Property Management Blog

After the Storm……..

Web Admin - Friday, June 15, 2018

This is often nearly as excruciating as before and during a storm because it requires patience and keeping safety foremost in mind! Everyone impacted is anxious; after people and pets, the anxiety surrounds the fundamental question: what was the damage? Here are some critical basics that homeowners and residents should know and absentee home owners should keep in mind:

  • Do not venture into evacuated areas until it is publicly announced as safe to do so!
  • Avoid driving immediately after if feasible (traffic lights may not be working)
  • Be aware of downed lines/wet equipment and flood waters and don’t handle or venture into
  • Once it is safe to clean up, wear protective gear (gloves, mask, etc.)
  • Protect what you can from further damage until it can be properly repaired

Be PATIENT—with utility providers, property managers and vendors

Know that it will take time for crews to mobilize and get to all the areas of need. The city will work as fast as possible to restore “normalcy” and property managers will assess the condition of the property and communicate what’s needed as swiftly as safety will allow. Once they do, be as responsive as possible and bear in mind the actual completion of repairs may take time as well. Demand will be everywhere and resources stretched to their limits.

When the Storm is Coming…….

Web Admin - Friday, June 01, 2018

Important to think about this now, especially since we just got an early taste of storm season. We have made available the 2018 City of Jacksonville Preparedness Guide to all of our residents in advance of storm season but we’ll hit some highlights here…..most important to remember: if a storm is coming here (like Irma last year) it will not matter if you are in Atlantic or Neptune Beach, San Marco, Riverside or Julington Creek. From one end of the area to another, you are likely to experience some kind of symptom—and maybe multiples. This awareness is important no matter where in Clay, Duval or St. John counties you reside!

  • Know your evacuation route and have a plan for using it
  • Know your flood zone status (and how it relates to above!)
  • Have your emergency preparedness kit ready
  • Know your family and pet plan (going to shelter? Have your personal supplies, i.e. prescription meds)
  • Have your home preparation done (secure loose items, remove loose branches, etc.)
  • Know your resources/contact information (insurance agent/carrier, JEA, City , Family contacts)

We think a great place to start is with the city’s preparedness guide which you can access right here on our home page “Storm Season Help”

The Cost of Prevention…or Lack Thereof

Web Admin - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

So…let’s say for some reason you choose not to have a preventative maintenance plan or delay maintenance on your AC system. As mentioned before, systems work hard-- from Julington Creek to Ponte Vedra Beach to Riverside--especially in the long summer months, i.e. (May to October). “Less than” maintenance will have consequences. We know this. So let’s say something goes wrong that typical troubleshooting doesn’t remedy—and your system is out of warranty.

First there will be assessment of the following: cost of the potential repair, condition/age of other key components, risk for contamination or repeat failure and (typically) no warranty on workmanship. Bear in mind, too, some components need to be functioning in order to evaluate others so you may be facing repair of one to assess the other only to find it is failing as well. If any or all of this bottoms out to a cost of 2/3+ of a system replacement, start shopping for your new system.

Regardless, let’s say you’ve taken all this into account and you’re replacing the part anyway. Here are some ballpark price points (on just a few that seem to come up more frequently) and bear in mind most likely will not be under warranty. Oh, and add labor……

Compressor: $1500-$2500

Blower Motor: $350-$800

Evaporator Coil: $350-$1100

Condenser Coil: $1200-$2000 (non R-22)

Condenser: $1500-$2500 (non R-22)

Obviously, in some situations, repairs can be made, especially if the system is a more current unit (after 2008 and not using R-22). We simply advocate for careful consideration of all the variables before deciding as these are big numbers—some of the component costs are nearly half the cost of a system replacement alone (depending on size).

Lastly, this is why we do insist that a preventative maintenance plan can be advantageous—not only to check and service the system routinely but to identify possible issues before they become big problems. Don’t take our word for it—consult with your preferred vendor or one of ours (like Bold City Heating & Air who provided assistance with this content).

Keep Your Cool and Take Care of Your AC

Web Admin - Tuesday, May 01, 2018

It’s May already and soon the seasonal heat will be upon us and our air conditioners will be running nonstop. Property managers are vigilant of major systems in the homes they manage for myriad reasons. Aside from the significant investment they represent to the home owner, it gets very hot & humid here in the summer and your resident will be running the AC a lot and expect it to be operational at all times!

