Frequently Asked Landlord Questions
Frequently Asked Landlord Questions
Welcome to CenterBeam Real Estate – Property Management
Preventative maintenance is a great way to keep those little emergencies from popping up on your rental property. As a maintenance manager, I have seen small problems become big problems quickly, and they could have been avoided with preventative maintenance. Prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent. Here are some great ways to be prepared for rental property maintenance.
Property Maintenance Services: Air Conditioners
Air conditioners are great when they’re working but frustrating for tenants and owners when they’re not. Schedule service twice a year; once in the winter and once in the summer to keep your system working. Services will include cleaning out coils, clearing drain lines, checking Freon levels, checking amperage and low and high voltage, and monitoring the thermostat.
Rental Maintenance: Water Heaters
Water heaters are expensive and always a needed repair. It’s smart to flush water heaters to extend their lives. Sediment and rust can settle at the bottom of the water heater, causing it to work harder to heat the water. If you flush it, you’ll get more years out of your water heater and your tenants will see a decrease in their electric bill.
Property Management Jacksonville: Carpet Cleaning
Carpet can be expensive to replace and is one of the most avoidable maintenance costs I see. Most manufacturers recommend cleaning the carpet every 12 to 18 months. Cleaning it will keep it looking newer longer and can deal with any unwanted odors that settle into the carpet. If the tenant has pets, we recommend doing it more frequently, like twice a year.
Property Maintenance Services: Home Exterior
It’s just as important to keep up with the outside of the home as the inside. You can find problems with your lawn, gutters, and roof. Have a landscaping company do leaf removal twice a year depending on the types of trees surrounding the property. Since not every leaf makes it to the ground, your gutters should be cleaned frequently and the roof blown. If your property is in a neighborhood with an HOA, this is especially important because you can receive hefty fines.
Rental Maintenance: Inspections
A good property management company will offer a once a year inspection at no cost to the owner. It’s important that you as the owner make sure this is done. During the inspections things are caught that might not be reported by the tenant, such as WDO work or painting. You can identify small jobs that need to be done or things that are unique to the property, such as pool care.
Rental properties are not a set it and forget it investment. They always need attention. It’s important to find a great Jacksonville property management company with attention to maintenance. Make your rental property a cash cow and not ground beef. Contact us at CenterBeam Real Estate.
Almost every owner we talk to whose home is vacant says the same thing – they just want a tenant. But, the quality of the tenant you choose can make or break your experience as a landlord. Today, we’re talking about tenant screening and why hiring the wrong Jacksonville property management company can cost you $3,000 or more.
Hiring a Property Management
Let’s use an example. Mary has a three bedroom, two bathroom single family home in a nice, quiet middle income neighborhood. She has to move for work, and decides to keep her property as a rental. She can rent it for $1,000 a month, which will cover her expenses and give her a profit each month. Mary does a quick Google search and hires first property manager she finds. They assure her they will find a great tenant, and their placement fee is only 50 percent of the rent, or $500. It sounds like a deal.
Property Management Jacksonville: Screening a Tenant
Mary’s property management company finds a tenant who just loves the place and is ready to move in. They do a basic application, perform a credit check, and run a background check. The tenant checks out, with no felonies and a credit score of 550. The credit score is low, but the tenant meets the income requirements. The management company ignores the fact that the prospect has only been at her job for two months. They did not ask for a rental history or do any landlord verifications. The tenant puts down the deposit, pays the first month’s rent, and moves in. The first two months are great. Rent comes in and there are no issues. Mary starts to think this is easy.
Property Management Cost
Month three arrives, and by the fifteenth, Mary has still not received any money. She calls her property manager to find out what’s going on and gets the bad news that her tenant hasn’t paid rent that month. The tenant lost her job and can’t find a new one. Mary has to make the hard and expensive decision to file an eviction. The eviction takes a month, and now Mary has lost two months of rent.
When the tenant has finally been evicted, the property manager calls Mary with more bad news. The tenant painted two bedrooms poorly with dark paint. There was an unauthorized dog who peed on the carpet in every room. There are two broken windows, a flea infestation, and the tenant ran into the garage door with her car, leaving it inoperable. To repaint is $550, including labor and supplies. All the carpet has to be replaced, and that bill is $1,500. The replacement of the windows is $500, and pest control treats twice for fleas inside and once in the yard, which is a total of $375. The garage door is the least expensive repair, and only $300. Court costs and attorney fees for the eviction add up to $420.
