Pensacola Realty Masters Blog
Realty Masters is happy to present the following Pensacola area community and Pensacola real estate information!
According to an article by the Better Business Beureau, rental scams are still widespread in the online community in both long term rental homes and short term vacation rentals.
Pensacola is on the BBB’s Scam Tracker list of metros with the highest number of complaints from clients in regards to the rental scams.
Here are some statistics according to the BBB:
-More than 5 million people lost money to rental scams
-1 in 3 victims lost more than a $1,000 in a rental scam
-43% of online shoppers came across a scam listing in their house hunting search
With these statistics in mind, please be diligent when utilizing free classified websites including Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace as well as other more reputable online listing sites including Zillow and Apartments.com.
The best websites to view rentals in the Pensacola area is the Pensacola MLS as this shows all inventory listed with real estate companies in the Pensacola area. You can always view our rental inventory of over 40 Pensacola area rental homes and apartments on our website here.
Of course, feel free to utilize 3rd party websites, but be diligent when doing so.
Here are some more tips to help you avoid rental scams while house hunting in the Pensacola area! Click here to read the full article from the BBB’s Rental Scam Study which provides very comprehensive information on different scams and recommendations for consumers to avoid being taken advantage of in a variety of scams, including rental scams.
We've felt some impact from the aftermath of major Hurricane Michael, which hit the Panama City area in October 2018. Here are the ways we've been impacted.
Rental Market Remained Steady
On the positive side, we waived application fees for storm victims and received quite a few renters from Bay County. Along with tightened inventory, the storm helped to cool the winter slow down we normally have.
With the help of a few owners that did some upgrades and remodeling, we were able to raise our new move in rents 6.5% the last quarter of 2018! Statistically, homes leased in the last quarter of the year receive the lowest increase in rent and have the highest days on the market.
Roofers and Other Contractors
We have been struggling with contractor resources as many contractors went over to aid in hurricane relief.
Roofers, general contractors, and remediation companies in the area have been extremely busy. Coupled with extreme rain, there have been several delays with roofing projects in the Pensacola area. Please be patient if you need roofing estimates or roofing work. We expect this to demand to continue into the coming months and year.
Another impact of a major hurricane in our state is increased requirements at insurance renewal time! Insurance companies are being really tough right now.
We've heard of insurance companies sending non-renewals and cancellations or threatening a non-renewal for the following reasons:
- Roof older than 15 years
- Homes built before 1972
- Homes with trees over the roof line or leaning over the home
- Homes with cracks in the driveway
- For filing previous claims on any homeowner's insurance policy
With so many of these instances happening, we want you to be prepared and aware of the insurance issues we are seeing currently. Here are a few ways you can be prepared for this:
Limit Insurance Claims
It makes sense to file an insurance claim if something minor occurs and the total costs will be over your insurance deductible. I mean, isn't that what insurance is for? Instances like vandalism, water leaks, and other minor damages is why you pay for insurance each month.
We understand the premise, but with the recent hardships in the insurance field, we recommend being cautious when filing insurance claims. We have heard of cancellations from filing a claim or insurance companies raising the premium. It can also prevent you from easily switching insurance carriers, as a carrier can use previous insurance claims as a reason to deny a new policy with them.
Did you know that insurance claims follow you as the homeowner as well as the property?
We've seen instance where a claim on a rental property affected the owner on securing insurance on their primary residence. We even saw an instance where a new buyer was trying to purchase a home that had a history of a renter's insurance claim and the new buyer was having a hard time procuring a new insurance policy.
We recommend you pay for these small instances above the insurance policy and only utilize insurance when appropriate and necessary. Consider the long term consequences of filing an insurance claim when computing the expenses for the repair. We know- insurance makes us mad sometimes too.
Consider Replacing your Roof Instead of Repairing
It could be a waste to repair your roof. Often times, when a roofing issue is reported, a roofer will provide an estimate to repair and/or to replace. The roofer will give their opinion on the life of the roof and what the cause of the issue is.
It may seem easier to repair the roof now and worry about replacing later, but do keep in mind the following:
- Roof leak repairs are not always guaranteed and the leak could occur again or arise in another location.
