Who we are and what we do
We strive to provide quality service to our clients. We believe it is imperative that we provide the highest level of service, no matter which options you choose. We can help you get your house rented from start to finish. We can also help you maintain it and watch over it. It is our goal to maximize your return on your rental property.
What we expect
We are professionals and that is why you've hired us. We have years of experience in the property management field and are well versed in the local laws and customs. We are always working in your best interests and hope that you have faith in the guidance we provide. We want you to thoroughly consider our advice. We have found that owners who allow us to lead them in their decision making are the ones who are happiest and make the most money in the long run.
For those who do not utilize our full-service management program, access to our 24-hour emergency line is available for $20 per month (plus tax), payable in advance each month. Our maintenance department is available 24/7 for tenant emergencies via text or call between the hours of 6pm and 6am, and specific holidays; Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas. We can make special pricing arrangements for additional holidays or vacations. In the event of an actual emergency where we must have work completed in the interest of your property and/or the tenant, we may not be able to get a written estimate or contact you for immediate approval, and emergency work dispatched to our in-house maintenance or outside vendors is typically a two hour minimum. Many vendors also charge after-hours rates and they vary by company. We are usually not able to provide that pricing ahead of time. Repair work billed through GDR contains a nominal markup and invoices are provided to you with your billing statements. We are available when you do not want to be. You are never obligated to use our emergency service if you are not a full-service client, but it is extremely convenient.
When pricing a rental home, we are very thorough in our review of comparable properties on the current market and we recommend pricing accordingly. Keep in mind that your mortgage payment does not determine the rental price. The rents will be determined by the market rental value of other homes with square footage and attributes similar to yours, which are listed at the time your property is vacant. The quality of the home, fixtures, appliances, yard, location, etc. have a huge impact on the rental value and marketability. Not every 3BR/2BA should be the same amount of rent, even if the square footage is the same. The rental market can also change dramatically in a short period of time.
Typically, we do not recommend you advertise a home until tenants have turned in keys and we have performed an inspection. We are then able to determine how long it will take to get the home ready and can provide that information to prospective tenants. If you want us to visit the home to get an idea of condition prior to the tenant vacating, we will perform an inspection and bill you accordingly.
Rather than outsource inspections, photography, and the preparation of marketing materials, we handle everything in-house and we are able to ensure your costs stay as low as possible. We take and edit photos as necessary to show the best attributes of your property. We work very hard to ensure your home looks as good as possible in the ads we put on our website and other sites online. We monitor online advertising options and occasionally switch sites and focus if we believe it will provide better exposure for our properties. Currently, the sites we are using are free, but owners are responsible for any actual costs if we do place an ad on a website or in a periodical that charges. Once your house is ready for advertising we place the ad within a few days.
We've taken thousands of photos of thousands of houses. We know how to take pictures that showcase the beauty and uniqueness of your home in a way that is attractive to potential tenants. We also know how to take photos documenting property condition in order to track tenant damages and preventive maintenance issues. We will email up to ten images, but for more than ten images we will provide a disc up to 700 MB. If you are unable to pick up your disc we will ship it to you. Shipping is not included in the cost of photos. The photos on the disc will not be watermarked unless you choose to add that option. The watermark can be customized with text and/or a phone number. The charge for additional photo discs is $20 per disc of up to 700 MB. The shipping charge is $0.30 per image, plus $5 for the disc and padded envelope, plus postage.
Our application process is extensive. We are thorough, and that takes some time. While we work to get applications approved as quickly as possible, we do not want to compromise our standards. If an applicant is great, we approve them. If they fall well below our requirements, we deny them. However, if they are somewhere in the middle, we will contact you, give you as much information as possible, and let you decide what you'd like to do. We will give you a recommendation, but if we have contacted you, the decision is ultimately yours, as long as it follows all legal guidelines and is not discriminatory against any protected class. We are very serious about following all fair housing regulations. If you have provided guidelines regarding pets, or requested specific approval for individual pets, we will discuss applicants' pets with you to get final approval. We are unable to show owners the credit reports/applications as per our contract with the credit reporting agency.
Properties occupied when we take over management
If your property is already leased upon the commencement of management, you must submit a copy of the tenant’s lease, contact information, payment history for the previous 90 days, and any additional information that may be helpful for us to provide the best service to you and your tenant. Inspection/Condition Reports are greatly appreciated, as we must have record of the property condition before it was leased to the tenant when handling their security deposit upon move-out. If you have been managing the home yourself, it is imperative that you stop communicating with the tenant immediately. It makes our job much more difficult if tenants think they can contact the owner directly, rather than dealing with us.
Tenant retention is our goal. There are incentives and other ways to keep tenants in residence and we can provide that information to you as needed. We typically send lease renewals automatically or renew upon tenant request. If you do not want us to renew a lease then we need that information 60 days prior to the expiration of the current term. We normally try to include a rent increase with renewals but may not include an increase if we think it may cause the tenant to move out or if it would increase the rent well above actual market value. We also take into consideration the length of tenancy, wear on the property, and anticipated vacancy costs when determining whether or not to increase rents.
We do not provide formal inspections on a regular basis. If you use Rich Construction to do your seasonal conversions, we can get a general idea of property condition from the field technicians. Many of our other vendors will also give us a "heads' up" if the property is in poor condition. If we deem it necessary, we will perform a formal inspection. When we do formal inspections we take both interior and exterior photos. Our owners can request inspections at $55 each to be billed to the owner's account.
Move-outs and security deposits
Once tenants have returned keys to our office we do a thorough property inspection, taking an average of 200-300 photos. Most tenants leave their homes in good condition, but occasionally that is not the case. Owning rental properties is inherently risky, and though we do our best, things don’t always go as planned. Once we have determined damages we will provide you estimates for those repairs. You can either approve those estimates or request more estimates. However, understand that the longer you take to decide, the more money you are losing during the vacancy. Often, owners decide to go with a lower estimate or do work themselves and the work product is of poor quality and becomes a deterrent to prospective tenants. If you lose two months of rent at $1000 per month due to poor workmanship, and you saved $500 going with a lower bidder or doing the work yourself, you have lost $1500. The numbers just don’t make sense. The cheapest is not always the best and keep in mind that you get what you pay for. The property owner is responsible for paying for the entire make ready but after a tenant’s deposit is addressed (within 30 days of the end of the tenancy), any funds withheld from the deposit for tenant damages are credited to the owner’s account.
Most owners want tenants to pay for all damage to the house, but there are exceptions for wear and tear and there are other expenses that are unavoidable. When tenants vacate, there are several specific things for which you will be responsible. These include detail housekeeping, yard maintenance, replacing of worn/sun damaged blinds, light bulbs, removal of oil or grease from driveways and garages, etc. Not all of those items come up every time there is a vacancy, but they are the most common issues we see.