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Amy Hedgecock named V.C. Single Family Investment Management Committee

Fowler & Fowler, REALTORS President, Amy Hedgecock, has been named 2018 Vice Chair of the Single-Family Investment Management Committee for the National Association of REALTORS.  The charge of the committee is to monitor issues and trends in single-family property management, and identify areas where advocacy and education is needed with respect to the ownership and management of single-family rental properties.

According to the American Community Survey, the number of renters in single-family detached homes increased by 3.2 million between 2004 and 2013, accounting for nearly half of the gain in rentals- lifting the single-family share from 31 percent to 35 percent.

Amy is proud to be a part of the National Association of REALTORS team that will help advocate for single family property investors.  Way to go, Amy!

4 Issues to Watch for Property Managers

4 Issues to Watch for Property Managers

Laws concerning service animals, rent control, marijuana, and criminal background checks are constantly evolving. Here’s what you need to know right now.
woman in wheelchair with service dog

Correction: In an earlier version, quotes by Tyler Craddock of the National Association of Residential Property Managers were mistakenly attributed to an NAR staffer. The story has been corrected.

It’s a changing landscape for landlords and tenants. Property management and policy experts speaking at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., offered attendees of the Property Management Forum guidance on handling four hot-button issues.

Can You Negotiate Service Animal Requests?

The need to accommodate service animals, once a relatively rare issue for property managers, has become increasingly common. Under guidelines from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Americans With Disabilities Act, property managers must make a reasonable accommodation for tenants who request a service or comfort animal, regardless of their building’s pet policy.

But what if a tenant’s request is problematic for the unit? “When someone comes to you with a [doctor’s] note that says, ‘I’m entitled to 40 cats,’ you can negotiate [that],” said Tyler Craddock, government affairs director of the National Association of Residential Property Managers. “You can have that conversation, saying, ‘This is a one-bedroom efficiency unit, and I don’t think we can accommodate 40 cats there. Is there another way we can accommodate this?’”

Paul Dizmang, chair of the Property Management Forum, advised attendees to call their local or state HUD office if they have questions.

Fraudulent service animal requests are becoming an increasing concern, Dizmang said.  “In five minutes, you can go online and get a doctor’s note to certify a service animal.”

Disability rights groups around the country are starting to look at cases where tenants obtain online certification for a service animal, which is trained to perform a specific task, when the need is not legitimate, said Megan Booth, senior policy representative at the National Association of REALTORS®. She added that NAR is working with the National Fair Housing Alliance to get more specific HUD and ADA guidance on this issue.

Combating Rent Control

“Rents are high in many areas, and citizens are going to their state legislatures and asking for answers,” said Beth Wanless, senior manager of government affairs with the Institute of Real Estate Management. “Many lawmakers say rent control is a good solution. It’s actually a terrible idea.”

Wanless explained that rent control does not incentivize developers to build new projects because rent caps lower their profits. The effect, she said, is fewer and lower-quality affordable housing units. “Legislators think rent control will allow for more affordable housing for vulnerable citizens, but it actually creates a black market,” she said. Property managers also have less incentive to maintain rent-controlled properties because they won’t make enough money to pay for routine building maintenance and repairs, she added.

NAR and IREM oppose rent-control policies.

Marijuana Policies for Residential, Commercial Properties

The majority of the debate around marijuana laws and real estate has focused on residential property. Property managers who oversee apartment complexes should be advised that in the 28 states that have legalized medical marijuana use—eight of which have also approved recreational use—they cannot deny a tenant with a medical need the right to use pot on their properties, Booth said. However, they can regulate the smoking of marijuana. Lease agreements should explicitly state the methods of marijuana use—whether it’s through smoking, oils, edibles, or other means—that are acceptable on the premises.

But 17 states also allow the growing of marijuana on private property, which could raise risks for not only residential property managers but also those who manage industrial and retail properties. “If you cover utilities as part of your lease agreement, be aware that a single marijuana plant can take a gallon of water a day and 17 hours of light,” Booth said. “That can get expensive.”