- Repairing could be a waste of money as you will eventually need to replace the roof.
- If your roof is older than 15 years, you will definitely have to replace your roof soon, or in the coming years, to keep your property insured.
- If you try to sell the property without replacing the roof, you will NOT be able to sell the property if the roof is older than 15 years. FHA/ VA financing will deny the loan AND the new buyer will likely be unable to secure a new insurance policy.
We strongly suggest replacing your roof at this time and not spend funds to repair the roof. Of course, we will review each situation on an individual basis.
As many of the homes in our area had roof replacements after Hurricane Ivan in 2004, please keep in mind that these roofs are now 15 years old. Many of the homes that did not need a new roof at the time of Hurricane Ivan were built between 1999 and 2004. These roofs are 15-20 years old now! Reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
If we have any insurance professionals reading these, please feel free to reach out to us with additional information!
The Realty Masters of FL Team
#1 in Pensacola Property Management and Leasing!
Rental Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503 (850) 473-3983 www.PensacolaRealtyMasters.com
Sales Office 4400 Bayou Blvd. #52B, Pensacola, FL 32503 (850) 453-9220 www.RealtyMastersofFlorida.com
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originally posted 01-12-2019
Landlords: your tenants want updates.
When asked the question "What one improvement would you wish for your rental?" upon vacating, our tenants had a lot to say.
Here's a list of the most common answers we received this year in order of frequency:
- Needs upgrades and updating
- Update appliances most commonly mentioned is the fridge
- New flooring (carpet or vinyl is old)
- Provide lawn care
- New light fixtures; fans in all rooms
- Windows and screens are old
- Fenced yard or repairs to old fence
- New counter tops
- Needs new a/c unit
- No gutters on home
- Updated bathroom
- Wallpaper ripped out everywhere
- New exterior doors
We know the old saying is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but your tenants disagree. They want new fixtures and updated energy efficiency. Tenants expect their landlord to continually make upgrades and provide routine maintenance. Landlords should build up a reserve to make these upgrades.
As your property ages, it's a good idea to invest in routinely replacing components in your home. To keep your home in good condition, you should be completing maintenance frequently on your properties. Making these and other improvements will yield higher rents, less vacancy, and an overall better experience for you as a landlord.
Reach out to us with any questions about becoming a Pensacola area landlord. We specialize in working with investors and landlords in the Pensacola real estate market. As we manage over 1,000 rental properties, our real estate agents understand rental market trends.
We are currently accepting new properties in good condition in Pensacola, Pace, Milton, Gulf Breeze, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and Navarre.
originally posted 01-01-2018
Maintenance Do’s & Don’ts!
Very often maintenance problems or damage to your fixtures can easily be prevented with a little knowledge and common sense. We encourage you to read this section BEFORE a problem can occur. Residents may be held liable for certain maintenance problems which can be directly attributed to negligent usage.
If you experience an electrical outage of any sort the first place to check is your breaker box. Chances are a circuit has been overloaded and the breaker needs to be reset. Try flipping each switch on the box off and back on again to reset the breakers. Make sure you only do this once as problems can result from activating and suddenly cutting off the power surge. If the electricity does not come back on, check all of your outlets to be sure they are not being overloaded.
If the electricity has gone out in your entire home and resetting the breaker does not restore it, it is likely that there has been a power failure. A good indicator of a power failure would be to check if you notice outside lights on your neighbor’s house are off as well. The gas and electric company should be notified. You should then call your emergency service number to report the problem.
If the electricity is off in only part of your home and resetting the breakers does not restore it, it is possible that you have experienced an electrical short. Lack of electricity in the majority of your home may qualify as an emergency after hours if it affects your refrigerator or other vital areas of your home.
**IF AT ANY TIME YOU NOTICE SPARKS COMING FROM A SWITCH OR ELECTRICAL FIXTURE TURN OFF THE SWITCH AND UNPLUG THE APPLIANCE IMMEDIATELY. Call the problem in and leave the switch off until maintenance professionals or contractors can respond.
Before calling for service on any appliance be sure the cord is securely plugged in and the breaker is not tripped.
