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Atlanta Property Management Blog

Why a Home Warranty is Not a Good Idea in Atlanta

FourandHalf Blog Post - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

 

Home warranties are not always everything they are advertised to be. A lot of property owners come to us with houses that have a home warranty in place. Often, people are sold the idea that a warranty will provide an extra insurance policy against damages and other problems. That’s great if you’re not the person dealing with the warranty company and the way most of them do business. They are horrific in the eyes of most professional property managers.


There are lots of reasons home warranties don’t work. Think about the business model: most companies don’t go into business to lose money. A warranty company isn’t going to collect a premium from you that is hundreds of dollars and then payout a claim that is thousands of dollars. It doesn’t work that way. If it did, they’d be out of business. Go into any American city, and you’ll notice the tallest and loveliest buildings belong to insurance companies and banks. They got that way by collecting money, not handing it out.

It’s not that legitimate claims won’t get paid. It’s just far more difficult to get those claims paid than you would imagine.

The loss of control is also a problem. When there’s a service call for one of our properties, our maintenance team at Title One Management is on it immediately. We can dispatch our guys in 20 minutes and have the problem fixed right away. With a home warranty company, you have to go through multiple levels of people before you can get someone out to look at the problem. Fixing it might take three or four days or even weeks. That can be a major liability issue for you, especially if you have a tenant without heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer.

When the vendor does finally arrive to fix the problem, our experience has shown that it’s not always the best and brightest vendor. They tend to do poor work. Also, if you think you aren’t going to have to pay anything because you have the warranty in place, you’re wrong. You’ll be charged a trade call fee, which is often between $75 and $150. This is similar to a deductible you pay your insurance company. You’re paying money just to get a repair covered.

Warranty companies are also very skilled at not covering things. They might cover a broken condenser but then they won’t cover the furnace. All in all, it’s not worth it and it’s a waste of money for homeowners.

If you have any questions or you’re considering a warranty on your rental home, please contact us at Title One Management, and we’ll talk to you in more detail.

Atlanta Landlord Advice Investment Property Tax Appeals

FourandHalf Blog Post - Thursday, July 10, 2014

Our topic today is the property tax appeal process in Georgia. This is an important topic because property taxes are usually your number one expense after your mortgage. A lot of people just pay those taxes without giving them much thought, but it pays to know you can fight those taxes and drive down the amount you pay. This will affect your bottom line.


In Georgia, everyone must file a property tax return annually, between January 1 and April 1. You file a PT50R form. The problem is that not all homeowners know this. When you don’t file your PT50R, you are accepting by default the value the government places on your property. That’s fine if the value is correct, but if it’s off, you’ll have to spend a lot more money in property taxes than you should. Many times, the assessed value of your home is nowhere near its actual value. This is especially true in today’s economic climate, when many homes are still trying to rebound in value from the housing crisis.

Assessors assign value to your property in one of three ways. They use uniformity, a sales comparison including properties around you, and a level of income achieved by your home if it’s a rental property. In the appeals process, people generally don’t use the income approach. Using uniformity or the sales cost and comparison is what we always recommend. Uniformity simply means that your property is assessed evenly or with the same guidelines as those properties around you. Many times, they aren’t assessed uniformly, so you have a case to be made. The sales approach is the most popular one. This is especially true since the legislature passed a law two years ago that says foreclosed properties have to be given equal weight in that sales comparison model.

Filing the PT50R gives you an extra bite of the apple. Right now, if you file it by April, the tax assessor will look at your property and assess it for value. Normally, they don’t do that. They prefer to accept the listed value. Filing your return forces them to really look at it and place a true value on your property.

Once your paperwork is filed, they will contact you and let you know if they agree or disagree with the value you returned. This is a place where you might gain a little even if they disagree with you. For example, your property could be assessed at $100,000. You’ll return your PT50R saying your property is actually worth $50,000. If they don’t want to go down to $50,000, they might at least come down to maybe $80,000. That’s a gain for you. You got money back just by asking.

Your next step could be to file an appeal. At that point, you will go before the County Board of Equalization to get another chance at having your property accurately valued. At this point, the tax assessor will probably take another look in order to avoid the work that’s involved in appearing before the Board. It may help you to have the Board make a determination instead of the tax assessor.

This is a process that can become complicated, but we recommend you go through it for your property. There are lots of rules and regulations involved, so if you have questions, please contact us at Title One Management.

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Title One Property Management
Office: (678) 792-2050
Leasing: (678) 792-2046
Maintenance: (678) 905-8866

Physical Address:
1275 Shiloh Rd NW, Suite 2920
Kennesaw, GA 30144

Mailing Address:
PO BOX 2222
Cartersville GA, 30120

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Danae Flatford- Business Development Coordinator, since 2011

danae@title1managment.com
Phone: 770-212-3855

She has worked in the maintenance department handling property rehabs and work orders. She is currently taking on the role of business development and growing Title One Management and their sister company, Five Star Field Services Group.

She is a graduate of Georgia Southern University with a business management major with emphasis in Human Resources and minor in information systems. She is currently studying for her Real Estate License.

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Ashley Venters-Field Services Executive Coordinator, since 2013

ashley@title1management.com
Phone: 678-905-8866

Ashley has over 6 years of business operations management and administrative experience. She is a single mother of an awesome little boy, Austin. She enjoys shopping, movies, and music.

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Chris Borkowsky- Field Services Director, since 2013

chris@title1management.com
Phone: 770-212-3866

Chris comes to Title One Management with an extensive background in general contracting, specializing in residential rehabs and investment property turns. Chris and his son, Wyatt, are active in the community with the Boy Scouts of America.

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Mark- Client Services Coordinator, since 2009

mark@title1management.com
Phone: 678-792-2046

As the “Client Services Coordinator” Mark works for our investors, he makes sure rents are received in a timely manner and also in charge of filing all dispossessories, garnishments and collections.

Another aspect of his job here at Title One Management is working with our maintenance department, troubleshooting incoming maintenance requests so we can get our crews dispatched to the various properties as soon as possible.

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Rick Flatford- Leasing Services Coordinator, since 2011

rick@title1management.com
Phone: 678-792-0011

Rick has been a licensed Realtor in the Atlanta area for over 17 years and has sold / leased nearly 600 properties. He has 4 children with his lovely wife, Kim. Rick sidelines as a Fox Sports broadcaster covering the NFL, SEC, and ACC Conferences.

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Robert Gilstrap, Real Estate Broker and Owner, since 2007

robert@titleonemanagement.com

Robert Gilstrap is a Georgia Licensed Real Estate Broker and owner of Title One Realty and Title One Management.

After having served in the US Air Force; he started several companies in the telecommunications industry while simultaneously investing in real estate.  He has been an active landlord and investor for over 21 years; is active in several local investor groups and has taught on numerous topics involving landlording including: asset protection, entity structuring, Land and Personal Property Trusts, etc.

Robert is an active member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers and has served on the board of directors for the Atlanta Chapter and currently serves as President of the chapter.

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Arnold Tillman – Qualifying Broker, since 2007

Arnold has been a licensed real estate professional since 1984. He is currently a licensed broker in Georgia and Florida.

In addition to sales and leasing Tillman has extensive development and construction
experience having produced a number of residential communities and commercial centers as well as over 100 homes and has served as a senior officer of the Home Builders Association of Georgia.

Tillman holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Kennesaw State
University and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Mercer University. He is licensed as an Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Instructor by the Federal Aviation Administration. He has served as a director, Vice Chairman, and Chairman of several banks dating back to 1989. He currently serves as Trustee Emeritus of Kennesaw State University Foundation.

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