Latest News

Leco Realty is moving! Important Information

After 22 years at 2240 Union Ave, we have finally given our “30 day notice” and will be moving to a new facility at 3707 Macon Rd., effective July 1, 2014

As we make this move into our new office, we will change our property management software to AppFolio, a web-based software program that will enable us to handle day to day operations more efficiently and give our tenants and owners superior service and access to the Leco Team.

If you have any questions during this exciting time of transition, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 901-272-9028

 

Category : Blog &Latest News

MLGW Scam Alert

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Recently, customers alerted MLGW to two types of scams targeting Memphis area businesses. One scam involves phone calls from scammers seeking funds through false claims of pending MLGW cutoffs unless immediate payment was made via reloadable credit cards. The second scam involves a “Gas Usage Statement” e-mail, disguised as a bill notification, which contains bogus information and a link to a website that will load malware on your computer to steal your information.

Customers should be wary of unsolicited phone calls, faxes and emails claiming to be from MLGW. Since scammers are using increasingly sophisticated methods, please ensure your employees– particularly night and weekend staff– are on the alret for these high-pressure fraud tactics.

Facts to help you avoid these scams:

  • MLGW uses the following methods to alert commercial and industrial customers of pending service disconnection: mailed cut-off notices, automated phone calls, text alerts (if enrolled) and, sometimes, an MLGW employee may call the business phone number associated with the account as a courtesy–but MLGW never directs customers to make payments through a specific method.
  • MLGW will advise customers on payment methods and locations, including our authorized pay agents, listed at http://www.mlgw.com/residential/payingyourbill.
  • The only pay-by-phone method offered by MLGW is for inbound customer calls. Customers wishing to use this service must call 1-866-315-0277; MLGW does not call customers soliciting phone payments.
  • Commercial and industrial customers cannot pay MLGW bills by credit card.
  • Customers can check their account status– including any past due amount– by logging into My Account at www.mlgw.com. (You may wish to have a few key employees familiar with your My Account login to confirm information.)
  • MLGW’s Commercial Resource Center is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.- 5 p.m., and is closed on weekends.
  • MLGW does not disconnect services for non-payment on weekends.
  • Official MLGW bill notification e-mails are sent only to customers who have registered for My Account and provided an email address. These legitimate e-mails will contain the name on your MLGW account, a partially hidden account number and specifics about how to reach MLGW customer service. When in doubt, type the URL (www.mlgw.com) directly into your browser rather than following an e-mail link.

 

If you suspect your business or organization has been targeted by scammers, gather an many details as possible and share them with law enforcement (Memphis Police Department at 901-545-2677 and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 901-222-5600). You are also encouraged to send details to MLGW, so we can keep customers aware of fraudulent activities. Visit www.mlgw.com/energyedge to find the latest MLGW newsletter for commercial customers.

Thank you,

MLGW Commercial Resource Center

 

 

Category : Blog &Latest News

Housing Quality Standards Action Alert

Owners and tenants are responsible for maintaining their units within Housing Quality Standards at all times.

Emergency Repair Items

The following items are not acceptable and will cause your unit to “fail“. The items are considered to be of an emergency nature and must be corrected by the owner or tenant (whoever is responsible) within 24 hours of notice by MHA.

  • No Heat between November 1 and March 1;
  • No water and/or electricity in the unit;
  • Inoperable smoke detector on every level;
  • Natural gas leak or fumes;
  • Electrical outlet smoking or sparking or problem that could result in shock or fire;
  • Unusable toilet when only one toilet is present in the unit;
  • Major plumbing leaks or flooding (such as sewage backup or stoppage);
  • Inability to secure the housing unit, such as broken locks or insecure door and window frames;
  • Uninhabitable units due to fire, tornado, destroyed or vandalized property; and
  • Other conditions that pose an immediate threat to the health and safety, such as obstacles that prevent tenant’s egress and unstable structural problems that may fall, including large tree branches.

If the emergency repair item(s) are not corrected in the time period required by MHA, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) will be abated and the contract will be terminated. If a family obligation is violated, the family will lose their assistance.

Common Hazards 

The following items shall be classified as hazardous and declared as “failed” items.

