How do You Ensure that You Find the Best Tenants?

Finding the diamond in the rough with tenant screening.

How do we ensure we are finding you the best tenants for the property?  That is a great question because bad tenants can cost you a lot of money. They can damage the property, not pay their rent, and force us to evict them. All of which cost a lot of money and lead to vacancies.

  1. Marketing. The first thing we do is market the property. By actively marketing the property, we can get a selection of applicants. This gives us the opportunity to choose the best tenants. Then  we screen all applicants.
  2. Screening. When someone is interested in renting a property, we have them fill out an application. We then screen out the ones you do not want living in your property. We have an extensive screening checklist. You can learn more about it by going to 7 Steps to Flawless Tenant Screening.
  3. Landlord verification. Although many landlords will debate the merits of landlord verifications, we believe they are an essential part of the screening process when available. Go to Problems with Landlord Verification in Screening and the Solution to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of landlord verification, but more importantly, how we mitigate the disadvantages when screening tenants.
  4. Manual checks. Because we take the screening process very seriously, we manually check all local criminal and eviction records. Why is it so important to check criminal and eviction records manually?   Another great question. You can follow the link to read more extensively on the topic. In short, we learned through experience that national background check data bases are imperfect. While they are still a useful tool, they are not sufficient to stand on their own. We also check with the local courts for any recent filings or ones missed.

Tenant screening and marketing work in combination to ensure we have a selection of good tenants to choose from for each and every property we manage, We have several videos and blog posts available on the many things we do to market properties, but a good one to start with is My home is not leasing – some tips for better lease marketing.

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!

 

Review of top 5 Cleveland Oh property managers

We want to be your Cleveland Oh area property management company.

When choosing a property management company, it is really important to find the one that will be the best fit for you and your needs. There are many factors that can vary from one company to the next. For example, maintenance, fees, payment policies, management systems, etc. There is no right or wrong way to do things, but there are pros and cons to each. Only you can decide which property managers are best for you.

Clearly, we hope to be able to serve you and meet your needs. However, here are some other property management companies serving the Cleveland, Ohio area that you may want to look into.

  1. David Terbeek with RE/MAX. I have had many interactions with David and found him to be very professional. He is a member of National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), which is an industry standard. Being a part of that indicates a level of professionalism and learning.
  2. Seller’s Realty – property management division. I have heard no complaints about them. Although I cannot believe everything I hear, I wouldn’t recommend a company that I consistently heard complaints or very negative reviews about. That is not the case with Seller’s Realty; they know what they are doing.
  3. Howard Hannah Property Management. While Howard Hannah is obviously not a new company, they are fairly new to the property management industry. However, they have a solid platform, which is being managed by Jared Zack.
  4. Cleveland Property Management. The are one of the oldest big company’s in the Cleveland area. I heard the sold part of the company, but they are still in property management. They are experienced and professional. I have not heard any complaints about them. In general, they are a solid choice.
  5. Bob Kollet with RE/MAX. Bob is a good person. He manages a small portfolio, and has good experience for a small company.

If you are just starting to look around for a property management company, be sure to spend some time reading my blog and watching videos. I do my best to answer all the most common questions we get asked. However, don’t hesitate to look at some of these options as well. Also, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We would be happy to sit down with you and answer all your 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!

 

How many years of property management experience do you have?

Realty Trust Services

Our three company values are transparency, empathy, and education

We get asked how many years of property management experience we have? This is a good question, but it isn’t the best question you should be asking.

For us, we have roughly 45 years of combined experience, but that isn’t the best figure because a good majority of people who say they have 30 years experience, don’t actually have 30 years of experience; they have one year of experience repeated 30 times.

The best question is “are people growing and improving to become better at their jobs?”

New technology doesn’t replace good service, but it does combine with service to create a mindset and intention for growth. This creates an atmosphere that promotes better customer service. In addition to personal growth, we consistency work to utilize the best possible options in new technology.

The three values of our company are transparency, empathy, and education. Education is a huge part of this and a significant focus here. We believe education allows people to grow quickly. We read a book a month and increase our experience by learning from others. This makes us wiser and better at serving. It makes us more efficient at doing our jobs.

