The 411 on Resident Screening

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Provided by | written by Philip Christian

When it comes to selecting a resident screening service, there’s no shortage of choices. One way asset managers can whittle down their choices is to evaluate screening providers based on the quality of their search data. At a minimum, a national or multi-state criminal and landlord/tenant court record search provider should offer the following:

1) All-inclusive search coverage

2) I.D. reality checks

3) Built-in compliance

Property Managers are Information Managers too

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

by Marc Courtenay

info overload
As with all of life’s responsibilities there are only so many hours a day in the lives of property managers and owners. Yet all of us are bombarded with email, text messages and loads of social media opportunities like Facebook and LinkedIn. Our clients and residents all want to communicate with us as well. The only way to effectively manage the information in your life is to begin by prioritizing what you should devote time to and what you should either delegate or delete. To manage information while you’re managing a business one has to begin by making critical decisions and sticking with them. Names The Top Three Most Overlooked Appliance Dangers

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog, America’s most popular online store with replacement parts for appliances and outdoor power equipment, today shared a list of the top three most overlooked home appliance dangers and tips on how families can protect themselves.

“People often forget about dangers associated with major home appliances because they’re as much a part of daily life as a toothbrush,” said Chris Hall, president of RepairClinic. com and appliance repair expert. “It’s important to be aware of these dangers and to take proper care to reduce risks and stay safe.”

10 Inexpensive Ways to Spruce Up Your Rental Property

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Bill Bronchick

It’s easy to fix up your properties if you have unlimited cash.  However, you need to keep your repairs to a Related Information: “Flipping Properties Course” minimum to stay profitable. You also need to keep your properties in good shape to attract tenants or buyers. There are the basic improvements, such as carpet and paint, but these can still costs thousands of dollars. The following are some inexpensive ways to improve your properties with very little cash.

Rent Sense: Value of Rental Ownership

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Neil Fjellestad & Chris De Marco   Rental ownership has a long history of satisfying the primary investment priorities of personal financial independence: safety of capital, inflation hedge and tax-favored income.  Traditionally, if the detailed financial statements of the wealthy are available for review it becomes apparent that long-term income producing real estate assets directly or indirectly contribute substantially to their net worth.

New Resident Screening Reporting Requirement

Written by Jordan on . Posted in Blog

By Romeo Valdez

The passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act has amended the Fair Credit and Reporting Act which governs access to credit information.  As a result, landlords potentially need to augment the information they provide to applicants on their notice of adverse action (denial) or conditional acceptance (with adjusted terms).

If a landlord takes an action other than acceptance with respect to an applicant that is based in whole or in part on any information contained in a consumer credit report, the landlord shall provide the following additional information to the applicant.

• Numerical Score (the Credit Score – found on the credit report)
• Score Range of the Scoring Model Used (e.g., Transunion (350-900) – Experian (300-900))
• Score Factors (factors affecting the score – found on the credit report)
• Score Date (the request date on the credit report)
• Score Source (the credit bureau that supplied the Credit Score – found on the credit report)

Getting Started in Real Estate Investing

Written by Jordan on . Posted in Blog

By William Tingle

“There has never been a better time to start investing in real estate than today!”

This statement is true no matter what year it is.

Real estate has always and will always be one of the most valuable commodities on this planet. No matter how we may change its landscape, develop, improve or alter its appearance, we simply can’t make anymore of it.

In the movie Gone with the Wind, Gerald O’Hara told his daughter Scarlet that, “Land is the only thing that matters, because it is the only thing that lasts.” Of course Gerald O’Hara is a fictional character but his words are very true.

Real estate is one of the greatest wealth builders of all time. It is hard to find any of the names associated with wealth in the history of this country who were not substantial investors in real estate. They knew its worth and you do, too.

San Diego Multi-family Fundamentals are Strong!

