Property Management Blog

Thanksgiving—it’s only a week away!

System - Thursday, November 15, 2018
Property Management Blog

As always, this is a time of reflection and, despite all the trials and tribulations of the year to date, a time for gratitude. We all have vexing situations in our lives (and most of us shared one just a couple of weeks ago) but it remains important to count the blessings in our lives. 

If for no other reason, do it for your health. Yes, there is scientific evidence that gratitude is good for your physical and psychological health! It is known to improve sleep and mental strength. At work it can help with goal achievement and decision making and improves productivity. At home it can deepen your relationships. Gratitude is good for you!  

In the next week, take a few moments (or many—whatever works!) and reflect on all that is good in your life. Take stock of the people in it and give thanks. Reflect on some of those things you maybe take for granted: Your employer provided benefits?  The neighbor who watches your house when you are away?  The improvements the City just made in your neighborhood? Whatever it might be, when you think about it, you probably have a lot to be grateful for!

So….before you sit down to that bountiful table next Thursday, have a heaping helping of gratitude. It’s the healthiest thing you can do!






Your Property “Investigator”

System - Thursday, November 1, 2018
Property Management Blog

So we’ve outlined the areas that are evaluated in a home inspection—how does the rental “inspection” differ? Number one, while many property managers hold various designations in the industry --and 2 of ours are MPM® (Master Property Manager) -- they are not licensed home inspectors. If you want to know more about what it means to be an MPM®, just ask us! 

They will be looking at the same areas as a home inspector to the best of their accessibility. During occupancy can be a bit more challenging than during the move out process for obvious reasons but they are looking for “clues” to any potential issues in those critical areas. They are walking the exterior (and observing from the ground if roof needs further investigation), assessing condition of the yard, checking proper operation of major systems in the home and the smoke detectors, checking the HVAC system, looking for evidence of any water intrusion and so on. They look at many of the same things a home inspector does and make determinations as to whether more detailed, expert assessment is warranted. 

This is all in the interest of protecting the asset and insuring safety for the occupants. Critical stuff!

What You Can’t See Can be Spooky……

System - Monday, October 1, 2018
Property Management Blog

There are several potential anxiety points on the road to becoming a home owner and one of them involves the things you can’t really see. That’s what home inspections are for! A good home inspector will pinpoint areas that are cause for concern and/or items to be watchful of. Bear in mind there aren’t many properties that are 100% free of minor defects…. The main areas they will assess:

  • foundation
  • lot
  • roof
  • chimney
  • exterior
  • attic
  • interior leaks
  • basement (when applicable)
  • electrical
  • plumbing
  • appliances
  • heating/cooling system
  • odors

This is another reason to work with a licensed Realtor; it will be definitely be less scary!

Ditto on choosing a licensed home inspector—we strongly endorse that choice.

If the inspection identifies any issues that you don’t understand, or aren’t comfortable making a decision about immediately, your Realtor can help you navigate the situation wisely and within the time frame indicated in your contract.

Next up, we’ll talk about the rental inspection process…

Real Estate is an Investment!

System - Friday, September 14, 2018
Property Management Blog

No, we’re not technically experts on this topic (retirement planning) but we know plenty who are and we do know about the value of investing in real estate. Culled from a lot of reading here’s what we learned/know about real estate as part of your retirement plan(ning):


  • You can access funding to acquire investment property
  • You can leverage your investment with your own efforts for greater returns (than say,stocks)
  • You exercise direct control over your investment—a board of directors somewhere else isn’t driving the decisions
  • Housing demand is and remains high
  • Investing in real estate has a proven track record, especially in the recent market conditions
  • It’s relatively predictable and fairly stable—everyone needs a place to live
  • You can diversify with your investment type (single family, condo, multi family, etc.)

If you’ve already done this, you know how favorable this current seller’s market has been. ….

If you’d like us to connect you to some of those people in the know about retirement planning OR want to talk to us about investment real estate as part of your strategy, send us a note at marketing@fpmproeprties.com

Later this month we’ll touch on the tax reform implications……

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).


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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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