property management: Overlooking Dangerous Chemical Contamination? - 10/15/14 10:16 AM
 After reading this week about a bizarre hazardous waste discovery in an Idaho apartment complex, I got to thinking about the various dangerous activities that can get overlooked in Property Management, leaving tenants, neighbors and homeowners at risk.  While most illegal and dangerous behaviors by tenants are purposely done discretely, being observant and inquisitive is a property manager's best defense.
The article in the Idaho Press Tribune reported " Low-level radioactive material is being cleaned from a Boise apartment, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is investigating why the two people who lived there had it...two occupants for unknown reasons were trying to … (0 comments)

property management: What Does Hawaii, Maine, Oregon & Texas Have In Common? - 10/03/14 12:13 PM
Actually, you'll want to throw Montana and New Hampshire in the mix as well when making your guess. 
So, the answer is that the residents of these states came out on top in a recent Gallup poll of "least likely to relocate to another state."  Yep, if they would have asked me, I would have concurred.  Oregonian, through and through.  How does your state and your personal opinion fit into this?  And what about your customer base?  Are you at risk for a mass exodus in your properties? What factors do you feel play into this for your location?

 
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property management: Feelin' HOT! HOT! HOT!! - 07/01/14 04:13 PM

It's a hot one here in sunny Southern Oregon, home of Rentec Direct, and with the 4th of July holiday upon us, we wanted to remind everyone to be careful out there in the heat!  
Last year on the 4th, my young daughter got heat stroke and was violently ill, and had we been more aware of the signs of heat stroke, we could have saved her two miserable days. We were lucky, however, as many people die each year from avoidable heat stroke.  In our circumstance, we were all out for a hike in the mid-day heat, but … (3 comments)

property management: Spite Houses & Love Lost - 06/23/14 05:02 PM
Monday at Rentec Direct has been a pretty smooth ride and it tends to be that way this time of the month as most landlords and Property Managers are in the small lull before End-of and First-of the month activities kick in, so I had a bit of a "coffee break" today at my desk...
While checking out some interesting websites about homes, I came across an article about "Spite Houses", a term I had never heard of and was thoroughly entertained by the snarky term given to houses owned by obsessed and irritated land owners.  
"A spite house is a building … (6 comments)

property management: Why Have A Wear & Tear Policy? - 06/09/14 12:33 PM
Whether you manage 10 or 1,000 units, how you handle turnover costs will predict in part the financial success or pains of your property management business.  

When I first started managing rental properties, our lease agreement had a generalized clause for damage liability.  It was pretty straightforward - if you break it, you buy it. However, after a slew of turnovers one month, I realized that these costs - mainly carpet & window blind cleaning, painting and house cleaning -  were destroying our bottom line. We decided we needed to be more aggressive on charging tenants for these costs
After one particularly … (1 comments)

property management: Turn-Over Costs Breaking The Bank - 06/05/14 11:10 AM

Sure, we all know that having to re-hab a trashed rental home can be very expensive and hopefully you're collecting sufficient security deposits and doing what you can through tenant screening to avoid the notorious tenants who repeatedly destroy rental homes (HINT: never skip running credit, criminal, eviction & rental history verification and if you need a new resource, check in with our team at Rentec Direct.)
But say you have done your home-work and you have good tenants living in your rental.  Do you realize you are still at financial risk?  Turnover costs - no matter when they occur - … (2 comments)

property management: Property Management & Professional Boundaries - 06/03/14 12:28 PM
As I was sitting around the outdoor farm table last night - with empty dinner plates and glasses of wine half drunk  - it occurred to me that I might have skirted my professional rule of "don't mix business with pleasure."  Well, it's someone else's rule, but one that sits in the back of my mind, like a little mosquito, buzzzzing annoyingly, while I wait for it to land and take a little of my blood.  
In my scenario, after a few months of getting to know our farm-intern who resides on our property, I realized that we have moved … (2 comments)

property management: Housing Discrimination- How Is This Still Happening? - 05/19/14 02:09 PM
Unfortunately, I realize that there will always be people who are hateful. And I suppose the housing industry offers no exception to this reality.  However, all vile comments against the hater aside, this hate is illegal.  After almost 50 years since the Fair Housing act was written into our civil rights at the urging of President Johnson, you would have thought all Landlords and property managers across the county would have gotten the message that discrimination in housing opportunities is not only illegal, it's risky business.  Being a bigot and mean person on the inside is vile, but an active mean bigot in … (0 comments)

property management: Helping Your Customers Help Themselves - 05/07/14 01:27 PM
Because Rentec Direct offers strictly web-based software, customers do not meet our support staff face-to-face, unlike many professionals in the housing business.  At Rentec Direct, we have to connect with our customer either on the phone, through email or on the web.  Most housing experts get the chance to look their customers in the eye and begin to forge trust. Think of how many people, though, are sitting in their PJ's at night, surfing the net, dying to find their dream home or the person who is going to guide them to that front door?  They are making many decisions about … (0 comments)

property management: Subleasing Nightmare & Neighbor Wars - 02/19/14 12:24 PM
Just down the road from my home, a subleasing debacle is underway.  
The Story  
Long-time local family owns a local business that flourishes due to community support.  They also happen to own extensive acreage of pristine farm land that borders two valley river basins .  The land-owners are not farmers but see the value of the land they own and decide to lease it out to a local farmer.  Within 24-hours of a facebook post, a neighborly war breaks out.  So what's the uproar all about?
Appearantly the Lessee (the farmer) told the Lessor (the land owner) that he … (0 comments)

property management: Relationships 1.. 2.. 3... - 02/03/14 05:24 PM
I watched this artsy video today and I wanted to share it with y'all as it's such a clear and simple message about how to foster the relationships we all seek and depend on to be happy.   Without relationships, we are mere commodities to be used and discarded, and who likes that?  
Wishing you all successful relationships, on and off the clock!

