November 21, 2016 admin

joke 2So you have decided your home is no longer fitting your needs.  How do you make the decision of whether to rent or sell your home?  Here are 6 questions to ask yourself.

  1. Is your move permanent? If you are leaving the area for a period of time but eventually plan on moving back to the area renting may be a perfect way  to offset the costs of keeping your home and having it waiting for you when you return.
  1. Can you rent your home for enough to cover your mortgage and expenses? The rental market in the Denver metro area is pretty strong and usually will cover your costs of keeping your home.
  1. What is your financial situation like? Do you need to sell your home to purchase another?  Can you afford to pay your mortgage during a vacancy?  Can you afford any potential repairs that come up?  Selling may be the way to go if any of these would be financially challenging for you.
  1. Do you need more tax deductions? When you rent your home you get to depreciate it for tax purposes.  You can also write off repairs, property management fees, property taxes etc….Renting can be a great way to offset tax liabilities.
  1. Does it look like home prices are going to increase in the next 10 years? If the market seems to be steadily appreciating you may want to consider renting to build equity in your home while someone else pays your expenses.
  1. Will you be ok with someone else living in your home? No matter how well you screen your tenants your home will receive some wear and tear.  They can smudge the walls, wear the carpeting and forget to water your prized rosebush.  If this will drive you crazy you may want to sell your home instead of renting.

Renting your home can be a great way to offset your monthly expenses and build equity in your home but it is not for everyone.  Weigh your options carefully and decide what is best for you and your family.

Denver Property Management

November 15, 2016 admin

November 15th, 2016

renters-insuranceRenter’s insurance provides you with protection against the damage or loss of your personal property.  This applies whether you are renting a house, apartment, condominium or townhouse.  Your Landlord has insurance that will cover the building in case of a loss, but not the contents inside (your personal property).  Many Landlords require the tenants purchase renters insurance prior to leasing to alleviate any liability or miscommunication on what their insurance covers.

In the event that your Landlord does not require renters insurance, do you really need it?  In determining whether or not you need renters insurance, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
How much would it cost to replace my belongings if they were stolen or damaged?

Can I afford to replace my personal property if I have a loss?

Things to consider when picking the right policy for your family:

How Much Coverage? – Keep in mind that you are not only insuring against theft but also fire where you could lose everything.  Be realistic about replacement costs of your personal belongings before deciding how much coverage you need.

Deductible – The amount of the deductible premium that you’re willing to pay will have a major impact on the premium. The higher the deductible, the lower the cost of renters insurance.
Actual Cash Value (ACV) Vs. Replacement Cost – Actual cash value coverage will pay for replacement cost of the item minus depreciation.   Replacement cost coverage that will provide for the actual replacement cost of the item with no deduction for depreciation.

Dogs – Be aware that owning a dog can add to your premium.  Also, depending on breed type some insurance company won’t even offer insurance to customers with certain breeds.

Natural disasters – Flood and Earthquake protection is not commonly included on rental insurance policies. Check your policy for exclusions and if needed add a rider.
Liability Coverage – Liability coverage is usually included with renter’s policy.  This coverage will help protect you in case a guest is injured on your property.  Check the amount provided in policy and determine if you think it’s adequate.
Inventory your items and keep list off site – It is important to keep a detailed list of all of your personal belongings to avoid potential disputes.  Keep receipts and video/pictures of items in your home.
There is a lot to consider when picking a renter’s policy, and I hope this list will help you determine what the right policy is for you.  Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish – renters insurance is inexpensive and can provide you with invaluable peace of mind.

Denver Property Management

October 25, 2016 admin

flagler-front

1.      Screening your tenants improperly: This, by far, is the biggest mistake you can make when renting your home out.  We recommend a criminal and credit history check, previous eviction search, checking previous rental references and verification of adequate income for the rental amount (at least 2.5-3 times the rental amount depending on other debt shown on the credit report) on all occupants over the age of 18. When looking at credit reports always pay attention to any collections from property management companies, utility companies and cash advance companies as this is a sure indication of the way they have handled properties in the past and their ability to budget their money.

