Property Management Blog

Nailed It!

System - Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Property Management Blog

Ok, so you successfully got the kids prepared and back in school-nice job! All the area districts have now resumed: St Johns, Baker, Clay, Nassau & Duval. Now, the art of managing the family’s time throughout the school year becomes the next challenge. We found some good tips we’re sharing here because it’s not just about the kids activities, is it?

If you are a stay at home parent, you may have the ability to really devote time to this non- stop flurry of activity; however, what if you’re a single working parent or two working parents? Let’s complicate it a little further…what if you’re an adult working full time AND going to school? What if you’re an adult working full time, going to school AND have school age kids (with after school activities)?

It can all become very overwhelming! This is where a bit of pre planning and time management can be key—and of course, having a contingency plan for the inevitable disruptions that could pop up. We’ve found a few helpful articles that may offer some ideas/tips you’ve not though of and may be ongoing resources for all the folks going to school and/or working….from pre K and beyond!

See the below links for more…..

https://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/10859-15-tips-for-managing-the-after-school-activities-juggle

http://www.wou.edu/newsflash/2013/04/14/managing-school-work-other-activities/

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/parenting/working-mother-advice-how-to-manage-your-kids-after-school-activities/#.W3Lrr7gnbcs

Schools Back

System - Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Property Management Blog

So it’s that time of year—the kids are heading back to school. We did a little research on this, sprinkled in our own varied experiences and here are some quick suggestions for making the transition as smooth as possible….

  • Create a central Calendar: whatever method your family will most likely utilize, create a calendar everyone can easily access and add to
  • Plan before you shop: This weekend (8-3 TO 8-5) is tax free shopping weekend—know in advance what you need and what qualifies. See our tenant newsletter on our website for more specifics
  • Gather documents: If there is a transition from schools or from elementary to Jr high, etc. you may need records
  • Plan out meals—packing lunches the night before? Prepping over the weekend for the week? What will work for your family so no one skips breakfast, doesn’t have a lunch or ends up eating pizza for dinner every night!
  • Plot out the morning routine: how will everyone get ready and at what varying times will that to happen. How is everyone getting where they need to be?
  • Plan a school tour and do a practice run: if you relocated over the summer or there is a transition to a new school, (i.e. elementary to Jr high) arrange for a tour and have a practice run of getting there
  • If necessary, arrange and plan for after school care

See the below links for more…..

https://dcps.duvalschools.org/domain/8972

https://www.eventbrite.com/d/fl--jacksonville/back-to-school/ 

http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/

https://www.oneclay.net/

KEEP CALM AND COOL ON

System - Friday, July 13, 2018
Property Management Blog

We covered this subject this time last year but it’s as relevant TODAY as it’s ever been!

One thing all of our neighborhoods have in common in the summer, from Julington Creek to Ponte Vedra Beach to Riverside: EXCESSIVE HEAT AND HUMIDITY! Our “summer” is one long, very hot season. If you have lived in this area for just one summer, you probably know this but it bears repeating and is especially important for our newly relocated neighbors from other parts of the country or world!!

SIMPLE TIPS FOR DEALING WITH HEAT AND HUMIDITY

  • Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Don’t wait until you feel parched and eat high water content foods. Stay away from caffeine and alcohol!
  • Shut the blinds, turn off the lights, and avoid using heat producing appliances and plan meals that involve minimal cooking!
  • Wear loose fitting, light colored and protective clothing when outdoors (think brimmed hat!). Avoid strenuous physical activity, especially during the daylight hours. SUNSCREEN is a MUST!
  • Do not leave children or pets in parked cars--EVER! Monitor loved ones and neighbors who are most susceptible: elderly or very young

After the Storm……..

System - Thursday, June 14, 2018
Property Management Blog

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…….

System - Thursday, May 31, 2018
Property Management Blog

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

System - Monday, May 14, 2018
Property Management Blog

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

System - Monday, April 30, 2018
Property Management Blog

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…..

System - Saturday, April 14, 2018
Property Management Blog

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

System - Sunday, April 1, 2018
Property Management Blog

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

System - Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Property Management Blog

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”


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