Friday, January 27, 2012

Demolition in St. Louis

St. Louis has a lot of history contained in the architecture around town. Due to age and condition, some older buildings need to be demolished if they are unsafe or cannot be made safe. Such was the case for the Avalon Theater in the 14th Ward. It was an old one-screen movie theater from the Great Depression era.

But luckily, some people can and are willing to renovate in order to stabilize the building and preserve it for future generations. An 1880s house in Kirkwood is being raised on lifts so that a new foundation and basement can be installed to improve the building. It's worth clicking through to see the pictures of the house way up in the air on steel beams.

It's encouraging to know that even when it may be easier to raze a building, some of them are being preserved for the future. If you are interested in investing in a building that may need some renovation, our sister company Provident Development Group can help. Contact us for more information. And as always, we are ready to manage your income properties.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Choosing a good community for you

Everyone has a different ideal for their neighborhood. Even the ideal for a single person can change over time as priorities change. So what are some general areas to consider when looking for somewhere new to live?

1) Education. Whether it's your own education or your children, looking at the education opportunities that are available in an area is very important. It's easier for college students to live near campus and young families generally want a healthy school district with a good reputation.

2) Crime. Crime is an unfortunate fact of life, but some areas are safer than others. By researching crime rates in the area ahead of time, you will know better what to expect when you live there. Feeling safe in your home is an important part of feeling healthy and happy in general.

3) Amenities. Everyone has a different idea of what they want surrounding their home. For some, lots of parks and playgrounds are important. For others, it may be proximity to a certain type of shopping or job. Make a list of amenities you want for your neighborhood so you can compare neighborhoods easily during your research.

Provident Property Management is here to help. We are accepting new clients in all areas of St. Louis, with specific interest in the St. Charles/ St. Peters area. We want to help people find rental homes in quality neighborhoods, and to do that we need a good inventory of units to rent. Please contact us today so we can be your management team!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bulk foreclosure sales possible

There's a new idea afoot in Washington: sell bulk lots of foreclosed homes to investors to create rentals. It's an interesting idea. There are a LOT of foreclosed homes that are currently just sitting on the market. There aren't enough individual buyers out there to purchase all these homes. There is definitely a market for rental properties though. All the owners losing their homes need somewhere to live.

One of the more interesting sections in the article is when the author discusses why more investors aren't purchasing homes. To quote:
"I think there is a fair amount of money in the wings waiting to buy, investors doing cash raises to buy properties on a large scale," says Laurie Goodman of Amherst Securities. "But that means they have to build out a rental organization; it means they build out a management company because if you're accumulating a hundred homes in Dallas that's very different than running a multi-family building."
A number of institutional investors have shown appetite and interest in bulk REO deals, according to officials, but the plan has to incorporate ways to help facilitate financing. That has been one of the biggest roadblocks to deals already in the works between hedge funds and the major banks. Sources close to these private bank negotiations say there is plenty of cash to buy properties, but building out a management structure for the rentals is pricey, and some investors are finding the math doesn't add up to make it worth their while."

What's that you say? Investors will need a management company if they suddenly acquire multiple homes. Provident Property Management is here to help. We can manage your properties whether you own one or one hundred.  Peruse our pricing structure, then contact us for more information!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Beat the winter blues with upbeat decor

Winter can be a real bummer. Especially here in the St. Louis area, the skies are overcast and grey several days a week. When the snow and ice start falling, so do the moods of those around us. A little redecorating can go a long way to beating these winter blahs. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate, just a slight modification can work wonders on your mood.

Start by picking something you see every day that just doesn't do it for you. Maybe it's the front door, or the place that collects all the incoming mail and paperwork. On a slightly warmer and sunnier day, wash that door, polish the door knobs, and put out a new welcome mat. Or figure out a new mail collection system. The internet abounds with paper organization ideas. Find one that you like and try it.

If one room always feels darker than the others, find a new lamp for it or some new art for the walls. Thrift stores are often overstocked now from people reducing clutter after the holidays. Maybe a new houseplant will help liven things up, as well as clean the air. A new duvet cover for the bedroom or new throw pillows for the couch can also bring a bright pop of color in and lighten the mood.

Overall, just figure out what makes you happy and try to decorate in that style. When you are happier with your home, you will be happier with your life. 

Here at Provident, we are doing our best not to let winter get us down. We are currently looking for new clients to add to our rosters. Please contact us if you are looking for a new property management company. Our prices are right; our people are friendly and easy to work with. We are a full-service company committed to helping you reach your rental unit goals.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Real Estate Market News: Home prices down

It's not great news if you are trying to sell a home, but it's wonderful news if you are looking to buy. According to the St Louis Post Dispatch, home prices in St. Louis have fallen again.
"Prices in November were down 4.7 percent from a year earlier, the firm reported today. That followed a 3.8 percent year-over-year decline for October.
Sale prices tend to vary by season, CoreLogic says, so the firm uses year-over-year comparisons to track trends.
The trend looks less negative when distress sales are excluded. Sales prices for non-distressed properties were down 2.3 percent in November and 2.1 percent in October.
Nationally, all home prices were down 4.3 percent in November and 3.7 percent in October."
Now is a great time to become a real estate investor. If you know anything about how to become rich, you know that passive income is a great way to diversify your income stream without requiring much work on your part. A passive income is anything that pays you money without a daily input from you. A blog may require a lot of effort, but the ads on the side generate revenue without work. A rental unit works in much the same way. You buy the home and pay the mortgage, but the renter pays you the mortgage back and hopefully more on top. By securing the help of a top-notch property management team, owning a single or multiple rental units becomes even easier. The property management team will secure new tenants, deal with maintenance issues, and cut you a check at the end of the month. Sound like a sweet deal? Contact us today so we can help you. We want to be your property management team!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Being a good neighbor

Whether you are renting or own a home, being a good neighbor is an important part of bolstering the community. Unfortunately, people who rent their homes are sometimes seen as lower class than people who own their homes, regardless of the reason they choose to rent. As a tenant, being a good neighbor goes a long way to dispelling any prejudices the surrounding neighborhood may feel towards a home being a rental unit, rather than owner-occupied. The following tips are applicable to both apartment dwellers and single-family renters.

