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OCT
25
0

Sometimes A Client Of Your Property Management Company Is Just Too Tough!

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Written by David Lowrey

As an owner of a Gibsonton Property Management company, I deal with all sorts of owners/clients.  They can range from the frustrating to serene and everything in between.  The most difficult challenge in owning a property management company is dealing with owner complaints and requests.

As a Gibsonton Property Manager, we are far from perfect and make mistakes all the time.  There are so many balls that we are juggling that dropping a few here and there is normal.  My personal mission is developing my own software database to help us drop far less than our competition, but that is a story for another day.

Today or tomorrow, I’ll be letting go a client with an incredible rental home.  The home rents for $2500 a month and in a lovely location, but the owner is killing us.  He is wonderfully nice person but so detailed oriented and questioning every event and decision, that we are losing money every month managing his property.

Typically, I can figure out a way to get clients like this to relax after we find a tenant.  However, this client just renovated this home and has a lot of issues with it that need to be addressed.  It looks lovely, but there is a flooding situation in the backyard, sewage backup, special landscape needs, and the owner has been managing several other properties on this own.

When I have an owner that manages himself and lives locally, I typically start to worry.  My fear is they

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OCT
25
0

How To Get Rid Of A Nightmare Tenant Who Is Paying The Rent

Clearwater_Propety_Management_Nightmare_Tenant

Written by David Lowrey

As the owner of a Plant City property management company, I meet a lot of private landlords in all sorts of distressed situations.  In fact, I just met a retired welder, who owns a nice mobile home lot on 2 acres.  He has tenants who having been paying for almost 3 years but just got cited for code violations (trash in the yard.)

He called me because we specialize in these sorts of situations as a Plant City Property manager.  This is the first time he has seen the property since he rented to them.  He has been living out of state.  Needless to say, the inside of the home was equally trashed as the outside. 

When we showed up to look at the home, she started screaming at us and demanded we leave, so we left.   Keep in mind the tenant is paying the rent each month, but the lease has been up for about 6 months.  The owner doesn’t know what to do.

Can he just kick them out or file for eviction?  How does he get them to leave?

In Florida, if a tenant is violating the terms of the lease, you must give them a 7-day notice on...

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116 Hits
OCT
11
0

Why Expecting General Contractors To Be Ontime and On Budget Is Crazy

Brandon_Property_Management_Dont_Freak_Out_on_GC

As a Brandon Property Management company, I just recently hired two general contractors for two different projects.  Both had done work for our companies over the years and had good reputations, but it was the first time I hired them for some personal construction projects.

One of them, I hired to add some windows and move a sliding glass door.  It required some block work and some advanced carpentry work.  The 2nd GC I hired to renovate a house I bought as a Brandon Property Manager which he agreed to do for $35,000.

The quality of the work for both projects were excellent.  The time frames were delayed.  This is where normal folks start getting upset, and I must admit it does bother me a bit.   In this case, I didn’t give either one of them a hard time, because I could clearly see the quality and attention to detail was superb. 

I also have a partner who is a general contractor and he has told me renovations always take longer and cost more, because once you open-up the walls, you always find more stuff wrong.

However, when I got the bills from both, I was annoyed because the change orders were higher then expressed to me during the projects.  So, I did what I usually do when I’m thinking of engaging in an aggressive argument, I talk to my very calm, Buddha-like patient, partner, Chris.

He explained that I can’t have the same standard for a general contractor that I have for myself.  They are working in hot, dirty environments all day and dealing with surly sub-contractors that don’t show up and give them hassles all the time.  When they get home after a working 12-hour day, they attempt to do their paperwork and billing.  This is why they are so often disorganized and change orders can come in higher than originally expressed.

Granted the GCs’ must have integrity, but it is easy to see how change orders

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535 Hits
OCT
04
0

Quick & Easy Way to Fight Deal Fever in Real Estate Investing

St_Petersburg_Property_Management_Deal_Fever

Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

Most new investors get what I call “Deal Fever.”  What is it?  Well it is the overwhelming desire to just do a deal and buy a property.  This is especially strong when you’ve been looking for awhile and lost out on some previous deals, or when you start counting the money you are going to make before you have it under contract.  I always think about this as a St. Petersburg Property Management Company looking for deals.