Written by Jordan on . Posted in Blog

By Jack Nooren Judging by the reports recently published in the local media, San Diego’s real estate market continues to be neck-deep in turmoil.  With home values still adjusting to the new market conditions, and a large numbers of homes still in foreclosure, the county is likely to face a shortage of apartments by August 2012. Approximately 13,000 apartment buildings dot the skyline of San Diego, but currently just less than 130 apartment buildings are up for sale.  Due to the shortage of saleable properties, cap rates have been compressed, fetching owners a higher value.  It is the other extreme though when it comes to commercial sectors such as retail, office and industrial. Here, cap rates and vacancy rates remain at the highest peak while values continue to decline. The number of transactions in the multi-family sector have not been considerable in recent months, but the reason was certainly not due to sizeable decline in values.  Since the first quarter of 2008 to that of 2011, apartment value has declined by approximately 4%. In addition, the inventory of apartment properties for sale is less than 1%. However, the market scenario looks promising in San Diego, today. The air of despair seems to have cleared and the market looks positive. Thanks to rents that continue to improve occupancy at record highs coupled with interest rates ranging from 4.5% to 5.0%, the market is definitely gaining momentum and is poised for rapid recovery. San Diego is confined by three natural boundaries − the border of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and Camp Pendleton – and the development opportunities are quite minimal.  Fortunately, San Diego did not witness a steep decline in values of multi-family units and this is mainly because the county was not subjected to over-construction of buildings as seen in the real estate markets of Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas , Nevada.  In the multi-family housing segment, more permits have been approved in the first quarter of 2011 than in the whole of 2010.  In addition, 649 multi-family units have been approved and permitted in San Diego this year. However, only 10 of the units issued were permitted in May 2011.  In fact, it is the lowest monthly total since October 2009. Several developers are still sitting on the fence, quite uncertain of the right time to commence construction.  Once recovery sets in, more and more renters will opt for home ownership and this might cause some decline in occupancy.  Simultaneously, interest rates will begin to increase, demanding additional revenues to cover these costs and drive up the cap rates. This could potentially lead to a decline in property value, but a counter-balance will be achieved when consumer confidence is restored and investors compete for limited supply. Overall, the market fundamentals will remain strong in San Diego!  Multi-family housing has always proved itself to be the safest strategy at the time of a recession or economical down-turn. As San Diego gears up for multi-family units, nothing is bound to go wrong! NAI San Diego is a locally owned and independently operated, full service commercial real estate brokerage and property management firm.  NAI San Diego is a proud member of NAI Global, the world’s leading managed network of commercial real estate firms. NAI Global is one of the world’s leading providers of commercial real estate services. NAI manages a network with 5,000 professionals and 350 offices in 55 countries worldwide. We bring together people and resources wherever needed to deliver outstanding results for our clients, and complete over $45 billion in annual transaction volume and 300 million square feet of property management, we bring together people and resources to deliver results for our clients wherever needed. Our clients come to us for our deep local knowledge. They build their businesses on the power of our global managed network.  