 
Janell K. is a member of Rentec Direct, a web-based property management software solution, offering tools to Landlords and professional Property Managers, including tenant screening. 
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property management: Contractor Disasters - 01/29/14 11:07 AM
I just got off the phone with a property manager who uses our property management software and she was fit to be tied over a contractor she was working with on a house she manages. I could feel the heat of her anger through the phone! Appearantly the contractor she hired started a roof tear-off (cause it was showing signs of leaking) and then got pulled to another job.  Oh, and the roof was off.  Oh, and it's winter.  Yikes!!!
These photos were taken from a beach-house my husband "patched" up."  He basically had to rebuild the home from the foundation … (1 comments)

property management: Criminal Background - 01/20/14 03:58 PM

I spend a good portion of my workday talking to customers about the importance of tenant screening and helping them to establish easy access to credit reports and public records & criminal background reports on prospective tenants.  While it's only one small part of a Landlord or Property Manager's tasks, it's a crucial one.
Most people I come in contact with are in agreement that obtaining a credit score on somone can offer you a fair glimpse into the likelihood that they will pay their rent on time.  However, there are always a couple folks each week that tell me … (4 comments)

property management: Use A Psychic For Background Checks? - 11/14/13 10:58 AM
Considering renting your home to someone and want to be sure the person you're renting to will be a solid, dependable tenant?  Instead of using a reliable tenant screening service that can offer you an indepth look at credit, criminal and eviction history, why not hire a psychic? A palm-reader?  Or maybe a tarrot card reader?  And then take it a bit further and hire that psychic to manage your property so they can predict when things are going to go wrong.  With trained professionals in property management available to hire, this seems like a far better solution.  Right?!?!

I just … (3 comments)

property management: Wordless - 09/17/13 02:24 PM
I've given myself a challenge for the next 30 days and that is to only share with others things that speak of happiness and joy.  My thinking is that there is enough apathy, sarcasm, critisism, sadness, fear, anger and judgement in the world and I'd rather work to counter it.  There's plenty of discussion about how once you put something on the internet, it's there forever, so you should be careful.  I believe the same applies to the things you put out into the world.  
A friend shared this with me and its ripple was delightful.  Enjoy and pass it … (17 comments)

property management: Renter Russian Roulette - 09/03/13 04:19 PM
While visiting my old home-town and a friend of mine this summer, we started yacking about her rental units, the housing market, and how things have changed over the past 10 years.  Through our casual conversation I find out that she stopped doing any tenant screening on her applicants because “everyone has terrible credit nowadays, so what’s the point?!?”   She adds in “if they can pay the 1st month’s rent and deposit, I move ‘em in.”   
 
Because she’s a friend, and not a customer of our property management software, I said “Well, I don’t know, maybe the point is … (7 comments)

property management: Stolen-Plane-Crash-Wisdom - 07/18/13 04:01 PM
Today as I was sitting at my desk busily working away, I had about 28 different things buzzing in my mind in the background that I needed to accomplish before, during and after my long weekend trip I have planned with my family.  It's a familiar hummm... taxes-bills-laundry-cleaning-blogging-exercise-gardening-investments-winter vacation plans-filing-build that new thing-mend those clothes... and it goes on and on.  It is like the white noise I hear as I shuffle through the other 28 work-based tasks at hand.  Together, they act like a constant jolt of caffiene to keep me task-driven.  My husband tells me I'm a multi-tasking machine … (3 comments)

property management: Bedbugs Eat $800,000 of Landlord's Cash! - 06/04/13 12:19 PM
FOR REAL!  
 
Just last week, a Maryland jury awarded a tenant $800,000 after her new landlord moved her into his bedbug-infested property. County records showed that the landlord knew of the bedbug and mouse infestation, and attempted a home-remedy plan that failed.  He did not disclose or remedy the problem before moving a new tenant into his property and even denied any knowledge when she came to him reporting hundreds of painful bites and a rash on her body.  In the end, she lost all of her belongings, as everything she owned was infested with the creepy-crawling blood suckers. … (7 comments)

property management: Ooopsy! Is That Picture Floating Around The Internet?!? - 05/23/13 03:18 PM
Well, if you or one of your best buds posted that picture, it is!  And more than likely, according to Murphy's law, it will show up where you least suspect it.  Or is that the law of Google?  Either way, in Social Media, you never know where one post in cyberspace will end up. In a very good post I just read today on Active Rain, Lori Ballen goes into great detail of why choosing consistent photos for your various social media sites is crucial.  And I think she wrote the post for me personally.  ;)
Yesterday I received a call … (40 comments)

property management: Spooky Castle For Sale - 05/09/13 04:22 PM
 
Maybe I'm not being fair, but when I read about this home-flip-gone-sour, I had a bit of a "well, no kidding!" thought running through my head.  Someone thought they could spend $800K and make 2 mil, but look at this beast!
 

 
C’mon, Dracula lives there, right?!?!  
 
If it were me - who happened to have $800,000 to spend to buy a flipper - I would have planned to pretty that baby up on the outside so at least a potential buyer wouldn’t be afraid that the ghost at the front door inside that suit of … (4 comments)