Skip to content Sitemap

Blog

FAQs for Homeowners

Thank you for trusting us to manage your investment. There is a risk when you decide to rent your property and we will do our utmost to ensure that we get quality tenants that will care for it. Below are some frequently asked questions that will also detail how we do business. Things do change in this industry from time to time and we will update this document as needed.

 

What do you charge to manage my property? We charge 10% of the monthly rent with a minimum of $100. This is taken directly from the tenants rent payment. If the property is vacant, we do not charge this fee.

 

How do you pay me the rent? We will electronically deposit the rent into the account you designate. Providing we have received payment from the tenant, funds will be deposited by the 10th of each month.

 

Why do the utilities need to be on in my name even if the property is vacant? This helps to protect your investment. If utilities are not on, it is impossible to properly check all systems in your property. Also, in the winter months, not having the utilities on can cause very expensive damage to your property. After all inspections are complete, the water may be turned off if desired.

 

Who performs maintenance on my property? We have companies that we utilize for various issues based on the location of your property. If you have a preferred company, then we will use them for your property maintenance.

 

How do I pay companies that perform work on my property? We will coordinate the work to be done and pay the vendor used. This charge will be taken from the next rent deposit.

 

The stove was working fine when I was living there, why are there problems now? Keep in mind, wear and tear continues on your property. All appliances must be in working order.

 

Why must my property pass a Fort Riley Housing inspection? The majority of our tenants are military and this is required. All utilities must be on for this inspection. They will check all smoke detectors, all appliances, screens and doors, electrical grounding, cleanliness, and other safety and functional items.

 

I want the tenant to weed and tend to the flower beds each spring. We hold the tenant responsible for mowing the grass and keeping the yard in compliance within the city codes. If you have special landscaping, you will need to hire someone to do this. We will do that for you if desired, and take the charge from your rent deposit.

 

What maintenance on my property is the tenant responsible for? When we perform a walk thru of the property, we will show them how to change the furnace filter, water filter if applicable, add salt to water softener if applicable, and special yard areas that will need mowed such as easements. All other maintenance items are your responsibility for payment. As stated above, we will use one of our vendors unless you want us to use someone else. This charge will be taken from the next rent deposit.

 

I do not want a single parent family to rent my property. This is in violation of the Fair Housing Act. If the tenant is otherwise qualified, we will rent to them. We will not however, allow multiple families to reside in the property nor allow sub leasing without your authorization. This is extremely rare.

 

How much money am I required to keep in the maintenance account? We do not require you to maintain a maintenance account. We highly recommend that you maintain your own account in the case of a high dollar repair or event, such as replacing a furnace, flood clean up, putting tenants in a motel, or other issues in which you are responsible for.

 

What is considered an emergency repair? Any issue that could cause injury to the tenant or damage to property such as a big water leak, flooding, major electrical, Air Conditioner when we are in a heat advisory, furnace when in a cold advisory, etc. We will attempt to get someone to the property immediately regardless of time of day or day of week to include holidays.

 

How will I know that there is an issue with my property? When we are notified of an issue by the tenant, we will inform you thru your owner portal. There, you will be able to track the progress of fixing the issue, who is performing the work, as well of the cost. There will never be a surprise charge for your property.

 

I received an email from you that you will be cleaning gutters and servicing air conditioners. I do not want that charge. As stated above, there will never be a surprise charge for your property. We do not make these services mandatory but highly recommend them. Most tenants do not have the knowledge to perform this maintenance nor is it their responsibility. Taking these measures could prevent a much higher cost in repairs in the future.

 

I do not want pets allowed in my property. That is your decision as the landlord whether to allow pets and what kind of pets. Keep in mind that most families do have pets and by allowing pets, you make your property open to a bigger base of tenants. However, by allowing pets the risk increases for damage to your property. In this area, a $300 pet deposit is the norm. Based on the pet(s), this deposit can be increased. All pet deposits are refundable as long as there is no pet damage.

 

How do you ensure that a tenant can afford the rent? When a tenant wants to rent your property, they must fill out an application. We then do a tenant screening report which includes credit score, criminal background check, evictions, and other derogatory items to ensure we get quality tenants for your property. This application includes employment information and income.

