Have questions? Don't worry, most do.
Here is a list of questions we've been asked regularly by investment owners of residential property.
Q1: What is the process for getting my house rented?
First, we visit the property to determine rental market value and conduct a “rent-ready” evaluation. In other words, we look at the property, make suggestions on how to get the home rent ready, then give you a rent price we believe the market can handle. Contact your local office to schedule your appointment.
Second, we provide you a Rental Management Agreement and discuss it thoroughly with you. In most cases, these first two steps can happen together.
Once you have signed the Agreement and provide us keys (and you've moved out if you were occupying the home), we will take photos and video of your home for both advertising and to document the homes condition. If your home is ready, we will list the property on all our advertising venues and begin capturing interest in your home right away!
As soon as there is a prospective tenant, we will take them through the application process and screen them through a national database for criminal, credit, and rental history. If the applicant is approved by you, we will sign a lease and get them moved in.
Upon move-in we will take care of all correspondence with tenant, rent collection, property accounting, and manage any other needs of the tenant or property.
Q2: How much rent can I get for my house?
Our agents can usually give you a general estimate on the rental value of your home based on address, details of home, and comparable rentals in the area. However, if your property is unique, we may need to visit the property to determine what might be a good starting price. Request a Rent Match report from our office anytime if you want to see similar rentals in your area and what they rented for.
Q3: What costs can I expect while renting out my home?
Great question! It is very important to have the right expectations as a rental property owner. Understand that legally you retain all the rights and obligations of a property owner except one - the right to live in it. In exchange for temporarily giving up that right, you collect rent. It is important to keep in mind though, even in the most ideal situations, there will most likely be maintenance costs required on the property; just as if you were living in the home.
In many cases, repairs and maintenance are not the fault of tenants, but just part of normal property ownership. It is good practice to put aside some savings in anticipation of repairs or maintenance. Estimating how much you should set aside can be difficult because there are so many factors to consider (age of home, age and type of appliances, type of amenities, type of construction and roof, type of heating and cooling system, type of flooring, etc.). However, National studies have indicated a good rule to go by is 1% of the property value should be allocated for annual upkeep. We would be happy to discuss it with you on a case-by-case basis.
Q4: What do I get for paying management fees?
Our basic duties include: advertising the property when vacant, screening and qualifying prospective tenants, enforcing the lease provisions, collecting rent, proper accounting of the property and the income, monthly statements to the property owner, monthly payments to the property owner, coordination of repairs to the property made by maintenance personnel or licensed contractors, and efficient evictions should the tenant fail to uphold the lease.
Ultimately, there are many aspects to a professional manager's job, but most property owners agree, remaining anonymous and not having to take phone calls from tenants is one of the biggest advantages to our service. A close second is staying up-to-date on landlord/tenant laws (what you don’t know, will hurt you). To get a good idea of how we stack up against the industry standard, check out our comparison charts.
Q5: What does your advertising package include?
Our advertising package will expose your property to the top trafficked websites used to search for rental homes. Some of the top sites we list with are Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, Hotpads.com, and of course, our own site.
We also work with quality local resources to take advantage of special opportunities. Military bases, major area employers, and executive placement agencies have all worked with us to rent homes from our portfolio.
Keep in mind that listing companies and services change on a regular basis, so we are unable to guarantee specific sites will always show your listing. However, we strive to always provide the best coverage to maximize your property's exposure to the largest crowd.
Q6: How long does it take to find a tenant for my property?
There are many factors that affect the length of time a rental is on the market. What time of year is it? What part of town is it in? What is the size of the home? What is the asking rent? These are all things to consider when estimating the time the home will be available. Overall, plan on the property renting between 3 and 6 weeks from the day it is clean, needs no repairs and is priced appropriately (we call this "rent-ready").
With all the ideal conditions in place, we have signed leases within a couple days of a property being available. We have also had some very unique situations that have led to almost 8 weeks of availability. Regardless of your situation, we would be happy to discuss your situation in more detail and get a plan to minimize vacancy. Be wary of any property manager that is willing to make promises and guarantees on vacancy times.
Q7: How do I make sure to get a good tenant?
You can never predict with 100% accuracy the actions of a tenant. However, the best risk management tool is a comprehensive screening process. Brickleys will check applicants against a national database for criminal, credit, and rental histories. We will provide this information to property owners and provide a risk management recommendations based on the applicants results. Increasing the deposit, rent and/or asking for non-refundable fees up front are also additional tools to attempt to overcome perceived risk.
Q8: What security deposit do you collect and who keeps it?
The standard security deposit we collect is equal to one month's rent. This security deposit cannot be used for last month's rent. Typical landlord/tenant regulation dictates landlords have between 15 - 30 days from the day the tenants move out to determine whether any portion of their deposit will be used for repairs or cleaning.
(NOTE: the procedures and time allowed by law to account for security deposits will depend on specific State and/or municipality regulations. Another reason to stick with the pros!)
All security deposits are held in a trust account controlled by the top level licensed Agent for your local Brickleys office. Deposits can only be transferred to the property owner if the owner chooses to take over management of the current lease.
Q9: What should I do about utilities at my property?
Handling utilities can vary from State-to-State, but there are some general guidelines. First and foremost, do not ask the utility companies to disconnect any service until you have spoken to your local Brickleys office! There are varying procedures to transfer utilities or keep them in your name depending on where the property is and what services are needed. Our staff is familiar with the local company policies and can help walk you through any steps required of you. Rest assured, should any charges be billed to you that the tenants are responsible for, we will manage the collection of those charges from them.
By keeping utilities active, unless otherwise directed by our staff, you can avoid costly reconnect fees, delays in cleaning and maintenance that requires hot water or electricity, and even possible damage to your property (especially in cold-weather climates). When possible and available, we strongly recommend signing up on Landlord Standby agreement. This is a service offered by some utilities to automatically roll over the billing to you once the tenants have it disconnected. Feel free to talk to us if you have questions and we'll help you find the best way to navigate the transition.
Q10: What happens with service requests from tenants?
If the request is an emergency service request (most are not), it will be assigned to our vendor and completed as soon as possible to avoid additional danger and/or damage to property and tenants. Otherwise, the service request will be emailed to the property owner for review. Again, the process may have some variation depending on what State you live in.
Typically, the owner will have 48 hours to respond to Brickleys concerning the work request. The email will outline all of the available options the owner can take at that time. If there is no response within 48 hours, the licensed Agent will then make a decision on behalf of the owner, under the terms of the Management Agreement.
Q11: If I need to sell my property, can you take care of that?
All our offices are run by licensed agents according to local law and, as such, are typically qualified to represent customers in sales transactions. However, the sales process does conflict with our core business model: long-term management of single family income property. Therefore, we recommend that you work with a sales agent outside of Brickleys for your sales needs. We are accustomed to working with other real estate professionals and may even have a recommendation.
If you are considering selling your property, be sure to coordinate with Brickleys if you are still under our Management Agreement. There are certain protocols that must be followed to ensure a smooth process. The important thing to understand is Brickleys will not manage a tenant in a home that is also listed for sale. For more information on this, feel free to ask your local Brickleys representative.