Monthly Archives: May 2014

Foreclosure Rate by States (Two Year Change)

The steady improvement in house prices and employment coupled with the 2013 refinance boom had a significant impact on foreclosures nationally. Across the country, the foreclosure rate fell dramatically. As depicted below, no state has seen an increase in its foreclosure rate over the 8-quarter period ending in the first quarter of 2014. However, some […]

Low Cost of Living Areas are a Real Estate Investor’s Best Friend


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I’ve been pretty spoiled when it comes to where I’ve lived during my lifetime.  In fact, I’ve never even really left Southern California except for a semester abroad in Budapest.  Growing up, my parents and I lived in Los Angeles and it wasn’t until college that I made the 2-hour trek down south to go […]

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Tight Mortgage Credit Weighs on Consumers

Tight credit restrictions can prevent consumers from getting a mortgage and making a home purchase. But over time, tight credit can impact a consumer’s expectations of the mortgage application process, reducing their willingness to even apply for a mortgage or to start the home search process. In a report released this week [1], researchers at […]

REALTORS® Confidence Dipped in April 2014

REALTOR® confidence in current market conditions dipped in April 2014 compared to March 2014, according to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index. Many REALTORS® reported problems with “tight financing” and “extremely low inventory,” and some reported the lingering negative effects of the unusually harsh winter on spring sales (IN, NC, VA, NJ). Confidence about the outlook […]

With property management software, experience counts

Originally created in the early 80s, RentManager is property management software that takes advantage of their experience to produce software property managers will appreciate. One feature that stands out from most software is the capability to create and track loans. The owner-financed loans allow property managers to pre-qualify loans on the spot and charge the principal and interest directly to the tenant. RentManager utilizes their experience to think about features property managers need, and go one step further and design features property managers want. We spoke with Andy Williams from RentManager to learn more.Businesswoman with Digital Tablet Computer in Office

APM: Please tell us more about RentManager.

Andy: Rent Manager, in its earliest form, came out in 1982. Since that time the software is continuously evolving. In 2002, we released the latest version. We have around 14,000 users worldwide. Rent Manager does everything from basic property management functionality, to in‑depth accounting, to leasing. There are marketing features and VOIP integration.

APM: Can you please provide more detail about the features?

Andy: A lot of software products give you a check box of features. I think one of our strengths is that we focus on the little things too, the details that other software passes over. We make sure to focus on features that really make a difference doing day‑to‑day operations.

Rent Manager offers full accounting. We provide drill down reporting and full double-entry accounting, electronic payments, check scanning and money order scanning. We’re working on doing some things with automated tables. We integrated web portals, where tenants can go online and make payments. Landlords can go online and look at their reports or place work orders.

Potential tenants can view vacant properties and apply online. RentManager integrates with all the major website portals, so that PM’s can advertise their vacancies.We supply a lot of industry specific features such as a built-in report writer. If clients want industry specific features we have the following: commercial management, manufactured homes, apartment and management company features.We’re trying to provide a product that covers a lot of ground without being too overwhelming.

APM: What makes you stand out from your competition?

Andy: I think experience matters. We’ve been doing this for a long time. There are only a handful of competitors that have been around as long as we have. We’ve also had three chances, three times to get this right. It’s evolved three times. We’re working on the fourth evolution right now.

We’ve learn from our mistakes. You can’t just hit the same program and add code over and over again. You end up with a product that looks out of place in a bunch of spaghetti. I guess that’s geek talk for code that just touches everything, and it just becomes a mess. I think something that makes us standout is definitely our experience. The other part is the attention- to- detail. Every keystroke counts. A lot of applications don’t take that into account. They believe a pretty interface simplifies things, but you lose a little bit of the detail and you lose some of the ability to customize.

APM: If we were to talk to your top customers, what do you think they would say?

Andy: They like the flexibility in our software. They love our support team. Larger customers find that it’s easy to manage, and it doesn’t require a lot of training to teach their staff what they need to do.

APM: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Andy: Every company is different. There is no one size fits all. I think that’s probably one of our biggest assets is the ability to scale. You can customize the look and feel of the product. You can customize fields and change the way it looks.

