Author Archive

Preparing Your Home to Be a Rental or Investment Property

Below are a dozen tips on preparing your home to be rent-ready.

Some homeowners find themselves unable to sell in today’s market. Some have purchased too recently and their job requires they move before expected. Some purchase homes as long, or short-term investments. All three of these types of home owners may find that preparing the home for rent is the most beneficial for them at this time.

Before jumping the gun and putting the “for rent” ad in the local paper, consider preparing the home for its new occupant carefully

Take a good, long and honest look at the home. If you were forced to take photos of the home right this minute, what would you remove, fix, replace, etc.? A good quality tenant will expect the home to be in excellent working condition and will also expect it to be spotless clean.

Here are a some tips on preparing your home for the rental market:

1. Make necessary repairs and or improvements. You may not mind the inoperable dishwasher but I assure you, a tenant will. If you’re going to provide it, make sure it works. Replace smoke detectors and screens. If your home has a fireplace, have the chimney swept and inspected. Clean out the dryer vent. Checking chimneys and dryer vents regularly will help prevent an avoidable fire hazard. Be sure to eliminate any and all trip hazards or insurance violations.

2. Paint. Yes, I said it. Paint all the interior walls a light neutral color. If you just painted it green last week, paint it light neutral color this week. Seriously. I do not recommend using white paint (except for doors and trim). A light neutral color allows the tenant to better visualize their own belongings in the space. Light neutral color hides normal wear and tear markings better than white paint, which means painting less frequently. Use quality paint so that you can clean the walls later or in between tenants if needed.

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Welcome JoAnna!

RE/MAX Infinity Property Management welcomes JoAnna Hackett to the team!

JoAnna is a native of Pensacola. In 1995, JoAnna began working “temporarily” at a small multi-family apartment community. She made the transition to single family residential management just a few years later. After a decade in the industry, her desire was to expand her education, expertise, and advance her professional career. Therefore in 2005, she obtained her Florida Real Estate License. Two years later, she joined NARPM (the National Association of Residential Property Managers). She immediately began serving the local Pensacola Chapter of NARPM, in various leadership roles. In 2015 and 2017, she was elected by a group of her peers to serve as President of the Pensacola Chapter. JoAnna has attended numerous conventions and classes through NARPM, staying up-to-date on all changes in property management.

With strength in client relations, and 22 years’ experience, she is a valuable asset to the RE/MAX Infinity Property Management family. Her primary focus for our department is business growth and expansion into additional market areas.

Outside of the office, she is currently studying to achieve her Broker’s license. She is also finishing up her degree in Business Administration and Management. JoAnna is proud to have a son who plays tennis in high school, and a rescue dog.

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Mosquito Control

Dear Tenants,

We wanted to take a moment to advise you that Mosquito season is starting up and there are a few simple steps you can take to help minimize the growth and spread of Mosquitos around your home. Mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism — over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year. Not only can mosquitoes carry diseases that afflict humans, they also transmit several diseases and parasites that dogs and horses are very susceptible to. These include dog heartworm, West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). In addition, mosquito bites can cause severe skin irritation through an allergic reaction to the mosquito’s saliva – this is what causes the red bump and itching. Mosquito vectored diseases include protozoan diseases, i.e., malaria, filarial diseases such as dog heartworm, and viruses such as dengue, encephalitis and yellow fever.

The most effective way to reduce the number of mosquitoes around homes and neighborhoods is to find and eliminate their breeding sites – standing water. Adults of some mosquito species remain near their breeding site. Others can travel long distances, even up to several miles. Because of this, problem mosquitoes may come from breeding sites some distance away.

Regardless of recent weather patterns – wet, dry, warm, or cool – there are plenty of potential places in which mosquitoes can develop. A neglected bird bath, swimming pool, or clogged rain gutter can produce hundreds of new mosquitoes in a just a few days. Trees uprooted by storms leave soil depressions that collect seepage and rainwater. Large areas of standing water, such as from swamps, sluggishly moving streams or ditches may require efforts beyond those of individual tenants.

