Archive for December, 2012

Property Management System

Property Management SystemA property management system must have a many features that help the property manager. They help manage the rent of the units they are managing but many other activities around the property. They must  keep track of all cash flows which include rent income and expenses. All work orders that are associated with the property for repairs and maintenance that need to be completed are included. Some owners want a lot of detail so they can review how costs are being managed and others do not. This is something that can be used by the property manager to differentiate your business from other competitors.

Property Management System – Information Readily Available

They must have these reports and information available should the board call for the information or the board asks for an audit of all cash flows and expenses. It is common for an audit to be completed every year to assure the owners that all cash flows are correct and that owner policies are being adhered to.

As a property manager you always need to be prepared to provide all of the information as needed. An excellent property management system will allow you to meet your own property management needs as well as the owners of the buildings that you are managing.

Reporting should be excellent as well so that the manager can quickly tell how many units are rented at what rent level, who is coming up for renewal and how much money is being spent on each unit. Units that are triggering a lot of unnecessary expenses should be flagged in some manner so that they are brought to the attention of the property manager immediately. Sometimes there are a lot of incidental expenses which by themselves are not very expensive, bit over a year can add up to more than expected.

Information for Owners from Property Management Systems

Reports also need to be available for the owner or investor of the building. Accounting reports showing the total income and expenses by all categories with bottom line summaries is usually the minimum that is required. These reports should allow drill downs to individual units that may have higher numbers than what are the average for advertising or repairs as an example. While paper copies are helpful, with today’s systems, online reports that allow browsing of the results and drill downs into more detail should be available.

Investors also want alerts for high expense, for rent renewal, for non-payment of rent etc. There are many items that should be tracked with property management software which helps the senior management team manage large numbers of units and stay on track with various issues. Weekly reviews and monthly reviews of all of the top line numbers with exception analysis should be the norm. A good property management system can help a great deal to make this process smooth, while providing the answers at the same time.

Complex Property Management Software

Property management software is becoming more and more complex all of the time. Property managers either must invest in training for their people to learn how to maintain and use these systems or they need to hire someone who knows your software inside out so they can deliver all of your needs. There is nothing more frustrating when the support people from the software company tell you that a feature or report is available, when your people should have been able to deliver these results from the beginning.

Software systems can be expensive, but they can deliver significant results. Invest in appropriate training for your system and utilize the train the trainer approach to keep everyone up to speed on all of the features. Once you have mastered their use, your customers will be impressed with the information provided and your attention to details which is enabled by the property management systems you are using. Invest wisely and use your customers requirements as a means to select the best system for your needs.

For more posts about property management, click here.

Tires for Sale

Tires for SaleThe best time to buy tires is at the end of the seasons when lots of dealers have tires for sale and are trying to deplete their inventory before the next season begins. A good example of this is snow tires. If you can wait until the end of winter or early spring, you should be able to find all kinds of tires for sale with no problems whatever. You may even find that the steel rims will be on sale as well which will save you a lot of money. Steel rims are often used by many consumers for snow tires on their cars in the winter time. This avoids them having to remove and install tires on their more expensive rims. Rims have been damaged by excessive removal of tires, balancing etc.

How Much do You Really Save Buying Tires for Sale

Of course you will have to store them somewhere over the summer months and you will lose the use of that money you spent on the tires, however if you save enough it can be well worth it. Let’s assume that your tires cost you a thousand dollars and you bought them six months before you needed them. You had to take out a personal loan for 10% to buy the tires. We are using round numbers here to make the calculations easy. You should substitute your own values in for tires you purchase and the carrying cost of money that you have.

Carrying one thousand dollars for a period of six months is going to cost $50. If you can save more than that by buying these tires for sale now, storing for 6 months and then using them, you will be ahead of the cost curve. In fact you might be further ahead of the price of next year’s tires go up which they probably will. Look for tires for sale now to get the best deals.

Used Tires for Sale

Also many consumers who are  on the lookout for tires can find tires on sale through the online resale web sites in their own city or by getting to know the dealer and picking up used tires that are priced very well. One friend found a set of four snow tires with steel rims that were used and was able to purchase them for $150 with installation and balancing.