The refrigerator will operate most efficiently if the temperature is set between 3 and 8. To determine the best setting, test the temperature of the items inside and adjust accordingly. The freezer setting may be too high if freezer items form ice coating shortly after placing them inside. If you do not have a frost-free refrigerator, the freezer should be defrosted when the ice that forms on the side is no more than 1/4 inch thick. A heavy build-up of frost can severely limit the effectiveness of your unit and increase the electric cost on the utility bill. To defrost the freezer, we recommend placing all items in a cooler and turning the control knob to off or defrost. Allow the ice to melt by placing a pan of hot water inside the freezer. NEVER USE KNIVES OR ANY OTHER OBJECT TO REMOVE ICE! This can cause irreparable damage for which you may be held liable. If your refrigerator fails to operate properly, please call for service.
Keeping your oven clean is very important to the efficient operation of the appliance. In addition, a buildup of grease or food particles left inside or on the stove can facilitate fires. It is best to wipe off the top and inside after each use. A moist towel and mild soap can be used to clean food or grease which has not baked onto the surface. Always place food on a baking sheet or aluminum foil inside the oven. To keep grease from building up on drip pans we suggest wrapping foil tightly around the pan itself, being sure to cover the center hole. When the foil becomes stained, in can simply be removed and replaced with fresh foil. Drip pans and the outside aluminum rings are chargeable to the resident upon moving out when they must be replaced due to negligence.
Be sure to scrape food particles from dishes into the garbage before placing them in the dishwasher. Use only detergents which are specified for use in dishwasher. Before running the dishwasher, make sure that the bottom of the washer bas been cleared of any items which may have fallen there. Make sure all dishes are secure onto the rack, putting bowls and pots on the top rack to keep from blocking water circulating to other areas. Dishwashers should never be left to run in your absence. An undetected leak can cause major damage to floors or carpeting if left unattended. If you notice any water escaping from the dishwasher or the unit fails to operate properly, please turn the machine off and call for service.
- GARBAGE DISPOSAL:
Disposals operate virtually trouble-free when used properly. Please read and carefully follow the procedures outlined below to prevent jammed disposals and clogged drains:
- Turn cold water on to maximum flow position.
- Flip the switch to the on position.
- Push refuse through the splash guard keeping hands away from the inside chamber.
- Continue to run the disposal until the grinding sound stops. Then flip switch to the off position.
- Continue to run cold water for two to three minutes to be sure all of the waste particles have been flushed away.
Below are some Do’s and Don’ts for disposal usage:
*Grind a citrus peel or put baking soda down the drain periodically to keep the disposal odor free.
*Run plenty of cold water during and after operation.
*Grind coffee grounds and eggshells.
*Put your hand down a disposal when it is running – NEVER!
*Use hot water when operating a disposal.
*Try to put too much through the disposal at once.
DO NOT PUT ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS INTO A DISPOSAL:
Fibrous materials (cornhusks, artichokes, etc) Clam, oyster or nut shells
- Bones Drain cleaner
- Tea Bags Potato or Banana Peels
- Celery Tomatoes
- Grease Wooden objects
- Glass, China or Plastic Dishrags
Metal objects (bottle caps, aluminum foil, Tin cans, or utensils)
If the motor has stopped due to overloading, turn the disposal off. Wait three to five minutes, then push the reset button (often located under the sink on the unit itself). Then follow normal operating procedures.
If the disposal hs jammed, turn the power switch to off before attempting to remove any object. With tongs, remove any object that might be inserted into the mouth of the disposal and turn in a circular pattern to free the blades. Once the movement has been restored to the blades, push the reset button on the disposal unit. Then follow normal operating procedure.
In the event that a toilet or drain stops up, a plunger is often all that is needed to clear the blockage. The following will help determine what to do if you experience a plumbing problem. If it cannot be corrected please call the office for service.
If your toilet should overflow, you can turn off the water supply by turning the shut-off valve in a clockwise direction. The shut-off valve is located under the toilet tank. The water flow can also be stopped by pushing the flap firmly over the hole in the bottom of the tank.
If the toilet is stopped up, try using a plunger to clear the blockage. If this does not clear the blockage and you must call for service you may be charged for the visit if it is determined to be due to over stuffing or foreign objects. If you have only one bathroom a non-usable toilet will be treated as an emergency after hours. Otherwise, the other toilet(s) can be used until maintenance can correct the problem.
