+ What needs to be done to prepare a property for rent?

The property should be in the best possible condition to attract a quality resident. Paint should be in good shape with marred or dirty areas touched up. Neutral colors for walls and floors are best. Blinds or shades are ideal window coverings. The home should be “detailed” clean and the yard in excellent shape.

+How do I determine the rental amount?

The competition determines the rental amount. As experts in the field, we know the market and the competitive rental ranges for your home. If the home is marketed too high the home will be vacant much longer. If it is marketed too low, it may be one or two years before the price becomes competitive again.

+How do you market the property?

Although we have a pipeline of referrals as the areas preferred management team, we advertise extensively via the web, to include all homes listed in MLS, along with a family of top websites with dominant placement.

+How long will it take to rent?

Vacancy periods are market driven. There is also some luck involved in the right person looking at the right time. On average in today’s market it takes between two to three weeks to rent a home. Homes rent more slowly between Thanksgiving and New Years. Location and price effect vacancy.

+What are the policies regarding Pets?

Statistics indicate that 75% of renters own pets. Restricting pets reduces the number of available qualified residents. Pets should be screened and pet references checked out. In general, a well-behaved cat or dog causes less wear and tear on a home and yard then a young child.

+What about smokers?

We always restrict smoking inside the dwelling or garage on all lease agreements. A breach of this policy constitutes a full forfeiture of the deposit. This policy does not significantly reduce the marketability of the property.

+Is it possible to refuse to rent to families with children?

In federal, state, and local Fair Housing regulations children come under the protective class of “familiar status”. It is unlawful to discriminate against children in any way.

+Is first and last month’s rent, as well as a security deposit, collected up front?

If a resident has good credit it is common practice to collect first month’s rent and a security deposit up front. A security deposit can be used for any owner costs while a last month’s rent can only be used for rent. The security deposit is held in a property trust account as required by state real estate regulations.

+What happens if the rent is late?

The rent is due on the first of each month. We begin collection proceedings after the fifth of the month. If the rent is not paid by the 10th we take the first step in the eviction process and send out a 3-day notice to pay rent or vacate. If the resident does not pay by the 10th of the month the owner is notified and eviction papers are filed at the courthouse. Most evictions are the result of loss of employment. In most cases we do not use an attorney for evictions; we represent you as your general agent in court in accordance with the leasing and management agreement. Our current eviction rate is less than 1% of properties under management.

+When are monthly funds distributed?

State Real Estate Regulations require that rental checks must have cleared the bank and the accounts reconciled to the penny before disbursing funds. The payments to owners along with statements are processed around 10th of the month. Disbursements are made by ACH direct deposit into the owners’ accounts and statements are available through our website owner’s portal 24/7. Payments to Owners who had late rents (received after 5th) are processed on or about the 25th.

+What is the average length of tenancy?

Over 90% of rental agreements are for one year. Other agreements range from six to twenty-four months. At the end of the lease term the owner can decide to renew to the resident (if the resident wishes to remain), vacate the resident, or allow the resident to remain month-to-month. If the market has changed the owner can raise the rent at lease end.

+How are repairs handled?

The home’s personal property management team is responsible for approving all maintenance requests. Residents are required to submit all repair requests in writing. It is our policy to notify owners of all maintenance requests. The property manager will contact the owner for payment arrangements. Sometime a request falls into the category of a maintenance emergency. Emergencies are scheduled immediately and the owner notified at the first possible opportunity. Some maintenance requests can result in rent abatement if not handled timely. The owner is notified immediately when there is a rent abatable maintenance issue.

+What happens if the resident leaves before the end of the lease?

The resident is responsible for the rent for the term of the lease. If residents leave before the termination date they will be charged for rent until the home is re-let. We, on behalf of the owner, will do everything possible to re-let the home and minimize the owner’s cost. There is a component of our lease agreements with tenants that allow them to pay a 1 month’s rent penalty, which serves to cover the cost of re-letting and prevents the owner from incurring this expense. If the tenant refused to pay this fee or abandons the property, the owner would then be responsible for re-letting fees.

+How is the owner protected if the resident damages the property?

A refundable security deposit taken at move-in is usually sufficient to handle the minor damage caused by residents. Residents with excellent credit and references seldom cause significant damage. If the resident leaves the property owing money for rent and/or damages they will be billed. If they do not pay, we will seek a judgment with the local court. If the court agrees with the charges, the court will enter a judgment against the resident. The judgment can either be turned over to an attorney or a collection agency. A judgment remains on the person’s records for 14 years or until satisfied.