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Paul Ruston, Broker
Renters Choice Homes

Phone: 480-626-0166
Paul@RCH-AZ.com

Mailing and Delivery Address:
1334 E Chandler Blvd
Suite 5 A-16
Phoenix, AZ 85048-6267

9 Biggest Mistakes in choosing a Property Management Company.

  1. Choosing a company that doesn’t inspect every home every month. How can you know your home is being taken care of if your Property Manager (PM) isn’t looking at it every single month? We inspect all of our homes every single month. We do interior inspections 6 months after a tenant moves in and then yearly after that. We are not aware of any other property management company that performs this crucial task.
  2. Paying a percentage (%) of the lease price as a Management Fee. Why do some companies charge twice as much to manage a $2000/month home as a $1000/month home? Are they harder to manage? No.  In fact, low priced homes are the hardest to manage. Tenants in those homes are usually younger, lower income, and financially or emotionally vulnerable to life’s changes. As a result there are more job losses, break ups/divorces and surprise financial happenings that can easily affect the likelihood of getting rent on time (or at all). Renters Choice charges a low flat fee of $85 per month for any home we manage.
  3. Choosing a company that doesn’t offer MLS and Realtor.com to market your property. Using MLS (the Multiple Listing Service – how Realtors know what homes are available for rent) in association with Realtor.com (the world largest and most used real estate web site) to market your property is critical to find the highest quality tenant in the shortest time possible
  4. Trusting your Management Company. Does that sound cynical? Yes. But after years of shocking stories of promises made and not delivered by other companies, not trusting your property management company is the wisest move a smart property owner can make. With Renters Choice all of our communications are documented and available to you. All repairs have invoices with photos proving the repairs were done. All inspections are documented and date stamped and continually available for your review so that you know that we have done what we have said we would do. Will you trust us? Of course. But we believe you should “Trust but Verify”.
  5. In-house agents showing your vacant property. Sounds like a terrific idea, right? Wrong. If you are a tenant looking for a house you are likely driving by areas that you want to live in. Once you find one that looks interesting you want to see it now. But it can easily take an agent 2+ hours to 2 days to arrive (assuming they are available at all). To solve that problem most companies use generic combination lockboxes and give the prospective tenant the code. However, that presents a security issue. Once a tenant has the combination what is to prevent them from coming back into the home and taking what they want? At Renters Choice we use an electronic lockbox that tenants must register to use (which includes supplying credit card information) that gives them one time access to your property. Since we have all of their information there is no security concern. 
  6. Property Management company doesn’t use Realtor electronic lockbox. Not only do we use lockboxes with changing combinations, we use Realtor electronic lockboxes as well that track all activity from who showed the house to when. They also allow us to get feedback on all showings. With feedback we can quickly discover if your price is in line with other rentals in the area or if there is an easily curable condition that we can take care of quickly. That reduces market time and vacancy days.
  7. Choosing a company that has too many “active” properties. The easiest way to gauge a Management Company’s marketing success is reviewing their “Properties Available” page on their web site. In this market a home should never be on the market longer than a couple of weeks. If a Management Company has 20 or 30 properties available that is a sign that individual owners are being forgotten and thousands of dollars of potential rent is being lost.
  8. Not having Broker negotiated leases. A lease is an extremely important contract between you and the tenant. As with all contracts, they should be negotiated by skilled professionals. At Renters Choice, all leases are negotiated by our Broker who has been in real estate sales and leasing for well over 24 years. He also has been one of the Top 300 Realtors in America, the Top 100 Realtors in America and Top 50 Solo Producing Realtors in America. He has negotiated literally THOUSANDS of successful contracts.
  9. Choosing a company that has cancelation fees. One way to judge a company’s confidence in their service is reviewing their cancellation fees. If they truly believe they do a good job and keep the promises they make, then there wouldn’t be a need for cancelation fees. At Renters Choice, we are so confident that you will love our service that if you aren’t happy within the first 90 days you can cancel your service and receive 120% of your money back! If you want to cancel after that, there are no fee! It’s as simple as that.

