Zillow Buys Hot Pads for Cool 16 Million Cash

Zillow just announced that it has acquired HotPads, the San Francisco-based rental and real estate search site for $16 million in cash. 

 

According to the Tech Crunch article, Zillow plans to create one single database for rentals that will be available on Zillow, HotPads and the company’s other properties. HotPads, will continue to exist as its own brand and Zillow will commit additional engineering resources to help the company grow.

 

Between Zillow Rentals and HotPads, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff  expects the company can now offer a rental marketplace at scale – something that wasn’t previously available to users in the highly fragmented rental market. For Zillow, this is also an opportunity to build a relationship with a younger audience – the kind that’s shopping for a first rental but not ready to buy yet. Once they get to the point where they are looking to buy, they will hopefully come back to the Zillow brand.

 

What does this mean to Showcase Property Management? I believe Zillow and HotPads will provide our rentals even greater exposure in a rental market that just keeps expanding. Our investors rely on us to quickly place tenants in vacant properties. The more exposure we have the great chances we have of finding qualified tenants. 

Visit RentWithKaren.com to search for rentals in Brevard County, FL

Happy Safe Halloween

Found this excellent short video on Halloween safety tips:

I also came across the post Halloween Safety and Fun which offers great tips for making Halloween safe for the kiddies. Many of our tenants at Showcase Property Management have children young and older who will be dressing up and hitting the neighborhoods to collect their bounty of candy all across Brevard County, FL

Some of the tips for trick-or-treating include:

  • Plan your Halloween ahead of time
  • Plan your trick or treating route
  • Make sure your kids are costumed for safety

All of us at Showcase Property Management are wishing you and your family a happy, safe Halloween!

Renting a Home After Short Sale or Foreclosure

With all of the short sales and foreclosures taking place borrowers are wondering how to rent with bad credit. Prospective Tenants have their credit pulled as part of the application process. Prior to the real estate anomaly, a low credit score would result in being declined, however, with the over whelming number of people losing their homes in short sales and foreclosures, owners and property managers find themselves making concessions.

In a post How to Rent a Home if You Have Bed Credit, Tamara Holmes reported, “According to a recent survey by Rent.com, 81 percent of property managers have seen a decline in the credit worthiness or credit score of prospective renters, and due to the shift, 43 three percent of landlords reduced their credit policy standards in order to fill vacancies.”

I realize many of the people who have lost their homes are good people who just hit hard times. If a prospective tenant just has a blip on their credit report associated to a distressed sale situation and no derogatory or criminal issues, I go to bat for them with our owners. What prospective tenants need to understand is, owners are the ones that approve or decline. I have to say, most of the people who I have rented to that have come from a distressed sale have turned out to be some of my best tenants.

Prospective tenants should have a letter prepared explaining their situation and expect to pay first and last month’s rent, along with a security deposit, along with having, references you can provide.

We do our very best to help folks coming out of mortgage misery. You can search for rental properties at Rent With Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT TIME LIMIT

 

Your old tenant is moving out and you have a new one coming in.  Let’s say the old tenant left in a hurry, so you and staff have to now move out the trash and leftover belongings, steam the carpet, repaint the walls, do minor repair work.  There’s a huge chunk of change from the security deposit that you want to use to cover expenses.  You think to yourself you have 30 days to notify the previous tenant of your plans to use the funds to cover rehabilitation expenses.  That’s well within your rights.

What if you only use part of the deposit for repairs and/or rehabilitation?  Still think you have the full 30 days to deliver the remaining balance of the previous tenant’s deposit?  Not so, says Florida Law.  You have fifteen days to return the rest of the deposit to the previous tenant if you are not making any claim. That means, if you don’t have to do any cleaning, repairs or rehabilitation that requires you to take some/part/all of the previous tenant’s deposit, you have fifteen days to return/refund the full amount. If not, then you are opening yourself and the corporation to a lawsuit (and potential add-on fees that would double or triple what you would have to pay). So, be sure to ask your company’s attorney or the attorney you have on hand to handle your real estate/tenant legal issues.   The last thing you would need is to have to pay thousands of dollars, in addition to returning the previous tenant’s deposit, when you first were notified of the tenant’s intent to vacate the premises.

