Timely Repairs are possible with your Landover Property Management Firm

January 11th, 2013

rental property managementAs a landlord, you have a legal obligation to keep your rental property or properties habitable. This means making timely repairs and conducting regular maintenance to keep the rental property or properties in tip top shape.

The definition of a habitable property is one that “has adequate heating, water, electricity, cleanliness, and is structurally sound.”

If you fail to repair any problems after receiving a request from your tenant, several things can happen:

1. Your tenant can elect to withhold rent until the problem is properly dealt with.

2. If the repairs are not done in a timely manner, your tenant can opt to hire an outside contractor to make the necessary repairs. The cost of these repairs will be deducted from the rent.

3. If the problem in question violates and state or local building or health codes, your tenant can opt to report you to the local authorities. This could result in a work order, heavy fines, or other penalties.

4. If the problem in question is not repaired in a timely manner and affects the livability of the rental property, your tenant could opt out of his/her lease without warning.

Rental Property Maintenance Tips

1. Heating and plumbing problems should be dealt with as soon as possible, typically within 24 hours after the issue was reported.

2. All other problems should be dealt with within 48 hours after the issue was reported.

3. Remember, as a landlord you should always give advanced notice (24-48 hours) to your tenants before entering the rental property. You are not permitted to show up unannounced unless there is an emergency, like a fire or flood.

4. Rental property rules differ from state to state and from city to city. So be sure to consult local codes regarding rental properties in your state and city. You can find this information at your local building or housing authority.

Potomac Valley Management: Your Landover Property Management Firm, specializing in the Maintenance of your Rental Properties

At PVMGT, we provide complete maintenance services 24-hour, seven days a week. This means we are available whenever you need us. If a pipe bursts at midnight, we are here. If your HVAC unit stops working at 3am, we are here. Just pick up the phone and give us a call. We take great pride in providing full service property management, from management and leasing to marketing, tenant placement, rehabilitation, and maintenance.

Potomac Valley Management’s goal is to protect the value of your investment by helping to maintain the property to your standards.

Hopefully you have found these Quick Tips & Best Practices useful. If you have any questions, please contact Potomac Valley Management by calling 1.877.390.4090 or visit PVMGT.com today!

We are here to serve you!

You can also follow PVMGT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Basic Household Maintenance Tips: Preventing Ice Dams

January 11th, 2013

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam occurs after it snows when the roof becomes warm enough for the snow to begin to melt. This melted snow then runs down the roof, under the snow cover, and eventually refreezes along the roof overhang, forming a sort of dam.

ice dams

Why is an Ice Dam bad?

Ice dams block the natural flow of water from your roof, preventing it from ever reaching your gutters. Instead, water builds up behind the ice dam and eventually finds its way under your shingles and into your home.

How can I prevent an Ice Dam?

There are three primary ways to prevent ice dams from forming on your roof:

1. Have a home energy auditor visit your home and identify any problematic air leaks or areas of inadequate insulations.

2. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends minimizing the amount of heat allowed to reach the roof deck. You can do this by sealing interruptions in the ceiling vapor retarder with air-impermeable materials or by adding a continuous ceiling air barrier.

3. Properly ventilating your attic will help remove excess heat and keep the temperature of your roof deck from rising.

Hopefully you have found these Basic Household Maintenance Tips useful. If you have any questions, please contact Potomac Valley Management by calling 1.877.390.4090 or visit PVMGT.com today!

Happy New Year from everyone here at Potomac Valley Management!

You can also follow PVMGT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

 

Financial Management Tips: Keeping track of your Finances and Avoiding Debt

December 21st, 2012

debtBetween the mortgage (or rent), food, and fun, your finances are probably stretched thin. Throw in a kid or two and your budget is probably tighter than the lid on a pickle jar. And with credit cards making it is easy for you to spend more than you can actually afford, you could quickly accumulate more debt than you can manage. So please be careful and follow the below financial management tips.

Financial Management Tips: Keeping track of your Finances and Avoiding Debt

1. Be Thrifty: If your finances are tight, do not splurge on items that you do not need. Do you NEED the iPhone 5? Probably not. Do you NEED the latest version of Madden? I don’t think so. It is important to live within your means. So instead of spending every last penny each pay period, put a few dollars away every two weeks. Then, before you know it, you will have a nice little chunk of change saved up!

2. Expect the Unexpected: Saving money every month, like we just mentioned, will help you budget for the unexpected. Without an emergency fund, you could fall even deeper in debt when your car breaks down or your pipes burst in your home.