When it comes to grow houses, which are typically housed in industrial warehouses, and retail pot dispensaries in shopping centers, property managers should be cognizant that even though their state may allow such operations, federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance. That means the properties are vulnerable to federal raids and seizures, Booth said. She also cautioned that pot dispensary owners, who legally must deal only in cash, will have to pay rent in cash—and that could raise alarms about money laundering from federal officials.

How Far Can You Go With Criminal Background Checks?

Craddock warned attendees that if their leasing policies disallow tenants who have committed a felony, it could have a disparate impact on a certain group of people—which is a violation of fair housing law. Unfortunately, he noted, HUD guidelines on this issue are vague, and the agency will likely tell property managers to follow guidance set forth by courts in their area. “Our members just want to know what they need to do to follow the law,” Craddock added.

HUD does say that property managers cannot consider arrest records when considering tenant applications, and only convictions related to threats to property or other tenants are relevant when choosing who to rent to, Booth said. “You have to look at the nature of the crime, the severity, the age of the [prospective tenant] at the time of the crime, and how much time has passed since conviction,” she said. She suggested that property managers consider only the last seven years of a prospective tenant’s criminal history.

She also advised looking at work history and doing a credit check on prospective tenants before conducting a criminal background check. “If there’s nothing there, it [may indicate] they’ve spent time in prison recently,” Booth said. When denying tenants based on their criminal background, she added, property managers should be honest about that and give them an opportunity to explain their situation.

http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2017/05/4-issues-watch-for-property-managers

Working on a remodel

The City of High Point announced that they will be building a stadium in the location of the old High Point Enterprise building.  They will also be supporting a development area around the stadium which should include a children’s museum as well as restaurants and shopping.  More information on this project can be found here: https://www.highpointnc.gov/1993/Downtown-Mixed-Use-Area-Plan

This has spurred at least one of our clients to take a good look at their property and they were inspired to start a remodel of their apartment building – the Greenbriar – located on Lindsay Ave.  We have been working with them on getting the units ready, and the entire process has been very exciting.

stone countertop and bartop

wall of closets

walk-in closet

The units themselves are 1 bedroom, 1 bath.  But the closet space is ridiculously good!  We’re talking walk-in closet, plus a wall of closets in the bedroom.  Each unit has an exposed brick wall in the bedroom, which adds a touch of texture and unique character to the apartment.  Additionally, there is a wall of windows in the living room and bedroom.

We decided to take advantage of the tremendous amount of natural light and open the wall between the kitchen and the living room.  We made it a half-wall with a bar top, this will allow residents to take advantage of the bar area for table seating.  The kitchens have been updated with beautiful stone counter-tops. and a textured back splash.

We have 1st floor and 2nd floor units available.  The upstairs apartments have wood-look, laminate flooring. We made sure to add sound-reducing padding under the laminate, so as to reduce the amount of noise for the downstairs residents.  The downstairs units have been returned to their original look with freshly polished and sealed, luxurious terrazzo flooring.

We are rapidly closing in on the interior remodel.  One apartment is completed and two more should be ready soon.  But the owner isn’t stopping there.

Additional plans include: adding controlled access doors to the exterior doors that lead to the common hallways. Once installed, we will issue every resident an electronic device that will allow them to unlock the door. We hope that the residents will find value in this added safety feature.

We have contacted award winning muralist Brian Davis with Brian Studios to add some “flare” to the yellow panels that surround the building.

Starting next year, we will begin to upgrade the landscaping.

And finally, we have contacted Emerywood Laundry regarding a laundry delivery service. The
plan is that they will come once a week and residents can have them pick up their laundry for same day service.  For obvious reasons, this service will not be available until the controlled access doors are installed.

We are excited to help add to the downtown “experience” and hope that the new residents to the updated Greenbriar Apartments will enjoy the new look and feel of this vibrant apartment community.

Lucky Friday the 13th!!!!

Recently we asked our residents to Start The Year Off With Some Green!  Anyone who had a zero dollar account balance with us as of January 10th would be entered to win one of two $100 VISA Gift Cards!

We held the drawing on Friday the 13th – Hey, it has to be lucky for someone, right?

Our winners have been contacted!

This year Fowler & Fowler, REALTORS is celebrating our 40th Anniversary!  We will be having other drawings throughout the year and other exciting events!