They are sufficient for the winter and were a really great deal. Another friend picked up a set of tires that were advertised online. They agreed on a price and he had to drive to another city close by to pick them up. Again a really great deal for him. So always look for tires on sale. Either from a tire company or from online systems that are available in your area.

There are also companies who buy used tires from wreckers and cars that have been taken off the road. They are sold as used tires for the most part, but consumers need to be careful. These tires may be unbalanced, they may be worn badly and they could just be really old. If you are buying these kinds of tires, consumers need to be really careful. The tires could be so old that they are not safe at high speeds. They could damage your shocks and springs if they are not balanced properly.

We urge consumers to take extra care in these kinds of situations. For more tire sales and discounts on tires, click here.

Text Messaging Advertising

Text Message SystemText messaging advertising is another way that companies can advertise to consumers. Some cell phone users are starting to receive a lot of text messaging advertising to their phones and frankly it is quite annoying. These messages take time to read and delete and they are potentially using up some of your incoming message quota for text messages every month. They even come in during the middle of the night which used to wake us up. Now we leave the phone downstairs were we cannot hear it in the middle of the night.

Text Messaging Advertising And Your Phone Number

The writer made the mistake of giving out their cell phone number once to a company who then sold the number to an advertiser. Selling numbers to advertisers apparently occurs all of the time. This advertiser began sending text messages to my phone at really odd hours. I now leave my phone down stairs at night so that it does not wake me up. I will still hear it if it rings and if it is an urgent call.

Fortunately I also have an unlimited incoming text message plan so do not need to worry about how many text messaging advertising messages I actually receive. If I had a limited plan, I would have to do something about this problem. These messages eat into your monthly quota and can cause a problem for many people.

There are also text messages which are called “short code  text messages”. and each time you receive one your account is charged $2.00. This is an outrageous amount to charge for an alert message that you did not want and did not order. There may be some alert messages that might be worth this kind of money. I do not know what they would be, and I certainly do not want them. In my mind this is really a scam and they should be disallowed! The phone company makes a lot of money from them and does nothing to stop them unless you call them to have these type of messages blocked.

In the mean time, call your mobile provider and have them block these kinds of test messages from being received by your phone. This is the only way to block text messaging advertising of this type. You have to have specific numbers to block which you can do with short code text messaging.

Not sure if I can ask my carrier to block text messaging advertising in general from being received by my phone. If this could be put in place, it would be really appreciated by many consumers, but the carriers would lose a lot of revenue if they did block them so I really do not think that they will take the step to block general text messaging advertising.

Does anyone know if this is possible. If you do have some idea regarding blocking these kids of text messaging, leave us a comment and instructions on how to go about this.

For more about text messages, click here.

Reduce Your Monthly heating Costs

Reduce Your Monthly heating CostsWinter is here and most of us have turned our furnaces on to begin heating our homes. It is also the time to have a technician come in and check your home’s furnace to make sure that it is ready for the next season. Cleaning, a tune up perhaps and any parts that might need replacement will be on the menu for these checkups. While you are at it have your gas fireplace looked at and also your hot water heater. These all use energy and if they are working properly they will reduce your monthly heating costs and also operate safely keeping you and your family safe for the coming heating season.

Should Consumers Purchase Insurance

This was a question that the writer recently had to face as part of my annual furnace check up. I called a technician who is in the business of doing annual checkups and cleaning. His proposed fee was $80 to come in, inspect the furnace, clean it and prepare an estimate of costs for any repairs if any are needed. I would have to pay labor and parts for any repairs that he identified. Sears, coincidentally sent us an insurance proposal that had a fee of $230 coverage for 16 months. This fee includes check up and cleaning fees, plus any repairs including parts and labor for our furnace. Our furnace is about 11 years old at this point and we originally purchased it from Sears. We decided to pay the extra fees just in case there are parts to be replaced. We normally do not suggest that consumers buy insurance of this kind, however the costs are too high if parts are needed. We would rather pay a little extra to have peace of mind and to potentially save some money.