FAQ's

1. I have found other management companies that seem slightly cheaper. Why choose Quiet Property Management?

Simply put, we watch the house so you don't have to think about it. We drive by monthly, email tenants that we have done so and do interior inspections once a tenant has live in your home for 6 months and then reinspect yearly after that. Our tenants know that we are watching constantly therefore our repair bills and turnover costs are significantly lower. 

Managing a property is more than just collecting rent and handling repairs (that tenants tell you about). It is not hard to find companies that will collect rent for $10 less per month. Truly managing a home is constantly making sure the home is taken care of. We do monthly drive by inspections and interior inspections once a tenant has been in the home for 6 months and then yearly after that. That way we know what the situation is after they have settled in but before major problems crop up. If any issues arise, then we are dealing with them early which almost always saves you money.

Also, “marketing” your property is more than throwing up and sign and posting it in Craigslist and a few other (generally ineffective) web sites. Our owners have the option to use our MLS & Realtor.com option for only $295. The Multiple Listing Service (where Realtors and their tenants research what homes are available for rent) and Realtor.com along with the other major web sites to get you the highest rent possible in the shortest time possible. With that added exposure you get more people looking and can be pickier in deciding who you want to rent to. That saves (profit draining) vacancy and allows us to pick a tenant that will stay longer and be easier on the house.

2. Give me an example of actual costs for 1st and typical months.

 

 

Assuming rent is $1400 per month
First month  
Rent income $ 1,400
Management Fee $ (85)
Repairs $ -
Leasing & Marketing fee $ (595)
MLS & Realtor.com program $ (295)
Pet fee income (non-refundable from tenant) $ 250
Reserve account funding (your money held for repairs) $ (250)
Total amount first check $ 525
   
"Normal" months  
Rent income $ 1,400
Management fee $ (85)
Repairs $ -
Your "normal" check would be $ 1,315

 

3. Who determines the rent amount?

After researching the market, we will advise you about current market price then you can make the decision about final price.

4. Is bad credit a bad thing? Or should I only allow tenants that have good credit?

Not all credit is the same. There is bad credit because of a short sale or foreclosure. Then there is repeated poor financial management. We love short sale and foreclosure tenants. They are past home owners and know what the responsibilities are in living in a home. They also show more “pride of ownership” even though they don’t own the house. A tenant with repeated poor credit over a long time shows they aren’t responsible individuals and are not desirable tenants.

While the idea of good credit is appealing, they can make undesirable tenants. In general, they pay on time but they probably won’t stay long. After all, in a market like ours, if you have the credit to buy, your payments could be lower than rent. So if a tenant with good credit chooses to rent they either don’t plan on staying locally for long or plan on buying soon. That results in more turn-over which is always expensive.

5. How much will a tenant put down (security deposit, first and last, pet deposit, etc)?

Typically, the security deposit is the same amount as rent. In addition they will pay a $200 administrative fee and a $250 NON-REFUNDABLE fee pet fee (if they have an approved pet). They will also pay the first month’s rent and tax (prorated if it is not a full month). 

If the tenants credit is below 600 (FICO) then the security deposit is raised to 1.5 times rent (highest allowable in Arizona) plus a $250 NON-REFUNDABLE cleaning fee.

6. What features attract tenants?

In general, people want to rent clean quality homes in good neighborhoods. The amenities should fit the neighborhood. For example, in newer or higher-end homes a property with granite counters or stainless steel appliance rents more easily.  But no matter the age or price range the home should be clean with good quality paint and carpet.

7. What appliances should I include?

A range, oven, dishwasher and disposal are the very basic requirements. Virtually every home should have a refrigerator. On higher end homes a washer and dryer is not needed. On lower priced homes a washer and dryer are a must. Not including a washer, dryer or refrigerator (especially on cheaper homes) results in longer market times and fewer tenant possibilities. That is because many renters don’t have those appliances. They have to come up with a large amount of money just to move. Adding the additional expense of buying appliances can be a deal killer. What happens is that the tenant just looks for another house to rent.

8. How long will it take to rent my home?

Homes in good condition that are clean and ready to go will rent within a week or two.

9. How do you screen tenants?

We use a prominent local screening company that researches credit and criminal history. We also verify employment, income and housing history.

10. Can I require tenants to have renters insurance?

Absolutely.

