Category Archives for "Property management"

What are your maintenance fees?

As Cleveland, Oh property managers, we understand the role proper maintenance plays in tenant retention.

Finding out what a property manager charges for maintenance is vital. You also need to know  requests are handled before entering into any kind of agreement. Property managers may differ wildly on how they handle maintenance issues and charges.

The first question for us is “Is there an actual maintenance problem or just tenant complaining?” When repairs are needed, we forward them to the owner, so there are no surprises.

We’ve tried working with outside people, but we found we were not completely happy with that. There was always the risk that the work was not getting done or not getting done to our standards. Outside maintenance was also very expensive. For those reasons, we work with an in-house maintenance crew.

The more we use the same people, the more we trust them and the better they understand our expectations. We also have more control over what they did, when they worked, and the amount spent on repairs and upgrades. Being able to control costs, allows us to pass that savings on to our property owners.

We’ve been able to help with costs when mistakes are made. We stand behind our guy’s work, and we believe we’ve been able to balance quality and cost.

If tenants feel the property is not maintained and their concerns are not addressed, they will move. That creates a significant cost to the owner. We do our part to take care of the properties and keep the tenants happy.

We have set maintenance costs. I won’t go over that here because they change periodically.

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 are you insured to do property management?

This is actually a question we do not get asked a lot, but we should be because it is important to know what kind of insurance your property manager has. We deal with a lot of high liability issues on a regular basis, so it is important to have that protection in place.

We have two types of insurance: general commercial liability and errors and admission.

  1. Errors and admission insurance is if we make a mistake.
  2. General commercial insurance has a much broader umbrella and covers most things not covered with the errors and admissions insurance.

While it is important for us to be properly insured, it is still essential for the owner to have proper insurance.

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!

Will I have to get up in the middle of the night for an emergency?

No more middle of the night phone calls from tenants.

I assumed this was a given, but apparently there are property managers that do not offer 24-hour services. To answer the question simply, no. You will not have to get up in the middle of the night for an emergency.

Our property owners do not have to get emergency phone calls during the night. They do not have to get up to deal with anything. The only way you will get a phone call is if you request a phone call in the event of an emergency. Otherwise, we have a 24-hour answering service and direct dispatch. We will take care of all emergencies.

Our representatives have protocols to follow that address a wide range of emergency situations. This allows us to  also avoid middle of the night dispatch all together. For example, if a tenant calls during the night because there is a water leak. Our representatives will give them step-by-step instructions on how to turn off the water and will stay on the phone with them to ensure it happens. Then, in the morning, the leak can be addressed.

This saves a great deal of money since middle of the night phones calls to professionals are much more expensive than calls made during the day, and it is less stressful and more convenient for everyone. As usual, if the job can be done by someone on our maintenance staff, it is and the usual maintenance fees are applied.

 

How many units do you manage?

Our systems which are infused with the character and principles of transparency empathy and education are what will allow us to keep the promise of “delivering peace of mind”.

When you look at a property management company, there are a few questions you should ask. This will give you a better idea of the level of service you can expect. I am regularly asked how many units we manage, which is a good questions. However, there is more to that question that you really want to know.

Instead of knowing the number of units, you want to find out what the ratio is of people to units. You also want to know what systems are in place to take care of the properties. As well as how they communicate with both the property owner and the tenants. The goal of the property management company should be to keep all the properties well-managed.

There is a very large national management company that is planning to expand to the Cleveland area. They are absolutely huge and their ration is 1 personnel for every 200 units. This means property owners do not have an assigned representative. This can make communication hard and the overall management not as positive. However, they may be able to offer a lower cost, which seems good.

Our ratio is 1 manager per 50 units. That doesn’t include me or our support staff that handle a great deal of our services. The managers focus only on the properties they manage. That also does not include our full-service call center.

In addition to having a low ratio, we also have the systems in place to manage properties smoothly.

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!

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!

 

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!

 

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