What Other Steps to Take to Reduce Your Monthly heating Costs

The cost of oil has gone way up in the past couple of years and the cost of natural gas has not gone up as much, however depending on demand you can be sure that your heating bill is going to be higher than it was last year. Anything you can do to reduce the cost of keeping your home winter this winter will be money in your pocket instead of the oil or gas companies. Here are a few things that home owners may want to consider, if they haven’t already:

  • Annual check up of your furnace
  • New air filter for your furnace
  • Install an Electronic thermostat
  • Set temperatures at least 1 degree lower on average
  • Set temperatures lower during the day if the home is empty
  • Reduce your temperature at night
  • Ensure all windows and doors are air tight and properly caulked
  • Upgrade windows to a higher insulating value
  • Add insulation in the attic if it is old and does not meet today’s standards
  • Avoid leaving windows and doors open
  • Adjust the water temperature lower on your water heater
  • Heat only the rooms you live in(be careful of rooms with water pipes)

This is a great starter list of ways to reduce your heating cost this coming winter. Depending on your home and lifestyle there may be other ways to reduce your energy cost. Take a look at the way you live and how you use energy and make adjustments to reduce your cost of heating even further. Let us know so we can add them to our list for other readers.

If you decide to turn the heat off in some rooms, a word of caution is in order. If that room has water pipes in the walls or feeding that room, consumers should be careful to avoid the pipes freezing in cold weather. A room with no heat could possibly go below freezing and freeze the water in the pipes causing them to burst the pipes and cause a serious water leak.

A final word regarding purchasing insurance coverage for your furnace. It is really all about the amount of risk that you want to take and whether you can afford the bill if and when it needs to be repaired. The return on investment is really peace of mind and not how much money you are going to save. Do the math and make a decision about whether you can afford the risk vs. paying for insurance. Saving money on insurance could help pay for a new furnace if you avoid paying insurance for a long enough period.


Hardwood Floor Installation Price

Hardwood Floor Installation PriceHardwood floor installation prices will vary a great deal depending on where you live, the type of flooring you are installing and how much cutting and fitting you need to do. For example, the picture on the left shows a fireplace that needs to have the floor fitted around it. While it is not that difficult to do, it does take time with the extra cutting and fitting and it must be done right. After all the fireplace is the focal point of the room and any mistakes will be noticed by virtually everyone. There are many examples that will affect the installation price. Discuss your plans and the details with your souse and of course the contractor to make sure that you have a clear idea of what the finished product is going to look like.

Hardwood Floor Installation Price – Price Factors

Here are a few that you may have to take into account:

  • Square feet of flooring to be installed
  • Fireplace cutouts as shown in the picture
  • Hot and cold air registers, while pretty standard, still need to be accounted for
  • Irregular rooms with angles or curving walls
  • Many doorways
  • Interface with other types of flooring
  • Type of hardwood that is being installed
  • Addition of a supporting subfloor if needed
  • Removal of existing flooring
  • Preparation of subfloor
  • Repair of joists and support structure if needed
  • Stairways
  • Curved stairways require a lot more time and effort
  • Cutting hardwood outdoors extends walking time
  • Cutting hardwood indoors increases clean up costs
  • Any unusual flooring, room size, etc in your home

While this may not be an all inclusive list, readers can quickly see that the hardwood floor installation price can vary a great deal depending on what you have to deal with.

Professional Installation vs. Do It Yourself

Most handy men can install hardwood floors themselves and save a great deal on the overall cost of your new floor. You may have to purchase or rent a few tools to make the job easier, however the money you save will more than pay for these tools. Take your time, watch YouTube videos and read lots on line. We find that many hardwood flooring suppliers will also provide courses for people planning to do their own floors. They do this to enhance their sales value and entice you to purchase the materials from them. Even if you make a few mistakes and have to redo some portions of your floor, it is still al lot cheaper than paying for someone to install the floor for you.

Using a professional to lay a hardwood floor can save a great deal of time. Compared to working evenings and weekends, have a floor installed over one or two days is preferred by many people. They do not want to put up with the mess for several weeks or longer and they want it done right. They may not also have the skills, the tools and the patience to try installing a floor themselves.

Purchasing Your Floor Materials and Installation From Your Supplier

Many suppliers either will have their own installation teams that they provide for a price to install a floor. They are either on staff or they are preferred installers with an excellent record of quality workmanship. The time to negotiate the overall price including installation is before you agree to the hardwood. Combining negotiations for the price of the hardwood and the installation can sometimes get you a better price.

