Tag Archives: Rentals

Spotting and Avoiding Rental Scams

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Searching for an annual rental in Lee County can be stressful. To help with the process, consider using a professional Property Management Company such as Malt Realty. One benefit of using a professional is avoiding falling victim to a rental scam.

Rental scams are not always easy to spot. Scammers know that finding a rental is hard work and that a good deal is hard to pass up. Below is a list of best practices on spotting and avoiding scams:

  • Wire money – The easiest sign of a rental scam is when someone asks you to wire money via Western Union, MoneyGram or Prepaid Visa card.  Don’t send money for any reason.
  • Request money before viewing property – It is not common to pay a lot of money for something sight-unseen. If a landlord expects you to pay a lot before you lease an apartment, there is a reason to be concerned.
  • They say they are out of country – Though some scammers will readily meet tenants in person, many, especially those operating from over-seas, will not. A personal meeting with the landlord will allow you to screen out some con artists. Insisting on a local landlord or Property Management Company will lessen the risk of fraud.
  • The landlord seems too eager to lease the apartment to you. Many landlords want to know your credit score. They may also want further information such as criminal background check and employment verification. If a landlord doesn’t seem interested in any form of tenant screening or appears too eager to negotiate the rent and other lease terms with you, it’s suspicious.
  • You feel unwarranted sales pressure. If a landlord acts too pushy, it can be a red flag.

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Preventing the most sophisticated scams can be hard, but the following tips will help minimize your risk.

  • Never dealing in cash – Most criminals will insist on difficult payment forms to reduce trace of payment. If you refuse, they will seek an easier victim.
  • Demanding a written lease – Lease should still be in writing to prevent fraud and to lay out the rights and responsibilities of the parties. Not only should a tenant require a written lease, the tenant should also demand a copy of the lease signed by the landlord.
  • Never renting sight-unseen – So many bad rental situations begin with a tenant signing a lease for an apartment without seeing it. Viewing an apartment helps prevent fraud and also ensures that the tenant is aware of the condition of the unit.
  • Meeting the landlord in person –A personal meeting with the landlord will allow you to screen out some con artists and will also allow you to get an impression of the landlord’s personality. Though many out-of-town landlords are legitimate, insisting on a local landlord or Property Management Company will lessen the risk of fraud and usually leads to better service.
  • Identifying the actual owner – When considering an apartment, take some time to do a Google search. Google the address of the apartment and also the landlord’s name and the name of the management company.
  • Using a Property Management CompanyMany rentals in Fort Myers are managed by licensed real estate agents and it is not uncommon for tenants to have their own agent. Having an agent represent you is a substantial safeguard because there is less risk that a scammer will list a property with an agent and also because if you are scammed you can hold the agent responsible. Keep in mind that some scammers claim to be agents and really sophisticated ones even manage to hijack the agent’s accounts and substitute their contact information. All licensed real estate agents in Florida must be registered with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

 

Malt Realty is one of Southwest Florida’s only full service real estate businesses serving both rental property management and home sales. In effort to STOP internet fraud, we highly recommend that you DO NOT send funds to someone who cannot allow you to enter the home for a showing. If you live out of the state and cannot verify a rental, we urge you to perform a Google search on the address. This should reveal the true rental listing agent. You may want to drive by the property to see if there is a sign indicating the true rental listing agent, although many association communities do not allow signage.

 

Have you been a victim or spotted a rental scam? Share your story and tips in the comments below!

 

Sources:

https://www.trulia.com/blog/common-rental-scams/

http://bc-firm.com/avoiding-rental-scams/

 

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The Women’s Council of Realtors National REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo Suzanne McGuire- 2016 WCR Local VP of Membership-Fort Myers

I would like to thank our members, the governing board, and specifically to our 2016 president Suzanne Sherer for making my trip to DC possible. Without the support of our chapter, I would never have been afforded this opportunity.

For me this was a week of firsts, first time to DC, first time attending a National WCR event, first time attending a Florida State event, and my first time to the hill to discuss our issues with the people who can do something about them.

AMy week started off by flying into Dulles (on a really tiny plane 35 seats, tip: Fly into Reagan!)  I arrived around 1:30 pm and made it to the hotel at about 2:45 pm. Suzanne Sherer invited me to drop my bags, change my shoes, and head out the door for the legislative meetings on the Hill. Which I did!