3. Avoid using that Credit Card: Relying on your credit card for every purchase could get you into trouble. Because when you don’t know how much money you have in your account, it is easy to overspend. So try to use your credit card sparingly, instead opting to pay cash for most purchases. This will help you better keep track of your finances.

4. Manage Debt: Don’t let your debt spiral out of control. Keep track of repayments and be sure to pay on time every month. You can also try to reduce your payments by shifting your debts, perhaps from one credit card to another.

Hopefully you have found these Financial Management Tips useful. If you have any questions, please contact Potomac Valley Management by calling 1.877.390.4090 or visit PVMGT.com today!

Potomac Valley Management, LLC has been providing quality property management services to the DC Metropolitan area since 2004. We specialize in multi-family property management for apartments, cooperatives and homeowner’s associations.

You can also follow PVMGT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Tips for Hiring a Contractor in Landover, Maryland: Getting Estimates

December 13th, 2012

hiring a contractorHiring the right contractor is incredibly important, because, unfortunately, there are more than a few shady contractors in the construction industry. So it is essential to do everything you can to pick the best contractor for the job.

As we explained a few weeks ago, the first step in Hiring a Contractor is narrowing down your options. Then, once you have narrowed down your choices to your top three or four contractors, contact each of them and arrange for them to visit your home and provide you with a written estimate. That is step two!

Getting a Written Estimate

After each potential contractor views your home and knows enough about the project, ask them for a detailed written estimate. This will not only help you further narrow down your contractor options, but it will also protect you in several ways.

1. Getting estimates from several contractors ensures you are getting a fair price.

2. Getting a detailed estimate will help you see exactly what you are paying for. While one contractor may include materials in his pricing, another may not.

3. Getting written estimates will help protect you from a contractor bidding low and then running up the price once work begins. Still, it is VERY IMPORTANT to sign a contract before any work begins. Even a written estimate is not legally binding. A contract is.

Hopefully you have found these Tips for Hiring a Contractor useful. If you have any questions, please contact Potomac Valley Management by calling 1.877.390.4090 or visit PVMGT.com today!

At PVMGT, we take care of your needs from bookkeeping to tenant screening to landscaping contractor oversight, just to name a few. We provide quality and reasonable services.

You can also follow PVMGT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

 

Property Management Tips: Now is the Time to Invest in Real Estate

December 7th, 2012

property managementHave you been contemplating breaking into the landlording business, but you just can’t make up your mind? Well, now is perhaps the best time to invest in real estate. Home prices are still low, but the housing market is on the upswing.

Now is the Time to Invest in Real Estate

1. Housing Prices: Home prices are about 60% lower than they were just five years ago. But with the market back on the upswing, investing in real estate just makes sense. Landlording can be pretty profitable itself and then when you want to sell your rental home down the road, you should be able to do so at a significant profit.

2. Vacancy Rates: The vacancy rate of rental properties is expected to be very low in 2013, just 4% or lower. And the National Association of Realtors considers any rate under 5% to be a “landlord’s market!”

3. Rising Rent: The above vacancy rates mean that rent prices will be on the rise. Apartment rent is expected to rise 4.6% in 2013, meaning even greater potential profits.

4. PVMGT is here to help! If you are still on the fence, just remember that you don’t have to do this alone. Potomac Valley Management is here to help you manage your rental property. We take great pride in providing full service property management, from management and leasing to marketing, tenant placement, rehabilitation, and disposition of multi-family properties. At PVMGT, we help you maximize the profitability of your rental property!

Hopefully you have found these Property Management Tips useful. If you have any questions, please contact Potomac Valley Management by calling 1.877.390.4090 or visit PVMGT.com today!

We provide quality property management at reasonable prices!

You can also follow PVMGT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

 

Find Quality Tenants with help from your Bowie Property Management Firm

November 30th, 2012

As a landlord, it is important to ensure you rent to only the most qualified tenants. This not only affects your business, but also your other tenants. You owe it to them to thoroughly screen all prospective tenants before ever thinking about leasing a property. After all, it only takes one bad tenant to ruin everything for the rest of your tenants.

Remember, it is much harder to evict a problem tenant than it is to weed out the bad seeds ahead of time! And a professional property management firm can help, a firm like Potomac Valley Management (PVMGT).

