Property Management Blog

3 Signs Your Furnace is on Its Way Out

Web Admin - Wednesday, January 03, 2018

New furnaces can last up between 15 and 20 years, according to manufacturer reports. But if you’ve purchased a home with an existing furnace, you may not know when that time period is coming up. What you can know for certain is that whenever your furnace decides to call it quits, it will never be a convenient time for you. Stay on top of an upcoming furnace meltdown by keeping a lookout for these three signs your furnace is on its way out.

1. Your heating bills are much higher than last year at this time.

Your energy company may have raised the rates a little, but a big jump in your heating bill indicates that your furnace isn’t working efficiently. This is one of the primary signs that the furnace is reaching the end of its lifespan. The good news is that new furnaces are so energy efficient that you’ll recoup your cost fairly quickly with lower heating bills.

2. The repair visits are becoming a routine part of life.

Every furnace needs maintenance and repair visits now and again. But if your furnace repairman is on a first name basis with everyone in your household, it’s time to start looking into a replacement rather than a repair. There’s only so much even the best repairman can do with a furnace on its last legs.

3. Your furnace is trying to tell you something.

If your furnace routinely makes knocking, groaning, or other scary sounds, those are signs that you probably need a new furnace. Those are the sounds of an inefficient furnace working too hard to maintain the proper temperature in your home.

When you rent a home from Walker Real Estate Rentals, you never have to worry about broken furnaces. We take care of our tenants as well as the quality of the appliances, including furnaces. To find your perfect single-family rental home, call us at 573-855-9304 today!

How To Prevent Frozen Pipes

Web Admin - Thursday, December 21, 2017



The trouble with frozen pipes isn’t that you no longer have running water in the home. Frozen pipes quickly lead to damaged or burst pipes, since water expands when it freezes. Frozen pipes can happen in any home, but there are ways to prevent this disaster from happening in yours.

Open Cupboard Doors When You’re Away From Home

Even a weekend away can be long enough for pipes to freeze when temperatures drop too low. To keep interior pipes in kitchens and bathrooms from getting too cold, open the cupboard doors so the heat in your home can access those hidden pipes.

Wrap Pipes in Insulating Foam

Insulating foam for pipes is available at hardware stores. It comes with a slit down one side, which makes it easy to pop right onto your pipes. All you have to do is cut the foam to the correct length. Be sure to wrap both cold water and hot water pipes. A side benefit to insulating pipes is some energy savings.

Set Thermostat No Lower Than 50 Degrees

It’s smart to save on heating bills when you’re away from home by lowering the thermostat. But, to be on safe side, don’t set it at anything lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Let the Water Drip

If for some reason the temperatures outside get really chilly, play it safe and let the water in your faucets drip just slightly. Running water can’t freeze, so this will prevent frozen pipes. To conserve water, set a bucket under the faucet to collect the drips. You can then use the water for cleaning or laundry.

Turn Off Outside Water Lines

If you have an outdoor water spigot for a garden hose, be sure to disconnect the hose. Then, turn off the water leading to that spigot in order to avoid a frozen pipe.

Would you like to enjoy the benefit of having your rental property management completely taken care of? Call us at 573-855-9304 to find out all the benefits you get when you hire Walker Real Estate Rentals.

Celebrating Christmas in Pulaski County

Web Admin - Thursday, December 07, 2017

Fort Leonard Wood families are fortunate to live in a region where there are endless opportunities for families to bond together in wholesome activities year round. Christmas is a special time that presents, even more, chances to enjoy everything that Fort Leonard Wood and surrounding areas have to offer.

Journey to Bethlehem, December 8th and 9th, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Crocker Christian Church, Junction of Highway 133 and Highway 17 North

This is an inspiring free activity that is perfect for adults and children of all ages. Live performers reenact the tale with over 100 characters, plus live animals. Complimentary refreshments served after the event.

Richland Christmas Parade, December 10th, 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Downtown Saint Robert

Bring a lawn chair or a stroller for the toddlers to relax and enjoy the annual Christmas parade. The local high school band will be in attendance, as well as police cars, fire engines and an assortment of holiday performers.

Christmas on the Square, December 7th, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Downtown Waynesville

Enjoy the opening ceremony and festive lighting of the live Nativity scene at 6:00, then get the kids’ photo with Santa Claus and his elf, plus the Grinch. Vendors selling refreshments, snacks and handmade crafts will be on hand. Pony rides, face painting, and train rides will delight the children, as well as complimentary hot cocoa.

Richland Holiday Bazaar, December 9th, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Saint Robert Community Center, Saint Robert

Get all of your holiday shopping done in a social and enjoyable setting at the Richland Holiday Bazaar. Over 100 vendors will display their handmade wares for sale. Satisfy your craving for holiday treats with cookies, fudge, and all manner of confectionary delights.