11. Should I offer yard service or pool service?

We are torn on this one. Fundamentally we think it is a waste of money to offer those services. Plus it sends the message that you as the owner are responsible for the house not the tenant. However, offering those services may result in a higher rent. We suggest if you have an older pool, a pool in a lower priced home or landscaping that is unusually beautiful or desirable, it may make sense to have it professionally maintained. Higher priced homes with pools have higher income tenants and they will probably have the pool serviced anyway so why spend the extra money.

12. Whose responsibility is yard work, pest control, air filters and light bulbs?

The tenants are responsible unless you want to include the service. We can arrange service for you if you desire (we don’t charge a fee for setting that up).

13. What if I get termites or need tree trimming? Who pays for that?

The owners are responsible for unusual and larger maintenance issues.

14. Can I go inside after the house is rented?

Absolutely. We must give the tenants at least 48 hours notice and we will accompany you.

15. Will the tenant contact me? Should I contact them?

They will not contact you and please don’t contact them. We find owners willing to “give away the farm” when they get involved with tenants. You pay us for a reason. Letting us handle  the communication will save you money.

16. Who pays for utilities?

All utilities are a tenant’s responsibility. The only fee that would be outside of that is HOA fees.

17. What is the rental tax or “privilege tax” and who pays that?

Basically they are use taxes because your house is in a given city. Rent tax for Phoenix, Tempe and Maricopa City are 2%, Chandler and Gilbert are 1.5%, Scottsdale is 1.65%, Mesa is 1.75%, and Surprise and Glendale are 2.2%. Avondale is 2.5%. The tenant almost always is pays for it. We collect it from the tenant and pay the city for you.

18. Do I get copies of maintenance bills?

All invoices are attached to the bills in our online system. If you see a charge, look for the attachment to see the invoice.

19. How are repairs (both big and small) handled?

Small items, around $100, are repaired as we see fit. It’s almost always cheaper to just repair/replace a small item than to have a repair person out, give us an estimate, email you for approval and then have the repair person return and fix the item.  

For larger non-emergency items we will email you to get your opinion on how to handle it. We will give you our recommendation but it will be your decision.

For emergency items, we will first make sure the house and tenants are safe and then contact you with what needs to be done and how much it will cost. As an example, if it is summer and the air conditioning goes out we will have the AC people get to the house immediately. Because of our long relationship with them they are automatically authorized to do smaller repairs without further instructions. For larger repairs they will contact us and we will contact you with what needs to be done. 

20. Who pays the HOA dues and what about violations from the HOA?

The owner pays the HOA fees. As for violation letters or “nasty grams”, the tenant is responsible for bringing the house back in to compliance. If there are fines then the lease requires that the tenant pay for the fine. Generally letters are for weeds, parking violations or garbage cans being left out. Of course, if the violation is about a tree trimming or house painting, that would be your responsibility.

21. How much insurance do I need?

We require our clients maintain a minimum of $300,000 in property liability coverage.

22. What is the process if a tenant doesn’t pay rent?

All rents are due on the 1st day of the month and late on the 2nd. Quiet Property Management does not allow grace periods and expect all our residents to have their full rent to us on or before the 1st. If rent is not received by the 3rd business day then a 5 day notice is sent as a written demand letter delivered by certified mail to the property notifying the resident to make payment immediately to avoid an eviction proceeding. If rent is not received after the legal notice period of 5 days is up, then our attorneys file a motion in the local Justice Court for a hearing and judgment against the resident for non-payment and removal from the property. If payment is was not received from the resident at the hearing, then an order from the Judge to remove the tenant is issued to the Court’s Constable and within a week the property is returned to us. This entire process can be done within 4 weeks.

23. Who pays for the eviction process?

Unfortunately, even the best tenants can experience struggles and cannot pay rent. Quiet Property Management is knowledgeable in the laws regarding the Arizona Landlord Tenant Act, and we follow strict guidelines in evicting a tenant. Most evictions are for non-payment of rent, and can be completed within 30 days. Although the tenant will be held responsible for the legal costs, the owner will be initially billed for filing fees and attorney’s costs. These bills, along with back rent and damages to the property will be reimbursed from the tenants deposit excess. Any excess bills will be sent to a collection company.

