When investors purchase a rental property, they expect that routine and preventative maintenance will be part of what they need to do to protect the condition of their investment and to meet the needs of their residents.Emergency maintenance is something else entirely. It seems to always happen overnight or on a weekend, and it requires you to be prepared, have a team of vendors and contractors ready to respond, and a maintenance budget that can absorb the costs.Emergencies are difficult. They are difficult on you, your tenants, and your vendors. It’s important that you have a good relationship with your residents when you have to respond to emergency maintenance. You’ll need to communicate well and stay professional. Remember – you’re running a business, and you’re responding to a business need when an emergency occurs.Today, we’re focusing on how to prepare for and respond to emergency maintenance situations at a Portland rental property.What do investors need to know?
One of the biggest fears that real estate investors often have is: what am I going to do when I get a phone call from my resident at 2:00 in the morning because there’s a leak or a toilet isn’t working or the heat won’t turn on?The answer is this: you have to set up policies and procedures, and you have to manage expectations.Educate your residents on what is an emergency and what isn’t. Fires and large water leaks are obviously big emergencies. Anything that puts your residents in danger or puts your property in danger should be considered an emergency.Everyone can agree that a fire or a flood is an emergency. But, beyond that you should make sure your residents are on the same page as you in terms of what requires a phone call in the middle of the night. You need to educate your residents and you need to be open to communicating with them. Before they even move in, have a conversation about the procedures that you expect them to follow when a repair is needed. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss what an emergency is and what a routine repair is.This will help residents understand that 99 percent of the things they may have considered to be an emergency are in fact not emergencies at all. You should be thinking from a legal standpoint when it comes to identifying and explaining emergencies. Does it make the home uninhabitable?Educating your residents through an orientation process at the move-in point is a great way to avoid any misunderstandings about emergencies. They want to be aware. You can put something in writing so they can refer to it if they’re not sure whether what they’re experiencing is an emergency. You can also give them some helpful tips and training. For example, when they’re moving in, show your residents where the water shut-off valve is. When you do this, you put a lot of power into the hands of your residents. If there is a water leak, they know how to shut off the water before calling you.Residents can be trusted to handle the first steps of an emergency. And, they should always understand what an emergency isn’t.
Emergency maintenance is one of the best reasons to hire a professional Portland property management company. It takes this headache and hassle of your plate entirely.When you work with an experienced property manager, you get a 24-hour emergency maintenance line. Obviously, as an individual landlord, you might not be able to get a contractor out there to your rental property at 2:00 in the morning or on Christmas Eve. But, when you work with a property management company, you know you’re getting a team of vendors who are committed to their best clients. Your property will be first in line, and someone will be at the property when the sun comes up. This is more than peace of mind; it’s also a higher standard of workmanship and better pricing. Your relationship with a property manager will make handling emergency maintenance issues much easier.More importantly, you want to make sure you are protecting your residents. Obviously, an emergency response is important to the protection of your investment’s condition. But, taking care of your resident’s safety and security is your primary responsibility. You don’t want to leave your residents in an unsafe or uninhabitable situation.Legal trouble can find you down the road if you don’t respond right away to residents who don’t have water or heat. Educate yourself and your residents on what emergencies really are, but never put them in danger. You don’t need the lawsuits or the claims. Even if you cannot respond to the problem right away, you can do whatever is possible to prevent the problem from getting worse.At Mynd Property Management, we have a structured response to any emergency maintenance situation. We work with some of the best vendors and contractors in Portland, and we work closely with our residents to make sure we are all working together to take care of the property. You won’t have to worry about getting a phone call in the middle of the night or trying to find a vendor at the last minute who is willing to help you. Contact us at Mynd Property Management for more information.You can also visit our Facebook group of investors, which is called Master Mynd. It’s a real estate investors’ club, where you can exchange ideas with other owners. Check out our weekly podcast as well, called The Myndful Investor. We invite leaders in real estate and property management to talk about their success and, more importantly, their failures. There’s a lot to learn from this relatable content.
When you invest in Portland rental property, you know that repairs and maintenance will be a cost. It’s a mistake not to plan for them. Today, we’re talking about what some of the most common expenses are with properties in this market. As an investor, you’ll want to be aware of these common costs.
Every geographic region has their own set of challenges that are often related to climate and geography. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we deal with a lot of water. Water management is a huge issue, and contributes to a lot of preventative, routine, and emergency maintenance costs.Portland real estate investors will have to be prepared for everything that comes with heavy rains in the winter. During the wet season, we can get up to 36 inches of rain. Nothing damages a property more than moisture. So, you’ll need to make sure you have your gutters cleaned. Make sure this is scheduled for every year. You’ll want to ensure that the water is going away from your house. If the gutters get clogged, then you have a big risk that water is getting into your foundation.If your basement starts taking in water, you end up with a leaky basement.Even worse than a leaky basement is what results. A byproduct of water in Portland is mold. Mold removal can be very, very expensive and can cause legal issues with the residents you have in your rental property.