 

Helping Raise Money for Urban Ministries

Wednesday evening the gals from Fowler & Fowler, REALTORS headed to the bowling alley.  Our mission?  To help raise funds with the Charles Scott Memorial Bowl-a-thon and have a lot of FUN!

The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Chapter 56 has been hosting the Charles Scott Memorial Bowl-a-thon for several years now.  All monies raised go to support the Greensboro Urban Ministry and help families in need.

This year IREM was able to raise over $650!  We were all very happy to be a part of this event!

We learned, however, we will not be quitting our day jobs and rushing out to become professional bowlers.

Proudly sporting our F&F Green!

Proudly sporting our F&F Green!

bowling (2)

GOAL!

GOAL!

Spring Time (& Spring Cleaning!) is Upon Us!

Refrigerator Maintenance:

Day-to-Day Maintenance

  • Cover food to prevent odors from migrating throughout the fridge and freezer.
  • Keep an open box of baking soda ($1) in the fridge to absorb odor-causing acids.
  • Maintain an adequate amount of clearance on all sides of the appliance (except for those that are zero-clearance or front-vented).


Monthly Maintenance

Empty Ice: Ice can absorb freezer odors and form solid blocks in the bottom of bins. To keep ice loose and smelling sweet, empty ice bins monthly and start fresh; put an open box of odor-sucking baking soda in the freezer.

Every Three Months Maintenance

Inspect door gasket: Dirty and flimsy gaskets prevent refrigerator doors from closing tightly and put stress on motors. Clean grimy gaskets with soapy water and dry completely. If seals are loose, their embedded magnets should be either replaced or re-magnetized.

If you’re handy, re-magnetizing is a DIY job — just run a powerful magnet along each side of the gasket, in the same direction, about 50 times.

Clean condenser coils: Condenser coils in the back of your fridge cool and condense refrigerant, releasing heat. If they’re clogged with dust and pet hair, they stress the compressor and waste energy.

Every three months, vacuum the condenser coils and fan using a brush attachment. Then, clean back coils and sides with a refrigerator coil brush ($7) that can slip into hard-to-reach places. Families with shedding pets should clean the coils monthly.

Level it: Fridges that aren’t completely level — side-to-side and back-to-front — won’t close properly, straining motors and causing condensation inside. To check, place a level on the top of the machine. Then rotate your machine’s adjustable feet until the fridge is level.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/appliances/refrigerator-maintenance/#ixzz3eZSthsrl
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook

 

 

Stove Maintenance:

  1. Clean the interior and exterior

Control panel

Use a light-duty cleaner or simply soap and water with a rag. Using abrasive pads or too harsh of a cleaner can wear off the decal indicators, which identify the knob controls for each burner. If these decals get worn off from overzealous cleaning, the whole control panel may require replacement.

 

Door cleaning

Keeping the front panel, window, and outer door glass clean is important because it prevents spills from staining the panel or glass when it heats up during oven operation. Only clean the front when your range or oven is completely cool. For spills on the front panel that are tough to remove, use a heavy-duty degreaser.

Oven interior

You should clean the interior of your oven three to four times per year.

Spills and drips should be removed as soon as possible, as they will smoke and may eventually catch on fire. Avoid detergent/soap use inside of an oven for both self-cleaning and non-self-cleaning ovens.

Oven interior: Self-cleaning ovens

Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using the self-cleaning function. This feature heats the interior of the oven to a temperature so high, it incinerates food particles and spills. The length of the process varies from model to model but generally lasts for 2 to 4 hours. If you’re hosting a big-cooking holiday like Thanksgiving, run the self-cleaning feature a few weeks in advance, due to risk of an issue with the door latch or an electrical component.

Important: Never use a cleaning solution to clean the interior of a self-cleaning oven unless it is made specifically for self-cleaning ovens.

Oven interior: Non-self-cleaning ovens

Simply wait until the oven is cool to the touch, remove the oven racks and spray oven cleaner directly onto the interior surface. Wipe with a clean rag.

