Category Archive: Property Management

  1. A Young Professionals Guide to the D.C. Rental Market

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    “…real estate experts are projecting significant growth within the rental market as developers continue to renovate and construct new housing in order to meet the growing demand in D.C.”

    Congratulations! You have just achieved young professional status by landing the career you always wanted in the big city, and somehow you’ve even convinced yourself that the three hour round trip commute from suburbs “is really not that bad.” Then, the months slip away along with your hard-earned money to transportation costs and other commuting fees. Not to mention, if you hear Karen from accounting brag one more time about that trendy new cafe that just opened around the corner from her place in Shaw, you’re going to scream.

    If any of this sounds familiar, then you’re probably already considering a move to a place in the city. But with your current income, buying isn’t really an option—couple that with everyone telling you that the cost of rent is way too high and it all becomes enough to scare some people off. But as a Millennial, you belong to a resilient, resourceful generation, and facing the crisis of unaffordable housing in today’s rental market won’t deter you from living out your dreams in the city. So, what’s stopping you?

    Here are a few helpful tips so you can find the right rental options for you:

    • Do Your Research

    More often than not, taking the time to do a little quality research can be something we all take for granted. In regards to D.C.’s ever changing landscape it is important to not let areas that once had a negative reputation in the past scare you off today. At first glance, you might think a property isn’t situated in a place that best suits your needs, but there are many up and coming areas with great multifamily projects in the works like this 45 unit project, which is currently under construction by the talented property development company, Ditto Residential. It may not always be easy, but doing your homework and looking for upcoming real estate projects can provide you with invaluable information to make an educated decision.

    • Location, Walkability, and Amenities

    These are the big three features that everyone wants out of a rental property in D.C. However, on a tight budget having all three in spades might not be exactly realistic. When looking for your next potential home pay attention to the property’s walkability score. The walkability score determines how easily daily errands can be accomplished on foot, and a location’s proximity to restaurants, bars, and other local amenities. Just know that even if a property does not have the best location, a building’s amenities can still make that specific property great, and vice versa. The important part is reflecting on what is essential to you, and then finding a property that meets your needs. Luckily D.C. ranks 4th in the nation for transit friendly cities, and 7th in the nation for most bike friendly cities and thanks to programs like Capital Bike Share the city is more traversable than it has ever been.

    • Patience is a Virtue

    Listen, no one wants to hear about patience in our age of instant gratification, but when talking about the housing market, patience becomes a necessity for knowing when to rent and when to wait. Similar to many major cities in the U.S., Washington, D.C. experiences a constant ebb and flow between the availability of housing and the demand from new potential residents. This never-ending balancing act can either drive the cost of rent through the roof, in times of property scarcity, or create the perfect conditions for young professionals to find new, exciting properties/rentals in the District. Currently, real estate experts are projecting significant growth within the rental market as developers continue to renovate and construct new housing in order to meet the growing demand in D.C. So remain patient—the District’s rental market is rebounding to be more of a renters market after the Great Recession and your ideal property could be currently in the stages of being built in the next hip Washington, D.C. neighborhood.

    If I could leave you with one piece of advice; don’t be discouraged when looking for housing options in D.C. The rental market is fluid and always changing, and if worse comes to worse, you could always ask Karen from accounting if she’s looking for a roommate.

    Most importantly, we may already have your next home waiting for you, take a look at Longford Management’s available rentals here.

    Sources

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    Rent Jungle

    Urban Institute Predicts Rental Surge Among Millennials, Minorities, Seniors-Bendix Anderson

  2. Alphabet Soup: 5 Common Acronyms D.C. Property Owners Should Know

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    “…have no fear, the infinite alphabet soup that is associated with property owning/management can be easily digestible with just a little help from Longford Management.”

    Who hasn’t taken a shortcut before? How about a shortcut that makes absolutely zero sense for those not in the know? Well, that’s kind of how acronyms work unfortunately. But have no fear, I’m here to hopefully make the alphabet soup seem less confusing and more helpful for every property owner .