Another significant focus for us is on systems. How can we make it better? That is always the question we are asking ourselves in every area of the business. We track everything we do, and when something doesn’t go right, which happens, we discuss it to see how we can make it better.

Nothing is ever perfect, but we can always strive for better.

Our goal is always to deliver peace of mind for all the stakeholders. That includes the property owners, us, the tenants, and the neighbors; anyone and everyone impacted by the properties.

We consistently strive to make this company’s experience more than the years.

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 protect me from property damage?

Learn the steps we take to protect you from property damage.

We are often asked by property owners how we protect them from property damage. This is an important question because property damages can get very expensive very quickly. Costs come from repairing the damages, and from the time the property has to remain empty.

There are two things we do for all our property owners to protect them from damages.

  1. Collect a deposit. We collect a deposit from each tenant before they move in. The deposit is held to help cover the cost of any damages to the property. After screening, if we think the person is risky, we may offer them a lease with a higher deposit. We may collect a double, triple, or even quadruple deposit. In an upcoming post, I will discuss how much of a deposit we collect and why.
  2. Tenant screening. The best thing we do to protect property owners is by carefully screening every tenant. We have a screening process that we go through with every tenant application we receive, and it works. If we can provide better tenants, there is a lower risk of property damage. We foster good will with our tenants by encouraging and maintaining a positive relationship with the tenants. Staying in contact with tenants helps, and so does giving landlords regular updates. You can learn more about our screening process from our post 7 Steps to a Flawless Tenant Screening.
  3. Inspections. we also suggest regular inspections. They allow us to identify problems earlier than we would waiting until the tenant moves out. This allows us to discover problems such as water leaks before they cause significant damage. Learn more about what your options are when it comes to inspections with How many times do you inspect my property

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!

 

My home is not leasing: tips for better lease marketing

Our marketing efforts are proven effective.

 

We get this a lot. Someone calls and tells us they have a property that has been sitting on the market for a year and nothing is happening. We ask, are they marketing the property? The owner responds that there is a “for rent” sign. We ask if they’ve gotten any calls on it. They tell us that they call their realtor or manager about it, but don’t get a clear response or any response at all.

If this story sounds familiar to you or it is your story, please call us.

We will bring energy to your properties and actively work to reduce vacancies.

There has to be a starting point, for us, that will be sitting down with you and discussing the rental prices to ensure they are marketing at a price that makes sense.

We spend thousands on marketing. Way more than most individual landlords can possibly spend because we can combine our efforts over all the properties we manage. We also spend our marketing dollars on the most effective marketing tactics possible.

Our first line of marketing is our website, ohiorental.info, which gets thousands of visitors every month. We also pay for syndication. This gets our property listings out to dozens of websites. We follow up with every lead on every property. Our marketing program has proven effective day in and day out. Also, we add to and improve our efforts anytime we discover a new or better option. We regularly look at our efforts to make changes as needed. We also use MLS, which is massive and Craig’s List to provide constant exposure to properties.

Our property owners get weekly activity reports. You will never go weeks or months without hearing from us. Weekly reports show things like how many page views a property listing received. They show how many inquiries the property got and how many showings were scheduled. We also provide advice on possible changes based on the information provided.

We found that roughly 30% of the time, we have a deposit on a property before the previous tenants even move out. In addition to our marketing efforts, tenant screening is an essential tool we use to reduce potential damage to properties and reduce vacancies.

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 will you rent my house?

We use the best online tools available to find tenants quickly and reduce vacancies.

There are many things we do to lessen vacancy times and quickly rent the properties we manage. However, one of the things we do that makes us distinct is that we market properties using the MLS.

There are some exceptions to this, but almost every property we represent is marketed using the MLS. The MLS gives the properties better exposure to all other real estate professionals. We share our commission, so it does not cost you extra. While many property management companies do not utilize the MLS, the ones that do charge the commission to the property owner. We found an amazing payoff doing it our way. The property rents much faster because we have broader exposure.