Don’t buy the argument that they cannot negotiate on installation price, because the installer is not available or does not vary his price. Be prepared to walk away unless they are willing to reduce the price offered from the initial deal. It may take some tough negotiating, but after all you do not have to cut the deal until you are totally satisfied. Compare prices and compare reputation and work quality. If you need to or feel it is in your best interest, ask to speak to previous customers to confirm satisfaction levels. Also check on line for any comments that may be available.

Do your homework and there is a better chance that you will be totally satisfied with the hardwood floor installation price, the quality of the wood and the quality of the installation. After all, you will have this floor for many years and consumers want something they are going to be proud of and satisfied with for many years.

Appliances That Use The Most Electricity

Appliances That Use The Most ElectricityWhen we started looking at this question of which appliances use the most electricity, we thought that intuitively we knew what the answer would be. The oven, the furnace, pool pump and appliances with motors would be the heavy users. And yes these appliances are in fact heavy users of electricity; however they are not even close to the big one. It turns out that central air conditioning and heat pumps are the big consumers of electricity for two main reasons.

Appliances That Use The Most Electricity

First there are two electrical motors that are running when these appliances are in use and they are typically large motors that consume a lot of electricity, up to 15,000 watts on average per hour. On top of that we tend to run our air conditioners for a long time particularly if it is really hot compared to other appliances such as an electric range, a clothes dryer etc. They use a great deal of energy during the summer time.

The cost to run an air conditioner that is consuming 15,000 watts per hour during the day time during peak hours can be as much as $1.60 per hour; while at night when rates are lower the cost can decrease to around 75 cents per hour or half of the rate that is charged during the day. We are assuming 11 cents per kilowatt during the day and 6 cents during the evening.

Large Appliances vs. Light Bulbs

Clothes dryers will use 4000 watts per hour, while a hair dryer is down around 1200 watts and the incandescent light bulb is down around 60 watts. Electricity usage is all about the math. For example let’s assume the average home has 10 light bulbs, all incandescent and are on for an average of 3 hours per day. This amounts to 1800 watts per day or 13,600 watts per week. The dryer on the other hand might be used for 30 minutes several times a week, let’s assume 4 times per week. This calculates to 8000 watts of total usage over a weeks’ time. We all want to cut down on electrical usage and now you can understand why everyone wants to switch to fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs which reduce the electrical usage significantly.

The following chart attempts to hi-light the usage levels and costs of these appliances. You can vary your own assumptions; however we think that in general you will come out to the same conclusions. Note that for the incandescent lights are assumed to have 10 light bulbs that are on for 7 hours a day on average, for 7 days.

Appliance Avg Consumption
per hour
 Hours per Week Total Cost
Central Air Conditioner 15,000 watts $1.50 70  $105.00
Clothes Dryer 4,000 watts $0.40 5  $2.00
Water Pump 3,000 watts $0.30 5  $1.50
Space heater 1,500 watts $0.15 70  $10.50
Hair Dryer 1,200 watts $0.12 1.5  $0.18
Electric Range 1,000 watts $0.10 7  $0.70
Refrigerator 1,000 watts $0.10 70  $0.70
Desktop Computer 400 watts $0.04 70  $0.28
Incandescent bulb 60 watts $0.06 490  $29.40


When you add in the number of  hours of use on average every week, it really changes the picture. the air conditioner is of course the highest, but what is really surprising is the cost of leaving lights on that are incandescent. Switch to fluorescent and you can save a tremendous about of electricity.

Reduce the number of hours your air conditioner is running by turning up the temperature on your thermostat and you can significantly reduce the amount of electricity that you use. You might argue that the assumptions in terms of how may hours we assumed, however just substitute your own to calculate the cost. We do not think that the conclusions will change.

Pushing usage into lower rate times such as in the evening will have a huge impact as well. In summary here is how you can control or reduce your electrical usage and your cost for total electricity:

  • Turn up the thermostat
  • Cool the house in the evening when rates are lower
  • Control usage so that it is primarily in the evening in low rate hours
  • Turn off lights
  • Switch from incandescent to fluorescent lights
  • Focus on the higher cost appliances that you use a lot


Building Energy Use

Building energy use is becoming more and more important as the cost of energy is increasing. It does not seem to matter whether it is electricity, gas, oil or whatever, they are all going up by leaps and bounds contrary to what the government says.

