Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tenants Guide To Renters Insurance

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For great rates on Virginia Renters Insurance Contact Terry Carico at 540-797-5916

Tenants Guide To Beaking A Lease Without Sticking It To Your Landlord

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NYC Landlord Shames Deadbeat Into Paying Rent But It Didn't Work

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Friday, January 18, 2013

How much will it cost to have a professional stage my home?

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One of the hottest trends to sell a home today is home staging, an interior decorating technique for making the most of your home’s attributes and making it more attractive for a potential buyer. Home staging has been known to boost home sales prices, as well as quicken the amount of time the home stays on the market. But the question is: What is the pricing for home staging-and is it worth it?
Preparing Your Home for Sale
Most sellers realize the importance of cleaning up their home before putting it on the market. Things like fixing leaky sinks, mending cracks in the walls and completing other minor repairs are also pretty standard. Some people paint; others replace flooring. Some even freshen up the landscaping or add some new interior fixtures. These things are often good to do and, in many ways, are considered forms of “staging,” or preparing your home for sale.
There are professionals, however, who will go above and beyond what most homeowners think of when they go to sell their house. For a fee, these individuals and companies will come into your home and furnish it with items that are neutral, attractive and sometimes high-end, in order to make your house as attractive as possible. Home staging costs often include moving around, removing or adding furniture and adding tasteful artwork or other decoration to make your home really shine.
Staging: Is It Worth It?
The main benefit of hiring a professional to stage your home is that they will look at your surroundings with an experienced, tasteful and objective eye. They won’t be attached to grandmother’s antique table, nor will they have the same affinity you may have for that pink bathroom. They will be able to come in and tell you which items should be removed, what should be added and how best to feature your home.
While home staging may seem like an unnecessary expense, there probably isn’t a single house that couldn’t benefit from a bit of carefully manipulated staging-even if it’s a simple matter of re-organizing, freshening up and removing clutter. And often, suggestions and changes from professionals can amount to significant increases in the bottom line profit when selling your home.
Home staging pricing for a simple consultation run from $200 to $400, yet for extensive staging work on larger homes, be prepared for pricing to run up to $6,000. However, according to www.StagedHomes.com, a leader in home staging services, statistics show an average of a 3% minimum increase in final sales price on homes that had been staged, versus those who had not. On a $300,000 home, that’s a $9,000 increase-and well worth the home staging fees.
For more information on how best to showcase your home for sale, visit a home staging professional or your local realtor. Many realtors will even offer home staging services as part of their listing package, so be sure to ask if that’s something they offer, or if they can recommend someone in the industry. If you’re willing to put out a bit of money up front, you just might find that the benefits from staging your home can greatly outweigh home staging costs.
To learn more about the benefits of home staging you can call:  
Megan Carico, CID, ASID of Carico Design & Interiors at (540) 494-9498 

Biggest Risks of Not Having Health Insurance

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What are the biggest risks that you face if you do not have health insurance?

  1. Illness could bring financial drain or ruin
  2. If you want insurance later, you may not be able to get coverage for any pre-existing conditions (however, there are some states that guarantee that coverage will be available and don’t allow pre-existing conditions)
  3. Statistically higher risk of dying - perhaps due to putting off visits
Let's look at these risks in more detail.

Illness could bring financial drain or ruin.

If you've worked hard and saved enough to buy a car, a house, or are saving towards these goals, a medical problem could wipe out your progress. Imagine that you've had an accident around the house, perhaps fallen while cleaning leaves from the gutters. If you hurt your back, and require a spinal fusion, on average you might expect to have bills of $59,851 (see item 27 on Medical Cost by Principal Procedure ). If you don't have insurance, you can expect to be billed, and held responsible for the full amount. If you don't have money saved to cover this expense, and cannot work out a payment plan when you're able to work again, then you might have to sell your cars or home to pay for the medical expenses. If you still cannot pay the amount, or are unable to support yourself financially, you might end up in bankruptcy court. Then you'll have to start all over again, saving, with a big credit blemish.