 

Tenants Faced with Short Sales

Tenants are facing siuations where the owner has no choice to short their property. Althoough it is a bit of an inconvenience, you are protected with your lease. If you had a lease and did not renew, that's a different story. Take a moment to watch this short video chock full of great information.

Most owners try their best to hold on to their properties, but when the financial pressure gets over whelming, they opt to sell short. We have had to notify numerous tenants that the property was going to be sold in a short sale.It's never an easy call to make. Fortunately our tenants have been very understanding and cooperative with helping make the property easy to view. Owners have provided incentives for the inconvience. 

If you are faced with a property that enters into a short sale, you are protected for the duration of the lease. However, so is the owner, tenants who stop paying their rent because the property is being sold short are in default with their lease and face eviction for non-payment. The fact that the owner is selling short, or perhaps even foreclosing has no effect on the terms of the lease.

At Showcase Property Management, we are assiting owners sell their property short and we do our best to minimize the inconvenience to the tenants. If you are an owner or a tentant who has faced this situation, drop a comment below and share your expereince. 

 

 

Prep Your Environment to Reduce Allergy Problems

Millions of people suffer with allergy problems, in the US alone, more than 50 million Americans have nasal allergies, according to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Allergy is the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S. among all ages, and the 3rdmost common chronic disease among children under 18 years old. The best way to prevent allergy symptoms and minimize your need for allergy medicine is to avoid your allergens as much as possible and to eliminate the source of allergens from your home and other environments. 

Social and Economic Costs

  • The annual cost of allergies is estimated to be nearly $14.5 billion.
  • Nearly 85% ($12.3 billion) is for direct costs including $1.3 billion for doctor office visits and $11 billion for medications ($7 billion prescription, $4 billion over-the-counter).
  • Indirect costs of allergy (missed work or school, lost productivity, death, etc.) account for approximately $2.2 billion (15%) of the total annual cost of allergies in the U.S.
  • For adults, allergies (hay fever) is the 5th leading chronic disease and a major cause of work absenteeism and “presenteeism,” resulting in nearly 4 million missed or lost workdays each year, resulting in a total cost of more than $700 million in total lost productivity.

I am confident you will find the suggestions in this post to be helpful with prepping your environment to reduce allergy problems.

There are a number of things you can do to your environment to help reduce allergy problems:

  1. 1. Keep windows closed and use air conditioning if you're allergic to pollen. Don't use fans since they can stir up dust. If you do use fans clean them often.
  2. 2. Filter the air. Cover air conditioning vents with cheesecloth to filter pollen and use high efficiency particulate air filters. Clean air filters frequently and air ducts at least once a year.
  3. 3. Clean the grate to your refrigertator once a quarter, it's a magnet to collect dust and dirt. 

See more suggestions to allergy proof your environment

Be sure to follow our Feed on Facebook for tenant, owner and property maintenance tips. We invite you to post your suggestions as well! Learn more about  Showcase Property Management Services services at Rent With Karen

Getting rid of fleas naturally

Everyone with pets at one time or another gets exposed to the aggravation of fleas. I found the following YouTube video, How to get rid of fleas

I also came across this post, Into the Garden: Prevent fleas in the yard naturally that claims, One preventative measure that keeps coming up from several sources is the use of diatomaceous earth. Made from the finely ground fossils of prehistoric freshwater diatoms, it kills common household and garden pests like roaches, ants, fleas, beetles, silverfish, slugs and other crawling insects within 48 hours of contact. A long-lasting control, it’s sprinkled into cracks and crevices where bugs hide. Insects cannot develop resistance, as there is no buildup of chemical immunity.

According to Yahoo.com, the fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate.