I know you are saying it, because I said it too when I first started out, “that won’t happen to me!”  As a St. Petersburg Property Managerwith all these years under my belt, I still catch myself sliding into this condition.

To ignore this Fever takes lots of practice and experience.  Even experience investors, still fall into this condition all the time.  It is perhaps the most dangerous tendency then anything else, when searching for deals.

What are the symptoms?  Let me share them from my own personal experience.

  • You feel excitement because you think you found a deal and are determined to get this one.
  • You start calculating how much you can make. The only challenge is this tends to be overly optimistic, especially when you are competing against others in a Seller’s market
  • The price goes above what you think is a good deal, and you rework the numbers to still make it work.
  • The price keeps going up and you start sacrificing your profit margin. Surely appreciation will catch up to me, right?
  • You feel emotionally invested and it hurts to think of walking away from the deal at a higher price.
  • You tell your family and friends what you found, and they start asking you how the negotiations are going.
  • You go looking for comps (comparable properties) to justify a higher purchase price.
  • You think prices or rents are going to continue to rise and so a higher purchase price is justified.
  • You visit the property multiple times trying to figure out what you can cut in order to pay more.
  • You started lining up vendors to do the work even though you don’t have it under contract.
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196 Hits
SEP
28
0

Let Me Whisper An Insider Secret To Buying In A Seller's Market

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Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

Over the last year, the Florida real estate market has gone red hot.  Deals are flying off the Multiple Listing Service in a day or two.  As a Wesley Chapel Property Management company, it can be frustrating because you submit a full price offer, and the deal gets sold to someone else.

After a while, as a Wesley Chapel Property Manager, I started to get discourage about finding a good investment property.  The competition is so fierce.  Eventually, I figured out what was going on, and I’d like to let you in on an insider’s secret.

When a market becomes a strong seller’s market, the listing agent realizes she is in the catbird seat.  There are literally a dozen people the listing agent could sell the property to at full price or near full price.  Suddenly the listing agent is the prettiest girl in school and everyone is vying for her attention.

The listing agent starts thinking, “Why should I sell this property to someone represented by another real estate agent?  I would have to split the commission.”  So

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104 Hits
SEP
19
0

Are You Trapped In The "Savings Ceiling"?

Apollo_Beach_Property_Management_Roadblock

Written by David Lowrey - Owner of Stress Free Property Management

One of the biggest roadblocks to financial success is what I call the “Savings Ceiling.”  It is in my opinion as an Apollo Beach Property Manager, one of the number one reasons, why everyday people struggle making progress toward financial freedom.   What is it, you say?

Well it took me until I reached my forties as the owner of an Apollo Beach Property Management company to notice this phenomenon, and the insidious way it keeps people broke.  Have you ever noticed that most people have a certain number they need in savings to feel secure? 

It could be $2000, $5000, $9000, or more in a savings account.  The number really doesn’t matter.  It is just the psychological number people have that makes them feel secure.   Once they reach this number then a strange thing happens...

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96 Hits
SEP
14
0

You Need To Fight For The Right Section 8 Tenants

Property_Manager_Boxing_Gloves

Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

As a Saint Petersburg property management company, we work with a great deal of Section 8 rentals.  The challenge we always have is some portion of this tenant base is filthy, and they cause a tremendous amount of damage while living in our homes. 

We’ve noticed over the years as a St Petersburg property manager, the worst of the worst Section 8 tenant are newer tenants on the program.  We no longer accept anyone who just got on the program, because there is no proof they will be clean and decent tenants.

The second thing we discovered is the worst Section 8 tenants tend to be

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78 Hits
SEP
06
0

A 40 Year Real Estate Veteran Once Taught Me a Profitable Lesson

Surprised Woman

Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

About eight years ago, I attended a real seminar and ended up having dinner with several the speakers. The topic of the hedge funds and private equity buying up tens of thousands of single family homes came up.  As an owner of a Tampa property management company and an active real estate investor, I had strong opinions on this subject.  Everyone was going around the table giving their opinions of this and how we thought it was going to work out for these new players.