If you want insurance later, you may not be able to get coverage

Except in states with community rating, you are likely to be "medically underwritten" for health insurance if you buy it as an individual. This means that an insurer will take a look at your medical history and current health status to determine if you are eligible for coverage and at what price. In some cases, you won't be denied coverage, but you could face stiff premiums. This happens for people who have had cancer, diabetes, and a number of other significant medical conditions. Sometimes an agent can help you to find coverage, and in some cases you may be eligible for state programs that target people in your condition. But in a significant number of cases, the premiums charged by insurers make moderate earners take the risk of no health insurance, while the government programs do not provide assistance because you earn too much.

You have a statistically higher risk of dying

According to the Institute of Medicine, people who don't buy health insurance may put off essential visits to the doctor, leading to detection of disease at later stages. When disease is diagnosed and treated at later stages, healthy outcomes are less certain, and the conditions may worsen and lead to an early death. The lesson here is that even if you don't buy health insurance, you should still make visits to the doctor for preventative care or at the first signs of a problem.

HEALTH INSURANCE QUOTESGROUPS of 2-99 or INDIVIDUAL & FAMILY  
CARICO INSURANCE (540) 797-5916 -  REI & Optima Health Partnering Together

Monday, January 14, 2013

Officials With Fine Hats...

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Officials With Fine Hats.... Who are they? That's the group of people in our country today that another small group of very loud individuals, (that do not represent the public opinion) yell to attempting to convince them to impose their power upon others. 

A real nice guy he is... One of my tenants. He's a hero of our country and I have utmost respect for the man. He fought in Vietnam and was shot multiple times and lived. As he has aged those shots are really starting to bother him so for the past few years he has been trying to get military disability due to his injuries. It's been a tough battle for him but things are getting ready to get allot harder than he could imagine.

He is a very poor man, has a wife and a few kids that he has to take care of. He's lived in my house for 25 years and that is his home. So to make ends meet he sells a few tires from time to time when he can find buyers. 

A Code Enforcer sent me a couple threat letters saying I am in violation of a zoning offense of Roanoke City government. This enforcer did not give me a friendly call or talk to the tenant to notify him that he is breaking what they think is a very serious law that is going to end up getting his landlord in big trouble. She decided that it would be best to just go ahead and get the ball rolling on the legal process they follow to get landlords in court to punish them for their tenants actions.

So, it's looking like I may be facing criminal charges and stiff fines. I hustled up and contacted the resident and told him he's going to have to give up his sales of those tires for survival money because I have been officially attacked by the Roanoke City Government.

I really feel bad for the guy. Survival is tough enough in these hard times. Especially when Roanoke City has turned into a huge Homeowners Association. Typically if people liked to live a certian way with loads of rules they picked a Homeowners Association to live in where people aren't free to do as they wish. But in our currant police state in Roanoke City, the officials have developed a mentality that landlords should be punished for tenants actions as property rights are a thing of the past.

It's unfortunate that the officials with the fine hats these days have a lack of compassion for people but I can assure you that bad karma like that comes around and bites you every time.







Both Good And Bad Legislation Is Being Submitted Right Now

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The politicians in Virginia are busy right now adding new bills that dictate what you do to be voted on in the Virginia General Assembly. If you want to check on them to see what they are doing or not doing you can go track what they are doing at the Virginia Legislative System website. Some helpful links below:

Virginia Legislative System:
http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm

To Check What a Specific Politician Is Doing Go Here, Click On Their Name and Then Click The Links Under "Sponsored Legislation"
http://leg1.state.va.us/131/mbr/MBR.HTM

To Check What Bills Are Coming Up For Vote This Session By Subject Such as Water and Sewer Systems to Keep An Eye On the Water Authority or Real Estate and Real Estate Tax, etc To See What They Have In Store For You Click Here:
http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?131+sbj+SBJ

*** Remember that this stuff is changing every day now so you have to keep going back. Every time I go back I see many more proposed bills. If you see anything on there that's real estate related that you would like REI of Virginia to support or oppose than please let me know. I can guarantee you that there are some hidden little nuggets in there that are going to make you shoot fire out of your eyes. We just have to find them…..

Any of you that are Realtors that know what the Virginia Association of Realtors is getting behind or fighting please let me know. The Virginia Home Builders Association as well if anyone knows.

