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Your greatest liability is what you don’t know...

Web Admin - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One of the core values of our company is to be a resource to our clients and the community. We see ourselves as educators, knowing that offering education will strengthen our client relationships, and attract positive networks and associations with others.

In light of this, we want to say thank you to Eugene Windermere Real Estate/Lane County for inviting Jason Evans, RMP, Licensed Property Manager in the state of Oregon, to speak to Realtors on the latest legislative updates for managing rental homes and Landlord/Tenant issues.

Owning a rental home has great rewards but it also comes with risk. Reduce your risk by knowing the laws and rules that govern your area, or call Trio Property Management Inc if you would like more information regarding professional property management services for your rental investment.

Haiti 2016

Web Admin - Sunday, December 04, 2016

Our family of four (myself, my wife, our teenage daughter and son) had the pleasure of traveling to Haiti this past June on our first Missions trip as a family. Since many people were asking "How was Haiti?", it seemed most appropriate to put something together to help share the experience. Unfortunately, words and photos will never substitute for the actual experience.

Our family became part of an eclectic group of twelve from University Fellowship Church in Eugene, OR to journey to Haiti to volunteer and help Chances for Children (C4C). C4C helps to solve the current orphan epidemic in Haiti one child, one family, one community at a time through food security, medical care, education, orphan care, job creation, and faith.

Our main mission was one that I never would have dreamt on my own: relate to a relational culture that has a different concept of time and priorities so that we or others might become of assistance to a well-known impoverished population. This is not easy for a task-oriented person. I would not have understood the importance of this without first reading a great book by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts.

We arrived in Port-au-Prince late in the evening. Our long heavy travel clothes immediately became too much in the humid air. It felt uncomfortable being the last travelers in the foreign airport being outnumbered by the local taxi drivers vying for our business. We obviously displayed our insecurities by huddling compact as a group in our new environment. The language was foreign, the buildings were crammed together, the smells were distinct, the sights were limited by the night, and we were now an obvious minority. Forty five long minutes later our ride was secured. In standard local fashion our luggage, a dozen large pieces carrying supplies, was secured to the van roof with ropes. We crammed ourselves like sardines in the van and drove off into the night all hoping we would end up at our hotel like originally planned.

The following morning, we were scheduled to assist with the feeding program partnered with Feed My Starving Children, at a village in Latapi about 1 hour north on traditional roads and another hour on a very bumpy dirt road with deep potholes and crevices. We traveled only 5 miles the second hour due to the very poor road conditions. The road paralleled a main country artery, a narrow canal. At this low altitude and proximity to the coast, the water flowed like slow chocolate milk with plastic and Styrofoam garbage collecting in every eddy. Before the uncomfortable, jostling hour in the van was up, the comments from our guide that everything happened in the canal was confirmed first hand. This included bathing, washing vehicles, washing clothes, brushing teeth, general bathroom use, and garbage transport. And we were reminded that this river was their main source for drinking and cooking water. The further we drove the more "national geographic" the scenery became; goats tied along the dirt built-up river banks, rice fields as far as the eye could see, locals bathing and washing motorcycles in the river, little homes along the road built of mud walls and old corrugated metal patched roofs, and young children standing naked near the side of the road waving as we passed slowly by.

When we arrived at the village due to a miscalculation in timing, we missed the opportunity to take part in the feeding program. Instead, we got to play with them. The kids were so happy to have someone visit and throw a Frisbee or play games. For the soccer players in our group, the kids’ fùtbol skills were impressive. Though none of the children knew English, “play” is a universal language. Our understanding was that prior to the feeding program arriving in this village, many impoverished Haitian children didn't eat real food for days at a time. To fill empty distended bellies, parents made cookies out of mud just to stop the hunger pains. Currently, the children in the village are provided one protein enriched meal of a rice product three times a week. Since the program began, signs of severe malnourishment have faded; distended bellies have shrunk, orange hair has turned to normal color, and weight has been gained. Another aspect to their improved health was a new water system that was funded and installed by C4C to serve families in the village. People in our group who had returned from a previous trip were so surprised by the change in the kids’ health within that year. It was very encouraging.