The consensus was we thought the hedge funds and private equity were crazy and paying too high of prices. We also thought they were ill equipped to manage all these assets in so many different markets. This was right in the middle of the Great Recession. As a Tampa property manager, I personally felt they lacked market knowledge and were paying too high of prices and were going to get crushed managing these single-family homes. It turned out we were 100% wrong!!

The only person who didn’t feel like they were crazy was an investor in his late sixties. He explained

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91 Hits
AUG
31
0

Frustration Leads to Blame...Which Leads to Quick and Costly Decisions as a Landlord

Frustrated_Landlord

Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

Running a Clearwater Property Management Company for the last 19 years has taught me a great deal about frustration.  More specifically, the frustration tenants get when things go wrong.  If you are a landlord, you are the obvious target.  The real question is should you take responsibility.

For example, as a Clearwater Property Manager, I’m representing an owner whose septic tank has collapsed.  The home’s bathrooms and tubs are backed up with sewage.  The home is unlivable, and the septic companies are refusing to give us a quoted price.  They want an open checkbook, and I guess they are busy as hell.

So, what do you do?  As a landlord in Florida and I assume most states, you are not responsible for Acts of God.  You are under no legal requirement to put them up in a hotel.  You should know this.  Have this defined in your lease, and mentally rehearse these scenarios in advance.

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100 Hits
AUG
23
0

Are you tired of this real estate market?

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Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

I don’t know about you, but hot real estate markets are boring.  It’s great when you want to sell a property, but horrible when you want to buy. As the owner of a Tampa property management company

The challenge is the normal, smaller investors tends to want to invest in real estate market because it is hot. They see their friends making money flipping properties or watch the countless show on TV about flipping your way to millions.

During my career in property management in Tampa, I’ve noticed that when people start getting hyper interested in real estate is when a recession is soon to follow. The challenge is just sitting on the sideline “sucking your thumbs.”  That’s hard…really hard!

Warren Buffett once said, You do things when the opportunities come along. I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.”

I get calls all the time from potential investors wanting to buy real estate, right now.  There is a human tendency to feel like good times are just going to last and last, and the same things goes for recessions.  People want to put their money to work now before they miss out on the opportunities.  I’ve finally stop advising potential clients on the phone not to buy, because they really don’t want to hear it.

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91 Hits
JUL
10
0

Why Tenants Who Have Only Rented From Family Is A Red Flag!

Apollo Beach Red Flag TenantWritten by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

As an Apollo Beach Property Management company, we see dozens of rental applications every month and have processed thousands in our career.  I’m always looking for patterns to help me weed out applications and choose the best possible tenant.

As I always tell potential clients, as an Apollo Beach property manager, we know that the bad, nightmare tenants don’t suddenly wake up one day and become those people.  They’ve been behaving irresponsibly in every aspect of their lives for a very long time.  Doing proper background checks and carefully interpreting what you see is extremely important.

As part of my rental criteria, I require at least 2 years of rental history.  What I often find is people submitting rental verification information stating their parents or extended family are their landlords.

This is not a good landlord reference.  I know one can easily argue that...the person is renting from these family members.  This is true.  The problem is do you really think the landlord will give you an honest assessment of how good their family member behaved as a tenant?  No, not a chance.

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85 Hits
JUN
13
0

Do You Have A "Waiting" Section In Your Life?

Riverview Property Manager Waiting

Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

Running a Riverview Property Management Company requires a tremendous amount of delegation and attention to detail. Years ago, I came across a book by David Allen titled “Getting Things Done…the art of stress-free productivity.” I have a habit that I call “My Random Walk of Inspiration” where I periodically read or listen to an audio book on a subject I’ve not studied in years. Well back in 2002, I was looking for a book, and realized I hadn’t read anything in years on organization skills. So, I found this book and read it.

The book changed my entire professional career as a Riverview Property Manager. I went from running a small business working 70 or 80 hours a week, never feeling like I got anything substantial done, and hating my work, to working 35 hours a week, getting 3 or 4 times as much work done, and loving my business.  How did that happen? 