End The Water Authorities Tyrannical Reign Of Power

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Senator Carrico submitted another bill for the 2013 legislation to attempt to terminate the Water Authorities Reign of power over landlords that are innocent bystanders being punished for the delinquent bills of tenants. REI of Virginia asks Senator Edwards for his continued support. Senator Edwards is a good guy that we have been able to consistently count on to help small business and I'm sure that he will be more than willing to help us out again

See the bill copy below:





13102329D
SENATE BILL NO. 764
Offered January 9, 2013
Prefiled December 18, 2012
A BILL to amend and reenact § 15.2-2118 of the Code of Virginia, relating to water liens.
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Patron-- Carrico (By Request)
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Referred to Committee on Local Government
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Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1.  That § 15.2-2118 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:
§ 15.2-2118. Lien for water and sewer charges and taxes imposed by localities.
The governing body of any county adjoining a city lying wholly within the Commonwealth and with a population of more than 75,000 according to the 1970 or any subsequent census and any county having a density of population of more than 600 per square mile according to the 1960 or any subsequent census, Botetourt, Caroline, Culpeper, Cumberland, Franklin, Gloucester, Goochland, Hanover, Isle of Wight, New Kent, Orange and any town located therein, Rockingham, Smyth, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and York Counties; the Cities of Fairfax, Manassas Park, Newport News, Petersburg, Richmond, and Roanoke; and the Towns of Abingdon, Blacksburg, Clifton Forge, Front Royal, Kenbridge, Onancock, and Urbanna may by ordinance provide that taxes or charges hereafter made, imposed, or incurred for water or sewers or use thereof within or outside such locality shall be a lien on the real estate served by such waterline or sewer. Where residential rental real estate is involved, no lien shall attach (i) unless the user of the water or sewer services is also the owner of the real estate or (ii) unless the owner of the real estate negotiated or executed the agreement by which such water or sewer services were provided to the property.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Followups From RoanokeHatesBusiness, RoanokeLovesBusiness

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RoanokeHatesBusiness / RoanokeLovesBusiness Article Responses....

So I thought you may find it interesting to read a few of the hundred something responses I got from the RoanokeHatesBusiness RoanokeLovesBusiness article I wrote yesterday.

I deleted all information that could link it to who wrote it as I am aware that no one wants a target on their back from anyone in the city that may disagree with the stance of a majority of the property investors and neighborhood association leaders who reside or do business in Roanoke City.

These responses are primarily from neighborhood association leaders, lawyers and local investors.
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"Fantastic letter Dallas. That story is amazing and I know we'd see conditions like that in a ton of homes in ******* **** neighborhood and it's just sad. Your comparison to charging landlords for violence that happens on their property is right on -- landlords can't control such behavior. I'd like to share this article with some of our residents (like **** ******* if you remember him from our meetings, the tall guy who lives on ******* 1300 block) so they understand that most landlords are good people who are trying to improve properties and provide good housing, to make money in the end, sure, but it's not like they want drug dealing and dog feces and child abuse on their properties. That only kills property value, costs money to repair for the next tenant, and makes it harder to attract quality renters."  Anonymous....
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"Dallas, sorry, and so sad. You are such a good guy!"
Anonymous....
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"Does Roanoke hate business or landlords?  It is going to be hard to solve blight until more people own their own homes and the incentive to attract people that drain our society is gone.  There is too much crime in the city.  If more people worked, they wouldn’t have time to steal, vandalize and roam the streets all night getting wasted. Try limiting bus service in certain areas and I bet that area starts to thrive and the crime rate goes down.

Roanoke needs to bring in more colleges to attract better people to the city.  The medical college is a great start." Anonymous.....


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"Dallas:

GREAT EXCELLENT essay. " Anonymous...




"Hi Dallas, I read your email. That is a bunch of crap what Roanoke puts the property owners through. I agree with you completely, the tenants should be responsible for the property that they are renting, if the code enforcement would hold them accountable, the problem would fix itself quickly.  I get your emails every week and I like reading them. I own 13 rental properties myself, but they are all in Montgomery County, mostly in Christiansburg. I am glad that we dont have to deal with alot of the crap that Land Lords in Roanoke do. How many rentals do you own and how long have you been fixing up properties and renting them.  Keep up the fight, thats the only way that you will ever get ahead. Thanks" Anonymous....
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"Dallas:

Good Morning....well I put my newspaper aside and read your article with my coffee. Will need to go for a fill up before finishing this.  I first have to say your description of that inside is utterly appalling. I'm so glad they took her kids away, what about the poor dogs?