Next, a few hours’ drive through Port-Au-Prince led us up a mile-high winding road to the town of Kenscoff. The streets were crazy. The yellow dividing line in the middle of the road is apparently only a suggestion of where to drive and of how many vehicles could fit at a time. If the vehicles could fit in either direction, they would. Speed of travel was dependent on how many trucks were broken down blocking traffic, foot traffic volume in congested small towns, and how confident the driver was behind the wheel. We passed tap-taps (local taxis), open markets, and rows of roadside vendors all selling the same charcoal, commonly used for cooking. Garbage mounds were frequent in random roadside locations. Some piles would smolder to get smaller while giving off a distinct and unique odor. It appeared life could be beautiful in Haiti if poverty and disasters were not such an issue. Regardless, the people were typically friendly.

In Kenskoff, our destination was the crèche, an orphanage with approximately 47 children that processes adoptions. We would stay in the “guest house” across the street for the duration of the week. The children all appeared healthy and happy as they have access to two quality meals a day, a high caregiver to child ratio, a medical clinic also run by C4C across the street, preschool, and a private school next door for children over 5. Most all the children ages toddler to teenager had "forever families" already in the United States. Unfortunately, due to law changes, paperwork has slowed down the average adoption timeframe for when the families can bring their adopted child home to about three long years. Many of the children had a basic understanding of English so it was fun to have them practice their English with them and for us to practice our Haitian Creole with them. The kids got a lot of laughs out of our efforts.

We also visited the duet, an orphanage close by with children that cannot be adopted due to the government’s regulations, and that was an incredibly different story. Lightless bedrooms dark at midday made of cinder block walls that smelled of mold due to high humidity and leaking water in the rooms from the frequent rains. There were only a few windows in the small rooms made from spaces between the cinder blocks and no glass to keep out the elements. Roofs were made of corrugated sections of metal pieced together and covered with frayed blue tarps to slow rain through the multitude of holes. Multiple rusted metal bunk beds to sleep on in each room. The children's few personal belongings were lined up, neat and tidy. What amazed us was that regardless of the tough situation of their living environment, many of the children still had smiles on their faces and wanted to play. Though we saw how quickly their smiles faded when it was our time to leave.

Our "task" project back at the crèche was to prepare an area for a playground by smoothing it out and planting grass seed. This “simple” project became very laborious when the area was a barren space of clay, rocks and tree stumps and our only tools were a pick axe, a wheel barrow, a few shovels, and buckets. But luckily many hands and feet! It was great when the children would get involved. I pondered over the differences between our cultures, relational versus task oriented, when our younger cohorts would stop working rather frequently. There were a few teenage boys, about three of them who were too old to be in the orphanage, but didn’t have a job or anywhere permanent to live. They had been doing odd jobs for the crèche to earn a few meals. They would work with us and then after some time would frequently take breaks. I was beginning to think they were lazy and didn’t understand why they wouldn’t stay on task. My pondering ended the day I was hungry just before lunch and I stopped working to take a break. It was then I realized they were stopping because they had no energy reserves and did not get to replenish food store at lunch like I did. This was an eye opener.

Prior to the beginning of this touching journey I wondered why Haiti didn't have a good water system, clean streams, garbage service, etc. After a while it became clear that if I walked in their shoes, I would probably do no differently. Politics, human greed, and disasters appear to have created a trifecta of devastating blows that has left Haiti impoverished. The short description of our journey only gives a partial glimpse of our incredible and heart touching story. This was an opportunity of a lifetime and one that has left lasting impressions on our family. To find out more and get a bigger glimpse of our journey, and maybe have an adventure of your own, view the following links and photos.

Chances for Children: http://www.chances4children.org/

Feed My Starving Children: https://www.fmsc.org/get-involved/volunteer-now

Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiti

When Helping Hurts: https://www.amazon.com/When-Helping-Hurts-Alleviate-Yourself-ebook/dp/B00EDY1YU4/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

2016 Law change affecting property managers / landlords

Web Admin - Monday, April 11, 2016

The short legislative session brought new changes to the property management industry. The following is not legal advice. For legal advice you are encouraged to seek an attorney that specializes in Property Management. Another alternative is to hire a professional property manager to manage your investment or property for you.

On March 15, 2016 Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 4143 from the Short Legislative Session prohibiting property managers and landlords from increasing rent on a month to month tenancy during the first year. Also, property managers and landlords are required to give a 90-day notice prior to increasing rent on a month to month tenancy. Best practice is to abide by both of these laws effective immediately now.