Tenant Screening Services from PVMGT, your Bowie Property Management Firm

At Potomac Valley Management, our goal is to provide the most comprehensive and professional property management for our rental communities, ensuring a high level of excellence and professionalism to our clients while helping to maximize their real estate investment. As part of this commitment to excellence, we provide the following marketing and tenant screening services.

1. PVMGT will advertise the rental property to ensure complete occupancy.

2. We help secure qualified tenants for occupancy by review the prospective tenant’s credit reports, check rental history, and much more.

And hopefully it never comes to this, but Potomac Valley Management will also handle the eviction process.

1. PVMGT will file court and eviction notices for delinquent occupants

2. We also attend eviction court as necessary.

Hopefully you have found these Quick Tips & Best Practices useful. If you have any questions, please contact Potomac Valley Management by calling 1.877.390.4090 or visit PVMGT.com today!

Potomac Valley Management takes great pride in providing full service property management, from management and leasing to marketing, tenant placement, rehabilitation, and disposition of multi-family properties.

We are here to serve you!

You can also follow PVMGT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

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Basic Household Maintenance Tips: Preventing Thanksgiving Day House Fires

November 21st, 2012

Nearly 2,000 house fires occur on Thanksgiving Day, annually. These house fires, the majority of which are caused by cooking mishaps, result in 41 injuries, 15 fatalities, and nearly $21 million in property damage.

“The reality is the doorbell rings and your friends and relatives are at the door and you want to greet them and chat, and you just don’t think to go back to the kitchen,” said John Drengenberg, the consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips to Prevent House Fires

1.     Never Leave Cooking Food Unattended: If something goes wrong when you are out of the room, things could escalate quickly.

2.     Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy: It is important to have a fire extinguisher nearby to deal with any fires before they get out of hand.
3.     Check the Batteries in Smoke Detectors: Smoke detectors are no good if their batteries have died. When was the last time you checked yours?

4.     Know how to handle Grease Fires: Grease fires are different than regular fires and cannot be extinguished quite as easily. You will need to smother the flame.

5.     Avoid wearing Loose Clothing when Cooking: Loose clothing can easily get too close to a burner and catch fire.

6.     Avoid Decorating the Kitchen for Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving decorations, which are typically made of paper or cardboard, are extremely flammable and do not belong near the stove.

7.     Do not Overachieve: Do not try to cook more than you can handle. This is when things can easily go wrong.

8.     Avoid Frying a Turkey: Turkey fryers are a huge fire hazard.

9.     Be Safe!

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone here at Potomac Valley Management!

Hopefully you have found these Basic Household Maintenance Tips useful. If you have any questions, please contact Potomac Valley Management by calling 1.877.390.4090 or visit PVMGT.com today!

You can also follow PVMGT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

 

Financial Management Tips: Improving your Credit Score

November 16th, 2012

In the real estate industry, your credit score is everything. Without a good score, you will not be able to obtain a home loan or even a credit card. This is because your credit score is what lenders look at to determine if you are someone they can trust. So you can see why it is so important to have a good credit score.

But what do you do if your credit score is less than desirable?

 

Tips for Improving your Credit Score

1. Fix Inaccuracies: First of all, get copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. Then check each report for inaccuracies and report these inaccuracies to the credit bureau.

2. Pay Bills on Time: One of the most important things you can do is to pay your bills on time each and every month. To help you accomplish this, consider setting up automatic payments or reminders.

3. Know the Legal Steps to Fix your Credit: The Federal Trade Commission’s “Building a Better Credit Report” has information on correcting errors in your report.

4. Avoid Credit Scams: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Understand how your Score is calculated

Answering the below questions will help you understand your credit score:

1. Have you consistently paid your bills on time? As we already mentioned, paying your bills on time is one of the most important things you can do for your credit score.

2. Do you have any outstanding debt? If the amount you owe is close to your credit limit, lenders will see this as a negative.

3. How long is your credit history? The longer your credit history, the better. Of course, this is only true if it is a good history.

4. When was the last time you applied for a credit card? Applying for too many new credit accounts can negatively affect your score.

5. How many credit accounts do you have? A mix of installment loans and credit cards may improve your score.

Hopefully you have found these Financial Management Tips useful. If you have any questions, please contact Potomac Valley Management by calling 1.877.390.4090 or visit PVMGT.com today!

Potomac Valley Management, LLC has been providing quality property management services to the DC Metropolitan area since 2004. We specialize in multi-family property management for apartments, cooperatives and homeowner’s associations.