The 13% on the circle on the left represents uncertainty in the data, or in other words it could not be easily attached to any of the other categories. The chart above is pretty interesting since it depicts how we use energy on average for our homes since the industrial sector is excluded from these calculations. It also tells us were to focus our energy in terms of reduction in the use of fuels to get the most bang for our investment in money and time.

Building Energy Use – List of Energy Use by Importance

Our total annual energy cost for 2011 was $2952.00 for electricity, heating and water. We decided to include water here since it is a form of natural resource that we are slowly using up.

Using the percentages from the chart above we calculated how much energy we used from last year in terms of a dollar amount. We assumed that we are an average user. You can see these cost amounts in the 3rd column below.

Next we assumed a 10% reduction, only for the big ticket items to assess how much we might save in dollar terms. Ten percent should be pretty simple to meet as an objective. These numbers are in the last column and were only calculated for anything 6% and over assuming we could take steps to reduce energy use in these areas, including the SEDS which is the unidentified energy use.

The total savings added up to $280 in savings over a year or 9.4% over all. This actually should be quite achievable for most people.

Category: % Cost $ 10% Reduction
Lighting 24 % $708 $71
Space heating 14 % $413 $41
SEDS 13 % $383 $38
Space cooking 11 % $324 $32
Other  9 % $265 $26
Refrigeration  6 % $177 $18
Water Heating 6 % $177 $18
Electronics 6 % $177 $18
Ventilation 6 % $177 $18
Computers 3 % $89 $0
Cooking 2 % $59 $0

How can We Save 10%

The answer is pretty easy. These are just a few suggestion to help you get started saving energy.

In fact you will likely save much more than just 10% if you are able to get the entire family involved in reducing your energy consumption.

Building energy use is  only going to increase over time and it will help now to minimize the usage and the cost now by employing some or all of these suggestions. These figures are for residential use and although important to the average home owner are far more important to any industrial building owner which we have not reviewed here at all.

We will list a few of  the potential areas that can save you energy and the associated cost,  as follows:

  • Lights off when you leave the room
  • Convert all lights to fluorescent or LED
  • Turn down the thermostat by 5 degrees
  • Convert to low flush toilets
  • Shorter showers
  • Install low flow shower heads
  • Turn the temperature up on the fridge by 2 degrees
  • Reduce the temperature of your water heater down by 5 degrees
  • Turn off power to TV’s, computers etc i.e. unplug them
  • Set furnace fan to auto rather than always on

These are just examples, which can be applied to almost any home! Get started now with identifying those areas that can reduce your energy use.

For more information about conserving energy and energy use in buildings, click here.

Furnace Upgrade for Your Home

Furnace Upgrade for Your HomeOne of the questions that many people have these days is whether they should upgrade their furnace to a new more efficient model. There are lots of incentives that are being offered by the various companies that sell furnaces. There also might be incentives offered by local or state governments as well. One is trying to increase sales while the other is trying to reduce energy consumption.  In this post we are not going to recommend one furnace over an other. Instead we are looking at whether you should upgrade or not and what the financial impact might be. What should you consider re a Furnace Upgrade for Your Home

Furnace Efficiency

Our old furnace was approximately 60% efficient, which means that 40% of the cost of gas that we used went up the chimney in terms of heat that did not get transferred into the home or in terms of poorly burnt fuel. In 2002, we replaced this furnace with a new mid efficient furnace which at the time cost us approximately $3500 and had a 83% efficiency rating. High efficient furnaces can get into the mid 90″s in percentage which is a significant improvement. At the time we made our purchase a high efficiency furnace was running about $5000 installed.

Last year we paid $727 for the entire year to heat our home. did we save money and how long did it take?

Doing the math re Furnace Upgrade for Your Home

You can use our calculations as a model for your own, because everyone’s numbers are going to be different.  The $727 we quoted above was for 2011/2012 winter and using our mid efficient furnace. If we were still using our low efficient furnace the cost would have been 727 *.83 / .60 using the numbers that have quoted above, $1005 or a savings of $278 for that year.

We replaced the furnace in 2002 or 10 years ago and therefore we have saved 10 * $278 or $2780 over the ten years assuming that the price of natural gas has not stayed the same.  We will ignore this price change for the time being, so it looks like we have another 2.55 years before we break even.

