Property Management Blog

We do our best to keep maintenance costs down...here's how

System - Monday, July 11, 2016
Property Management Blog

No matter how marketable and well maintained your property rental may be, you are still going to need repairs from time to time. 


The national average, according to some surveying firms, shows that roughly $163 per month per unit is spent on maintenance items for single family homes nationwide, national average. 

At FPM Properties, our main goal is to protect your investment while pursuing cost containment.

We constantly vet prospective vendors in search of the best performance in areas of pricing, craftsmanship and timely response. We look at how they keep up with industry practices and trends, and make sure their licenses and insurance coverages are current. We also consider what kind of technology they are employing to be as responsive as possible. We require a vendor profile and agreement be submitted-- which outlines our expectations.

Our vendors are neither the least or most expensive, but they strive to deliver value and we have many who go above and beyond to serve the needs of our residents and owners.  As a result, we manage to keep our average month maintenance down to about $125 per month without sacrificing quality. 

We evaluate cost of repair versus cost of replacement for you and make recommendations after visiting the investment property. Also, by doing regular inspections, we usually can save you dollars by catching a problem early instead of allowing it to fester.

Remember FPM Properties when you are looking for a property manager. 

Why lease signings with your property management company are so important

System - Monday, June 27, 2016
Property Management Blog


When it comes to leases, at First Place Management we don’t mess around. All our leases are attorney drawn to be in complete compliance with all current laws. We want to make sure you completely understand what you are signing, for the protection of all parties. 

Here’s 5 areas that we discuss during this meeting.
  1. Responsibilities of the Resident and Landlord – Nothing is left to chance. We aim to educate you to the best of our ability to make sure you understand your responsibilities and are made aware of the obligations of the Landlord. 
  2. Maintenance requests and the process – Every business should have a system in place and we do. We have perfected the maintenance request process to give you the easiest and quickest service that we can.  If you experience a problem with your property, we want to be able to act fast to solve your issue. There are circumstances that arise requiring two estimates to be obtained for our Landlords. 
  3. Rent payments – We don’t assume that you know when the rent is due or when it will be considered late causing penalties. At First Place Management, we also want to make it simple to pay your rent, by offering online payments.  We will explain the entire process to you.
  4. Move in and move out process - To accurately record the condition of the property, whether it be prior to moving in, or when you are moving out, we video each room and electronically record any notations. Again, this protects you and the landlord.
  5. Unusual items associated with the rental – No home is alike and we want to make sure that you understand the details of the property you are renting. For instance, there may be appliances that are “as is,” meaning if they break they won’t be replaced. We would want you to know this up front so there are no surprises. 
First Place Management prides itself on transparency. We want both our Residents and Landlords to have the best experience possible. Simply said by explaining all the details at the lease signing, we can meet the expectations for all parties. Call First Place Management today at 904-246-1200! 

Is gray the new white?

System - Monday, May 30, 2016
Property Management Blog
When it comes to rentals, is gray the new white?

According to House Beautiful, gray is one of the top colors for 2016. But how does that translate to rentals? 

Gray, considered a neutral, can be paired effectively with almost any color to give the tenant a desired neutral backdrop to look classic and contemporary. While using institutional white is a constant reminder to tenants that they are renting, it seems to be the go-to color for landlords, simply because its neutral color will go with any décor. However, by adding a soft gray or even light blue, a feeling of luxury or sophistication is sensed.

In a Better Homes and Gardens color survey, 57% of those participating said their walls are neutral, while 43% claim to have a non-neutral paint scheme in their home. One reason 40% the participants say they keep the neutral palate is because they believe they’ll grow tired of a brighter color. Another 29% are fearful that it would just be too bold to use anything other than a variety of white. Of those that like bright colors, there were some considered off limits. The top color the respondents were least likely to use in their home is orange followed by black and violet. 

Once a color is determined, it seems that the respondents were apt to wait more than 5 years to repaint and most likely would change the color. 

As for rentals, gray seems to be a color that can hide minor blemishes and allowing tenants the feeling of a more permanent residence. 