 

How to care for your window air conditioner

  1. Clean the air filter monthly

On most models, the air filter is easily accessible by removing the front panel. Remove the filter and clean it gently with a combination of warm water and dish soap or white vinegar. Let the filter air dry completely before reinstalling it. These should be cleaned once per month during the cooling season. If you have pets or allergies, consider cleaning it more frequently. If the filter has tears, holes or other damage, it should be replaced. If your unit has a foam filter, you can purchase replacement electrostatic filter material and cut it to accommodate the exact size of your model.

  1. Check for insect/animal nests

If you’ve left your air conditioner uncovered in your window or wall over the winter, you’ll need to check for wasp and bees’ nests inside of the unit. Avoid problems with this in the future by storing your window air conditioner in a protected area such as a basement or utility room during the off season. If you must leave your AC in the window, use an air conditioner cover.

  1. Clean the condenser coils once per season

Over time, dust and dirt will build up on the inside of the air conditioner’s condenser coils. This build up will require your AC to work harder to remove heat – increasing energy consumption and your monthly electric bill.

At the start of every cooling season, clean the condenser coils. You’ll need to remove the air conditioner cabinet completely in order to access the coils. They can be cleaned by blowing compressed air at them or by using a soft bristle brush and a spray bottle of household cleaner to wipe the dirt off.

Take great care in removing the dirt. If you accidentally bend or dent the aluminum coil fins, use a handy fin combto straighten out the fins.

It is also important to remove dirt or lint build up at the bottom of the air conditioner so the condensate water will be picked up by the condensing fan blade slinger properly.

  1. Clean the water pan

To prevent the growth of mold and a musty odor in the air, use warm water, dish detergent or white vinegar to clean the inside base of the unit whenever you have the unit taken apart to clean the condenser coils.

  1. Inspect cooling coils for frost or ice buildup

If the temperature outside the room where the air conditioner is placed becomes cool (approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius or lower), check the coils on the front of the air conditioner for icing. Ice buildup on coils means the temperature is too low for proper operation of the unit. You should use it only when the outdoor temperature rises above 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius.

For more information please visit www.repairclinic.com

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Thank you to our customers and clients who have supported us this year!  We wish you all a happy and successful 2016.

As a reminder we will be closed Thursday December 24th and Friday December 25th.

Enjoy this time with your friends and family.  Have a safe and merry Christmas!

Tips to Clean and Prep Your House for Winter

Spring isn’t the only time that your home deserves a really good cleaning and once-over.  Our friends at HouseLogic have come up with some great tips to clean and prep your house for winter.
Please follow the link and check it out!
http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/seasonal-maintenance/winter-cleaning/

Amy Hedgecock appointed to NAR Housing Opportunity Committee

Fowler & Fowler, REALTORS is proud to announce that Amy Hedgecock has been appointed to the National Association of Realtors Housing Opportunity Committee!

The purpose of the committee is to “monitor, oversee and measure results of NAR’s housing opportunity programs and initiatives; to provide strategic direction on housing opportunity initiatives and to propose or develop new programs; to disseminate information on housing opportunity programs and encourage Realtors®’ participation and collaboration through state and local initiatives; and to analyze, monitor and recommend policy on housing opportunity issues which are not within the authority of other NAR committees”.

The Housing Opportunity Committee is comprised of REALTORS® actively involved in state or local housing, financial or affordable housing issues or whose businesses are multi-family housing or real estate investment.
Committee members must participate in community-based affordable housing and/or community development programs, as well as have a strong interest in affordable housing and community development activities.

Congratulations, Amy!

High Point enacts a dog tethering ban

If you are a resident in High Point and keep your dog tied in the yard, you will need to find a new way to keep your dog in the yard.  The City of High Point has enacted a dog tethering ban.  From the High Point Enterprise:

“For the past several months, animal rights activists have pressed City Council to restrict or ban the tethering of unattended, outdoor dogs. Animal rights activists contend the practice of tethering unattended dogs for long periods in a yard is cruel and dangerous.

High Point Police Department Major Larry Casterline said city law enforcement supports the policy.

The city ordinance would be phased in during the next 18 months, including a final six months in which violators would be issued warnings. After the 18-month grace period, penalties for offenses would start at $100, then $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third and subsequent offense”.

For more information:

http://www.hpenews.com/news/council-oks-dog-tethering-ban/article_08f6fbfe-4539-11e5-aa3d-5f1377c49f52.html