Are you doing everything you can to prevent and manage mold?With 36 inches of rain falling almost every winter, there’s obviously going to be a lot of moisture and some very wet areas, especially in the basements. When you build a house, developers can take some precautions to prevent the growth and spreading of mold. But, when you buy a rental property that’s already been constructed, you’ll have to constantly work to keep water and mold out of the property.When it comes to preventative measures, there are actually a combination of things you can do.Part of it is paperwork and resident education. A couple things we do at Mynd Property Management is to make sure tenants understand that after they take a shower, they need to run the vent for 20 minutes and open up doors. This is a good way to prevent mold from growing in the bathrooms and behind the walls. Things get wet, but as long as they dry, mold doesn’t grow. You need to give those surfaces an opportunity to dry out.We provide our residents with a mold prevention packet, and we walk through that with them to make sure they are aware of it and understand the expectations we have.Attics are also important, and you want to make sure your attics are breathing. This is just routine maintenance. You’ll need to pay the same attention to your property’s crawl spaces. If you have water sitting in the crawl space, not only could that develop into mold but it can also attract rodents. So you want to make sure if there is water getting in there, you find out where that water is coming from. Fix the problem and let things dry out.
To avoid some of the most expensive rental property repair costs in Portland, the best thing a landlord can do is be preventative. Make sure this is a joint effort with you and your residents. Do not keep things closed up or leave things moist and wet. It makes sense to air things out, whether it’s a shower or an attic or your gutters. If you do discover mold or your resident reports that mold has been found, there are plenty of mold remediation companies that will come out and rectify the problem and then re-certify the home as being free of mold.That is always available to you, but the process of cleaning and removing mold is very expensive. At Mynd Property Management, our goal is always prevent the need for mold remediation at all costs. It’s much better to prevent the mold than to remove it.And of course, it’s not just mold that can be a problem that results from moisture. If you have an air conditioner and you put it in the window, then that condensation can create moisture which can create siding damage. Or, if your windows are not properly sealed, you can also run into expensive problems.We highly recommend that you implement a weatherization program with your rental property in Portland. Before the winter and the rains arrive, make sure that the gutters are cleaned and any cracks throughout the home are caulked so moisture doesn’t penetrate. You are proactively creating your moisture barriers this way, and then you are okay during the season. If things get wet, your home’s interior will still stay dry.Water, moisture, and the problems that result from these things are absolutely the most expensive maintenance costs in Portland. Make sure you’re prepared for them before you invest in a rental property and after you’ve moved in residents. If you have any questions about how to protect your property from this type of damage, please contact us at Mynd Property Management. We’d be happy to serve as your Portland property management resource.You can also visit our Facebook group of investors, which is called Master Mynd. It’s a real estate investors’ club, where you can exchange ideas with other owners. Check out our weekly podcast as well, called The Myndful Investor. We invite leaders in real estate and property management to talk about their success and, more importantly, their failures. There’s a lot to learn from this relatable content.
Rental property maintenance is pretty common; you’re going to need repairs at your property even if it’s brand new or in relatively good condition. Things happen. Leaks begin to show up, appliances break down, and the property responds to regular wear and tear that requires you to send vendors or contractors out to the home to inspect, fix, and replace certain items.We know that investors and owners are mindful of their bottom line. A good maintenance process can help you save money on routine and emergency repairs. So today, we’re sharing some of our expert practices with you so you’ll know how to best manage service requests and maintenance.
Basically the components of maintenance and service requirements cover three different parties. These are:
In our experience, we have found that when you’re dealing with your tenants, they really just want to be heard. It’s okay if you can’t get to something non-urgent right away, just make sure you explain to them that you’ve received their request, you know it’s important, and you’re going to take the necessary steps to make the repair as soon as possible.
Tenants value communication and they want to know you’re paying attention to them. As a landlord, you should care about their comfort and their needs. So, show them that you will handle all of their service requests in a timely manner. If you can make them feel like they’re part of the process and have everything accomplished and wrapped up as soon as possible, you’ll have happy tenants who are willing to continue renewing their leases.Sometimes, you will run into issues, and the repair will not go as smoothly as you’d like it to. There may be a delay in ordering parts or scheduling a vendor on a certain day might be difficult. If you follow up with your tenants and let them know what’s going on, they will likely be satisfied that you are at least aware of the problem and trying to get it resolved.Tenant communication is often the most important concern of our service department. You can always pick up the phone and call the tenants just to give them a quick update. Don’t rely solely on email, even if that’s the way you ask them to report maintenance issues. People don’t always see their emails right away. Call or text your tenant to ensure everyone is in the loop.
Make sure you have good relationships with your vendors. You have to be able to trust the people you hire to do the work. You want them to be licensed, insured, and professional. Make sure you can count on them to show up when they say they will. Check their rates and compare prices so you know they’re not overcharging you. It won’t take you long to learn who you want to use and who you want to avoid. Property management companies establish preferred vendor lists, and you should do the same.Relationships with vendors can sometimes be tenuous and hard to deal with. Don’t waste time with vendors and contractors who don’t treat you fairly and aren’t good at what they do. Screen your vendors as carefully as you screen your tenants.
At Mynd, we sometimes work with property owners who have vendors that they want to use. This is understandable. If you have a vendor who you’ve worked with for a long time and that vendor knows your property, it’s a great idea to continue working with the company. This is something that we can incorporate into our maintenance plans when we’re managing a home and dealing with vendors.