    For the sake of brevity, we have gone ahead and selected 5 acronyms that every property owner should know.

    1. HVAC-Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning

    If you haven’t heard of this acronym before then you probably haven’t had your air conditioner break down during the middle of a heat wave. For those of us in the know, HVAC can mean everything from air conditioning systems to furnaces. As a property owner, knowing the ins and outs of your HVAC system is key to maintaining your home’s indoor air quality. Also, an annual tune-up of both the heat and A/C side of your system can assure your continued comfort. Oh, and in D.C. you’re required to service your system in line with housing code guidelines.

    1. BBL-Basic Business License

    If you ever intend on renting your property in D.C. every owner–from single family home to large multi-family properties–has to have a basic business license in order to do so. Whether your property is self-managed or managed by a third party company you will need proof of a BBL. Owners can obtain their BBL on their own or hire a firm like RentJiffy.com to obtain it. Pricing varies depending on your number of units. Also, make sure your COO (certificate of occupancy) is in order before you begin renting.

    1. DCRA-Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

    The DCRA wears many hats in the District. They issue BBLs, actively review construction documents before any building can commence, conduct inspections on buildings and rental properties and issue housing code violations to those in the wrong (I didn’t say all of those hats were nice!). According to the DCRA website; “The mission of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is to protect the health, safety, economic interests and quality of life of residents, businesses and visitors.” They also offer advice to new homeowners/homebuyers. Recently DCRA even announced an amnesty program that will offer business licenses and corporate registrations to businesses without fines. According to an official press release:

    All businesses within the District of Columbia, operating with an expired license or without a license qualify to participate in the program, as do customers with revoked corporate statuses, missing or expired business licenses, and unregistered weights and measures devices.

    I highly recommend applying to this program if it applies to your situation. I also I highly recommend bookmarking the DCRA website because it is an essential stop when owning or managing a property in D.C.

    1. DCOTR-D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue

    Yes, the office of tax and revenue can be a frightful place, but they also can be quite helpful. When you buy a home in the District, paying property taxes along with your mortgage is a given. There are however tax relief programs in place to help homeowners. The Homestead deduction offers qualified homeowners the opportunity to dramatically reduce their property taxes. Just don’t forget to remove the homestead deduction if you decide to move out of your home or small multi-family property in order to rent it. See, they’re not so scary after all.

    Investment property owners should also be aware that there are some specific tax filing requirements for you, even if you live outside the DC area. Regardless, no matter where you live you should consult with a local tax professional to make sure your annual tax filing is done correctly, as it can be costly and in DC this is often checked at time of sale!

    1. NARPM-National Association of Residential Property Managers

    Currently our organization is an active member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers, so maybe we’re a little biased. But partiality aside, NARPM is one of the best educational sites online for property managers as well as property owners. From single family homes to multi-family properties, NARPM’s website offers multiple courses and educational tools to make sure you are getting the most out of your rental.

     

    Sometimes shortcuts can lead to more confusion rather than outright efficiency (same goes for acronyms). Luckily you have informed sources like Longford Management to help guide you through the muddle. So have no fear, the infinite alphabet soup that is associated with property owning/management can be easily digestible with just a little help from Longford Management.

     

  3. DC has continued to be a Great Market for First-Time Real Estate Investors

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    “…as of last year, the real estate market has seen significant stability and an increase in overall appreciation.”

    For the better part of the past decade, Washington, D.C. has been a microcosm of change. From the lack of affordable income properties to the high cost of living potential tenants may endure, it’s not hard to understand why D.C. real estate has been an intimidating venture for first-time investors. However, as of last year, the real estate market has seen significant stability and an increase in overall appreciation.  This isn’t to say this will continue, but through careful analysis and a bit of leg work opportunities can still be found.