2.      Getting too familiar with your tenants: Have you ever heard the saying “give an inch take a mile”? This is extremely true with your tenants. It is important that you set boundaries from day one. It is very common for tenants to try and take advantage of a generous spirit.

3.      Using a low quality lease: Some leases that can be purchased online don’t cover all of the bases. It is wise to purchase a thorough lease from a reputable attorney that cover late fees, security deposits, maintenance requirements from the tenant, a detailed inventory of the property and importantly, in Colorado, restrictions of marijuana grow houses and use. A lease is the blueprint for your interactions between you and your tenant and can protect you in a litigious situation.

4.      Not collecting an adequate security deposit or failure to collect all funds up front: We recommend a security deposit that at least matches the first month’s rent in addition to a per pet deposit. Never allow a tenant to move in without all move in funds being paid and we always require certified funds at move in. If you have a check bounce after the tenant moves in you would be required to go through a potentially costly eviction process if the tenants do not rectify the situation.

5.      Failing to maintain your property: Your rental home is your investment and should be maintained for a multitude of reasons. If you maintain your home properly it will help preserve the value of your home, prevent even more costly repairs in the future and keep quality tenants happy and lower your vacancy rate. If you take pride in your home you are more likely to find a tenant that will too.

Owning an investment home can be a rewarding experience if handled properly. It is a great way to have someone else generate equity for you. Secretary of Estates takes your investment seriously, and with more than 20 years of experience, we have the skills and knowledge to make your foray into the rental market as seamless as possible. Give us a call today for a free market analysis at 303-660-8888 or email us at info@secretaryofestates.com.

Denver Property Management

October 20, 2016 admin

SmallhousefallFall has arrived again here in Colorado, and before Jack Frost does his magic, homeowners need to prepare their homes to prevent costly repairs in spring.

Outside Maintenance Tips:
• Inspect gutters and downspouts; accumulated leaves can lead to ice buildup over winter and improper drainage.
• Patch damaged sidewalks, driveways, porches and steps.
• Inspect the roof for damaged or missing tiles and seal around flashing if necessary.
• Flush out sprinkler systems, shut off faucet valves (if applicable) or cover faucets with Styrofoam caps and store away garden hoses. Never leave garden hoses attached during freezes.
• Prune trees and shrubs and eliminate any dead branches present.
• Rake leaves.
• Service your lawn equipment and prepare to store for winter. Also, prepare your snow blower for winter use with an oil change, and inspect the mechanical parts.
• Fall is an ideal time to aerate and fertilize your lawn to allow moisture and nutrients to reach the roots over winter months.
• Check windows and doors for leaks, and caulk or install weather stripping where needed.
• Remove window screens and replace with storm windows (if applicable). Make sure you label screens to make them easier to replace in the spring.
• Clean and store patio furniture, or cover pieces that you intend to leave outside.
• Inspect window wells, vents and ducts, and clean out any debris.
• Cover air conditioning units.

Inside Maintenance Tips:
• Check your sump pump to ensure it is working properly, and check for wet spots or puddles in the basement or crawlspace.
• Check for leaks in the humidifier, water heater, and drain if you haven’t lately.
• Check clothes dryer vents and ducts, and get rid of any lint present.
• Inspect bathrooms and kitchen for any needed caulk or grout repairs.
• Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries if needed. Also, check fire extinguisher inspection or expiration dates and make sure they are current.
• Inspect the attic to ensure there is proper insulation, and verify you don’t have any unwanted guests living up there!
• Bleed radiators if you have hot water heat (do not do this when system is in use).
• Have chimney cleaned if you have a wood fireplace.
• Clean or replace furnace filter.
• Have a professional inspect your heating system and gas fireplace.
• Clean refrigerator coils.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For a small investment of money and time, you can prevent major repairs and enhance the safety of your home.