Providing a positive maintenance experience for rental property owners is also an important part of what we do.Obviously, there will be times when repairs and maintenance issues exceed the monetary level at which owners are comfortable. This can be difficult. When we spend more than what we’ve agreed upon with our owners, we will involve the landlord and have a discussion to decide the best course of action. Generally, when there’s a repair that’s going to cost more than $500, we would like to notify that owner about the work that needs to be done.
Each owner has their own their own threshold. When we have a repair that’s going to be expensive or time-consuming, we know that a plan needs to be put together with everyone involved. Most owners don’t want to be part of the simple repairs. When we send a maintenance tech over to fix a garbage disposal, we typically don’t notify the owner of that repair.Our strategy is to have an understanding previously set up. When we begin working with a new property owner, we discuss the limits that they are comfortable with and we talk about our willingness to take care of repairs and minor maintenance without the involvement of the owner.
In addition to routine, preventative, and emergency maintenance, there are also more involved projects that often require our involvement. In our property management company, we assist our owners with whatever they need, whether it’s a simple fix or a major rehab project. We can take care of renovations and construction management.This is something that we don’t typically get involved in because most of our owners invest in properties that are already in excellent condition. But, it’s a service that we are always happy to provide. If you’re investing in a home that’s going to need a lot of work before it hits the rental market, we can help you with any renovations that are required.In the past, we have management projects such as window replacements and the installation of new appliances. We have replaced rotten wood on decks and new roofs on multi-family buildings. These things have brought us into higher dollar repairs. Some of the work we have done really pushes the price points of other management companies. We’ve overseen projects with budgets of $30,000 or $40,000.
Generally, we don’t do construction management. However, our maintenance department is prepared and equipped for any type of major capital improvement that you might need us to supervise. We are happy to get involved when our owners need special or complex things done.Another one of our specialty service areas when it comes to construction and repairs is understanding local code requirements. We work in a lot of different cities and a lot of different states. The requirements and code enforcement details are always different. We take the time to get to know them before we do any work at all. It’s not always a simple process. For example, dealing with cities in and around the San Francisco Bay area can be a challenge. It’s hard to negotiate what we need sometimes. But, we’re not unwilling to pick up the phone and talk to city inspectors. It’s about communication and relationships.We will work with owners to decide on the best route to take when dealing with codes and permits. They change all the time. With our apartment buildings, we always have to be aware of the permits that are required when elevators need to be fixed. It’s important to stay involved. We have a growing list of people in each city that we can talk to over time to ensure we’re keeping everything up to code. None of us want to deal with a violation.
Turning vacant units is one of our specialties. We understand the urgency of avoiding vacancies, and we love to get properties turned in between three and seven days. Sometimes, it could take us longer depending on the work that needs to be done. When we have to replace carpets or paint the entire interior and exterior after a longer tenancy, it might take us extra days. But, we work quickly and professionally to get your property back on the market as soon as possible. We know it’s important to you, and we know a high quality of workmanship is important to the tenants who are moving in.We understand the importance of service tenants when it comes to maintenance and repairs. We generate income from tenants and tenants are paying everyone’s salary. They’re paying the rent, which goes to the owner and the management company. So, we understand the importance of getting tenants in quickly when we’re working on turnovers.If you do have questions about maintenance or repairs or service departments, please contact us at Mynd Property Management. Wed love to talk about vendors, tenants, and anything else on your mind.About Chris BoleiChris Bolei is the Asset Services Manager for Mynd Property Management. He has more than two decades of experience as a maintenance and repairs specialist in the single-family and multifamily rental housing sector.
In our most recent blog series, we have been talking about Seattle property management. Since we think like investors, we want to make sure that you, as a Seattle real estate investor, has all the tools and resources you need to ensure that your residents have a great rental experience.Joining us is been Enrique Jevons, who’s an expert on the subject of Seattle investment properties. Not only does he manage 850 rental properties for Mynd, but he’s also busy investing in his own real estate. Enrique owns 73 rental properties, so if you have a question about Seattle real estate investing, he’s the expert to ask.Today, we’re focusing our attention on maintenance. Property managers are charged with responding to routine maintenance issues and emergency maintenance issues. Unplanned emergencies are usually more expensive, more time-consuming, and have to be handled immediately.We asked Enrique to share what he would do to handle a maintenance emergency properly.
All sorts of emergencies can come up. The most important thing for a owner is to be prepared. Be prepared for anything and everything. There are possible emergencies you probably haven’t even thought of yet, but you still need to have a response plan in place.For Enrique, just about everything has happened over the years that he’s rented out homes. Sadly, he’s had three different residents die while they were in his properties. That’s not something that most rental property owners prepare for; what do you do when a resident dies? What do you do with that resident’s belongings, and who do you have to call?That’s not a maintenance emergency. But it does address the absolute need to be prepared. If you are knowledgeable about what needs to be done and you have a process in place, you’ll be in good shape. These processes need to be created even if you can’t imagine a situation where you’d actually need them. Preparation will stop things from slipping out of control when the actual emergency occurs. You’ll already know what needs to be done.