As a landlord, if you just can’t bring yourself to paint anything other than white, consider an antique white. 


As an owner are you up to date on real estate laws?

System - Thursday, March 24, 2016
Property Management Blog

Having a property management company has many advantages. The most obvious being they hand the marketing and renting of the property, screening the tenants and overseeing the maintenance. One big point, most everyone misses, is the knowledge and continuous education required in handling such business matters.


One area that can get an uninformed manager in trouble, is the area of property management and real estate laws. 


Right now, there is bill working its way toward being a law, which deals with homeowner, cooperative and condominium association documents. This bill, known as CS/CS/CS/HB 203, Residential Properties, deals with the handling, delivery and time frames of estoppel certificates. 


Most laypeople don’t even know the definition of an estoppel certificate. An estoppel certificate is basically a legal document that tells the financial debt owed to an association (homeowners’, cooperative or condominium) by a parcel owner or unit owner. 


With most everyone using the internet to conduct business, if passed, the process to deliver an estoppel certificate is being update. Below, if you are interested, is the bill (in the terms it was written for passage):

•Provides for the ability to request and deliver estoppel certificates through electronic means;

•Reduces the period of time in which an association must respond to an estoppel certificate request; 

•Specifies the required content, effective periods, and approved delivery methods for estoppel certificates;

•Requires the designation of a person or entity for receipt of estoppel certificate requests; 

•Establishes fee caps for the preparation and delivery of an estoppel certificate;

•Waives the right of an association to collect moneys owed in excess of the amount stated in an estoppel certificate from any person who in good faith relies on such certificate; and 

•Provides that cooperative associations are subject to the same requirements regarding the issuance of estoppel certificates as homeowner and condominium associations. 

At FPM Properties and First Place Management, we keep up with current laws; know our state congressmen, congresswomen and representatives; and regularly travel to Tallahassee to lobby and express our concerns in our industry.


Should you have questions regarding this bill or any other relating to property management or real estate laws, don’t hesitate to contact us!


Troubleshooting your HVAC

System - Sunday, February 7, 2016
Property Management Blog

 

Troubleshooting your HVAC 

  Often times, when an air conditioning system is not operating properly, or worse stops running altogether, there are things you can do before calling your HVAC service provider. Here are the most common problems and what you can potentially do to remedy the problem yourself.


  • The unit is not sufficiently hearing or cooling
*The possible cause could be dirty air filters. This is an easy fix – simply clean or replace the existing filters.
*If the air is not circulating freely, check the supply registers to make sure there is no obstruction.
*The outdoor coil could be blocked. Again, check for debris or foliage that could be hampering air flow.
  • The unit is just not operating
*Is the power to the unit off? Make sure the main switch is on.
*Is the circuit breaker tripped or is there a burned-out fuse? Reset the circuit breaker or replace the fuses.
  • The auxiliary heat display is on
*If the outdoor temperature has significantly fallen, this is normal. Just monitor the light and if it stays on continuously when above 30ºF or if it comes on when it’s 50ºF outdoors, it’s best to call for service.
  • The blower does not operate
*Check to make sure the blower door has not been removed or is open. Simply close the door to restore power to the blower.
  • Unusual noise
*In this case, don’t try to figure it out on your own. Call your HVAC provider. 

Air conditioning is nothing to be taken lightly!

System - Monday, January 25, 2016
Property Management Blog
Whether you’ve just acquired a new air conditioning unit or if you’ve had the same one for a while, proper maintenance is the key to longevity and comfort. Here’s four points to know:
  1. Filter replacement or cleaning – This is so easy to overlook, but by replacing or cleaning your filter, you can ensure that your unit is running efficiently. When your unit is running more, tend to the filters twice a month. During slower times, once a month is adequate. Mark on your calendar to remember this task.
  2. Outdoor coils - This is one of the biggest items to keep your unit running at peak performance is to make sure the air is freely flowing over the outdoor unit’s coil. Make sure the unit is free from debris, foliage, or anything that might restrict air flow. 
  3. Clean air ducts – In addition to allowing air to flow more freely throughout your home, the benefits of clean air ducts include: 

 

  • Less dust and bacteria in the air
  • Lower energy bills
  • Better indoor air quality
  • Less pet dander
  • Fresher smell throughout your home
 

     4. Routine maintenance – At least once a year, your unit should be serviced by a trained HVAC technician. In some          instances, doing the work yourself could void your warranty. Contact your HVAC provider for specials on regular maintenance. There are also opportunities for extended warranties by going through your HVAC service provider.


