What’s unique about AMC property mangement?

AMC Property Management 300x191 Whats unique about AMC property mangement?
AMC Property Management

AMC Propert Management manages properties in Southern, Central  and Northern California.  And their website reports that their renal income in Northern California grew by 6.29% which is a great return.    The data for 2012 also indicates that their Net Operating Income for Northern California jumped by 9.8%.  This makes Northern California the best performing market for AMC Property Management in contrast to Central and Southern California where their net operating income grew 1.08% and 3.19% respectively.

This should be a nice clue for any investor interested in acquiring rental property assets that Northern California offers the biggest potential increase in income for rental properties.  And this data also confirms the huge shortage of rental properties in Northern California that we have noticed during the past 2 years.

From the data on AMC Property Management’s website it’s not quite clear what makes the company rather unique with the exception of their reach.   This makes them ideal for large institutional buyers who are buying assets in multiple states, but leaves out small investors who are looking to pick up a few buildings in say Northern California.  And precisely because of this huge foot print, we believe AMC Property Management can not be experts at every market.

The advantage of our property management services is that we are intimately involved with the the selection and search of properties in Northern California that our clients are interested in acquiring.  tenant screening process and we do not farm it out to 3rd party companies.   Our property managers meet each applicants on site and make sure there are no surprises and tenants receive a through inspection of the property.

Prior to occupancy we do complete a walk-through with the tenants to test each plug and switch and go over the emergency contact information.  We also perform routine inspection of our homes in our market to make sure the tenants expectations are met and that we can rely on their long term occupancy by building a solid understanding between our client’s demands and their expectations.

AMC Property Management data for 2012 and 2013 indicates that Northern California will remain an ideal location for investment properties.   So, contact Us if you are looking to locate and manage rental properties in Northern California.

 

 

Do Fair Housing laws apply to your Silicon Valley rentals?

FairHousing Do Fair Housing laws apply to your Silicon Valley rentals?
Fair Housing

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies the number of baby boomers reaching retirement age will increase by 2 Million next year.  In fact, Every day for the next 18 years about 10,000 people will turn 65.  Tht’s a huge number of retired folks who will be needing a nice place to live and as a real estate investor it’s an ideal demographis to target since Senior don’t tend to move often and they can be very good long term tenants.

But  you need to keep in mind that you can reserve your property for seniors since that is age based discrimination againt other age groups.  In fact, Fair Housing Act prevents you from steering or advertising in a way that indicates a preference for age. You can’t advertise that your rental unit or home would be perfect for, say, “an older couple” even if you’ve renovated the unit with seniors in mind. Moreover, if you manage a multilevel apartment complex you can’t, for example, steer seniors to first-floor apartments even if you think they’d be more comfortable there. You must show seniors–and everyone else–all your available units.

Also, with baby boomer’s aging comes the likelihood of disability, which is also protected by  fair housing laws.  As landlords you must provide disabled people with equal housing opportunities. This might even include allowing a seeing eye dog for a blind person even if you don’t allow pets.  You might also be required to make your property wheel chair accessable by building ramps in addition to modifying the bathrooms at your own expense.

If you have less than four single-family rentals that you manage yourself and don’t advertise to the public, federal housing laws do not apply to you. But almost all states and some jurisdictions have their own fair housing regulations that in many cases offer more protections and fewer exemptions than federal law.

One good way to avoid running afoul with the fair housing laws is to implmenent very through tenant screening practices and consult an attorney on your tems.  Another option is to hire a professional property management company. As part of their licensing education, property managers are trained in avoiding problems with fair housing laws and how to properly screen potential tenants.
Contact Us if you need help with property management services which includes tenant screening for rental properties in San Jose, Campell, Saratoga and Los Gatos.

What for sale by owners should know about cash offers

FSBO What for sale by owners should know about cash offers
For Sale By Owner

Are you selling your own home? Are you hoping to get a cash offer for a quick close?

Well, you might be for a rude awakening since we are seeing tons of whoesalers who are writing un-qualifed cash offer only to flip the contract to another buyer for a fee.

I bet you now are wondering what is a “wholesaler“?   The sole purpose of a wholesaler is to tie up properties and flip the contract to another buyers for a flat fee.    These Wholesalers have no interest in closing the escrow on your home.  They are only looking to get a fee when they release their contract to anyone else. So, the challenge facing the For Sale by Owners is to spot the fake offers from the real ones.  Here are some clues :

1) Offer Price: Wholesalers often offer 5-10% below your list price since they need to create room for their commission when they flip the contract.  So, watch out for low ball offers from these wholesalers.

