Be sure that your home is ready for the winter ahead in Central Oregon!
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Karen: Hi! This is Karen Malanga welcoming you to this week’s House Talk. On our second segment after the break, I’m going to be welcoming Lindsay Cloud with Velocity Property Management. She was voted the best property manager in the whole state of Oregon for 2018. So we’re excited to have her.
Before I welcome her to the program, I just wanted to tell a short story about an investor that we have as a great client, a property that they decided to move forward on, and what was discovered during the process. And I think it will lead right into why you may want to consider having a property manager such as Lindsay.
So, my investors are from out of state. They’ve purchased several multi-families here in Central Oregon and including three in the northeast region of Bend. And this happened to be a duplex that came on the market in the same neighborhood that they own two other properties, like just right around the corner.
The property is owned by a seller who’s had great tenants for nine years. And he felt very comfortable with them. They’ve painted the exterior. They’ve done a great job. And when we did the visual walkthrough, just the first showing, everything looked great.
What we didn’t realize when we had the home inspection was what really can happen when you defer maintenance or when you do allow a tenant to live in a home for a long-term without doing periodic inspections, maybe having some things looked at.
So, we went ahead with the property inspection. And the report that came back was about 90 pages long—which isn’t too abnormal especially because there are two units.
But what the property inspector found was that not only did the roof have damage, but the skylights on the property were also leaking moisture into the bathroom. The tenants weren’t really using the fans in the bathrooms because they weren’t vented properly. And so, what we discovered underneath the paint in these two skylights was the mold.
And then, also, the tub had been leaking. So the baseboards, even though they were painted fresh, had warped. And it was discovered that, in each unit, there was not only water going behind the baseboard—which again is not uncommon, but it’s good to catch this probably sooner than nine years. So the bathroom flooring had moisture underneath it which means the sub-floor has moisture. And then, sure enough, underneath the home, he found mold underneath each bathroom.
As he went around the windows on the home, there were six compromised window sills. And there was mold forming inside the glass.
And this isn’t any fault of the tenants. I mean these are curtains that they kept hold. They’re not really going to know. And it’s really no fault of the seller’s either. But it’s just, again, you don’t have a property manager stopping in. You don’t have things being checked on regularly.
We also discovered that the dishwasher hadn’t worked in one unit for quite some time; and neither had the range. And none of these had been communicated to the seller from the tenants. They loved living there. Their rent is a little lower than the surrounding or the people that are renting around them. So they kind of didn’t want to rock the boat. But in the end, we had the—let’s just reiterate this—mold in the skylights, also mold underneath the flashing and the roof around the skylights (so those have to be replaced), six windows in each unit that were compromised, the new bathroom flooring and getting rid of however that’s leaking.
Oh, and then, I forgot! Underneath each kitchen sink, there was evidence of water leaks and moisture that were damaging the cabinetry. And then, in one unit, the linoleum had worn off from the threshold. And so the sub-floor was showing.
And again, this is all stuff that could probably have been remediated at a much sooner time if I think this particular seller had been using a property manager. And it also made my buyers sit back and reflect on the two properties that they owned around each corner. They have not been professionally managing those either.
So, they decided not to move forward with this transaction. But they did decide to become very proactive on the rentals that they have in the neighborhood because it’s a great neighborhood, it’s a great place to own property, and it’s really a terrific neighborhood for tenants because of easy access to North Bend, South Bend, Redmond, et cetera.
So, they’re going to be proactive on their units at this time—moving forward with inspections, walkthroughs.
And it also made us realize the age of these units. As Bend gets older, so do our properties. And I think that that even leads into another reason. If you do have an investment and you do have a rental, make sure that you keep up on everything. Make sure the furnaces are serviced. You’re taking care of all the HVAC or potential issues every year.
Do a walkthrough. Check for moisture underneath the sinks. Have a home inspection periodically if you chose not to use a property manager.
And then, if you do choose to use a property manager, really consider how much they’re going to do proactively to help maintain and take care of your property. What are they going to notice? What are their concerns? And what do they have to offer you?
So, anyway, we’re going to take a small break. And then, we’re going to welcome Lindsay Cloud here. I look forward to you listening after the break.
[commercial]: Stay with us! More House Talk is straight ahead on 104.5 FM, 1340 AM, and KBNWTalk.com.
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[commercial]: This is House Talk. Now, once again, here’s your host, Karen Malanga.
Karen: Welcome back to House Talk. I’m principal broker at RE/MAX Key Properties. And as I alluded in our first segment, I’m so excited to welcome Lindsay Cloud back to the program.
Lindsay, thank you so much for coming.
Lindsay: Thanks for having me, Karen.