If you don’t have the time to keep up on the ever changing laws and desire professional property management, contact Trio Property Management Inc. at 541.434.1900.

How to Market Your Eugene, Oregon Home Like a Professional Property Manager

Web Admin - Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Marketing your home is an important first step in getting it rented out to high quality tenants. Today we’re talking about how Eugene landlords can market their rental properties the way professional property managers do.

Curb Appeal
First impressions are important, and your property has to look great when people come to see it. Potential tenants want to see a home that’s in excellent condition and ready for move in. At Trio Property Management Inc., we are able to rent our homes quickly because we make sure they are clean and well maintained. Before you begin marketing your property, make sure it looks good on the inside and the outside.

Online Advertising
A majority of tenants are looking for properties on the Internet, so advertising online is critical when you’re marketing your rental home. Start with a great ad; take lots of high quality photographs and consider making a video as well so people can feel like they’re taking a tour of the property before they visit it. Highlight all of the property’s best attributes and be sure to mention upgrades and improvements you’ve recently made. Make sure you’re honest about what the property has to offer.

Market your property on as many sites as possible. Put the ad on your own website and use platforms such as Zillow and Trulia. Craigslist can also be a great site for rental ads. Maximize your efforts and get your listing on as many sites as you have access to. You want to cast a wide net when marketing your home to potential tenants.

Professional Signage
Online marketing is important, but so are yard signs. People who are driving or walking through the neighborhood will often see a sign and make an inquiry. Post your sign in the yard or the window of your property and make sure your contact information is clear and visible. Provide a phone number and an email address so prospective renters can get in touch with you.

Laws and Regulations
Fair housing laws extend to the way you market your rental property. If you’re not familiar with federal, state and local fair housing laws, make sure you consult an attorney or hire a quality property manager. Wording your advertisement the wrong way can get you into legal trouble.

When you get a call or an email regarding your property, respond promptly. You don’t want to lose a great tenant just because you waited too long to return a phone call.

If you have any questions about marketing your rental property like a professional, please contact us at Trio Property Management Inc., and we’d be happy to help you.

Smart Upgrades for Your Eugene Rental Home

Web Admin - Thursday, May 29, 2014
The old adage in real estate is location, location, location. It’s true, location is important. But when it comes to renting your place, you can’t overlook how a property presents as well. Amenities are important. At some point, you’ll need to make repairs or upgrade your property to try and get more rent. There are some things to think about before you do that.

First, think about your long term and your short term goals. You have some questions to answer, such as will you live in the property again when you’re done renting it out? Will you sell the property soon? These answers will help drive the types of upgrades it makes sense to complete.

Location is an important factor in deciding which upgrades to make. For example, if you have an investment property in an upscale neighborhood that rents for over $2,500 per month, you need amenities that match the area. It would make sense to have granite countertops or stainless steel appliances in that home. However, if your property has a lower rental rate, you really want to think about the necessity for expensive appliances. There’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on stainless steel kitchen appliances. Instead, match your upgrades to the property’s value.

Think about where your investment home is located. We are in the northwest part of the country, where it is cold and rainy many days of the year. This means we don’t get a lot of pools. It might be a nice idea to think about installing a pool in your rental, but in actuality, it would just be an extra expense and a huge liability for you.

These are the decisions you want to make before you put in new appliances or make huge upgrades to your home. Before you do any work or make any changes, consider your goals and think about what you’ll really be gaining from that investment. Also, you never want to forget the value of good curb appeal. It can often be more important than any upgrade. Nothing scares your potential Smart Upgrades for Your Eugene Rental Homeapplicants away like a terrible exterior. If they drive by and see tall grass, chipping paint or broken down vehicles in the driveway, they aren’t going to bother coming inside to see the place.

If you have any questions about what you should consider before making an upgrade, please contact us at Trio Property Management, and we’d be happy to talk to you.

Tips for Eugene Self Managers

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Today, I want to provide tips for self managers. The first and most important tip is: know the laws. Good property management takes a lot of time and work. If you don’t know the laws, the tenants will. You want to make sure you know them so you aren’t losing money in the end.

Another thing you absolutely have to know is your market rental rates. This is important because if you market your property at a price that’s too high it will be vacant for a long time and you’ll lose money. If you market the home at a price that’s too low, it will rent quickly but you could be making more money if you had priced it right. Understand the rates in your area.