It’s important that you have someone available 24 hours a day and seven days a week to respond to any potential emergency maintenance situation. We have found that many owners think they don’t have to worry about this. They have a single-family home that’s in great shape, and they don’t think that anything can go terribly wrong.The reality is, something can always go wrong.When a hot water tank decides to give out, you’ll need to react quickly to stop the water and minimize the damage. These things rarely happen during business hours. A water tank has never been known to wait until 9:00 a.m. on a Monday to suddenly blow. The timing is never good. So, you have to be prepared and you have to have someone available to answer the call and respond to the situation.A lot of owners may think they can handle these things on their own. Self-managing owners are more than happy to give their residents a cell phone number and be the person who is called anytime there’s an emergency at the property.But, sometimes you go to the movies and you don’t have your cell phone available to you. Sometimes, you will be out to dinner or at a cruise ship or the phone will be dead or left at the gym or in the car. You might be backpacking in the words where there’s no signal or skiing down a mountain top.You’re busy living your life.No single human being can be available 24 days, every day. This is impossible. If you’re asleep at night, even if the phone is on the nightstand right next to you, you won’t necessarily hear it when it rings. So, have someone available.People think they’ll handle on their own. But sometimes you go to the movies and you’re not available. Or you’re out to dinner or on a cruise ship or backpacking or skiing or whatever. You’re living your life. No one human being can be available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. If you’re asleep at night even if the phone is near you, it doesn’t mean you’ll wake up when it rings. So, have someone available. Even better – have a team.
A lot of owners will commonly give their residents the phone number of their handyman. Enrique admits that he did this himself when he was managing just a few units. All of his residents had the same cell phone number, and his handyman would take the calls. Usually.Again – he’s one human being. Sometimes, the cell battery would be dead and it would be a few hours before he realized it. This problem will keep happening if there’s only one person responsible for taking the emergency calls. When emergencies do happen, they are real emergencies. They usually deal with something major like water or fire or something equally as catastrophic. The resident is going to be shaken. Emergencies are a big deal, and they’re usually expensive. They get more expensive when you don’t address them immediately.That’s why you need a team.There has to be a team of people available to respond to these emergencies and take these panicked calls from residents. Maybe you’re set up to employ a call center. If you don’t have access to a call center, you might want to explore working with a professional property management company. They are usually reliable when it comes to emergency response.Even with a management company, however, make sure you’re hiring someone who has a team of people available to answer those phone calls. One person being responsible all alone can lead to endless rings, frustrated residents, and deteriorating property.Some owners are content to work with a real estate agent as a property manager. Maybe the agent who helped you buy the investment home has offered to find you a resident and manage the property. They might be licensed and capable. But, that one human being won’t be available all the time. It’s so much better to have a team of people so that no emergency phone call gets missed.Another risk in having your real estate agent manage your property is that an agent isn’t going to be as experienced as a professional property manager in all the things that can possibly occur. The list of things that can fail in a house is long. You could have a dishwasher begin leaking to the point that your entire kitchen is flooded. You could have residents lose heat in the middle of the night during one of the coldest weeks of the year. Maybe there’s a plumbing problem that went undetected for weeks or months and now it’s coming to a head, and everything is flooded and floorboards are rotting.Everything in the house has a lifespan. Property managers understand this. They spend every day of their professional lives dealing with appliances and systems and maintenance vendors and contractors. They know the law and they know what residents need in order to feel safe. A habitable home isn’t a suggestion – it’s a legal requirement.Weather can also play a role and cause emergency maintenance issues that you might not have expected. Property managers in Florida are prepared for hurricanes. Here in Seattle, we think about earthquakes. They’re not common, but they’re also not unheard of. So, it’s important for us to be prepared for earthquakes. When something weather-related happens, it’s happening to everyone. Getting a plumber to your house in the middle of the night is challenging enough. Getting a contractor to your property after an earthquake when everyone else in the region also needs a contractor is nearly impossible.This is where a property management relationship can help. As property managers, we work with the best local vendors and contractors to protect your residents and your valuable investment. When there’s an emergency and we need those vendors right away, they’re willing to respond to us. This is a benefit that not a lot of individual owners or self-managing rental property owners can access.Unforeseen circumstances are difficult to plan for, but you still have to be prepared. Have a plan in place and make sure you’ve communicated all emergency plans to your residents. When something terrible does happen, you’ll still have a mess to clean up, but you’ll also have a process to follow that makes the whole thing more tolerable.It seems simple, but if you don’t handle an emergency right away, you open yourself up to habitability issues that can turn into big fines. At the same time, you could be putting your residents in jeopardy. We can help you avoid that. If you have any questions, please contact us at Mynd Property Management in Seattle.
