Category Real Estate

Prioritizing Maintenance Tasks

As an investor’s real estate holdings grow, more and more tenants will call with maintenance requests.  These requests can range from emergencies to frivolous, but will require attention at some point.  How should maintenance calls be processed?  What about taking calls in so they can be logged and prioritized?  Don’t get bogged down, it isn’t as bad as it seems.  With a good system in place, managing maintenance tasks can be easy!

There are a lot of programs out there currently that will allow investors to log, track expenses, and run fairly sophisticated reports on maintenance tasks, but in the early stages, it may be possible to get by with a simple spreadsheet.  Most spreadsheet software has the ability to add multiple sheets to one file (normally they look like tabs).  Prioritize using 4 different sheets, Emergency, General, Cosmetic, and Tenant Caused.  Each spreadsheet should have columns for address of property, tenant name, phone number, work requested, and work completed.  This allows the quick scheduling of work at a glance, the ability to track when it is completed, and have access to tenant information as necessary.  Now, when calls come in, they can logged and prioritized as necessary.

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Bird Dogging vs. Wholesaling

Bird dogging and wholesaling are two activities in real estate that while similar, have one very fundamental difference.

Bird dogging can be seen as a way to get into real estate, without having to put a lot of money down to do so.  Bird doggers will investigate a market to find the best deals available, using resources such as foreclosure lists, auction lists, distressed property lists, and the MLS where available.  Using a variety of formulas, they will determine what properties would make a good investment based on their current value, cost of repairs, and estimated value after the repairs are completed.  They then forward these deals to real estate investors, and are paid.  Their pay may be based on the referral to the deal, or at the closing of a deal.  Normally they are paid more for “closed” deals than for referrals, but the pay day is usually a few hundred dollars on a closed deal.

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Landlord Basics: Leases

(This post is part of our “Landlord Basics” series, which seeks to help the new landlord / investor understand some of the basics of tenant relations and property management.  You can view the rest of the series here.)

You’ve found the tenant you want to place in your property, collected a security deposit, and now it’s time to sign a lease.  What is a lease?  What makes one lease better or worse than any other?  What can your lease do to protect you as a landlord or investor?  This article will answer all these questions, and more.

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Landlord Basics: Securty Deposits

(This is the first post in a new series aptly named “Landlord Basics”.  This series aims to help the new landlord / investor understand some basics of tenant relations and property management.  You can view the rest of the series here.)

You’ve done your homework and purchased a property or two that can provide you with positive cash flow.  The broken has been fixed, the old has been renewed, and it’s time to place some tenants!  After screening your tenants and drawing your lease, you’ll want to collect rent and security deposit prior to move in.  But what exactly is a security deposit, and why is it important?

A security deposit is money given to you by a tenant (usually prior to move in) that acts as an insurance policy of sorts.  This money can be used to pay for damages caused to the unit by the tenant during the term of their tenancy, and is a vital portion of the tenancy arrangement.  Such items could include broken windows, holes in walls and carpets, and failure to completely clean the unit at the termination of tenancy.  Keep in mind that security deposits should not be used to cover normal “wear and tear” items such as repainting, as this is pretty standard tenant turn over.

Security de...

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Halloween Is Going To Suck This Year!

This was forwarded to me by my boss, so I don’t know who to credit.

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Before You Commit To A Property Purchase

You’ve been working with your real estate agent, your lender, and your lawyer and you have finally found the perfect home.  The pieces of the puzzle are all falling in to place.  Everything is ready to move forward… right?

The City of Buffalo has provided a “Prospective Buyer’s Fact Sheet” which covers 6 things you should do before you commit to a property purchase.  While published by the City of Buffalo, these are things that you should check no matter your geographic location.  These are checks that aren’t necessarily required prior to a sale, but could cause headaches after you take posession and discover them.  You could end up wasting time and money, and not be able to live in your home!

1.  Make sure the district’s zoning would permit your proposed use / occupancy.

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