When Should You Call A Public Insurance Adjuster

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By Ronald R. Reitz, CPA When and why should a property owner contact a Public Adjuster? You should consider contacting a Pubic Adjuster as soon as you suffer a loss. The insured has certain policy conditions that must be strictly adhered to. These conditions are detailed in the policy and they will vary by the type of policy i.e. commercial versus residential versus manuscript. You may start off at a disadvantage if   you wait until your insurance company has begun the adjusting process and  you may discover you have not met certain policy conditions or missed deadlines. I believe it is the insured’s responsibility to determine the value of their claim and it can be a cumbersome process gathering bids from various contractors while you are reading your insurance policy and trying to understand what it means. Insurance policies are very complex documents and are not very easy to understand, many of them have certain limits that increase or decrease depending on the total amount of your losses – and each coverage area can be different. Perhaps you simply do not have sufficient time to document and determine the full value of your claim. Some people try to handle the adjustment process on their own, and quickly learn there are not enough hours in the day to gather all information required to prove your claim. If you do experience a major disaster, it might be a good idea to immediately talk to a Public Adjuster to get a general overview of what your options might be. Remember, a Public Adjuster works for you, the policy holder, not the insurance company. A good Public Adjuster will help you successfully work through the highly stressful period following a loss. This usually is a difficult time for individuals and businesses, especially for someone who has never experienced a disaster or had to file a claim with their insurance company.  A Public Adjuster can take those major headaches away and let you get back to your home life or running your business. A typical fire insurance policy contains exclusions that must be fully comprehended by the insured. Some policies also contain endorsements which provide additional coverages to the policy. Knowing what the exclusions mean and understanding the additional coverage given to the insured in their endorsements it is necessary to read, re-read and then be sure you completely understand what your policy says. Public Adjusters know the insurance business and are familiar with all procedures so they can work quickly to expedite payments. How to find a good Public Adjuster The best place to find a good public adjuster is through NAPIA (at NAPIA can provide referrals for every state that licenses Public Adjusters.  A Public Insurance Adjuster is the only type of adjuster qualified to represent the insured on a first party property claim. Currently more than 44 states plus the District of Columbia require an adjuster to hold this licensure in order to represent the insured. A professionally trained Public Insurance Adjuster will act as your advocate and help you to navigate the maze of settling the claim for the full amount due under the applicable policy.  Remember insurance policies contain certain conditions that must be met before you can get paid: valuing the loss, presenting it to the insurer and negotiating a settlement. Because insurance policies are complicated and contain certain conditions, full payment on a loss is not automatic. A Public Adjuster can help determine your coverages and cause of the loss in order to present your claim and evaluate the carrier’s offer or denial. Determining the cause of the loss is a critical step in verifying coverage. What to Watch Out For – The Six Danger Signals After a disaster, fire victims often get besieged with inquires and offers from a plethora of general contractors and Public Adjusters and others offering to assist them. This is normal. Just because you are being solicited does not mean they are doing something wrong. However, you need to be careful and do your due diligence before signing up for their services. “It is not uncommon to meet up with a roving insurance adjuster following a disaster,” said Valerie Brown of RB United, a nonprofit community organization for San Diego area wildfire victims.  “Make sure they are licensed by calling the California Department of Insurance Helpline at 1-800-927-HELP.” Valerie also recommended “You should not start any clean up or repair work until your insurance company inspects your property. Take lots of photos of the damage to your property before any work is done.” Here are a few danger signals 1. If they are not members of NAPIA, (National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters,) or of their state association of public insurance adjusters watch out. Public Adjusters that are members of professional associations are required to adhere to a professional Code of Conduct. 2. They make BIG promises without any guarantees. If a Public Adjuster guarantees you they will recover a certain percentage more than your insurer offers, beware. How can a Public Adjuster guarantee anything unless they have read your policy, determined the value of your claim and seen an offer from your insurer? 3. Their fees are outrageous. Most legitimate Public Insurance Adjusters fees range between 5% to 15% with an average of around 10%. Some Public Adjusters may charge higher fees on smaller claims or when hired midway through the claim process.If a Public Adjuster is hired to pursue the last few dollars of a claim, they will likely seek a larger percentage since they have a significant uphill battle to overcome. 4. If you feel pressured to make a quick decision, run. Legitimate Public Adjusters recognize that the decision to hire someone to represent you in order to get your home and life together is a momentous one. This is not a decision that should be made in haste. This could one of the most expensive decisions you make in your life. Take your time, ask for references and call the references. Perform your own research to see what their backgrounds are. 5. Check their web site and address. If they don’t have anything except a business card, be very wary. If their address is only a PO box, this is a red flag. 6. It is often better to hire someone who is local. Someone who knows the local building codes, construction costs and has access to the resources of the community and how best to leverage them. A locally-based Public Adjuster may also have prior experience working with representatives of the major insurance companies in the area and may be able to cut through a lot of the red tape and bureaucracy in order to make sure you get what is owed to you quicker. How to Make Sure You Hire the Right PA? Once again, make sure they are members of NAPIA and hold professional designations. Take your time and do several in-person interviews and request at least five references for each. It may be difficult and intimidating but you need to actually call the references and find out what their situation was. Have your questions prepared before you call. Are they responsive to your questions and seem genuinely concerned. If you hire a Public Adjuster, do so in writing and understand their fees before signing.” VIDEO LINKS When Should Use a Public Adjuster and When Should You Use an Attorney? What to do after you experience a disaster? Your home burns down, your home gets flooded. Who do you call? By Janis Rasmussen, RB United Outreach Coordinator What does a Public Adjuster do? Do you need a Public Adjuster? How to find a good Public Adjuster? By Janis Rasmussen, RB United Outreach Coordinator Why do you need a Public Adjuster after Your Home Burns Down? What to Do After Your house Burns Down? In 2007, this fire victim in Poway, California tells the heart-wrenching story of what happened to her and her family, and why it is important to pick a good public insurance adjuster firm like Quality Claims. Why Did a 2007 Fire Victim Pick Quality Claim Management as their Public Adjuster RESOURCES & LINKS Quality Claims Management, San Diego, CA National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters Rancho Bernardo United United PolicyHolders About the author Ron Reitz is president of San Diego-based Quality Claims Management Corp., a nationally licensed public insurance adjuster, providing hazard claim recovery services to investors, mortgage servicers, homeowners and businesses. Earlier, he pioneered the national hazard insurance claims business of GMAC-RFC (now GMAC-ResCap). A CPPA (Certified Professional Public Adjuster), Mr. Reitz is Past President of the California Association of Public Insurance Adjusters as well as an Officer of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters  (He will be President in 2012). Contact Quality Claims Management at (619) 450-8601 or