The tenant’s security deposit was applied to rent, and every expense had to come out of Mary’s pocket. Her grand total was $3,645. This doesn’t include the month of rent she lost that wasn’t covered by the security deposit, and the money Mary had to spend on her mortgage.
Just looking at a rental history would have saved thousands of dollars.
We take tenant screening seriously, and our standards are high. Unfortunately, not all property management companies are as serious about qualifying tenants. If you’re looking for a good quality tenant, please contact us at CenterBeam Real Estate.
Once you decide to use our services, we will be glad to help you through the process to get your home rented right away. Many clients sign up for “Tenant Placement AND Property Management Services”. However the property management service does not start until the day the tenant moves in. Any fees associated with the property management portion of your agreement (i.e., the monthly percentage amount due) will only start after our agents have found you a qualified tenant and the lease has started. Prior to that, we are simply still marketing, showing your rental trying to find a qualified tenant. Be sure to keep up your lawn service, utilities, etc. in your name until the new lease has started.
We produce detailed monthly statements on income and expenses for all of our owners. We work on a 30 day cycle and all statements are emailed on the 11th of every month. We are proud to offer ACH direct deposit for each of our homeowners. All payments due are either mailed or electronically deposited by the 11th of every month as well. We’ll negotiate the terms of the lease with the tenant, trying always to maximize your ROI. Things like deposits, move in dates and length of lease are some things that we can leverage to secure a quicker cash flow scenario. All year end tax forms are prepared and mailed by January the 31st to each homeowner.
CenterBeam Real Estate is proud to provide home maintenance and repairs through it’s own employees from our Landlord Service’s Division. After a tenant leaves, all turns are handled in a timely and professional manner. Standard repairs like drywall repair, door issues, glass repair, basic plumbing, light electrical and paint services are all billed out at $59 per hour.
Our company also maintains strong relationships with various licensed and insured sub contractors who provide maintenance services to our properties as well. Since we provide each of our subcontractors with a lot of qualified work and pay them in a timely manner, our relationship with them helps to keep their costs at a good rate for each of our homeowners. This would included electrical, HVAC, plumbing, roofing, tree removal, septic pump outs, and the like.
All of our approved vendors provide quality work at competitive prices. We also require our vendors to carry both general liability and workman’s comp insurance for your protection.
Yes, size does matter. We do not claim to be the largest property management in the Jacksonville area nor do we want to be. It is more important that we are a proper fit to each property. We currently manage around 500 doors and are growing in a very manageable way.
Besides our friendly and informative service, and our timely tenant placements, what sets us apart is that we are departmentalized. We don’t have a single property manager, or leasing agent, handling your particular property. Instead, we have a team. This team consists of a
A Business Development and Property Acquisition Dept
A Showing Dept made up of licensed realtors who spend their days in the field, showing properties, processing applications, qualifying tenants, creating leases and moving in tenants.
A coordination and Property Management dept. They spend their day in the office coordinating maintenance schedules, aanswering questions that the tenants and landlords might have and updating forms and handling renewals
An accounting department that handles all statements, income, expense and billings
With separate departments, questions via email, texts and all calls are handled in a timely manner. Your tenant and property are being maintained well because our associates truly care. Everyone works together and we are set up as a means to establish checks and balances so nothing is over-looked. It works!
Our company maintains a 24-hour emergency on call service which is always staffed by one of our professional property managers. This service is for extreme emergencies only but helps to give our property owners and residents the confidence that we are available nights, weekends and holidays should an emergency arise.
Our pricing model is based on a percentage of collected rents. The percentage varies depending on the type and number of units managed. Our standard single family home, duplex or quad is billed out between 8-10% management rate. One of our professional property managers will be glad to meet with you, discuss your property(s) and quote a price for our services.