2) Funds Source:   Real Estate wholesalers often use funds that are typically sourced from an LLC that these Wholesalers have obtained with a fee.  And since these kind of letters are issued to many wholesaler and are not worth the paper it’s printed on.

3) COE:  Close of Escrow (COE) is another strong indicator that you are dealing with wholesaler since they often ask for 30-45 days to close.

4) Deposit:  Whoesalers often offer less than 1% of their offer price as their initial deposit.   Since they only want to risk very little money in case they are unable to flip the purchase contract.

Finally, according to National Association of Realtors, 28% of the homes sold by their owners were under-priced which is a huge loss. So, Contact Us if you need help with your Silicon Valley home sale.

When you have no choice but to evict your Silicon Valley tenants

Eviction 150x150 When you have no choice but to evict your Silicon Valley tenants
Tenant Evictions

Are you frustrated with your tenants?  Are they causing problems with the neighbors?  Well, you might not have any good options but to evict them.  The process of evicting a tenant is difficult and could be tedious.  And the State of California does not treat evictions lightly, specially y if there are any potential for abuse.

Also evictions mean revenue loss since it will take you time to lease the property again.  However, if your tenants are not paying rent then you have no choice but to evict them.  In fact, non-payment of rent is an easy court decision as long as you have carefully documented the late or missing payments then you should not have any trouble with securing an eviction order for lack of payment.

1) Lease Term Violation:  We have written previously where one of our Los Gatos tenant, was raising Chickens in clear violation of the rental lease agreement which prohibited having live stock on the property.  But you need to document all the these violations and also provide reasonable amount of time for the tenant to remdy these violatinos.

2) Abusive Tenants:  If one of your tenants is abusive and is harrassing your other tenants, it’s time to consider evictions encouraging them to leave.  You will need to document all the abusive events that your tenants have experienced.  if the offending tenant is breaking the law you’ll also need proof of the violations.   You will need to follow local, state and federal laws for this sort of eviction as it’s more challenging that other violations.

Remember to check all of your local laws on evictions before you begin the proceedings, this will help you follow the correct steps and make the process smoother.

Contact Us if you need more information about eviction.

 

Do you need tenants in Los Gatos, San Jose, Campbell, Sartoga?

Property Management Agreement Do you need tenants in Los Gatos, San Jose, Campbell, Sartoga?
Property Management Agreement (image: c-rem.com)

Do you have rental properties in Los Gatos, San Jose, Campbell or Saratoga?   Do you have tenants moving out of these rentals soon? If you answered yes to these questions, then we should talk.

Our challenge is that we have too many qualified and great families who can not find homes and are frustrated with the rental scams on Craigs List or other sites.  So we are constantly looking for San Jose, Campell, Saratoga and Los Gatos rental homes to place these great families:

Majority of these families are looking for:

  • 3 Bedrooms, 1 bath (ideally 2 bathrooms)
  • Good schools  including Sataoga-Los Gatos school districts
  • Fenced Back Yard
  • Option to buy

These are the most critical element that defines the search for these tenants.  However, they are willing to pay above market rates for homes that have:

  • Updated Kitchen and updated bathrooms
  • Updated Amenities including appliances
  • Energy Efficiency (solar panel, dual pane windows)

Some of these families have pets and we insist a Pet Fee on some of our properties based on our client’s requirements to accommodate these families.  Unlike a Pet Deposit, a Pet Fee is a non-refundable fee that we collect for our landlords to cover any possible damage that pets could cause.

As you can gather we manage properties in San Jose, Los Gatos, Campell and Saratoga for our clients who are out-of-area clients.   In fact, Homestretch Properties offers full property management services that are uniquely tailored to meet your goals to hold cash flow properties in Silicon Valley.

Feel free to Contact Us if you have rental properties in Silicon Valley.

 

Top 5 reason for sale by owners should consider staging

2008 08 25 1030 0151 Top 5 reason for sale by owners should consider stagingReal Estate sales data indicates that majority of home buyers have a hard time envisioning how they might utilize the “empty spaces” in a home that they are considering to buy.  So, if you are selling your home and it’s vacant, you might want to consider staging.  And the applies to for sale by owners s since staging can shorten your marketing and sales cycle.  But there are some decisions to consider before you allocate funds for staging.

