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Bozeman Community Events

February is here with all of the things that come along with it! Of course, there are the usual of the groundhog disappointing at least part of the population, whatever his prediction, and the weather fluctuations that can only be explained by a daily coin flip, but February is also the month that Bozeman starts waking back up after a busy holiday season. For being a short month, February always seems to pack in plenty to do with regard to community-wide events.

One of our favorites is the Winter Crazy Days event!

Winter crazy days is an event put on by the Downtown Bozeman Association annually. From February 16th to February 19th 2018 downtown merchants participate in a huge sale to help clear out their winter stock to make room for their incoming spring merchandise. Not only is this a great opportunity to get a little bit of end-of-winter shopping done (because we all know winter in Montana sure does like to hang on) at amazing discount prices, but is a chance to look forward to what all your favorite stores have planned for the next season. What’s not to love! Even if you don’t feel like shopping, this event is free and a great opportunity to meet up with your friends downtown.

Winter Crazy Days is a Bozeman staple, but there are new and exciting things on the horizon too for those who’d like to check out an event at our very own newly-reopened Rialto Theater. The beautiful Rialto will be hosting Intermountain Opera’s She Loves Me from February 9th to February 18th 2018. This is exciting for so many reasons! Not only is Bozeman’s beloved Rialto back in action, but this is an excellent opportunity to take your sweetheart on a unique date to remember while also supporting Bozeman’s very own Intermountain Opera.

These are just a couple of the February events that we’re excited about, but you can see a more comprehensive calendar of events at the Downtown Bozeman Association website. Rain or shine we hope to see you out and about at some of these great events to support our community. We’ll see you there!

Solutions to keeping your winter energy costs down

Love winter or hate it, there’s no denying that energy costs can go sky-high during the colder months, especially during cold-snaps like we had recently where it sank far below zero. When it’s -20˚ outside, you want to be able to stay warm and cozy in your home without having to worry about the price-tag, and it can be important to assess your energy usage so your bank account doesn’t take a major hit.

 

The first step that can be taken in achieving energy-efficiency in your home is to call your local energy provider and ask for an energy audit. In Bozeman, the primary energy supplier is Northwestern Energy. Depending on the services you receive from Northwestern, you may qualify for one of two different types of free energy audits. In-person audits have stricter eligibility requirements than mail-in survey requirements. Please see Northwestern Energy’s audit page to find out if you and your home are eligible for this helpful service.

 

In the meantime, there are many methods you can use on your home before or after an energy audit that can help save you money on your bill:

 

 

  • Seal heating vents in rooms you don’t use: If you have a guest room or storage room that you don’t utilize often, your heating system may be wasting energy trying to keep it warm when no one will even be around. If you have a forced air heating system, a good method for helping reduce waste in this way is to cover the heating vents in this room snugly to keep the warm air from escaping into the open space. This method may need to be reassessed if this room is attached to a room (bathroom/utility room) that contains plumbing. During very cold periods, all plumbing should be exposed to heat to avoid freezing.
  • Ceiling fans: Ceiling fans come with a switch to change the rotation direction to clockwise or counter-clockwise. In the summer, counter-clockwise movement will move hotter air away from the living area of the house to keep things cooler, but in the winter ceiling fans should be switched to the “clockwise” setting. This helps move the rising warm air back toward the floor to circulate it more efficiently in the livable space of the house, keeping you and your family warmer at a lower cost.
  • Find any leaks: In places where pipes and vents enter and exit the home, there can be small gaps and cracks in the insulation and/or seals where warm air can escape and cold air can sneak in. Make sure these areas are completely sealed. A small leak can make a huge difference!
  • Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater: During the winter, keeping water hot for on-demand use can take a lot of costly energy. A way to mitigate this is to turn the temperature dial on your hot water heater down to about 120˚.
  • Use the sun’s free heat: If it’s going to be a sunny day, open the blinds on windows that get the most sun to utilize the free solar heat. Just remember to close the blinds when the sun goes down to keep the warm air trapped inside.
  • Fireplace dampers: If you have a fireplace, make sure that when there isn’t a fire burning that the damper is closed. Warm air can escape up the chimney when there’s no heat being generated by a fire in there.
  • Various: There are a lot of smaller things that can be done to help. Using LED lights for your holiday decorations, getting a humidifier to make the air feel warmer, making sure you remember to close blinds and curtains at night, and programmable thermostats that keep the temperature lower when no one is home are all ways to help assist your energy efficiency and keep your bill more manageable.

 

 

With any luck, using the above methods will help lower your energy costs and help with your peace of mind, so you can stay warm and happy during the colder months.