One way to be a good tenant is to respect the terms of the lease. A lease should spell out clearly what the tenant's responsibilities are towards the unit. Parking, smoking, and pets are often covered in the terms of the lease. By respecting the terms in an apartment setting, the tenant shows respect for those who live in the complex with them. Smoking in one apartment often leads to the surrounding apartments smelling of smoke as well. Tenants protect themselves and their security deposits by respecting the terms, but they also protect those around them that may specifically need smoke-free or pet-free areas for health reasons. In a detached rental home, respecting the terms of the lease are less important for having good relations with the neighbors, but just as important for protecting the security deposit.

A tenant who respects the terms of their lease is also better able to create a friendly atmosphere with their neighbors. To create a friendly atmosphere, it is important to say hello and smile when greeting neighbors. It is also important to respect general policies such as noise control. In an apartment building, noises can carry to other apartments or from the common areas, creating tension among neighbors. In a detached home, playing loud music at midnight is likely to earn you a visit from the local police department. Having had a neighbor with a garage band, I can tell you from experience that neighbors only take kindly to listening to your band for so many nights in a row. We don't have to be best friends with all of our neighbors, but a kind word and a smile can go a long way to easing tensions that might otherwise erupt when people live near each other.

A third way to be a good tenant and a good neighbor is to pay attention to what's going on around you. Keep an eye out for your neighbors. We had one neighbor who was away from his home for an extended period. We kept an eye on the property for them. One day, a car showed up. It didn't move for days. We called the police. The car was stolen and would have continued to sit in our neighbor's driveway if we had not called the police. We had neighbors who would escort our dogs back to the yard when they occasionally went for unsupervised walks. We had other neighbors who would bring treats over for holidays or just because. All these actions led to a sense of belonging and acceptance in our neighborhood.

Being a good neighbor, whether the tenant or the owner, is important. A strong community leads to a stronger society in general. Society seems to need all the help it can get these days. Provident is committed to being a good neighbor. We hope that our tenants are good neighbors and do all we can to ensure that they are. As a property management company, we want to improve the neighborhoods our units are located in. We want to be your property management company. Please contact us today.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bolstering community pride by stopping vandalism

Today's news article doesn't have much to do with real estate investment or tenant-landlord relationships, but it does have to do with something else we are interested in: community pride. The article is about St. Louis area brick being stolen from abandoned houses. The brick is prized for its rich color due to the natural color of the soil in the area. Unfortunately, the thieves are leaving dangerous shells of buildings behind that can collapse at any minute.

Community pride is important. When we are proud of where we live, we take care of it. We care for our neighbors and those around us. We care for the buildings and the streets and the green spaces. We want what's best for the area. These thefts are seriously damaging the communities they occur in. The pieces left behind are unstable and ugly. The city officials are left with the task of safely demolishing the rest of the building, and the list of buildings to demolish just gets longer. Luckily, there is a plan being discussed that will hopefully stop or deter the thieves.

If you own a vacant house, don't just let it sit and gather dust, or become a potential target for vandals or thieves. Provident wants to be your property management company. We can fix any cosmetic problems and minor structure issues and then find a tenant for your units. If there are larger problems, our sister company Provident Development Group has the experience and resources to correct them. Please contact us today so we can talk about how to help you make money.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Goals for your home

New Year's Eve is a time of renewal for most people. Lots of people make New Year's Resolutions, which generally fail within days. But it's also a great time to make realistic goals for the year ahead. Aside from personal goals to lose weight or make healthy improvements in your life, consider making some goals for improving your home.

One good place to start is removing clutter. Most people have at least one area of their home that gathers clutter. A good goal for the New Year is to work on removing clutter. Set a realistic goal to clear one surface a week or one room a month. Having clear spaces and clear surfaces makes it easier to keep the home clean. A cleaner home is healthier for all who live there.

Once the clutter is under control and the home is kept cleaner, maintenance issues can be addressed easier. Set a goal to address maintenance issues promptly. Set a realistic time frame based on your personal schedule that will be your goal for addressing maintenance issues. Whether it's to change the furnace filters monthly or fix that squeaky door within 2 months, setting realistic goals will help you keep the house maintained. A well maintained home holds it's resale value and is generally more pleasant to be in.

A third area that you can consider setting goals in is energy efficiency. I heard all the time growing up "turn the lights off!" and "close the door! We aren't cooling the outside!" At the time, it was annoying, but the habit stuck, and I find myself teaching these habits to my kids as well. We can practice energy efficiency without spending money simply by following common sense tactics. Turn the lights and electronics off when you leave a room; set the thermostat a few degrees cooler in winter or warmer in summer; and keep the doors and windows closed when using the HVAC systems. These habits not only save energy, they save money.

Here at Provident, we are committed to helping landlords and tenants set and keep realistic goals. We can't turn the lights off for you or clear your clutter, but we can maintain your unit in a timely fashion. We are committed to using earth and wallet friendly practices whenever possible. You can be sure we won't be wasting your money. We want to be your management team, so please contact us today.