CenterBeam Real Estate focuses on renting OUR properties ONLY! That is for the benefit of the homeowners that have chosen to work with CenterBeam Real Estate. The agent assigned to your property will immediately, after your contract has been signed, go to the property to take photos and a quick video if desired. A picture is worth 1000 words. We’ll make sure that your property is displayed in the best possible light for high level appeal! It will then be placed on our website with a detailed description and will be turned on for everyone to market. Through our exclusive syndicated web based platform, we will push your property to tons of websites such as Trulia, Craigslist, Zillow, Hot Pads, Google and more! Also, We will help to maximize your rental value and promise not to leave any money on the table! We’ll use our many years of experience to accurately price your property. We are known for getting the highest rents possible for our owners!
This is where CenterBeam Real Estate truly excels. Our agents are experts in the tenant placement field and are the fastest to find a qualified tenant in the Jacksonville, area. The average time to find a well qualified and approved tenant in a ready to rent property is only 7 to 21 days. Now, that’s fast! The price for this service is one month’s rent. The tenant pays it upon move in and the homeowner simply sees it go in and then out as a fee on his/her first statement. And yes, this is a deduction that can be used against the year end 1099. The cost for this service is only 75% of the monthly rental rate if you have signed up for property management and 100% if we are only providing our tenant placement service.
We have developed our market’s most thorough application approval process including:
- an individual credit report on each adult applicant
- criminal reports and court records
- rental references from current and previous landlords
- employment verifications
- income verifications
- copies of pertinent documents inclusive of pet photos
- pet shot records
If an applicant does not qualify for some reason, the agent will invite the homeowner into the application approval process. Once the screening and verification have been completed, the agent may give a brief description as to the overall picture of the prospective tenant. If you wish to proceed from there, an “exceptions to rent” form will be emailed for signature. That way, you will have the final say with regard to tenant approval. Also, at or before move in day, all funds received will be certified funds. This means that you do not have to worry about discovering a bounced check when a tenant has already taken possession.
Our residential lease agreement is very thorough. Additionally we have also created a rules and regulations booklet that all tenants receive upon move in. It is inclusive of a Property condition form that is mandatory to be turned by by the 7th day of move in. We spell out in clear language the tenant’s legal obligations, our policies and our expectations of the tenant. We recommend a one year lease but that decision is ultimately up to the property owner. We do not handle any leases under 6 months. Security deposits are collected prior to move in. We follow the strict guidelines in the Florida Landlord Tenant Act and we generally recommend a security deposit equal to one month’s rent.
CenterBeam Real Estate provides a move in inspection form to each resident which must be turned in within 7 days of move in or it will not be accepted. This form is used as part of our determination of whether a full deposit is returned to the tenant or to the property owner. A cleaning fee is paid by the tenant, through his/her deposit on every lease created by CenterBeam Real Estate.
While our application approval process is very thorough, rent collection challenges will always be a large part of property management. Under our lease, all rental payments are due on the 1st of each month and late after the 3rd. We send out late notices, send emails and make phone calls immediately starting the 4th of each month for those who have not paid. The late fee charged is 10% of the monthly rental amount due and is paid to our company as part of our management fee structure. This process takes a lot of time and expense but is worth it to get our landlords paid. If the tenant does not follow through on a promise to pay, then we will alert the homeowner and ask if he/she would like to start eviction procedures. If so, CenterBeam Real Estate will handle sending all duplicate documents to our eviction service. The cost to the landlord is the COST of the eviction which is usually around $490 and takes approximately 27 to 30 days to complete. CenterBeam Real Estate follows strict guidelines from the Florida Landlord Tenant Act in regards to evictions. Fortunately, many of our landlord never have to evict any of their tenants.
Our business philosophy is as the name implies: a partnership. We hand select our clients and we are looking for a mutually beneficial relationship. We do not want any unhappy clients. That is why, we allow any clients to cancel their property management with CenterBeam Real Estate at any time with a 30 day written notice. There are no standard cancellation fees, no tenant fees and no hidden fees. Fortunately, we don’t lose many clients as our exemplary customer service speaks volumes in this industry where it is traditionally lack luster.
In our 10 year experience, there is a small desire to rent a fully furnished home for a full 12 months. Those are almost exclusive to short-term executive stays, beach rentals, college towns and insurance companies who have clients with uninhabitable homes.
