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My tenant is not taking care of the property. Can you help me?

Absolutely. It’s what we do. We are often asked to manage properties where the owner wanted to manage it alone, but found the problems insurmountable. Whether the tenants are not paying rent on time or not taking care of the property, we can help!

If I would like to move out in six weeks, when should I start the process with you?

Yesterday. 🙂

You have few listings in the town my home is in. Is it difficult for you to rent homes here?

Actually, we probably have quite a number of properties in your area. It’s just that most of them are rented right now. It is rarely difficult to rent homes, even in this market, as long as the property shows well and is priced fairly for the current market.

Are tenants interested in renting a furnished house?

It is extremely rare for tenants to want to rent a furnished house. Most people have their own furniture, and would ask that you remove most furnishings other than patio furniture, barstools and such. The most common time it’s a benefit is when we are dealing with an insurance company placing a family whose home has been rendered uninhabitable, which happens infrequently.

Do you place tenants for individual rooms?

No. Our service is geared towards renting and caring for the entire property.

Why use a company that is a member of NARPM?

Many real estate agents will dabble in property management when the sales market is down, but they do not have the knowledge or expertise of a seasoned property manager. Choosing a company where the Broker is accredited with designations such as RMP and MPM through NARPM (the National Association of Residential Property Managers), you are assured of receiving the kind of service you deserve and immeasurable knowledge of tenant relations, efficient maintenance coordination, financial reporting, current laws and more.

How quickly will I be informed of an upcoming vacancy at my property?

We will inform you as soon as we receive your tenant’s 30 day notice and will proceed with marketing of your home once we have consulted with you about the current market and your desired rent target. Your tenant will be given information which will assist them in cleaning, readying for move-out, and getting their full security deposit refunded.

How long will it take to rent my home?

Our goal is to get a property rented in the first 30 days. Our success rate is heavily influenced by the amount of rent sought and how clean and ready the property is for showing. Some homes get immediate interest and rent in just a few days, while some remain vacant for weeks due to these factors. Long vacancies cost you money and create additional work for us! We do our level best to get your property rented at a competitive level of rent in a timely manner. Within about one day, your home will be listed on several websites, be slated for print advertising, and will be promoted to hundreds of our web site subscribers who are seeking a home like yours.

How can tenants find out about my home when your office is closed?

If there is anything most people have less of than money these days, it’s time. Most tenants searching for a home today use the internet to do so, often in the evening. Our full-service web site allows tenants to virtually walk-through your property at two in the morning. Our 24 Hour Rental Hotline offers those away from a computer a description of your home via telephone. Any time after office hours, tenants can schedule a showing online or leave voice mail with our leasing agent expressing interest in your home.

How will my property be shown?

Prospective tenants can schedule a walk-through showing by phone or through our website. The showings last as long as the prospective tenants have interest or questions. Showings are conducted at the tenant’s convenience, days, nights and weekends. Unlike with some other companies, tenants do not need to go through the application process and pay a fee just to see your property.

How do I know you’ll place a qualified tenant?

We undertake a very thorough investigation as part of our application process. We review the tenants’ credit, history of bounced checks, evictions, present and past employment, present and past rental references, and the authenticity of addresses and social security numbers. We sometimes even verify the home-ownership of the landlords given as references. When it is a judgment between prolonging vacancy and accepting a tenant with spotty credit, we ask for your input and may seek a higher deposit. Experience shows that by placing more carefully screened tenants, one can expect to have tenants that stay longer and show better care for the property.

Why so many photos in your available property slideshows?

They say a picture is worth 1000 words, and we believe that. Our objective is to approximate online the experience of seeing the property in person. We want your next tenant to be able to fall in love with your home before they even visit it. With more pictures online, potential tenants are free to envision their use of the space and decide whether or not they want to visit or rent that property. More people than ever are using the Internet to look for their next home, whether they are moving across town or from another state or country. We are able to provide enough information for them to know when they have found the right house without having to visit the property in person to rent it. Tenants keep coming back to our site for our comprehensive and revealing ads. We receive frequent feedback from tenants as to how thorough and accurate our ads are, something of which we are very proud.

How often do you perform interior inspections?

We conduct interior inspections at least once or twice per year, depending on the tenant’s tenure and how the tenant is taking care of the property.

How do you keep maintenance costs under control?

We do not use an in-house maintenance operation, nor do we accept any rebates or kickbacks. We utilize independent contractors and handymen to ensure the best work at the best price. Estimates are obtained and presented to you on all repairs in excess of the maintenance limit you stipulate. All repairmen are instructed to document directly on their bills if any repair is caused by tenant negligence or abuse, in which case it becomes the tenant’s responsibility. Our emergency maintenance pager is carried by our maintenance coordinator. When other companies give that responsibility directly to a handyman, it produces a conflict of interest and potential extra expense.

Are the repair companies you use bonded or insured? Is their work guaranteed?

Yes. And we require them to be licensed as well. Also, if the company has any employees, we require a copy of their workers compensation insurance policy.

Should I cancel utilities before I leave?

Best to leave it in your name until it is rented.

Why is it customary in the Sacramento area for owners to pay water, sewer and trash?

Unlike in other rental markets like the Bay Area, almost all landlords in the Sacramento area pay water, sewer and trash, and it has been that way for the 30 years we have been involved in property management. The tenant is usually responsible for gas, electricity, phone and cable. When the tenant does not pay these utility bills, the delinquency notices go to the property, yet the owner is responsible. A lien could be placed on the property, affecting your credit, without your knowledge. Also, the tenant who must pay for water might skimp on the watering of the lawn, and you could end up with thousands of dollars in landscape damage that will make that water bill seem quite affordable. We have found that tenants are savvy enough to factor utility costs into their leasing decisions. Tenants are consistently willing to pay less rent for properties that do not come with water, sewer and trash provided. You may want to keep the rent a bit lower and have the tenant pay the utility bills. In the end, it is entirely up to you.