Written by Jordan on . Posted in Blog

By Kim Hopkins When you are looking for an electrician, look for someone whom you can form a long term relationship with. It’s going to save you a lot of time and also save your company money if you can find someone whom you trust and who will become part of your maintenance team. Find Recommended Electricians You can get recommendations for electricians from other apartment managers and also from homeowners. You can also search on-line for electrician Los Angeles or electrician Anaheim, and so on. If you add the word reviews to your search, you can look for companies that have the best reviews. Another approach is to search websites that feature reviews. Reviews appear on many websites including Google Places,,, and You may be familiar with, a paid service. It’s an excellent source of recommendations for contractors. It asks customers to rate contractors, including electricians, and give specifics about how their job went. When looking at customer reviews, take a look at the big picture. If there are one or two bad reviews among the many good ones, does it seem like it’s just a grumpy customer? Is there a company reply that clears things up or says that it has corrected its employee? Once you have three or so recommended electricians, take a look at their websites. Check the Electrician’s Website
  • Is it presentable and well-maintained?
  • Easy to find what you’re looking for?
  • Friendly, helpful, and not cluttered with hard-sell advertising?
  • How many good testimonials?
If the website checks out, it’s time to interview the electrician. Interview the Electrician When you talk with the electrician, pay attention to how comfortable you are, including your trust level. Ask about:
  • Experience with your type of work, including tenant relations
  • Years in business. Most companies which have stayed in business a long time have managed to keep their customers satisfied. They’ve also gathered a lot of useful experience and competence.
  • Contractor’s License number. California electricians must have a “C10” (Electrical Contractor) license.
  • Liability Insurance and Workers Comp Insurance. It’s desirable that the company carry at least $1 million in liability insurance to protect your building should their work create property damage. Workers Comp provides for medical care for the electricians should they be injured on your job. Again, this protects your building from liability.
  • Guarantees. Some companies offer a lifetime guarantee on their work. This wouldn’t generally include the electrical parts that they install – that’s covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee. However, the electrician should give you at least a several-year guarantee on labor. A guarantee up to the life of your building is best.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. Ask for the exact company name that you should look up in the BBB and in which city. Sometimes, the BBB will use a slightly different name, possibly the formal legal name of the company.
  • Pricing
  • How jobs are billed and the electrician’s billing cycle
  • Website address if you don’t already have it
  • Names and contact info for five clients, preferably apartment or other property managers
Take notes on all this, particularly the License Number. If you decide to go ahead, you may wish to check some of what the electrician has said. If you decide not to go ahead, no need to proceed any further with this electrician. But save the notes so that you can remind yourself later of which companies you’ve already ruled out. Look and Listen While you’re gathering this information, listen to what is said but also pay attention to how the electrician acts and makes you feel. If you meet with the electrician, keep your eyes open, too.
  • Do you like the electrician?
  • Do you feel comfortable and not under pressure?
  • Does the electrician inspire your trust?
  • Do the electrician and company employees seem to know what they’re doing?
  • Do they seem to operate legally and behave ethically? Are they acting the way that you would want them to act towards you?
  • Do they return phone calls promptly?
  • Are they timely when meeting you for appointments?
  • Do they listen to your questions and concerns and answer them in a way that is forthcoming and that you can understand?
  • Does the electrician dress neatly and have a vehicle and tools that look well-maintained?
Electricians who are bidding jobs are on their best behavior. If you already notice that an electrician treats you or others in ways that concern you, better to find another with whom you feel more comfortable.   Check It Out
  • If you haven’t already, check customer reviews. The first section of this article gives details.
  • Enter the Contractor’s License Number into the California Contractor’s License Board website. Here’s the page: California Contractor’s License Board. See if there are any “black marks.”
  • Check the company’s rating at the Better Business Bureau. Ratings run from A+ to F based on customer complaints made to the Bureau. As a note, an “A” reflects the same level of customer satisfaction as an “A+.” The “A+” is earned by an “A” contractor becoming a paying member of the Better Business Bureau, which supports the Bureau in its work.
Call References Don’t hesitate to call references. Clients are usually happy to give a good recommendation to help a deserving electrical contractor. You can return the favor later when apartment managers call you. Ask:
  • How did your job go?
  • Was your job done right the first time?
  • If a return visit was needed, was the electrician easy to work with and prompt?
  • Was company pricing competitive?
  • Was the electrician within budget and schedule?
  • Would you be happy to continue to use this electrical company?
Speak with at least three references. Listen carefully for enthusiasm or lack of enthusiasm about the electrician. A competent electrical company will have given you names that they believe are satisfied customers. Clients, past or present, may not feel comfortable saying anything negative. If they express little enthusiasm or say something negative, take this into consideration when making your decision. Don’t Automatically Choose the Low Bid A bid may be too low. How can that be? An electrician may intentionally omit items that the job requires, only to come back later saying that additional work needs to be done. On the other hand, some electricians may unintentionally bid low through inexperience. Either way, the electrician may ask for more money to finish the job or may leave you with an incomplete project. Look at the Whole Picture Price is important, but judge the entire picture an electrician is showing you — character, expertise, the ease of working with him or her, and overall value. A large part of an electrician’s value is that he/she gets the job done right and safely without taking too much of your time and inconveniencing you or your tenants. A very competent electrician can save you money by suggesting more efficient ways to do a job or to save on electricity. When you enjoy a good relationship with your electrician, it can make your life easier and your company more profitable. About the Author Kim Hopkins is founder and CEO of The Electric Connection, an electrical contracting company. His company provides electrical installations and repairs for apartment managers and other investment property managers in Los Angeles County. The Electric Connection is a 25-person company that has served Los Angeles since 1979. Kim is happy to answer any electrical questions that you may have. He can be reached at (818) 446-0888 or through his website The Electric Connection.