Our group which included members of our local board of Realtors met with Congressman Curt Clawson and his staff to discuss issues affecting Realtors in our community, such as 1031 exchanges, housing issues, and financing issues.

BAs we were leaving the meeting with Representative Clawson there was a commotion in the hall, noise, and cameras, then all of a sudden we were face to face with Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, to whom we were introduced. He was meeting with members of Congress to discuss the Zika virus.

I also attended the Florida Realtors Reception and met involved, like-minded Realtors from around the state. It was fantastic to see what opportunities are available both through Women’s Council and the National Association of Realtors.

CMy Thursday was spent in class with Marki Lemons teaching Networking and Referrals: Building Business and  Profit. I can’t say enough about Marki.  If you ever have an opportunity to see her speak or take a class she is teaching DO NOT miss it!!!  She is fantastic. We worked through tons of social media strategies, programs, and apps. I’m now using Evernote, Snapchat, Twitter and too many others to list. Let’s just say my social media plan for my business and my chapter has broadened.  I had lunch with Sandra Huber and Christine Mantilia VP’s of Membership for Cape Coral and Bonita.

Friday we attended the Game Changer Sessions which covered How To Set And Keep Goals with Joseph Rand, The Balancing Act with Juanita McDowel, and my personal favorite, Step Up and Stand Out with Laura Leyser. In Laura’s class, we learned how to set ourselves apart from the crowd. What do we do that is different? I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with the chapter and really take some of these lessons and apply them not only to my business but to our chapter to create an experience for the membership!

DOn Friday evening, I was fortunate enough to accompany our President Suzanne Sherer to the Old Ebbitt Grill for an assocation dinner hosted by The Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association.

A huge thank you to (in no particular order) Beate Jones, Karen Swanbeck, Jason Jakus, Josh Burdine, Bill Steinke, Jeff Miloff, Donna Stout and any of the other fine members of our local association who took time out of their experience to talk to me and discuss opportunities on the local level.

ESaturday I attended two Ignite classes, Leadership Pipeline with Brenda Lee Szlachta and Supercharge Your Chapter Website with Sam Powel. Both women were funny, engaging and these classes were full of practical information that we can put to use for our chapter right away.

I can’t wait to begin putting some of these great ideas into practice for both for my Chapter and Malt Realty & Development.

No trip to the Capital would be complete without a sight-seeing trip. After the Governing Board meeting, the Fort Myers team had an opportunity to catch up over dinner and socialize. It was such a great opportunity to spend time getting to know my traveling companions Local President Elect Debbie Phillips, Joanna Coleman, Ways and Means Chair, and of course my roommate Local President Suzanne Sherer. Ladies thank you so much for your guidance and support on this trip it was wonderful. FG

Members, Thank you again for the opportunity to serve.
Suzanne McGuire
#WCRRocks

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Before you Rent

Getting ready to rent your first apartment? Renting again after a few years out of the rental market? The information in this blog should help you make informed decisions as a renter.

Before you rent
Whether you’re renting your first place of your own, moving to a new city or area, or just need a change of scenery, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is where you’ll live.

If you are renting, you will most likely sign a lease. There are very few exceptions in which a lease can be broken. Therefore, your rental home should be chosen with great care.

Avoiding Scams – DO NOT send funds to someone who cannot allow you to enter the home for a showing. If you live out of the state and cannot verify a rental, we urge you to perform a Google search on the address. This should reveal the true rental listing agent. You may want to drive by the property to see if there is a sign indicating the true rental listing agent, although many association communities do not allow signage.

Utilities – ask questions regarding the utilities.  You lease agreement should specifically state what utilities you are responsible for paying.

Security Deposits – security deposits are typically equal to one month’s rent however; they can be higher depending on your credit and rental history.  Make certain your lease agreements states where your security deposit is being held and if it is an interest or non-interest bearing account.

Renter’s Insurance –it is highly recommended you obtain renter’s insurance for your protection.  Renter’s insurance policy offers you coverage for the theft, loss or destruction of your personal belongings in the event of a fire, storm or other covered peril.

Rental Application Criteria – ask for a copy of the rental criteria at the time you are provided with a rental application.  Be sure you meet the rental criteria before you submit your application.  Have all pertinent documentation needed such as proof of income, copies of your driver’s license and rental history contact information, emergency contact information and referrals etc.

