Excalibur Home Management Blog

Is Your Contractor LEAD BASED PAINT Certified?

Mike Nelson - Tuesday, April 6, 2010


If your house is built before 1978, DON’T let just anybody start working on your home. Beginning April 22nd, anybody who makes repairs, renovations or paints a pre-1978 home, school or day care center must be EPA certified and must follow specific procedures to prevent contamination.

Anybody includes landlords, contractors, plumbers, electricians, painters; it is anyone who disturbs lead paint while working in a pre-1978 home, school or day care center, now must be Lead-Safe Certified. If you’re not, you can face thousands of dollars in fines. Plus, you put the health of yourself, your workers and your customers at risk, which could result in lawsuits.

Beginning April 22nd, a property owner or contractor who performs work on a pre-1978 built home must be certified by the EPA and the procedures that must be followed include providing the tenant with a pamphlet titled Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools (PDF) before beginning work.  According to the EPA, property owners who perform renovation, repairs, and painting jobs on their rental property should also:

If you are completing work on your own home, here is what the EPA has to say:

” If you are a homeowner performing renovation, repair, or painting work in your own home, EPA’s RRP rule does not cover your project. However, you have the ultimate responsibility for the safety of your family or children in your care. If you are living in a pre-1978 home and planning to do painting or repairs, please read a copy of EPA’s Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools (PDF) lead hazard information pamphlet en español (PDF) You may also want to call the National Lead Information Center at             1-800-424-LEAD       (5323) and ask for more information on how to work safely in a home with lead-based paint.”

Click this link for more information from the EPA,http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm.

“April Showers Bring May TERMITES?”

Mike Nelson - Monday, March 29, 2010
© How Stuff Works 

Here in the Southeast, termites are a homeowner’s worst nightmare.    With spring around the corner we are quickly approaching termite “swarming season.”  This usually occurs the first few warm days between March – May.  The flying termites are actually male and female reproductive termites that are mating and creating new colonies.  Once mated, the queens quickly move into the ground and begin laying eggs.  Thus a new colony is formed.  If you are seeing swarms around or in your home then that is a pretty good sign you have a termite infestation. 

There are 3 basic ways to treat termites: baiting system, liquid treatment with nonrepellents, and liquid treatment with repellents.  The baiting system is installed around your home and monitored quarterly.  Average cost of the baiting system ranges from $250-$700 depending on the size of the home and cost for the quarterly inspection ranges from $65-$125.  Typically, a liquid treatment can cost anywhere between $4-$10 per exterior linear foot of the home.  Treatments should come with a 5-7 year guarantee with annual inspections (cost is usually around $100-$150).  A termite treatment usually comes with one of two types of guarantees, a retreatment only or retreatment/repair guarantee. 

Of course, just because you don’t have active termites in your home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be worried.  Termites can strike at anytime, especially here in Georgia, so the best offense against termites is a good defense.  Have your home inspected for termites annually to prevent infestations and major damage. 

Here is a video that explains a little more about termites: 


Excalibur, an Atlanta property management company, is the leader in the leasing, property management and sales of single family rental homes in Metro Atlanta area.

Appliance Tip – Avoid Losing Your Oven While Cooking that Big Meal

Mike Nelson - Wednesday, March 24, 2010
© 2010 Leonid Nyshko / PhotoXpress.com

Easter is almost here! Several of you may be thinking about cleaning your ovens to prepare for cooking that Easter ham. Did you know that self-cleaning ovens need to be cleaned at least a few weeks in advance of cooking a big meal? To break it down, when an oven self-cleans it uses very high temperatures. These high temperatures bring the oven, and all of its parts, to a vulnerable place.  If a big meal is cooked just after the oven has gone through this process, any weak part of the oven is at a high risk of malfunctioning. To prevent your oven from going out as you are preparing that holiday feast, clean your oven a few weeks before hand. This will allow plenty of time to repair the issue.  Here is a nice recipe to cook in that newly clean oven: 

Servings: 6 

18 small new potatoes, unpeeled
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Cover potatoes with water in a large saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer until tender, about 8-12 minutes. Drain, keep warm. 

In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter and whisk in flour. Whisk in milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Season sauce with salt and nutmeg. Stir in cheese. Pour sauce over potatoes and stir to coat.

“Is A Loan Modification Right For You?”

Mike Nelson - Monday, March 22, 2010
© 2009 Edward / loan-mortgage-insurance.com 

HUD defines a loan modification as a permanent change in one or more of the terms of a mortgagor’s loan, allows the loan to be reinstated, and results in a payment the mortgagor can afford.  There are several types of modifications that can be made to a loan: reduction in interest rate, transition to a fixed rate, reduction in principal owed, reducing penalties or late fees, restructuring the length of the loan term, and several others.  The current status of your loan doesn’t prevent a loan modification.  You can be current, in default, in bankruptcy or in foreclosure at the time you begin the loan modification process. The loan modification is not one sided.  The lender can also offer a modification to the borrower which will be mutually beneficial.  The borrower has a loan they can afford to make payments on and the lender will ultimately make more than they would from a current foreclosure sale.  A popular program in the Atlanta market is the HAMP.  