There are several items that should never be put into a toilet. These include, but are not limited to, paper towels, feminine products, grease, disposable diapers, bottle caps(or any small metal or plastic items), newspapers, or drain cleaner.
- CLOGGED DRAINS:
Never put grease or hair down a drain.
Always attempt to clear the blockage with a plunger. If that is unsuccessful, use draino or another similar product and let it set for the recommended time on the back of the bottle.
If you are unable to clear the drain, please call for service.
originally posted 12-01-2017
Some items an owner SHOULD AVOID having in their rental property!
As property management professionals, we have a lot of experience in mitigating risk. Because of this, there are several items we would never recommend having in a rental property. Here's a list of our top five:
- Trampolines: We understand, you don't want to remove these items from the property as you have enjoyed using them. While it sounds like a nice amenitiy for your rental property, it would be best case scenario to haul these items away from a rental property. These items are big liability issues and safety concerns. Additionally, your insurance policy may not allow them at the property. If your insurance policy excludes trampolines, as many do, you will be held liable without protection should someone get hurt.
- Playsets and Patio Furniture Sets: The estimated life span of exterior items such as patio furniture and playsets are low. Over time, these items will decay and become a safety liability for your residents. If a tenant or guest is hurt because these items, you can be held liable.
- Above Ground Pools, Expensive Pool Filtration System and Hot tubs: Unless you are including pool maintenance with the rental amount then I highly recommend not having this installed. Tenants are expected to maintain the home as if it is their own and treat the home with care, but this isn’t always the case. If this system breaks, requires upkeep, or preventive maintenance – you may not be able to rely on the tenant to take care of it. We are recommending that our owners have pool maintenance included, if their property has a pool, for this reason. This will save a lot of headaches and sleepless nights. Trust us!
- Salt Water Treatment System: This is amazing to have in newer homes to increase the longevity of the pipes or in old areas where hard water is a problem. If you have routine maintenance to take care of the system, it is a great asset for the home. Unfortunately, along the same thinking with pools, sometimes tenants do not take the needed care of systems while in your property. If there is an issue with the system or upkeep needed – you are on the hook.
- Security Systems or Alarm Systems: Added security is usually always a plus; it is attractive to renters for peace of mind and also can be helpful for any emergency services. The major drawback we have with alarm systems is the service setup with them. Most of the time, the service is disconnected and the hardware is still at the house. This can lead to confusion that it is active or not. Some tenants setup service and are able to use the system in place, but other times if tenants wanted a security system the companies install new hardware. Overall, it becomes an unnecessary hassle that is not maintained
originally posted 11-24-2017
Credit Scores have vital information that lenders and other companies use to help decide the credit worthiness of consumers. Having good credit helps one make the large, important purchases in life like getting an auto loan or home mortgage. To most people, it is a mystery on how credit companies calculate your score and what information they are using.
Realty Masters, like other property management companies, have some minimum criteria that renters have to qualify for to be approved - one of the big ones is your credit score.
The First Step is knowing where to look:
There are many websites and services available to consumers to evaluate or monitor their credit score. The first step is finding out your score. One of the most widely used credit scores are FICO® Scores. Some great information is provided on FICO® Scores at http://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/. Also, here is a little more information on credit scores directly from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) that is valuable: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0152-credit-scores.
The Second Step is knowing your score and monitoring it:
There are several companies and services that give you access to your credit score. There are websites, apps, and banking services that help consumers monitor their credit. Some of those cost money as an one-time fee or monthly subscription.
You are eligible to get a free credit report every 12 months as authorized by the FTC.
There is a website where you can get access to all three of your major credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action. It is important to know as the more times your credit is pulled, that also affects your score. The credit agencies vary slightly on how they score your credit and even each credit reporting company (like ours being Resolve) can come back with a slightly different score based on the criteria and which credit bureau they use. I know, it’s so confusing!
I understand it’s frustrating getting approved for a rental property without a rental history and a credit score, however, those are the only criteria we have to give to the owner as Fair Housing doesn’t allow us to tell the owners anything about our potential renters.
