Pensacola Realty Masters Blog
Realty Masters is happy to present the following Pensacola area community and Pensacola real estate information!
If you have been watching the weather reports lately you probably know that we have already had the first named storm this year. Back in May, the National Hurricane Center had a preparedness week so if we are to get a hurricane we will be prepared. Did you prepare? Here's a list of ways you can do so now.
Determine your Risk- use the time now before there is a threat to learn your flood zone and evacuation zone so if a storm comes you will have plenty of time to make an educated decision to stay or leave. https://myescambia.com/apps/knowyourzone/
You can also check out flood risk zones on this map: https://floodfactor.com/
Develop an Evacuation Plan- If a storm comes and you will need to evacuate, it's best to have a few plans in place on where you will go. Depending on the storm, you might want to stay with locals that might be in a safer area. Consider your family or friend's homes. Another very important thing to consider is your pets! If you have pets it is a good idea to go ahead and research hotels that you can go to so you can take your pets with you. If you have to evacuate, do not leave your pets behind.
Assemble Disaster Supplies- Even if you made a kit last year it is always a good idea to take it out and ensure your supplies are still in working condition. If you do not know what to pack into your kit check out this helpful link: https://flash.org/peril_inside.php?id=84
The home - This is a great opportunity to go around the home and see if there are any limbs that need to be cut away from the home or any dead trees that might become a hazard. If you have patio furniture or lawn items remember that they will need to be able to be safely stored during a storm so plan on where you would put those items.
Complete a Written Plan - Having a written plan can be very helpful when you are under stress so you will not forget. Let someone that is not in the impact area know what your plan is.
Remember, Hurricane Season runs from June 1st through November 30th with the majority of severe storms in August and September. It's never to late to prepare.
Moving Soon in or from the Pensacola area? Here are Resources to Help!
Moving is so much work. If you are looking for moving resources in the Pensacola area, we have some advice for you including a list of reputable professional moving companies in Pensacola, do-it-yourself Pensacola moving truck rental companies, moving resources, packing tips, and moving tips below.
Professional Movers in Pensacola
There are quite a few moving companies in the Pensacola area! I'm going to give you the list of those we've had more experience with and that have the highest ratings.
- All My Sons Moving & Storage- offers Pensacola residents local, in-state, and out-of-state moves.
- Two Men And A Truck- offers local and long distance moves as well as packing services.
- Coastal Moving & Storage- offers local and long distance residential and commercial moves as well as storage and packing services.
- A Student Movers of Pensacola- is a locally owned and operated company that offers moving and storage services.
- Bayside Moving- is located and Gulf Breezes and serves Navarre, Pensacola and beyond. They offer both local and long distance moving assistance. They also offer a load/unload only option which allows you to pay for only assistance for loading or unloading should you desire.
Moving Truck Rentals in Pensacola
Need to save money with your move? Rent your own moving truck to easily relocate your family and possessions.
- U-Haul Moving & Storage- By far, U-Haul has the largest number of stores in Escambia and Santa Ros counties, making it the most convenient choice for a do it yourself move. They also offer storage, boxes and packing supplies, and moving labor.
- Budget Truck Rental- Budget Truck Rental has two locations in Pensacola. With one location in West Pensacola on Fairfield Drive and one location in Northeast Pensacola on Davis Hwy., it is another great option to consider for your Pensacola move.
- Penske Truck Rental- Penske Truck Rental has three locations for truck rentals in the Pensacola area. They also offer storage and packing supplies.
- Enterprise Truck Rental- Entprise Rent-A-Car features several options for vehicles to assist with your Pensacola move.
- Start early! Begin packing away non-essential items a month before your move.
- Put saran wrap over your utensil trays so items don't fall out when moving.
- Put trash bags around your hanging clothes so you don't have to take them off the hangers.
- Label everything! You will forget later, we promise.
- Take a picture of the back of electronics so you know exactly where the wires go when you hook everything back up.
- Pack the items you will need first in a clear plastic bin so you can easily find them.
Two of our team members just made a move and they have some advice for you.
- Start early. Secure your new property weeks in advance of your move out date so you can have a stress free, easier moving process.
- Make sure to transfer your utilities in time; don't procrastinate. Consider weekends and holidays when planning.
- Make a checklist of who you need to change your address with and do not forget your driver's license.
- If you have a yellow star in the corner of your Florida license, you can change your address online. If not, you must change your address in person at the DMV.
- Make sure you know which day the last day of the month is so you can plan accordingly.
- Line up your moving help or truck in advance as availability is low in spring.
- 12 Tips for your Move
- Move Out Guidelines & Notice Form
- Change your Address with USPS Online
- Change your Address with Florida DMV
And of course, if you need a Pensacola home or apartment to move to, visit our website to view our avaialble rentals.
originally posted 03-05-2019
A new year is the time to start new habits. Remember that leasing a home is a tool to help you become prepared to one day own and care for your home. Building good habits now can help you in the future. Here are a few suggestions to be sure you and your home are ready for the new year!