Because of our friendship I have come to a better understanding of the plight and problems you all deal with, therefore, I have become more open minded in seeing your side of the problem along with the cities.  As for that blight committee, I believe **** ****** is on it.  I requested to be on it, but of course, as usual, they don't won't informed intelligent people who might rock their boat.

Your over all article is right on, very clearly stated and I'm impressed in general you had the patience for such a long article. (Please no offense intended, lol).

I do think and a very long story of that situation, you shot yourself in the foot by revealing that a background check had not be done.....I would have left that out, for they'll then just say to themselves...." See, had he done things right it might not have happened "

I would like to play devils advocate with you as I can see those within the asking asking and wondering the same thing.....One thought I have for landlords like you and others who have so many properties is the need to have in your lease and even get the renters to initial these separate statements of permission.  On a new tenant, that you will want to inspect (visit) the property after they have been there a month or two.

I have a "Sticker" idea for rental properties.  All this is coming on the top of my head for my mind is in high gear with thoughts and ideas which I can't go into everything here.  With a strict detail, uniform lease that was used by a landlord and agreed on with the city, a sticker would be put on the front door, back door or window.  If a violation was seen and any city employee who came to the property had to first look for this sticker.  Once seeing the sticker, that tells them this landlord is a working landlord with the city and the inspector must notify the landlord of his visit.  If he is leaving a notice or citation, a "Duplicate" must be mailed to the Landlord with more reasonable time for communication and resolution on whatever the given concern is.

I'll stop here.....for maybe all ready this is a bad idea from your perspective....My ultimate point being there has simply got to be a better way for this problem to be resolved in the city and the commonwealth (Judges) all working on this to come up with a more fair and just plan for all.....

It is simply a matter or the right, reasonable intelligent people sitting down and working together.....But, probably the greatest hurdle above all is the being a fucking Commonwealth State and not letting localities made their on rules and laws.

Look forward to your responses on this.

Take care my friend and have a good day...." Anonymous....
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"Very good article Dallas.  Makes me never want to be a landlord!  I will soon officially renounce my Roanoke citizenship and I will be moving my business and residence out of the city because of the city government.

Just before Christmas the bulk trash crew took my Avalanche tonneau panels from my yard and crushed them in the truck.  The office of risk management says that they are never responsible for property damage occurring in the line of a civic duty (e.g. picking up trash, high speed police pursuits) even if the damage occurred as a result of employee negligence/ignorance.  Applying that logic, if they had run over a child in the street they would have no liability.  I had to pay $3,000 to replace these panels and that pissed me off just enough to pick my ass up and head for the county!

I'm thankful for all of the time and effort you put into making Roanoke a better place to live and do business.  Keep up the good work.  Better you than me brother....." Anonymous....
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"Dallas    Great post my friend it contains allot of info, and I'm sorry I missed yesterday, I got sick as a dog, yet I did get over there this morning. I'm tempted to collect all that dog shit and deliver it to their new apartment." Anonymous....
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"Great article Dallas! I loved it. I wonder if Roanoke Times would be interested in publishing a portion of it? I suspect they would...it's got the human stories element...nasty woman vs some guys trying to do their job, it pulls in the local market well...I think they might be interested. You should try them.
Thanks for sending and fighting for us." Anonymous....
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"Great job. Yea, I was not thrilled to get my property tax assessment and it dropped $5,000!!" Anonymous.....
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"Dallas   I read your piece "Roanoke Hates Business/Roanoke loves Business" After taking 11 months to get rid of a tenant in Bedford County, I found much the same attitude toward landlords in Bedford Courts, both General District and Circuit Courts as you describe in Roanoke.  Not only did the court let him stay in my house for 11 months but refused to make him  pay any rent for the entire time. I lost $950.00 a month for that time.  Anyhow I can sympathize with you and I liked your piece" Anonymous.....
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"Thanks Dallas. Great perspective. I agree with the points you make.

My unsolicited advise would be: In the future, try to condense the principal points into a much shorter article. I can almost guarantee that I'm the only one who read the whole thing and it took me quite a while.  If you want them to not only read, but understand you point of view, it needs to be more concise and to the point.