24. What happens if the tenant damages the home?

Charges for damages are immediately billed to the tenant. If the charges remain unpaid, the delinquent amount is considered “unpaid rent." The tenant will be delivered a 5-day demand notice to pay the charges in full. If the outstanding balance is not paid, eviction proceedings can commence. If would be a very rare situation where a tenant chooses to go into an "eviction" over an unpaid repair charge and risk damage to their credit rating.

25. Do I get a 1099 and a yearend statement?

You will receive a 1099 at the end of the year and a year-end statement can be provided upon request.

26. Is the property required to be registered with the county?

Yes, every home that is used as rental property MUST be registered with the County Assessor’s Office. The registration is $10. Quiet Property Management will register your property for you and bill you for the $10.

27. What is the liability with a swimming pool?

A swimming pool is in high demand in the summer. We have all the appropriate documents in the tenants lease that the State of Arizona require that we give the tenant regarding pools and swimming. It is always recommended to our owners that they carry at least a $1,000,000 umbrella policy as to cover any possible liability concerning their investment homes.

28. What happens when a tenant vacates a property?

Quiet Property Management will usually inspect the home within 24-36 hours after vacating. A full inspection report will be written and any maintenance needed will be charged to the tenant’s security deposit. Either the security deposit or the balance of it will be sent to the tenant within 14-business dayalong with a breakdown of charges.

29. How long does it take to get it rented out again?

Two issues:

  1. Finding a new tenant. We offer a CASH bonus to the current tenants if we find a tenant while they are still in the home. That encourages them to allow showings and make sure the house is presentable. That reduces the chance that the home will be vacant more than a day or two. Plus we will market the home, show the home and do our best to find a tenant prior to vacating the house.
  2. Getting the house ready for the new tenant. We will generally do a pre-walk through prior to the tenants moving out. That allows us to have everything needed to be done for the transition scheduled the day of or the day after the tenant leaves. That way we can usually have a new tenant move in the following day.

30. What if a tenant beaks the lease?

If tenant desires to terminate their lease prior to the ending date of their contract or the agreed upon renewal date, the following option can be taken. The tenant will be responsible to pay rent through the end of the lease OR until the property is re-rented. In addition, the tenant will pay for the advertising and fees. The owner will have no costs if this should occur.

31. How much do I have to pay to get started?

Nothing. The leasing fee and marketing fee come out of the tenant’s first check. The balance goes to you.

32. How long have you been in property management?

Almost 20 years. We started with managing our own rentals. That’s where we learned that being nice and being the ultimate decision maker can be very expensive. When we changed hats and became “property managers” then we stopped making costly mistakes because we could divert money decisions to “the owner”. Early on “the owner” was us. But it gave us the opportunity to think about what we were agreeing to. Today there are many more “owners” that rely on us guiding them on properly managing their property investment.

33. Do you sell houses too?

Absolutely. All sales are lead by our Broker, Paul Ruston. He has helped thousands of buyers and sellers in his 22 years in real estate. So many that he ranked in the Top 300 Realtors in America, then the Top 100 Realtors in America and also the Top 50 Solo Producing Realtors in America according to Realtor.com

34. How long is our contract between Quiet Property Management and me? Can I cancel it? Are there any fees with canceling?

The management agreement is for one year and renews annually. At any point, a 30 day notice can be given to cancel the agreement. There are no fees to cancel.

Quiet Property Management wants to manage your property for you until you decide to sell it or move in. Therefore, we want to give you the best service possible.

35. Has anyone ever gotten mad and canceled their agreement?

Never. Some owners sell, want to move back in or have had their homes go into foreclosure. But no one has ever canceled their agreement because of poor service.

36. What happens if I want to sell the house?

Being a full services real estate company Quiet Property Management can either sell your property to the tenant or put it on the market to sell. As your agent, we sell your investment and offer savings in doing so.

37. Should I allow pets?

Our focus is getting the highest quality long-term tenant possible. Owning a pet (along with staying in a job for many years and staying in a home for many years) is a sign of long term behavior. We have never had a pet cause damage large enough that the non-refundable pet fee and security deposit won’t cover to repair. We think pets are a good idea. But you don’t have to agree.