Screen those applicants really well. Look at references, income, credit and backgrounds. Get as much information as you can on the people who want to live in your house. The reason you want to screen really well is because you want to get high quality people in your home. You also have to follow the correct laws as you screen. You can’t approve a tenant for the house just because they look nice.

Make sure your property presents well. It needs to have good curb appeal. The property has to look great, especially from the outside. When a prospect pulls up to your home and they see a beautifully landscaped yard and the front door is painted and the property looks inviting, you’ll get more people interested in the property. That makes it much easier to find that really high quality tenant.

Be available 24/7 for your tenants. This is critical because most issues happen when you’re out of town or when it’s late at night. When you have a property to manage, there are always issues coming up and you want to be sure you can protect your investment. Be available to take those calls.

Make sure you do constant quality inspections. Don’t just walk into the home and ask the tenants how things are going. Physically be present in the property and look through it. Open cabinet doors beneath the sink and look for water damage. Check the bathroom to ensure the shower curtain is being used and you don’t have water damage. Look for fresh caulking. Quality inspections are absolutely necessary for self managers.

Teach your tenants and educate them on how to take care of the property. For example, when the winter comes in the northwest, we tell them to release hose from hose bibs and cover those. When a freeze comes, we don’t want to burst a pipe. That creates an extra cost and damage to the property. The goal is to help your tenants learn how to maintain a home.

If you do not want to put in the time it takes to do property management, or if you don’t have the backbone to deal with tough issues and difficult tenants, use a professional property manager. And if you have any questions, please contact us at Trio Property Management.

Eugene Tenant Laws and Regulations A Property Manager Explains

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Today we are talking about laws that regulate how landlords do business. The first thing you need to know is that tenant laws keep changing. In fact, they change frequently. If you are going to manage properties, you must stay current on all those laws. If you don’t, it can be very costly to you. Everyone is expected to follow the laws, self managers and professional property managers included. You have to follow those laws whether you know them or not. You won’t ever be able to say to a judge that you didn’t know the law had changed. You want to stay up to date because it affects your properties and your bottom line. If the tenants know the laws better than you, you’ll pay for it in the end.

When we talk about laws, we are talking about federal, state and local laws. You need to be aware of all of them. In our area, I’m surprised to hear that laws are continually being broken by property managers who probably don’t know better. For example, the law pertaining to fees has changed. People are charging pet fees and carpet cleaning fees and here, that has become illegal. The law does not allow you to charge those fees. Look up those local, state and federal laws so you know what you can and cannot do.

We also see a lot of property managers who don’t understand what the laws are governing security deposits. There is a specific timeframe that you have to return a deposit accounting to a tenant who has moved out. We worked with someone who had been managing her own property and she ended up paying the tenant even more than the security deposit because she had not been aware of the legal timeframe. You really have to be sure you understand the laws in your area so you know what you can charge and how to handle security deposits.

Locally, we had a big change in 2014 pertaining to Section 8. Lots of self managers say they don’t rent to Section 8 tenants, but now they don’t have a choice. We encourage you to read the law and understand Section 8 tenancies.

If you are trying to save money by not using a professional property manager, make sure you know these laws so you are not caught off guard and end up spending a lot of money in the end. Please contact us at Trio Property Management if you have any questions, or you’d like more information.

Eugene Landlords: How to Educate Your Tenants

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 07, 2014
A significant part of a successful tenancy is tenant education. We don’t talk about this part of the job a lot, but education is really important for you to have a great tenant living in your property. A perfect starting point is with the application. Your rental application can set the professional tone of what you’re trying to show the tenant. Your application should look good, be clear and concise, and ask for the right information. You must have all the bases covered with the application so you can do a thorough screening and background check.

Make sure you have a thorough and clear rental agreement. That rental agreement will explain all the expectations to the tenant so they are fully informed about when rent is due, how guests are handled and what to do to take care of the property. It’s important to have it clear and well thought out, and you should always encourage any questions or discussion at the time both parties are signing the rental agreement.

Explain to the tenants how to communicate with you. Make sure you have a website they can go to. Give them a phone number they can use to get in touch with you 24/7. If a tree branch falls on the roof in the middle of the night while it’s snowing, the tenant needs to know how to get a hold of you. Provide several different ways for the tenant to communicate with you. You never want your tenants to be in a situation where they don’t know how to get in touch with you.