  • Double keyed deadbolt locks on any entry/exit door (including security doors);
  • Window security bars (burglar bars) and security screen installations without a quick release system;
  • Serious drop-offs in yard and driveways;
  • Garbage and debris including: tall grass, dilapidated and unsafe storage buildings, non working automobiles, construction materials, or unnecessary obstructions; and
  • Dangerous or threatening dogs or other animals not contained or secured.

For full list of HQS requirements, visit www.hud.give or MHA’s website- http://www.memphisha.org/pdf_forms/InspectionChecklistHUD52580-a.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category : Blog &Latest News

Avoiding Real Estate Investing Scams by Renters

The majority of the time, when you see something involving “rentals” and “scams,” most people are expecting to find landlord horror stories and tales of tenants being mistreated. The real estate investor, the landlord or the property manager, in most cases, are the villains of the story. But did you know that there are would-be renters out there looking to take advantage of landlords and real estate investors?

Unfortunately, it’s true. Some may be after your money, while others are just willing to lie in order to have a safe rental property to live in. No matter the motive of the scammer, however, protecting your assets is your number one concern. You can’t help good tenants find a good home if you find yourself in a bind.

Types of Renter Scams

Malicious Scams

These scammers are concerned with cheating you. They want your money and have no real interest in your property. These scams are not as common, but they exist and can be devastating.

False Check Refunds

These people pretend to be renters and agree to pay a security deposit sight unseen. They send fraudulent cashier’s checks that exceed the agreed amount, after which they demand compensation for overages. After you give them a partial refund, you find that their payments were frauds.

Lawsuit Scam

Unlike the check refund scam, lawsuit scams involve real people signing your lease and really moving in — only to invent an excuse for a lawsuit, often something that will garner sympathy from the public, such as mold or lead paint or generally health-hazardous situations that they can fabricate. While they may lose the lawsuit in the end, during its duration they’re likely to be living in your property rent free and the court may prevent you from evicting them. That can last a long time and cost you a great deal.

Smoke and Mirrors Scam

This scam victimizes both landlords and renters. The scammer takes your legitimate photographs and fabricates false listings for rental properties to draw renters into some kind of scheme. The problem for you? Your real listings may be overlooked when placed next to a more cheaply priced counterfeit.

Little White Lie Scams

These scams are on a smaller scale and generally aren’t born out of malice — just selfishness. They include renters targeting mom-and-pop landlords who don’t require background checks. They’ll identify these landlords often by where they post their advertisements — free on online forums, free community bulletin boards, and so on. They also may get a friend to pose as a previous landlord with fabricated facts about their previous rental, personality and payment. The white lie could be as small as not telling you that they have a pet until they show up with Fido in tow.

White lies are often intended to secure a lease, despite the renters’ bad credit or track record with other landlords.

Avoiding Scams: What You Can Do

  • Always screen tenants. Do background and credit checks on every tenant who applies and look for red flags on their applications.

  • Conduct screenings via telephone and put them on the spot in interviews. Verify everything. If they’ve ever sued their landlord, look for tenants elsewhere.

  • Limit the information that you give on listings. Use the intersection or general street name instead of the specific address.

  • Use an alternative phone number. Instead of giving your home or cell number, utilize services like Google Voice.

  • Watermark property photographs to prevent theft.

The business of real estate investment can be profitable, which makes it a prime target for scammers. Protecting your assets through knowledge and rigorous attention to detail is important to keep your investment career free of the painful pitfalls of renter scams.

Article by: Chris Clothier, MemphisInvest.com

Category : Blog &Latest News

How Cold Weather Affects Your Bill

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We’ve experienced one of the coldest winters in the Mid-South in 20 years. Unfortunately, that means you will probably see higher than average utility bills this month. That’s not due to higher rates: it’s due to the extended cold weather days and the increased consumption of energy.

Even if you’ve kept your thermostat setting low, your heating system used more energy to heat your home and/or business.

Key factors related to this winter’s higher bills:

  • The coldest January in 20 years
  • Prolonged cold weather days will result in bills being at least 22 percent higher.
  • Increased consumption of energy resources to heat our homes and businesses.
  • This winter the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has experienced some of it’s all-time-high daily electric-generating days.
  • Many TVA distributors set all-time electric heat usage records except MLGW- MLGW was not close to setting a record, which is good for MLGW customers.

