Friday, January 29, 2010

Heat Exchanger? What's a Heat Exchanger??

Furnaces. Can't live with them, can't fix 'em with a sawz-all! This week's fun began last week with the final and utter demise of one of the furnaces in one of our rentals. I'll call it "Joy" street. Names of course must be changed and all of that.
So apparently, the heat exchanger on this furnace cracked. Then the blower motor stopped running altogether. Add in the pilot light that refused to stay lit, and you have an equation with two darned chilly and not terribly happy residents. Can't say I blame 'em.
What's a heat exchanger, I asked. "You look in that furnace and see that thing that's kind of running this way on it? That's the heat exchanger." Frighteningly, I understood what he meant when my HVAC guy said that.
Apparently it's a bad thing when they crack.
Wikipedia says, "A heat exchanger is a device built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another." I think that's just amazingly helpful. Yeah.
I went back to my HVAC guy. What happens when it cracks? "Flames will roll out and the sensor will kick it off." Awesome. Just what my residents need.
So how old IS that Magic Chef furnace anyway? "Mmm, pretty old?" "Ancient history?"
Apparently you can't get parts for them outside of a New York street vendor on some very interesting chemicals.
So, Many Thanks to Dave and Bob from the Ken Maddox company for installing my furnace at "Joy" Street.
And if you're in the Indy area and need a new furnace, you can give them a call at 317-787-1354. They rock!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The last couple of years there has been a lot of buzz about "green living," "sustainable practices," "recycling..."
How do any of these things affect investors? And what can we do to help without losing money hand over fist? And why would you want to?
Let's start with a simple step. Insulation.
It seems to be a fact that older homes tend to make up the majority of rentals in the city of Indianapolis. Many of these homes were built during the victorian era and have had little to no insulation installed in them since. This is both good and bad. Good for the structure, as the air flow between the walls allows the structure to dry out. Bad for your tenants, as that same air makes the home/apartment harder to heat affordably.
I don't have to tell you that there's a recession out there - it's pretty obvious. And I'm not going to say 'hey, go insulate the heck out of all your rentals,' either. I know cash flow can be tight these days, especially in Marion County.
But what I'm saying is that we as landlords need to treat insulation just like every other system of a rental house. When it stops working, it needs to be fixed. Why? So that your tenants spend less on the utility companies, less on space heaters that'll burn the place down, and more on paying their rent. Which is a good thing for cash strapped landlords.
So, next time you have a vacancy, test the plumbing, check the hot water heater, roof, and gutters, and add some insulation to the attics and walls. Caulk around leaky windows, or better yet, replace them with energy efficient ones from a place like Window World. Weather-strip doors. Conserve energy. It's not tree-hugging, it's wallet hugging.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fabulous Websites!!

We get asked a lot about websites for landlords, Websites for finding people and things, and Websites in general. So, today I'd like to post a list of websites that you may find helpful, enlightening, or just plain fun.
Our own website, of course:
A website for what NOT to do when listing real estate for sale, and one of my favorites:
A website for fixing things, whether they should be or not:
A website for finding property info, lawsuit info, police incident reports:
The lighthouse:
Have a website that you find useful? Send us and email, and we'll look at putting it in!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

CIREIA Sub-Group and Other Entertainment

Today is our day off! We will be attending a Cirea (Central Indiana Real Estate Association) Sub-Group meeting on Molding the Investor Mind. Or maybe it's Moldy Investor Minds, but I hope not!!! After that, it's on to the YMCA to work off the Christmas cookies that are still clinging too tightly, and Gary will be trying for his 4th straight win in Hockey. He plays in a beer league called BUNS at the Fishers Forum on Sundays, so feel free to stop by and cheer him on!
And, as it's Sunday, and Sunday is NASCAR day; I would like to thank our Advertisers in my best Mark Martin style... Thanksto allour advertisers thatmadethis win(blog) possible: GoogleFixedIncomeInvestmentsRealEstateRichesLetter100K/MoinshortSalesPleasestop by theirsitesanddon'tforgettosupportthem!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Passions and Sins

For some in Real Estate, Money is their passion. More Money, More Money! Buy this horrible little house that should have been condemned so you can make Money and More Money!!! Your tenants will just tear the place up anyway, right? So put as little Money in as possible, and reap the cash. When it finally is too torn up to fix any more, walk away. Neighborhoods that were once decent start to disintegrate. The abandoned houses attract vermin of all sorts, and the cycle starts again on another house nearby until the property values in the area have long since ceased to exist.
Making Money is necessary for continuing and growing any business. But, if a landlord takes care of their rentals, screens their tenants and tries to keep property values up by making sure the property is taken care of properly, the asset is more likely to perform well for a longer amount of time. This means more money over a longer term.
Most of us want less government in our lives, as governments tend to charge money (taxes) for their services. So how do we keep our assets performing well while the houses nearby crumble and the vermin fight over territories? Self-governance is the only answer I can see. Property owners helping other property owners.
But I don't have all the answers, even though I now write a blog. So I'd like to hear from everyone what you think.

Friday, January 22, 2010

339 S. 10th St, Noblesville, IN

This is a picture of the parlor at 339 S. 10th St, Noblesville, IN. Since the original hardwoods had been badly damaged through the years, we replaced them with sustainable bamboo flooring throughout that entire side of the building. We used oak on the steps and railings to match the gorgeous original pocket doors you see in the background. Even the return air vent in the bottom left corner was cut from an original return air vent in the house, cleaned up and returned to use to reduce waste.
We are offering up this home for sale, rent, or lease option, so if you know someone who needs a place, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Wrap Ups and New Beginnings

Last year the Real Estate Realm and crew rehabbed an old, ugly 4-plex in Downtown Noblesville, IN. You can check out pictures of it on our website: . This year we are looking to expand both the rehabbing end of our business, and the investing end of our business. Or at least hold steady!
Last year, 2009, was a hard year for much of the real estate industry, and we are no exception. The governor of Indiana decided to raise property taxes - that hurt. Some of our taxes went from $300 a half year to $1200! And there's just no way to raise rents that high or fast.
Hopefully, this year will offer us a little better luck!

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