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Cleaning up your act

Trash is never-relenting enemy in urban areas. Your tenants can be the cleanest on the block, yet trash will find a way into your yard. Those “free” newspapers that seem to appear out of nowhere on your front porch are a particular pet peeve of mine. Regardless of where it comes from, it needs to be taken care of. You’d think people would realize that by now, but I find myself constantly astounded at how many rental property yards are just covered with junk. I don’t know if its dirty tenants or lazy landlords that are to blame, but its a problem that can be found throughout the St. Louis area.

Trash in the yard of your properties or in the basements or on the porch is unsightly and draws household pests. When prospective tenants take a look at your vacancy and see trash all over the place, you’ve just made a bad impression. The same goes for prospective buyers if the property is for sale. Its also bad for tenant retention and tends to get you on the City’s bad side.

This is a never-ending battle, fighting the pileup of this trash, and you need to keep on top of it. When you visit your property to collect rent or fix a sink, you need to pick up the trash. When you cut the lawn, you need to pick up the trash. Even if you have to make a special visit to do it every couple weeks you need to pick up the trash.

Landlords who have their properties professionally managed seem to have the biggest problem with this. For some reason, it seems like all the property managers in town seem to think that keeping their clients properties clean isn’t their responsibility. If you have a manager in place, check up on how they are doing with this issue. If you stop by and the place is filthy, call them out on it. You’re paying for their service, and if they can’t provide something as basic as picking up the trash, you might want to look elsewhere.

Whether you’re doing it yourself or have someone else do it for you, picking up regularly around your properties should be of major importance to you in maximizing th profitability of your investments. Dirty buildings draw bad tenants and we all know how that can turn out.

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Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn’t representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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