Denver Property Management

October 11, 2016 admin

Denver, Colorado Springs rank high in number of homeowners carrying a mortgage

By ALDO SVALDI | asvaldi@denverpost.com
October 10, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Metro Denver ranks second only to Washington, D.C., among the country’s 100 largest metro areas for the share of homeowners carrying a mortgage, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by LawnStarter.
About 76.1 percent of Denver owner-occupied homes had a mortgage backing them in 2015 versus 79.1 percent in Washington, D.C. Colorado Springs also made the list, ranking fifth with 74.8 percent of homes carrying a mortgage, the study found.
“The market in Denver has been so good and we have had a lot of properties trading,” said Mark Trenka, chair-elect for the Colorado Association of Realtors and owner of a Century 21 brokerage in Denver.
Cities with population growth, robust existing home sales and active new construction are likely to have a higher share of homes with a mortgage compared to stagnant ones where owners have stayed put for years and paid off their loans, he said.
Trenka said he has also witnessed another trend at play. Investors who bought low and paid cash during the housing crash are selling their properties to owner-occupants with mortgages.
Some, but not all, of the most-mortgaged metros also are among the hottest housing markets in the country when it comes to the speed of sales and price appreciation. They include places like Provo, Utah; Seattle; Portland, Ore., and San Francisco.
Having a higher share of mortgaged homes can cut either way, depending on the direction of prices. A study from CoreLogicfound that homeowners in Colorado averaged a $26,000 gain in equity the past 12 months versus $11,000 for homeowners nationally. Only homeowners in California, Washington and Oregon enjoyed bigger equity gains in dollar terms.
Leverage allows for a higher return on investment. A $400,000 home with the mortgage paid off or purchased with cash would generate a equity gain of $40,000 if the value rises 10 percent.
While definitely not shabby, someone putting 20 percent or $80,000 down and carrying a mortgage on the rest would see a 50 percent return on the up-front investment in property under the same scenario.
The flip side is if home values fall, a high share of mortgage debt can come back to bite owners, generating more foreclosures and downward pressure on prices.
CoreLogic every quarter also tracks negative equity or the share of homes in the market that are worth less than the debt still owed on them. In metro Miami, 18.4 percent of homes with a mortgage were still underwater in the second quarter, while in Las Vegas, 17.6 percent of homes were.
By contrast, only 1.5 percent of metro Denver homes with a mortgage were in a negative equity position, the second smallest share after San Francisco at 0.6 percent.

Aldo Svaldi
I have worked at The Post since late 2000. My beats include residential real estate, economic development and the Colorado economy. Other publications where I have worked include Financial Times Energy, The Denver Business Journal and Arab News. My parents immigrated from northern Italy, although my great grandparents came to Central City in the late 1800s. Follow Aldo Svaldi @AldoSvaldi

Denver Property Management

August 13, 2016 admin

questionmarkmanMany people who are considering entering into the property rental arena usually ask themselves if they should hire a property manager. Here are some of the top reasons why you may want to consider using one.

1. You have multiple rental properties- The more you own the more complicated and time consuming property management can be. Why not hire someone whose sole job is to manage properties rather than trying to fit it in your spare time?

2. Your rental property is more than an hour from your residence- A property manager can be a great asset to keep track of your investment on a day to day basis if you do not live near your rental property..

3. You are not interested in hands on management- If you view your property as strictly an investment and don’t enjoy the day to day activities of management a property manager may be the way to go for you.

4. You have limited time to devote to management- Even if you enjoy the day to day activities of management you may not have the time to devote to it. if you would rather devote your time to family or employment commitments a property manager may be your solution.

5. You want to keep in compliance with current laws and ordinances- A qualified property manager can help you keep in compliance with Federal, state and local laws and ordinances when it comes to tenant/landlord interactions.

6. You have a hard time keeping reliable records- A property manager is a great option if you find it challenging to keep track of financial records for your property. You will get a concise statement monthly and annually for your tax reporting as well as someone to keep track of repairs and warranties on your property.

7. A property manager will uphold your lease- Having a buffer between you and your tenant can be invaluable. Your property manager will keep an objective and professional stance when upholding your lease. Sometimes this can be challenging to do when you have a personal relationship with your tenant.

If you identify with any of these reasons it would likely be worth your time to consult with a qualified property manager. Secretary of Estates offers a no charge consultation to assess your property and your management needs. Give us a call at 303-660-8888.

Denver Property Management