Maintenance Repairs – make certain the lease agreement lists the phone number to call to report maintenance.  Ask if there is an emergency maintenance phone number.

Roommates or pets – all occupants have to be listed on the lease agreement.  Pets must be listed on lease agreement as well.  Some management companies require photos of your pet along with vet records, be sure you have this information on hand when applying for a rental.

Malt Realty would love to help you find your new home.  Call us today to discuss your needs 239-936-1320.

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Care and Feeding for Your Property

iStock_000005125394MediumAs we have seen, the rising need to rental properties is increasing in our area.

If you have a place for rent, we at Malt Realty and Development are here to help you get your property rented. If you are a renter there are certain rules and obligations you, as a renter, should follow based on your lease agreement. As your property management company we are here to help you get the most in the community you have decided to live.

During the summer, changing your air filter in your HVAC unit is tantamount to home maintenance. Please see below how a dirty air filter can affect your home.

  1. A dirty air filter is the #1 reason for HVAC system failure. A dirty filter restricts the airflow into your HVAC systems air handler. This restricted airflow places additional strain on the air handler fan motor and could, over time, burn out the motor and cause your system to overheat and ultimately fail. Filter replacement is a small price to pay to extend to life of one of the biggest financial investments in your home.
  2. A dirty air filter makes your fan motor work harder and consume more energy. One of the easiest and quickest ways to reduce your energy bill is to replace your air filter.
  3. A dirty air filter reduces the air quality in your home. Poor home air quality can aggravate allergies and asthma, particularly children’s allergies. Change your filter for your family’s health.
  4. A dirty air filter makes your heating and air-conditioning systems and your ducts get dirty faster. This can lead to costly cleaning expenses or to a need to replace your units sooner than you expected.
  5. A dirty air filter increases your energy bills. You can see an immediate, short-term cost savings when you replace your air filter.
  6. A dirty air filter increases your carbon footprint. Changing your filter reduces the amount of energy your home consumes. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to be environmentally responsible.

At Malt Realty and Development, we have our crews come out and inspect the premises and HVAC system at least twice per year. Here are some other helpful hints and tips:

For owners:

property_management_clipboard_400_01_400Renting properties and homes is a highly profitable business if the enterprise is properly planned and executed. One thing that every landlord has to and will have to deal with is maintaining the condition of their properties. We at Malt Realty and Development take all the guess work out of maintaining your investment, however we have some suggestions on how a landlord can maintain their property and keep them in top-notch condition on an ongoing basis.

Before – Before a property is rented out there should be routine maintenance done on it. Make sure that the place is clean and clear of mess. Take the time to ensure that all appliances work and have no malfunctions. In order to make the property more appealing, paint the walls. This will give the property a clean slate so to speak and will also give you a memorable starting point for the property against which to gauge and damage that may occur in the future. Also, take some pictures, digital or otherwise of the rental. Make sure to get shots of every room from every angle. In the event that some damage does occur you will want to have these pictures for reference.

During – While the property is rented the best thing you can do is to be vigilant and timely in fulfilling the requests of the tenant (within reason of course). As a landlord you are entitled to do spot inspections of the property but keep in mind that you must give the tenants appropriate notice before entering the home. Make the commitment to respond to requests from your renters in a timely manner. If you are attentive then chances are you will be a popular landlord. Many renters have run afoul of landlords that simply don’t seem to care and never get around to fixing things that break or taking care of problems. Having a negligent landlord makes it more difficult for renters to take pride in the property.

After – After a renter moves out the name of the game is making sure that there was no damage done to the property and getting it ready for the next tenants. This is a good time to compare the home to the pictures you took before to see if there are any discrepancies. If the damages exceed the amount of the damage deposit then you have the right to get the additional amount from the renters. Protecting your investment is an important thing so be sure you are ready to do so if necessary.

For renters:

Most owner and property management companies will ask you to maintain the premises in good, clean and tenantable condition throughout the tenancy, keeping all plumbing fixtures in good repair, use all electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, appliances and other equipment in a reasonable manner, removing all garbage in a clean and sanitary manner.  Here are some helpful renting tips for you.Property-management-contract-830x323

Before: Request an inspection prior to moving in. Make sure that the place is clean and clear of mess. Take the time to ensure that all appliances work and have no malfunctions. You should also take some pictures, digital or otherwise of the rental. Make sure to get shots of every room from every angle. In the event that some damage does occur you will want to have these pictures for reference.