- Make sure rental insurance policy up to date or start a policy! You can insure your personal property for as little as $20 per month.
- Work on a family budget. Review your expenses from 2018 and see how you can cut back to establish a savings, build your credit, and ensure you can make payments timely.
- Don't forget- you can pay your rent online with RentTrack and opt-in to credit reporting. As long as you make payments on time, you can build credit while you are renting through us! Are you taking advantage of this?
Inside your home
- Pick up a year's supply of air filters for the A/C system, then you can have one to change out every 30 days, and can date them to remind yourself.
- Check batteries in all of your smoke detectors and change them if you have not in the last 6 months. Report any concerns about detectors to our office.
- Check all water sources for leaks inside, especially those that are not seen often! Open sink cabinets and check for dripping pipes under the sink. Inspect the hot water heater. Look at the water pipes going to your washing machine. Open the toilet lid and inspect the inside to see if the flapper is sealing properly.
Outside your home
- Walk the yard and check for areas of concern! Are there any soft spots in the yard? Is there debris on the roof? Report to us any safety concerns.
- Inspect the exterior pipes, faucets, hoses, and sprinkler heads for any damages or leaks.
- Clean up any pet debris in yard!
- Trim back shrubs, bushes and low lying tree branches to be sure they will grow back healthy in spring.
- Rake leaves in the yard and remove all excess debris to ensure grass can grow back in spring.
Is becoming a homeowner on your list of resolutions?
If you are interested in becoming a homeowner in 2019, reach out to our sales team with your questions. Don't forget that we have a cash incentive for our residents who purchase a home through a Realty Masters realtor!
We have recently sold a few of our tenants the home they are currently leasing! If you are interested in seeing if the property owner would sell the home you have been leasing, reach out to our team.
originally posted 01-16-2019
As a landlord, you have to mitigate liability by ensuring that your property meets all applicable city, county, state, and national laws. One of the biggest challenges for the do-it-yourself landlord is staying on top of all of these regulations!
One regulation you may not be aware of is the need to have 10 year tamper proof smoke detectors in your rental property.
In 2015, Florida Landlord Tenant Law added language that requires all battery operated smoke detectors to be replaced with 10 year tamper proof batteries. Of course, the lithium battery detectors cost more and can be up to $30 for each detector (versus under $10 for the old kind). They still sell the old 9 volt battery detector at your local home improvement store, however, be advised that this detector does not meet the threshold of Landlord Tenant Law (and likely new building codes, although I am not an expert on following those).
The law dictates if you have to replace the detector, you must replace it with a tamper proof detector.
Battery operated smoke detectors expire every 10 years. Check the date on the back of the detector to make sure the detector is not expired.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are not optional expenses as they are required under the law.
originally posted 01-04-2019
Moving is one of the most stressful times in a person's life, especially if you are making a move across country or after a life-changing event. We understand how stressful the moving process is and want to help in whatever way possible.
We found these tips from Florida Realtors we thought were too helpful not to share!
1. Plan your move far in advance. They recommend this moving timeline and checklist from Upack.com which outlines the moving process and includes a timeline with detailed instructions with planning beginning 2 months in advance. The checklist includes several items many people overlook until it becomes an issue including changing your address. Check it out!
2. Protect files and photos. As items can get damaged or lost in the move, it's important to be sure you have safeguarded your important items such as family memories, important documents, and more.
3. Photograph your cords. Have you ever spent 30 minutes trying to hook electronics up? Take a photo of the connections on your computers, TV's, and more so it's easier to assemble when you are unpacking.
4. Make plans for pets. Your pets may need to be kept in a separate area or room while you are packing or moving. Not all hotels are pet friendly. Make sure to consider your pets in your plans.
5. Get a Movers Guide from the Post office. You can complete the change of address form online here. USPS also includes resources for your move!
6. Color code your boxes. Create a system to make unpacking easier. You can use color coded boxes or labels!
7. Mark essential items. Find a way to dictate which boxes are most important, fragile, or will be needed first. Label these and set them aside.
8. Create a box of essential items. Use suitcases to carry items that you will need the first night so you are not having to unpack in order to find your essentials. Don't forget essentials like toilet paper that may be easy to overlook when you are packing.
9. Keep most expensive and most important items separate. If you are utilizing a moving company or help with your move, it may be best to pack the most expensive or important items in your personal vehicle.
10. Pack cleaning items separate. Often you may want or need to clean up prior to unpacking items. Keep some Lysol wipes or other cleaning items handy!
11. Make a layout map for your funiture. It's much easier to move and unpack if you know where you want furniture and larger items to go! Spend some time planning where you want your larger items to go. You can hand sketch a map or utilize a tool like HomeDiary, a free visualization tool, to lay out your furniture before the big day.