Maintenance emergencies are inevitable—especially when renting a property. Today we will be speaking with Doug Brien. Doug is the CEO of Mynd Property Management and he will be discussing the best way for any investor to successfully manage whatever emergency may arise.Alex Osenenko: Boys and girls, Alex here with Mynd Property Management. We're talking about investing in Vallejo real estate. Vast topic, but I have a good, solid, knowledgeable guests to help us unpack some of the potential icebergs or opportunities within the Vallejo area. His name is Doug Brien. Doug, how are you?Doug Brien: I'm doing well. How are you doing? You sound good!Alex Osenenko: Good, thanks, great to hear. So, Doug is CEO of Mynd, which is important. But I think even more relevant—he was a founder and CEO of a company called Waypoint which purchased over 750 homes in Vallejo area. So, he knows a thing or two. Today's topic is specifically on how to handle maintenance emergency in your rental home in Vallejo. How would you go about that, Doug?Doug Brien: Yes, so this is obviously something you’ve got to deal with properties anywhere you buy. We owned all over the country and, I think, one of the good things about Vallejo is, in the Bay Area, a lot of the tradespeople that work all over the Bay Area—they live in Vallejo. So you can actually find lots of good, local, reasonably-priced tradespeople. I think the key is, you’ve got to find the ones that are willing to come after-hours. That just happens to be when most emergencies happen. That can be a little bit tricky, and I think this is one of these areas where tapping into a good local property manager can be really helpful because they've gone through and typically vetted all the best vendors and found the ones that can basically service after-hours emergencies. You know, if you want to spend the time and find those vendors, you can. And, the good news is, they're fairly plentiful in the area.Alex Osenenko: Gotcha. Any specific qualifying criteria. By the way, before I ask this question—we've done the sort of local deep dive series on real estate investing for Seattle now and few other towns in the Bay Area as well. Oakland. Specifically, for Vallejo, the access to smart, good, solid tradespeople is good, but how would you go about choosing? We're talking about building a team, you have to have a team. Because there's electrician, there's a plumber, and there's this and that, how would you go about interviewing them and qualifying them and even handling your relationship? Because look, you only have one property. You're not really that important.Doug Brien: That's right. I mean, we all think we are, but if you’ve got one property, you’re not that important. That's right. So, I think the way I've always gone about it is, you have to know enough about how the trades work to be able to interview them and really probe it and figure out, are they going to be good? Are their prices appropriate? Are they going to be timely in terms of when you need service? I think it’s about interviewing them. But again, you’ve got to kind of know what you're talking about to ask the right questions. These guys are really good at giving generic, high-level answers to people who are newbies and don't really know the right questions to ask.And then two—and maybe more important—is to find other investors. There's lots of meet-up groups and other ways to meet other investors and I would talk to them and say, “hey, who do you use? How do they work out for you? How's the pricing? Are they responsive? High-quality? talk to your fellow investors.Alex Osenenko: That's a great idea. So, boys and girls, if you are, for example, a programmer in San Jose and you’re investing in Vallejo, and you don't know and don't understand like me—any kind of trades and how plumbing works and all that—I think the good advice would be to hire a property manager or, at least, you'll get in with other investors and group-think and borrow ideas from each other. So that was great, Doug. Thank you very much for your time. Those of you who are interested in Vallejo real estate and want to learn more—go to Mynd.co. We've done a number of episodes with Doug on the subjects—some of the good reasons, some of the potential pitfalls. Check it out. Mynd.co, M-Y-N-D dot CO. Put in the search Vallejo Real Estate. All of it will pop at you and you'll get educated. Doug, thank you for your time.Doug Brien: Hey, thank you.Alex Osenenko: And thanks for watching.For investors who prefer to self-manage their properties, it is imperative to build a team of professional tradespeople to mitigate any problem that may arise. Building such relationships can prove to be difficult, however, especially for new investors or those investors with very few properties. By hiring a property manager instead, one gains immediate access to an established infrastructure of trade professionals to immediately manage any problem or emergency.
Maintenance emergencies are always a possibility, especially when renting a property. As such, having a team of experts and vendors to rely upon can mean the difference between fixing the problem now and fixing the problem in the morning. Scott Raymond is the founder of Raymond Property Management—now part of Mynd—and today he is here to discuss how to tackle such emergencies when they do occur and how some emergencies might be avoided, altogether.Alex: Boys and girls, Alex here with Mynd Property Management. Today we're talking all about investing in the Sacramento area. My guest today is Scott Raymond. Scott, how are you?Scott Raymond: Doing great, Alex.Alex: Great. Scott has a decade of experience investing in Sacramento, specifically. He's very successful in doing so. He founded his own property management company, Raymond Property Management, which is now part of Mynd, so very excited about that. The topic we want to cover today is what to do or how to handle an emergency maintenance situation with your rental.Scott Raymond: That's a good one, Alex. Most non-life threatening maintenance emergencies really have to do with plumbing or the HVAC system not working in extreme weather. Plumbing issues would be like a water leak or a sewer backup. An HVAC failure would be, the air conditioning's not working and it's 110 degrees outside or the heater's not working and it's freezing outside.So if you're self-managing, you need to have a reliable, stable group of vendors that you can call on—that will be there when you need them, like in the middle of the night or holidays, and won't completely price gauge you.Otherwise, my suggestion is to hire a property management company that has a dedicated staff of maintenance techs and vendors that can handle any problem, pretty much at any time.Alex: Yeah. So, we've done a similar interview with Enrique Jevons in Seattle. His sort of advice was—I think very similar to yours, but he was more specific into building a team—you have to have a team in place before you need them.Scott Raymond: Absolutely.Alex: Do you have any tips on how to build a team as an investor? I mean, I understand hiring a property manager gives you access to those teams, but folks who are not currently involved with property management companies, how would they go about building a team?Scott Raymond: I’ve got to tell you; the bad news is it's very tough. You know, if I'm a real estate investor and I have one rental house, I'm not going to get on anybody's radar, I'm not going to be considered a top client or top person for a plumber or an HVAC vendor or electrician to call.When I call them, I'm just going to be like any other customer. So it's really, unfortunately not until you get some real scale, three, four or five properties where you can give these people consistent work. When you start to give these vendors consistent work, that's when they put you on their team, you put them on your team and that's how that really works. But other than that, you're just another client calling off of Google to the local plumber trying to get a priority fix on an emergency issue.Alex: There you go. Get big or hire a property manager or be smart and do both. That's the advice. Thanks for your time today, Scott.Scott Raymond: Thanks, Alex.Alex: And all of you watching, thank you for watching. Go to mynd.co to find a number of other interviews Scott and I have done on investing in Sacramento. Until then, much love.Maintenance emergencies are bound to occur when owning a rental property. So, having the right team of vendors is the best way to tackle any emergency you may encounter. Building relationships with reliable experts and vendors can be quite difficult, however, especially for new investors or those with relatively few properties.Having an infrastructure in place before you start renting is imperative. By hiring a property manager, you gain a devoted team of vendors to handle whatever emergency may arise. And while self-managing is a viable option for many investors, the scale and expertise of a property management company can save you time and money by providing dedicated experts to fix any problems before they become worse.
