Tampa Bay Area Homeowners Find Relief with Master Leases From Cavalier Estates LLC

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Lease gives owners of underperforming properties and homeowners who may be upside down in homes another option.

Thinking Beyond Tradition

Tampa Bay area homeowners are finding relief in the sluggish real estate market with a new property management tool that was once the preserve of only large commercial real estate companies:the master lease.

Once forced to sell a home at a knockdown price, face foreclosure or even bankruptcy - and live with the accompanying low credit rating for years – the master lease allows breathing space for a property owner.

“It gives another option to people who want to hold onto that asset and not sell at a bargain basement price,” said Matthew Fonk of Cavalier Estates LLC, one of the few local real estate companies offering the new master leases. “It avoids bankruptcy, foreclosure, a bad credit rating and gives people some time.”

Common in large commercial buildings, master leases are now growing more popular with owners of under performing properties who don’t want to walk away from a valuable asset.

Under the master lease, the property manager takes over total responsibility for the property, screening potential renters, drawing up a rental agreement and taking over liability for the property. With a focus on long-term rentals, most of Cavalier’s tenants stay more than two years and the company hasn’t had an eviction in 14 years.

“Under this agreement, the liability falls on us to make sure things get done,” says Fonk. “We can also avoid some the pitfalls – and fees – of traditional property managers. We are not looking to nickel and dime anyone. We want a long-term client. For us, the best kind of advertising for this is word of mouth.”

A real estate industry veteran, Fonk has seen many property owners turn to the master lease model.

“We have lot of houses right now that are owned by people that cannot sell those properties but now I am able to help by putting a good long-term client in that home and everyone wins. Their formerly empty home is now generating an income and a tenant is getting a great home for a very good price.”

While not a new concept, the system is relatively rare in the Bay area, Fonk says.

“More people are using the master lease program. It gives homeowners who might be upside down in their homes another avenue. It’s something they can consider before foreclosure or bankruptcy because that follows you for a very long time. There’s another option.”

CUTLINE: Master lease agreements can help owners of under performing Tampa Bay area properties, says Matthew Fonk, Broker of Cavalier Estates LLC.

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