While there are no guarantees, especially based on the age of the system, you can reduce the likelihood of a malfunction (and worse yet an unexpected one) by maintaining the system. What does maintaining the system involve, really?

Yes, changing the filter consistently is one of the easiest steps. Keeping the vents clean and the areas around the handler and compressor clear/debris fee. Keeping the condensate drain clear. One of the best ways to insure optimum performance and minimal surprises is checking the system at least annually—the provider will run diagnostics. This typically includes assessing the coils, capacitors, compressor and refrigerant. This can reduce the chances of that sudden call that the system just isn’t cooling (or running at all) that sends your resident into a panic and frankly can make for sleepless nights if not remedied swiftly. Trust us, no one wants to experience that and a comfortable resident is a happy resident! A less than maintained system can lose at least 5% efficiency as well…..

Check back later this month when we get into the costs associated with not maintaining your system as compared to the investment of doing so…..

This is Simple…..

Web Admin - Sunday, April 15, 2018

Having focused on appliance life expectancy and maintenance this month, we thought a bit of discussion about successful fire mitigation might be relevant as well. This information comes from a class some of our FPM Properties property managers attended recently courtesy of Puro Clean. Here are some quick facts:

84% of all fires happen in single family homes

49% of fire damage is from cooking

Some of the primary causes of residential fires:

  • Open flames & sparks
  • Electrical wiring & fixtures
  • Cooking (see above!)
  • Smoking
  • Low temperature ignition

If not mitigated within 48-72 hours, smoke damage is compounded, much like moisture damage.

Simple steps to prevention can’t hurt: KEEP IT CLEAN! Wipe down interior of microwave, keep interior, burners and hood vent clean on the stove, and keep dryer lint free. Be aware of condition of the power cords. Anything that could be flammable or create a blockage is a problem in the making…..

Life Span and Maintenance

Web Admin - Monday, April 02, 2018

So this month we’ve been talking about appliance life span and maintenance. In our business, the question of repair vs. replace inevitably comes up. We have found that taking into account the actual age of the appliance in question, it’s “expected” life span and the proposed cost of the repair can usually help arrive at the right conclusion.

In this month’s owner newsletter we’ve included some information on expected life span of various appliances. If the appliance in question is halfway or further into its “expected” lifespan and the cost of the repair will be 50% or more of the cost of replacement, it’s a fairly safe bet that replacement will be the more cost effective way to go.

There are variables to consider in repair as well—even if deemed affordable. Ease of procuring parts (which can translate into time it takes) and access to resources that can actually install them (again, time—how quickly they can be scheduled to make the repair). A refrigerator is considered more critical than, say, a microwave (and assuming the stove/oven is operational!)

Check out these links that also address this topic………

Code Enforcement—Why It Matters

Web Admin - Thursday, March 15, 2018

If you read our previous blog, you now know a little about how to avoid a citation. Here are some additional compelling questions (answers courtesy of the City of Jacksonville):

Why is there enforcement?

The City of Jacksonville acknowledges the need to enforce a certain standard of property maintenance and to ensure a reasonable quality of life for the city’s residents and neighborhoods

Where do they “enforce”?

All privately owned properties, structures and parts thereof, including but not limited to:

Yards, Premises, Parking Lots, Driveways, Easements, Homes, Businesses, Vacant Lots, Warehouses

Most Common Violations (just a sampling!)

  • Junk or abandoned vehicles with expired or missing license plates
  • Accumulation of garbage, rubbish or trash or debris
  • Excessive growth of weeds, grass or noxious vegetation
  • Potentially dangerous dead trees or limbs
  • Conditions which could breed (read: standing water) or harbor insects or rodents
  • Unmaintained swimming pools
  • Fences, gates or accessory structures in disrepair

The answer to why it matters is simply stated in the City’s answer re: why there is enforcement. As a reminder, the City of Jacksonville encompasses a large area, from Riverside to San Marco to Jacksonville Beach to Mandarin and beyond.

It matters to us because every home under management tends to have multiple aspects that can be affected by code.