5 Ways a Property Management Company Will Make Your Life Easier

System - Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Property Management Blog

5 Ways a Property Management Company Will Make Your Life Easier

There's more to renting your property than determining the rental price, finding a suitable tenant and making repairs when necessary. Of course, those are a few of the facets that accompany renting a property, but are you familiar with the most current landlord/tenant laws? How about the legal screening of a potential tenant? Do you perform an annual property inspection?

Respected and knowledgeable professionals in the property management industry do all the above and more:

  1. Tour property prior to renting – Property managers will inspect your property and point out any potential hazards or repairs that my need to be completed prior to placing it on the market. Often, owners may unintentionally overlook a repair and not realize the importance of getting it fixed prior to a tenant taking possession of the home.
  2. Marketing of your property – There’s more to placing a sign in the yard or throwing a few ads online. First, your homeowner’s association may not approve of signs in the yard. Professionals know the HOA rules and the appropriate sites to attract the best renters for your property.
  3. Screening the potential tenant, collecting the deposit and presenting an attorney-drawn lease – Running a background check is just the start of screening a party prior to turning over the keys. Will they be able to make the monthly payment? Do they have a sufficient deposit! What about pets? How many people will be living in the home? Also, do you have a legal and binding contract?
  4. Handling repairs – Do you really want to answer the phone at 2 a.m. to find out that your renter has no air conditioning or heat? Are you well versed in the best vendors for every conceivable repair? Not only do they eliminate those middle-of-the-night calls, but property managers have a vetted list of the best vendors, whom the property manager has built a relationship with. These vendors can often get to the property much faster than if you were to call out of the blue.
  5. Annual property inspection – By thoroughly inspecting the property, professionals can ascertain whether there may be upcoming problems. For instance, there may be safety issues that you wouldn’t see just driving by. A leaky refrigerator may be a sign of bigger problems. Air conditions filters that haven’t been changed can be putting unnecessary stress on the HVAC system.

At FPM Properties, not only do we do all this, but we do much, much more. To see a list of our services to compare us with other property managers, click here.

We encourage you to give us a call at (904) 246-1200 and we’ll gladly answer any questions you may have about hiring a property manager. 

Are you ready for Hurricane Erika?

System - Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Property Management Blog

With the possibility of Hurricane Erika approaching our area, it’s a great time to remember those important to-dos and purchase necessary supplies. It’s never too early to get ready.

The first step in being prepared is to stay informed.

  • Regularly, watch local news and check websites that pertain to hurricanes
  • A tracking map is a good way to watch the current path, and to get your children involved
  • If you can involve your kids, it will take out the big fear if a storm does hit the area

Next, if a storm is imminent, you’ll need to decide whether or not evacuate:

  • You should plan for both options.
  • Take into consideration your situation, plus the strength of the storm.
  • Whatever decision you make, make it early.
  • In the case of evacuations, interstates could be turn into one-way roads, possibly not going in the direction that you planned. Prior to Hurricane Andrew hitting south Florida, all lanes of I-95 were turned north bound. 

Preparation of the outside of your home is ultra-important:

  • Cover your windows with plywood. The recommended plywood would be 5/8” thick, exterior grad or marine plywood, cut to the size of your window.
  • Don’t waste your time with tape. It has been proven that tape does not keep windows from breaking or glass from flying.
  • You may want to reinforce your garage doors.
  • Be sure to bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down. These items can become missiles in a storm.

Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare or purchase supplies. Many big box stores run out of supplies and you could get caught in a situation where it’s unsafe to leave your home. Put together a supply kit that includes:

  • A 3-day supply of non-perishable food
  • One gallon of water per person per day for 3 days
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • For a complete list, click here 
  • Also for a list of supplies for various areas, check out this list 

Some often overlooked tasks include:

  • Gathering your important paper and putting them in waterproof containers
  • Get cash because if power is out, ATMs won’t work
  • Fill your car with fuel. Again, no electricity equals no fuel pumps working
  • Charge your communication devices like your phone or tablet
  • Also, do your laundry because you may be out of power for a while

Remember the pets!

  • You’ll need to have supplies on hand for your animals. Have an emergency supply kit for them as well
  • If you do evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS! They may not survive, and if they do, you may not be able to find them after the storm

For more information, check out these resources:

*National Weather Service Weather Safety 

*Ready.gov kids  

*Family Emergency Plan – Checklist 


Water Restrictions Could Cost You!

System - Thursday, June 25, 2015
Property Management Blog
Everyone wants their lawn and landscaping to look lush and green, but at what expense does that come? In Florida, water restrictions are in place since about 50 percent of all water use is for residential locations. 

For homeowners, the St. Johns River Water Management District has water restrictions in place to ensure that enough water is available to preserve healthy foliage such as shrubbery, trees, lawns, ground coves, plants vines and gardens, year-round. 

Certain restrictions apply and you’ll want to be familiar with them, because violators may be subject to penalties. 

•Watering is strictly banned during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

•During daylight savings time (second Sunday in March through first Sunday in November, watering is limited to no more than 2 days per week. Addresses ending in an odd number are allowed to water on Wednesday and Saturday. Those ending in an even number may water on Thursday and Sunday. 

•Throughout Eastern Standard Time (first Sunday in November until the second Sunday in March), watering is allowed only one day per week. Odd addresses may water on Saturday and even on Sunday. 

•Watering is limited to the necessary amount to meet your yard’s needs. If you are not certain what that may be, the limit is no more than ¾ inch per zone per day or no more than one hour per zone per day. 
•Water restrictions do not apply to water removed from wells, lakes or rivers. It applies only to water from ground or surface water, a private well or pump, or from a public or private utility. 

For more information, visit http://floridaswater.com/wateringrestrictions/.  

Choosing the Right Place to Retire? How About Jacksonville?

System - Sunday, May 17, 2015
Property Management Blog

Choosing the right place to retire? How about Jacksonville?

There are several factors that go into making a lifestyle change like retirement. Cost of living, healthcare facilities, climate, and entertainment can all influence your decision. Let’s look at each component.

Cost of living

Compared to other metropolitan areas, Jacksonville’s cost of living is quite reasonable at 9.4% lower than the rest of the U.S. Check this handy cost of living calculator to compare groceries, housing utilities, transportation and health care. http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/

Healthcare Facilities

Jacksonville is home to some of the finest healthcare facilities in the nation. With the Mayo Clinic, the Baptist Health system and University of Florida Health, it’s easy to find the perfect fit for you.

Climate

With warm to tropic conditions, Jacksonville averages 221 sunny days per year with the average highs in July at 92 degrees and 43 degrees in January. With no threat of snow, it rains about 114 days per year.

Entertainment

Entertain in plentiful in this northeastern Florida city. Jacksonville is home to the Jaguars (football), Suns (baseball), Sharks (arena football), Axemen (Rugby), Giants (basketball) and Armada (soccer). With 22 miles of beaches, it’s easy to enjoy water sports or just relax. And there are several venues including the Times Union Center for the Performing Arts, Veterans Memorial Arena and Florida Theater, all which host concerts, plays and lectures.

Education

Jacksonville is also home to the University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, Florida Coastal School of Law, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Edward Waters College and many technical schools.

Housing

With just over 800,000 residents, Jacksonville feels more like a big town. Neighbors are friendly and home prices are low. The median home cost in Jacksonville is $111,900 and appreciation has been 11.9% in the last year.

Call First Place Management today at (904) 246-1200 to inquire about homes for sale or rent.


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Fax: (904) 387-6436

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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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