This is a brief explanation of our extensive management system. Feel free to contact us anytime if you have any questions about your specific property that you would like to discuss with a property manager. We would also be happy to tour your property and discuss your options.
This is the most important service to compare when shopping for a property manager. A thorough screening process is crucial to avoid costly mistakes with your property. A bad tenant can be very expensive due to lost rent, extra time spent dealing with them, and damage to the property. While no background check can completely eliminate the risk of a problem tenant, our thorough examination of their rental and payment history can significantly reduce your risk. Once the potential tenants complete an application we check the following items:
Screening is the most important service a property manager provides. We apply our "owner mentality' to this process. If we wouldn't let a questionable person rent one of our own properties, then we definitely wouldn't let them rent yours.
Our pricing is very competitive. If you shop around you will find that our pricing is structured differently than most other companies. We have an "owner mentality" approach to property management. Our system is set up so that our goals and revenue sources are in-line with the property owners. We make money when the property makes money. Our fee structure proves that we are motivated to get good long-term tenants not turnover and vacancy.
Pricing can be viewed by clicking here
We prefer that good tenants renew their leases. This saves our owners a lot of money in vacancy and turnover costs. Every month we notify tenants who have a lease expiration date within the next 60 days. We offer them an incentive to renew their lease. Depending on the market and property we may also raise the rent at this time.
If the tenant is planning to move out then we are notified in advance and we can begin marketing your property. We also inform the tenant about our re-rental program. We offer tenants who are moving out an incentive to help us show the property and find another qualified tenant to replace them. This also helps reduce vacancy rates and turnover costs.
How Long Does it Take to Rent a Property?
Our entire team meets weekly to review each vacant property. If a property is not rented within 30 days it is typically due to price, presentation, and/or exposure. Our management system addresses each of these factors:
We do not make money on vacant properties. Most owners who have switched to our system have seen a decline in their vacancy rates.
How do you determine the rental price?
We run rental comparable for your property and area and use that information to determine a starting price. Then we track the number of calls, showings, and applications we receive and review the listings and prices weekly to make adjustments as needed. This way we are able to get the property rented quickly and at a good market price. If your property is listed too high then it will take longer to rent and in most cases the extra rent you were trying to get was lost in the time the property was vacant.
Some owners want to increase the rent to cover their mortgage. It is great when we are able to do this but please understand that your mortgage payment has little to do with the rental market. Our system is set up to make your renting experience as lucrative as possible in current market conditions, and NOT to waste time sitting vacant.
We have developed a thorough inspection program to protect your investment, and to hold tenants responsible for lease violations and damages. Although our high screening standards reduce most lease violations and damages, regular inspections are important to maintain these standards and to identify maintenance issues before they progress. Here is an outline of our inspection program and how often we are checking on your property:
We have found that regular property inspections and routine maintenance can save us, and you thousands of dollars. For example: sometimes even good tenants will let a little drip under the sink go without being repaired, or not change a furnace filter as needed. If items like this are not addressed they can lead to expensive sub-floor and cabinet damage or costly heating and AC repairs.
During any of our inspections, if damages are found, the tenant is given 3 days to repair it to its original condition or we line up the repair and charge the tenant. This includes lawn care and other exterior maintenance issues.
What happens when a tenant doesn't pay rent?
Our lease gives the tenant a grace period from the 1st to the 5th of each month to pay the rent on time. If the rent is not received by the 5th then the following process begins:
We have found that if tenants get behind by more than one month they never get caught up, so our system does not allow this to happen. We will typically have them out in the same month they didn't pay rent. Any unpaid charges that are not covered by the security deposit are pursued through a professional collection agency.
We are very strict in our collection process. Whatever their circumstances, they do not become your charity case. We can help tenants with legitimate problems find help from different charitable organizations. But we are hired by you to protect your interests. If the tenant can't pay the rent we need to find a new tenant that can.
*It should be noted that our eviction rate is less than one percent. Our thorough screening process eliminates most of these situations before they happen. We rent to good clean people and when they have a problem during a lease, such as loss of job or divorce, they will communicate with us. If they have to vacate the property they leave it in good condition because they are good clean people.
