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BP Pays Florida Realtors $16 Million

Monday, August 23, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 23 /PRNewswire/ — Florida Realtors® and four other state Realtor organizations successfully negotiated with Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the new Gulf Coast Claims Facility handling the British Petroleum (BP) Oil Spill Fund, for a special allocation for real estate professionals’ claims for loss of income or loss of sales due to the Gulf oil spill.

From the special allocation, $16 million is initially available to pay claims to real estate professionals in Florida. Along with other local businesses in the Gulf Coast states, real estate has experienced significant economic harm since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“This is great news for Realtors and real estate professionals in Florida, as well as those in our neighboring Gulf Coast states, who are suffering from the loss of their livelihood because of the oil spill crisis,” said 2010 Florida Realtors President Wendell Davis, a broker with Watson Realty Corp. in Jacksonville. “Many real estate claims for loss of income due to the oil spill have been in limbo, leaving people with no way to pay their bills, take care of their families or keep their businesses going. Providing this special allocation is a positive, responsive action on Mr. Feinberg’s part — one that will help people move forward and reclaim their lives.”

Until now, some real estate claims related to lost sales and loss of income were not included in Feinberg’s protocol for payments from the $20 billion BP Gulf Coast Claims Fund. Representatives of Gulf Coast Realtor associations — Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas — met several times with Feinberg to make the case that real estate brokers and agents have been financially harmed by the oil spill.

Each state Realtors organization will receive funds based on the estimated losses of individuals and brokerages resulting from cancelled sales contracts, loss of income and depressed market conditions following the BP oil spill. The allocation is available to all real estate licensees with active licenses at the time of the loss, not just Realtors.

Florida Realtors has contracted with Indiana-based NCA, an independent, national claims adjustment firm, to handle these claims and otherwise administer the funds; the other state Realtor groups in the Gulf Coast are also working with NCA. The state Realtor associations had to provide Feinberg with detailed documentation to request funds, including a timely, transparent and objective process for handling claims and for determining payments.

“Realtors in Florida build communities, and this allocation for real estate professionals will help them continue to do that,” said Davis. “This historic agreement between the real estate industry and the BP Fund is a model for public/private partnerships. It will help restore economic vitality to the Florida Panhandle, ensuring that a unique culture and way of life continues into the future.”

Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 115,000 members

Gulf Oil Spill Pounds Coastal Real Estate

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

As we continue our coverage on the affects of the Gulf Oil Spill has on local real estate, we are sorry to report that we’ve seen no real improvement in the last week.  If anything, problems are increasing as tropical storms approach, booms and equipment are reaching the end of their life expectancy.  The only thing constant seems to be the continual flow of often ridiculous red tape, that prevents citizens from protecting themselves and their property. 

Tales from the front include:

Kevin Chiu, a researcher for Housing Predictor, warns:  “Housing analysts contend that the projected losses in housing value will top that of any oil disaster in the nation’s history and will send tens of thousands of additional homes into foreclosure as a result.”

Alabama real estate agent Linda Henderson reports…canceled sales and that the smell at times is so pungent that it drives people back inside their homes.  “I can tell you that things have pretty much dropped to dead,” said Ms Henderson.  “We were on track for our best year since Katrina.  This is just devastating-you can say that the spill killed the real estate recovery.”

Jack McCabe of McCabe Researcn and Consulting in Deerfield Beach, FL sums it up this way…”What the housing recession and the Great Recession couldn’t do to property values along the Gulf, this could easily accomplish.  It’s a knock out punch, plain and simple.”

There is an awful lot of real estate within 20 miles from the coastal beaches of Gulf states.   All forms of real estate, farms, office buildings, schools, government buildings, military installations, utility systems and homes are in peril. How much oil could come onshore and what the aftermath will be is entirely speculative at this point. If the oil spilling into the waters of the Gulf can’t be stopped and cleaned up before a major storm event, the devastation of the entire Gulf Coast region within at least a 20 mile distance will likely render it uninhabitable by humans. Who would want to live there, let alone buy or invest in property?

This raises the final question about BP’s oil spill:   Who will pay for the unintended loss of real estate value and the toll of human misery sure to come?  If one faces the facts as we are learning them about BP, it becomes almost a certainty that there isn’t enough money in their vast holdings to pay for the damages and losses from such an event.   The toll on human life and the economy might only be imagined as apocalyptic in scale.  The effect on the national economy, if not the global economy, is likely to follow.   The economic impact on the world, let alone the nation, is going to be staggering when, not if this event occurs.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale and rent website.   We are here to assist you with all your real estate marketing needs, including flat fee MLS listings and uploads.

