One thing I've been asked over the last few months is whether Shreveport is losing its edge. With rising housing prices, is the great ROI that can be had in the Shreveport market still possible?
My answer: Absolutely.
The one consistent thing we have seen is that, in most areas, the increase in housing prices has also brought with it an increase in rental prices. A home in the Sunset Acres neighborhood can still bring a 15% to 20% return on investment while providing stable income and a great asset for an investors balance sheet.
Shreveport - Bossier is still a premier market for investors wishing to find a great return for their money.
At My Property Manager, we're always evolving and changing to best serve our owners and better manage our properties. With that in mind, we're launching a new service for our owners.
My property manager will now offer a service in which we both supply and personally change the air filter at your property monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly.
This will have two main benefits.
First, a staff member will be laying eyes on both the interior and exterior of the property every time they do this. It's almost a periodic inspection of sorts. If you feel like you want someone looking and visiting your property more than once per year, but without having a formal inspection, this is the perfect option for you.
Second, it will ensure that the HVAC has a long lifespan. An HVAC replacement is the most costly maintenance item we deal with. The average replacement is between $5000 and $7000. We know that by keeping filters changed and clean, it greatly reduces wear and tear on the system.
Should you choose to enroll, it will cost $13 per change/visit.
Keep in mind, that even our 8% management fee plus $13 per month is less than the management fee at most local companies of 10%.
You may wonder what brought this about. Recently, we took over management of a home as the tenant was moving out. She hadn't changed the filter in 4 years. The system was filthy and struggling to pull air through it. This HVAC will undoubtedly have to be replaced sooner due to this. With this in mind, we wanted to offer this to both allow owners the option to have more inspections of their property and extend the lifespan of their HVAC unit. We've attached a photo of the filter mentioned for reference.
If you were interested in enrolling, you can reply to this email, call the office, or email me directly at my personal email ReedEbarb@gmail.com
One thing that comes to mind this morning is the importance of tenant retention.
One of the biggest complaints I have heard from tenants moving the last few days is that their prior management company didn't respond to serious maintenance issues in a timely manner, if at all.
This just doesn't make sense to me. If you lose a tenant because you didn't address a maintenance concern, odds are you will lose more money due to that vacancy than the issue even cost.
Let me give an example. One tenant we recently had move in left her prior house because the prior company had her on the wait list for a plumbing issue for more than a month. Well, her rent was $750. So by the time they have that house vacant for a month, pay staff time to re-lease it, and finally address the issue, they've lost more than $1,000 on an issue that a plumber charges about $110 to address.
Property management is a people business, but it is also about doing things that make financial sense. This is a no-brainer and just another reason we're one of, if not the fastest growing property management company in Northwest Louisiana.
Last week, a new owner called me with several properties he was looking to have managed. I was a bit curious because he had these properties with the largest property management company in town. So I asked him "why do you want to move management companies?"
He went on to explain that every time he calls, he gets passed around like "a beach ball at a frat party". His words, not mine. He said he gets transferred two or three times to someone he hasn't talked to before, and they never seem confident of their answers or sound like they're on top of matters.
It's always been important to me that owners have one person and only one person that they talk to and deal with. This incident just really reaffirmed that for me. I'm always aware of everything that goes on. It's one reason I get so many emails a day, but the upside is that I can recite every open work order, every vacancy, and every ongoing situation.
This is the upside of choosing a company of this size. We're small enough to know everything that is going on but large enough to have multiple staff members to quickly handle issues.
Want to talk more about My Property Manager? Give me a call!
As I get ready to start the week ahead, something that has come to mind is the importance of hiring a professional property manager.
This past week, on two separate occasions, real estate agents from other companies called me in a panic. Although they both normally just assist with buying and selling homes, they decided to help clients by managing property for them.
The first rented a very upscale property to a couple from out of town. Trusting their income statements and the truthfulness of their application, they allowed them to move in and live in the house for six months. Now the couple has disappeared and left the home with thousands of dollars of damage. When they called me and asked if I would look over the application, I quickly realized that much of what this couple had written down was totally untrue. I felt it was likely they had targeted this house because they knew a full background check would not be completed which would have shown that they have done this multiple times before across the country. Now this owner is out close to $10,000 simply because they hired an amateur who thought property management was as easy as it looks. In many ways it is easy but you have to know what you were doing.
The second agent called me because they have both a client/owner and tenant who are threatening litigation over a maintenance issue. This was an issue that would’ve easily been resolved if a move-in inspection would have been completed. However, this agent neglected to do this very basic and simple step and now one or both parties will be responsible for costs that may or may not be their fault. Another example of an amateur property manager making a simple but crucial mistake.
Despite having hundreds of properties I manage, I never had these issues because I do things the right way every time.
This is why it is so important to hire a professional like myself to ensure that you don’t have these issues down the road and that things will always be documented and done the right way. It can save thousands of dollars.
When I think about the costs of owning a home and renting it out, two big things always come to mind: Roofs and HVAC systems. They're very different systems on the surface, one protects your home from rain, the other cools and heats it. However, they're very similar in other ways.
Both roofs and HVAC systems cost between $5,000 and $6,000 to replace, making them the largest costs you can incur. That is why preventative maintenance is critical to lowering your long term costs.