A recent post to Wikipedia describes HAMP as the Home Affordable Modification Program.  “HAMP set out to help up from 7 to 8 million struggling homeowners at risk of foreclosure by working with their lenders to lower monthly mortgage payments. The Program is part of the Making Home Affordable Program which was created by the Financial Stability Act of 2009.  The program was built as collaboration with banks, services, credit unions, the FHA, the VA, the USDA and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to create standard loan modification guidelines for lenders to take into consideration when evaluating a borrower for a potential loan modification. Over 110 major lenders have already signed onto the program. The Program is now looked upon as the industry standard practice for lenders to analyze potential modification applicants.” 

Eligibility Requirements of Program: 

The program abides by the following eligibility and verification criteria: 

  • Loans originated on or before January 1, 2009
  • First-lien loans on owner-occupied properties with unpaid principal balance up to $729,750
  • Higher limits allowed for owner-occupied properties with 2-4 units
  • All borrowers must fully document income, including signed IRS 4506-T, proof of income (i.e. paystubs or tax returns), and must sign an affidavit of financial hardship
  • Property owner occupancy status will be verified through borrower credit report and other documentation; no investor-owned, vacant, or condemned properties
  • Incentives to lenders and servicers to modify at risk borrowers who have not yet missed payments when the servicer determines that the borrower is at imminent risk of default
  • Modifications can start from now until December 31, 2012; loans can be modified only once under the program

The HAMP program is being widely used by Bank of America customers in Atlanta.  According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, “In Georgia, there have been 33,059 active trial loan modifications through January. Of them, 4,508 have been permanently modified.  Atlanta is among the top 15 metro areas for HAMP activity, accounting for 3.2 percent of overall HAMP activity. The city had 30,285 active trial loan modifications through January. Of those, 3,692 were permanently modified.”  For more on that story, http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2010/03/08/daily80.html. 

Curb Appeal 101

Mike Nelson - Wednesday, March 17, 2010
© Paul Moore / PhotoXpress 

On Tuesday, we discussed the significance of a good first impression in order to prevent your future tenant from pulling out their “magnifying glass” and focusing on the negative aspects of your home.  The key to a good showing is a good first impression.  The key to a good first impression is CURB APPEAL. Our goal is to convince any potential tenant that your home is their new home…even before they get out of the car.  In the eyes of a prospective tenant, curb appeal is always the first indication of whether or not your home feels like their new home.

For most homes, curb appeal can be split up into 3 different zones:

1) The Mailbox. This zone is often overlooked by landlords.  But, it’s important to remember that when your future tenant is driving to your house the mailbox is the first thing they will see.  So, ask yourself a few questions: Is the paint peeling/rusted? Are the lid/flag functioning? Are the numbers on the side visible? Is the wood in good condition? What kind of landscaping, if any, surrounds the mailbox? The solution here may be as simple as re-staining the wood, sanding and re-painting the box itself, planting a few small plants, or buying a new mailbox.  The solution is simple, but it’s not always obvious.  An old rusty mailbox with no flag and one hinge may have character, but it doesn’t set very high expectations for the rest of the house.

2) The View (from inside the car). So, your future tenant located the mailbox and has now pulled into the driveway. What do they see? More often than not they’ll be staring at the garage.  If your home is older, odds are the paint is chipping/peeling in at least a few spots.  Take a look at the hardware and make sure it’s not rusted.  Each home’s view will be different.  It’s important to scrutinize YOUR view objectively, and come up with a solution suited to your situation (i.e. sanding, painting, or pressure washing).  Any signs of wear and tear can provide the tenant with a sense of neglect, which will affect the final outcome of the showing.

3) The Walk (from the car to the door). Your home’s front entryway is the most crucial element of curb appeal.  Check everything from the locks on the front door down to the weeds in the flower bed.  If the light fixtures, house numbers, locks and door knobs are out of date, then you won’t be providing a positive mental image for the rest of your home.  Be sure that your entryway functions as a whole; not mix and match.  Landscaping is also important in regard to curb appeal.  Be sure to renew planter beds, add new mulch, pull any weeds, and properly prune/trim any bushes.  The walk to the front door should assure any potential tenant that your home is where they want to be.

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to individually evaluate your home’s curb appeal.  Our goal is simple: Provide a good first impression.  By doing so, you will eliminate the “magnifying glass” by impressing your future tenant before they reach the front door.

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Excalibur Homes
2855 Marconi Dr, Suite 310
Alpharetta GA 30005
678-825-0500 Fax:(678) 825-1401