Tips on Improving your Credit Score:
Paying your bills on time
The % of available credit to the credit limit
How long you have had credit
Realty Masters is excited that we are now partnered with - Renttrack - Our new payment system allows for online payments at a discounted rate from Payclix and also allows you the opportunity to build your credit by reporting your rental payments to the credit agencies!
For more information - head over to our website to learn more - Realty Masters Payments
originally posted 09-27-2017
As the real estate market in Pensacola is improving, more hesitant or forced landlords are seeking to sell their tenant occupied rental properties in the Pensacola area. For the first time in years, accidental landlords are able to sell their properties. You may be looking at capital gains taxes and running out of the timeline allowed to sell. Check with your accountant for advice on this.
If you are a landlord of a duplex, apartment, or lower end property, it is most likely advantageous to sell your property with a tenant who has an existing lease so this advice does not necessarily apply to you. Investors looking to purchase properties want a property with a current tenant in place so keep that in mind! Most of the properties in our rental portfolio will only be marketable to home owners looking to purchase an owner occupied residence.
If you dislike being a landlord or are in the financial position where selling your property is a necessity for you, this advice is for you.
If you are considering selling, consider our best practices for selling your rental property before making a move to list your home.
1. Approach your tenants first!
You may already have a ready, willing and able buyer. We just closed on a property this week for a landlord whose tenant purchased the home at fair market value and have another duplex under contract with current occupants.
2. Consider putting the property for rent or for sale when you place it on the rental market.
Unsure whether you want to try to lease or sell? Let us put it on the market for rent or for sale when your tenants give notice to vacate.
Consider the average time on the market for Pensacola homes for sale is approximately 90 days whereas the average time on the rental market is about 30 days. If you are really anxious to sell, it’s best to list it a month on the sales market prior to listing it for rent. While your home being on the sales market may turn away a few renters, it will not keep your house from selling and may even entice a buyer to act faster.
3. Review your lease agreement.
Does your tenant's’ lease agreement address the sale of your property? Remember, Florida Landlord Tenant Law does not cancel your lease agreement upon the sale of your property and the new owner is bound to fulfill this lease agreement unless your lease states otherwise.
Luckily, our lease agreement says that tenants can be given a 60 day notice to vacate and terminate their lease once the property is under contract for sale. Consider the tenants required notice period as well as the time it will take them to vacate before listing your rental property for sale.
If your tenant is in a lease agreement, it will be necessary to give your tenant proper notice to vacate. The law can be confusing in this area and largely depends on what your lease agreement says so if you are homeowner in the state of Florida without a Realty Masters lease, consult your lease agreement and Florida Landlord Tenant Law.
4. Consider your tenants lease expiration date.
Don’t put the property on the market for sale when tenants have just moved in or renewed their lease. They will be mad and a scorned tenant is not in your best interest. Think of how much effort is required to move, much less all the extra cost involved in moving. Your tenant will not be cooperative, happy, or good to your property during the time they reside in your home.
We find one of the best times to list your property is 2-4 months prior to your tenants move out date.
5. Consider deadlines for the sale and communicate a plan of action to your tenant.
If you do have interest in selling and don’t want a vacancy, the best course of action is to set a timeline up front to the tenant. It’s best to approach your tenants to explain your desire and necessity to sell and learn their intentions at the end of the lease renewal. Once knowing if they want to stay or are going to move regardless, you can plan an appropriate course of action. If they want to stay, set the expectations and timelines upfront.
For example, you could list the property 90 days prior to the lease expiration and remove it from the sales markes if it doesn’t sell within 60 days.
Be sure you communicate a plan you will agree to stick to prior to talking with your tenants.
6. Consider an incentive for the tenant.
Don’t expect your tenants to be as interested in selling your property as you are! Incentivize them to do so. For example, we have seen owners offer a slightly reduced monthly rent and a full return of the deposit even when repairs are necessary as a financial incentive for showings. We recommend offering an incentive to your tenant if you want a smooth sale.
