Tuesday, September 18, 2018

5 Disaster Preparation Tips for Flooding from Heavy Rains

As a responsible landlord, property manager, or property owner, it's highly important to protect your property from water damage during powerful rain storms. Effective stormwater management is necessary to prevent flooding, erosion, and structural property damage, which can lead to expensive repairs. Check out 5 powerful disaster preparation tips and flooding solutions for harsh rain storms.

1. Maintain Clean Rain Gutters

Maintaining clean and healthy rain gutters is a necissity during powerful rain storms. When there is excess rain, the property will need its drainage systems working smoothly to minimize the risk of property damage. Consider installing additional drainage devices such as French drains and downspout extensions to improve drainage and reduce home flooding. Furthermore, install a sump pump in low areas of drive ways, car ports, or landscaping for additional protection against flooding. Another important key to stormwater management is keeping catch basins free of trash, sediment, roots, and plant debris, to allow water to smoothly flow through the drains instead of pooling around them. The installation of rock borders and/or straw wattles around drains and V-ditches can help prevent the build up of debris in drains. Keep brow ditches and V-ditches free of unnecessary debris by regularly cleaning drain outlets and weep holes of sediment. 

2. Create Swales

A swale is any depression in a landscape, existing or man-made, that redirects water drainage. A swale is natural solution to safety direct excessive water to safe territory. Consider adding swales to your property, and maximizing their presence by lining the lowest point with rocks and adding deep-rooted plants to the slopes. This overall results in slowing the water's path to the drain. Swales direct the flow of water, rather than stopping it, therefore ensure that it's channeling somewhere excess water will be released harmlessly. An area with frequent flooding should have swales directed into a dry well or deep garden bed with very good drainage and high water tolerance. To avoid costly utility charges, never have a swale draining straight off a property.

3. Install a Rain Garden

A rain garden is an excellent way to prevent disaster flooding, while simultaneously adding to the beautiful landscape of your property. When constructing your rain garden, place plants with the highest wet-soil tolerance in the center. Plants at the edge will drain rather quickly, while the middle plants remain submerged in rainwater. Furthermore, using native plants is best whenever possible. Native plants require little to no watering in between rainfalls, making your garden low-maintenance and reducing the need for harsh pesticides. Rain gardens are similar to swales, however they don't redirect water, they simply provide a place for water to safelty pool during strong rainfalls. Rain gardens will allow the excessive rain to slowly absorb back into the soil. Most rain gardens range from 50-100 square feet. Even small rain gardens can powerfully minimize flooding and runoff. 

4. Use Heavier Mulch

One overlooked solution to prevent flooding is utilizing heavier mulch. Flooding spreads light mulch chips everywhere, causing the mulch chips to clog drains and scatter throughout your yard. Consider using a hard-wood mulch, which will absorb rainfalls better, and avoid clogging drains.

5. Building Draining Driveways

Driveways are one of the biggest contributors to stormwater runoff. To reduce the risk of flooding, consider adding drainage on the sides of your concrete driveway. 

However, a more effective treatment is to eliminate the asphalt or concrete driveway completely. Gravel, spaced paving, and even grass can be used to make your driveway an asset during heavy rainfalls. Designing driveways with flooding prevention in mind will keep your clients extremely grateful. Furthermore, gravel driveways are easier to maintain, prevent flooding, and are less expensive to manage. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

How to Organically Generate Real Estate Refferals

The key to being a successful real estate agent is knowing how to drive real estate referrals. Driving real estate referrals involves strategic effort and determination. Luckily, we gathered 4 of the most powerful ways you can successfully generate real estate refferals and win valuable opportunities.

1. Stay in Touch

One way to ensure more real estate referrals, is to stay on the mind of your clients. One of the biggest mistakes real estate agents can make is to lose touch with clients after successfully helping them rent an apartment. 

Start by enhancing your online presence and communication skills. Stay in touch with past clients, and send them reminder emails when their lease is about to expire, offering to help them find another apartment or re-enter their current lease. Organize your email database into specific categories (leads, previous clients, agents, etc.), to send more relevant and customized messages. Furthermore, stay on your client's minds by being active on social media, and posting valuable real estate insights. 

