Five Questions With: Ilanna Ball

Ilanna Ball is the owner of Total Asset Solutions Inc. and Finest Real Estate and Property Management, both located in Woonsocket. Ball, who has been investing in real estate since she graduated from Rhode Island College at the age of 21, sells homes and rents out apartments of her own, while also offering property management services to other landlords.

Ball says she’s now navigating a tight housing market in Rhode Island, marked by a limited supply of housing stock and a growing demand.

PBN: What is the real estate market like in Woonsocket right now compared to other areas of the state?

BALL: The northern Rhode Island housing market is still hot, hot, hot. Both single-family and multifamily homes are flying off the market. All over Rhode Island there is high demand and historically low inventory. I recently listed a two-family home in Woonsocket. We had over 50 buyers at the first showing and we got offers at $70,000 over asking.

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PBN: When it comes to rentals, how affordable are units in your area right now compared to the past?

BALL: There is no such thing as affordable anymore. I have been renting units for $500 more than pre-COVID. People tend to think of Woonsocket as an affordable area, but there is no question that rents are significantly outpacing incomes in this area and many others throughout the state.

PBN: For those in the area who are looking to sell their homes or condos, is now the best time, or should they wait for better market conditions? And can you elaborate on the reasons why they should sell now or wait for a better time?

BALL: I absolutely believe now is the time to sell. History repeats itself and I recognize the market must adjust at some point. I read all sorts of predictions and the truth is you cannot time the market. So, if someone feels they will need to sell soon, this is a great time.

If someone intends to remain in their property for the next 10 years, I think they can feel good that their property value may dip but will recover. I own both single- and multifamily properties, and in the last year or so I sold some and am considering selling more. The reason for this is that looking at historical cycles, it seems that if the market does go down, it will take 10 to 20 years to truly rebound, similar to the 2008 downturn.

PBN: As a property manager, what are some of the most common problems that are brought up by tenants about their rental units, and how do you prioritize cost efficiency and speed in solving the occupant’s complaints?

BALL: Most issues tenants have are reactive issues, where something has become broken in their apartment, either due to old age or due to something the tenant has done. It is my job to fix it.

My other company, Total Asset Solutions, takes care of most maintenance issues. However, to save money, I try to schedule the maintenance to be fixed rather than having someone on call go out, unless of course it is a true emergency.

The other tenant issues I grapple with frequently are interpersonal issues between tenants. Many people, especially tenants, do not have good communication skills. Many times, that spills over, and tenants cannot get along and argue over trivial things like parking spots, for example, so I try to gently navigate those issues, too.

PBN: You throw a dinner for the homeless and others in need each year in Woonsocket. What’s your assessment on the level of housing insecurity right now in the region?

BALL: Housing insecurity in Rhode Island is at an all-time high. I have never seen so many people residing in local motels as I am currently. The situation is awful, but even more terrible for the elderly and disabled who do not have a housing voucher.

Marc Larocque is a PBN staff writer. Contact him at You may also follow him on Twitter @LaRockPBN.