Karen: You bet! So, since Lindsay wasn’t here in the beginning, Lindsay, I discussed a situation that I had a with a client and a property that wasn’t professionally managed. And so, I was wondering if you could tell our listeners how you go about helping them maintain their properties when they have rentals and what you provide at Velocity Property Management.
Lindsay: So, inspections are so crucial. And I think that’s one of the best things that’s a service that a property manager can provide. The key things to check for that we really look at are caulking around tubs, sinks, showers.
We just had a situation where the tenant’s children were not closing the shower curtain when they’d shower. And the caulking had deteriorated probably from getting so much water on it over time.
And then, we ended up finding that the water was getting underneath the vinyl flooring and creating some sub-floor issues. And it was a second story, so that can cause more issues to the downstairs.
Karen: Oh, yeah, definitely.
Lindsay: So, really caulking, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (especially this time of year, there’s a lot more fires in this time of year. So make sure those rae working).
Lindsay: And then, let’s see what are some other big ones. Yeah, check your skylights. Check that the windows are caulked around the inside to make sure that you don’t have water coming in.
Karen: How often do you inspect a property for a client.
Lindsay: We do it twice a year. We typically do it in the spring, and then the fall. Those are kind of good seasons in Central Oregon to be checking things. But I do encourage, if an owner has a property management company, that they’re asking and they’re requesting that the home be inspected. I think sometimes people get busy, and they get deferred. So just make sure you’re staying on top of your company, that they’re doing it.
Karen: Sure! Now, do you recommend things like getting the HVAC service? I know in my case, the story that I told in the beginning of the program, my buyers were from out of state. And so, they’re a little bit disconnected.
So, when you do have clients like that, do you have a checklist for them, like, “This is what needs to happen.”
Lindsay: Yeah! And that kind of leads in more seasonal stuff. But yes, you want to make sure that your drains are all draining property. Things like that are happening.
Furnace is a big one. You want to make sure that furnace filter is getting changed.
Karen: So, Lindsay, what else do you provide? You’ve got kind of your checklist, you’re going to inspect the property two times a year. What else do you provide as a property manager because I am running into these older buildings and the maintenance is deferred. Hwo can we help the property owners make sure that they have as much equity as possible if they choose to sell this property (and that they can sell it in good condition).
Lindsay: Yeah, I think we also have the contacts with the contractors. It’s huge (especially right now in the economy, it’s really hard to find people that are available).
We’ve got heating and cooling. We’ve got electricians, people that can really be on top of this stuff. And I think that’s a huge asset—especially if you’re not in the area and you don’t have those contacts…
Karen: And these are people that are tried and true. You know that they do a great job.
Karen: Yeah, and they’re priced competitively. We’re typically keeping up on that to make sure that we’re not getting outrageous pricing or getting comparable to other contractors.
But yeah, that’s a huge…
And you know, the other thing to really check too are the crawl spaces.
Lindsay: This isn’t something that we physically go to, but I recommend the furnaces. I recommend owners do do it at some point during a one-year period. Do a crawl space inspection. You can just hire a handyman to get down there with a flashlight, make sure there are no drips and leaks that you’re not aware of…
Karen: Or pests… we also had pests in the story that I was telling earlier in the program.
Lindsay: Yeah! Oh, that’s a big one. Yeah, pests. That’s a big one.
Lindsay: And attics too. Make sure that your attics are being checked. Those are big ones.
Those aren’t things that typically are just offered in a service. We don’t offer like, “We’ll do your furnace service for the year.” But it’s important to make sure that, as an owner, you’re keeping those things in mind and requesting that somebody take care of those.
Karen: And how do you coordinate? So, one question we came up with if my client had decided to stay on their contract was how do you help coordinate the repairs with the tenants. I mean, you have to give 24-hour notice…
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Lindsay: Yeah, we have to give 24-hour notice at least—sometimes more depending on how invasive it’s going to be. But it’s a minimum of 24 hours notice. And we would help facilitate that by making sure they were let in if the tenants were working, making sure the work was actually done. Especially if you’re not an owner in the area, make sure the scope of work that you agree to is being taken care of.
Karen: And you can provide written documentation for that, correct?
Lindsay: Yes, you can.
Karen: Okay, perfect.
Lindsay: Yup, yeah.
Karen: So, have you ever had a situation where you needed repairs, but the people renting the home didn’t want the repairs done or they didn’t want to be invaded. It can be invasive if you have a big problem.
Lindsay: …especially when there’s a sale happening because they’ve already usually been disturbed quite a bit.
Lindsay: So they’re even more frustrated, yeah.
So, sometimes you have to do incentives. You have to create a little rent discount to account for the repairs, or give a little gift card. Make it work for the tenant to make them feel like they’re not just being disturbed constantly. Make it in their interest too to work together.