Does this apply to Roseville also?

It does. The thing is, you do not want to ask for the same rent amount as someone else who includes the utilities and then heap the cost of the utilities on top of that. As Roseville generally combines the utility bill with the electric bill, we might have to credit the tenant for the utility portion when they submit a copy of the bill to us.

Does my contract with you run as long as the tenant’s lease?

Our management agreement continues on a month-to-month basis. A long-term contract can be arranged if you desire, but it’s certainly not required.

Can you explain your management fee and leasing fee? When are they charged?

The Leasing fee of half the first month’s rent is charged upon placement of a qualified tenant, and accounts for the considerable amount of work and resources in placing a tenant. We take as many as 60 digital photos for our ads, write a comprehensive ad, post it on our web site and three others within 24 hours of receiving the key, management agreement and check, answer calls about the property, give directions, pre-qualify people interested in renting, show the property as often as requested, process all applications, draw up the lease and perform a thorough move-in inspection complete with 100 to 300 pictures of the property before the tenant moves in. No management fee is charged until the property is first rented.

When you take over management, may we increase the rent on my current tenants?

You may increase the rent if the tenant does not have a lease or if the initial term of the lease has expired, and the tenant is living at the property on a month-to-month agreement. Thirty to sixty days notice is required, depending on the circumstances.

May we limit tenants to only one pet or exclude certain breeds?

Just add all of your pet restrictions to your management agreement. We already, as a consequence of insurance liability, refuse certain breeds of dogs.

Must I pay for gardening service or will the tenant take care of this?

Not at all. That is optional, and most owners opt to have the tenants care for the yards. Including gardening will remove the possibility of tenant neglect. We drive by every three months and record the condition of the exterior and yard, just to make sure, either way.

I have a small shed. Must I empty it and provide it to the tenant?

While it’s your call, we dont particularly recommend withholding any portion of the property excluded from the rent. Tenants dont feel as though they have full possession of the property, and sometimes feel as though they are liable for whatever is in the shed, cabinets, etc.

What if we would like no signs whatsoever put in the yard?

No problem. Please make sure you add that to the management agreement.

Do I have to landscape the backyard, for example, or make other improvements?

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. However, you will be able to command more rent by making improvements that most tenants will expect or appreciate. Remember that the tenants will want to enjoy the yard just as you enjoy yours. We can obtain free estimates for any work needed at the property.

Does it cost extra to have your company pay the bills for my property?

No. There is no additional charge to pay bills associated with your rental property. We will simply need to know exactly what bills you would like to be paid, i.e. mortgages, utility bills, homeowners association dues. Once we set them up in the accounting system as a recurring payable, funds will be dispersed to the appropriate company when rents are received.

When can I expect my report and check to be sent to me every month?

We send owner funds with a detailed cash flow statement earlier than anyone, on about the 7th of every month. We can provide you with funds even quicker through direct deposit to your account.

Do you handle evictions?

We do. If your property is already rented when you hire us and your tenant needs to be evicted, we charge $150 plus attorney charges. If, however, we placed the tenants in the property and we have to evict them, we do not charge anything over and above what the attorney charges. We will even represent you in court free of charge.

What do you do to avoid evictions?

First, we prequalify every person who wishes to see one of our available properties. We check each and every application with investigative quality efficiency using tricks, techniques and tools we have acquired over more than 30 years of processing applications. Our proprietary lease is concise and clear, so tenants know what is expected of them. We serve pay-rent-or-quit notices on the 6th of every month to every tenant who has not yet paid the rent. Acting quickly often prevents a prolonged situation whereby the tenant is not paying rent and no other arrangements are made. Lastly, we make every effort to work with tenants who usually wish to protect their good rental reference and good credit. In the situations that culminate in the tenant moving out, it almost always allows us to regain possession of the property more quickly than going through the court system and with little or no damage to the property.

Why don’t you offer an eviction protection plan?

So-called eviction protection plans are a profit source for property managers and provide little protection to owners. The plans only pay for the cost of the eviction, a small portion of what an owner stands to lose if a tenant is evicted, including property damage and loss of rental income. And besides, our eviction rate is well under 1%. Eviction protection is basically just overpriced insurance that does not give full coverage. Having health insurance doesn’t mean you don’t mind if you get seriously ill. Just the same, eviction protection does not neutralize the impact of eviction. Best to work with a property manager that will help you avoid the need to evict. Eviction PREVENTION is the key.

Will I still be able to enter the property after it is rented?

We inspect the property for you and keep you fully apprised, so you need not worry. One must act judiciously, as too many visits to the property during tenancy may be construed as denying the tenant his legal right to the quiet enjoyment of the rental property. If you visit the property, you must give advance notice of at least 24 hours, and other legal restrictions may apply.

What can I expect my vacancy rate to be?

It’s not easy to predict. Some properties stay rented to the same people for several years, and others become available every year or two. In general, the more reasonable the rent, the more likely the tenant will not move. In all cases, aggressive marketing and a quick turnaround is most important in keeping vacancies short when they do arise.

Do I need to maintain homeowner’s insurance or will the tenant be responsible?

You should continue to hold insurance on the property, but do check with your insurance agent, since it should cost less to insure the property as a rental without personal belongings within to cover.