 

Snow Removal Policy

The City of Bozeman’s snow removal policy is becoming increasingly relevant as winter continues, dumping so much snow on the town that we’re running out of places to put the abundance of fluffy white stuff we’re removing from streets and sidewalks.

The problem with the ever-growing blanket of snow we’re addressing this year is that many residents of Bozeman aren’t aware of the city’s policy on snow removal.

We at Schmidt Property Management would like to help our friends and tenants continue to be in compliance with these policies and avoid hefty fines.

For sidewalks outside of businesses, sidewalks must be cleared by 9 AM daily, while for private homes, the City allows for 24 hours after snow and ice arrive for sidewalks to be completely cleared of snow and ice. If a complaint is filed, the city will send an officer to request that the snow and ice be removed by the following day (or leave a note if no one is around). A failure to remove this snow and ice will result in a contractor being hired by the city to remove it at the cost of the property owner. If the home is a rental, the owner or property manager will usually charge the balance to the current residents of the home.

If you’re unsure whether or not you’re responsible for snow removal in a home that you rent, we recommend contacting your property manager for more information.

In the meantime, enjoy the winter sports this sort of snowfall allows, but make sure to stay in compliance with city ordinances!

Holiday Decorations and Fire Hazards

With the holiday season upon us, many of our homes are decorated to the nines. There are garlands and pine bows over doorframes, lights in the windows, candles on tables, and trees dripping with lights. It’s all very glittery and beautiful, but with all of the impressive decorations there comes the risk of fire.

Holiday decorations are the source of hundreds of house fires yearly, starting with everyone’s favorite centerpiece: the Christmas tree.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas tree fires account for over 200 fires responded to each year. One in every thirty-one of these fires proves to be deadly to one or more residents of the home.

Dry trees can be a major fuel source for a fire and can burn faster than newspaper, but it’s not all bad news. We have plenty of suggestions to help you prevent this from happening so you and your beautiful, decorative evergreen can live in harmony until it’s time for you to go your separate ways. (For some of us this means the end of January, but we’re not pointing any fingers).

Electrical failures and malfunctions from decorations and power sources for these decorations are the cause of 30% of Christmas tree fires.

String lights are a major culprit for causing the sparks or heat that can lead to a fire on your tree. Oftentimes, strings of incandescent lights that are used year after year can be broken or damaged, leading to vulnerabilities and weaknesses that can cause excessive heat or sparking. This heat and sparking can result in your tree bursting into flames and burning at a high rate of speed.

 

There are some ways to mitigate the risks with incandescent string lights, however. Some of these methods are as follows:

  1. Make sure your string lights are sound with no cuts or twists and no exposed wires.
  2. Check all bulbs on your incandescent lights to make sure that none are broken.
  3. Do not splice extension cords.
  4. Turn decorative lights off when you leave your home or go to bed. You should never sleep with your decorative lights on!
  5. Use LED lights: LED lights use up to 75% less energy than incandescent lights and don’t generate heat or burn out in the same way that incandescents to. Instead they slowly fade over time. They are also ordinarily plastic and much more difficult to break than glass incandescent bulbs. — While LED lights usually come with a higher price-tag, their saved energy and durability make them an excellent alternative to the riskier incandescent lights.

 

There are also some means to maintain your tree to lessen the likelihood that it will burn if an accident does occur.

  1. A dry tree is a dangerous tree. While it’s safer to buy an artificial tree, we realize this isn’t how the traditions of many families work. When buying a Christmas tree, the best place to start is getting a tree that is fresh. Then it’s important to ask the attendants to freshen the cut at the base of your tree’s trunk. This is so it’s able to draw water. Much like any other decorative plant that is kept in water, it must be able to draw the water provided or it will die.
  2. Keep your tree in fresh water daily! If your tree’s water level drops below the cut end of the tree, the cut will seal and not accept any more water. Be meticulous! If this happens, make sure you freshen the bottom again by cutting off the end. This will help keep your tree from drying out and becoming more of a fire hazard.
  3. Keep your tree a minimum of 3 feet away from any heat source. This includes, but is not limited to: baseboard heaters, candles, lamps, or space heaters.

 

As dangerous as trees can be, they’re also not the only source of fires during the holidays. The worst culprit in this regard is the candle. Candle use is at an all-time high during the holidays, and December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.

Because they hold open flames, candles are inherently dangerous. Make sure to keep candles at least 3 feet away from any flammable surface or object, and be vigilant! Be extra careful to not forget to blow out any candles that may be burning before you leave the house or go to sleep. 1/3 of all candle fires start in the bedroom, so be sure to put them out before settling in.