Also, I would suggest finding one or more localities (in or outside VA) that have taken the steps necessary to hold tenets responsible for their actions, and make clear references and examples of how it has benefited those localities from blight and sound ED.

I consider myself an advocate for small business similar to you, so please let me know if I can ever be of assistance.

Later,"

Anonymous....
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"Dallas,
      Thanks for the e-mail regarding the city of Roanoke.  I had an interesting conversation earlier today with a friend of mine who is quite an astute businessman.  He is a self-made millionaire many times over (he made most if it in real estate).  He does or has done business in Roanoke, Richmond,  and various cities in North and South Carolina and made an interesting statement while we were discussing the Roanoke Real Estate Market.
His words -  "What people around here don't realize is that the City of Roanoke is dying economically, mostly because of their attitude toward business".

        How's that for confirmation of what your story talks about ??????

My long term goal, if you can have long term goals at 64, with multiple health issues, is to sell every piece of property I own in the city and buy single family in Roanoke County.  I feel like throwing up every time I think about the City and with only a few exceptions, their dumb-ass bureaucrats.

Have a great weekend......." Anonymous....
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"RIGHT ON brother!!!!!!!!!!

Send it to the paper." Anonymous.....
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"Very cool.  And it was well written my friend." Anonymous...
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"Wow Dallas,

When you say "in the trenches", you sure as hell mean it! And a hell-of-a great read here too - you have my ultimate respect. Thank God those kids are safe, for now at least."

Anonymous.....
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"The one guy who said your article was too long, no.., I read every word. The details are what made it so compelling. Must read! A future NYT best seller!

I think I'm going to join you this afternoon, watch some NFL playoffs."
Anonymous.....
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"Dallas,
Thanks for including me in this and I have to agree w/you...This has been a problem for years."
Anonymous.....
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"I read the entire article.
For you to take the time to write the state of affirs is commendable. Nitpicking over how it was written is picyune, and some of us really prefer prose as it reflects the heart of things v. the coldness of information stripped to bullets. 

Many moons ago, I worked for a property management company in FL.  I went with the PM to see an apartment in a good neighborhood, actually I think it was in a condo rental building, and saw the same stuff you experienced.  I saw it after a lot of the crap had been removed from the carpeting and moved out of the unit but the stained rugs, residual excrement, and same spread all over the walls, bathroom, in the closets, the kitchen was appalling.  So,folks, this is not new stuff - just things landlords deal and treat it as a cost of doing business.  But, that is wrong.

Yes, I agree the city needs to be more inviting.  It is gloomy and scary to me.  But that is just me. 

Luv Ya,"
Anonymous.....
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"Dallas,   Very well stated ideas in this article! I wonder if the city will take some of this to heart.
Hope so." Anonymous......
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And they go on and on and on. I didn't have a single negative response with exception of one from one of our leaders far up in Roanoke City Government. I hope the out of the box thinkers in our local government will be able to use this letter and the overwhelming response in favor of my simple message as a tool to in essence to put their finger in the air and determine the currant state of future economic development within the City of  Roanoke. Making  connections with groups such as REI of Virginia who are fighting for change is a good step in the right direction for our city and a win / win for all.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

www.RoanokeHatesBusiness.com

2 comments


 www.RoanokeHatesBusiness.com?

Well, actually that's a joke. I know that everyone in the government doesn't hate business but there is a large group of government employees in Roanoke City that seem to. Yes, a website called www.roanokehatesbusiness.com would be a huge hit. Would draw attention of all of the media and the the citizens of Roanoke as a result. But I can't force myself to actually believe that, even though it feels like that as a small business owner in this city.

There are countless examples of there being a huge division between small business and the Roanoke City government. I hear REI of Virginia members stories on a weekly basis. We have been diligently working with the city to try to find common ground but all of our expressions for change seem to end up falling on deaf ears.

For example, one of the largest issues in the city pertains to the blighted neighborhoods we are faced with. And there is no group of people that understand blight more than property investors. We know the reasons for the various forms of blight and good solutions that will work to fix it as we are in the trenches day after day. 

I had a tenant that moved into one of my properties and she left many items surrounding the house outside that she said she didn't have room for inside. I am 100% on the citizens of Roanoke and the cities side. I 100% agree that what she had done was contributing to blight in the city and agree that the tenant needs to be summoned to court and appear before the judge who would force her to clean up her mess and comply with the simple rules we go by to keep Roanoke a nice place to live for everyone.

