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When do I get my rent money each month?

We focus on providing property owners with a steady cash flow from their properties.

This is another common question and with good reason. In order to plan accordingly, property owners need to know when they can expect the rent money from their properties. Management companies vary greatly on how they handle payments. Many companies pay at the end of the month because it makes accounting easier and cleaner. By waiting until the end of the month, they can deduct whatever expenses come up and send you the remaining balance.

We, however, understand that doesn’t work out for all property owners. In an effort to serve the needs of our property owners, we pay weekly with direct deposits. Each week any money owned is paid out, which keeps up the cash flow for you because you don’t have to wait weeks to receive your rent payments.

It does take longer if you prefer getting paper checks, and we strongly encourage setting up the direct deposit.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

 

What are your Cleveland Ohio property management fees?

We utilize the best available resources to make your properties profitable.

What do you have to pay for and what do you get in return? This is what you need to know when working with a property management company. Because our fees do change from time to time, I’m going to tell you what kinds of fees we charge and what you get for those fees, opposed to giving you actual numbers. You can check out our full list of fees on our Price List

We have a management fee – this is currently a flat rate based on the number of units. However, we are currently considering changing this one. The property management fee covers most everything we do once there is a tenant in the rental unit.

This includes:

  • monthly rent collection
  • fielding tenant calls
  • maintaining a 24-hour call center to handle anything that comes in
  • monthly accounting
  • help with legal questions
  • statement portals for you and the tenants
  • facilitate inspections
  • offer weekly direct deposit
  • customize financial statements
  • our years of experience in the local market and ongoing training to stay current on changes in the industry and how to best serve you.

We do charge the tenant late fees when they do not pay their rent on time and we keep those to compensate for the extra time spent collecting the rent. While you do not pay those, you will see them on your financial reports, so it is important to understand what that is.

We have a lease renewal fee. We go through a process that starts 90 days before the end of the lease to work witht hetentnat to get them to renew their lease for another year. Move outs and vacant units are very costly to the property owner, so it is our goal to keep the tenants as long as possible. We charge a flat rate renewal fee to cover that.

We also have a leasing fee of one month’s rent. This covers the marketing, online ads, videos, images, virtual tours, actual tours, and so on.

We do have other fees that are charged as needed and are outlined on our pricing page.  You can check those out and contact us if you have any questions.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

What needs to be done before leasing my house

We utilize the best available resources to make your properties profitable.

With everything we do there is a process and a checklist. This helps us to get things done quickly and effectively without the worry of forgetting something. This includes a checklist with everything to do before leasing your house.

When a tenant moves out.. the first thing we do is a move out inspection and security deposit accounting. The move out inspection allows us to determine the condition of the property compared to the property’s condition when the tenant moved in. After determining if there is any damage, we prepare the security deposit accounting, which MUST be provided to the tenant within 30 days of them moving out by law.

The next step before leasing making needed repairs. This step is important to us. Some property owners prefer to not make any repairs as a means of saving money and simply charging less rent since the property is not in perfect condition. However, our philosophy is the better condition the property is in, the better quality tenants we attract. Better quality tenants take better care of the property while they live there and there will be less damage. It creates a positive cycle.

Once repairs are made, the property is thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom. We have an amazing cleaning person on staff, who follows a detailed checklist. We’ve received plenty of feedback on how well she does. Making sure the property is thoroughly cleaned has a big impact. People will pass on a property that is dirty. It suggests that it was not well cared for.

We also paint. Any rooms or walls that are marred or too dirty are painted. Touch-ups never work because you can always tell. At the very least, we paint the entire wall. We generally go with neutral colors, but we do experiment with accent walls. Again, the better quality the apartment is, the better quality tenants we attract. We also make sure there are window blinds throughout in a neutral color.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

How much do you charge for evictions?

Control eviction costs by preventing them

This is not a bad question to ask, and we get it a lot. Landlords are worried about evictions because they are so costly.

We offer our property owners an all-in-one fee. This covers the three-day notice, court appearances, attorney fees, court costs, and any other related costs. I’m not going to state here what the current fee is because it changes from time to time. Check HERE to see our current all-in-one eviction fee.

We are looking at adding eviction protection insurance as a service to our property owners. For an additional small monthly fee, eviction costs will be covered. If that is something you may be interested in, let us know. We are currently gauging the level of interest there is for that kind of service.