If we had upgraded to a high efficient furnace, we would have saved $351 over the cost of our old furnace which was at 60% vs. 95% efficiency.  But our furnace was going to cost $5000, so we would have saved 10*351 over the ten years and we would still have another 4.2 years for the savings to pay for the high efficient furnace.

Payback Terms for Furnace Upgrades

These are pretty long payback time frames for replacing your furnace. If you can secure an incentive of some kind to decrease the cost of the furnace upgrade, or the cost of gas is higher in your area, you may get a faster payback. Aside from making a contribution to the environment, you are saving money as well on your monthly costs.

There are additional savings to be found. In our case we had an AC motor on our old furnace. The new one has a multi speed DC electrical motor which is supposed to be more efficient that the old AC motor. Unfortunately we could not quantify the savings from this change to our electrical bill. Rest assured that is significant and probably shaves at minimum a couple of years off the payback period.

Your vendor should be able to advise what the savings will be which you can then add to your overall gas savings and recalculate the payback term. We think it brings the payback down to less than 10 years time, which is not too bad at all.

All of these calculations apply if you are replacing your furnace because you want to decrease your monthly cost or take advantage of incentives offered by the furnace company or the government.

Your Furnace Breaks

On the other hand of your furnace stops working, then it is a question of how much do you put into repairs vs. buying a new one. Most of the time if you have to put more than $500 into repairs and it is an old furnace, it is time to replace it with a more efficient model.

You may also be faced with exhaust vent upgrades as well to reflect the change in the building code since the last one was installed.

Furnace Maintenance

We did not factor furnace maintenance into any of these equations.  They should all be checked once per year and cleaned as well. We assumed the cost is the same regardless of the furnace, however some people would argue that the parts for a high efficient furnace is more expensive than other furnaces.

Good luck with your furnace upgrade. We hope this has helped in your decision making process regarding to upgrade your furnace to either a mid efficient furnace or to a high efficiency furnace. For more information about furnace upgrades and renewal, click here.


Tires on Sale

Tires on SaleAuto tires go on sale at various times of the year. The consumer can save a great deal of money if they take the time to compare prices by comparison shopping. If they really want to purchase tires on sale that are at a good sales price, you have to shop around. Last summer I did just that. We found a huge difference in price and services for tires at various businesses which sell tires to consumers. It was surprising to see what a difference there was in the price for the tires and also for the features or services they offered.

Still it took me quite a few hours to visit the places I was considering. I had already  eliminated a few by searching online for tires and making a few phone calls to discuss prices and services. If a dealer is advertising tires on sale, still take the time to compare prices for the tires, balancing and installation. You may be surprised at how the total cost may not always be that great a price.

The first place I went to was a place that repaired a flat tire for me for free. I showed up at their store one day with a flat tire which I had already removed and replaced with my spare tire. I brought the tire into the store and although I had to wait my turn which is expected, they repaired the tire for free. No charge with the request that I consider them when I needed new tires. Of course this was the first place that I went too when it came time to purchase new tires.

Tires on Sale

America’s Tire

This was America’s Tire, and we were very impressed since we had not dealt with them previously. America’s Tire gave us a decent price. They provide free tire rotations and repairs for as long as we owned the car. America’s Tire have stores all over the USA. We can take them in to these other locations if we had a problem. They charge extra for balancing and filling the tires with nitrogen.


We went to Walmart, however they were the worst both in terms of service and price. Surprising, but  the person I spoke to really did not now anything about tires. They could not offer us a deal either, so we gave up on this pretty fast. I think it was just the wrong guy on duty at the time, but still this looks bad for the store.


Costco had a sale on when we arrived that included balancing, nitrogen filled and free tire rotation at any of their stores in Canada as well as the USA. They were slightly more expensive, however with the services and the availability of stores to get service, we decided to go with them.

Several months later I went in to another Costco to have my tires rotated and rebalanced. We drive a lot and it does not take long to drive 12,000 miles which is when we needed to have our tires changed. All I needed to do was show my receipt and the work was completed quickly within 30 minutes of arriving. A great job and well worth the money to purchase tires at Costco. In fact we went into the store and purchased our groceries at the same time while the work was being completed.

So before you make a decision, check out all of the places that have tires on sale and compare price and service for exactly  the same tire.

For more information about tire sales, click here.