Though our bills seem high after all the cold weather, they are lower than most others in TVA’s service region. MLGW’s utility rates are some of the lowest in the country. Find ways to conserve at WWW.mlgw.com

Set your thermostat at 68 degrees to save energy. Each degree over 68 increases your heating cost by 4%

– notice from MLGW

 

Category : Blog &Latest News

The New American Dream: Rental Housing

Once upon a time, the American Dream was defined in part by the goal of homeownership. People dreamed of their own plot of land and picket fence and a place to call home. In this day and age, however, Americans are realizing that they can call a place home without owning it. The attitude of people toward rental housing is changing. While the majority of Americans still would like to own a home one day, 45% of current homeowners can see themselves turning to renting.

The appeal of renting has gone up while the desire to own a home has decreased in the past few years. Overall, this trend is thanks to this country’s housing crisis that has lead to shockingly high foreclosure rates. Some Americans are afraid of risk, and most believe that we’re still in the middle of the housing crisis.

The advantages to renting are clear to a growing number of Americans. Tenants don’t have to fret about suffering foreclosures, paying for maintenance costs or the value of their homes decreasing. The flexibility of renting is also appealing to a wide variety of lifestyles.

The American Dream is changing, and renters are finding that they can achieve fulfillment and happiness in renting just as much as they can through homeownership. While some still hold some antipathy toward renting, on the whole, minds are changing. The rewards of homeownership are not regarded as well as they once were.

In a study called How Housing Matters, Peter D. Hart of Hart Research Associates notes:

America is going through a transformational period in which the old forms and systems are changing, and the unconventional is becoming more conventional and even fashionable. A prime example of this can be seen through changing perspectives on housing. While the desire to own a home remains a bedrock principle in American life, this survey demonstrates that the American public’s views about housing are changing, in part due to the hangover from the housing crisis, but importantly, also because of changes in our lifestyles. The dynamic is no longer simply ‘renting versus owning’ – perspectives are more complex, and people are viewing housing in a more holistic way. Many of the positive attributes that have long been associated with homeownership are fading, and on the flip side of the coin, it is remarkable that nearly half of all homeowners can picture themselves one day becoming a renter.

For the real estate investor, the changing majority opinion on the subject of rental housing is a good omen. With renting no longer seen as a lesser compromise when one can’t afford homeownership and instead as a viable, long-term and equally fulfilling alternative, investors have it better than ever. After all, who doesn’t want to make dreams come true?

Renting is not only an option during the housing crisis, but a reflection of America’s changing priorities and lifestyles.

Written by Chris Clothier

MemphisInvest.com

Category : Blog &Latest News

Tips to help prevent spikes in your water Bill

  • Check your toilet for leaks by adding a little food coloring to your tank and if, without flushing, the color appears in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. A leaking toilet can waste more than 60 gallons of water each day.
  • Unexplained wet areas in the yard or underneath the house may indicate a hidden water leak and should be investigated, as should a low, constant sound of running water heard in or near the house.
  • A dripping sink faucet may need no more than a new washer and an under-the-cabinet pipe leak may only require a simple patch job.
  • If not leaks are found, observe your water meter dial. If the red test hand continues to move when everything is turned off, a leak is occurring. A plumber may be required to locate and repair the leak.

Remember that your water charges are directly based on the amount of water you consume. Even if you don’t have a leak, your water consumption can be reduced considerably by heeding the following tips:

  • Take shorter showers; this can save up to 10 gallons of water for every minute you reduce your shower time. If you prefer baths, fill the tub only partially; this uses less water than all but the shortest of showers.
  • Turn off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth. Doing so can save nearly 100 gallons of water each month.
  • Use your dish washer and washing machine only with full loads.
  • Clean vegetables using water in a pan and a vegetable brush rather than letting the tap run needlessly.
  • Water your lawn only when it needs it. If the grass springs back after you step on it, chances are good that it doesn’t need watering.
  • Don’t set your sprinkler system to turn on when Mother Nature is forecast to do the job for free.

We strongly encourage you to follow these suggestions and other conservation tips that you can find by visiting www.mlgw.com We also advise you not to wait until your bill gets to unmanageable levels to seek help.It’s much easier to manage your bill in the beginning stages than it is after the bill has compounded from a lengthy period of nonpayment. Don’t forget, if you need help, There are a variety of assistance programs and payment arrangements to help. Just call MLGW at 544-6549

 

Category : Blog &Latest News

Having Trouble with your heat?