While an eviction is sometimes necessary, it is out ultimate goal to avoid evictions because we understand that evictions and move-outs are costly. We want to save our property owners the expense and frustration of evictions. Please also read What Happens if a Tenant Doesn’t Pay the Rent? to learn more about what we do to avoid costly evictions and move-outs.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

What happens if a tenant isn’t paying rent?

We all know money doesn’t grow in trees. Learn to increase profits by reducing expenses.

Properties owners often ask what happens if a tenant isn’t paying rent? They want to know what we do about it, and this is an important issue to discuss with prospective property management companies. Move out costs are the highest expense a landlord will have. Minimizing move outs and evictions is key to ensuring our property owners are profitable.

Ohio Revise Code recognizes a one-month collection cycle. You may make other arrangements with your tenants such as paying weekly, but Ohio only recognizes monthly collection. This means that even if your tenant is on a weekly pay plan, the eviction process cannot be started until they have gone a full month without paying rent.

We actually start before the first of the month. In our post Do you manager your Cleveland Ohio property or does your property manage you?  we discuss how we set tenant expectations. Paying rent is a significant area where we set the expectations. This process starts before a tenant moves in and we adhere to it the entire time they live in the property. So before the start of a new month, we send the tenant a rent reminder and statement of what they owe.

We strongly encourage tenants to set up a direct withdrawal and to pay early. Getting tenants in the habit of paying early and making the rent a priority payment will help keep the property filled and avoid evictions.

The rent is due on the first. If it is not paid by the first, we assess a late fee. The tenant then has five days to pay their rent. After five days, they are served a three-day notice. The three-day notice is required to start the legal eviction process. However, we talk to the tenant and encourage them to pay the rent. Our goal is always to keep tenants as long as possible. Again, this is to avoid the costs of move outs for the property owner.

Between the 10th and the 15th of the month, we file for the eviction if the tenant has not made arrangements or worked with us on getting their rent caught up. The majority of tenants do get caught up and the experience helps them to better understand our expectations.

There are exceptions to this process. For example, sometimes during the winter months, we are more lenient working with tenants because having an empty property during the winter is more costly to the property owner. We always discuss with the property owner their options in moving forward.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

How to use video marketing to lease your property faster

Rent your properties faster than ever before with less showings.

Video marketing is a huge tool and something you should already be using. Video tours can save you a lot of time showing properties because people will have the opportunity to preview the property first. This will filter out a lot of tenants that wouldn’t otherwise be interested once they had a chance to see the rental unit. In this way, video marketing also attracts more serious prospects.

The success of video marketing is completely dependent on the quality of the video. The key to success is making a video that is smooth, clear and provides an accurate and appealing view of the property. Here are a few tips to help you make a video tour that will get your property rented fast.

  1. Use a decent camera. You don’t need an expensive camera or professional equipment. You just need a decent camera that will take clear video. Most smartphones now actually have excellent cameras and allow you to upload them directly to YouTube.
  2. Use a wide-angle lens. Even if you are using the camera on your phone, you can get a wide-angle lens attachment. This is particularly useful when filming small rooms because it will allow you to shoot the entire room at once, which will make it look bigger and more open.
  3. Sweep the room. You want to ensure when you are showing a room; you aren’t moving too fast or jerking the camera around. Start at one side of the room and slowly and steadily sweep the view up, around, and back down. Then slowly back out of the room. You don’t want to physically turn around and walk out because you will inevitably end up with a close-up of a wall.
  4. Limit the length. No one will sit through a 30-minute video tour…or even a 10-minute video tour to be frank. Aim to make your videos 3 to 7 minutes. 5 minutes should be your max, but depending on the size of the property, you may need to go up to 7 minutes. As with any marketing, video marketing must be short and to the point or people will stop watching.
  5. Walk smoothly. You may not feel it, but the simple act of walking can make your video turn out jerky and shaky. Our eyes naturally correct that jerky when we walk, which is why you won’t see it until you’re trying to watch a video you recorded. One way to limit the movement in the video is to take your shoes off, so you can slide your feet as you move around. Some cameras come equipment with stabilization, which also may help. There is also a certain amount of correction you can make using Youtube editor. The finished product does not have to look professional, but it needs to be as smooth as possible.
  6. Hold the camera with both hands. Holding the camera with both hands will help to keep it steady and centered. The less you move the camera around the better the final video will be.
  7. Walk through the center. Regardless of whether you are moving down a hallway or through a door, stay in the center. This will keep the walls from cutting into the video and make the space look more open.
  8. Be prepared. Before you start filming, walk through the entire unit, turn on lights, open drapes, and bedroom doors. Do everything you may need to be done while filming, so you don’t need to stop or mess up the video by having to open a door while shooting. Open the drapes and turn all the lights on. The brighter a room is, the more open it will feel.
  9. Highlight anything special. Make a list of all the selling points of the property and make sure they are in the video as well as talked about. For example, if the apartment has a laundry room, don’t just show the laundry without saying anything…or say there is a laundry room without showing it. Include the laundry room in the video tour and when you do, tell the viewers that they won’t have to lug their dirty clothes down to the laundry mat or save up all their quarters to use a laundry room…

When you start the video tour, you always want to start outside in front of the property. Use a very casual, conversational tone when talking, and start by saying something to the effect of, “Hi. Welcome to ________________….” Then start describing the benefits of the property.

Before you go into the property, do a slow and smooth 360, so the viewer can get a look at the neighborhood.

As you walk through the house, name each room you are going in to. This will help the viewer create a mental map of the property. It is best to shoot the entire video without editing. If you make a mistake, laugh it off in the video. If doesn’t have to be perfect, and mistakes make you look more real.

When describing the house, focus on the benefits, opposed to the features. For example, instead of saying there is a “large family room” you can say, “plenty of room for company.” Instead of saying the house has a “high-efficiency furnace,” so it has “low heating costs.” The key is to market what people want, such as low monthly expenses or having friends and family over.

Remember, the video does not have to be perfect or dramatic. Just make it happen. Video marketing provides a new dimension to a marketing plan.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you,

 

The importance of video inspections in property management

Learn how to protect yourself and your property.

Our ultimate goal is to make investment property ownership a stress-free and profitable for the property owners. There are many ways we do that, and we are always working to find new ways to meet the needs of our property owners. This is why we strongly suggest video inspections.

One of the many services we offer are video inspections. This includes a recorded walk through of the apartment prior to a new tenant moving in. It also includes a recorded work through of the apartment when the tenant moves out. Video inspections are provided when large repairs or improvements are being recommended.

We have found the use of video inspections to be positive for both us and the property owners. When a property owner decides to work with a property manager, there is a certain level of trust needed.

For example, when a manager contacts the owner to let them know about repairs needed to the property that will cost the owner money, the owner has two options:

  1. Trust the manager is making a good and necessary repair
  2. Refuse the repair until you get proof that it was absolutely necessary. This creates an awkward situation for both the owner and the manager.

One thing we do to lessen the potential for a bad situation and to build that trust with the owners is to do video inspections. This is good in several ways. You can see a lot more detail in a video that you can in photo. It allows us to zoom in on areas of damage while still providing perspective on where the damage is.

A video provides a better overall view of the property. This is especially helpful when comparing the condition of the property when a tenant moves to when the tenant moves out.

Limitations of video inspections

Video inspections can be limited in that it creates a sometimes long process. Particularly if you have to look through an entire video just to find one area of damage. However, we lessen that limitation by using the video inspections along with a written inspection report.

For example, if a property has exterior damage that needs to be addressed. We can provide a written report detailing the damage, repairs needed, and expected cost. We send it with a video of the damaged area. In this respect, the video will enhance the information provided in the written report.

Interior video inspections while a tenant is living there are sometimes difficult to get. However, this particular limitation can be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Benefits of Video Inspections

By providing the video inspections along with inspection reports we are building trust between us and the property owner while getting rid of a possible awkward situation of the property owner feeling the need to ask for proof of property damage and repair estimates.

Videos are also helpful when a case goes to court. We have found that video is much more effective when a tenant needs to be evicted or taken to court and there is property damage involved. Getting a video tour of the damage has a greater emotional impact than photos. The videos can also be used to show a clearer before and after condition of the property in court.

If a deposit is withheld due to damages and the former tenant argues that they deserve all or part of their deposit back, it is the property owner’s responsibility to prove the damages were legitimate and caused by the tenant. This is when before and after videos are most useful.

Video can also be used to lease properties faster and more effectively. How to use the power of video to promote your properties will be covered in How to Use Video to Lease Your Property Faster.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

Can I Refuse Pets?

Let Fido help you maximize your business!

The short answer is yes. We do allow our property owners to have some discretion over pet rules. However, most of them allow pets and we encourage it. Let me tell you why.

Allowing pet owners will double your market. A good portion of the people renting single-family homes are doing so because they want to be able to have pets.

Because there is a higher demand for properties that allow pets, you will experience shorter vacancies between tenants. You’ll also have tenants longer. One study I read suggested that allowing pets can double the amount of time the tenant will live at the property.

Those two benefits work together; shorter vacancies and longer stays means more income and will more than compensate the potential costs associated with allowing pets.

Now, there is the potential for damage. Pets can get out of hand. They can pee all over the place. They can scratch up and ruin wood floors, door frames, etc. Pets can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

However, we do charge $35 per animal, which also helps to cover costs. We require potential tenants to submit photos of any animals they will have living in the house with their rental applications. This enables us to make sure we know exactly what animals will be there.

We also recommend our property owners request a 90-day Video Inspection, which will allow us to see if the tenant is, in fact, cleaning up after the animal and making sure it doesn’t destroy the property.

Despite the risks, we do thing allowing pets is a good policy. You can charge extra and reap the benefits.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

How do You Know What is Happening with Your Property?

The secret property managers don’t want you to know.

How do you know what is happening with your property?

If you don’t physical live at your apartment, the answer is: you don’t. The farther you live, the less you know about what happens on a day-to-day basis.

Here’s the dirty little secret of property management…we don’t know either because we don’t live there either.

As a property manager, we aren’t supposed to tell you that. We’re expected to inform you that we know everything going on at the properties we care for, but that isn’t true. It can’t possibly be true. So how do we take care of things? How do we make sure your properties are being cared for and maintained?

I can speak for all property managers, but I can tell you what we do.

We have several mechanisms in place to stay on top of things.

  1. Magnets. All of the apartments we manage have magnets in them with our contact information, so the tenant can quickly and easily call if there is a problem. There is no concern over them losing the number or not being sure who or when to call.
  2. Stickers on the windows. We also put stickers on the windows facing out, so the neighbors can read them. The stickers have our contact information, so neighbors can call and report any unruly behavior or concerns they have about the property or the tenants.
  3. Video inspections. The video inspections are our most valuable tool. We conduct video inspections just before a new tenant moving in, so we have an accurate and highly vision record of the condition of the property. We then recommend our property owners to go with a 90-day video inspection. 90 days is enough time the new tenant to get unpacked and comfortable; start a regular routine. By 90 days, we will be able to tell if cleaning, maintenance, or hoarding may be a problem, and we can respond accordingly before things get out of control.

Short of moving in, there is no fool-proof way to know everything that happens in an apartment. However, by making ourselves available to both tenants and neighbors and by conducting video inspections so that we can stay on top of potential problems, we can know a lot of what is going on and stay focused on ensuring the rental units are well maintained.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

Why it is so important to check criminal and eviction records manually?

Have you been to your local courthouse lately?

About four years ago we approved a tenant application, the tenant moved in, and then we had to evict them roughly six months later. On a whim, we went to the local court and found out the tenant had a recent conviction that did not show up on the background check we had conducted with the tenant application. This caused us to take a look at our tenant screening process.

We found that the national databases we had been using were not as accurate or timely as we had assumed. For a variety of reasons including infrequent updates and missed filings, national databases were limited in their accuracy. While we still use them to search for out of the area information, for local background checks, we rely on manual background checks.

Manually checks are beneficial for several reasons:

  1. Accuracy. Conducting the background check manually will ensure it is done thoroughly and the information is available as soon as it is filed. This means it doesn’t matter if the tenant had an eviction filed the day before, we’ll find out about this. We manually check eviction and criminal records.
  2. Better understanding.  Manually doing checks allows you to better understand the process and filing system within your local courts. You know how it works and how to find information quickly and easily.
  3. Limit frustration. Manual background checks have allowed us to limit the frustration of evictions and other problems property owners may experience when dealing with bad tenants.

When screen tenant applications, be sure to also conduct a Landlord Verification. Follow the link to learn the benefits and challenges of verifications.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you

 

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