2. Successfully Maintain Relationships

A successful client relationship should never end after a closing. The key to being a successful real estate agent and generating organic referrals, is consistently maintaining relationships with past clients. Continue to engage with clients after closing, to ensure they are completely satisfied with their home and to answer any questions they may have. Let your appreciation for their business and feedback be known. Maintaining relationships will not only organically drive real estate referrals, it will encourage past clients to stay loyal and maintain their business relationship with you for future real estate transactions.

3. Refer Other Agents

Although referring other real estate agents can sound counter-productive, this strategic move is a powerful and overlooked approach to generate more business. This strategy will also help you maintain a professional and positive reputation in the real estate industry. Networking with other agents and lenders will be very beneficial for referral purposes, and can even lead to valuable insights and new strategies. 

4. Be Direct

Sometimes the best approach is the most simple and direct manner. When checking back on clients you had successful real estate experiences with, always ask if they know anyone else who may currently need your services. If they are good-hearted clients who genuinely enjoyed your services and know others who may need your assistance, you are on the way to successfully generating a client list. If it seems appropriate, politely ask if you can use their name as an introduction. If they say yes, you have just successfully generated a real estate referral through maintaining a friendly relationship with a past client. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Top 5 Reasons to Switch Your Properties to Solar Energy

Solar polar energy is becoming the future of renewable energy. The benefits of solar energy are seemingly endless, benefiting both the environment and your finances. Solar energy is energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy, providing your home with clean, renewable, and free fuel. Homeowners around the world are installing solar panels on their roof, as the price of solar panels continues to plummet and flexible financing options are becoming more prevalent. Providing your clients with clean and modern electricity options that benefit both the environment and their pockets, will keep them satisfied and increase the chances of always attracting and retaining high-quality clients. Here are the top 5 reasons you should consider using solar power energy:

1. Solar Polar Benefits the Environment

Solar polar provides your property with a clean, green source of energy which reduces your carbon footprint and doesn't pollute the environment. Solar polar doesn't release any toxic greenhouse gasses into the air, providing you with a safe and environmentally-friendly electricity source. Other than using a source of clean water to function, solar power energy requires absolutely no other resources. Solar power energy is self sufficient, and by installing solar panels on your roof, you are helping contribute towards a more sustainable and brighter future. 

2. Fixed & Lowered Monthly Costs 

Traditional electricity primarily relies on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Not only are these chemicals harmful for the environment, they are limited sources. Therefore, traditional electricity depends on an unpredictable market, in which energy prices constantly change. By investing in solar power systems, you shield yourself against unpredictable increases in utility prices, and enjoy low-cost, natural energy instead.

3.  Say Goodbye to Power Outages

Solar energy panels utilize the energy provided from the sun, and are therefore self-sufficient. Traditional electricity systems need to be transported from large power plants to consumers through comprehensive networks. This long distance transmission equates to power losses. Solar power systems are durable and self-sustaining, thus highly decreasing the chances of a power outage. If there is a power outage in your neighborhood, your tenants chances of a service interruption are highly unlikely. Solar power systems provide you with greater electricity grid security, especially during natural or human-caused disasters. 

4. Attract New Clients

More people are taking eco-friendliness into account when looking to rent or buy property. The financial and environmental benefits of solar power energy will instantly attract new and high-quality clients, who will be grateful for your modern use of renewable energy sources. The millennial generation is especially drawn towards eco-friendly and energy-saving tactics. Consider increasing your chances of attracting new clients by also installing an electric vehicle charging station. The combination of solar panels and an electric vehicle charging station allows your tenants to run their vehicles without polluting the environment in any way. 

5. Save Money with Tax Breaks

When installing solar energy systems, you can deduct up to 85 percent of the cost of your system from your taxes. Furthermore, federal tax credits of up to 30 percent for a system remain in place through December 31, 2019. Numerous states and utility companies are offering advantageous incentives and rebates for installing solar panels, which will decrease your costs and save you even more money.