 

The holidays can be a wonderful time of the year, and the decorations are beautiful! It’s easy to get caught up in all the wonder, but always remember to be careful and keep your safety in mind.

We at Schmidt Property Management wish everyone a wonderful (and safe!) holiday season and we will see you again in 2018!

Nothing is spookier than a bed bug

 

With Halloween approaching, we find ourselves talking about the spookiest topic of all: Bed bugs, because nothing is spookier than a bed bug.

“Bedbug” is an honorary four-letter-word not just in the housing/hospitality industry, but particularly in one’s own home. These nasty little freeloaders are easy to get and dang near impossible to get rid of if the infestation goes unnoticed for too long.

 

Many people are under the impression that once they get bedbugs they must burn all of their belongings to get rid of them. This is, in most cases, untrue, but it’s important to educate yourself on bedbugs and what can be done to detect them early so that they can be more easily mitigated.

 

How do I know if I have bedbugs?

 

There are various means of detecting bedbugs both before and after they start taking their nightly snacks off of yourself and your family.

 

  1. The first and most obvious means of discovering that you have bedbugs is to make periodic inspections for them on all mattresses and upholstered furniture. It may seem tedious, but it takes very little time. Bedbugs can be visually detected on mattresses and furniture under fitted sheets along the seams in the mattresses/furniture. On box springs, close attention should be paid to areas that are covered by wood or plastic that a tiny bug and its brethren can hide.

    What you’re looking for are small, rust-colored stains and the remains of dead bed bugs/shed bed bug exoskeletons. These will be about the size of a pinhead so look closely!
  2. If bed bugs have begun using you as a buffet, you’ll know more quickly by small blood stains on your sheets and/or pajamas than looking for welts. This is because bed bug bites are initially painless and sometimes invisible. It can take days for bed bug bites to appear, so looking for spots of blood can alert you to a bed bug infestation more quickly than the bites themselves. There is also a large percentage of the population that don’t have skin reactions to bed bugs. They’re the lucky ones, but less likely to discover an infestation in a timely manner.
  3. Look for bed bug excrement. This is admittedly pretty gross, but what about bed bugs isn’t? Excrement stains will be different than blood spots in color because the blood has been digested. These stains will be black or brown and rather than just appearing on your pajamas and sheets, these stains can appear anywhere that bed bugs go. This could be your mattress, box spring, mattress pad, etc.

 

 

What do I do if I find evidence of bed bugs in my home?

 

People often think that if they find any evidence of bed bugs in their home that they should dispose of their linens and cloth items, but this is extreme and not necessarily true. There are several steps that should be taken before something extreme is done.

 

DON’T

 

  1. Do not throw away your expensive mattress or your bedding. Anything new you bring into an already infested home will likely just become infested again, because bed bugs are very good at staying hidden.
  2. Do not start sleeping in a different area of the house. Bed bugs are ravenous little things and they will usually move where their food source does, so by changing where you sleep you’ll potentially inadvertently spread your infestation to more areas of your home. YIKES.

 

DO

 

  1. While you don’t want to change your sleeping area, as stated above. It can be very tempting to sleep somewhere else just for relief from the bed bug bites. There is a solution to this! Most big box stores and even Amazon will sell bed bug-proof cases for mattresses and box springs. These will trap the bed bugs and their eggs inside the case in order to starve them out and eventually kill them. Prior to putting these casings on your mattress and bed spring, however, you should vacuum both items, paying specific attention to the seams and folds to reduce the number of bed bugs inhabiting them. Once the bed bugs are sealed away, they won’t be able to access you for a snack and will eventually (though it is an alarming period of time) starve.
  2. When your mattress and box spring are covered it’s time to focus on your bed frame. Bed bugs mostly live in the soft surfaces of your bed, but they can live and lay their eggs in your bed frame as well. Vacuuming isn’t 100% effective for this, so purchase insecticide sprays to effectively get into every nook and cranny that the bugs could have hidden themselves or their offspring.
  3. Treat other areas of your home as needed. If you suspect that you have bed bugs in your furniture, make sure that when you treat each piece of furniture (vacuuming and insecticide as above) that you move it far away from furniture that has not yet been treated to avoid cross contaminating between treated and untreated furniture.
  4. If the infestation is not caught early, while it may not seem ideal, it’s best to call a professional in. This is particularly true if it has spread to other parts of your home where bed bugs are harder to find and eliminate.
  5. Most importantly, if you rent, please alert your property manager. Nobody wants to talk to their property manager about bed bugs, but unfortunately they are terribly easy to spread. If bed bugs are in your home, chances are high they could have found their way into adjacent units, and it’s unfair to inflict bed bugs on the neighbors if you can help it.