This week we are covering the fallout from the BP oil spill, as it relates to real estate and the people who derive their livlihoods from it.   

A report from BP shows that $157,942 was paid through June 11, 2010 for real estate related claims in the state of Florida.   While we were looking for details which might outline a precedent for future payments to victims, the report was vague and had few details.   Categories for claims included items such as swimming pools, plants, rental property, real estate sales, home structure and diminished value.  When BP was ask to provide better definitions for the categories, they said they didn’t have one, but hoped to by Monday.  We will keep you posted.

As far as Florida real estate is concerned, 1019 claims have been filed in Florida with regard to losses to rental property.  To date, payments totaling $145,744 have been paid on 393 of the claims.  In real estate sales, 199 claims have been made.  Two were paid out for a total of $9698.  Dimished value had 14 claims so far, with nothing being paid out.  3 claims were made for structural damage  with one being paid for $2500.

Bart Harrison of Clay, Ala., filed his first claim on Wednesday morning for lost rental income on his coastal property and expected to have a check for $1,010 within a few hours. The only documentation required was tax returns and rental histories for his units, which were both easy to provide.  “The guy I talked to was knowledgeable and respectful. It seemed like he really wanted to write a check and please me since it was my first time in,” Harrison said.

The one certainty is that the real estate claims will start piling up as more and more coastal area’s are affected by the spill.  Bloomberg reported that the oil spill could drive down Gulf Coast property values by 10 percent for at least three years.  CoStar Group has estimated real estate losses of $4.3 Billion along the 600 mile stretch from the Louisana bayous to Clearwater, FL

To Determine if you or someone you know may have a legimate claim against BP for losses related to real estate…..Click Here for a list of Eligible BP Claim Information and BP Required Filing Documentation

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This week blog will focus on the impact that the gulf oil spill from a real estate perspective.    Today, we focus on the events and conditions that have already occurred.  We will conclude with expert predictions about what will follow in years to come.  

We welcome feedback, comments and reports from the front line and encourage you to add blog to your rss reader for future updates on conditions in the gulf.

CBS News Reports:

Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are already taking a hit due to reduced tourist bookings, but with its 770 miles of Gulf Coast line, Florida stands to lose the most which is why the state is running pro-tourism ads.

Officials say Alabama’s tourism is down 50 percent so far and imagery that shows a large plume of oil heading this way could wreck Florida’s season as well.

Just a 10 percent decline in tourism related business in Florida’s 23 Gulf Shore counties could cost the Sunshine state $2.2 billion in revenue. 

Commentary:   Anytime rental vacancies rise, property values drop.   In addition to the immediate problems created by the lack of rental cash flow,  property owners are faced with a rapid drop in the value of their property.  Real estate experts in the hardest hit area’s report that property values have already dropped a whopping 20-30 percent during the last 63 days.  And, whether any prospective buyers can obtain financing and insurance on the affected coastal area’s is unclear.

Whether BP will compensate property owners in the gulf for lost property value remains uncertain.   To date, the matter has not been formally addressed.   BP is self-insured, but pollution is usually excluded as a covered peril in property insurance policies.  And, standard commercial and home insurance policies usually cover property damage only, not claims for lost value.

Thank you for visiting   Our focus this week will continue with the real estate crisis that is washing up on the pristine beaches in gulf, along with the dead wildlife and waves of petroleum and a special blog on what you can do to fight back!!

If you are selling real estate in the United States, you need to familiarize yourself with The Federal Fair Housing Act.   According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, you cannot discriminate against someone when selling a home.

The act defines seven different classes that are protected against discrimination, these include: 



National origin




Familial status 

(You may notice that Age is not a protected class, in and of itself.  Sellers of property that are zoned 55+, adult only, etc. can discriminate on the basis of age, if it violates deed restrictions, zoning or restrictive convenants.

Attention Home Sellers:   You put yourself at serious risk of violating this act, if you refuse to sell or show your home to an interested buyer.  Remember that ignorance of the law is not a viable excuse or defense.  You will be held legally liable, even if you accidentally violate these laws without realizing it.

Review the following list of words that cannot be included in advertisements of your home, because they are in violation of the Fair Housing Laws.  