One of the biggest hurdles when selling your tenant occupied home is delayed access to the property. Florida Landlord Tenant Law require reasonable notice as defined as 12 hours. Our company policy is to require next day notice in order to meet the threshold the law defines. Real estate sales happen in real time and don’t always provide advanced notice. You must realize your home will miss showings to qualified buyers due to this time delay. Renters become disheartened by the number of showings and feel their quality of life is decreased when their home is being marketed for sale. This can cause a tenant to be uncooperative in showings or inspections, vacate your property or even attempt to break their lease early.
Tenants have never sold a property and don’t understand the process. Showing your home to multiple sets of buyers repeatedly causes inconveniences and can be seen as an intrusion in privacy. Offering them a financial incentive leads to tenant buy in and will help you achieve your goal of selling your property.
7. Your rental home probably needs some sprucing up to be competitive in a real estate market with owner occupied homes.
Your tenants don’t necessary want your home to sell and most likely hope it does not sell! With competing interests, your property will be harder to sell than a normal owner occupied Pensacola area home.
Renters may not necessarily keep in the home in show ready condition. You can avoid negative showing feedback if you have a Realtor walk through your home prior to listing it. Listen to their feedback and make any cost effective changes possible prior to listing your house on the market for sale.
- Consider a home inspection prior to the sale so you can address issues that be present in your inspection. If your windows are fogging, roof has less than 5 years age, or your siding has a lot of wood rot, this will cause problems. Items like these are common and can be expensive repairs that may prevent you from selling your property to an FHA or VA buyer due to lending restrictions. It’s better to know and address as many items upfront to be sure your ready, willing, and able buyer will be able to purchase your home.
Are you interested in a market anaylsis for your rental property? Reach out to our sales team or email me!
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
#1 in Pensacola Rental Houses
originally posted 03-04-2017
It was a hard summer for Pensacola rentals! We experienced the lowest inventory we've had in years and saw rental prices increase nearly 5%. Typically, summer is the preferred season for renters to move due to school aged children and PCS Season. Because so many people prefer to move in summer, as a renter you face a huge disadvantage due to competition and the laws of supply and demand.
Now that school has started and the holidays are in full swing, we are seeing a huge influx in rental inventory and seeing reduced rental rates. So why move in summer? Now is the time to move.
Fall and winter are the best times to move in Pensacola!
1) There are more options to choose from! There are nearly 200 more rental properties on the Pensacola market today than there was in July. In summer, we had residents give move out notices only to retract those notices because they could not find a suitable property to rent. Why move when everyone else is trying to move?
2) There is less competition. All summer we had two and three applications on each rental property. Not anymore! Take your time browsing and find the home that is right for you.
3) Rental rates are lower. When there is limited supply, rental rates increase. When there is an increased supply (like now!), rental rates decrease.
Here's Mitch giving you a quick glance at over 50 rental properties in the Pensacola area while explaining some reasons to make your move this fall.
So basically, you can get a nicer house, for less money, and enjoy a less stressful house hunting experience. We have over 50 rental properties available, check our list to find a cozy home to move in to this fall!
originally posted 11-01-2016
Moving out of a Realty Masters Rental Property
We want all of our residents to receive a full security deposit return! We also want our residents to leave the house ready for the next resident.
Watch this video for tips on how you can receive a full security deposit refund in 15 days. Moving is hard- it takes a lot of time and proper planning. We understand how stressful the moving process!
Because we typically have residents moving in right after you vacate, it's important to plan your move and ensure you leave plenty of time to clean, have the carpets professionally cleaned, and have the lawn manicured. Florida Landlord Tenant Law and your lease agreement require these items to be done by the resident. If not completed, the law allows the owner to hire workers to complete the work and make a claim against your security deposit if we have proper documentation to support the claim.
Please consider how you would like to find a home when you are moving in and understand that if you do not leave the home in white glove clean condition, we will have to hire a cleaning service and make a charge against your deposit which can delay the return of your security deposit up to 45 days! Most residents do not clean as thoroughly as thoroughly as they would expect a home to be cleaned upon their move in. Because of this, we suggest hiring a cleaning service upon move out to ensure your deposit is not tied up due to minor cleaning charges.
Give us a call or email us with any questions you may have about moving out of a Realty Masters rental property in the greater Pensacola, Florida area. We are happy to explain the move out process and answer any questions you may have.