 

What if a tenant causes more damage than the security and pet deposit can cover? Unfortunately, regardless of our screening process, a bad tenant could slip thru. Again this is rare but is also a risk of renting. When a tenant puts in their 30 day notice, they are required to give us a forwarding address. If repairs exceed the deposit, we will bill them. If needed, we will sue them on your behalf in small claims court. In the 10 years that we have been doing this, it has happened 2 times. Both times we were able to recoup most of the money. The bottom line though is that any money to make repairs not paid by the tenant, will be your responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeowner Insurance Lessons

Early this summer, a tornado ripped near the Chapman area, completely destroying a former clients farmstead. Luckily, all humans were not hurt. When it came time to begin rebuilding, they found out that they were way underinsured to the tune of 10s of thousands of dollars. Since we have added on quite a bit on our house, Joy and I decided that we needed to talk with our insurance agent to make sure we were insured enough to rebuild, should a loss happen.

July 13,2016 at approximately 0700 we awoke to the sound of a big thunderstorm. When we looked out one of the front windows, we could see part of our barn laying in the front yard. Once the storm subsided, we went outside to see that our beloved barn had been destroyed.

Our Insurance company acted very quickly to get someone out to assess the damage and to get the claim started. Part of the claim process is to get an estimate to rebuild.  A local farmer recommended a good builder. We had him come over and give us an estimate. The estimate was about $53,000 to rebuild our barn, not taking into account the task of excavating the site, which a ball park estimate from a local excavator put at $5-10000.

Our insurance adjuster was great. He made sure we knew everything that was needed from us to make the claim proceed. Our agent was great assisting us in completing various forms. However, despite our insurance company helping greatly, our claim check to replace our barn was for $15600, much less than it was going to cost to rebuild.

We ended up building the new barn ourselves which was a big undertaking. I plan to publish the building of the new barn in future blogs. Our mortgage company was a pain in the butt to work with. The claim check is made payable to the homeowner and the mortgage company. They would only release half of the money until the project was 90% complete and inspected. This put a financial burden on us which I personally think is crap. I mean why do we have insurance? Just another thing to think about.

Well, since this happened, we did ask our insurance agent to calculate if we had enough insurance to rebuild our house. Turns out we were about as short as our former clients were. We now have enough coverage to rebuild our house and upped our barn coverage too. I’m getting too old to be building barns.

Make sure your homeowner insurance is adequate to completely rebuild. If you have recently purchased a home, chances are, your coverage is adequate. However, any major add ons or improvements could change this. If in doubt, make an appointment with your insurance agent. I sure wish we had done it sooner. Scott

Barn destroyed

Memorial Day Memories

By the time I was three, both of my biological grandfathers had passed on. Neither had served in the military, in fact our family, though patriotic, did not have a lot of servicemen. My great Uncle served in the Army Air Corp as a pilot during WWII, and another served in the Army during Vietnam.

When I was a kid, we called Memorial Day Decoration Day. This was always a fun time. We would always go to either the Park City Cemetery or the Henefer Cemetery to beautify the graves of my Grandfathers and others. We would load up rakes, shovels, and other tools to make everything look pretty.

Henefer was my favorite. My Grandpa Francis was buried there as well as other family members. This was an old cemetery sitting atop of the foothills of Henefer. We also would go deer hunting in this area but that is another story. Away from the main cemetery was a lone grave. We called it the paupers grave. As I remember the story, he died with no money whatsoever and no family, so the town of Henefer had buried him in the most economical way possible. We always made sure that we took care of his grave. My brothers and I felt very sorry for him.

The cemetery at Henefer had a lot of history. I remember reading all of the headstones and wondering about the story of each person lying in rest. I still do that to this day whenever I am at a cemetery. I also remember that my Dad was carrying a shovel and was walking amongst the graves when all of a sudden the ground gave way under him and he sank above his waist into a grave. I don’t believe that vaults had been used on most of the graves. I am pretty sure that it scared us kids much more than my Dad.

Once I joined the Army and moved away, I celebrated Memorial Day somewhat different. Usually it was military themed as thankfully, I had no family buried where I have been stationed. As I get older and have sons and good friends serving in the military and have lost friends who were killed in action, my heart is filled with pride and thankfulness for the brave servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving this country.

Happy Memorial Day to all. This is a day to remember those that we have lost. I know my family back in Utah will be going to decorate our family resting places. ScottIMG_4671.JPG

The last PCS

thWanting to retire in an area that boasts lots to do in the outdoors, we thought Fort Knox Kentucky was that place. We were getting close to the end of our Army career but knew there was one more PCS to go thru. Well, DA dangled that olive branch that if I went to Korea for a year, I could most likely come back to Fort Knox (which was common back then). BOOM! Done deal! Do a year in Korea, come back to Fort Knox and drop our retirement paperwork. Exactly what we wanted, we loved the area, houses were pretty affordable, the hunting and fishing were great! Joy started to look for houses…………….

