National ERA Servicing Newsletter from the President – September 2015

AS

It’s been a long hot summer here in Atlanta and we are looking forward to cool mornings and evenings in the fall.  As most of you know, we have a moderate climate with a fairly mild winter.

With the heat in summer comes the calls from tenants requesting air conditioning repairs.  This is one item that will really ruin a landlord-tenant relationship if not handled immediately.

When it’s over 100 degrees most air conditioning systems have a hard time keeping the entire property cool. This also causes the unit to work harder than normal.  Thus, the most repetitive area for maintenance calls during summer is A/C and conversely during winter, the heating systems.

When these calls come in, I personally handle them to make sure that we act quickly as well as determine who will be responsible for the maintenance call.  As well to see if it is a repair the tenant can perform to reduce your expense. Since we’ve changed our leases with the tenants, we have initiated billing invoices to the tenants for repairs.  In hopes to deter them from calling in repairs that they are responsible for.

On our side, we want to make sure the responsible party is getting charged and sometimes, it falls under a home warranty that was given by BCFP.  (www.BuyCashFlowProperties.com)

In an average week, we might get 15-25 calls requesting repairs.  On a day where the temperature is over 105 degrees Fahrenheit, we might get 30-40, primarily A/C related.  Thus, our relationships with our A/C contractor as well as all other trades, is very important.  We endeavor to keep all expenses to a minimum for investors while doing all we can to increase cash flow.

Recently, we collected $10,000 for an option agreement from a tenant and $5,000 on another.  In fact, we increase option payments whenever possible to increase investor returns.  We have added one full time maintenance man to reduce investor repair cost and we are going to add another full time maintenance man as well.

The rental market is very strong in Atlanta right now as our days on the market for available rentals is under 22 days.  This is a far cry from where we were 3 years ago and the main reasons for this are:

  1. Portfolio Managers – have assumed responsibility for their areas: rentals and collections, and they are doing an excellent job as they are only paid on their results.
  2. Our reputation on the streets is excellent!  Prospective tenants have expectations on how a “NES” property will look and that they can expect fair treatment in all situations.  Communication is critical with tenants and the timeliness of communication is what sets us apart from others.
  3. Our communications with investors has improved but it’s still not acceptable to us and we continue to make strides in this direction.

A few times this year, an investor found out about repairs on their monthly statement prior to my assessment of the situation.  This is an area I continue to strive to get better.  I take it very seriously to mitigate circumstances surrounding your property and I always endeavor to deliver the best result possible given the details of the situation.

I want you to know that every single problem that ever happens on any of the 720+ houses we manage ultimately ends up on my desk.  Typically I evaluate and personally make a determination as to how to treat the situation and contact with them.  In some past instances, an investor discovered the situation due to monthly reports prior to my notification as to what was going on at the property.  Please understand, I cannot involve every investor in our property management decision making.  You hired us to do the work so you could have a passive real estate investment.  We really don’t like to interfere with your day to day life, thus I typically contact you after I’ve set a course for action and it’s resolved! I make the decisions based on your best interest and as if it was my home.  We are the ones on the ground, communicated with the tenants and know the details of the situation.

We know you want to know what’s going on with your houses and for most items, we will not bother you.  We only contact you on repair issues over $500, unless it’s an emergency.  Or, if the cost is close to $500 and is something that has to be done, that way we avoid a potential two trip charge to the property that could cost much more.

Every investor should already have received 2 of the 3 LLPP reports (Landlord Protection Plan).  If you have not, please contact me.  These reports give you 3 “report cards” on the house and the tenant each year.  We contract with a few different companies to provide these services for you and we also review every report that comes in, taking action where needed.

Many of our investors still have the same tenants that initially rented their homes 3-5 years ago.  It’s our goal to keep a good tenant as long as possible because turnover can be costly.  No one wants to replace carpet and paint every 3 years and we do all we can to minimize the work without compromising the product.  Whenever possible, we clean carpets, paint only a few walls and freshen up the landscaping.  All of these turnovers are done at our exact cost and I use the most efficient crews available to keep your costs down.  At all times I revert back to RJ from BCFP and Jim Case, who oversees rehabs and turnovers.

Collectively, we sort out situations and set the course of action that would be most beneficial for you.  We share the same attitude, simply: “The Investor Comes First.”

In the last few months we’ve sold 8 houses for International Investors.  All of them made money on their sales and they sold for different reasons.  Some needed money for their kids, building a new home or for their own business.
Keep in mind, if you need to sell or have a greater need for your money now, let me know and we can give you an idea of value and a timeframe to dispose of the property.

As always, contact me at any time to discuss your portfolio, issues, potential new acquisitions or whatever.

-Anthony Salmeri