During: You will be required to take care of the inside of the rental property as well. This means that you will need to regularly clean the inside of the property to ensure that it is in good condition when you choose to leave.

After: When moving out, please thoroughly clean your apartment, patch any holes and if you have painted, please restore the walls to the neutral color as designated in your lease agreement.

Why Malt Realty & Development?

Malt Development is one of Southwest Florida’s only full-service real estate businesses serving Fort Myers rental property management and home sale needs in Fort Myers. As a full-service Fort Myers real estate firm, Malt Realty offers:

palm-tree-bulletProperty Rentals

palm-tree-bulletProperty Management

palm-tree-bulletReal Estate Sales

palm-tree-bulletAnnual, Seasonal, Vacation & Commercial Properties

palm-tree-bulletConstruction/Renovation

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1614 Colonial Boulevard, Ste. 102
Fort Myers, FL 33907
F: (239) 936-6579

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Still Not Convinced?

What can we do to help sway your decision?

landlord Ad

At Malt Realty and Development, we listen to our customers needs, big or small, renter or owner, you come FIRST! Malt Development is one of Southwest Florida’s only full-service real estate businesses serving Fort Myers rental property management and home sale needs in Fort Myers. As a full-service Fort Myers real estate firm, Malt Realty offers:

  • Property Rentals
  • Property Management
  • Real Estate Sales
  • Annual, Seasonal, Vacation & Commercial Properties
  • Construction/Renovation

Here are some more testimonials from our valued clients.  Please visit our website for more information.

“I don’t often write reviews but here is one instance I feel it is justified.  About four years ago I had to park some funds somewhere and I chose Fort Myers, FL.  I met with Kelly from Malt Realty and we developed a plan for the purchase and leasing of several properties.  I have never have to worry about owning property far from home with the team at Malt watching out for me.  They have taken care of everything from the purchase, complete rehabilitation of the properties, advertising, leasing one on a weekly/monthly basis and the others with annual leases.  The experience has contained reasonable expenses, pleasing profits and effortless investment.  Everyone there has been a pleasure to work with from sales, leasing and maintenance. “If anyone has ever thought ‘What do I do with this money, I don’t want it in the stock market or in a bank doing nothing’….then give Malt Realty a call.  I guarantee you’ll be surprised by the expertise and ease with which your transactions will flow.  If anyone from Malt Realty sees this, thank you for making our life easier and more profitable.”

T.A. / Owner

“As usual Malt Realty has gone above and beyond with their efforts….please send me the top guy’s name and email so I can send him a note.  I really appreciate working with Malt Realty….so much professionalism.  I would not hesitate to recommend Malt to anyone who asks me.”   ~ B.A.I / Owner

“We are getting ready to return to Buffalo in a few weeks.  Thank you for taking care of our investment.  You are the best and we always feel good when we leave knowing that we can trust Malt Realty to do the best for us.  Our kids feel the same about you managing their investments too.” ~ W.K. / Owner

We are RE-INVENTING RENTING!

With over 40 years of successful property management and rentals, our highly motivated Managers and Agents work diligently every day to achieve your goal! Our staff is qualified to communicate the attributes of your property to prospective renters due to our up to date knowledge of the local market place.

Malt Realty and Development

#1 in Rentals, Property Management, Sales, Home Inspections, Renovations, Construction & Development.

TEL (239) 936-1320        EMAIL info@maltrealty.com

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Top Three Problems with Property Management Companies and How to Avoid Them

Let’s face it, there are plenty of property management companies to choose from in the Southwest Florida area. Every one of them will give you their absolute assurance that, if you hire them for your community, home or rental, they will provide a level of service far beyond what you’re getting from your current management company; even beyond your wildest expectations.

You see this all the time, don’t you?

Why is it, then, that we hear the same complaints over and over again about property managers?

And how can you tell before you hire your next management company whether they will be any better or different than the last one?

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These are critically important questions. We hope to answer them for you.

At Malt Realty and Development, we believe there is a better approach to property management than the industry is providing to clients, and we are out to set a new standard of service for our client communities… one that eliminates the frustrations and hassles that seem to define many property managers.