Christmas in Pulaski County is sure to be a crowd pleaser this holiday season. Discover all the delights that this region of the country offers. If you want to learn more about Christmas in Pulaski County, call us today at 573-855-9304.

How to Manage a Bad Tenant

Web Admin - Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Despite every effort, every once in a while you might be faced with the situation of a bad tenant. It’s important that the case is handled correctly, both to protect you as well as your property.

Communicate

First, try to come to an understanding. Is the rent chronically late? Maybe the due date can be altered to better align with the arrival of your tenant’s paycheck. Is the rent proving too much to handle? Perhaps you can let the tenant out of their lease early. Open up the doors of communication to try and figure out what the problem is, and see if you can reach a compromise on the issue. It’s always better to work together with the tenant than to be at odds with one another.

Cover Your Bases

Don’t let the issues devolve into a case of “he said, she said.” Every communication with the tenant should be in writing whenever possible. In the case of warnings and notices, be sure these are delivered by certified mail in writing. Any agreed upon resolutions should be put in writing and signed by you and the tenant. This will all serve to help protect you, should the events snowball into legal proceedings.

Confirm Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities

Each state carries its mandates with regards to the legal rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. Confirm the laws in your state before taking any action at all against your tenant. If you have any questions about it, your property management team at RentWalker.com can help clarify your legal position in the case of a bad tenant.

Remember that bad tenants don’t all want things to be that way. Sometimes unexpected events make it challenging for tenants to carry through with their lease agreement. If both of you treat the situation as a solvable problem, the odds are that things can come to a reasonable arrangement. To make managing a bad tenant even easier, hire the property management team of Walker Real Estate.

Contact us today at 573-855-9304

Tax Time Documents for Landlords

Web Admin - Thursday, November 09, 2017


Get a head start on tax time by beginning to gather these documents now. You’ll be able to file faster, receive any refund quicker, and generally be able to make what can be a complex process a whole lot easier for you and your tax accountant. It can be difficult to remember all the docs you need, so here’s a reminder list of things you’ll need for your tax returns as a landlord:

Expense Receipts

Most, if not all, of your expenses as a landlord will be tax deductible, so you’ll want to gather your receipts for such things as:
  • Rental items like steam cleaners, power washers, etc.
  • Services rendered, including property management services, lawn care, roof repair, electrical and plumbing repairs and maintenance.
  • Marketing and advertising expenses; such as having property descriptions written up, photography costs, online ads, and print media advertising costs.

Permit Records

If you’ve ever applied for and received permits for fences, outbuildings, additions, or anything else on your rental property, make sure you retain all those records for legal reasons as well as for the deduction on permit application fees.

Leases and Addendums

These agreements won’t be submitted with your tax return, but they will be helpful for your tax accountant to review in order to confirm the rent owed and paid over the course of a year, as well as any charges like overdraft fees or late rent penalties.

Property Purchase Documents

Your tax accountant firm can better help you in getting the maximum for property ownership if you provide them with your purchase documents, including mortgage agreements.

Proof of Security Deposits

You may have to show proof that any security deposit you’ve collected has been deposited into an interest-bearing account on behalf of your tenant.

Bank Statements

Bank statements help your tax account cross-reference that the amount of rent on the property coincides with your rental income on your bank statement.

Company Legal Documents

If you’ve formed any kind of legal entity to hold your real estate investment property, you’ll want to submit those papers so your tax accountant can file your taxes accordingly.

Hiring the services of Walker Real Estate for your property management needs makes it very easy for landlords to file correctly at the end of the year. Contact us at 573-415-8111 to find out more about how convenient we make it for property owners.


4 Unique Decorating Features to Attract Top Tenants

Web Admin - Wednesday, October 25, 2017

You can attract the kind of top tenants that will take care of your rental property, pay rent in a timely manner and notify your property manager right away when there is a problem that needs attention. Here are some ideas for unique decorating features that will appeal to those who appreciate quality and fine craftsmanship.

1. Automatic Sensor Faucet

If you need to replace the faucet anyway, consider upgrading to an automatic sensor faucet. This technologically advanced faucet will take your kitchen décor up a notch. It also makes it easier for tenants to keep the sink area clean.

2. Pendant Lighting

It’s a simple matter to install pendant lighting instead of recessed lights in the soffit or ceiling over a kitchen breakfast counter. Pendant lighting offers style, grace and the kind of upscale atmosphere that quality tenants will immediately be drawn to.

3. Built-In Shelves

Even if you have only constructed a 24 x 12 built-in shelving area in the rental property, prospective tenants will walk away remembering that the house offers this desirable but scarce feature. Your carpenter can build modest built-in shelves fairly easily in between studs in the wall in the course of a day or two. It needn’t be an expensive addition. Wooden shelves and surrounding molding can be painted or varnished at very little cost.