Of course, you will. At CenterBeam Real Estate, we do not take this lightly. We will be sure to inform you of your tenant’s intent to renew or move out as soon as we receive it from them which is usually between 30 and 60 days prior to their lease end date. If they decide to stay, then you will tell us if it can be re-rented. We will also assist you with pricing it right by giving you another free rental analysis of the current rental rate at the time it is to be re-rented.
No. Working electricity and water/sewer are a necessity for us to show your home properly. Please do not cancel your utilities when you leave your home. Once the home is in rent ready condition, and you have dropped off all items required to start property management services, the agents will start to show your home. He/she will need electricity to show your home properly. A few examples of why working utilities are necessary: An outside porch light and inside microwave light left on will certainly help with safety. A running refrigerator will help it not to grow mold. Working showers will assist potential tenants in verifying water pressure (which many want to do).
Yes. Our goal is to get your home rented between 7 and 21 days. Our success rate is heavily influenced by the rental rate, location, cleanliness and rent ready condition of the home, paired with the availability of our licensed agents. Each one of our agents advertises using his/her personal cell number and work email. Communication is handled 7 days a week within no boundaries of office hours. Thus, a majority of our showings on after-hours and on the weekends as these are times that a typical potential renter would be available to see properties of interest.
Sure! This is easy to explain. We do not hide any fees as we work hard for what we charge.
We charge a 10% monthly management fee on every single family home. This fee does not start until the tenant moves in. Once the tenant moves in, the 10% fee will be charged. For example: if the home rents for $1200 per month, then the property management fee at 10% will cost $120.
Our tenant placement is only 75% of the first month’s rent when you sign up for our Full Property Management Services and 100% when we are providing tenant placement services only. For this fee, if you have signed up for Property Management, our agents will schedule with you to take photos, a possible video, walk through the home, put together an engaging property description inclusive of all pertinent details, place on the MLS, on our website and post to about 17 other websites. They will also handle all incoming inquiries, schedule appointments, personally show your property to potential tenants, review all applications, run background and credit checks, review rental and employment verifications, retrieve deposits and binders, make sure utilities are transferred prior to move in, provide property condition forms, supply all keys and walk the new tenant through the lease for signatures. All the while, keeping you informed as to the weekly status of your rental. Just leave all the work to your agent!
For example: If your home is advertised for $1550 and it rents (with your approval) for $1500, then the fee for tenant placement would be $1125.00. Please note, since this fee is only applied if we perform (rent your property), you will never have to write us a check. The tenant will put down a deposit and a first-month rental binder for your home. Once the tenant moves in, that first month’s rental binder becomes the fee charged. You will see it come in on your monthly statement as a fee.
If you want Tenant Placement only, then our agents will schedule with you to take photos, a possible video, walk through the home, put together an engaging property description inclusive of all pertinent details, place on the MLS, on our website and post to about 17 other websites. They will also handle all incoming inquiries, schedule appointments, personally show your property to potential tenants, review all applications, run background and credit checks, review rental and employment verifications, retrieve deposits and binders, make sure utilities are transferred prior to move in and keep you informed as to the move in date. They will also have a packet in the office ready and waiting for you to pick up with pertinent tenant information including the deposit check and a copy of the lease.
Our management contract starts the day the tenant moves in the home and continues the entire year and then rolls over to a month to month basis. At any time, should you need to cancel your property management contract with CenterBeam Real Estate on your single family home, we simply require a 30 day written notice of cancellation. There is no charge for this.
Prior to the home being rented, CenterBeam Real Estate will be aggressively marketing and trying to find you the best tenant match. To do this, we need a few things from you:
- A fully completed property management and property information form signed by all parties on the deed. This will need to be thoroughly filled out as it is what CenterBeam Real Estate will have to manage your home properly.
- Newly made keys for the home (typically 4 requested).
- Your declaration page of your insurance showing CenterBeam Real Estate as additionally insured and having a minimum of $300,000 in liability coverage. We will need an updated copy yearly for our records.
- A maintenance escrow check, amounting to $300, made out to CenterBeam Real Estate. This will only be used for smaller, typical maintenance repairs under $300 that may come up throughout the tenancy. Please note: for repairs over $300, we will need prior permission and payment from you in order to proceed with the repair.
- Lawn upkeep and utilities will remain a homeowner duty until the new tenant moves in.
- The home needs to be in rent ready condition before the agents showing the home.