Let them know when to call. They might notice a small water leak under the sink that they think isn’t a big deal. But if they let it go and they don’t report it, you can end up with a huge problem over time. Make sure you educate your tenant to talk to you about all issues.

After you inspect a property, talk to the tenant about what you saw and what’s important. For example, if the bed is kept on the floor, that’s a big issue. Maybe they don’t have a bed frame, so the mattresses are just thrown on the ground. You want to talk about problems that can create, such as mildew. Give tenants any information they don’t already have. When you communicate with your tenants, you are able to educate them.

Each contact you have with your tenants is an opportunity to educate them. Tell them how to maintain the property and what to do to take care of it. Share any new information you come across.

This is your investment, and you want to keep it well maintained. Remember that communication with your tenants leads to education. If you have any questions about this topic, please contact us at Trio Property Management.

How to Choose a Property Management Company in Eugene

Web Admin - Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Our topic today is how to pick a property management company. If you have never owned a rental before, or you’ve never worked with a property manager, you might be wondering how to choose the company that’s right for you. There are a lot of property management companies in Eugene, and you want to be strategic about picking the one that’s a good fit for you and your rental home.

The first thing you want to consider in your search is location. Choose a rental manager who is local and able to get to your property right away if necessary. It’s hard to manage a property that is over 100 miles away. When you have a property manager who is geographically close to your own property, it will be easier for that professional to keep tabs on your house and on the tenant.

Another thing to consider is the property manager’s area of expertise. Find out what kind of properties the company manages. They might specialize in managing single family homes or perhaps most of their experience is with apartment complexes. Some property management companies do a lot of work with industrial buildings and commercial properties. Each type of property requires a very different set of property management skills. Some companies will specialize in one type of building or another, and others will try to manage all those different types of properties. Find out what your property manager does, and make sure your rental unit is similar to what that company does well.

Finally, you want to know how big the property management company is. You want to know what their goals are for you and for your property. This is important because a larger property management firm may have different goals than a smaller company, and you’ll need to know where exactly you fit in.

Choosing a property management company in Eugene does not have to be difficult. Take the time to get to know the company you are considering, and choose the one that will best represent you and your rental. If you have any questions, please contact us at Trio Property Management.

What Does a Property Manager Do?

Web Admin - Tuesday, April 22, 2014
A property manager has to be a jack of all trades and a master of many. Today, we are going to give you a look at what exactly a property manager does.

Property managers must act professionally. It’s important to make decisions based on facts and not emotions. Emotional decisions will only cost you time and money, and sometimes property owners are too emotionally attached to their properties. That’s how we can help.

We are also required to keep up with laws and market trends, which change frequently. It’s hard to stay up on all the court cases and all the changes going on in property management. You don’t have to worry about doing that yourself when you have a property manager doing it for you.

Property managers must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are here to answer calls, take care of issues and manage any emergencies. If there’s a windstorm in the middle of the night, we take care of it so you don’t have to.

We understand the rental market. When it comes to putting a property on the market, we know what kind of price range is reasonable and what sorts of amenities are necessary. Property managers will understand what it takes to prepare a property for the market. For example, we can tell you how much rent you should be able to collect. If you have appliances that are not looking great and you don’t understand why no one is renting your home, we can tell you why and help you get new appliances in your home. We do our best to keep you informed.

Property managers have a list of great vendors. We develop good relationships with the repair professionals we use, and we often get a much lower cost for service than you might on your own. We create relationships for our clients, and we save you money because of those relationships. Labor and materials are expensive, and so is your time. We give you that time back.

Something property managers are able to do well is applicant screening. This is very, very important. You need quality people in your home who will take care of it. We always get anxious when we hear about landlords not doing background checks or calling references. Recently, a new client came to us because a tenant they had placed themselves was causing some problems. We did our own background check and found some concerns. We are taking care of the situation because it’s what we do best. However, good screening can often prevent bad tenants from even getting placed.

Property managers can take care of all your property’s accounting. You will receive a monthly statement and tax forms at the end of the year. Property managers will track all of your expenses and communicate about any repairs or necessary costs.

Hopefully, this helps you understand the job of a property manager. If you have any questions or you’d like more information, please contact us at Trio Property Management.

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