What happens when a tenant moves out?
Tenants are required to give us a written 30-day notice prior to moving out. When we receive this notice the tenant is given a Move-Out Packet. This packet gives them detailed instructions on how to leave the property in great condition. It includes a cleaning checklist, key and utility instructions, charges for needed cleaning and repairs if necessary, and deposit return procedures. Tenant security deposits are held in a trust account until the tenant moves out. Once the tenant moves out, we perform a total property inspection and use the deposit to cover any damages or cleaning that is needed to return the property to its rent-ready condition. We return the remaining deposit money to the tenant with a full accounting of what was performed. We love it when we can return a full deposit to the tenants because this means the property is ready to be rented again.
Whenever possible we target our leases to end in the spring and summer. When properties turnover in the winter the vacancy rates are much higher and rents are lower. When leases end in the spring or summer we are able to rent them at a better price with less time vacant. For owners who want to eventually sell their property, this allows them to evaluate the market and list the home for sale during the spring and summer when the lease ends.
Do I get to approve maintenance?
Yes. Some owners want to be contacted about every maintenance issue while others only want to know about major items. To accommodate our owners we have a maintenance approval amount that can be adjusted if necessary. The standard amount is $100. This means that if the repair is going to be under $100 we will take care of the issue, keep your tenants happy, and you will see it documented on your statement. If the repair is going to be over $100 then we contact you to discuss the options and get approval. Our vendors know to look for warranties when possible. We also negotiate better prices and service with our volume and experience. In some cases we do not know the cost to repair an item until it is diagnosed. Once the issue is diagnosed we contact you with details and the estimated costs.
What about pets?
Owners can specify if they will allow pets or not in their property. Here is some information to help you make that decision: Over 60 percent of renters have pets. If an owner chooses to not allow pets it may take a little longer to rent the property, but they lower their risk of having damages caused by a pet. If the owner allows pets we recommend a limit of 2 pets and weight restrictions based on the size of the property. We also recommend $300 to $500 per pet additional deposit. Our inspection process always includes a thorough search for pet damage and smell. We have found through years of screening potential tenants that pets typically match their owners. Good clean people have good clean pets.
*It should be noted that if a tenant has proper documentation for a companion animal as allowed in the Fair Housing Act then we are obligated to allow these animals. The tenant is still responsible for any damages caused by the animal.
We verify that the proper utilities are in the tenant's name before they are allowed to move into your property. Whenever possible it is best to have the tenants responsible for paying the utilities. However, if there are some utilities that must remain in your name, we can take care of paying those bills for you. You will see these payments on your monthly and year-end statements.
The St Paul Area Association of Realtors (SPAAR) is an association of real estate professionals who know first-hand the unique problems and challenges of buying, selling and managing residential properties. Professional Members of SPAAR are individuals who must be engaged in the buying, selling and management of residential properties, and licensed in those states that require licensing. SPAAR continues to be the premier professional association of realtors and residential property managers, currently representing over 2,500 members comprised of real estate agents, brokers, managers and their employees. Members of SPAAR adhere to a Professional Code of Ethics.
When and how do you pay owners?
We collect all payments from the tenant. Each month you receive a detailed statement that accounts for all payments and expenses on your property. All rents and other payments are deposited into a trust account. We will deduct our management fee and any other expenses that have been authorized and we send the balance to you. We post statements and process payments by the 15th of each month. Payments are sent to owners by direct deposit and statements are sent by e-mail and/or accessed through your web portal. Owners can access custom reports and previous statements anytime online.
Sounds Great! What's Next?
Once we have spoken to you about your specific property, and determined if our management system will work for you, we will send you a management agreement and complete a property data sheet. We can get most properties into our marketing system within 24 hours of receiving the signed agreement. Here is the basic process:
What needs to be done to get my property ready to rent?
Good clean properties attract good clean people. We prefer to give a property to a tenant in great condition. This way we can hold the tenants responsible to keep the property in that same condition. Here is a list of what should be done before the property is rented. If you have any questions or need help coordinating any of these items just let us know.