We also understand the importance of how properties are presented to potential renters. We use high-quality photos including wide angle photos and panoramic photos. These provide great views of even small spaces.

We offer walk-through video tours. These provide viewers with an accurate portrayal of what the property looks like including the exterior and the neighborhood. You can learn more about our video tours by reading How to use video to lease your property faster. 

We have recently started offering 3D tours of properties. We have a professional person with the equipment and know-how to create fantastic 3D tours. These are hugely beneficial, not only for the present but the future. These 3D tours provide a layout of the property for future listings. Layouts include measurements of each room, which people greatly appreciate. The 3D tours are not 100% at this time, but will be soon.

Another strategy we adhere to is exposing the house as early as possible. Mostly, as soon as we know a house will be available for rent, we start marketing it. Even if the tenant is still living there, we market it online and offer limited group showings. About 30% of the time, we get a deposit for a property before the tenant even moves out. This is not always possible depending on a broad range of factors including the amount of work that needs to be done. We follow a detailed procedure and checklist to ensure every property is clean, maintained, and ready to rent. Learn more about that process by reading What needs to be done to my house before it is ready to rent? 

We use a scheduling software that allows us to send information to multiple websites at once, and it allows us to track leads. We manually follow-up with each lead to get feedback on the property and make adjustments as we go. Being open to get feedback enables us to see how potential tenants view the property. This offers significant insight into possible changes that would make the house rent faster.

A property should never sit on the market for a long period. We understand that vacancy are costly to the property owner, and it is our goal to make property ownership as profitable as possible. There is real work done on a weekly basis to reduce vacancies and ensure all properties are properly cared for and marketed.

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 an assigned representative for my property?

Attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125303894@N06/

An assigned representative will work directly with you and know everything going on with your property.

Will I have an assigned representative to deal with me and my property? This is a big issue because not all property management companies offer this.

Yes. Our property management company has a system in place where the managers split the properties between them. Those managers are responsible for your success. You can call them with your questions or problems, and they will know about your properties and be able to get you what you need.

A lot of larger property management companies use a call center that directs property owners to different departments, where the person they talk to may or may not know their properties.

We still have departments, but your manager will be responsible for your properties. These is also a 24-hour call center, but this is used to be always available. Our company works to streamline everything we do to make it easier.

A lot of our property owners are out of the area. It makes them angry when they have a question that no one can answer. They want to know what is happening with their properties. Not only will you have a manager, but you will also get weekly updates. All of our property owners receive weekly reports showing what is happening with their properties. Reports also cover the collected rent and money spent.

Many of the processes we have in place are to make our property management run more successfully.  Even if they are unfamiliar, we encourage landlords to trust our systems and call when they have 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!

How many times do you inspect my property?

Regular inspections protect you from serious damage.

If you start asking around, you will learn that people in the business have some very strong opinions regarding the effectiveness or benefit of doing more than just move-in and move-out inspections.

Personally, I believe more is better, or at least they can’t hurt. Doing an inspection while people are living can be tricky because there is only so much you can do about what you see. Some would argue you can’t really do anything.

For example, if you are in an apartment and see that the tenant damaged the paint, you now know that you are going to have to repaint regardless of how long the tenant lives there, so instead of pushing for an eviction due to damage, you really want them to stay as long as possible.

However, there are other kinds of damage that it is a benefit to catch it early. For example, if you are in the apartment and notice signs of water damage that were not there before, you can investigate it further and make needed repairs. If unchecked, a water leak or other source of water damage can cause a great deal of expensive damage. While one would hope, if there was a water leak, the tenant would call and report it, you can not assume that will be the case.

I think it is best to inspect properties before summer and into late fall. These are the times when you should be changing out furnace filters anyway, so it would be efficient to also use these opportunities to conduct an inspection. Doing them twice a year is enough to ensure that nothing gets out of hand.

We are currently looking at ways to offer property owners a package they can pay for to have these regular scheduled inspections conducted on their properties. We are still working on a way to offer this additional service in an organized, logical, and cost effective way. If you have any questions regarding having more inspections conducted on your properties or just want to discuss it further, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us directly.

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 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!

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