Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Secure Your property for before Rehabbing!

After completing several property rehabs in Miami-Dade County, Florida, I wanted to try something out of the county but still in Florida. My parents lived in Sarasota, Florida so I thought this would be a nice place to start. Distance would be an issue but my father was down for the winter and he could check up on the progress being made on the individual properties. Also, my Dad is an electrical contractor which brings many rehab benefits but that is a future REIC posting.

I found a duplex FOR SALE fairly quickly on Debbie Street, Sarasota due to the advantage of attending Sarasota REIA group meetings on Florida's Gulf Coast. Other than the distance, four hour drive, I felt this would be like any other rehab.

I decided to start in February with a two week property visit. Well during that time, several problems arose that I didn't experience before, like:

  • Most of the properties were on well water. Hard on the pipes, fixtures and tasted awful. Our duplex had city water service which was a blessing but caused me a problem I had to resolve.
  • Septic Tanks! No county sewer systems had been installed. The drain field was the front lawn and it was clogged.
  • Clothes Washer waste water line emptied onto the backyard lawn.
  • Pine trees over fifty high. Pine needles build up on the roof and lawn.
  • Gravel driveway that the neighbors thought they could use to park their cars.
  • Drug addicts lived about 50 yards away in an apartment.
  • On and On and On....
But the one problem that cost me the most in time and money was the city water lines.

Apparently it was very expensive to get connected to Sarasota's water system due to high impact fees. Impact fees are the city's way to tax you for hooking up to the water system network. You have to pay for the following:

  • Impact fees
  • Installation fee for digging up the street and installing the water meters.
  • Hire a plumber to run lines from the city's water meters to the duplex's water system.
  • Had to pay twice since it was two separate water meters, one for each unit of the duplex.

Luckily, my duplex already had these meters installed by a previous owner. The problem was the neighbors knew this and thought they could help themselves to the city water from our duplex. They would go to our outside water fixture and fill their 5 gallon water containers.

By the end of the month, I had a very large water bill which I couldn't figure out why? My rehab contractor said he never used too much water. I thought I had a water line leak from the meter to the duplex.

One day in July, my rehab contractor said he saw one of the neighbors filling up their containers and told me about it. I was flabbergasted but realized that this was going to be an ongoing problem!

Below is picture containing the anti-theft water system parts and installation video.....

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Written by +Bob Burns.
 
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Ten Reasons Why Your Real Estate Deal Fails at the Closing Table!

Having bought and sold many properties I can tell you that deals can blow up right at the closing table.

When I decided to buy my first home in Miami, Florida due to my wife's pregnancy the deal blew up in less than 45 minutes into the closing. I was going to sell my 1 bedroom condo on Brickell Avenue and purchase a 3/2 home in Coconut Grove on the same day! What could go wrong?

Mistake!

The Buyer of my apartment came to the closing but could not close the deal due to late arrival of the bank funds. The Tile Company refused to close that afternoon and wanted to do it the next morning.

Well needless to say, I was MAD!

I was going to use the excess monies from that Brickell Avenue deal as a down payment on the Coconut Grove purchase.

The current owner of the Grove House threatened to take my $12K deposit since we couldn’t close on the contracted date.

Thank God I had an attorney draw up the contract. There was a "subject to funding" clause in the contract

Note: Always have a Real Estate Attorney review your contract template. Check our Service Providers List for our preferred real estate attorney in South Florida.

The next day we closed but I couldn't sleep that night.

Soooooo….just because you have a contract doesn't mean you're going to close!

Below is a list I put together with help from Joseph F. Suarez that provides Ten Reasons Why Your Deal Fails at the Closing Table! (Sellers Beware):

  1. You Contract is not Correct – Too many mistakes can occur right here like wrong Platt numbers, improper property description, wrong dates, etc.

  2. No Financial Commitment By the Buyer
    1. No Money in Escrow

  3. Title Problems
    1. More/Different Sellers on Title
    2. Seller Not on Title
    3. Illegal Title Transfer

  4. Buyer has Collections & Judgments
    1. Check out the Buyer

  5. Deteriorating Market – Current Real Estate Market
    1. Deteriorating Market Value
    2. Deteriorating LTV Ratio .
    3. Deteriorating Interest Rates

  6. Open Permits and Liens – Hurricane Andrew caused a lot of problems with Open permits in Southern Dade County. I can’t tell you how many times I have been nailed on this item!

  7. Fraud/Foreclosure/Google – Again, Buyer Beware!

  8. Water & Waste Lien – This problem appears a lot with commercial properties that only have one water meter.

  9. Property Doesn't Qualify for Financing – Tax rolls list it as a 2/1 one but you think you are buying a 3/2 Uh?!

  10. Uninsurable Property – Property in a Flood zone, property not up to current code, etc.

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Written by +Bob Burns.
 
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Top 20 Most Common Reasons Why Units Fail
Section 8 Inspections.


One of your hats that you wear as a real estate investor is being a landlord. As a landlord, your job is to maintain the properties and keep them rented.