Realty Masters of FL~ (850) 473-3983
originally posted 06-08-2016
Here you are staring at the thermostat with the display showing the A/C is set at the lowest setting possible. You expect the house to feel like the inside of your freezer, but the house still feels warm. Some may find this statement all too familiar: "My house won't cool below 68 degrees and I've been running it all day!" In Florida, the days between early May - late August are hot!
The spring and summer seasons provide some of the most enjoyable weather Florida has to offer, but residents would enjoy a reprieve from the heat in their own homes.
The next time you are questioning your A/C - Try out these helpful tips to have a more comfortable, energy efficient Spring and Summer season.
The First Step is to know your Climate
The average humidity in most areas of Florida will be above ~70%. All the constant moisture in the air is going to make the outside temperature feel hotter than it would otherwise be. Your A/C may constantly fight the high outside temperatures to keep the inside of your home cool. Gulf Power recommends keeping your thermostat set on 78 in the spring and summer. One of the reasons for this is that most a/c units simply will not cool below 15-20 degrees of the outside temperature.
Let Gulf Power help with your energy cost
Gulf Power has established a program called Budget Billing to help out cosumers with their higher bills in the spring and summer. With Budget Billing, you will pay approximately the same amount each month based on an average of your previous 12 months' electrical usage. For more information and see if this would work for you; Click here.
Put the Personal Touches on your A/C
Do you have a programmable thermostat? There are low-cost thermostats that allow you to control when your A/C will run. If you are away from home for several hours during the day, it is best practice to set your A/C around your schedule. Gulf Power offers a program called Energy Select that will install a free programmable thermostat in your home. For more information and to see if you qualify; Click Here.
Perform Maintenance Regularly
- Change the A/C filter once a month to allow optimal air flow. Especially if you have pets, the 3 month filters do not last 3 months. We recommend the 1 month filters only for improved a/c efficiency.
- You should plan on flushing the condensation drain line at least once a year. Pour 1 cup of bleach followed by 2 cups of water the next day. There are specific bacterial solutions to clean HVAC condensation lines, but bleach works as well.
Your A/C needs maintenance when:
- It is leaking water outside the unit
- There is frost buidup
- Unit blowing warm air
- Unit is not blowing any air at all
Contact your Property Manager if any of these problems occur and we will gladly send a technician.
If your A/C is set below 72 degrees, your A/C may run all day and not reach the desired temperature due to the heat/humidity of outside; however, that does not mean your unit is not working. Keep in mind, if the technician is sent and no problem is found, you may be billed for a service fee.
Other things you can do to make your home feel cooler
- A good way to beat the heat is to dress for the occasion. Avoid dark color clothes that will absorb heat and try to wear light, natural fabric that will keep you cool.
- Run any ceiling fans around your home that will make it feel cooler than it is. Make sure your ceiling fans are switched for summer.
- Check the doors and windows around your home to ensure hot air is not coming in. Notify us if you find any issues that need to be corrected.
- Make sure all blind/curtains are closed to block sunlight heating up your home.
originally posted 05-24-2016
Conducting routine, consistent inspections at your rental property is one of the most important ways you can monitor your home during the leasing process.
Here is Carlin Symmes, lead inspector at Realty Masters, discussing the importance of a move in inspection.
We document the condition of the property one to two days prior to a tenants move in for many reasons.
- Most importantly, to ensure the home is ready for move in and that all necessary repairs were completed.
- Secondly, to have documentation needed in case there are damages beyond normal wear and tear when the tenant moves out. Photos and a written form are completed during every inspection. It is also important to note that you should have photos of the home in good condition also and not just photos of any discrepancies found.
Not conducting routine inspections before, during, and after the tenants move out is one of the most common mistakes rookie landlords and inexperienced property managers make.
A move in inspection is also valuable to a tenant. Each of our clients are given a move in inspection to complete within 72 hours of move in. Make sure if you are moving into a new property, you document any issues with the home in writing and submit to your landlord upon move in. This protects you at move out!
