Archive for the 'Information' Category

How To Maintain Control With Your Rental Management Company

house for rent

Rental management with vacation properties is quite popular in the Finger Lakes even though Home Away and Flip Key are quite popular.  Rental management companies reduce the stress for homeowners in the weekly rental market  Owners are relieved of finding cleaning help, landscaping work and regular maintenance.  But owner beware, it can lead to additional and unexpected charges.

After purchasing your new vacation home in the Finger Lakes and you decided to put it into a rental management company, take your time when working with the representative.  One of the most important things I tell my real estate clients, is to remember it is their property and that they are allowing the rental company to make an income on “their” property.  I can not tell you how many times my clients have told me:

“My rental company does not want us to use the house during that week.”

“They told us we can not have that type of furniture.  “

” They told us to install that type of flooring.”

“We are not allowed to do our own cleaning or painting.”

All of the above statements are only true if you allow them to be true.  What do I mean?  Read the contract that is presented to you to sign.  If you do not agree with anything, ask to have it changed and then sign the agreement or if you are not sure what you should do contact your real estate agent, one that is not involved with the rental management company and ask them for their advice.  Working in the area and selling real estate in the area, they can usually give you sound advice.

One of the most unseemingly things that I have seen precariously inserted into a contract states ” If you decide to sell your property while under contract with us, you have to used out real estate services.  If you use another agency you still be required to pay us six percent commission on the sale of your property.”  This statement is definitely unethical and may potentially be illegal.  This limits you when it comes time to  sell your property with them, and then if they do not sell real estate at the time, you are still obligated to pay them a commission.  Of course this would be above and beyond what you have already agreed to pay the listing broker from the company of your choice.  This statement was found inserted into a contract and not one person that came to me about it, had any idea it was there until they went to sell the property and found out their limitations from the rental agency.

Maintenance fees can be very confusing .  Be sure to find out what it covers, how much it costs and how it will be billed.  Many companies require a minimum of one deep cleaning each year.  Some companies will go in before the beginning of the season, inspect the property and determine if the cleaning was done properly, even if you did it. Some will just take it upon themselves to go in with their own crew, redo the deep clean and then charge you for it without any communication.  They will then refer to the contract as their defense.

What happens if a water pipe breaks or the furnace will not turn on?  I would recommend that you break down various large utility break downs and hire a specific company to make the repairs yourself.  For example if the air conditioning or heat will  not work, have your own company to call for repairs.  Most of the rental companies have employees that can repair minor issues, but are not really qualified for heating and air conditioning. Do not be afraid to list your preferences…again…this is “your” home.

If the rental company you are working with does not utilize electronic locks, I would recommend you install them.  This keeps a record of every time the door is open and the combination can be changed by you.

By keeping a communication going with your neighbors, you will know if there are issues with your rental property and can quickly call to negate.  The key to a good rental is that you can sit back and easily manage your property from afar either by yourself or through an agency.  Many home owners are testing the waters with HomeAway.com and FlipKey.com.  It is inexpensive to list your property, the portal is advertised extensively and you can save anywhere from 15 to 20 % by taking bookings online.  There are also a few smaller agencies in the area that are offering very competitive pricing that should be on your list of agencies to talk to.

Before allowing anyone to tell you what to install or not install in your property, talk with your real estate agent.  If you decide down the road you want to sell, you want to insure that your property is saleable based on the updates you add to the property.

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A Fresh New Look For Your Kitchen

Something different - no emphasis on granite counters or stainless steel

Something different – no emphasis on granite counters or stainless steel

As a Realtor® I am continually asked about granite counters and stainless steel.  Are these kitchens pretty?  Absolutely… But then again, they all start to look so much a like. I am not quite sure when the page turned to only exist with granite and stainless, but it happened.  Yes there will always be followers for the materials because they are really beautiful.

So it is always refreshing to me when I see someone mixing things up, without using granite or stainless.  The kitchen cabinets in the above photo are custom but they are done in a mint green, the hardware and fixtures are brass and the trim is in oak with oak stools. The one wall adorns wallpaper with an Arts & Crafts feel, the refrigerator and dishwasher are covered with matching panels.  The built in ovens do show metal, but it adds to the nice blend of differences.  The wood adds warmth that is inviting and looks like someone actually would use it.

kitchen ideas

The above kitchen before remodel

Updating your kitchen always adds value to your home when done with care.  When updating consider how long you plan to live in the home.  If you are completing the upgrade just to sell, then you want the improvements to give the kitchen a fresh clean feel, yet using a minimal approach.  If you plan on staying for many years, then go ahead and think about the little added touches that will make the kitchen say it is all yours.

For more ideas about remodeling your kitchen, what you should do when selling and what you should not do, then give me a call 315-719-8377.  I want to make sure that your kitchen is “picture perfect” when home buyers are looking at it and to also sell it quickly.  Let’s chat…mstgeorge@Nothnagle.com

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You Need To VENT !!! Are You Venting Properly ?

With the installation of energy efficient furnaces, these little PVC pipes poking out of the sides of homes, have become quite common.  No longer do we need expensive or enormous chimneys in order to heat our homes. Of course if you love a wood burning fire, then yes, you will need a fire retardant chimney with a triple wall metal insert.  Now back to venting.

courtesy of consumer union

Because furnaces are so efficient, there is a minimal amount of heat released allowing the installation of short pvc pipes.  These are normally found at the base of the home either coming from the first floor or basement, depending on the location of the furnace.