However, there are effective steps that individuals can take to minimize mosquito breeding on their property: 1. Dispose of old tires, buckets, aluminum cans, plastic sheeting or other refuse that can hold water. Empty accumulated water from trash cans, boats, wheel barrows, pet dishes, and flower pot bottoms.

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Congratulations to Jason McGuire – Earned Professional RMP Designation

LOCAL PROPERTY MANAGER ACHIEVES PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL DESIGNATION

Pensacola – Jason McGuire, RMP, GRI, ARM, a local leader in the residential property management field, has just been awarded the prestigious RMP® (Residential Management Professional) designation from the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM®). This prestigious designation is held by fewer than 411 property managers nationwide and is reflective of the professional commitment made to the industry by Jason.

“Receiving my RMP® designation was one of the proudest moments in my professional career,” said Jason McGuire of RE/MAX Infinity Property Management. The professional designation is awarded to property managers who have completed one of the highest levels of achievement including specific course requirements as well as service to the NARPM® organization. A detailed examination of the applicant as well as letters of recommendations from clients and peers are required to pass the certification requirements.

This important designation is one Jason McGuire should be very proud of and reinforces the expertise they maintain within the property management field.

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Tenant Damages vs. Normal Wear and Tear

Wear and Tear vs. Tenant Damages

Florida Law allows landlords and property managers to charge tenants for damages that occur at a property above “normal wear and tear”. We get asked what that means quite often, and the government has not yet released any hard evidence to differentiate between what is Normal and what is considered Damage.

We consider “Normal Wear and Tear” to be the normal deterioration which occurs to a property naturally and without regard to any negligence, carelessness, accidents or abuse to the property by the tenants or their guests.

Damage would then be anything caused by the negligence, carelessness, abuse or accident of the tenants and their guests. This can include “improvements” that are not completed correctly (such as painting and touching ceiling or baseboards, or not matching paint correctly).

The following is an incomplete list of scenarios that are to represent a reasonable interpretation of the differences between Normal Wear and Tear and Damages. We use this reference to determine our charges and claims. Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list, and is meant as a rough guide only. Also keep in mind that every situation is different, and judgment calls must be made in the event that an item falls between the 2 scenarios.

Wear and Tear

Damage

1. Small nail holes caused by “6 penny nails” or smaller. Large holes from screws, wall anchors, or brackets. 2. Faded or worn paint. Non-matching touch up painting or patching. 3. Faded caulking around tub/shower. Missing or mildewed caulking. 4. Hard water deposits Dirt/mildew/mold build-up from preventable or unreported leaks or drips. 5. Worn out keys. Broken, Lost, or Unreturned Keys or Knobs. 6. Loose Hinges or Handles. Damaged doors or hardware from forced entry. 7. Worn carpet traffic patterns. Torn, burned, stained, missing, ripped, or snagged carpet. 8. Faded finish on wood floors. Scratched, gouged, warped, or water damaged floors. 9. Linoleum worn thin.

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Military Move-Outs – Policy and the Law

RE/MAX Infinity is proud to support and house a large number of our military men and women that get stationed in our area. One topic that comes up quite often is the exact Military Move-Out procedures. We follow the law and Florida Statutes, and will completely honor the Military Clause for all of our service members and their families.

For reference, the Florida Statutes regarding Military Move-Outs can be found at the following address:

Landlord Tenant Law: Florida Statutes 83.682

The most misunderstood and often confusing section of this for our tenants, is in reference to item (2) “The notice to the landlord must be accompanied by either a copy of the official military orders or a written verification signed by the servicemember’s commanding officer.” Unfortunately, due to the nature of training at Whiting Field and NAS Pensacola, servicemembers are not always given a 30 day notice prior to receiving their orders. By law, we are required to start the 30 day “clock” after we have received  the orders, or a letter from a commanding officer.

It is important to keep in mind that we cannot begin marketing the home, or start the move out process until either the orders or a letter have been received by our office. In the event we are able to re-lease the property before the 30 day notice has expired, then a prorated rent will be returned to the tenant based on the occupancy date of the new tenants.