We offer our customers multiple options. They can buy the product or they can use our cloud service and get to us at anywhere at any time.. When I say these things are integrated, I mean they’re truly part of the code. If I take a payment, it automatically comes in. It updates the tenant record. It updates the bank balance. It tells me, “Hey, there are funds here, and it’s approved a payment.” It is in real‑time.

If we do a resident screening, you don’t have to wait 15 minutes to get your results. You click a button, and within 5-10 seconds, you have your screen up with the tenant’s history.

We go very in‑depth in our user permissions to give people the flexibility to lock their database down to any level they want. I think when you grow and start adding rental units, you don’t necessarily want to keep adding more staff just because you’re adding rental units. I think when you’re doing this, you have to have that option to be able to go in and customize it.

We also have an inspection piece, a mobile service piece. It’s a web‑based app that basically allows people to go out and do all their service work from their mobile device.

The ARM inspection piece is a nice one that allows people to go out and inspect their units, and automatically scan and attach information. They can create their own checklist, scan‑in pictures and attach them from right there.

APM: You guys basically offer several services within one solution, right?

Andy: Oh, yeah. We try to do everything a customer might need down to financing loans to a tenant if they need to.

APM: Do you want to talk more about the financing loans part? That’s actually something I haven’t heard before.

Andy: Yea, this was really designed for the manufactured home industry, but it does have applications elsewhere. In that industry, it’s getting tougher to find financing for people that want to purchase a home. They’re purchasing the home, and providing a financing option for the tenant.We have a loan module in the product that allows you to finance a loan to your tenant. It calculates the interest, principal, the escrow basically all the different loan aspects. It gives you the schedule so you can keep track of it.

We’re a customer‑based company. Everything we do is for the customer.

To Sum It Up!

Given that RentManager has been in existence since the 80s, the kinks are ironed out providing a product property managers will enjoy. RentManager offers several features including Loan Manager. Property managers can monitor owner-approved loans with this feature and avoid the hassle of dealing with outside loan programs.

Like this article? Check out other similar articles with information on technology resources on our Property Management Tech Tools Reviews Page!

Latest Home Price Data from Case-Shiller

Home prices continue to rise quite strongly according to the Case-Shiller home price index. In March, prices rose 12.4 percent from one year ago. Prices have been increasing at a double digit rate of appreciation for the past 12 months. The latest data, however, is outdated. The purported March figure is not for a single […]

How to Say No to Tenants

Successful landlords have learned how to be effective business managers. Real estate investment is a business, and as a landlord, you are responsible for making the necessary decisions that allow your business to be profitable, all while staying within the law. One of the most effective things a landlord can do in order to run […]

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3 Myths About Home Staging

By Audra Slinkey, Home Staging Resource There’s been a lot of talk about staging a home to sell these days because for the first time in a long time, sellers are getting above asking price offers! Making the most money on the sale of the house is the name of the game, and the agents […]

Should your community seek FHA Certification?



FHA Certification does two things for a community association and its members: it allows residents to obtain a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) and it opens up the pool of eligible homebuyers who are seeking FHA-backed loans when purchasing their home.


An HECM is a reverse mortgage which is a loan that is available to qualified homeowners who are 62 years or older. A reverse mortgage enables seniors to stay in their homes while they receive advances on the loan, the repayment of which is secured by the equity in their homes.

An in-depth discussion on the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage is beyond the scope of this blog but a major advantage is that it does not need to be repaid as long as the homeowner resides in the property and does not otherwise default on the loan (i.e.. by failing to mainteain property insurance or by not paying property taxes).

Some private banks do offer reverse mortgages, however, the only reverse mortgage product insured by the U.S. government is the HECM which is insured by the FHA.

With regard to the second part of the certification equation, FHA loans permit a lower down payment which makes them very attractive to homebuyers.  In 2009, FHA loans comprised approximately 2% of the loan market; in 2010, that figure had climbed to 40%. Given the popularity of the FHA loan product, not being certified means community members may have a much smaller pool of people interested in buying their homes.