You can also follow PVMGT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Sources: Improve your Credit Score

Tips for Hiring a Contractor in Bowie, Maryland: Narrowing Down the Choices

November 8th, 2012

Hiring the right contractor is no easy task. Not only do you have to sort through the hundreds upon hundreds of listings, but then you have to try and find the right balance between cost, qualifications, and benefits. Where do you even begin!?

Luckily, the real estate and property management experts here at Potomac Valley Management have compiled a list of Tips for Hiring a Contractor: Narrowing Down your Choices.

1. Specialties: Not every home improvement contractor specializes in exactly what you need. So it is important to find a contractor that does. If you need roof work done, make sure the home improvement contractor you hire specializes in roof work. If you need your windows replaced, make sure the home improvement contractor you hire specializes in windows.

2. Prices: How much do your potential contractors charge? Of course price should not be the only determining factor you use, but let’s be honest; price plays a major factor in your choice.

3. References: A quality contractor will provide you with a number of references. Do not be afraid to call these homeowners and ask them about their experience.

4. Online Reviews: The Internet can be a great tool when narrowing down contractors. Check Angie’s List and read reviews, visit the Better Business Bureau to see if the contractor has any unresolved complaints, and see if you can find any pictures of the contractor’s previous work.

5. Affiliations: Does your potential contractor have any affiliations with local or national trade organizations or the local chamber of commerce?

6. Insurance: Please, please, please make sure your potential contractor is insured. If not, you could be held liable for injuries to workers or damage to your property.

7. Warranties: What type of guarantees or warranties does your potential contractor offer?

8. Do you like them? Remember, you are going to have to deal with your contractor, so it is important to find someone that you get along with.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to your top three or four contractors, contact them and arrange for them to visit your home and provide you with a written estimate.

Hopefully you have found these Tips for Hiring a Contractor useful. If you have any questions, please contact Potomac Valley Management by calling 1.877.390.4090 or visit PVMGT.com today!

At PVMGT, we take care of your needs from bookkeeping to tenant screening to landscaping contractor oversight, just to name a few. We provide quality and reasonable services.

You can also follow PVMGT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Property Management Tips: Rent Collection & Financial Services in Bowie, MD

November 1st, 2012

Rent is the life blood of your business. And while it may seem like an easy process, rent collection can be difficult, especially if you run into a problem tenant.

Rent Collection Tips

  • It begins with the Lease: The first step in rent collection is your lease. In this lease you should outline your rent collection policies, define when rent is due, detail late payment procedures, and, heaven forbid, eviction policies.
  • Outline your Rent Collection Policy: Even though your rent collection procedures are detailed in the lease, it is important to explain these procedures to your tenants.
  • Be Consistent: Remember, this is a business. You need to keep your emotions out of it and make sure you remain consistent. You cannot cut one tenant a break or grant them an extension on their rent without doing the same for everyone else.
  • Rent Reminders: If you have the time and resources, it is nice to send tenants a rent reminder before their rent is deemed late.
  • Late Payments: You should have specific procedures and penalties in place to deal with late payments. If you fail to properly act when payment is late, your tenants will never respect your rent deadline and you will continue to receive late payments.
  • Keep a Record: It is important to keep a record of any and all communications between you and your tenants, especially when it comes to rent. These communications could prove useful if you ever need to evict a problem tenant.
  • Late Payment Notices: Send a letter out as soon as rent becomes late, the very first day after any grace period specified in your Lease.
  • Leave the Rent Collection to the Professionals: Luckily, there are property management firms that will handle all of your rent collection needs for you!

Potomac Valley Management: Rent Collection and Financial Services in Bowie, Maryland

At Potomac Valley Management, we serve landlords, like you. It is our job to help you more effectively and efficiently operate your rental property or properties. And one way we accomplish this is through our rent collection and financial reporting services, which are part of our rental management package.

  • Rent Collection: PVMGT will bill renters and track accounts receivable.
  • Financial Reporting: At PVMGT, we present our landlords with comprehensive financial reports, including balance sheets, income statements, general ledgers, accounts payable reports, check disbursement reports, and income and expense budget comparison.

Hopefully you have found these Property Management Tips useful. If you have any questions, please contact Potomac Valley Management by calling 1.877.390.4090 or visit PVMGT.com today!

Potomac Valley Management provides a number of options to provide you with a level of service that is tailored to your needs. We take care of your needs from bookkeeping to tenant screening to landscaping contractor oversight, just to name a few. We provide quality and reasonable services.

You can also follow PVMGT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.