With the record snowfalls we have incurred this year, numerous homeowners have forgotten about the pipes and have allowed them to become snow covered.  Calls are being reported for furnaces not operating.  When snow packs around the opening of the vents, it causes the pilot lights to go out. Heavy snow pack can also cause carbon-monoxide to back up since it does not have an exit.

For your safety make sure these vents are clear of any snow pack.

Another vent you may have issues with in this severe cold, is your sewer vent or vents depending on how many bathrooms or sinks in the home.  These are required to operate your water pressure in your toilets and sinks.  One sign that they may be blocked, is a gurgling sound in another room when flushing the toilet or draining a sink.  This means there is not a proper air exchange. Hence a back up of methane gas.

courtesy of Structure Tech Home Inspections

You can now find kits in your hardware store to attach to the tops of your vent pipes to prevent the buildup of ice and or snow. Or you can try to insulate the vent pipes inside the attic area of your home.  If you have sudden gurgling in your traps or you begin to smell sewer gas, you will need to address the issue because methane gas besides smelling bad will give you headaches and make you feel sick.

If you have any questions about your vents and do not feel qualified to address the issues, contact a local contractor with good references to take car of the issues.

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Are You Ready For The “Hot” Selling Season?

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I know you are most likely thinking of Summer when you hear the word  “hot”, but really the hot selling season is the Spring and for the Finger Lakes Area, it starts to wind up in mid February.  (just around the corner).  Why February?  Well buyers know that if they are really serious, looking in February will allow them to find a property and start enjoying during the first available part of the Summer season.  If they close before then, they will have time to freshen it up and furnish to their liking.  I already have buyers looking for new property listings. If your home is listed at the beginning of the selling curve, you are most likely to obtain the highest selling price. Competition is the strongest during the Spring.  So let me help you stay ahead of the crowd with the following tips below. The longer you wait to list, the more buyers there are that have decided on a home that is already listed.  So lets get going… 7K0A0947

Click to continue reading “Are You Ready For The “Hot” Selling Season?”

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The Top Three Items To Stop A Buyer In Their Tracks

real estate for saleWhen your home goes up for sale, your Realtor® will be working hard to find and attract buyers to your home.  Once these buyers arrive there to view your property, you want to make sure that your home is ready, everything is in place and tidy and that the buyer will want to continue through your doors and eventually decide this is going to be “their” new home.  But if certain items are not addressed, this will not happen as planned.

Your home will have professional photos taken and even the best photographer can not remove the clutter. The top three things that will stop a buyer in their tracks are:

 

  • Pet Odors…Many owners do not realize that there are odors present, either because they have become raining cats and dogsaccustomed to them, or they just are not sensitive to odors.  There is nothing like walking through the door and being knocked out with pet odors and the worst are usually cat odors.

But dog odors can be just as bad, depending on the type of dogs or if the owner breeds them.  If you have cats or dogs ask one of your friends to be honest about the odors, and actually kids are most likely to tell you the truth.

With cat odors you will want to wash everything down with a neutralizing solution (visit your local hardware store for their recommendation), set out odor capturing containers and thoroughly clean out the litter boxes.  If the cats have sprayed on the furniture, you will have to remove it.  Do not just put out fragrance containers or candles, they do not remove the odors, and sometimes those odors can be just as overpowering.  The best fragrance in a home, is something very mild.

For dogs, make sure their bedding is kept clean.  If your dogs are used to getting up on the furniture, you may want to keep covers on them.  These covers can then be removed when showing the home.

  • Curb Appeal…When a Realtor® drives up to your home with the clients in the car, the last thing your agent wantsc56241_aa083b1b02b243469c4b0645f6c24fc6_jpg_srz_257_343_75_22_0_50_1_20_0 to hear is “No, we do not want to see this house.” because at that point, there is no forcing them inside.

Make sure your entry way is clean and inviting.  Windows on doors should be clean and sparkling, doors should be freshly painted and all trim work painted as well.  Any toys or gardening implements need to be put away, leaves and or snow should be removed and it does not hurt to have a nice seasonal item such as a planter or wreath to welcome you. The lawn should be cut and trimmed and trash containers put out of view.

I had one client that insisted on leaving a burn barrel in the side yard, and you would not believe how many buyers questioned the burn barrel being there.  The burn barrel detracted from the beauty of this million dollar home.

Many times we enter our homes through side doors or back doors and forget about the attraction or lack of, of our front door.  Take a fresh look at your entry way today.

  • Smoking Odors…Gone are the days of smoking being acceptable.  Non-smokers will notice the odors much more smokethan smokers.  Smoke will work it’s way into all of your material items such as sofas, chairs and drapes.  It will also yellow your walls and fixtures.  So if you  are a smoker or someone in your house smokes, you will have to address the behavior and thoroughly clean everything in your home,  including your ceilings.  This may be the opportunity to encourage the end of the smoking habit.

When meeting with prospective sellers, I have the talk with them.  The bad pet odor talk, the smoke in the house or the curb appeal talk and sometimes the conversation includes all of the topics.  If I am not honest with them, I am not doing my job.  I know what it takes to get buyers into your home.  Some buyers have pet allergies and just knowing there are odors , sets the stage for them, the one that says this home just will not do, even if the odors are minimal. And non-smokers will pick up the slightest hint of tobacco smoke.   Becoming mad at the potential buyers will not sell your home, but addressing the issues will.

Let me know if I can be of assistance to you, to help you prepare your home for sale.

 

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Mary St. George