Professional property managers are vigilant for potential code violations that could cause you headaches if overlooked or ignored. Most homes generate trash and have yards (and may struggle with weed control) with trees and fences! They will proactively recommend action to avoid citations (time consuming and in some cases, costly). You can find all the details at www.coj.net under “code enforcement”

Code Enforcement—What You Don’t Know Could……

Web Admin - Thursday, March 01, 2018

Code Enforcement—What You Don’t Know Could……

Get you a citation! There is a lot to know about code enforcement in Duval but for starters, here’s how to AVOID a citation (simplified and abbreviated), residential OR commercial (courtesy of City of Jacksonville)

  • Maintain property appearance: yards cut, trash removed, etc.
  • Maintain exterior structure appearance: surfaces painted, stained, etc.
  • Maintain the building: repair or replace missing, damaged, rotted or worn components
  • Maintain electrical & plumbing systems: address faulty, leaking or corroded components
  • Maintain interior components: worn, torn or damaged flooring, windows, walls, etc.
  • Maintain all water heaters, appliances, etc. per manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Smoke detectors-at least one properly operating
  • Keep property safe & sanitary: address ANY issues that may pose an imminent threat to health or safety IMMEDIATELY

Check back here mid-month for more details on code enforcement that could impact you!

Renter's Insurance

Web Admin - Thursday, February 15, 2018

At this time of year we remind property owners about reviewing their insurance before storm season officially commences…..but what about the non-owner resident

It’s important to understand the difference between what the homeowner’s policy covers and why you need, as a renter, to consider renters insurance.



Read the following, courtesy of Peter Scott, Tony Blankenship Insurance

  • A landlord's insurance policy, required by the mortgage bank, covers the building and any outbuildings and protects the landlord against lawsuits arising out of accidents on the property. However, landlord insurance does not cover the personal possessions of the tenant. This is a piece of information that seems to come as a shock to many tenants after disaster strikes.
  • A staggering number of renters do not carry renters insurance. Marshall Loeb, writing in MarketWatch last year estimated that nearly two-thirds of the 81 million people who rent their homes are uninsured for their contents or for any liability arising out of their tenancy.
  • While some renters may assume that they are covered by some mythical insurance umbrella held by the landlord, others simply do not associate the need for insurance with their own circumstances until it is too late. They aren't homeowners so they don't need homeowners insurance, right? They do not think beyond that question and many probably don't even know that tenants' insurance exists.
  • If you rent, look around. You probably have a pretty substantial amount invested within those walls you do not own. A stereo, high-def TV, a business and a leisure wardrobe, all of those small appliances in the kitchen, the electronics in the study; even if your furniture was bought second hand or from Walmart it all adds up and should disaster strike, everything will have to be replaced out of pocket.
  • And there is the matter of liability. Should your television repairman trip on the front walk he will probably sue your landlord. But if the repairman takes a swan dive over a poorly positioned coffee table inside your apartment or if sweet little Fluffy decides that his ankle looks like lunch it will not be your landlord's problem. It will be yours.

PUT ANOTHER WAY:

The homeowner’s policy covers the building and outbuildings—it does not typically cover the contents if they are not residing in the home. Thus the contents—your possessions as a renter—are not covered in event of storm, disaster, break in, etc. To put it more “officially”:

Tenant's insurance covers personal property within a home or apartment against the same types of loss covered by homeowners insurance - fire, theft, vandalism, and water damage (but not flood damage and probably not earthquake damage either) as well as protecting your interests should someone have an accident within your dwelling unit for which you might be held liable.

Review Your Insurance NOW

Web Admin - Thursday, February 01, 2018

We know—no one wants to start thinking about this right now…….

Even if you went through this exercise this time last year, do it again. Storm activity was more significant last season and dynamics in insurance are constantly changing.

If you have not reviewed your insurance recently and dodged a bullet (so to speak) DEFINITELY DO IT NOW! Here in Jacksonville we had some particularly (and unusually) hard hit areas like San Marco and Riverside/Avondale that in some respects are still recovering.

We suggest scoring some time with your agent to go over the following questions (especially if you are not sure of all the answers) and differentiate between the property you are residing in and any investment property:

Do I need flood and windstorm coverage?



What does my policy cover and exclude?

Will my policy pay “replacement cost” or “actual cash value” for a covered loss?

What about additional living expenses?

What else can I do to prepare?

What about policy changes?

How can I safeguard my records?

It’s amazing what a little due diligence on the front (read: early) end can save you in heartache on the back (read: aftermath) end!


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​ Disclosure: First Place Management Properties, LLC is "not" a real estate brokerage and does not lease or sell properties.
All sales and leasing activities are conducted through FPM Properties, dba. & First Place Management, Inc. both are licensed Florida Real Estate Brokerages. ​



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