Since I was on the E-8 list, DA wanted me to attend the First Sergeant Course at Fort Bliss, Texas while enroute to Korea. Since we were basically living from paycheck to paycheck, I really needed those PCS orders in order to get an advance of my TDY enroute. When I finally got the orders, I could not believe what I was reading. TDY enroute to my next duty station, Korea, with a return PCS to Fort Riley, Kansas. WHAT!!!!! Not the plan! OK, easy, just submit DA 4187 to get it changed.

At the archery range on post, I was telling another guy who was also getting ready for archery season about where we were headed after Korea. He told me that I would love it at Fort Riley, that as far as outdoor opportunities, it actually was better than Knox. Well, I think I just said thanks for the info but I am going to get it changed.

Well, the first 4187 was not approved. While in Korea I think I submitted one every month to no avail. E-8s were desperately needed at Fort Riley. The house hunting stopped, looked like we were heading to Kansas.

The only thing that we knew about Kansas was what we had seen on the Wizard of Oz and a couple trips thru it on I-70. We decided to do a DITY move to make a little money. I drove the U-Haul towing the pickup, Joy drove the van towing the boat. Included in this convoy were 4 kids, the dog, the cat, the cockatiels, and the fish. We only broke down once!

We received transient housing in a place called Will Hall. When I signed in, since I had been in Korea for a year, we were bumped to the top of the housing list, only about a month to wait. This was when 1st ID HQ had been sent to Germany, so on Fort Riley there were two separate maneuver Brigades under different Divisions. And guess what……….? No one needed E-8s!! So, I was assigned as a staff guy at the G3 plans section until an E8 slot opened up on the hill. (The “Hill” refers to Custer Hill where all the combat units are located). In order to work at G3 plans, I had to be a battle staff graduate. So, I was slotted to attend the next Battle Staff Course at Fort Bliss, which turned out to be a couple of days before we received our on post housing. We had put all of our household goods in storage. The day before I departed to attend Battle Staff, we loaded up the U-haul to make it easier on Joy and the kids to move into the house. This is how I left them, new post, new area, new schools, new house, and a packed U-haul that they would unload by themselves…………….

That was 19 years ago, and we are still here! We love Kansas! Although I must admit that I was not real fond of Fort Riley while I was on active duty, I love it now! There is so much to do around here. Sure, you will put some mileage on your car, things are spread out a lot. Milford Lake is awesome, the hunting and fishing is incredible, the amount of public hunting areas is unmatched anywhere that I know of. Great shopping and eating places. Awesome people.

My next few blogs will focus on different things that we enjoy here in Kansas and how we do them.

So, if you stumbled upon this because you are on our website looking for a place to live because you will soon PCS to Fort Riley, don’t be sad, be HAPPY! Scott

 

AC season is almost here

If you have spent a summer in Northeast Kansas, than you know how hot and humid it can be. Chances are that you have also had to call a technician because your AC was not working. I have been in this business for about 8 years and I can say that about 85%-90% of the time that we get an AC tech to check out a non-working AC, the root cause is either dirty condensing coils or a dirty filter. A lot of times this is the only problem.

As we near the season of Air Conditioner, I thought now would be a good time to share some tips to keep you in the chill. Keep in mind that I am not an HVAC technician, some definitions of equipment I use might make a real HVAC guy go nuts! But hey we don’t care right? We are hoping not to see him this summer!

Lets start with the filter. With all the talk of how important changing filters are, I continue to see filters that look like the one pictured below. This is bad for any season, in fact during furnace season, this could pose a fire hazard especially for older furnaces. To be ready for AC season, the filter should be changed or if reusable, washed. We recommend changing the filter every month during heavy use. Face it, we are in Kansas. There is a lot of dust stirred up in these winds which goes right into the filter. Which by the way is much better than going into our AC unit, right? If you have inside pets, especially long haired pets, this will also help for the filter to accumulate more stuff to clog it. While you have the filter out, now might be a good time to take your shop vac and clean all the areas around the filter.

IMG_2222

This air filter is really hampering the efficiency of the AC or furnace.

IMG_2967

This outside unit has easily accessible condenser coils.

Next is the outside unit which houses the Air Conditioning Compressor. After sitting idle out in the winter doing nothing, it is ready to go to work. However, during this inactivity, it also attracts dirt, leaves, grass, weeds, and also an occasional dog thinking it may be a fire hydrant, that stick to the condenser coils that will impair performance. To get this unit ready for AC season, we need a water hose. Take a water hose and G-E-N-T-L-Y wash out all the gunk from in between the cooling fins. If you use too much water pressure, you will BEND the fins. They are pretty fragile, but just use some care and you will get them cleaned just fine. Some outside units are easier to clean than others. You may even have to remove a shroud or two in order to get access to the condenser coils. This is usually fastened with a few sheet metal screws and is pretty easy to remove.