Karen: Yeah, because the last thing that I would think a property owner would want is any, any potential risk of losing the tenant during the repairs. I mean they’re getting their property maintained which is helping their equity and the potential to resell the property. But yet they don’t want to lose a tenant that’s been a good, solid tenant for a long period of time.
Lindsay: Exactly! It’s a balance. It might be worth just giving a couple hundred of discount to the tenant.
The other thing too is that, with this long-term renters—when you have long-term renters—they tend to not tell you all the problems.
Karen: And that’s what happened in my situation.
Lindsay: Yeah! And maybe the rent is slow, and they don’t want to bother you because they don’t want the rent to go up. But just be getting in there, checking for your own eyes and ears, whether it’s your property manager or yourself. But you get to get someone in there looking at these homes.
Karen: And I know you can tell some things just from a drive-by. But most things, you really have to go up, go down, go all around, and really look.
Lindsay: And we found when we do our inspections we usually ask tenants at that point what’s not working. And that’s how we find out those things too.
Karen: Sure! Well, we’re going to take a short break. We’ve been visiting with Lindsay Cloud of Velocity Property Management. Stay with me!
[commercial]: Stay with us! More House Talk is straight ahead on 104.5 FM, 1340 AM and KBNWTalk.com.
♪ [music] ♪
[commercial]: This is house talk. Now, once again, here’s your host, Karen Malanga.
Karen: Hi! You’re back with House Talk. I’m Karen Malanga, a principal broker at RE/MAX key properties. And we have Lindsay Cloud from Velocity property management here. Again, Lindsay, thank you so much for coming back to House Talk. It’s great to have you.
So, we’ve talked a little bit about what can happen when you’re an absentee landlord, and you don’t have a property manager, and now we’ve discussed what a property manager provides, so Lindsay, now that we’re heading into winter—and there was frost all over my car this morning—I’m sure there are some seasonal things that you take care of, or that are your concerns when it comes to properties in Central Oregon? Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Lindsay: Yeah, I’ll go through kind of a list in my head.
Karen: Perfect, perfect.
Lindsay: So, the things that I know, furnace, which we’ve discussed. Make sure those furnace filters are clean. Make sure they’re working efficiently. The second thing would be gutters. Make sure your gutters are cleaned out.
Karen: I never clean my gutters.
Lindsay: Oh, shame on you!
Karen: I don’t have a tall enough ladder.
Lindsay: Hire it!
Karen: It’s just a pain. Well, I know. But I try. Then I put a few books on the top which is so stupid.
Lindsay: Oh, you’re silly. But yes, no. We live in a place with lots of pine needles. And it’s not so much of an issue until we have the snow build-up like we had a few years ago.
Lindsay: We had ice dams. And a lot of it was created was created from…
Karen: …stuff in your gutters.
Lindsay: …stuff in your gutters. It didn’t have anywhere to flow. So, your gutters…
Check that your foundation vents are all closed ideally. Some of them just have a little plastic cover. Put those up or foundation plugs.
Karen: And you can get those at like ACE Hardware or Home Depot.
Lindsay: Yeah, Home Depot.
Karen: Aren’t they really inexpensive?
Lindsay: Really cheap, yeah. I think they’re ¢50, a little block.
Karen: Oh, my goodness! They’re worth the investment.
Lindsay: Yeah, that’s worth it. But make sure, in the spring, that you open them. That’s a big one because you need to air it out down there.
Lindsay: And then, the other things to be checking: obviously, again, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure those are working properly. And then, make sure that your hose bibs are covered and hoses are disconnected.
Karen: I forget to do that sometimes too. I live that hose on all winter.
Lindsay: I know! Yeah, I know.
Karen: Amazingly, I’ve been okay with this.
Lindsay: Look at you! You’re lucky. We would charge $200 if you did that and you’re my tenant.
So, those are things to remember. We have tenants in our homes, so we always send an email letter a couple of times a year or a couple of times during the beginning of the winter season reminding them of these items.
Karen: To the tenants…?
Lindsay: To the tenants…
Lindsay: “Hey, check these things. Let us know if you have any concerns with those things, and we’ll fix them or get someone out there.” And then, yeah, those are the big ones.
And then, the thing to remind tenants is don’t use salt melt on the concrete. You’ve seen what that does?
Karen: Yeah, the damage… and even the bag that says it’s safe.
Lindsay: It’s not safe. Use cat litter. Cat litters are a great alternative. It’s abrasive. And it just doesn’t do any damage.
Karen: What about bird seed? I know some people use bird seed.
Lindsay: Oh, that’s a good idea. That’s really good… unless the birds take it away I guess. But that’s clever.
