Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Renting's Risks and Rewards

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Renting's Risks and Rewards

Article excerpt

When Xena Vallone came to Sarasota from Buffalo, N.Y., she worked in property management on Longboat Key. She looked after as 100 seasonal and annual rentals before getting back into real estate sales. In 2009, she opened Xena Vallone Realty with her husband, David, and now manages 25 rental properties. Correspondent Chris Angermann interviewed her at her office on South Osprey Avenue about the rental market.

Q:What is the biggest issue facing property management in the area?

A:We need educated agents. Our goal this year through the Sarasota Association of Realtors, where I am chairing the Realtor- Attorney Joint Committee, is to increase property management education among Realtors. Rental property issues are the No. 1 complaint to the Florida Real Estate Commission. We have agents who are working without brokerage supervision and owners that aren't getting their checks for the rentals. Many agents don't know enough about landlord/tenant law, such as security deposit issues -- not to mention customer relations.

Property management is an ongoing people business. In real estate sales, people come together, the goal is accomplished at closing, and then they go away and nobody sees each other again. But in rentals, it's a long-term relationship. You have to be able to manage people's expectations. You have tenants who think we just take their money and don't fix up the property, and you have landlords who think we do nothing for what we charge. So you have to show professionalism and be neutral, too. We are like Switzerland.

Q:What should buyers of rental property be aware of?

A:There is a high demand for good-quality rentals in our area, both condos and single-family homes. We also have a huge number of seasonal or second-home owners. If they are looking to rent their properties, they need to interview different management companies and speak with someone who's been doing this for a long time. They need to get a market analysis of their property and find out if it's going to make them a decent amount of money, and what the pitfalls are. They may have mortgage and insurance payments of $1,000, but can only get $900 in rent. …

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