We are also asked about Military family members, especially unmarried significant others. It is our company policy that if a servicemember receives orders, then all family members are also released from the obligations of the lease agreement. This means that wives/husbands, girlfriends/boyfriends, fiances, etc. will not be obligated to remain on the lease in the event of a PCS move. Please advise your leasing consultant of the relationship of all parties when signing the lease if you have any concerns regarding this.

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Get it fixed! How Tenants should submit and monitor maintenance requests.

One of the most common areas of complaints in Property Management is the handling and coordination of maintenance requests. We will be addressing a few key points of the maintenance process, as well as offering a few suggestions on how you can make sure that maintenance is completed at your property quickly and professionally.

We know and understand that maintenance issues are frustrating and by the rules of the universe, they almost always happen at the most inconvenient times. The A/C will go out on the hottest day of the year, the leak will start the day you have guests coming into town, the stove stops working right before you get ready to cook Thanksgiving Dinner…we have all been there and believe me when I say that we want to address the issues as soon as possible. When you find out that you have a problem, take a minute and make sure you do everything you can to understand exactly what is going on. Make sure to detail the exact problem when you submit your maintenance request so that we can ensure that the right contractor is sent out to address it.

• Check to see if you can fix the problem first. • Submit request in writing to our office, detailing exactly what the issue is and what areas of the home are affected. • Let us know about any scheduling issues our contactor may face, or if there is a contact person other than yourself that should be called to schedule the work.

Once we have your maintenance request, contractors will be dispatched to your property as soon as possible. Understand that contractors work during the day, and most of them try to enjoy their weekends as much as you do. If you turn in a maintenance request on Friday afternoon, you may not hear from or see a contractor until Monday. Emergency repairs are an exception, but also understand that not all emergencies can be handled over the weekend either.

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Advanced Designations Awarded – RE/MAX Infinity

Jason McGuire, Director of Property Management, and Jane Smith, Office Manager at RE/MAX Infinity Property Management recently received their Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) Designations from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). Jason and Jane, along with a highly qualified and educated staff manage over 300 residential homes and apartments in the Pensacola, Pace, and Milton area. This designation is only a single step in their continued commitment to better educating themselves to be able to better serve their clients.

How can an ARM® help me?

ARM® means experience. Because the average ARM® has ten years of property management experience, the day-to-day tasks of running a residential property are handled quickly and expertly. The majority of ARM® members manage more than 200 units, giving them the hands-on knowledge needed to attract and retain tenants. Also, ARM® members bring supervisory experience to the job, supervising an average of 12 employees, and using their human resource skills to recruit, motivate and retain their staff.

ARM® means skills. The training and experience that are required to earn the ARM® designation mean that these individuals can do whatever it takes to make your residential property successful. From merchandising your property to supervising rental and renewal operations to negotiating service contracts, ARM® members have the skills to improve your property’s bottom line.

ARM® means knowledge. Those who have completed the training required to earn the ARM® have demonstrated knowledge in the areas of marketing and leasing, financial operations, maintenance operations, legal and risk management, human resources and ethics. But learning doesn’t stop there. All ARM® members are encouraged to participate in a continuing professional education program to keep up-to-date with current information and issues. ARM® members also have access to the latest industry information through educational courses, publications and the IREM and REIC websites.

ARM® means contacts. An ARM® has the opportunity to meet with and learn from other residential managers. Local, regional and national meetings give ARM® members the opportunity to network with other real estate management professionals and find solutions to problems, share information, and stay up-to-date on industry issues.

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Online Payment Processing Update

RE/MAX Infinity Property Management is excited to announce that we are now able to accept online, e-check rental payments with NO FEES! You may notice that when you click on the Rental Payment button that you are taken to a login screen instead of the normal payment processor (Paylease.com).  You will need to sign in with your e-mail address that we have file with our office and the password you set up. If you have not yet set up your account, please call or e-mail our office, and we will send out a link immediately that will allow you to create your account and login. You will now be able to see your total balance owed, set up automatic payments, and submit maintenance from the same portal.

If you have any questions about your account, please don’t hesitate to contact us. And don’t worry, you can still make your online payment with credit cards as well, although a small transaction fee still applies to all Credit and Debit cards transactions.

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RE/MAX Infinity named Florida’s #1 RE/MAX brokerage for 2013

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