There are basic eligibility requirements which must be met in order for a community association to receive FHA certification. The certification process is not nearly as complicated or costly as some people believe. Well-managed and financially stable communities typically experience no problems in becoming FHA certified. If your community wishes to be certified by the FHA, the following guidelines must be met:

-No more than 15% of your units can be delinquent for more than 30 days.
-At least 50% of the units must be owner occupied.
-At least 10% of the association's budget must be allocated for reserve funding.
-The association must have adequate insurance coverage.
-There can be no pending litigation other than routine collection activity.

If your community wishes to seek FHA certification, please contact me via email at dberger@bplegal.com or by phone at 954-364-6031.





Damaged Driveway

QUESTION: My association billed a resident for damage he caused to a common area driveway. The resident paid but the board intends to keep the money without making  repairs. Any thoughts?

ANSWER: Although there is nothing directly on point about taking money for one purpose and using it for another, the statute “Thou shalt not…” comes to mind—it’s quite authoritative. (Bible, Commandment #8.) The Davis-Stirling Act also comes into play, i.e., association’s are obligated to repair and maintain the common areas. (Civ. Code §4775(a).)

Unsafe Condition. Moreover, if the damage is safety related, I’ve found that juries tend to punish boards who have a a known unsafe condition, do nothing and someone is injured. General Motors is well acquainted with the concept. For some reason, they thought it was a good idea to ignore defective ignition switches. Last week they were fined $35 million. That’s in addition to the enormous legal expense to defend and settle a slew of lawsuits and the cost to replace 2.6 million ignition switches.

Cosmetic Damage. If the driveway damage is purely cosmetic, the board could choose not to make the repair and sit on the money. But that would likely create unhappy homeowners.

CHANGING
MAINTENANCE DUTIES

QUESTION: Is a 75% vote of mortgagees as well as owners required to amend maintenance obligations of CC&Rs?

ANSWER: That depends entirely on the amendment requirements in your CC&Rs. Amendment provisions are normally found in a paragraph at the tail-end of your CC&Rs. It spells out the voting percentages for owners.

In addition, you need to check the mortgagee (lender) provisions–often an entire section toward the middle or end of your CC&Rs. It will list any categories of changes requiring their approval (which might include any changes to maintenance obligations).

FEEDBACK

Paid Directors #1. Please inform me of the name of the complex that pays their board members. I am already packing and ready to move. And to the grouch with no sense of humor NUTS TO HIM! Thanks for your weekly informative e-mails and do not lose your sense of humor. With much appreciation. -Gloria F.

Paid Directors #2. Our board of directors/officers, receive a monthly stipend. All directors are elected by the owners of our association. They are not volunteers. Should we stop paying stipends? -T.C.

RESPONSE: “Stipend” is merely a euphemism for paid directors. If it were me, the stipend would have to be REALLY big to make it worth the risk I take on as a paid director. It’s like robbing a bank for $50. It doesn’t make any sense; the risk outweighs the reward.

Nuts on the Board. From where we stand, most associations are so dysfunctional that members stay as far away as possible from the headaches of participation because “nut jobs” who get themselves permanently planted on boards. -Teresa A.

RESPONSE: The worst case scenario for the membership is a board with truly bad directors. I believe it was Edmund Burke in the 1700s who wrote that, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of bad directors on HOA boards is for good members to do nothing” (or something to that effect). Fortunately, bad boards are the exception not the rule. Most boards have good people doing their best under difficult circumstances.

Corporate Proxies. Corporate vs. HOA proxies–OK, what if your HOA is a corporation as well? Which statute controls in that case? -Robert M.

RESPONSE: The Davis-Stirling Act.

Thank You. Thank you for your personal help and a wonderful internet site. It has been fascinating watching your business grow during the past ten year I’ve lived in this condo. -Dick S.

RESPONSE: It’s been my pleasure providing the service.


Adrian Adams, Esq.
Adams Kessler PLC


“Legal solutions through knowledge, insight and experience.” We are friendly lawyers; you can contact us at (800) 464-2817 or info@adamskessler.com.