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?

Related Blog Postings, Presentations or Articles:

Top Blogs

Written by +Bob Burns.
The Internet Kahuna Bob Burns MREIA Logo"Dale!"
Bob Burns Print Signature for MREIA
MREIA's President
Telephone #: 305-300-6242
MREIA's Web Page: