Happy Thanksgiving from Home Rental Services!

Happy ThanksgivingFriends, it’s that time of year again.  The holidays are here and we wanted to take a minute to thank you!  Whether you’re an owner, a renter, a vendor, friends or family, we appreciate each and every one of you.  Thank you for helping make 2015 a great year!

We are spending the day in the office today wrapping presents we bought as a team for the KVC children we adopted this year.

Have you started gift shopping for your friends and family?  Have you put up your holiday lights yet?  We are seeing them pop up in neighborhoods all over Kansas City.

We thought it might be a good idea to share this list of top 10 things to consider for having a safe holiday season in your home:

top-101. Inspect electrical decorations for damage before use.
2. Don’t overload electrical outlets.
3. Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights together.
4. Keep live trees fresh in your home by watering daily.
5. Use battery-operated candles.
6. Keep combustibles at least three feet from heat sources.
7. Protect cords from damage.
8. Check decorations for a certification label.
9. Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking.
10. Turn off, unplug, and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house.

Have a safe, happy and warm Thanksgiving!

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City of Overland Park – Proposed Rental Licensing Program – Open House November 19th, 2015

City of Overland Park, KSThe city of Overland Park is having a public open house on Thursday, November 19th at the Matt Ross Community Center: 8101 Marty Street, Overland Park, KS. Residents, homes associations and neighborhood group officers, landlords and others are invited. The goal is for attendees to learn more about a proposed rental licensing and inspection program for owners of rental homes in Overland Park.

The public open house is the next step in a public information and feedback process before the City Council considers adoption of the program. The registration/licensing program being considered would be phased in over three years.

Year One : Registration
Identify all rental properties, contact owners and begin registration.
Year Two: Licensing/Inspections
Begin licensing and exterior inspection of properties. This process would take two years to complete.
Year Three : Inspections
Standardized, exterior inspections of rental property on a regularly scheduled basis.

Overland Park property code officials have been dealing with an increasing number of cases involving neglected rental properties. This includes single-family homes and multi-family rentals.  Further, property code and police officers are seeing an increase in major crimes in areas lacking property maintenance attention or effort by property owners.

The licensing program excludes interior inspection of residential units. Currently, the city conducts inspections based on a complaint basis, not part of any program. After completion of the third year, plans include review and evaluation of the program for possible modification or expansion.

For more information, contact Community Services Manager John Rod at 913-895-6214. 

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Home Rental Services at 27th Annual NARPM Convention

2015 NARPM Convention Recently, Kandy and Paul went to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the 27th Annual NARPM Convention.

NARPM stands for National Association of Residential Property Managers.
NARPM focuses on training and ethical business practices for residential property managers and we’re proud to say that we’ve been active members since 1991.

2015 was a record breaking year for attendance!  There were more than 1,200 attendees, of which 150 were first timers/new members. We met people from all over the country, including: GA, VA, AL, NM, MD, CA, AZ, NC, SC, MI, NE, MO, FL, TX, WA, ID

Messages we liked

2015 NARPM ConventionThings we learned about

  • Marketing
  • Office Operations
  • Personnel Procedures
  • Ethics

We had a great time at the RentPath party (which is where the party bus pictures came from.) RentPath operates some of the websites we market our listings on including rent.com and rentalhouses.com.

It was another good year to be at the NARPM convention to reconnect with peers and vendors and to learn things we can put to good use at Home Rental Services!

2015-10-27-NARPM-Convention (3) 2015 NARPM Convention

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Halloween Safety Tips!

Halloween in Kansas CityHalloween will be here soon. We were talking in the office recently about safe ways for our kids to enjoy Halloween. We thought a Halloween safety tip blog post might be helpful.

Walk Safely

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.

Keep Costumes Both Creative and Safe

  • Don’t let your child wear an “invisible” costume!
  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light, easy to see colors.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.

Halloween in Kansas CityDrive Extra Safely on Halloween

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

Attribution: Safe Kids Worldwide is a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, the number one killer of kids in the United States. Their website, safekids.org had a great list of Halloween Safety Tips! We selected a few of them for our tips list. For the full article, please visit SafeKids.org.

