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Archive by Month - February 2017

An Interview with Paramount's Steve Whetzel II

22nd February 2017

Property Preservation Jobs

Seeing Property Preservation in a Different Light

Steve Whetzel II is a friend to houses.

He has spent much of his life in the construction business, taking care to build quality structures that will last well into the future.  But as we know, houses that once had bright futures can quickly fall into disrepair because of owner neglect.  So years back Whetzel decided to expand his scope and commit himself to helping these homes rebound. His goal  to see foreclosed homes regain their value and to increase their potential lifespans.

Whetzel is the owner of Paramount Asset Management, a company that provides inspection, preservation, rehabilitation and repair services for the Default Mortgage Industry. Paramount is considered a regional company, offering services across eight primary states. When Whetzel started into the field in 2005, he knew there was the possibility of making revenue, but he also saw the opportunity of being part of something meaningful. He saw that there was a need.

“It’s easy to tear things down,” states Whetzel, commenting on a culture that sometimes views homes as disposable. “I see the need for these houses to be cared for.”

In describing this type of care, Whetzel uses words like “protected” and “nurtured.” It’s that type of “TLC” for houses that has been overlooked by some companies in the industry. Whetzel indicated that this may have led to the negative stigma the property preservation field received a kind of “Wild West” atmosphere. It was this characterization of the industry he wanted to change when he entered the field. In fact, “Change is Paramount” is a motto of the company that capsulizes his drive to revitalize this industry.

“It’s easy to tear things down. I see the need for these houses to be cared for.”  Steve Whetzel, Paramount Asset Management

So what does “change” look like in practice? For one, it is seeing the house that is being serviced as one whole entity. Paramount takes comprehensive photos at every site, and does a full scope write-up -- even if the workers are only called to do a few simple jobs. Whetzel said that many contractors miss opportunities to complete jobs to help the homes by rushing or not taking the time to view the house as a whole. The photos Paramount employees take can be used later if bids are needed for such jobs.

Another way to view a foreclosed home in a different light is see it as an asset to be improved, not just stabilized. A good way to increase the worth of the home is to make sure repair jobs are done right the first time. Paramount typically uses specialized tradesmen to do these specific jobs so that houses receive the quality work they need to meet health and safety standards.

What Paramount looks for when hiring contractors
Change also comes from hiring highly-qualified contractors. “Out Work, Out Grind, Out Hustle,” is another one of the company’s mottos, and to find workers who buy into that vision, Whetzel has a seasoned recruiter who understands the nuances of the job and the attributes workers need. Prospective candidates fill out a questionnaire and are placed in the service area where they fit the best. Whetzel said they like people who have experience in a trade, but not necessarily the property preservation business, as Paramount can train workers for the areas where they need them. Paramount also will only accept contractors who have an IC01 or IC02 status with Aspen Grove.

Paramount particularly looks for candidates who have had long tenures at their past jobs, and who are invested in the community in which they will work. Every year Paramount gives performance improvement training to employees in each state they service. Testing includes being able to successfully handle work orders quickly and accurately. Since different property holders have different standards, Whetzel said that Paramount trains its workers to handle the most difficult orders out there. Even though he knows good contractors can be hard to find, he will share the names of quality workers with his competitors for the sake of the houses.

“It’s all about the property,” he says. “It’s all about the asset.”

Another way Paramount is improving the state of the industry is how they care for their employees. In Whetzel’s extensive rock climbing experience, he learned you never climb alone, and he applies that same sentiment to business. He realizes any success he has achieved is because of the hard work from his employees, whom he speaks of like family.

“I am just a catalyst,” he said of his role.

Whetzel remembers how helpful MFS Supply was when he first began building his property preservation business and things were moving rapidly. He said the sales manager he worked with was very patient, and since Whetzel considers himself a “people-person” this kind of treatment impressed him.

“We love being a partner with MFS Supply,” he said.

He said the company supplies quality products that are also affordable, and when they have had issues, MFS Supply has switched out the product without hesitation.

Paramount has doubled its business model each year. Whetzel is looking forward to continued growth, but in a controlled way, so that the quality of service can remain the same. He said that if necessary, they could even slow down a bit to make sure the excellent service given to every home is not compromised.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Purchasing HVAC Systems

9th February 2017

  

Property Preservation Jobs

 

Think you know HVAC?

HVAC is acronym standing for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.  That’s the easy part!

While there are a variety of components that can make up an HVAC system for a home or business,
two of the system’s main goals are to…

…control the temperature of the air,
…control its movement or flow.

Adjusting the air’s humidity and improving air quality are two other aspects to take into consideration.  On top of that, factors such as the climate of an area, accessibility of fuel sources, the availability of space, and energy regulations make looking for HVAC equipment not a one-size-fits-all situation.  

…So before you buy, here are 5 questions you need to ask yourself…

1. When it comes to air temperature, do you need to just cool the air, or do you need to heat the air as well?

2. How many tons does your system need to be?

3. Do you want your heat by gas or electric?

4. Are there any area restrictions for your system?

5. Do you know what SEER efficiency you need?

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  1. When it comes to air temperature, do you need to just cool the air, or do you need to heat the air as well?
    If you reside in a very warm zone, an AC may be the only HVAC unit you need.  If heating is needed, there are different options depending on where you live. In fact, a gas furnace might not be the best fit in some places. For homes without access to natural gas or propane, or for people who want a more efficient system, there are HVAC options for all-electric systems. A heat pump is a great option for this type of system as it can provide heating with a reverse refrigerant flow and with an auxiliary electric heating element. (A heat pump will have a higher up-front cost, so the savings are a long-term investment with this option.) Climates with a harsh winter are not a great option for heat pumps, as they require an outdoor temperature of at least 24 degrees F to operate.

     
  2. How many tons does your system need to be?
    Tonnage in reference to HVAC equipment has nothing to do with weight. A ton describes how much heat an AC can take out of the air in one hour. In these situations, heat is measured in thermal units called BTUs. One ton of air conditioning can remove 12,000 BTU from the air in one hour.  Sizes for ACs can run generally from 1½ tons to 5 tons (18,000 BTUs to 60,000 BTUs). You want to make sure you buy the correct size AC for the amount of space that you need to cool and for the climate where you live.  Another factor that might influence your decision is how well your home is insulated and the quality of windows. (Refer to heat map below for a basic sizing guide on square footage and climate zone.)

     
  3. Do you want your heat by gas or electric?
    In some cases you may not have a choice of the type of fuel for your heat source, as only one or the other might be readily available.  Since natural gas rates are generally low these days, heating with gas can be a less expensive alternative to heating with electrical power. Plus, gas-sourced heating systems tend to heat areas more quickly than electric. One thing to consider, though, is that gas furnaces do not always run as efficiently as electric systems.  A furnace’s efficiency is gauged by a rating called the annual fuel utilization efficiency or AFUE.  (AFUE means that at 80% AFUE - $0.80 per dollar spent on gas goes to heat, the rest is lost as exhaust/waste). Old duct work and piping can affect the rating as well. The best rating most gas heating systems can achieve is in the lower 90% AFUE range. Some older gas systems can run as low as 56% AFUE.

     
  4. Are there any area restrictions for your system?
    Sometimes the size of the area where you need to install the HVAC unit can restrict the type of system you get. Some people have to deal with the confines of a crawlspace or only have an attic area with which to work.  Systems can be configured in many different ways to allow for smaller units to fit into smaller spaces. There are many options to help with any sizing issues that may be present.

     

  5. Do you know what SEER efficiency you need?
    SEER is an air conditioner efficiency rating that stands for for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating the less energy your air conditioner uses, which means the AC is not working as hard and your fuel bills will be lower.  The federally regulated minimum SEER rating is 13 SEER in northern states and 14 SEER in southern states.  SEER ratings can run from 13 SEER to as high 23 SEER or more. With the higher SEER number also comes a higher price, sometimes much higher. If the AC will not be used much, a higher SEER rating may not be as cost-efficient in the long run. 

    Property Preservation Jobs