In fact, Top 5 reasons to consider staging if you are selling your own home are ;

1)  Cost:  This should have been listed as the number 1 questions to consider.  But you need to spend $1,000-3,000 per month on Staging cost depending on the size of your home.  But don’t forget you can negotiate and negotiate hard to get a better rate.  Don’t ever accept the 1st offer you get from the staging company and get at least 3 bids from different staging companies.

2)  Competition:  If your home is located in an area dominated by new homes where developers use staging, then you might need to consider staging as well since your home will not leave a very strong 1st impression.  But even if you decide against staging, you should at least remove clutter and avoid over-personalization of the home with tons of photographs and personal art.

3)  Home Size:  How big is your home ?  Is your home 2500 square feet or larger?  The more space you have to stage the more impact it will have on the buyers.   In contrast if you have a small condo, you might get away with small but very stylish furniture and some colorful accents.

4)  Empty Rooms:  Will you be showing your for sale by owner home with empty rooms?   Well, buyers might have a tough time imagining their furniture and themselves in an empty room.   If it was easy for people to shop from photos, IKEA would not build kitchens in the stores either.   So, help your buyers visualize themselves in your house, by staging it with some neat furniture instead of leaving it to their imagination.

5) Bad Exterior:  Does your home have any curb appeal?  What will the 1st impression of the new buyers will be when they drive by?  If the outside looks poor, may be you need to change the 1st impression by staging it.    Staging will go a long way to help change the buyers impression from the poor exterior paint job.

So, if you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you might seriously consider staging your home.  Feel free to Contact Us if you need some referrals to staging companies who cover Los Gatos, Saratoga, Los Altos, Campbell and San Jose.

 

Top 6 mistakes for sale by owners make when selling their home

FBSO1 300x207 Top 6 mistakes for sale by owners make when selling their home
For Sale By Owner (Source; theprovince.com)

Are you tempted to sell your own home and save on commissions?  Why not?  In fact, a recent Marin County Register survey with home owners showed that 59% expressed an interest to sell their own home.

With a median home prices at $1M and above, some of our sellers in Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose and Campbell can save as much as $60,000 on commission which is not chump change.

So, you have good reasons to sell your own home.  But what are the top 6 mistakes that home owners commit when marketing their own home.

1) Over Priced:   Most for sale by owners are not well-prepared to price their own home.  One reason this is a challenge is that they are emotionally attached to the property and assign un-reasonable value to their upgrades.   Granted there are more data available on recent sales from Zillow, Trulia and others but they have to be adjusted for size, age, amenities, functional utitily….etc.   So, the resulting list price is an emotional decision which is the huge turn off to buyers.

2) Lowball offers:  Any offer is a good starting point.  Some sellers are often consider the low ball offers personally and feel insulted.   But an offer is just a starting point for negotiations.  And keep in mind that such an offer is just a negotiation strategy on the part of the buyer.

3) Contracts:  Most sellers don’t understand the legal terms contained in their agreements and specially the disclosure document.   This contains huge risks in California where the buyer could challenge the sale and file for damages or defects that were not disclosed.  And they can come after the sellers for up to 5 years in court.

4) Spotting Fake buyers:  Most sellers are unable to spot wholesaler or fake cash buyers.  Some buyers who offer cash are only in it to flip the contract to another buyer and they are very shrewd to hide their intent.   Also, when you are selling your own home;  you should be able to distinguish between pre-approved buyers vs pre-qualified buyers.  That alone could crash your for sale by owner transaction.

5) Poor Staging:  Most for sale by owners won’t consider staging and use their own furniture and decorations.  They don’t remove clutter from their house either.   This creates a very poor first impression which can damage your chance of creating a very strong 1st impression.

6) Repairs:  Some for sale by owners avoid making minor repairs which add up to creating a difficult impression for the buyer who get nervous about other repair needs which might not be visible to the naked eye.  From cracks in the sheet rock, to dripping faucets, to door that don’t close properly; they all add up to make buyers uneasy.    One way to avoid these poor 1st impression is to conduct inspetions and share them with your potential buyers.

One of your best options is to obtain a competitive market analysis (CMA) that is adjusted by a professional real estate agent to match their homes size, age, style and amenities.  we also have a 1-1-1 program where we rebate 1% of commission to our sellers and 1% goes to charity of your choice.