 

It is important to note: that you should be aware of where you dispose of the contents of your vacuum after doing the above! You will want to dispose of the contents of your vacuum outdoors. Double bag the vacuum bag before disposing of it in an outdoor dumpster. Double bagging will help reduce the risk of spread to some unsuspecting stranger’s home. If your vacuum is bagless, double bag the contents of the dirt reservoir and be exceptionally careful that all bed bugs have been removed from your appliance before allowing it back in your home.

Charity Whiskey Tasting

 

Schmidt Property Management is pleased to announce that for the second year in a row we’ll be sponsoring a Roarin’ 20’s themed charity whiskey tasting to benefit Thrive!

 

What is it?

Mainstreet Speakeasy is a prohibition-themed whiskey tasting party hosted by Thrive in conjunction with Copper Whiskey Bar & Grill and Wisetail. This event is a benefit to support Thrive, an organization in the Gallatin Valley that supports the prosperity of children and families.

 

Why should I go?

Not only is supporting Thrive a great cause, but it’s a ton of fun! Roarin’ 20’s and prohibition themed costumes are highly encouraged. There will even be a costume contest! The best-dressed couple will win a prize, so come in your best get-up!

 

Will there be food/drinks?

Absolutely! While this is a whiskey tasting event, there will also be non-alcoholic beverage provided. There are also appetizers presented by Red Chair Cafe & Bar and boozy cupcakes provided by LUXE. (Those things are so good, they’re worth coming for in and of themselves)

 

Anything else?

 

Of course! There will also be a silent auction and a VIP Lounge sponsored by REVOLVR Menswear.

Remember! If you get your ticket before October 2nd, you’ll be entered to win a night’s stay at the Element Hotel!

We look forward to seeing you there.

 

PLACE: Bozeman Event Space @ 14 South Tracy Avenue (Bozeman, MT)

DATE: October 20, 2017

TIME: 6:00-9:00 PM

TICKETS: $65 and can be found here

If you’d like to learn more about Thrive and what they do for our community, please visit their website: https://allthrive.org

 

Sponsor list:

Copper Whiskey Bar & Grill, Wisetail, Revolvr Menswear, Blackfoot, Dan Aughney & Amanda Torgerson – Mortgage Loan Officers with Opportunity Mortgage, Red Chair Cafe & Bar, Schmidt Property Management, and LUXE! 

Spring Break

 

It’s been a long semester, but thankfully Spring Break is right around the corner! What a relief. Some of you will be staying home and catching up on homework that you may or may not have been slacking on, but some of you lucky folks will be jetting off for a fun in the sun vacation somewhere warm—or maybe even a powder-filled ski vacation.

 
Whatever your destination this Spring Break, if your Schmidt Property Management rental will be empty for 7 or more consecutive days, please give us a call! When units sit empty, we will make drive-bys to make sure your unit is safe and sound while you’re away. We worry so that you don’t have to!

 

Also, though it’s allegedly going to be pretty nice weather while everyone is away, remember to keep your thermostats set to at least 60 degrees and open any cabinets that contain plumbing. That way if Montana decides it wants to have a cold snap while you’re away, there’s a lot lower of a chance of pipes freezing. Frozen pipes is a horrible situation to come home to, so we recommend taking precautions regardless of the weather forecast. As we all know, weather here in the Big Sky is known to do whatever the heck it wants.

 

If you need to contact our office to let us know about an extended absence, please call us at (406) 586-2226

If you call outside of business hours, please just leave a clear message and we’ll be sure to keep an eye on your place for you while you’re away.

 

Have a fun and safe Spring Break, everyone!

Property Management FAQ

How does property management work?

We’ve seen a lot of questions lately about how property management companies work, and it’s hard to answer them all individually. So because of this we’ve decided to set up a FAQ (frequently asked questions) guide for people to check out if they are interested in renting from a property manager, hiring a property manager, or are just plain curious about the industry.

 

Why do people hire property managers?
People hire property managers for many varying reasons. One of the most common of these reasons is that they are moving out of the area, and maintaining a property with tenants can be really difficult for them from a distance.

The other most common reason is that trying to rent a unit as an individual owner can be a huge time and money sink. Many owners just don’t have the time to maintain the unit if issues should arrive, screen applications, do inspections, and learn all of the state Fair Housing and rental laws. Some may also not have the extra money to pay legal fees or buy an effective lease.

