Archive for September, 2008

Simple Repairs Can Improve Duplex’s Cash Flow

said on September 4th, 2008 categorized under: Home Repair

Comments Off on Simple Repairs Can Improve Duplex’s Cash Flow

dripAs we head into fall and winter, it’s easy to remember that heat is one of the biggest expenses any Twin Cities landlord faces. That is, of course, if a property has a single boiler or furnace. Another expense, however, which can inexplicably jump and cause diminished cash flow, however, is water.

I learned this the hard way. Which, unfortunately, seems to be how I learn best. In my 23 unit apartment building, my water bill inexplicably jumped from $800 per quarter to over $2000.

Of course, I immediately called my handyman, and we went through the building one unit at a time. We checked the usual for the source of the spike: dripping faucets, running toilets and more people living in a unit than were reflected on the lease. We found some small drips, but nothing that could account for such a radical jump.

So we asked some questions of the tenants. Guess what? One of the three washing machines on the premises repeatedly filled with water, drained, and then repeated the process: over and over again. Ad infinitum. We simply unplugged the machine until the appliance repair company could come out. The next month, the bill dropped below what it even had been in the past.

My lesson? It doesn’t hurt to do regular apartment inspections to find water issues.

Comments Off on Did You Hear About the Clearance Sale on Minneapolis/St Paul Duplexes?


SaleI guess everybody realized there’s a clearance sale down at the duplex and house mall,s as MAAR reports another big leap in pending sales activity over last year. Sales jumped 26.8 percent from the same week last year. This data was for the week ending August 23, which was the third week in a row with an increase in pending sales over last year.

What’s interesting is there are actually fewer homes on the market to choose from. The number of homes for sale in the Twin Cities market is actually 24.2 percent decrease from this time last year.

Buyers continue to clear the shelves of duplex inventory as well. Sales were up 363.36 percent over the same period last year. In all, 40 duplexes received and accepted purchase agreements last week in the metro market. Of these, 95 percent were either bank owned or short sale properties.  Last year’s sales were comprised of 42.8 percent lender-involved units.

Comments Off on Timing Is Everything When You Want to See A Twin Cities Duplex

PsychicRealtors do a big portion of their work behind the scenes. We don’t always think to stop and explain each piece of it, and sometimes assume our clients psychically know what we’re talking about.

Take showings for example. I had a client call me over the weekend wanting to see a house on Labor Day. I was a little abrupt with her; which she didn’t understand. So I had to stop and explain.

Realtors have to call the listing agent’s appointment line in order to show you a property.  Many real estate companies have office staff who field these calls. Others use appointment services. In either case, the staff keeps more regular business hours than Realtors do.

How does that effect you? Well, because those hard-working people keep relatively regular hours, your Realtor can’t just set up an appointment at any hour. What’s more, even if those people are available, if the property is occupied, tenants or home owners usually need to be contacted and asked whether the requested time is workable for them.

This process can be further complicated by the myth that tenants require 24 hour notice before a landlord or his/her representatives may enter a property for business purposes.

When my client called late in the afternoon on Sunday, I knew most call centers would only be open for another ten minutes, and would be closed for Labor Day. Therefore, I had to hurriedly collect the list of properties she wanted to see and set up appointments.

Most of the time, appointments aren’t a problem to get. But when it comes to evenings, weekends and holidays, be sure to plan in advance.

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