Keeping your properties fully occupied throughout the year increases your cash flow and provides a better return on your investment ROI but can be a difficult task! The longer a Unit remains unoccupied the less ROI landlords are going to have.

Below are several channels available to landlords to find qualified tenants:

  • Retail Market - Newspapers, Word of Mouth, Church, For Rent Signs on property, internet, etc...
  • Multiple Listing Service MLS - Database Realtors use to find rental properties for their clients
  • Section 8, Plan Ocho, Sec 8, Plan Eight, Plan 8, Section Eight - Government subsidized rental payment plan.


The more channels you have, the greater possibility of finding a qualified tenant for your unit. SPEED is essential for success. Any delay will hurt ROI.

Section 8 will eliminate a lot of the drawbacks of being a landlord but you have to follow HUD's guidelines to be successful.

One part of the guidelines is the unit or property must pass an interior and exterior inspection. If you fail the inspection, more delays and your ROI will be affected. Being prepared for the inspection will help make the rental transaction a smooth process.

From my experience with Section 8, below is a list of items that will fail a HUD inspection:

  1. Smoke alarms missing or not working.
  2. Lack of ventilation in bathroom.
  3. Outlet covers missing or broken.
  4. Infestation by bugs or vermin.
  5. Absence of handrails where 4 or more consecutive steps.
  6. Utilities disconnected (must be connected).
  7. Hazards (i.e. tripping as a result of floor covering or exposed electrical wiring.
  8. One window in each room must open and have a screen.
  9. Chipping paint on the outside of the building – gutters, outside surfaces of building.
  10. Hazardous hole or trash in the yard.
  11. Door not sealed properly (light can be seen coming through).
  12. No hot or cold running water.
  13. All windows must have sash cords or balancers and must stay in the open position without assistance.
  14. All ceilings must be at least 7 feet in height in areas used for living, sleeping, etc….
  15. All steps to landing or basements have handrails.
  16. Baths without windows must have power fan or gravity vents in high rise buildings.
  17. Open electrical distribution box must be covered with appropriate cover.
  18. Windows in bedroom too small and will not qualify as areas for sleeping.
  19. Security bars (rejas) can’t be opened from the interior will not be allowed to remain.
  20. All bedrooms must have a built in closet.
I provided pictures of potential failure points below. Can you identify what would cause a failed inspection item?

Click on each image to view a larger photo!


Section Failure Item Gap between Ground and House

Section Failure Item Chipped Paint

Section Failure Item Ceiling Stain

Section Failure Item Door Jam

Section Failure Item Water Heater Drain Pipe

Section Failure Item Circuit Breaker

Section Failure Item Rejas Door Lock
Have you any experience with Section 8 inspections? Share them with US!

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Written by +Bob Burns.
####
   
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Real Estate Investor
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Miami Dade Housing Choice Voucher Program Building

HUD's fourth largest Section Eight or Plan Ocho program in the nation is managed by Miami-Dade Public Housing Agency MDPHA. It is a management nightmare! I remember the old Coral Way offices and waiting hours to see a Landlord case worker. The county decided to outsource the management of Miami-Dade Public Housing Agency MDPHA's Housing Choice Voucher Program. Miami-Dade awarded a multi-year contract to Quadel Consulting. They are responsible for:

  • Section 8 Voucher Program
  • Section 8 Home Ownership Program
  • MDPHA Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program
This allows the MDPHA to save money and increase processing efficiencies.

Landlords, this is a great program to use for renting your investment properties. When a unit becomes empty, the clock starts ticking. You are losing MONEY! You need to lease this unit as soon as possible! Adding Section 8 or Plan 8 to your marketing funnel, increases the probability of finding a qualified tenant.

I put to together a simple video below that shows you the outside of the Miami Dade Housing Choice Voucher Program Building. Go down there NOW and set up an appointment to discuss the Landlord Program. Address is: 7400 NW 19th Street, Bay H, Miami, Florida 33126. Don't expect an appointment right away. They will schedule you via a 3-4 week window. Sorry, it is what it is!

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Miami-Dade Public Housing Agency MDPHA schedules meeting for Section 8 Landlords

Since REIC's blog discusses Section 8 or Plan Ocho in Miami-Dade County, I thought this news item should be posted. The budget for the US (United States) has gone through some serious cost cutting. HUD's Section Eight or Plan 8 will not be exempt from the reduction of funding. Section 8 landlords that have Section 8 HCV tenants or future landlords considering Section Eight, this meeting is vital for you to attend. I am SURE all the changes to the HUD' Sec. 8 program will be discussed by the Miami-Dade Housing Authority staff. Below is the meeting information:

"The Executive Director of MDPHA invites all owners and landlords with Section 8 (HCV) tenants to meet with him and his staff to discuss the HUD Financial Outlook and Changes. The changes impact: Payment Standards, Rent Reasonableness and Rent Increases.