Property managers take care of all of these things for property owners! The manager takes care of property and tenant concerns from start to finish. They usually already own a good lease, they have a fleet of handymen and vendors on call to address unit issues, they know the property laws, and they can take maintenance and emergency requests so the owners can rest easy that their unit is in good hands. Property mangers can even help when someone is locked out of their rental! Don’t worry… we’ve all done it.

Property mangers streamline the rental process for both owners and renters by being available, knowledgeable, and prepared.

Why do property managers have such a problem with pets?
We don’t! In fact, many of us have pets of our own and are very fond of pets. The reasoning for so many units not allowing pets varies. For some property management companies, allowing pets can be considered a liability in the eyes of their insurance companies.
Normally, however, the “no pet” policy is set by each individual property owner. Just as in everything, for every amazing and attentive pet owner, there is going to be one out there that will cause damages to a property. On average, pet damage to properties goes above and beyond what was paid for a security deposit. Unit owners often see allowing pets as a gamble, and some will want to make that gamble while others will avoid it.

 

Do property managers set prices for individual units?
No, they don’t! This is the responsibility of the owner(s) of each individual unit. As property managers, we’re able to advise owners about what we think market value for each unit is by comparing it to similar units on the market. After this, the pricing is set at the owner’s discretion, and they are free to either take our advice or leave it.

 

Do property managers get paid more if an apartment is priced high?

Yes and no. While all property management companies are different, here at Schmidt Property Management we get a certain percentage of monthly rent as our wage. If a property sits empty we do not get paid for those months. If a unit is not rented we will not draw a wage from that unit.

So while it’s true that higher-priced units will draw more of a wage for us, if a unit is priced too high it will not rent. If a unit does not rent, that means that we continue doing work on said unit for free. Because of this we’re motivated to encourage our owners to price their units at a comparable market value to other units similar to them so that they will be rented. We see it as beneficial to property owners, ourselves, and people looking for housing to have units filled rather than sitting empty. Filled units are a win-win for everybody involved!

 

And finally the question everyone has been waiting for:
Why are rent prices in Bozeman so high?!
In Bozeman, the market drives the prices of rent. There is a unique atmosphere in Bozeman that attracts college students and young professionals. These people are living in homes where there are multiple people paying rent from individual incomes. Towns where this is the case with the majority of renters tend to have rental markets that can be very high, because these people who have roommates drive the market up. This has the unfortunate side-effect of making rent prices very high for families that may be paying rent from individual incomes. This is something that property managers aren’t in control of, and something that people should talk to their city representatives about in order to help find a solution that works for everyone.

Happy Holidays to all!

holiday hours

Christmas is upon us this weekend, believe it or not! Hopefully we’ve all prepared and aren’t running around in all of the holiday chaos, but if you’re anything like us here in the office the holiday season totally crept up on you.

Because of this Schmidt Property Management likes to give its employees as much time with their families as possible! That means that the hours for Schmidt Property Management will be a little different for the next couple of weeks.

For Christmas and New Year’s weekends:

Schmidt Property Management will be closed Friday the 23rd through Monday the 26th, and will be re-opening for normal business hours (10am-5pm) on Tuesday the 27th.

On Friday the 30th Schmidt Property Management will be closing at 1pm, and reopening for normal hours on Tuesday, January 3rd.

 

We want to wish you the happiest of holidays, and remember: those New Years Resolutions don’t go into effect until January 1st, so make sure to eat as many holiday treats as possible before you’re expected to be a responsible adult again!

Cold Snap!

 

Brrr, even though just a few short weeks ago it was 70 and sunny, it looks like winter has finally caught up with us in a big way. From Tuesday December 6th through Thursday December 9th we have projected highs in the teens and even the single digits. We don’t even need to talk about the below-zero lows.

 

Whether you’re thrilled at the weather change or breaking out the long undies between bouts of weeping, now is the time to make sure your central heat is in proper working order! The worst possible time for the heat to go out would be in temperatures like these, so Murphy’s law dictates that this is exactly the time that it’s bound to happen.

 

Call us right away if you rent with us here at Schmidt Property Management and notice any abnormalities with your heating! It’s our main priority to keep our tenants and their pipes warm and toasty while the temps take a nose-dive.

 

If you notice any issues with your heating, our number at the office is (406) 586-2226

After normal business hours, please leave a message about your heating problem and we’ll get back to you when the office opens in the morning. If you have an emergency outside of normal business hours, our voicemail will direct you to our emergency phone number instead so we can get you warm and comfy again as soon as possible.

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