I was given court papers written by a code enforcer and served by the police as a promise to appear for the outdoor storage that my tenant is accountable for. I did everything I could to try to convince this lady to get rid of the stuff and sent her all kinds of threatening letters that if she doesn't she's going to have to pay my court fines, pay $100 per hour for my time in court, and I'm going to have to evict her. No matter what I said she didn't care. The items remained outside.

I went to my first court date and fortunately the judge understood the problem and was aware that the code enforcement was taking me to court for something that the tenant was supposed to be accountable for. So she cut me a break and gave me adequate time to try to get this tenant into compliance or out of my house through eviction.

But the cities policy for attacking the small business owner, who is trying to work with them, instead of going after the tenant simply doesn't work and further exacerbates the problem.

You see, the previous city attorney told people in the code enforcement department that it is OK for them to hold the tenant accountable for what they have done and take them to court as long as they subpoena the landlord.

I'm sick of getting violations and fines from the city for tenants behavior. Tenants leaving the trash can in front of the house and I get a trash violation and fine. Having a vehicle in the yard that they are working on repairing as they don't have enough money to have a shop do it and I get an inoperable vehicle threat letter and potential large fine and criminal charges. Leaving their bulk trash items at the street on the wrong week because it's practically impossible to remember what week is bulk week and what week is brush week and I get a trash violation and a huge fine. Leaving items outside their house even if it is one or two things that aren't being used on a daily basis which is considered outside storage and I get criminal charges and potential massive fines.

Enough is enough already. The problem never goes away. This is an issue that Roanoke City has always dealt with. Do you want to know why? It's because they continually hold the landlord responsible for the tenants actions. I can guarantee you that if the tenant was facing criminal charges and huge fines for what they have done they will NEVER behave like that again within our city limits. And the tenant created blight problem will largely fix itself within a couple years. But it's the cities policy to go after the landlord and they have absolutely no interest in holding the person who is responsible accountable for their behavior.

I've heard all kinds of excuses but most often it's one primary statement. That the landlord owns the property so they should be responsible for everything that happens on it. So should I be responsible for some tenant that went nuts and killed his wife and kids? Should I be responsible for tenants that ended up taking a wrong path and using drugs in the property? How about if we start giving landlords domestic violence charges instead of the guy that was beating on his wife? And giving criminal charges and fines to landlords who's residents are misbehaving in some other way.... Ohh yea, we are already doing that. I've got news for you. It's hard enough to get your children to always listen to you let alone a grown man or woman.

Well, to bring this whole thing back around full circle, Remember the lady that had a large outdoor storage problem around my house and she wouldn't get it up because she wasn't the one who was being taken to court? I finally got that nasty woman and her family evicted and her day of reckoning was yesterday.  I met the Sheriff over there for my writ of possession (Eviction). She got me for a couple months of rent. I was waiting over at the house for the Sheriff and she left quickly to go down to the court house and try to get a stay. That is where the judge lets them stay after the landlord was already granted possession of the property. She waited too late and that didn't work out for her. If she would have done it the day before she probably would have got it.

The Sheriff asked the husband if he could come in. The guy was very hostile with him. Yelling at the Sheriff. Not a good idea. So he kept doing it and the Sheriff told him that he needs to shut his trap because he is treating him with respect and he deserves the same. The guy kept doing it as we walked in the house and the Sheriff finally got him to shut up by having some words with him.

The place was unbelievable. I have never in my life seen such tremendous damage done to a rental property. There was trash everywhere and the floor was covered with a layer of dog feces smeared in. Not just in one place. It was EVERYWHERE. There was no place that you could walk that didn't have smeared in dog feces. It was shocking. There were 3 of those small ankle biter dogs and I could hear the German Shepard barking down in the basement which is like a little prison with a dirt floor. I have seen the Shepard outside chained up from time to time. I think the little dogs never went outside as I have never seen them and there was enough feces on the floor in the 5 months they lived there for that to be the case. I also saw large areas of the floor that are damaged because that's where they urinated.

Horrible animal abuse in that house! There is nothing that makes me more angry than animal abuse besides severe child neglect. This infant and 3 or 4 year old were crawling around in that dog feces and urine and pushing the trash out of the way as they made their way across the floor.