Maintenance emergencies are guaranteed—particularly when renting a property. As such, knowing how and having the ability to manage an emergency before it happens is key to keeping tenants happy and costs low.Our guest is Dan Hines. Dan is Regional Manager at Mynd Property Management and, today, he will be sharing with us some advice on how to properly prepare for and deal with what maintenance emergencies are guaranteed to occur.Alex Osenenko: Boys and girls, Alex here with Mynd Property Management. I have a guest with me today to help us talk a little bit more about, or learn a little bit more about, investing in Elk Grove, California. My guest today is Dan Hines. Dan, how is it going?Dan Hines: Things are great. How are you?Alex Osenenko: Great. So here we are. Dan has lots of experience. He has managed 1400 units in Sacramento and Elk Grove for Raymond Property Management, which he is a co-founder of that company. And now, he's a regional director here in Mynd. Very excited to have him. So anything Sacramento related, and if you are a Mynd customer or potentially looking, you know you can reach out to Dan and he can help you out. But today, we're going to answer a question we get a lot. How do you handle maintenance emergency in your Elk Grove rental property? Dan, what would you do?Dan Hines: Well, the first step is, have a good property manager. So you don't have to mess with yourself, especially at two in the morning. In all seriousness, though, build your vendor list first. Know who your go-to’s are. Know who the plumber is. Know if they take after-hours emergency calls. Know who's out there that can extract water if you have some sort of an issue—water is flooding a hallway; baseboards are soaked; water is soaking up the first six inches of your walls—the last thing you want to be doing is running through Yelp or some other listing trying to find qualified plumbers in the area that can service you. So, the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, you will plan to fail. So, step one: know who you're going to call.Step two. If it's an emergency do a really quick triage. Stop the bleeding and, then, when you put everything back together, do it right the first time and do not cut any corners. Those things will normally end up costing more money in the long run. Quick service, button it up.Alex Osenenko: I'm going to repeat what you said in the other episode you and I have done. You said, water is the enemy of real estate.Dan Hines: Absolutely. Water is the arch-nemesis of real estate.Alex Osenenko: Arch-nemesis. We prove that saying every single episode. Well, boys and girls, that was pretty cool. I mean, I think it's important to start interviewing people before you have a problem. Or as Dan said, hire a qualified property management company. If you want to learn more about investing in Elk Grove and being successful, go to Mynd.co, M-Y-N-D dot CO and type in Elk Grove. Dan and I've done a number of interviews on the subject. Hopefully, we helped you out today. Dan, thank you for your time.Dan Hines: All right. Thanks for having me.Alex Osenenko: And thank you for watching.Hiring a property manager is the first line of defense for many investors dealing with a maintenance emergency. Many full-service property management companies provide an established infrastructure of vendors to deal with such problems as they arise. Even so, it is key to deal with an emergency as it occurs. Putting off a costly repair, for example, can wind up costing much more in the long run. As such, keeping on top of repairs can keep any property profitable for an investor.
Every rental property will have emergency maintenance required at some point. As an investor in Atlanta, you need to be prepared for how you will define and respond to an emergency at your rental home.
First, you need to know what the Atlanta law requires when it comes to emergencies. Then, you need to go further than what the law requires in order to provide a high level of service to your residents. You have a responsibility to provide services for someone who is renting your home. If there’s a flood at the property or the heat doesn’t work when it’s cold outside or the air conditioning doesn’t work when it’s hot outside, you need to respond right away. If the residents only have one toilet and it stops working; that’s a legal emergency.Other types of repair requests won’t meet the legal definition of an emergency, but they are things you should take care of immediately anyway. For example, if your resident reports that the refrigerator is broken, you can address it with the same sense of urgency that you’d address a lack of heat or water. This helps your relationship with your resident. And, if the fridge stops working on a Friday night, do you really want them to wait until Monday to have it taken care of? Legally, that’s okay, but think about the food that will be spoiled and the way your resident will feel about your responsiveness.Customer service is different from legal obligation.