Bachelor apartment

Children welcome


Gentlemans Farm

Golden Agers





Mother-in-Law quarters


Section 8


Singles only


Thank you for visiting homes for Sale and Rent website.    We work hard at helping sellers market their homes.  Visit the website or our Facebook page to learn how we can help you!

Top 10 Cities Where Owning a Home is Cheaper than Renting.

Las Vegas, NV 11 $128,815 $983
Phoenix, AZ 10 $100,535 $883
El Paso, TX 10 $95,388 $770
Miami, FL 8 $189,566 $2019
Arlington, TX 8 $72,422 $789
Fresno, CA 8 $90,446 $870
Jacksonville, FL 9 $92,446 $870
Mesa, AZ 9 $71,377 $697
San Antonio, TX 8 $89,068 $884
Minneapolis, MN 8 $153,844 $1700

Are you considering a home purchase?  Are you currently renting?  Have you considered buying a rental property as an investment?  

The Rule of 15 is a quick an easy tool for determining if a property is cheaper to rent than to own….CLICK HERE  to find out how much to pay for a property based upon the annual rents.    

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Good Times for Landlords

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Up Up Up…it is a good time to be a landlord

  • The National Multi-Housing Council, which measures changes in rental and occupancy rates, reports that the rental market has tightened significantly in the last few months.   Their “Market Tightness” index increased 38 percent from October 2009- April 2010.
  • RealFacts reports that they national average apartment rent, for all sizes of apartments, was $943 per month in the first quarter of 2010, up from $932 in the 4th quarter of 2009.
  • Hitwise, which tracks online searches, revealed that online searches for rentals surged 171 percent over 2009.
  • Experian said the fastest growing search terms for real estate were…”Cheap homes for Rent” up 128 percent; “House for Rent by owner” up 94 percent; and, “Home for rent by Owner” up 84 percent.
  • Borrowing conditions have also eased for investment properties and interest rates are at highly attractive lows.
  • Sales volumes for multi-family housing have jumped, as investors realize higher profits and higher rents going forward.

Why is the Rental Market going to get tougher?

  • Homes are cheaper than they have been in over 10 years, but lingering fear about real estate ownership are holding some potential buyers back.
  • Tighter lending requirements keep many from obtaining the financing required to buy.
  • Some people don’t plan to rent forever, but as values still fall in their area, it makes sense to wait.
  • In our tight job market, many people want the flexibility of renting in case they need to relocate for a better job opportunity.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale and rent website.   Expose your property to thousands of buyers and tenants by placing a Free Listing on our Website Today.  You have everything to gain…nothing to lose!

UP the Odds of Selling Your Home this Spring

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow


Every single home seller can Up the Odds of Selling their home this season.  And, best of all…we aren’t recommending  lowering your price….

To learn how successful seller’s got the job done this spring…CLICK HERE….for details with Before and After Photo’s.

Thank you for visiting   Homes that have languished on the market in the past are now Under Contract!!!  If you need help selling your home, we are here to help you!  Call 1-800-858-6000 or visit our site today.

I have been hearing real estate agents chatter about homes with Mother-in-Law Rooms or Suites these days.   It seems a lot of home buyers are interested in accomodating more than one generation of their family in their home.   When I inquired about the trend…this is what I learned.

  • Nearly 40 percent of buyers sited financial reasons as the motivation for co-habitation
  • A third of the buyers who were looking for an “in law” friendly floorplan cited care issues.
  • Only 6 percent said a strong family bond was the reason they were living with family. offers some Tips for Buyers and Sellers regarding the “In Law” suite Trend

  • Everyone involved in the purchase should talk frankly about sharing rooms, bathrooms and common area’s, such as kitchens and family rooms.
  • Sellers with rooms or places to accomodate multi-generational living should definitely highlight and play up that aspect of their home.
  • Buyers will be very clear about their needs and are willing to pay for extras.  Extra bedrooms, bathrooms or even plumbing roughed in for an extra bath will be important.  Luxury ammenities such as separate kitchens, entrances, handicapped accessibility, one level living or a free standing additional building on the property are most sought after.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale and rent website.  Search our listings for thousands of deals found no where else on the web.

Snooping Real Estate Agent Caught on Camera

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

ATLANTA — When real estate agents representing buyers show your home, should they be allowed to examine private or confidential papers? How would you react if you caught them doing just that?