Let us know if you have any questions about the move in inspection process.
originally posted 03-12-2016
5 Tips for Pensacola Renters: Finding a home in a competitive market
- Do your research! Look up school districts, view all photos, walk down with street view on google maps, do a sex offender search. Read our blog here for more tips and websites to do research. If there is a real deal breaker, know about it in advance and don't waste everyone's time. Remember, a lot of the homes on the market are occupied so an appointment has to be arranged with a property manager and a current resident!
- Don't be so picky. I know, you want a fabulous house for as little as possible, we all do! With low availability, you can't be picky about
- Not all homes are brand new or just remodeled. If that's what you require, you will have a harder time finding a place and will have to act fast.
- Sure, East Hill is a great place to live but with only 5 rentals available in the area and a median price of $1,000 per month, it's nearly impossible to find a 3 bedroom 2 bath affordable rental in the area. Downtown is similar with very few available and the majority being smaller, older homes in outlying areas of Downtown.
- Gulf Breeze schools are among the highest rated; that's why there's less than 20 properties for rent in the area with only four rentals in Gulf Breeze Proper and nothing available on Pensacola Beach. The average rental rate in Gulf Breeze is currently $1,700.
- As we approach PCS season, we see limited availability especially nearby the back gate of Naval Air Station. Expand your search area.
- Come prepared! We see great applicants miss out on homes every day as we are getting multiple applications on the most desirable properties. Be flexible and available for open houses and showings. Be sure you have your deposit ready when you apply.
- Have a folder with the following documents ready for when you find the right house!
- Driver's license copy for all adults over 18 residing in the property
- Pay stubs or income verification for at least one month. Have all forms of income available and documented for each adult.
- Photos of any pets you may have
- Previous landlord information including phone and email address. Better yet, ask your current landlord for a letter of recommendation stating your rental rate, dates of residency, and contact information.
- Have a folder with the following documents ready for when you find the right house!
- Be weary of scams. Unfortunately, people like to take advantage of others when inventory is low. Never send your personal information via email or send money overseas without verifying. Craigslist scams are common and scammers are smart about their scams. They even create email addresses to mirror the actual owners name. This happens all the time so please be careful when leasing from owner, especially from out of state.
- Consider Purchasing. In 2011,the average rental rate was $960 per month. The average Pensacola rental is now over $120 more expensive per month representing a 13% increase in rents over the last four years. Interest rates are low. Talk to us about your options to own your own home! Unsure about whether you have the funds required to purchase? Look into first time home buyer bond and grant programs. If you want more information, contact our office or email me here.
originally posted 03-01-2016
Pensacola Rental Market Shortage
We are into peak rental season with below average inventory in the Pensacola rental market. The Pensacola rental market picks up drastically in February and March and peaks in July and August. The market slows drastically over winter with the slowest month of the year being December.
Rental rates have been increasing since 2011 and have increased on average $120 per month over the last four years from $960 per month to an average rental rate of $1,080 per month.
- The average list price for a 3 bedroom 2 bath in the Pensacola metro area is $1,144.
- 3% are over $1,000 a month (179) and 47% of those under $1,000 per month (158) .
- The least expensive 3 bedroom 2 bath home is $750 and the most expensive is $2,295.
- There are 338 rental properties on Pensacola MLS. This is just at one month's inventory for a typical March.
- 221 properties are located in Escambia County (Pensacola, Cantonment, Perdido Key, and Pensacola Beach) and 106 in Santa Rosa County (Pace, Milton, Gulf Breeze, and Navarre)
- Of these, 237 are single family homes, 19 are condos, 68 are town homes or duplexes/apartments, and 8 are mobile/manufactured homes.
Last week, areas of Northeast Pensacola and Milton were affected by tornadoes in the Pensacola area. The week before, a tornado devastated the town of Century in Northern Escambia County, Florida. The Pensacola News Journal reported over 170 houses with "major damage." A lot of these renters and homeowners have been misplaced. This puts further stress on the Pensacola real estate market, especially the rental market as these misplaced homeowners seek a rental property. Supply and demand always affects pricing and of cousre, home prices typically peak in the summer months as competition is more intense.
It will be hard summer to nail down your "perfect dream home" whether you are looking to rent or purchase! Make sure to sign up for new rental alerts and enlist the help of a real estate agent if you hope to purchase a home.
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
originally posted 03-01-2016
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