4. Arbor

A vinyl or wooden arbor installed at the front or back door, or as an entryway toward the backyard makes a stunning and unique decorating feature that quality tenants will gravitate toward. This simple addition can be installed without professional help in an hour or so. Yet, it makes a memorable and charming addition to any rental property. You don’t even need to wind vines through the arbor. Your prospective tenants will do that for you.

These small little features can help to make your rental property stand out in such a way that you will have your pick of the best tenants. For assistance in interviewing and vetting prospective tenants for your rental property, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at 573-415-8111. We’re always here when you need us!


Tips for Finding the Perfect Home

Web Admin - Monday, October 16, 2017

Here at Walker Rentals, we are happy to help people from all over find homes for rent in Waynesville, Ft. Leonard Wood, St. Robert, and the surrounding areas. Missouri is a beautiful state, and this is a beautiful area. There are plenty of lovely homes to choose from, and we can help you in your decision. Feel free to give us a call for more information, but in the meantime here are some tips for finding the perfect home.

Budgeting Comes First

The last thing anybody wants to have to deal with is to have more money coming out in bills than they have coming in. Since your home (either renting or owning) is most likely one of the biggest purchases you will make in your life, it is an effective place to budget to ensure you're financially comfortable. That doesn't mean you have to give up everything by any means, just that you need to be very clear about where you can comfortably cap your spending, and what you will have to give up if you don't.

Rank Features You Want

Once you have a budget set, it is time to get into the nitty gritty of what you want in a house. Of course, rarely does anyone find a home with everything they want. However, thinking about which features are most important ahead of time can help ensure you get the most possible features you want out of a house. 

Consider Location

Besides hugely affecting the price of a home, location also largely determines what living in a home will be like. You want to know what you want out of a location before hand, so that you can use that information when budgeting and accounting for must have features. 

Know a Home's Value

For both renting and buying, it can be a great help to know a home's value. This helps tell you whether you are getting a fair price for the area. It requires a little research before hand (you can likely find local housing rates at your municipality building), but will give you valuable information to make your decision.

Inspect the Home

As we mentioned earlier, signing in to a rental agreement is no small step. You want to make sure that all the features and appliances in the home work as intended, as well as ensure the structural integrity of the home (you are paying for it, after all). Since most people aren't architects or construction workers, it is best to hire an appraisal to inspect your home for you. 

We hope these tips help you in your search. If you are looking for homes for rent in Waynesville, Fort Leonard Wood, or St. Robert areas, then give the professionals at Walker Rentals a call today. We have access to plenty of beautiful homes for you to choose from. If you have any questions about our services, please do not hesitate to give us a call. One of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives will be happy to provide any answers that you may need.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) FAQ

Web Admin - Monday, October 16, 2017

Here at Walker Rentals, we are proud whenever we get the chance to help an active duty military member find a home that suits their needs. Our military puts their lives on the line to defend our country, and the Basic Allowance for Housing assists them to make the rest of their lives just a little bit easier. But many people aren't completely aware of what the BAH is, and how it benefits military personnel. For those of you who are trying to wrap your heads around the program, here are some frequently asked questions that we have answered for your convenience.

Who qualifies for BAH?

Depending on a military member's rank, station's zip code, and dependency status, they will receive a variable Basic Allowance for Housing amount if they are assigned to a permanent duty anywhere inside the 50 United States (assuming they aren't furnished with Government housing). For military members stationed overseas, there is an Overseas Housing Allowance.

Have there been any recent changes to BAH?

Yes, in 2015 the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act reintroduced a cost sharing element to BAH in the form of an out of pocket expense for members. This out of pocket cost cannot exceed one percent of the national average for housing costs. Additionally, since the same year, the cost of renter's insurance is no longer included when determining Basic Allowance for Housing.

Will I be affected by the out of pocket amount?

Depending on the cost of your home in relation to the local average, you could end up paying an out of pocket cost on your home. Generally, a  home right around the local median would only require a slight out of pocket cost, while homes above the median would have that cost increase. Members who choose homes below that national median may likely pay nothing in out of pocket costs.

Am I protected by housing price changes?

Military members are protected by rate protection both from changes in the housing market as well as changes in BAH policy. This is to ensure that members who commit to long term contracts are not penalized for their decisions. Rate protection applies as long as members do not interrupt their eligibility.

Can rate protection be lost?

Rate protection can be dropped for one of three reasons if the posted allowance for your location and grade are less than what you are currently getting.

  • After a permanent change of station (PCS), your BAH will change to reflect the housing prices in the new location.
  • If you receive a demotion, your BAH will revert to the rates of your new rank.
  • If your dependency status changes (adding or losing dependents), your BAH will change to reflect it.