12. Save receipts and records. Make sure you save and submit receipts for reimbursement if they are covered! If you don't get any reimbursement, don't worry, most do not.
originally posted 11-23-2018
We've had some cold weather lately and that means a sharp increase in your gas and/or electricity bill!
To combat this, make sure you are using proper thermostat settings. Gulf Power warns that turning your heater up and down uses more energy than leaving it at a constant temperature. If anything, increase or decrease the termperature only at night. They also recommend keeping the heat set at 68 degrees or below during winter and set at 78 degrees or above during summer.
Other items you can do to improve your energy efficiency in the winter months include:
- Open curtains on sunny days to allow sunlight and close the blinds and curtains once it's dark.
- Replace your air filter monthly! This is often overlooked in winter when units are not in use as much but should not be ignored.
- Make sure the switches on your ceiling fan are in the up position instead of the up position!
originally posted 01-09-2018
Here's a list of our most common lease violations!Are you in compliance with your lease agreement?
Serious Lease Violations
Guests are authorized under lease for 14 days. Any guest who desires to occupy the property longer than two weeks must complete an application with our office for approval. While the occupant does not need to be added to the lease agreement as a lease holder, any occupant(s) must be approved in writing by our office
Any pets must be authorized by the property owner prior to being in your household. Aggressive breed pets are not allowed under any circumstances and can be grounds for eviction. Pets can be granted upon owners approval and with the appropriate $250 non-refundable pet fee.
Not Abiding by Homeowners Association Rules
Failing to abide by the HOA Rules and Regulations in your community can result in a fine. While the rules may seem trivial to some, a fine can be issued against the homeowner for these minor infractions including, but not limited to, leaving your trash visible, parking a boat in the driveway or parking on the road, and having a basketball goal. If the HOA gives notice of a violation of the rules and regulations, make sure to correct this issue immediately.
Failing to Give 30 Day Notice or Breaking the Lease
Failing to give proper notice to vacate under the lease agreeement or breaking your lease early can have costly cosequences. Your lease agreement states you must give a 30 day notice to vacate prior to the end of the month. Unless you are active duty military using the military clause to break your lease, notice must be given on the 1st of the month and move outs are for the last day of each month.
Trampoline and Above Ground Pools
The property owner's insurance can be cancelled because of a trampoline or above ground pool, therefore, these are not allowed under your lease agreement.
Parking on the Lawn
Parking on the lawn will kill any vegetation or grass and is not allowed.
If lawn maintenance is your responsbility in your lease, you must maintain the lawn properly. In the spring and summer months, most Florida lawns need to be mowed bi-weekly. It is also your responbility to edge, remove leaves, water the grass, and keep the lawn in the same condition you received it in. If it's too much work for you, hire a lawn guy to perform a routine service for your property.
Forgetting to Change A/C Filter every 30 Days
Failing to change your heating and air conditioning filter is cause for a 7 day notice. Repeat offenses can lead to an eviction without the opportunity to cure. If you do not change your filter timely, this can lead to a breakdown in your system. Additionally, because this is defined as neglect in your lease agreement, you can be charged back the cost of any services that result from neglect.
Removing Smoke Detectors
Under no circumstances should you remove any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors to stop a chirping smoke detector. Your smoke detector must have working batteries at all time. If you have been living in your property for more than a year, be sure to check the date on the back of your detector to ensure the smoke detector is not expired.
Changing Locks and Not Providing a Key
You cannot change your locks without providing the office with a new key. This is against your lease agreement. If requests for a new key are denied, the landlord may re-key the locks to gain access to your property. If you'd like to change your locks, just let us know and provide us a key!
Not Running Exhaust Fans in Bathroom
Failing to run an exhaust fan in the bathroom can result in mildew or mold growth in your bathroom. Please use your exhaust fan when showering or taking baths. If you do not have an exhaust fan, make sure to crack a window and leave the bathroom door open to allow the steam and excess to moisture to dissipate before shutting the bathroom door.
originally posted 03-29-2017
What does Florida Landlord Tenant Law say about owners visiting their properties while the home is tenant occupied?
As a local landlord with or without a professional property manager, you may be required to visit your rental property regularly for inspections, maintenance, and showings. You may also just be in the area and inclined to drive by and check up on your tenants. Before you do that, make sure you know and understand your state’s landlord tenant laws.
For those Florida landlords who live close by their rental properties, here are the 2016 Florida Landlord and Tenant Statutes to consider.
“83.53 Landlord’s access to dwelling unit.—
(1) The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the dwelling unit from time to time in order to inspect the premises; make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements; supply agreed services; or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors.
(2) The landlord may enter the dwelling unit at any time for the protection or preservation of the premises. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit upon reasonable notice to the tenant and at a reasonable time for the purpose of repair of the premises. “Reasonable notice” for the purpose of repair is notice given at least 12 hours prior to the entry, and reasonable time for the purpose of repair shall be between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit when necessary for the further purposes set forth in subsection (1) under any of the following circumstances:
(a) With the consent of the tenant;
(b) In case of emergency;
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