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Category : Blog &Latest News

What Strategy is Trending Up in Real Estate Investing?

At this point, there really are very few ‘new’ techniques, strategies or markets to take advantage of when investing in real estate.  With reality T.V. highlighting the buy, fix-up, sell to a retail buyer trend, many investors identify this as the best way to get involved in real estate.  With so much news right now about rising interest rates, rising home prices and fewer properties on the market, it is no wonder that the retail sales strategy is getting a lot of attention.  But, if you really dig into the numbers and pay attention closely, you will see that many savvy investors are taking advantage of what some think are the later stages of the best reo-to-rental market in history.  Many investors are buying up properties quickly while the prices remain low and planning to ride the wave of rising inflation as it pushes rents higher.

Whether you are in a buyer’s or seller’s market or a good market for long-term buy & hold, depends on your particular location across the country.  But as we have seen over the last few years, where you live and where you invest can easily be two different places.  So really what is more important that what is happening in your market, is what is happening in the your investment market?  What is happening in the market that you are putting your money?. One thing most experts can agree on is that many markets are “landlord’s markets” right now as demand for quality rental properties continues to grow.

Rental Housing Demand Remains High

Demand for rental housing continues to remain high especially in the Memphis and Dallas markets and we have been happy to find a similar situation in Houston as we begin setting up our offices in that city. Memphis Invest and Premier Property Management financed a study in early 2013 where renters were asked about their intentions.  The study focused on identifying both single-family home renters as well apartment structure renters and what the study found was that renters expect to be in their current properties for a while.

The single-family home renters overwhelmingly replied that they would be in their properties for multiple years.  They also identified the security and standard of living as reasons they planned to stay.  So, those currently living in a rental situation and those renting in the very near future are expected to be doing so for a long time.  The current market just makes it difficult for them to purchase a property as prices remain high, interest rates go up and they are unable to save up for a down payment.

This demand for rental housing will help push rents up in many areas of the country…especially areas where renting is already in high demand.  The increase in rents will help increase investor’s returns, while the expanding and improving housing market itself should help build equity and expand property values.

Renters Expect More For Higher Rents

At the same time, landlords and property owners are entering an enviable period where rental demand is high and renters are expecting more for a higher rent.  Investment property owners who are providing great looking properties and a high quality management company are going to be able to demand stronger rental rates, longer occupancy periods and can even afford to pick the best renters.  Renters have a lot of choices and the renters who are in the best position to pay – and know they are quality renters – will be willing to pay a higher rent for a nicer property and a better experience with a management company.  They are not going to settle.

With this sort of leverage on both sides,  the best landlords who choose great teams may increase returns and preserve their investment properties, while renters can expect a high level of service from their management companies in return for paying higher rent. This is going to be a very interesting period of time for long-term buy & hold investors.

Regardless of what the reality T.V. shows are showing, some parts of the country are definitely trending toward a smart group of investors diversifying their holding into long-term buy & hold properties and buying up the better properties with better management.  These trends are here to stay for the for-see able future as the housing market bounces between recovery and stall.

Article written by : Chris Clothier

For more blogs like this visit Memphis Invest.com

http://www.memphisinvest.com/index.php

Category : Blog &Latest News

Another satisfied customer!

Our tenants love us!! It is a wonderful thing to know we help people find homes that they love!

Category : Blog &Latest News

Cleaning air ducts can be costly & unneeded

Putting your trust in the wrong air duct cleaning company could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars for unnecessary work.

Here’s some advice from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association about when and how air ducts should be cleaned.

EPA says that cleaning air ducts has never been shown to actually prevent health problems and that it should be done on an as-needed rather than routine basis. NADCA says the frequency of cleaning depends on several factors, an important one being the preference of homeowners. They may consider whether:

There are smokers or pets that shed high amounts of hair and dander in the household.

Residents with allergies or asthma might benefit from a reduction in indoor air pollutants.

There’s been water damage to the home or system or they’ve been renovated.

If no one in your home suffers from allergies or unexplained illnesses and a visual inspection of ducts doesn’t reveal large deposits of dust or mold, cleaning them may not be necessary. Check with a doctor if you think a family member’s symptoms or illness may be related to the home environment.