So then the tenant drives up and runs into the house. She says Dallas I've got your money. Please don't make me leave as I have no where else to go.  She started crying and causing all of this drama yelling out and nasty stuff while she was crying. She first acted like she didn't know and the Sheriff stopped that garbage real quick. Then she was pleading with me again and I told her she needs to save that money because she is going to need somewhere to live. That she can't live in my house.

So she yells out you're a slumlord and you're worse than my last landlord Spanky Macher. Unfortunately she rented from Spanky and my contractor didn't do a background check on this one because she seemed like a nice person at first and gave this BS story that her last house burned down and she needed a place quick as her and her children are having to live on the street. My contractor has a heart and let her stay there. If we did a background check on her we would have seen that Spanky went through the same problem and had to evict her and that she has a number of dog neglect charges that were all dismissed. I later heard that same story from another friend of mine when she was trying to find another place to live.

First, let me tell you, that place was freshly painted, everything worked and was completely spotless when they moved in because that's the way I roll. And it had a valid rental exemption certificate that was granted to me by the city as it is fully up to code like all of my properties.

So the lady keeps yelling at me making a fool of herself in front of the Sheriff and said she has done everything right and I have no reason to evict her. I tell her she hasn't paid me rent in 2 months and has trashed the place. She told the Sheriff that she just didn't have time to clean this morning.  What a joke. She asked again if she could give me the money and then she said she didn't have enough to go anywhere else. I told her you owe me 2 months. She said no, only 1. I said I have one refrence for you. That reference is Joy Sylvester Johnson at the Rescue Mission as she is the only person in the city kind enough to not charge rent. She was MAD NOW!

So I worked my way past her out of the house with the Sheriff and we had a little talk. He suggested that Social Services be called because those kids are being mistreated. I completely agreed and he called them and requested that I hang around for a while until his backup shows up or the lady from Social Services. So we talked in disbelief of the conditions inside. We then walked down to the house and told her that we are waiting for Social Services. She screamed out she doesn't give a **** and she's dealt with them many times. A couple of case workers from Social Services showed up and the end result is they took away her kids. She has a large "Emo type" 18 year old kid that ran towards the Sheriff and I and then turned right at the last minute before hitting us that got to stay with Mom.

Needless to say she doesn't have her little ones as a result of this and doesn't seem to care just like she didn't care about leaving all of that stuff around the house that I was held accountable for. This filthy lady never will care about anything. And believe it or not, there are many people in this city that are just like her. I am a low income landlord and see it all the time. But the city sees it fit to go after me for their actions rather than them.

My code enforcer friend turned out to be a pretty good guy. I had a talk with him before my court charges and came to an understanding that the he is only doing what he is told. The city has a policy to not contact landlords to warn them that there is a problem before writing them up and pressing charges. And they also have the policy to take the landlord to court rather than the tenant. It wouldn't take more than a phone call to get the name of the tenant, date of birth, social security number or anything they need as we have all of this information.

There is a crystal clear solution to ending tenant created blight within the city but no one who wants to do it. There is a certain point in time where I would think that one would naturally see that what has been done over many years isn't working and there is a point in time where new ideas should be tried. However as many times we try to communicate this to the city there is always resistance. A local real estate investment group that I belong to, REI of Virginia, has been attempting to work with the city to develop good solutions to ending blight from the day of it's inception. I personally with another landlord met with a few of the upper management of the building and planning department which includes code enforcement, building permits, etc. We together decided to develop an Anti Blight Committee. It took about 9 months until this committee was formed and the city decided to not allow me to be a part of the discussion. I can tell you I'm a guy with many out of the box ideas and a firm understanding of every form of blight within our city and the reasons for all of it.

Ohh well......  A smack in the face from the city makes me want to say the same thing I hear weekly from my small business owner friends. "I will never buy another house in the city" but I keep thinking that there are some people within the city government that realize how important it is for the government to not act as if they hate business but rather the exact opposite. It is crutial to every single citizen of Roanoke for the city to have a strong positive relationship with local business.