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93 Hits
MAY
31
0

Paying Vendors Weekly As A Property Manager Vastly Pays Off In Meaningful Ways

Wesley Chapel Property Management Pay QuicklyWritten by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

As a Wesley Chapel Property Management Company, we have a hard and fast rule that vendor bills are paid weekly. Why?  Well, I got this idea from an owner of an apartment community I met 15 years ago. Every time he entered the property manager’s office, this guy would turn over the “Bills to be paid” accordion folder and shake it. If any bills dropped off, he would gently admonish the property manager. You see this guy remembered how much he struggled with cash flow when he ran a smaller construction company. Clients were notorious for delaying payments 30 to 120 days. This put a tremendous amount of pressure on this guy’s business. 

When you think about it, most Wesley Chapel property management companies and any other small business will net 10-15% of revenue if they are well run. If customers delay payments 120 days, the small business owner must borrow off credit cards or not take a salary to meet payroll and overhead. A lot of bigger clients (Fortune 1000 companies) delay payment so they can collect the interest earned on the money for the extra time. Smaller clients delay payment because they are not organized, don’t recognize the importance of paying their vendors fast, or they are being stretched by their own clients.

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101 Hits
MAY
18
0

Your Property Owner Is the Hero of This Story OR You Lose!

Saint Petersburg Property Management Companies

Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

I’m reading a very interesting book on marketing called “Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen.” In it, the author discusses the critical need to make your client the hero of the story to capture their interest and get them emotionally invested in your message. Too often, Saint Petersburg Property Management Companies tell the same old, trite story about how they’ve been in business for over 20 years, have XYZ designations or licenses, and customer service is their number one priority. Blah, Blah, Blah, right?

Saint Petersburg Property Management clients are looking for solutions for a happy ending to their story. They are not interested in how great my company is and all the technical features that make us look brilliant. I’m the first to admit that I sometimes lose track of this concept and wallow in all the details of property management that my client probably could care less about.

I’ve started giving serious thought to every aspect of my client experience. How can I make my clients the hero and myself as just the guide, or the Obie Wan to their Luke Skywalker?

My first efforts have been

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92 Hits
MAY
16
0

Staying off the Phone is the Key to Your Sanity as a Landlord but…

Clearwater Property Management Manager

Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

As a Clearwater Property Manager, I’ve found it critical to have a system for dealing with tenant requests and concerns rapidly while staying off the phone as much as possible. I just had a tenant who was charged a non-refundable pet fee. He had already been living in the unit for a few months and my maintenance man reported a dog when he went by to do a repair. No pet was listed on the lease. The tenant claims he removed the dog and was just house sitting for the animal for a family member. Since we gave him the option of either removing the dog or paying the pet fee and he choose removal, why were we charging him a pet fee, he asked?

He had emailed our Clearwater Property Management Company three times today (Friday) asking this. It was close to closing time, and I double checked with a staff member to see if we had replied. We had not. Evidently the person who had charged the pet fee was off today. So, I shot an email to the tenant letting him know this and made a reminder task to make sure this was addressed on Monday. The tenant responded immediately expressing his gratitude for my response.

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MAY
09
0

Why Filing Your Own Eviction Costs You A Lot More Money Then You Save

Wesley Chapel Property Manager Dont File Eviction Yourself
Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management


As an owner of a Tampa Property Management Company, we used to file the occasional eviction paperwork for our clients. We thought we were providing a good service.  We were dead wrong!

It took me a couple of years to notice what the judges were doing in dealing with evictions cases that we filed instead of using an attorney. First off, I notice the cases would take longer. Normally in Florida, a typical eviction case takes about 30 days from filing to getting the property back. As a Tampa Property Manager, our cases were stretching 60 and 90 days. I thought at first it was just an anomaly, but it kept happening.

Then I noticed, the judges would allow a tenant to contest our eviction and have a court date to argue, without first putting all the past due money into the court registry. In Florida, it is a state law that tenants cannot request a court date to argue an eviction, unless they pay the past due money into the courts (of course there are exemptions for extremely bad behavior by the landlord). The reasoning for this law I’m sure is to prevent tenants from causing expensive delays to landlord, when they have no intention of paying the rent. 

Well, what I found is that the judges would routinely give the tenant a court date to argue the eviction, without having paid the past due rent. 

