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Property Management Blog

Published on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

3 Tips For How To Keep Your Property’s Swimming Pool Safe

City or state officials will not mind forcing you to close your pool if it is not up to code. Having an inspector come out to evaluate your pool before you make it publicly accessible will relieve embarrassment. The worst thing you can do is have it opened a couple days before Memorial Day and have the inspector find that it is a cesspool of germs and disease. What’s more, you should also be doing some property maintenance to ensure all fences, gates, and other enclosures are up to par.

Inevitably, there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration to keep your property’s swimming pool safe, and here are some of the top:

Your pool water must be (and stay) balanced.

One of the absolute first things that an inspector will do is to check your pool water’s chemistry. They will test the chlorine, pH, alkalinity and calcium. They will also be able to tell you if the water is clear enough, and they will also be able to detect any algae. Checking for things such as this is vital because the last you need to end up with is a sick resident (who’s also ready to sue you) if it’s later found that you neglected to balance out your pool’s chemistry levels.

Your pool equipment must be in working condition.

Apart from ensuring that the water is swimmable, another thing you need to check is the condition of you pool’s equipment. Equipment that you will need to check on to ensure that you pass an inspection will include things such as the pool’s vacuum, pressure gauges, filters, handrails, and drains. You should also make sure that there are enough ring buoys and depth markers for swimmers. If you have a lifeguard on duty, you should also have a lifeguard status sign, as well as a sign for any rules that your swimmers need to follow in order to stay safe.

Hire the right person to supervise.

There are some commercial properties that do not offer lifeguard supervision. For those that do, finding one that is trained and certified is a priority. As a property owner, your responsibility will revolve around finding the time to screen potential lifeguards. Doing this will help you find individuals that not only have the safety of your swimmers in mind, but also that of your property and its reputation.

For commercial property owners, pool season begins way before the temperature begins to rise. If you give your pool the attention it needs, the fewer issues you will have to deal with once one of your residents does his or her first cannonball.

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Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.


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