EPA says you should consider having your ducts cleaned if:

There’s substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.

Ducts are infested with vermin.

Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into your home from your supply registers.

Dusty registers are not necessarily an indication of a problem. It’s a normal condition since dust laden air is pulled through them. They can be easily vacuumed and cleaned.

EPA and NADCA recommend that you not hire duct cleaners who make sweeping statements about the health benefits of duct cleaning. If they say there’s contamination in your system, ask them to show it to you. Don’t be pressured or intimidated by scare tactics citing hazards to your health.

Be wary of ads that tout low prices for cleaning your ducts. They’re sometimes bait-and-switch offers — after the technician inspects your system, the price suddenly goes up hundreds of dollars. EPA says you should expect to pay $450 to $1,000 depending on the services offered, the size of your system, accessibility, the climate, and the level of contamination.

NADCA warns consumers to avoid “blow-and-go” air duct cleaning companies. They may charge a nominal fee and then do a poor job. EPA and NADCA agree that a poor job is worse than no cleaning job at all because it can kick up particles or even damage the system.

If an air duct cleaner says he needs to treat your system with a chemical biocide, ask him to show you proof there’s mold or other contamination and explain why it can’t be removed by physical rather than chemical means. You and your pets may want to vacate the house while the ducts are being treated.

Cleaning all of the components of your system may improve its efficiency and extend its life. It may also result in some energy and maintenance cost savings.

Check out any duct cleaner with the Better Business Bureau and get a written estimate of everything they recommend doing.

Randy Hutchinson is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South. Contact him at rhutchinson@bbbmidsouth.org.

Category : Blog &Latest News

Reviewing a Rental Contract

A rental lease is a binding contract, so you’ll want to understand what it means before you sign it.  If you don’t agree with every stipulation in the lease, you can try to negotiate changes to it.  Carefully read any fine print in the rental contract.  Although your landlord might seem like a nice guy, he is only legally bound by what is in the contract, and not by what he tells you.

Ask for Any Clarifications Beforehand

If there is something in the rental contract that you do not understand, ask your landlord to explain it.  You can also get a second opinion from someone who is familiar with legalese.  Be on the lookout for anything that seems fishy or only marginally pertinent to the rental.  If you don’t think it belongs there, ask your landlord to take it out.  An example of an unreasonable clause would be one that holds you responsible for any damages in common areas outside of your apartment.  It’s not a rental agreement until you sign it. If you don’t feel comfortable with the rental agreement, walk away.

Clarify Deposits

Before you move into your apartment, the landlord will usually require first and last month’s rent and a security deposit that is usually equal to one month’s rent.  Make sure that the rental contract specifies how much interest you are to earn on your deposit that is being kept by your landlord.  The rental contract should also clarify what deductions will be made from the deposit if the rental property is returned in less than pristine condition.  For example, many landlords charge a mandatory cleaning fee even if you decide to clean the apartment yourself.  Sometimes landlords allow you to apply the security deposit toward the last month’s rent, but not always. Other landlords require you to pay the last month’s rent and then will return your security deposit to you once the apartment is vacated unless the landlord needs all or part of your security deposit to cover damages you caused. Read the contract to make sure.

Determine What the Lease Prohibits

Leases may limit how many people can live on the premises or whether you can have pets.  If the contract states no pets, for example, you might be able to negotiate with a landlord to keep your pet. Some rental contracts may prohibit you from utilizing your residence in any capacity as a home business.

Note When Rent is Due

The rental agreement will specify the day of the month the rent is due.  The rental agreement will also tell you what the fees will be for missing the payment date.  Watch out for any clause that says the landlord will have a lien on your personal property if you don’t pay the rent.  A lien is a right to claim someone’s property if a certain condition such as nonpayment takes place.  Because a lien gives the landlord the right to your property in order to satisfy your debt, it is best not to have such a clause in the rental agreement.  Without such a agreement, the landlord will have to initiate a formal eviction process if he wants to remove you for unpaid rent.

Category : Blog &Latest News

About Us

Founded in 1988 by Bert A. less, Leco Realty has a staff of seven full time employees and a full complement of crafts and maintenance vendors. Still a family owned operation, the company manages over 1,500 units in the Memphis metropolitan area. Read More

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