    Areas that are seeing the most significant rate of appreciation in still-affordable neighborhoods of the District include:

    • Congress Heights

    Located near St. Elizabeth’s campus, the area has become a recent hub for various revitalization projects. In 2014, the median real estate sales price was a modest $150,000. However, as of today, sale prices shot up to a median sales price of $221,250, thus creating a 47.5% appreciation increase. This increase marks the largest percentage real estate growth throughout the entire district, making this neighborhood an up-and-coming venture for recent first-time buyers looking to see their investment pay dividends in the near future.

    • Anacostia

    Similar to Congress Heights, Anacostia has seen a history of economic woes and lack of real estate development in its time. However, this area is also seeing a recent boom.

    In 2014, median sales prices hovered around $190,000, but home buyers saw a 35.5% appreciation increase in 2015 as experts watched property in this area being sold at a median sales price of $257,000.

    • Woodridge

    A traditionally residential portion of D.C. situated along the district’s Northeast border, this quiet neighborhood is positioned next to the already burgeoning Brookland area, allowing residents both the comfort of their suburban settings and easy access to Brookland’s growing retail and restaurant amenities. In 2014, a single family home that sits on its own individual lot was selling at a median sales price of $399,900. Compare that to the median sales price of $482,000 for 2015, and you would notice the 20.5% increase in the average value of a Woodridge home.

    • Foggy Bottom

    Nestled on the edge of the Potomac River, this neighborhood is defined by the institutions that call this great area home: George Washington University, the World Bank, The State Department, (just to name a few) dominate the landscape, but there are still gorgeous relatively unknown homes like Snow’s Court. Development in the Foggy Bottom area has been steadily increasing, and in 2014 the median sales price for homes was $270,000. A year later and the median listing price has increased to $310,000, which accounts for a 14.8% increase of average property value.

     

    The real estate market is stabilizing, and property appreciation has show incredible returns in many exciting and upcoming areas. However, even as the statistics show the potential for success always be aware that past performance is not indicative of future success in the real estate market —but if you do decide to invest, just make sure you employ a holistic, innovative approach to property management to ensure you see the best possible return on your investment.

     

    Sources

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    The DC Neighborhoods With the Best Price Appreciation in 2015-Urban Turf

  4. Your New Community

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    …what ever happened to the old way of connecting with people? What ever happened to community?

    It’s no secret, but living a happy life has a lot to do with the company you keep.

    Whether the company you choose are family or friends it’s always the connection we make with other people that make our lives worthwhile. Now,more than ever in our age of digital connection it’s all too easy to isolate ourselves while we search aimlessly for something real. But my question is, what ever happened to the old way of connecting with people? What ever happened to community? These are not new questions, but there is a new answer.

    The answer resides at OSLO, a brand new nine-unit apartment located in the heart of DC’s Shaw neighborhood. The units in this modern building range from three to four spacious bedrooms, each with their own personal bathroom and large walk in shower. Just take a look at OSLO and see for yourself. These personal elements of the units are ideal in their own right, but the place where OSLO really breaks the mold of your standard run of the mill multi-person building is the shared living space incorporated into each of the nine-units. These areas are designed to cultivate a unique community within each dwelling.

    At one point in time, many years ago, multi-person buildings like this were common place in major cities, and these apartments quickly became a rite of passage for many young single professionals establishing their lives in major cities.

    That being said the layout of OSLO feels new and more needed than ever since the notion of community has gone by the wayside in favor of individualism and isolation (please see the advent of micro-units).

    OSLO’s shared living spaces restore the concepts of community and human connection many of us are still looking for. Well, look no further, your new friends are here.

  5. Introducing Longford Management

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 02/01/16

    Kenny Newberry
    Longford Management
    (202) 747-6555
    Kenny@LongfordDC.com

    ROCK CREEK MANAGEMENT SHIFTS FOCUS, ANNOUNCES REBRAND
    Company Adds a New Specialty to Its Portfolio

    Washington, D.C. – Rock Creek Management announced today that it has changed its company name to Longford Management. With the new name comes a complete rebrand, led by a new website, and an increased focus on multi-family residential properties, an area the Washington-based firm has already found success in for their existing clients.