Hopefully we have helped answer any BAH questions you may have. If you are looking for homes for rent in the Waynesville, St. Robert, or Ft. Leonard Wood areas, Walker Rentals can help. Feel free to give us a call for more information on the properties available in your area.

How to Attract Quality Tenants

Web Admin - Wednesday, October 11, 2017

As a property owner, it’s beneficial to attract quality tenants. Quality tenants are more likely to consistently pay rent on time, take care of the property, and to alert you or your property management team if some issue needs to be addressed. But how do you find good tenants that meet all your criteria? Here are some ways to attract top-quality tenants.

1. Create a Tenant Persona


What would your ideal tenant be like? Create a list of the qualities of your perfect tenant, such as a stable job, family-centered, or animal lover. Putting this in writing helps make it clear in your own mind. When you share the tenant persona with your property management team it also helps them find quality tenants for you.

2. Write a Carefully Worded Advertisement


Your property advertisement can send a powerful message to attract quality tenants. This is where you can really home in on the things you’re looking for in a tenant. For example, if you want a family to move in, emphasize the good schools nearby and the playground around the corner. If you’re seeking a young single professional, mention the short commute to the city center, or the subway station just around the corner.

3. Make Your Property Worth It


Quality tenants are more discriminating about the properties they rent. Make sure that your property is worth it in their eyes by taking extra steps to make it attractive. Consider investing in fixture upgrades or landscaping. At the very least, the property should be clean and not in need of any repairs.

4. Take Lots of Pictures


Nowadays, tenants shop for rentals online. Make sure that your property is represented nicely with plenty of high-quality photos. If there are special details, be sure to highlight them with close-up shots. Don’t forget to take pictures of special amenities like sidewalks, a fenced backyard, the nearby public swimming pool, and the local museums and library. The better you show off your property, the higher quality tenants you’ll attract.

5. Manage Your Online Reputation


Online reviews on property rentals are increasingly common. Work with your property management company to ensure that your tenants have a positive experience. When the contract ends, ask tenants if they’ll write a nice online review for your property. Future tenants will see from the reviews that your property is of the best quality.


Attracting quality tenants isn’t hard once you take these simple steps. For help getting new tenants or taking care of your existing tenants, please call us today at 573-415-8111.


Dos and Don'ts For Rental Property Remodels

Web Admin - Friday, October 06, 2017

Here at Walker Rentals, we offer property management services in the Waynesville, Fort Leonard Wood, and St. Robert areas. In our years of helping people manage their properties, we have learned a thing or two about what attracts great tenants. One way is by performing minor remodeling on your rental property. But don't jump into hasty decisions, you will want to be sure of your choices first. Here are some minor remodeling dos and don'ts to help your property stay filled.

DOs

These features are likely to help you attract a prospective tenant.

Use White Paint

Unless you are going for a more expensive color option, white paint will cost you the same as both cream or beige (two affordable options). The vast majority of people prefer a white backdrop over cream or beige, so going white will cast the widest net to attract new tenants.

Go With Tile

"Wow, that is some exceptional looking linoleum!" said no one ever.  While tile is a little more expensive, it isn't prohibitively so. It is well worth the investment for the longer lasting, and better looking material.

Shower Heads/Faucets

A full bathroom remodel is an expensive endeavor. If you know exactly what you want, and have the funds, it can significantly raise the value and attractiveness of your property. However, if that is not an option, replacing shower heads and faucets is an affordable second.  Not only can you improve the functionality of your bathroom (and maybe get that water pressure just right), but it will give it a slightly cleaner and fresher look as well.

Dark Grout

Rental properties will likely have different tenants living in them at some point, and even the best housekeeper can't keep white grout looking pristine for long. Opting for black means that you won't have to deal with that faded, aged look.

DON'Ts

These features MAY dissuade a tenant from renting your property, based on industry trends.

Carpeting

When possible, opt for hardwood floors, or some other material. It is far from a deal breaker for everyone, but carpets are easily destroyed, and too many repairs will make them more costly than other options. Plus, there is just never any guarantee that a tenant will take care of them.

Ceiling Fans

This one is actually pretty controversial. Ceiling fans are a great way to save on energy costs and keep a building cool, but they also detract from aesthetics. A good middle ground option is to put that renovation on the back burner, then wait until you have tenants lined up, and ask them yourself what they prefer.

Skimp on the Paint Job

At first glance, even an inexperienced first time painter can make a paint job look good. However, savvy tenants will likely take more than a first look, and if the quality of the paint job is bad, they will likely move on. If you are doing it yourself, make sure to do your due diligence. Otherwise, it may be a good idea to outsource.

 

Minor remodels are a great way to attract more tenants fast. Stay tuned for our next blog, where we go over some major remodeling tips for rental property owners. If you are looking for a property management company in Waynesville, St. Robert, or Fort Leonard Wood areas, give us a call for more information on how we can help you.