As many of my friends, I rehab blighted property. That is what I like to buy. Boarded up houses that are in terrible condition. I fix them up and make them nice places for low income people to live. In doing so I increase the value of the property surrounding it significantly. A homeowners property in the block of a boarded up house can lose value by well over 20,000 dollars simply because there is a blighted property near by. What my friends and I do has a dramatic impact on the city's income via property taxes. 63% of the single family homes in the city are owned by landlords. When you count the multifamily homes which are primarily owned by landlords that do not live in them you're talking about roughly 80 to 85% of the homes in the city being landlord owned. REI of Virginia represents 80 to 85% of the property in the city and we are asking the city for a good positive relationship so we can work towards making Roanoke the best place to live in this state.

The state of the currant negative relationship where small business property investors are wanting to move out of the city does nothing but harm for everyone. It's very simple supply and demand economics. When a large group of investors decide to put their money in Roanoke County, Vinton or Salem, the homeowners  that have a house in an area of the city where there is rental property suffer. When there is a large supply of property for sale as property investors are not interested in doing business in the city, property values decrease due to the large supply of property and the small demand for that property. This helps me out tremendously as a landlord as I can get property for next to nothing but everyone else suffers.

A city that has a great positive working relationship with small business is a city that will shine. Property values go through the roof when there are many people trying to buy a small handful of property. Roanoke has the potential to really be the Star of Virginia but it's going to take someone in upper management of the city to grab the bull by the horns and make it happen.  REI of Virginia is a willing participant.

I would love to be the one with the great ideas who starts the website:

www.RoanokeLovesBusiness.com 



Friday, January 4, 2013

What Is Real Estate Investors (REI) Of Virginia?

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Real Estate Investors of Virginia leads in an active roll to provide both beginner and advanced level real estate education to our members. We also work with both local and the state government to provide a positive image for our industry and improve the laws to make them investor friendly.

Who Are We? Locally we have about 550 members. Approximately 100 of which go to our meetings at least a couple times a month. We have weekly meetings every Tuesday from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm and the topics are varied. Check across the top of the REI of Virginia webpage for the currant meeting location.

Most of our members are seasoned investors however we do have a group of members that are recently involved in real estate or interested in obtaining information to kick off a lucrative career. Some of our members rehabilitate property for resale however most of us buy and hold property as landlords.

The purpose of the group is:

*Advanced education on various aspects of flipping, landlording, wholesaling and real estate in general.

*The development of an ongoing alliance as to where we will have a voice with the local and state government on matters that effect investors such as building inspections, code enforcement, waste removal, taxation, water authority, and government real estate holdings to name a few.

*A place to network, to buy and sell deals, to get ideas from experienced investors in all aspects of real estate from legal issues to asset protection, getting started out, to finding deals, etc.

*A resource that businesses can offer their products and services to investors.


You can come to our meetings for a month for FREE. After that we ask that you become a member if you like our meetings and our fellow members. We're a friendly group of people so I think you will.

Standard membership requires payment of $10 per meeting. Premium membership is $100 and there are some benefits that go along with this further than the education and money saving tips you get at the meetings.

Premium members get:
* Wholesale deals that are not on the MLS sent to you first before the rest of the group. This alone could save you thousands of dollars and pay for your membership a hundred times over.

* Residential lease that is one of the strongest in the state.

More to come, we are continually adding new benefits for our premium members. We are currently working on a new web page that will allow premium members first class access to Section 8 housing tenants. We will also be developing a login area that allows premium members access to hundreds of forms and files that will benefit your business. And we are developing property management software that will be free to premium members which will help you run and manage your business in a highly efficient manor. Lots more to come.

What happens with the dues money? All of the money REI of Virginia makes goes back into REI. We use it to do things like purchase a projector and wireless microphone system. Some of it funds speakers dinners and some of it will go to a mass mailing to increase the size of the group. We have used it to go to Richmond and lobby for bills, etc.

All of the officers at this point in time have never accepted any money from the group. We do this because we understand how important this is to us and real estate investors across the state. I am a highly experienced investor and I can't think of a single meeting where I didn't learn something. And on many occasions the things I have learned have saved me quite a bit of money.

Besides the fact that it's nice to hang around with a bunch of nice like minded people once a week. How do they say it? You are who you associate yourself with....

Who owns REI of Virginia? You Do. This networking group is owned by our membership. And we are looking forward to you becoming a part of Real Estate Investors of Virginia.

 

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