professional and friendly: Being friendly and at the same time maintaining professionalism is the best way, although a bit difficult. Friendliness is preferred by most buyers as you give out the vibe that you are on their side. At the same time they also want you to be assertive and professional. They want you to handle anything that may come up while they are probably viewing the house or saying €no’ to a particular seller.

 

6. Information about the neighborhood: When you are trying to sell a property in a particular neighborhood you should have good knowledge about it in terms of amenities and facilities. Your buyer may be interested in knowing about train stations or bus stops that are close by. The interest could even be a park for children. Make a search and find out all you can about areas where most of the properties that you deal in are located.

 

7. Price guide: You need to be the professional who has inside information about the price. The client may be interested in your opinion so prepare yourself well. You need to be careful that you do not quote a price that is too low or too high. You need to be ready with market trends and facts for the particular area and similar properties. Guide them to make an informed decision.

 

8. A good inventory: When a buyer visits you he wants to know about as many properties as he can. He expects a wide inventory and you need to be ready with one. Since you cannot predict the kind of home each buyer requires as buyers buy for their own reasons, you need to have all kinds of properties ready. The choice of properties should take care of a wide arena of needs and requirements.

 

9. Dedicated time: When a buyer comes to you he expects you to devote all your time to him until he leaves or makes a decision. Remember you may be selling 10 houses in a week but for him it is one single home that he may be buying in a lifetime. You need to show your enthusiasm and zeal and help him to decide on the perfect home. Try and focus on him and the transaction he is going to make and leave all work aside for the time being.

 

10. Time saving transactions: The modern real estate buyer is hard pressed for time. He wants the transaction to be fast and take up as little time as possible. And he would like you to handle things in such a way that the total time is cut down and he can proceed with other things. So do your homework and be prepared to save time, both his and yours.

 

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10 Tips for creating an HOA budget or Condo Budget

10 Tips for creating an HOA budget or Condo Budget

  • Posted: Jul 12, 2015
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10 Tips for creating an HOA budget or Condo Budget   Do a budget – I know this seems like a silly tip, but we have seen many associations fail to create a budget before proceeding to the next year. An HOA is just like any other business or organization. If you don’t have a financial plan, you will find yourself a in a mess about halfway through the year when you realize that you don’t have enough funds to make it through the entire year. Take the time to practice financial responsibility for your association. Review budget and Financial History – You always want to review the previous two years financials to fully understand were you currently are vs. where you want your association to be . Many people review previous year’s budgets to prepare future ones. One problem we see is that many people despite reviewing past numbers, fail to make the proper budget corrections when something is way over or under budget from the previous year. Make the proper adjustments to insure an accurate budget. Prioritize projects – We have worked with any HOA and condo associations that get overwhelmed during budget time because they have so many repairs and projects that they want to handle all at once. Any kind of future projects or repairs, need to be prioritized accordingly. This is where you must separate your associations needs vs. wants. Everyone wants the landscaping or condo exteriors to look immaculate, but no one gets excited repairing an unsafe stairwell repairing a leaking sprinkler system. You must eliminate any safety or potential liabilities before exploring any community beatification projects. Utility Increases – We can’t recall a time in which utility costs actually went down from the previous year in our 25 years plus experience. Water, gas, and electricity costs have been increasing steadily over the last decade, especially water costs over the last 2 years. We always research our local city and municipalities to see if they have a price rate schedule available. For example the City of Austin is scheduled to increase water costs 70% over the next five years. Because we are aware of this price hikes, we obviously budget for them accordingly. If no information is available, we suggest increasing the budget on most utilities between 5% to 7% each year.   HOA budget Vendor Contracts – You always want to insure the correct budgeting for all of your normal monthly service providers. Don’t be afraid to ask your landscaping company, pool contractor, and even management company, if they plan on changing their current rates. This is also a great opportunity to ask for their updated insurance information to make sure that is good standing as well. Also review current contacts to see if there are any CPI index clauses in their agreement. Nine times out of ten, if they are contractually able to increase their fees, most will do so.   Budget for reserves – All associations should budget for a percentage of all income to go to their reserve or savings accounts. The percentage of income will of course vary depending on your association. The more long term liabilities and obligations you have, the more you should be putting away. We have some condo associations that are putting away as much as 20% of their total income towards long term savings. Condos generally have much larger financial obligations including exterior repairs and upkeep and maintaining private streets and roads. Not budgeting for reserves can lead to be big problems and potentially big special assessments down the road.   Cover your Insurance deductibles – All condo associations need to pay special attention to this one. Make sure you are aware of the deductible levels for different elements of your complex. For example, if your roof replacement deductible is $500.00 per building and you have 20 buildings, then you need then or course you always need at least $10,000 in your reserves to cover that amount. If a disaster or violent storm strikes your area, you want to make sure your association is ready and that you are not hitting them up for a special assessment just to cover basic insurance claims.   Evaluate legal and collection costs – Legal and collections costs can escalate very quickly depending on the collection strategy that you use. Evaluate your current system and see if you can determine your return on investment. If you are on average spending $150 dollars to collect every $100, then something obviously isn’t working. We have experienced great success with providing homeowners that are behind with a payment plan with full payment schedule provided to them. When delinquent association members concentrate on affordable monthly payment and not the large amount that they owe, they tend to see the light at the end of tunnel.   Special Assessments are for special projects – We have heard many times suggested “Why can’t we have a special assessment instead of raising our monthly dues?” This philosophy doesn’t work in our book. If your association is having a problem meeting it expenses because of some tight cash flow, you need to raise your assessment amount or your assessment frequency. Special assessments are just that, special. They are not for paying your bills. They are intended for major improvements, or in a case of emergency repairs, not to pay the pool contractor.   Stay the course – It’s real easy to get distracted throughout the year with landscaping improvements, new and improved security systems, and other random projects throughout the year. Your association made a budget for a reason, so try your best to stick to it as best you can. If you do have to make an unexpected expenditure, take your time and make the best decision for your HOA or condo association.   Creating and maintaining an HOA budget is essential part of maintaining a fiscally responsible association. Even associations that are not as healthy financially as they need to be, with some small…

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