    “Our new name is inspired by Joe Kelly, my grandfather, and his upbringing in County Longford, Ireland,” says Dave Illes, president of Longford Management and industry veteran. “His life story of immigrating to this country and then working his way from a position as a junior maintenance technician at a building in New York City to one day becoming a building manager of high end multi-family properties has inspired me immensely in my line of work. We couldn’t be more proud of our family business, and we want our name to reflect where we came from, as well as our family tradition of excellence in property management.”
    Since the company’s inception in 2009, their primary focus has been on providing unparalleled support and care to their residential and commercial properties in the Washington D.C. metro area.

    Before their transition to Longford Management, Rock Creek had success helping owners of many different property types. The company excelled with their large single family and commercial portfolios and while still growing these services, Longford will leverage their unique background in real estate, finance, general contracting, and business development to expand their focus to serve even more multi-family property owners.

    “We have found that the infrastructure we’ve created to serve our several hundred residents and commercial tenants will allow for us to grow rapidly in the smaller multi-family space,” says Illes. “We are confident in our ability to bring the same level of management experienced by some of the area’s largest properties to our smaller community owner’s and properties.”

    Longford Management will continue to employ all of the same value-added services that Rock Creek clients have come to expect from their property management company, including:

    • Fully licensed and insured in-house maintenance team for basic repairs
    • 24/7 emergency access by phone with a response rate within 60 minutes
    • CPA business manager that reviews all financial entries monthly
    • Capital expenditure management services (CAPEX)

    Longford Management is a property management firm located in Washington, D.C. As strategic partners of property owners and developers, the team at Longford handles all aspects of property management, including accounting and reporting, leasing, maintenance and repairs, and marketing. For more information, please visit www.LongfordDC.com.

  6. Top 5 Reasons Tenants Move

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    Chances are you or someone you know has probably moved recently. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as a country we move, and we move a lot.
    From 2012 to 2013 alone 35.9 million Americans moved from one residency to another (in case you were wondering that’s 11.7% of the U.S. population!)

    But why are so many people moving?

    Well according to that same Census Bureau report “Of the 35.9 million people 1 year and over that moved between 2012 and 2013, 17.2 million (48.0 %) gave a housing related reason for moving.”

    When asked, nearly half of those people who moved said that housing-related issues were the catalyst for their move. To be clear these housing-related issues can vary from people wanting to live in a nicer home located in a better neighborhood, to those who have been evicted. However, some of the reasons for a person’s move can be preventable with the right management of their property.

    1. Upgrading to nicer Home/Apartment: This listed reason accounts for approximately 15% of all moves.
    2. Family Matters: (not the sitcom) Reasons relating to family account for 15% of all moves
    3. Housing (general): This reason encompasses everything from wanting more affordable living to wanting to live in a nicer neighborhood and accounts for 14% of moves.
    4. Starting your own household: Just married? Tired of living with your parents? 10% of movers move for this very reason.
    5. New Employment: Congrats on the new job! Sorry, but you have to re-locate. Looks like you just joined 9% of all movers who moved for a new job.

    
Having just moved recently myself (I fall into category #4 for those wondering) I can tell you that moving your life is no easy feat. This leads us to the next important statistic when looking at why tenants move: distance moved. 
 
As it turns out most people don’t want to leave the geographical area they feel comfortable with. According to the census bureau’s report, 57.6% of all movers are what we call “intra-county” movers. These movers typically only move within a 15 mile radius of their current location.

    With all of this data at our disposal it should come as some relief that even when most people choose to move, it’s not to leave the real estate market they already live in.

Take a look at two numbers I listed above: 48% (Moved because of housing related issue) and 57.6% (“intra-county” movers).