You can read more about our company in the About Us section.

So what are the most common problems? Based on surveys we reviewed, these are the top three problems with property management companies.

  1. Communication

Or lack of communication. This is by far the number one complaint we hear about other property management companies.

“We can’t seem to get a return phone call from our property manager.”

Or, “Our call gets bounced from person to person, but no one seems to be able to answer even the simplest questions.”

We have adopted a team approach here at Malt Realty and Development that is designed to keep these problems from happening. First off, you will speak to a live person when you call during business hours. If you call or email after hours, 7K0A0597we will return your call by 10:30 am the next business day.

And, since your team members will all be familiar with your property and the nuances that are part of every client relationship, you will get meaningful answers to your questions in a timely manner.

  1. Self-Dealing

Self-dealing can occur when your property management company provides maintenance or contracting services to your community using their own personnel, or personnel from an allied company.

Now, this practice is not in itself unethical. In fact, it can create savings for your community when done with integrity.

However, when service providers deliver low quality services, or charge uncompetitive rates, and the property manager is profiting by using these vendors, that’s a problem. It could also be costing you a lot of money.

Think about it, there can be a strong incentive for a property management company to provide additional services using their own resources, even if another company’s services might be more price competitive. There can also be the temptation to “let things slide” if the services provided aren’t quite up to snuff.

At Malt Realty and Development, we have established performance standards for all service and maintenance companies, vendors and suppliers. The companies that we recommend and use are subject to the same competitive bidding process as all others. This process assures you that you are getting quality service at competitive prices.

  1. Indecipherable Financial Reports

Financial reports can be confusing enough for people who are not accountants, and many board members have complained that they feel images (1)hopelessly lost when they are handed a stack of papers with columns of numbers, accounts payable reports, accounts receivable reports, cash flow statements, income statements, etc., etc., etc.

To make matters worse, most property management firms have their system  generate the same information for every client no matter what the client’s specific needs are.

We respect your board members’ time and the commitment they have made to serve your community, and we have developed easy-to-read financial reports. This means more meaningful information, less time in board meetings, and less frustration for your board members.

It’s Your Choice

Like most, our industry is competitive and we thank you for taking a few minutes to read a little bit about our company and how we seek to improve the standard of service for our client communities. We have devoted time and energy to seek out the things that create frustration and aggravation for our clients and prospective clients, and have implemented processes to eliminate them. We believe that sets up apart from our competitors.

We welcome the opportunity to present our full platform of services to you. Please visit our website at http://www.maltrealty.com or visit us at 1614 Colonial Boulevard, Ste. 102 in Fort Myers, FL 33907

 

 

We are RE-INVENTING RENTING!

With over 40 years of successful property management and rentals, our highly motivated Managers and Agents work diligently every day to achieve your goal! Our staff is qualified to communicate the attributes of your property to prospective renters due to our up to date knowledge of the local market place.

 

Malt Realty and Development

#1 in Rentals, Property Management, Sales, Home Inspections, Renovations, Construction & Development.

 

TEL (239) 936-1320

EMAIL info@maltrealty.com

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No Upfront Out of Pocket Owner Costs

That’s right, you read correctly

No Upfront Out of Pocket Owner Costs

Property Manager

We at Malt Realty and Development provide no hassle management; you sit back, enjoy life and leave the management to us.

A good property management company can easily become one of your greatest assets, second only to the properties they steward on your behalf.  Most property management companies have an Initial Management Fee which is paid upfront by the owner.  Malt Realty’s small Initial Management Compensation (IMC) doesn’t come out of an owner’s pocket!!  It is paid through rental collections, in two payments from the first two months rental income.

 

Call office for full details.

1614 Colonial Boulevard, Ste. 102
Fort Myers, FL 33907
TEL (239) 936-1320

EMAIL info@maltrealty.com

 

We are RE-INVENTING RENTING!

With over 40 years of successful property management and rentals, our highly motivated Managers and Agents work diligently every day to achieve your goal! Our staff is qualified to communicate the attributes of your property to prospective renters due to our up to date knowledge of the local market place.

Malt Realty and Development

#1 in Rentals, Property Management, Sales, Home Inspections, Renovations, Construction & Development.

 

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