What finally clicked for me...

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100 Hits
APR
26
0

Keep A Channel Open for Bad News or Your Business can slide into Bankruptcy!


Saint Petersburg Property Management Company LeaderWritten by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

I used to have a receptionist at my office who never stood up when clients walked in the door. Just a simple decision made without any negative intent, but it sent a message subconsciously to every tenant: “You’re Not Welcome.” This message seemed to escalate the emotion of a tenants if they are coming into our office upset for some reason. In their mind, we at fault because their refrigerator broken on a Saturday night. The receptionist wasn’t thinking about the perception of her remaining seated behind the desk. Fortunately, I eventually noticed and got it corrected. 

The point is as an owner of a Tampa Property Management Company, I discovered it was critical to keep some line of instant communication open between my clients and myself. Currently, I do this by putting on my website that they can contact us immediately by Facebook posting. The only person who monitors the Facebook page is me. Do I get bombarded with emails at all hours of the day and night? No, typically I get less than one message a day.

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101 Hits
APR
24
0

Losing Your Mind On The Phone? Consider This Funnel System

Clearwater Property ManagerWritten by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management

Most landlords or Brandon Property Management companies put up their ads for an available rental on the Internet and wait for the phones to ring. STOP…there is a better way!  The problem with answering your phone is often you find yourself answering the same basic questions over and over again. This is mentally draining and a big waste of time. It took me many years to figure out a better way. Now I set up a funnel system as a Brandon property manager.

First off, I try and make my rental ads far more descriptive and include a detailed YouTube Video of the rental. My website has my qualifying criteria and is referenced in each ad.

The phone number is given in the ad, but I request them to email or text me instead, because I can answer far more quickly. This allows me to shoot them standard answers and details, without getting involved in a lengthy conversation of the application process, their life story, or why something bad on their credit, is not such a big deal after all. This is the hidden gem of my funnel system.

We still respond 7 days a week to prospective tenants but were able to get people answers or provide direction, while sidestepping time consuming conversations with prospects that haven’t even seen the property.

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98 Hits
APR
18
0

2 Little Used Techniques for Responding Effectively to Unreasonable Tenant Demands

Tampa Property Management Upset TenantWritten by David Lowrey, Stress Free Property Management

Let me start by saying, that a landlord has two primary responsibilities. The first is providing a well-maintained property and staying on top of maintenance. The second is treating your tenants with dignity and respect. Violate any of these two, and you can find yourself in for a world of aggravation and potential legal hassles, or worse. The goal of this article is to give you two tools that I’ve found work extraordinary well, when facing a tenant making unreasonable demands.

We’ve all encountered moments where a tenant is behaving in a rude, threatening manner when you are doing the right thing. How do you confront them with a firm “No” or with an answer that is not what they want to hear?

The most common reason for this negative tenant behavior is maintenance requests. Sometimes, the tenant refuses to think that a non-emergency repair can’t wait a day or more, and should be fixed right now.  While this can be true for emergency repairs, like a burst water pipe, 95%+ of the time this is not the case. The tenant is frustrated, and the maintenance issue is making his or her personal time uncomfortable in some way. We can all relate to the common example of the AC breaking in the evening, right?

The key in these “Moments of Truth” is how you respond to their verbal tirades, threats, or aggressive stance. 

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87 Hits
APR
16
0

Exciting Improvements Means More Savings for You

Tampa Property Management Getting Great Ideas

written by David Lowrey, Owner SFPM

Things We Have Recently Done as a Tampa Property Manager to Improve!! (April 2018)

Outside Vendor Website Complete!

We just completed the outside vendor website for our Tampa property management company. I’ll be testing it this month and rolling it out sometime in May of 2018, for all our outside vendors.

Hopefully, this should decrease the time it takes to complete turns and getting your vacant home ready for marketing and a new tenant. By allowing outside vendors to access their work orders from a website (instead of sending them emails), they can complete real time and their bill will be processed within a couple of days. This gives these vendors an incentive to use the system and tells us the moment the work is complete, so we can immediately move to the next assignment in finishing the turn of the property.

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95 Hits
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