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Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine – Please read if you have Ash Trees!

The Missouri Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture have confirmed the Emerald Ash Borer is now in Kansas City. The Emerald Ash Borer originated from eastern Russia, northern China, Japan and Korea. Before June of 2002, it had never been found in North America. It is most likely that the beetle came to North America in ash wood used for stabilizing cargo in ships, or for packing or crating heavy consumer products.

Ash Tree LeavesThe insect, which has infested trees throughout the nation, is not a threat to human or animal health but poses a risk to Kansas City’s 5 million ash trees.

The Emerald Ash Borer quarantine was recently expanded to include the entire state and, as a result, leaf and brush may now be dropped off at any of the City’s disposal centers. In North America, the Emerald Ash Borer has only been found in ash trees. All species of ash in North America are at risk.

How do I know if I have an ash tree?

An ash tree has an opposite branching pattern (two branches come off the main stem, one on each side and directly opposite each other). Plus, ash trees have compound leaves with five-11 leaflets (depending on the species of ash). Look at the picture to get a better idea of what ash tree leaves look like.

What Does the Emerald Ash Borer look like?

Emerald Ash BorerThe adult beetle is dark metallic green in color, ½ inch long and 1/8 inch wide. The insect has been found in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

Is there anything I can do now to protect the ash trees in my yard?

Keeping trees healthy by proper pruning, mulching, watering helps them resist insect attack. Avoid bringing firewood from other areas as this may also bring unwanted tree pests. Closely monitor trees for signs of infestation.

Are there symptoms I should look for?

Bark DamageIf your ash tree has sparse foliage and/or dying branches in the upper part of the tree; or increased woodpecker activity on the tree, these are indicators of Emerald Ash Borers. However, these may also be symptoms the tree is stressed by other insects, disease, weather or other factors. Those symptoms outlined above by themselves do not mean the problem is Emerald Ash Borer. Consult a certified arborist or forester to confirm the presence of Emerald Ash Borers.

This post relied heavily on content from the KC Parks website, which we’ve obtained permission to use. For more information about the Emerald Ash Borer problem, please visit the dedicated page they have on their site.

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Google Fiber Signups Open in West Johnson County

Google FiberOn October 1st, signups for Google Fiber opened for West Johnson County. For your neighborhood to qualify, you must have at least 100 people sign up and pay a $10 deposit to lock in their place for installation. It’s an exciting opportunity to get Gigabit Internet and 150 HD TV channels.


Basic internet is free for 7 years if you pay a one time fee of $300.
Gigabit internet is $70/month and the $300 install fee is waived.
Gigabit internet and 150 HD TV channels is $130/month and the $300 install fee is waived.

See if your address is eligible

Click here to go to the Google Fiber website and type in your address to see if you are eligible to sign up.

What is Gigabit?

Some people don’t understand what Gigabit speeds are like. If you get your internet connection from a local service provider like Consolidated Communications, Time Warner, or AT&T U-Verse, you are probably getting download speeds in the 30-100 Megabyte range. Google Fiber is basically 10-20 times faster. (Technically, one Gigabyte is 1,024 Megabytes)

It’s been interesting to watch how quickly people are signing up for the Google Fiber service. A few hours after signups had opened, some of the neighborhoods already had 30-40 of their required 100 signups spoken for. And there were 49 days left to reach the 100 signup goal for a neighborhood to actually get Google Fiber.

It’s a big deal for Kansas City

Google Fiber continues to be installed across the Kansas City metro. It’s a big deal for our city and other cities are jealous that they don’t have it yet. Google Fiber is only available in 3 cities in the United States, but more are scheduled.
Click here for a map of the United States and Google Fiber expansion plans.

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Preventing Mold In Your Home

MoldHow does mold show up in my home?

Molds are a natural part of our environment. Outside, molds plays an important part in breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. That said, it’s a problem if mold grows inside your home.

The best way to stop mold is by depriving the water source it needs to grow.

Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through the air.  Mold may begin growing indoors when these spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

Common Places to Find Mold

  • Basements or cellars that have been flooded or have standing water
  • Underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks
  • Around air-conditioning units
  • Around windows that leak

Mold Prevention Tips

  • If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.
  • Act quickly when water leaks or spills occur indoors. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.
  • Make sure your gutters are in good repair and free of blockage. If you are a renter with Home Rental Services and your gutters need to be cleaned, please submit a maintenance request.
  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
  • If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, dry the wet surface and determine where the water is coming from.
  • Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering.

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Team Building – Home Rental Services at the Royals [PICS]

Every year, we take our staff to a Royals game as a team building event. It’s always a great time, and the game against the Baltimore Orioles on 8/24/15 was no exception.

In the first few innings, the Orioles looked strong and had the lead. The score was 3-1 going into the 6th inning. But that’s when then the Royals blew open the doors. They ended up scoring 7 runs in the 6th inning making the score 8-3.

It’s hard to describe the volume levels that we experienced in the stadium during the 6th inning.

Imagine yourself standing behind a 747 that suddenly hits full thrust on the engines. That might be close to how it felt when the crowd went wild. It was amazing and exhilarating. High fives between perfect strangers.

Here’s a quote from ESPN that tells how the 6th inning went:

Mike Moustakas hit a tying, two-run homer, and Omar Infante added a two-run triple moments later, scampering home when the throw to third base skittered away. Lorenzo Cain drove in two more, spoiling what had been a promising start by Ubaldo Jimenez.

We loved going to an exciting Royals game and getting to spend some time with each other outside of work!

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Study Shows What You Believe Affects Your Reality

Mindset MattersAt our staff meeting this morning, we talked about a Harvard study:
Mindset Matters – Exercise and the Placebo Effect.

We talked about the idea that what you believe can affect your reality. Think positively and good things happen. Think negatively…

You might have heard of the book The Secret that suggests having a positive attitude can create life changing results. The Harvard study is the first we’ve heard of someone trying to validate the concept scientifically.

At the start of our Tuesday meetings, we share Good News. This is one of the ways we try to get our brains working in a positive direction. Today’s conversation was a good reminder that our thoughts and beliefs have real power in our personal and professional lives.

The Study

The research study was conducted with 84 room attendants working in seven different hotels to measure how their mind set could affect their health.

A portion of the cleaning staff was told that the work they do is good exercise and meets the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. The other portion of the cleaning staff was not told this information. The room attendants were studied. It’s important to know that their behavior didn’t change even though they had been told their daily work qualified as leading a healthy lifestyle.

When interviewed after four weeks had passed, the informed group felt like they were getting more exercise than before. And the result, compared with the control group, is that they lost weight, had lower blood pressure, less body fat and a smaller waist-to-hip ratio than before.

If you are interested in reading more about the Harvard study, here’s a link to the full research article.

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International Assistance Dog Week – August 2-8

International Assistance Dog WeekWe love service dogs! Occasionally we have a renter who has a service animal. Our staff sits through regular training on how to properly interact with and respond to service animals. It is important to help these great animals help their handlers!

Did you know that this week (August 2-8) is International Assistance Dog week (IADW)?

International Assistance Dog Week was created to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability related limitations. Assistance dogs transform the lives of their human partners with debilitating physical and mental disabilities by serving as their companion, helper, aide, best friend and close member of their family.

The goals of IADW:

  • Recognize and honor assistance dogs
  • Raise awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs
  • Honor puppy raisers and trainers
  • Recognize heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities

International Assistance Dog Week was established due to the efforts of Marcie Davis, a paraplegic for over 35 years. Davis is the author of Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook, a resource book that captures personal stories, checklists and practical tips to provide the reader with an A-Z guide about service dogs. As a member of a service dog team, she founded Working Like Dogs to honor assistance dogs around the world and is sponsoring International Assistance Dog Week.

For more information about assistance dogs, please visit:

Assistance Dogs International
ADI is a coalition of not for profit organizations that train and place assistance dogs.

International Association of Assistance Dog Partners
IAADP is a non-profit, cross-disability organization representing people partnered with guide, hearing and service dogs.

Working Like Dogs
WLD is a resource for people with working and service dogs, or who would just like to learn more about them.


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