 Channel 2’s Tom Regan talked with one home seller who was shocked by what he caught on camera in his home. David Scitthelm owned a beautiful home in Buckhead. He was proud to put it up for sale, but he wasn’t pleased with the conduct of the two real estate agents who arrived to show the house. 

To Learn More or Watch the Short Video, CLICK HERE

Commentary:  ALWAYS advises that home sellers  hide or pack away anything that is private or could be used against them in a negotiation.   And, private mail and legal notice issues aside…did you see how this agent hunted for books, stereo equipment, family photographs, collections, etc. to gain personal knowledge about the sellers?   Hopefully this story plainly illustrates to homesellers the importance of packing up all personal items BEFORE they put their home on the market.  Added Bonus:  A staged home always shows better and appeals to a wider audience, too.  

P.S.  And, don’t forget your medicine cabinet (:

The Truth about Being a Landlord

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

      The real estate crash has created new interest about property management and the work involved in becoming a landlord.  Some people feel they have been cornered into the landlord role, because they have been unable to unload property they already own.  Others are considering buying and renting property as an investment, since home prices and money are cheap.

Before you consider investing your savings in real estate, ask yourself why you’re doing so.  Do you think that landlords get rich off rental income?  Do you expect home prices to suddenly rebound?  Do you expect to flip your investment for big profit, like some did 4 or 5 years ago??  If this is what you’re thinking, you might need to think again. 

Myth #1: Real Estate can Make You Rich:  We’ve all heard the late night commercials and multi-level marketing groups that make their money by selling the keys to making riches in real estate.  Don’t buy into it.  Unless you’ve owned a property for many years, or you found the deal of a lifetime, you should know that rarely does the rental income cover expenses.  In other words, rental property will cost you money, not make it.  When the market was soaring higher, landlords could justify losing money every year on rent, because they saw their property values grow.  In 2010, it will be very difficult to make renting a profitable venture.

Myth #2:  Rents Above Base Costs = Profit:  Calculating potential profit from rentals is not at all that simple.  An investor needs to be sure to calculate all the real expenses of owning property. 

Hidden Expenses.  If you have a loan, you’ll pay interest so figure that in.  Property taxes on real estate are already high and expected to go higher.  If future tax increases exceed the probability of rent increases, you lose even more.  Landlords also need a personal liability insurance umbrella, in addition to insurance coverage for the structure itself.   Landlords should count on having a one month vacancy (no renter) per year, as leases expire.  In addition, you’ll need to budget for the advertising, signage, etc needed to attract a new tenant.  Don’t forget to add in the cost of accounting and filing tax returns on rental properties. 

Don’t forget about Repairs and Maintenance.  They will vary depending on the age and condition of the property, but even if you buy brand new, the best tenants will cause normal wear and tear.  In addition, all property needs to be updated and maintained regularly.  If you don’t have the skills or the time, budget in repair costs plus the labor. 

Utilities and ground care can also eat away at potential earnings.  If the property is separately metered, the tenant pays the utilities.  If not, the landlord pays.  Unless the property is a single family home, the landlord will always pay for sewer and water, at a minimum.

Myth #3:  The Cost of Opportunity:  The Costs of Lost opportunity to be more precise.  If you invest your savings in a piece of rental property, then you can’t invest it in stocks, bonds or other financial instruments.   It is important for investors to know what their money can earn, in order to decide the best place to put their cash.   And, remember that real estate is not liquid, like equities and other investments.  You can’t dump a bad real estate investment, or cash in your profits, with a call or click of your mouse, like you can other investment vehicles.  Remember that just to sell a piece of investment property can take months or years, and fee’s to sell will generally erase 10-12 percent of the sales price.

Myth #4:  Fat Cat Landlords Sit While Cash Rolls in:  Being a landlord may look like a “cushie” job, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Landlords are responsible to their tenants and the law.  Owning any property, even one you occupy, requires constant attention and upkeep.   Unless you own over 10 units, you probably can’t justify the cost of a property manager to oversee finding and screening tenants, enforcement of leases, collecting and accounting for monthly rentals or handling evictions.  In addition, all landlords should be willing to accept late night phone calls or vacation interuptions for flooding, broken down heat or AC, leaking roofs, etc.  If that scene doesn’t sound appealing to you, or you’re not very handy, then becoming a landlord probably isn’t a job you will like.   