On a 10 year HVAC system that costs $6,000 to replace, you can divide out 6,000 by 10 to get $600 a year. However, if you spend $75 a year to have the coils cleaned, the system maintained, and all systems checked, you can make that system last 15 years. Then, your system runs $400 a year ($6,000/15). Every year that HVAC system lasts saves you money, even with the $75 cleaning fee.
Another great example is something I ran into recently. During the annual servicing of a unit that was about 12 years old, the tech found a particular part that was about to break any day. He replaced it for $40, with no additional charges. That one part replacement saved us a $75 trip charge from an HVAC company, or, if it had happened on a weekend or evening, an overtime charge. It also made that tenant very happy since her HVAC was being taken care of, and she never had the heartburn of having it go out.
On the roof side of things, I recommend having the roof serviced every two to three years. This includes blowing leaves off, hammering down any nails, re-caulking around vents, and checking the flashing. This alone gets more years out of your roof and can prevent costly leaks.
Although some owners are hesitant to spend $75 or $100 on a roof maintenance or HVAC servicing, its important to remember that long term, this saves money. Remember the old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I get asked all the time "what is the cost to have someone manage my property in Shreveport / Bossier City."
Well, there are a few different answers to that. My Property Manager, LLC is the only company that I know of that openly advertises our rates. I've looked on many other websites and I am yet to see another local company advertise their rates.
In the Shreveport / Bossier area, I know two of the largest property management companies charge $120 and $135 minimum per home. Frankly, I'm blown away that they charge that much. Another thing that makes My Property Manager so much different is that we don't charge when the home is vacant. If we're not collecting rent, we're not charging you.
There are a few other costs you may encounter. We don't charge an on-boarding fee like most other companies. We welcome your business, so why would we charge you for bringing your home to us? We also don't charge for basic maintenance. It's unacceptable to me that other companies nickle and dime you and charge you a 10% mark up for repairs.
Like other companies, we do charge a lease fee to cover our expenses of renting the home. This is very labor intensive since we have to market the home, show the home, complete two move in inspections, file and create the leasing paperwork, and handle the application / vetting process of tenants.
So if you're looking for a property management company in Shreveport / Bossier City, don't pay high fees. Just give My Property Manager a call and we'll always take care of you.
This month, I had every tenant pay rent on time. This was less a happy accident or coincidence and more by design. I'll explain.
With every house I rent, I carefully screen the tenants. I've found there are little things you can look for to predict someones ability to pay on time and be a good tenant. Every tenant is a gamble but a carefully calculated one.
For example, I recently rented out a home in Sunset Acres. I had three different applications, all submitted the same day. Ultimately, I chose the candidate that just about every other company would have passed on. Why? That candidate had the least amount of income of the three, but alternatively, they had the most stable work history (6 years at the same job) and the job they had was essentially recession and COVID-19 proof. The other two had more income but lower credit scores and multiple past due bills. Income isn't everything.
Now, selecting a tenant like I did isn't always an option since Fair House guidelines must always be adhered to, but when it is an option, sometimes the person that looks best at first glance isn't your best option. This is how I've come to improve my tenant selection process and ensure I get the best renters in the area, which leads to the happiest owners.
If you ever have questions about renting your home in Shreveport or Bossier City, or property management in general, don't hesitate to reach out to me.
Anytime the subject of squatters is brought up, people usually think of the horror stories of California and the squatters that take a year or more to evict from a property. Thankfully, while squatters are present in Shreveport / Bossier City, they're not a common sight.
So how do you deal with squatters and how do you prevent them? I'll discuss both briefly in this blog.
First, preventing squatters means ensuring any investment home or rental home is secured. Make sure the doors and windows are locked and someone is occasionally keeping an eye on the home. My secret to doing this was finding a neighbor on the street to watch the home for me. This is typically someone who is a homeowner and has an investment in keeping the street on the up and up. There have been plenty of times a neighbor called me about suspicious circumstances at the home. Most of the time, it was a lawn person or possible tenant looking at it, but a few times that call prevented a burglary or a squatter. Making sure someone is watching the home and it is secure is a great prevention step.
Lets say someone does get in. It can go one of two ways. First, if certain conditions are met and they aren't considered legal squatters yet, they will be arrested. This happened in 2017 in a house I was managing in Shreveport. A man moved his stuff in and claimed to be living there. I didn't know who he was or where he came from. I soon after called Shreveport Police and explained the situation, as well as why he was not a squatter but was in fact breaking and entering. A supervisor was called and I again explained my point of view, reminded him of the law, and why he should be arrested. After hearing both sides of the argument, and the facts, the police agreed and he was arrested.
The second time it happened, I was less fortunate. I had just taken over management of a house after the prior management company wouldn't communicate with the owner. I found squatters in the house and had to go through the eviction process. A 10 day notice period followed by court. By the time the court date came around, they were gone.
So while I wouldn't call squatters common, they aren't non-existent and something a good manager should be seeking to prevent. If you have more questions on this subject, squatters in Shreveport or Bossier City, or property management in Shreveport / Bossier, don't hesitate to reach out to me.