So, lets get ready for the season of Air Conditioning, it is right around the corner. If you have a real HVAC technician come and do this service, you will pay about $75-$125. Usually the only thing more that they do is to check freon. Unless you have a really old system, the freon level usually will be good. Note that I said usually. Every few years I do have someone come and check the freon level.

So, make sure that your equipment is ready so we can be cool for the summer!

IMG_2977

The cooling condensers are not as visible in this type unit.

IMG_2976

A closer look at the unit on the left, this AC won’t keep cool for very long, it needs cleaned!

Smoke Detectors

Smoke Detectors and Jordy Nelson…….hmmm what is the connection?

My wife and I are always eager to hear about a good local place to eat. A few years ago, one of our clients recommended a place called Nelsons Landing in Leonardville. One afternoon, we rode our bike there and absolutely loved it! Turns out, the owners are the parents of Jordy Nelson, a local guy who is adored as a K-State hero as well as a receiver for the Green Bay Packers. Anyway, a couple of weeks later we went back there to have a meal. At the entrance was a box with a chance to win a $25 gift certificate for Nelsons Landing. Without reading the small print, I filled out the piece of paper and put it in the box. About a week later, we got a call that we had won the certificate (YAY, YAY, YAY!). But, we had to listen to a fire safety briefing first. (DANG, DANG, DANG!)

So the guy shows up to the house and this fire safety briefing ended up being a sales job for smoke detectors. Well, luckily for this guy, he was not real pushy and was pretty friendly, so we decided to listen. At the end, the price was way too much for what we were willing to pay, but we did get some good info.

There are two different types of smoke detectors, photoelectric and ionization. The photoelectric type are best for smoldering fires. The Ionization type are better for flaming fires. WHO WOULD HAVE KNOWN! At least I did not know this. My shopping for smoke detectors used to be going to Walmart and putting the least expensive one in my cart. Turns out that it is recommended to have both types in each level of your house. In fact the type this guy was selling had both technologies in each. Click here for more info about these technologies.

We then walked thru our house. In the basement, he asked if we had a carbon monoxide detector. I proudly showed him our carbon monoxide detector next to the furnace. He informed me that the best place to have a carbon monoxide detector is not nearest the source that may produce carbon monoxide, but closest to sleep areas. He also highly recommended having fire extinguishers near sleep areas too. Why hadn’t I thought of that!!

A couple of days after this new knowledge, I made a trip to Menards and purchased new detectors of both types as well as another carbon monoxide detector and a fire extinguisher for our bedroom. Sure enough, each detector package had in the fine print, what technology it utilized.

I consider myself pretty knowledgable, especially when it comes to safety. I was pretty shocked that the salesman was able to point out ways of having a safer home in MY HOME! So, we drank a couple of beers and he left. Thanks Mr smoke detector salesman! Scott

 

Our Garbage

Quite a few years ago, we had a dumpster at our house which was emptied every month. After the kids all moved out, we decided we no longer needed something this big, so we downgraded to a normal sized garbage can. Immediately I realized that this was not going to work, as it was filled up way before garbage day. This is when we started to recycle and I was just amazed at how much smaller our garbage “footprint” became.
Neither Wakefield nor Junction City offers curbside recycling services as it was voted down by the voters. So it does take a small amount of effort to recycle around here. However, Geary and Clay counties as well as Fort Riley do have drop off sites to take recyclables. Geary county no longer accepts glass. Fort Riley also accepts styrofoam. Clay County drop off site is at the county landfill.  Geary is at 310 E  8th Street. Both sites will also take any hazardous waste at no charge for residents of the particular county. This includes paint, oil, oil filters, old cooking oil, poisons, unknown liquids, batteries, old televisions, etc. If you will be disposing of any hazardous items you will be required to submit your name and address. The Fort Riley drop-off is in the PX parking lot. No hazardous materials are collected there with the exception of used cooking oil.
We have small garbage cans in our laundry room, 1 each for aluminum cans, bottles and glass, food cans, plastic, cardboard, and styrofoam. Every Friday, the ones that are full get taken to the drop-off site. All paper gets shredded and than is in the garden every year as mulch.
So give recycling a try, the amount of garbage reduced will be very noticeable, which in turn helps our landfills fill up a little less quickly. You will feel good about it! Scott