Conclusion:  Real estate is a high maintenance investment vehicle.   It is also one that is very expensive and time consuming to get rid of, if you don’t like it.   So, if you are considering becoming a landlord for any reason, make sure you calculate all the costs, time and trouble, before you jump in.

Thank you for visiting …a FREE homes for sale and rent website for owners, builders and investors.  We have over 20,000 properties listed on the site and more are added daily.  Keep checking in for the freshest listings on the web.

Fed Snapshot on Real Estate in 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

An exerpt from the NASDAQ report states:

In all seven of its districts, though, sales of lower-priced homes outpaced those of higher-priced homes by a wide margin, the Fed reported. It credited the government homebuyer tax credit for boosting interest in less-expensive properties.

And the extension of the tax credit could act as a shot in the arm for purchase activity later in the year, the Fed suggested. “The extension of the credit into 2010,” the Fed noted, “could give an added impetus to the expected seasonal sales upturn this spring.” 

Concerns about the continued housing recovery abound among policymakers and the chattering class, however. Both the tax credit and the Fed’s purchase of mortgage-backed securities are slated to end in the coming months, and it’s unclear whether there will be sufficient demand for home purchases without those stimuli.

This week, the Mortgage Bankers Association released a forecast for mortgage activity; it anticipates that mortgage issuance will fall 40 percent from 2009. The decline will be led by a plummeting rate of home refinancing, the MBA said. reads between the lines:  The market is being driven on the low end by Federal stimulus and the housing market will drop off after the April deadline for qualification passes.   If you have a home to sell, you will see more buying momentum earlier in the year than later.  To maximize your investment, clean, repair, stage and advertise your property on the internet during the first quarter of 2010.   January – April will be the period we will see the more homes go under contract for the year.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. aka Silent Killer

Friday, January 8, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is called a silent, deadly killer because the gas odorless, colorless and tasteless, yet is highly toxic.  Hundreds of people die from CO poisoning and thousands of others require medical treatment.

What are the Symptoms of CO Poisoning?

  1. Headache, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue.   Since the symptoms are fairly commonplace, people are often misdiagnosed with the flu or a “bug”.  Unfortunately, they unknowingly return back home, further exposed to the deadly gas.

What are the Sources of CO in a Home?

  1. The killer often resides in a faulty fuel burning appliance or fixture, such as a furnace, fireplace, oven, range, hot water heater or space heater.  Other sources are garaged, idling cars, or charcoal burned indoors or inside a tent or camper.  

What can a Homeowner do to Carbon Monoxide Proof Their Home??

  1. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors Today!   A variety of models are available at most hardware stores and cost no more than smoke detectors.  2 major manufacturers make multi-tasking products that detect both smoke and carbon monoxide.

Conclusion:  The price of carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely high, but the cost to prevent it is very low.   Install a CO detector in your home this weekend to protect your family from this invisible killer.

Thank you for visiting FREE homes for sale and rent website.  Search our database for over 20,000 deals on real estate from coast to coast.

Home Buyer Motivation at Highest Level in Years

Friday, November 13, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

According to a survey by, 12.1 percent of homebuyers intend to purchase an investment property this year, compared to only 5.6 percent of buyers polled in April. 

The percentage of investors shopping for property also jumps higher when it comes to foreclosed property.   42 percent of foreclosure buyers are purchasing for an investment.   57.6 percent of foreclosure shoppers plan to live in the home they buy.

The survey also shows that 23.6 percent of investors and buyers believe that home prices are already as low as they will go.  Nearly 20 percent feel a sense of urgency when searching for a bargain. 

Another factor motivating home buyer’s off the sidelines is the real threat of rising interest rates.  Wall Street guru’s, who agree on very little, warn that lending rates will rise in the near future.   With real estate prices at their lowest levels, buyers risk much more in waiting to purchase, than they do by locking in record low rates on their loan.

Prediction:  We believe the leading indicator of an interest rate hike will be  falling unemployment claims.  When unemployment claim filings fall below 500,000 per month, a rate hike is likely!

Thank you for visiting Free homes for sale and rent website.  Happy Home Shopping!!!

Mortgage Giant Cuts a Deal with Homeowners

Thursday, November 5, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced that it is willing to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments.

According to CNBC, Fannie Mae will give homeowners, who are in default on their loan, the option of renting the home and staying put for up to one year.  To be eligible, the homeowner must sign over the deed to the property.

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