Karen: Or we get squirrels or something.
Lindsay: Squirrels, yeah.
Karen: When you email the tenants, do you ask if they’ve got any drafts coming in because I’m thinking about older homes again and maybe the [water’s] dripping.
Lindsay: Oh, yeah, that’s a great one. We usually catch that in our inspections that we typically do. This is the type of year we’re starting those. The fall is when I’d recommend doing those in your homes to get prepared for the winter. But that’s a good one…
Usually, tenants tell us that because they’re cold and they don’t want to pay for the heating. So we usually know about that. But that’s a really good thing to check, yeah.
Karen: And it’s easy to get the furnaces serviced with tenants because, again, you’ll let them know…
Lindsay: Yup! We schedule it. Or we can even have the heating companies coordinate directly with the tenants. So if you’re out of area, just call up your heating company, have them coordinate directly with your tenant. And then, just follow up to make sure that schedule happened. Otherwise, sometimes, they fall through.
Karen: Can I have another question. It’s not really particularly seasonally related. But when you have a tenant leave, and the home is vacant, and you’re waiting for the next one to come in, and say they’ve had a lot of pets, do you have the decks cleaned? Do you recommend that? Does that happen very often?
Lindsay: You know, we’ve never actually—now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think we’ve ever had to do deck cleaning. We do have some tenants that have cats. And sometimes, there’s people with allergies after that. And every once in a while, owners have thought about doing it. We haven’t done it. I don’t think it’s a bad idea. But that does also bring on the point of vacant homes.
Just make sure that your gas is on, your power is on. Sometimes, tenants take it out of their name, and owners forget to put it back in with the cold weather.
Karen: Oh, that’s huge.
Lindsay: It’s huge. So make sure your home is heated 60° which is what I would say is a minimum to keep your home.
Karen: You also want it warm so that the new tenants coming in to look at it feel comfortable just like I do in a listing when I have a home for sale.
Lindsay: Yeah, just make sure the heat’s on. Whatever you do, make sure your utilities are set up and ready to go.
Karen: And you don’t want the property owners to be trying to cut any corners because you’re just going to end up with a huge expense.
Lindsay: Yes, it’s true. And we do ask our tenants if they leave in the winter months and the home’s going to be vacant to notify us just because we want to make sure if there’s a real cold snap in Bend, we can be there to keep an eye on things, make sure we don’t have a broken pipe or that the heat was turned down accidentally before they left, things like that.
Karen: And what about gas fireplaces or woodstoves? Do you have any maintenance checks on those?
Lindsay: Yeah, we do. We recommend that those are cleaned once a year by a professional. Our tenants in a lease contract, we usually turn them over to a tenant totally clean, particularly the wood-burning ones. And then, we require that a tenant provide us a proof of receipt that it’s been done sometime during that year after they’ve been there.
Karen: Oh, so it’s their responsibility?
Lindsay: We put it in our contract that, yes, they need to maintain that woodstove.
Karen: Wow! That’s a savings to the owner.
Lindsay: It is! And it’s whatever’s in your contract. So if you can make sure you capture all these things ahead of time, put them in the agreement, then you can save some costs there for yourself.
Karen: And I also think with so many investors that we have coming out of state—my particular ones that I discussed earlier, they’re from Arizona—they’re not dealing with woodstoves in their rental properties in Arizona or really even fireplaces probably.
Lindsay: Yeah, probably not.
Karen: Or any of these… they’re not dealing with…
Lindsay: …winter… cold….
Karen: Yeah, removing hoses and styrofoam hoses…
Lindsay: Making sure the heat is on. Yeah, they don’t think about. It’s just so crucial here. And we’re really entering that season right now. So it’s really important.
Karen: I know! It seems like it’s been super cold the past few mornings.
Lindsay: Really cold… and it doesn’t take much to ruin things.
Karen: I think I’m going to go home and get my hoses off.
Lindsay: I’ll send you a checklist to let you know…
Karen: If you can send me a checklist, I’ll put it on NestBend.com.
Lindsay: I will! I’ll send a great checklist for everybody.
Karen: That way, our listeners can go to NestBend.com and get some information for free!
Lindsay: Great idea! Yeah, we’ll put it on there.
Karen: Okay. And then, Lindsay, how can people reach you if they want to engage you as their property manager?
Lindsay: Yeah, go to our website, VelocityPropertyManager.com or our phone number. Yeah, you can give us a call. Our website has all of our information.
Karen: Well, what’s your phone number?
Karen: Alright! Thanks Lindsay.
Lindsay: Thanks Karen.
Closing: Join us again at this time next week for more great information on the buying and selling or your home.
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