Property Manager Daily Update: Sell Your Home in July and a Legal Q&A

Berkshire Hathaway

We've seen a lot of social media buzz about Warren Buffet's Q&A session post the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting. Shane Parrish gives a unique perspective on his takeaway from the annual meeting.

Warren and Charlie talk about the same invariant general principles every single year without fail. What I’ve learned most from Warren and Charlie over the years is the beauty of what doesn’t change. When you learn something that doesn’t change, you can step off the treadmill of keeping up and start to compound your knowledge. While this compounding may slow you down at first, it offers exponential returns. After all, what better investment can you make than learning, with deep fluency, timeless principles like second-order thinking, something that applies to a wide variety of situations and is likely to remain constant?

Great investors like Warren Buffet teach us that getting our mental models right yields the best results over time. To do that, we must be constantly questioning our way of thinking and rewriting our beliefs when the universe tells us we're wrong. What mental models do you have about property management that are holding you back?

Sell Your Home In July

The stats are in, July is the best time to sell your home. Mindy Jensen suggests following the below guidelines to get the best value for your home:

  1. Clean your home using service professionals with an attention to detail. To truly clean means wiping down the nooks and crannies from baseboards to ceilings. A professional clean can go a long way to building perceived value in your home.
  2. Schedule blocks of showing times to make things easier on your tenant and your home. Showing blocks will also drive the most value from your professional cleaning and staging that you've done. (And also builds a perception of high demand for your home.)
  3. Put pets in daycare or in a confined area when showing the home. Many prospective buyers simply won't like dogs (or maybe cats, or maybe even iguanas) and may leave the home with a negative experience. Imagine Rover jumping on their 2 year old toddler during the showing. They may not walk away with great feelings about the home.
  4. Getting a great agent will make any sale a breeze. Agents are trained to make homes look great before a sale and they know which buyers are good prospects. Not only that, but a great agent will help you navigate price negotiation with ease.
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Legal Question and Answer from CAA

The below responses are provided by Ted Kimball and are representative of California law.

Question: I have tenants who recently divorced. The husband has moved out. Can we take him off the rental agreement?

Answer: It is not in your best interest to take him off the lease as he is still responsible for the lease payments even though he moved out.

Question: Is there a smoke detector ordinance that requires an owner to perform an annual smoke detector inspection in each unit? If so, what is the purpose of the smoke detector agreement?

Answer: California state law does not require an annual inspection of a smoke detector inside a rented unit; however, the owner is responsible to maintain and test smoke detectors in common stairwells or other common property of the apartment community. Tenants are required to notify the owner of an inoperable smoke detector in their unit.

Question: One of our employees said she believes that a tenant’s rental agreement must be signed in the owner’s or agent’s presence, or notarized, or it will be invalid.

Answer: California rental agreements do not have to be notarized or signed in front of the owner or owner’s agent, but it is a good practice to do so.


Marketing Basics

Lets give a quick SEO rundown. Google surfaces search results that it thinks are most relevant to users. One metric it uses to determine relevance is the number of backlinks a site has. A backlink is when a different website links to your website. As a property manager, building backlinks from other relevant community organizations can get you to the top of Google's search results and build a certain level of prestige. Imagine when all those prospective customers start seeing your website from relevant community organizations.

30 Lines does a full analysis of backlinking for property managers and apartment communities here.


Giving Vendors Maintenance Instruction

Will Gordon posted about 3 common mistakes he sees on work orders and how to resolve them. Sending a work order with proper instructions can save coordination time and prevent costly work from being done when more troubleshooting could have resolved the problem. In fact, at Latchel we troubleshoot 90% of jobs and dispatch vendors when it is cheaper and more effective for us to do so saving our property managers time and their owners money. Below are the 3 common mistakes on work orders.

  1.  Basic work order information is incorrect, incomplete, or missing.
  2. Tenant description and vendor instructions conflict with each other or don't match up.
  3. Budget information is unclear and may make the work order seem like a work request instead of a request for an estimate.

And here is how to avoid these costly mistakes..