Spam Text Messages

Spam Text MessagesAre you receiving a lot of spam text messages? These messages could be causing you a lot of money on your monthly cell phone bill. You may not even know it! Let’s assume that you have 250 messages per month for incoming and outgoing messages. If you are beginning to receive a lot of spam text messages on your mobile phone, there is a chance that you could exceed your limit for the month. Every message that is over the limit can cost you extra. Extra messages can cost twenty five cents a message, depending on the carrier. If you have unlimited texting, then you may only about the time to read and delete these spam text messages, which can be annoying.

There are ways to deal with this problem. First select a plan were you have unlimited incoming messages, so that you will not care how many you actually receive. The second thing to do is to report the spammer to your carrier. Determine if it is possible to block the messages from ever getting to your phone. They take time to look at and they are annoying as well. If you can stop them from even getting to you at all it would be so much better. Your carrier can block specific messages that are sent from the same phone number all of the time. The carrier might charge an additional fee for this and the spammer may just change phone numbers.

Never reply to a spam message. It will tell them they have a real phone that the spam text message is being sent to. Once they know they are dealing with a real cell phone they are just going to send more. You may even receive an increase in spam messages. Plus they might sell your number to other spammers. Just ignore and delete them until your carrier can stop them.

Also avoid giving out your cell phone number to people that you do not know or entering the number on web sites. They all want contact information when you fill something in, however try to avoid this at all costs. Most web sites are ok, but there are those sites that collect numbers plus other information and then sell it to text message spammers for example. suddenly you are receiving text messages from companies that you never heard of before. Keep your number off of Facebook and other social sites, unless you want to have more contact that you ever wanted.

Spam Text Messages Cost Money

Spam text messages can cost you a lot of money, so the best thing is that if you receive more than two or three from the same number, deal with it quickly to put a stop to receiving more text messages from this number. Learn how to block numbers easily by checking with your carrier who usually will provide this information on their web site.

You can also call their help desk to hae someone at your carrier put a block on the numbers for you. Either way don’t waste time, do it quickly or you will be inundated with text messages.

For more about text messages, click here.

Property Management Solution

Property Management SolutionConsumers and investors are looking for a property management solution for their rental properties. They can always find some company to manage their property for them at various prices. These companies provide a variety of services. They include everything from renting their unit, collecting the rent, paying for advertising, managing the cash flow, paying for and managing repairs and upgrades if needed and so on. Many consumers like the idea of owning rental property as an investment. However they really do not want to have to deal with the details of renting and managing the property. This is where a property management solution comes in that can save you money and remove some of the headaches as well.

Property Management Solution and Rental Pools

One type of solution for multiple investors is a rental pool. This situation comes up when you have a condominium project that has the majority of the units owned by individual investors. It needs to be managed as a single properly to reduce the overall cost of the property management.

With a condominium, there is already a board of directors in place to manage the common elements of the property. All owners participate in the condo corporation. This board has nothing to do with renters or investor issues or with the interior of the units.

A rental pool must be established with a board made up from the investors. They have the responsibility of managing the renting of the units for the investors, interior unit cleaning and repairs and interfacing with the condominium board. This property management solution involves two separate distinct budgets, bank accounts and cash flows. There is also corresponding financial reports for both entities. It sounds a bit complicated, however if you keep both entities separate, a rental pool can work quite well.

Annual meetings are held for the rental pool where decisions are made with respect to rent increases and distribution of excess funds. The investors would be paid a monthly income from the rental pool. They would use this payment to pay their own personal mortgage on their units along with taxes. All other expenses for utilities etc would be paid either by the tenant or the rental pool if the unit is vacant for any length of time.

Do Rental Pools Work Well as a Property Management Solution

The answer is yes provided that there is a commitment by the investors to make it work and they follow an agreed structure similar to the condo in terms of bylaws, running meetings, electing board members etc. All investors must sign an agreement form that documents all of the bylaws and the way the rental pool will be operated.

As a previous board member of a rental pool and a condo board, my experience has shown that once a condo and rental pool are running smoothly, you never hear from the owners and investors. The single issue that gets everyone’s attention is huge increases in the monthly condo fees or a cash call to pay for some repair that is not covered or cannot be covered by the reserve fund. This is when owners get upset and it hits them directly in their wallet. With proper budgeting, an annual increase in the condo fees whether you need it or not will ensure that there is always enough cash to pay for whatever needs to be done. This also assume that you are making contributions to the reserve fund every year based on an engineering study of the life time replacement of various elements of the condo building.