Diatomaceous earth can be found at Green’s Feed and Seed, Lowe’s, Home Depot and other garden stores. It runs $10 to $12 for a couple of pounds. For dry application, use a duster and cover the entire plant, and apply to both top and bottom of leaf. For young plants, as little as 2 pounds per acre may be adequate. For larger plants, 5 pounds per acre is probably sufficient. DE will need reapplication after a rain. It applies best when there is dew or after a light rain. 

I found even more at eHow, Natural Way to Get Rid of Fleas on Animals, I am sure one or all of these remedies will prevent and cure ailments with fleas.

Promote Business from Your Home

feature post by Karin Morel

Tenants and Owners working from home, I am excited to share the facts about “promotional specialty advertising.” Look at your desk be sure to look inside your desk drawers……go ahead …If I was a betting girl; I’d say you have numerous custom promotional products at your finger tips.

Here’s what I collected from my desk:

A pen, mouse Pad, ruler, coaster, sticky notes, computer cleaner….. just ti name a few.

It’s simple: Promotional Specialty Advertising protects and promotes your brand as well as your identity. The best part promotional items can bring you more customers. One of the key advantages of using promotional products, is the frequency of exposure.

Imagine….your “identity or brand” featured on a product that is used on a daily basis.

Here are a few items to consider:

Dry Erase Memo Board: This item is offered in a full color imprint. With both sides imprinted; you can communicate a HUGE amount of information. We included our “menu items” (show board) from our “Appetizers”, “Entrees” and “Desserts and Extra’s”.

USB Drives: What better way to show properties and have your contact information ALL uploaded nicely for your clients viewing pleasure.

Jar Opener: Sure….this might look like an ordinary “jar opener”….. “not so”….it’s also a lint brush, cell phone holder…..works great on your dash board…..and it also works as a great “sink stopper”.

Keychain: How impressed will your client be when your present him or her with a “gift boxed” silver key chain with you logo engraved; they will think fondly of you daily and who knows; that could lead to a great referral for you!

For more information about pronoting your business from home contact Karin Morel with from All Promotions, Inc. …..your home for Mugs, Magnets and More!”

321-409-5310  / http://AllPromo.com  / Karin@allpromo.com

Renter’s Insurance

Renters insurance is often over looked by tenants leasing property. In the post, Why You Need Renters Insurance and What It Covers you’ll find some very strong reasons why it’s importnat to obtain renters insurance.

During my 25 plus years of managing properties I can’t begin to tell you how many times I witnessed situations where tenants wished they had invested in renters insurance. Once a catastrophic event takes place, it’s already too late.

Renters insurance is fairly inexpensive, usually under $20 a month. If you’re renting property, do yourself a favor and get some quotes to obtain renters insurance. Leave a comment below and we would be happy to connect you with a provider.

Short Sales Expanding Rental Market

Properties selling short are attracting investors who have time to wait for the slow short sale process to complete. The folks coming out of a short sale need a place to live creating a drastic change in the demand for rentals.

The attraction for investors to buy short sales and foreclosures is the demand for rentals will remain strong for at least the next five years – if not longer.

What Will Happen After the Election

It will be interesting to see what will happen in 2013, after the election, after the next president of the USA makes the inauguration speech. Will the millions of foreclosures behind the scenes make their way back to the market?

The countless number of short sales are impacting real estate on the Space Coast in a number of ways.

For the folks facing foreclosure, there’s good news. Borrowers can stop the foreclosure process by selling their property in a short sale. The National Mortgage Settlement prohibits lenders from doing dual track foreclosures.

A borrower can bounce back from a short sale in a couple of years, verses the severe damage of a foreclosure, which remains on a credit report permanently.

At Showcase Property Management we have become much more accommodating with helping people obtain a rental property after a short sale, after all, it is the cause of the growing rental demand. We analyze credit history and advise owners to to review the hardship when evaluating prospective tenants.

The investors, well their banking on the fact that after the short sale, someone else selling short will need a place to live. They are assured a healthy rental market for quite a few years.

If your someone coming out of a short sale, or an investor looking to expand your portfolio, my team and I can help. Give me a call 321.394-7750