Real estate Q&A:

Sun SentinelJuly 15, 2014 

QUESTION: The house across the street was purchased by one of those large investment funds snapping up properties. The upkeep has been less than stellar, and we are worried it will affect our values and neighborhood's charm. Is there anything we can do to encourage the fund to be a better neighbor?

� Justin

ANSWER: Yes. Initially, if you live in a community with a homeowner's association, the community's rules and standards must be followed by each owner, no matter who or what it is. If you don't live in a managed development, you still have options.

If the problem is bad enough, you can get your town's code enforcement department involved. You can try contacting the firm directly and letting it know what is happening. While these real estate funds are large, the individual properties are managed by local groups. Ask your neighbor who the landlord contact is and politely complain.

If that does not work, contact the corporate ownership. These investors bought the homes to make a profit. They'll be rented for several years, then sold when values have sufficiently increased. So any issues that affect market value should be of great concern to the investment firm.

Think of these funds as a national fast food chain. If an individual store is performing poorly, the corporate headquarters will step in and fix the problem before it hurts the brand and costs too much money. Getting a reputation for poorly maintained properties could cost one of these mega-owners millions of dollars. The corporate office will want to know if a local management company is not doing its job properly.

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