A simple example might be the paving of the parking lot. If the engineering study suggest that the parking lot needs to be repaved every 10 years and costs one hundred thousand, then you had better be saving ten thousand a year to pay for this cost. A special assessment to pay for something that is known and planned does not go over very well with owners.

No Surprises

Property managers must communicate in such a way that there are no surprises for the owners. The same applies to condo and rental pool board members. If anything over communicate and let people know that the budget is going up by XX% and why. If you do it right, you may have all of the proxies at your meeting with few owners actually attending the meetings. Decisions are made efficiently and correctly such that they benefit all of the owners taking into account the practical issues of managing the building.


Hardwood Floor Installation Cost

Hardwood floor installation cost varies a great deal depending on the layout of your home. How much cutting etc needs to be done while installing your floor is also a factor. Aside from the actual purchase and delivery of your hardwood flooring material, installation is the next biggest cost that you will need to consider. If you are only installing hardwood in a rectangular room of some kind, then the cost to install the hardwood will be relatively inexpensive. On the other hand if there are hallways or curved walls the amount of cutting and fitting is going to increase.

Hardwood Floor Installation Cost – Issues to Consider

The following are a couple of issues to consider when deciding to install hardwood flooring.

Stairways are The most Expensive Per Square Foot

The same thing applies to stairs when installing hardwood flooring on stair risers. Stairs that are straight with each riser being exactly the same can be cut and installed relatively easily. The challenge comes when you install risers on a stairway that is curved. Each riser is a different size and will also be an odd size. The riser must be custom made to fit the step and then fitted into the step to match all of the other. This takes extra time to measure, manufacture and cut to the exact width and depth of the stairway.

Anyone who is planning to do their own installation may want to get help with a curved stairway. The measuring and cutting must be exact and you need to have the right tools to do this work. An experienced floor installer will be able to install the stairs faster and correctly than someone who is doing it for the first time. Select your floor installer with care and confirm their experience before giving them the job of installing your hardwood floor on your stairs.

Minimize the Cutting and Improve the look of the Floor

Cutting and measuring is typically what takes all of the time when it comes to installing a hardwood floor. The choices you make in regards to which direction the flooring will run will play a big part in the labor cost. Let’s consider a hallway as an example.

To begin you must coordinate the direction of the floor with other rooms in your home, especially if all rooms and hallways will be hardwood flooring. Typically most people will run the floor along the longest direction. This has the effect of making the room look a bit larger from an optical perspective while at the same time minimizing the amount of cutting that needs to be done. Adjacent hallways may have the floor run in the same direction or they may run perpendicular to the room that the hallway connects with.

Consumers will never want hardwood flooring to run across the hallway. It should always run parallel to the hallways length to make the hallway look larger and to also enable full appreciation of the floor.  This has the effect of significantly reducing the cutting and fitting required also. More cutting and fitting will take more time and increase your installation cost.

In situations where two hallways run into each other in a ninety degree corner, a choice should be made to decide which hallway will have the floor run parallel to the longest length of the hallway and which one will have the flooring run across the shortest width of the hallway. We had exactly this situation on our own home and chose to run the floor parallel with the longest hallway which was also part of the main entrance to our home. This gives a nice long view of the hardwood floor and makes the hallway look larger than it is. The other hallway leads to the laundry room and the garage and is not nearly as important in terms of the way the home looks. It is also shorter and did not impact the installation cost of the hardwood floor significantly.

Interfaces to Other Flooring Materials

You may have carpet in some rooms or tile or marble in entrance areas. Wherever the hardwood floor will meet these other flooring types and interface to this floor must be installed so that there is an easy transition from one floor to the other and the actual joint is seamless. These also take a little more time to install and require special materials to make them look perfect. Your hardwood floor provider can help you select these materials and your installer will be able to install them with no problems. They do take a little more time and will add slightly to the cost of installing your hardwood floor.

When you request an estimate for installation, you may want the installer to break down all of these costs so that you can assess what is being charged for each area. Then you can make an informed decision regarding whether you want to proceed or not with your hardwood floor installation.


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