It’s also important that you know your rental property. If it’s a plumbing emergency that your residents are calling about, make sure you can tell them where the shut-off valve is. You need to know where the HVAC system is located, and whether you’ll need to access it in the basement or the attic or in a cage in the backyard. If you know what you’re looking for, you can address the problem quickly. You can also give your residents a full orientation to the property when they move in. Put something in writing so they know where all the emergency shut-offs are. This will help make emergency situations less traumatic for everyone.When you work with qualified vendors and contractors, your property will also be better protected. Those professionals can tell you the specifics of what’s going on and what it means for the short and long term. Having the right information is crucial to acting correctly. If the person who responds to your emergency doesn’t know anything about the problem and can’t figure out how to stop the bleeding, you’ll be in a worse position than you were before the emergency occurred. Make sure you’re surrounded by capable and qualified contractors.
Having a good relationship in place with your residents will make emergencies far more manageable.Communication is especially important. You’ll need an established set of rules and standards that define exactly what an emergency is – and what an emergency isn’t. A door that isn’t closing properly isn’t going to be an emergency at 1:00 a.m. unless it’s the door to the property and it makes the home unsafe to live in. Establish what qualifies as an emergency, and make sure your residents are aware of how to handle each issue as they come up.If the house is flooding, everyone will consider this to be an emergency. Instead of waiting for you to arrive with a plumber, however, the residents can take a few steps on their own. They can shut the water off so the flooding doesn’t get worse. Have this conversation ahead of time and write up an emergency response plan so everyone understands their expectations and responsibilities.When you and your resident sign the lease, provide something that can easily be posted on the fridge or on a wall that includes your emergency contact information and the first steps that they should take when something happens.
It’s a good idea to remember that emergencies will happen, but they won’t happen on a regular basis. Few of the calls you get will actually require you to drop everything and rush over to the property. While you have to address things quickly, a house burning down is not something you will be called about during most tenancies.From a legal standpoint, not a lot of repair issues are even emergencies. But, from a customer service point of view, you want your residents to know that you care about your property and you’re committed to providing a secure and comfortable place to live. Keep them safe and happy.The habitability laws are different throughout the country. The way you deal with HVAC emergencies in Atlanta is different than the way you deal with them in Florida. If you’re working with a property management company, make sure you choose someone who understands what’s required in Atlanta. You need the local market expertise. An Atlanta property manager will know all the best air conditioning vendors to call. If you’re living in another state, trying to find a contractor at 2:00 a.m. is nearly impossible.Emergencies may happen, and the most important thing you can do is ensure your priorities are aligned with those of your resident.Talk to us further about Atlanta rental property maintenance and how to handle emergencies. Contact us at Mynd Property Management.We also have other opportunities to connect with us and learn more about investing in Atlanta. You can also visit our Facebook group of investors, which is called Master Mynd. It’s a real estate investors’ club, where you can exchange ideas with other owners. Check out our weekly podcast as well, called The Myndful Investor. We invite leaders in real estate and property management to talk about their success and, more importantly, their failures. There’s a lot to learn from this relatable content.
Today, we are talking about common expenses. Sometimes, they’re repair issues and sometimes they’re not. Let’s discuss what those are and how to prepare for them.
One of the reasons that minor repair issues become larger than they need to be is that landlords neglect to perform basic, routine safety and maintenance inspections. Visiting your property for routine safety inspections is one of the things you must do to protect the investment and ensure it’s well-maintained. You want to check everything from appliances to light bulbs to electrical issues.A priority during these inspections is always going to be leaks. Check your toilet valves and your angel stops. Caulk the tubs and the bathroom sinks. Performing routine leak inspections is critical and can definitely help prevent major issues from occurring.In general, water is never good if it sits or if it’s rushing and causing a leak. You can start with a $50 problem and watch it turn into a repair that costs thousands of dollars because it leads to damage and mold. This is a danger when the water is ignored or nobody knows about it. When you’re regularly inspecting your property, you can make sure to catch these things while they are small and not yet complex or expensive.Your routine safety inspection should also include checking the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Those two items should definitely be on your high priority list to make sure they are up to code and functioning correctly. Not only can smoke and fire cause potential property damage, but if you have residents living inside the property, you could be in a lot more trouble. Make sure you have proper detectors in the rental home and that they work.
People always think of maintenance as a major cost, and it is. But, not having a resident in your rental property is actually a much larger cost than anything that may need a repair in the home.When you’re not generating revenue, you’re costing yourself a lot of money. And, you have expenses coming out the back end without any rental revenue coming in. This is a huge problem.An overpriced home leads to vacancy, so make sure you’re not leaving your property empty and on the market. The longer it’s unoccupied, the more work you’ll have to do trying to find residents who are willing to live there. This will cost you more money than rental property repairs in both the short and long term. You want to generate a lot of showings, and to do that, you have to have your property priced correctly.Don’t raise your rent to the point that it’s above market, especially if you have a good resident in place. When that resident leaves, you have to pay for turnover costs and vacancy costs and leasing and marketing costs.Your pricing will always depend on the market and what it bears. You can attach the highest possible price to your rental property, but your residents will leave as soon as the lease has ended. Trying to make a couple hundred dollars will only cost you thousands. Pricing is huge, and shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re thinking about rental property expenses.