Date: September 15, 2011
Time: 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Location: Port of Miami - 1015 N America Way to Terminal J Miami, FL 33132.
Security will require all owners and landlords to have registered for the meeting or they will not be able to gain access. You will also need to have a photo ID.
RSVP: September 6, 2011
E-mail: landlord@mdvoucher.com
Fax: 305-629-1032
Phone: 305-403-3222

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Top 10 Real Estate tips and tricks
from Southern Florida

I was a young teen when my father started buying investment real estate in Southern New Jersey (Sea Isle, Avalon and Stone Harbor, Cape May County, New Jersey). He was a man that could do everything himself so being a real estate investor seemed like a good option for me since I knew a little about it. Boy was I WRONG! It is very difficult and frustrating but rewarding. I could give details but that is for another time.

While buying, rehabbing, landlording and selling in Southern Florida, I learned several tips, tricks and lessons that helped me during the investment cycle. These items will help you avoid mistakes, save time and money and make the process a little easier to manage.

To Your Success as an Investor, Rehabber and Landlord:

  1. Make sure you have the mail forwarded to your business address after you purchase a new investment property....Why? Read my previous blog about this one at: Make sure you have the mail forwarded blog...
  2. Check to see if you have any liens or violations caused by your tenant before giving back their security deposit. I got nailed for $500 for a pit bull violation (future blog posting).
  3. Make sure during a title search that your title company checks for Open Permits. More than once this has hampered a pending sale.
  4. Make sure when a potential client places a deposit for a rental property, you make them sign a document that explains the rules of the deposit, refund or non-refund terms, what it represents, disclosures, etc. Several times I received calls from potential clients wanting their deposits back after you, the landlord, already took your property off the market. Protect Yourself.
  5. You make or lose money on an investment property when you gain control of the property at a specified price. Make sure you follow the Maximum Allowable Offer MAO rule! See my MAO blog about this....
  6. When purchasing an investment property, make sure the tax records match the property description on the MLS. If the property is listed as a 3/2 but tax records say a 2/1, there may be a problem with the structure being legal.
  7. By checking the number of water meters and electrical meters will help you tell whether the multiunit structure is a legal structure.
  8. Make sure when you are about to sign any real estate contract for a property: Florida FAR BAR, short sale option contract, purchase contract etc., all parties are there for signature. If the significant other is not present you may have problems later on. By Florida law if the couple is divorced, unless the property has been settled previously (request documentation as proof), both husband and wife are entitled to the property therefore you need both signatures. Your first Question for any deal is "Are You or Have Been married?"
  9. While rehabbing a property, make sure your mailing address is posted somewhere that the mailman can read it. Otherwise, he will not deliver your mail or make sure you have the mail forwarded.(See number 1)
  10. Land Lords have more than one option for collecting rent and utility payments from their tenants. Section 8, Section Eight, Plan 8 or Plan Ocho is a government subsidized program that pays the monthly fees for low income families associated with living in the Land Lord's apartment, condo or single family home. For more information go to: Section 8 - Information for Landlords and Tenants.

Do you have any tips or tricks with the buying, selling, rehabbing or landlording that you would like to share?

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Landlords, use HUD's Housing Quality Standards Checklist for your Section 8 property inspections.

HUD's Section 8 department has a program called the Housing Choice Voucher Program. This is the most popular of all the available programs Section Eight or Plan Ocho provides.

There are three parties involved when a voucher transaction occurs:

 

  1. The Property Owner or Land Lord.
  2. The County's Section 8 representatives.
  3. Tenant or Voucher Holder.

Each side has different responsibilities to allow and maintain the rental agreement. I intend to discuss each party's responsibilities over time but today I am reviewing the Land Lord's.

As you may know or may not, HUD has a list of HUD's HOUSING QUALITY STANDARDS CHECKLIST. Before a Tenant can move into a property, HUD must perform an inspection of the UNIT (rental property). A HUD certified inspector and the Land Lord schedule an appointment to inspect the UNIT (rental property). The inspection entails checking:

  • Mechanical.
  • Plumbing.
  • The UNIT's Interior.
  • The UNIT's Exterior.
  • Stairways.
  • Other.

For more inspection details, make sure you visit our HUD's HOUSING QUALITY STANDARDS CHECKLIST page.

If you should fail the initial inspection, the Land Lord has 15 days to correct the all the faults discovered by the HUD inspector and reschedule.

After you pass HUD's initial inspection, your potential Section 8 Tenant can move in after their paper work has been processed.

HUD is not finished!!!!!

In addition to the initial check, HUD performs a yearly inspection of the UNIT and provides their findings to the Tenant and Land Lord. Each violation will be accountable to either the Tenant or Land Lord. The letter will mention what date these violations must be corrected to avoid further action by the Housing Authority.

From my experience with my own properties, I only failed a HUD inspection once and that was beyond my control (hurricane damage).

Do you have any experiences with Section Eight or Plan 8 inspections that you would like to share with us?

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Written by +Bob Burns.
####
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MREIA's President
about.me/RobertKBurns
Telephone #: 305-300-6242
email: rkburns@investmentpropertiesmiamiflorida.com
MREIA's Web Page: www.miamireia.com
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