    These numbers illustrate a really clear picture.  People really do not enjoy moving away, but if their quality of housing is lackluster they are more likely to take up roots and move (albeit nearby) to a property that they believe is better. With that in mind, maintaining a beautiful property should become all that more important when trying to prevent tenants from leaving your rental property. Here at Longford Management we have a long track record of helping clients keep their investment properties appealing, and occupied. From delivering immediate attention that keep tenants happy, to increasing the rental value of a property through full property renovations, we know what it takes to encourage good tenants to stay.

  7. Winter Worries: 5 Ways Maintain Your Property and Keep Costs Down During the Winter

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    “Oh the weather outside is frightful!”

    How many of you just read that line in Dean Martin’s voice? Even with the holidays behind us, I’m willing to bet the old King of Cool must have been thinking about this time of year when he first crooned that winter classic. Don’t believe me? Take a stroll outside and tell me if that first gust of cold wind doesn’t make you feel otherwise. It’s inevitable, no matter how much we wish for warmer weather, winter just seems to keep going and going. While we can’t wish the cold months away, here are some decisions that home owners and tenants can make to insure the best interests of their property as well as their wallets.

    1. “The fire is so delightful”…Get your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.

      Before you cozy up next to that roaring fire with your loved ones make sure you contact a chimney professional for a thorough inspection and cleaning. The National Fire Protection Association says “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” So remember before you can enjoy that delightful fire, take precautionary steps and have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.

    2. “It doesn’t show signs of stopping”…Find and seal leaks.

      While the cold may not stop on demand, there are steps you can take to at least slow the leak of cold air into your home. First things first, check the seals around your windows to make sure that their integrity is intact. The best course of action is to caulk the outside perimeter of your drafty windows and then use weather-stripping to seal the window’s interior. However, if you rent your home these options may not be allowed per the owner or management, luckily there are also affordable window insulator kit options online that are easy to install. To slow the leak of cold air around your doors the most affordable option would be to purchase a draft snake or make one yourself. Draft snakes or draft stoppers, are an easy and cost effective way to prevent cold drafts from entering your home. Just place one in front of the bottom of a door where cold air could potentially enter, and before you know it you’ll start to feel the difference.

    3. “Since we’ve no place to go” …Pay attention to your thermostat.

      According to the U.S. Department of Energy “in a 24-hour period you can save as much as 3 percent on your heating bill for every 1 degree that you lower the thermostat setting. When you are home try setting your thermostat as low as comfortably possible. For some people warmer temperatures might be necessary but the standard temperature recommendation is between 65° and 70°. When you get ready to go to bed at night or when you anticipate being out of the house try setting your thermostat back. Before you know it you will begin to see the difference in your heating bill.

    4. “How I’ll hate going out in the storm” …Re-stock your salt supply and ice melt before any mention of a storm.

      Once the ice, sleet, or snow begins to fall it’s simply too late. Not to mention right before a storm the shelves of every store are completely picked clean. This is where a little pro-active preparation can save a huge headache. Keep a steady supply of both salt and ice melt (don’t forget the pet friendly stuff if you own pets!) A little preparation goes along way, and in this case it could potential prevent slips and falls, so don’t go out into the storm, beat the rush instead.

    5. “All the way home, I’ll be warm” …Reverse your ceiling fans

      Now this may sound counter intuitive, but if your ceiling fan has a reverse switch (usually located on the fan itself) then you should probably start running your fan in reverse when it’s chilly out. Running your fan in reverse will push down the warm air that rises to your ceiling creating a nice warming effect. Counter intuitive? Counter revolution? Who cares as long as it keeps you warm! (Just don’t forget to set it back to normal come summer!)

    Try your best to stay warm during these chilly months, and hopefully with these tips you will be able to maintain your property and save a little extra money in the process. But if you are still cold after all of these suggestions, put on a sweater, hold a loved one tight and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


    SOURCES
    http://www.washgas.com/library/pdf/energywise_web.pdf