The lease expiration process is also an expense that San Diego owners need to prepare for. If a lease concludes and you want to raise the rent when it renews, you have to pay attention to the rent control limits. The new rent control law, or AB1482, went into effect on January 1, 2020, in San Diego and throughout California. So, knowing the law shows its importance yet again.If you do want to increase the rent, you have to make sure you are within a certain guideline or standard and within the perimeter of the law. Could it cost you money if you are not careful in doing so? Absolutely.Ending up in court over something you didn’t completely understand will definitely cost you money. Renting out a home is going to be extremely expensive if you don’t understand the laws in California and San Diego. Don’t let yourself lose money this way.Make sure you’re running your business correctly. This includes understanding the local, state, and federal laws. As the investor and the person who owns the property, you are ultimately responsible. It’s easy to make a mistake because you didn’t know it was a mistake; but it’s not an excuse that’s going to save you money or stand up in court.There are legal ramifications and fines that can get pretty ugly in certain situations. Litigation could be one of the highest costs you have as an investor. With the new rent control law that has come into effect, you want to make sure you know it and are abiding by it.We can help you manage all of the costs that are associated with San Diego rental properties, whether they are repairs or something else. Talk to us about how to avoid vacancy and price your home correctly. You can contact us at Mynd Property Management to learn more. We look forward to talking to you and helping out in any way that we can.You can also visit our Facebook group of investors, which is called Master Mynd. It’s a real estate investors’ club, where you can exchange ideas with other owners. Check out our weekly podcast as well, called The Myndful Investor. We invite leaders in real estate and property management to talk about their success and, more importantly, their failures. There’s a lot to learn from this relatable content.
You’ll need to know what constitutes a maintenance emergency and how to handle them. That’s the topic of our discussion today.
A maintenance emergency is anything that could damage the structural integrity of your home.This could be through water, fire, or any other major hazard. Emergencies require immediate action. Changing a light bulb isn’t an emergency situation, obviously. But, water is an emergency. If there’s a leak in the home, it can lead to a lot of damage and huge expenses. You need to figure out where the water is coming from and what kind of damage it may be doing.
To effectively respond to a water emergency, you’ll need to know how to shut the water off and stop the bleeding. You need to know how to identify the issue and also how to prevent it from recurring.When an emergency occurs, make sure your resident knows what to do and how to mitigate the damage. For example, you want your residents to know where the water shut off valve is located. If you share this information ahead of time, you won’t have to drive over to the property to shut the valve off yourself.As an investor, this is an important lesson. Not only do you need to know where that shut off valve is yourself; you also need to communicate that to your residents before they move in. Tell them where it is and how to shut it off.It always seems to happen that emergencies tend to occur at two or three in the morning when everyone is asleep. It’s important that everyone knows how to stop the emergency no matter what time of night or day.
If a house has two bathrooms and one of those bathrooms isn’t working, then it’s not an emergency because there is another functioning bathroom.However, if the home only has one bathroom, the property is uninhabitable when that toilet stops working. It would be considered an emergency. This is clearly stated in the property code, and you can find in the current laws. The language is clear that issues leading to unsafe or uninhabitable homes are considered emergenciesIn San Diego, it may not seem like an emergency if your air conditioning is not working. But, in Arizona, a broken air conditioning unit would absolutely be considered an emergency. It’s important to understand how you define an emergency before you even get going. What an emergency is to the resident may be completely different to what it is in the property code is and what the law says.
Always check the property code for guidelines and requirements when it comes to how quickly you respond to an emergency maintenance situation.Treat every emergency maintenance situation with a clear sense of urgency. Document when the call comes in and track everything that you do. This may be important later on if the residents try to claim that you didn’t respond to an emergency in the appropriate timeframe. You’ll want to demonstrate that you mitigated the damage and worked as quickly as possible to take care of the problem.Develop a process and put it in writing. Then, follow it consistently every time there’s an emergency maintenance issue that requires your response.
Make sure you’re sending the right vendors to get the job done. You want to make sure the right person is licensed and insured and specializes in the area of the emergency. Sending a general handyman over to take care of a major pipe burst is not going to help you. Rely on professionals who understand how to respond quickly and completely.You always want to have a licensed and insured person do the job because it protects your property and provides peace of mind. There’s also a legal necessity. If you file an insurance claim, the insurance company might want to know who worked on the problem and what their qualifications are. So, maintenance emergencies are not the best time to cut corners or try to save a few pennies. Do it right, and work with good vendors who provide a valuable service.Always work with licensed and insured contractors. Hiring just anyone because you want to save money can lead to huge financial losses. The liability and risk is huge.If you have an emergency, make sure you can identify if it is truly an emergency. See if you can stop the emergency from getting worse, and figure out where it is coming from. As soon as you’re able to contain the problem, you’ll want to start working a solution. Evaluate what kind of expertise you need, and then call those professionals. Always be sure you’re operating within the confines of the law, and fix the situation completely.Working with a professional San Diego property management company is an excellent way to protect yourself and your property from maintenance emergencies. A good property manager is available to your residents 24 hours a day and has a list of preferred vendors who are quick to respond and do great work. You won’t have to worry about a process or a plan, because your manager is sure to have one already.We can be your San Diego property management resource. Contact us at Mynd Property Management to learn more.You can also visit our Facebook group of investors, which is called Master Mynd. It’s a real estate investors’ club, where you can exchange ideas with other owners. Check out our weekly podcast as well, called The Myndful Investor. We invite leaders in real estate and property management to talk about their success and, more importantly, their failures. There’s a lot to learn from this relatable content.