 

 

Home ownership has declined to the lowest levels in 19 years

Market Decline Home ownership has declined to the lowest levels in 19 years
Home ownership declines

Rising home prices and massive student debt combined with shortgage of inventory has pused the rate of home ownership to th lowest level in 19 years.  Homeownership continues to fall, and younger Americans will push it even lower.  This year the rate was 64% according to US Census Bureau.

Compouding problem is the fact that more than  million homes with underwater mortgages that will be lost to foreclosures.  Ironically, younger Americans are delaying home purchases partially due to massive student debt crisis that is reducing their ability to borrow for a mortgage.

Homeownership continues to fall as younger Americans are delaing their purchase decisions. In fact, according to a recent research published Pew Research Foundation for the 1st time the number of household where 3 generations of Americans are living together has risen to record levels.   In fact,  57 million Americans, or 18.1% of the population of the United States, lived in multi-generational family households in 2012 which has doubled since 1980.

The growth of multi-generational housing is partly due to the slow job recovery since the Gret Depression.  After all, when adults are unable to find jobs, they certainly are not in a position to pay for a mortgage or rent.

 

Can you restrict gun ownership in your rental lease agreements?

gun violence 300x278 Can you restrict gun ownership in your rental lease agreements?
Guns in your rental property?

according to Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence, every day in our country about 289 people are shot, some deliberately and some by accident.  If you manage a rental home with a gun,  the likelihood of it being used to kill or injure someone in a domestic murder, suicide, or accident is 22 times higher than the gun being than used in self-defense.

Given these troubling statistics, many landlords and property managers are wondering if their property rights can let them to limit gun ownership in their rental properties.  However, these property rights are in direct conflict with the owners right to bear arms as part of the Second Amendment.  The answer is a yes. The Second Amendment is in fact a limitation of government power over private citizen.  So, as a private citizen if  a landlord wants to ban guns in his or her rental properties, there is no Second Amendment violation.

Gun owners can not get protections from Fair Housing laws either since they are not a protected class under this law.  However, implementing a limit on gun ownership or prohibiting fire arms in your rental properties could very difficult.

In fact, proving that your tenant has a gun on site is near impossible since you would be violating the California’s privacy laws by insisting on such inspections that would allow you to locate the gun.   And what if you suspect your tenants are keeping a firearms in a rental unit, in violation of your established policy?  However, if you have positive proof of a violation, and your tenants have previously agreed in the lease to abide by your policy, then you have the right to evict such a tenant or request  a remedy for the gun to be removed from the premise.

Contact Us if you need help crafting the langauge to prohibit guns in your rental properties.

Does your rental lease agreement cover medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Does your rental lease agreement cover medical Marijuana
Medical Marijuana

Colorado and Washington have now passed laws allowing for  recreational use of marijuana.  Eighteen other states and the District of Columbia have also legalized medical marijuana, and several states have legalized the use of medical marijuana. However, Federal laws still classify marijuana as an illegal drug.  This is why landlord aren’t required to allow “reasonable accommodation” for people with disabilities under the Federal Fair Housing Act at this point.

But regardless of which State your rental property is located, you can institute a no-smoking policy as long as you do not discriminate against a protected class in implementing and enforcing the policy.  In fact, we strongly endorse no-smoking clauses in rental lease agreements to help landlords deal with odor, fire and concerns for tenant health issues.

And if you have a tenant who are disabled and smoking marijuana medicinally and you live in a state where medical marijuana is not legal, you are not required to accommodate medical marijuana usage.

But things get a bit murky for landlords in States where medical marijuana use is permitted.  Under these State’s fair housing laws that medical marijuana use would require “reasonable accommodation” to be offered to tenants who could be using marijuana as part of their cancer treatment.  Because state medical marijuana laws conflict with federal laws, the enforceability and legal liability of any medical marijuana policy is in question.

There are some options in developing a medical marijuana policy, none of which should be considered fail safe:

  • Prohibit Use:  If you prohibit medical marijuana use, then you could get sued under State law for not providing a reasonable accommodation.
  • Allow Medical marijuana Use:  If you permit your tenants to use medical marijuana only if they qualify as disabled under fair housing law, which would not allow everyone with a medical marijuana card to smoke marijuana in your rental.  But then Feds could charge you under the federal laws for allowing pot use.
  • Allow medical marijuana with no limitations.

Consider consulting an attorney before developing your own medical Marijuana policy, specially if you live in a state with legal medical marijuana  is permitted.   And if you take Section 8 vouchers, check with your local Fair Housing about the rules.

What are your thoughts on the topic?  Feel free to share.