38. Where do you advertise my home?

We use dozens of web sites including Craigslist and Zillow. You can also choose to add the MLS & Realtor.com program. The Multiple Listing Service (how Realtors and their clients know your home is available for rent) along with Realtor.com (most popular and widely search engine for tenants both locally and nationally are how most tenants will find your home. These sites and many other web sites expose your home to as many high quality tenants as possible.

The unsung hero of advertising is the sign we place in your yard. Most tenants will drive neighborhoods that they want to live in. Our signs have a phone number that a tenant can call to get specific information on your home. No empty info tubes or missed opportunities.

39. Why is MLS so important?

Because the highest quality tenants are working with Realtors to find a home. Realtors have a system that can email their clients whenever a home comes on the market that meets their needs. Plus this is done automatically so that the client is never forgotten. That results in faster renting to higher quality tenants.

40. What is a good tenant?

Good tenants are ones that display “long term behavior”. That’s generally long employment at a single employer and years at each residence. Ideally they live in the area and have a specific draw to the area (schools, family or job location). Credit is less important than stability.

41. Do I need a property manager?

It just depends on your personality, how busy you are and where you live.

  • If you live out of townit is almost impossible to manage a home remotely. What happens is that you end up forgiving things to avoid the problems of having to deal with traveling or managing things long distance.
  • If you live locally but have a busy career and find dealing with “that house” an annoyance or distraction then you need a manager. What happens is that you don’t have time and ignore problems hoping the will go away. They never go away.
  • If you are nice and have a hard time saying “no” then you NEED a manager. It is the beauty of us having an owner to answer to. We can’t agree to anything without someone else’s input. Worst case, if you are any more than one of those things you are losing money. Call us NOW!!

42. How do I pick the right property management company and how are you different?

  1. Go online and examine several property management companies’ web sites. Try and figure out what each is offering for the fees they charge.
  2. If you were hiring someone to manage it, ask yourself what you would want them to do? Drive by monthly? Of course. How can they know the condition without seeing the house? But does anyone do that? Quiet Property Management does. Almost everyone else doesn’t. Drive-by inspections are very labor intensive which drives up costs. You can’t charge $50 - $75 per month and spend that much on labor.
  3. Since managing an expensive home is no harder than managing a more affordable home ask yourself why it shoud cost more to manage it.
  4. Watch out for “smoke and mirrors”.
  5. We all “advertise” using the free or nearly free web sites (Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia, etc.).
  6. Are thye offering MLS & Realtor.com? How much is it extra? It is only $295 with Quiet.
  7. We all use tenant screening companies.
  8. We all write up the lease.
  9. We all collect rent and handle repairs.
  10. Almost everyone uses on-line property management programs that track owner’s expenses. They are generally available whenever you want to see them.

43. So if all Realtors know MLS exposure is important and we all know that you have to see a property monthly to know if it is okay, why doesn’t everyone include that?

Too expensive. Property Management company owners would have to raise their fees which lowers their perceived cost advantage.

44. How long does it take to get Quiet on the job?

A day or two at the most. We are always available.

45. What if I want to use Quiet but am already working with another company?

Give us a call or email us and let us know what is going on and why you want to change. If you are comfortable, we encourage you to speak to your current company to see if there is anything they can do to make you happy. If you are beyond that, examine your management agreement. Find out what the cancelation policy is. Give them the required notice and give us a call or email us at info@quiet-pm.com. We would love to work with you.

46. Do I get a discount if I have multiple properties?

Yes. If you have 5 or more properties you received a 10% discount on all fees.

47. What types of property do you manage?

Single family homes, patio homes and townhomes/condos.

48. What areas do you cover?

All of the general Phoenix area including Cave Creek, Maricopa and Queen Creek.

49. Can I see my property accounting online?

Yes. You will have 24/7/365 access to your account information including receipts for all money spent on our web site. You will be given secured access once you begin using our service.

50. How do I get copies of contracts and other information for my home?

All copies of contracts and other documents are available on our web site. You will also see all communication with the tenant and service providers.

51. Is there a reserve account for repairs?

Yes. We require $250 left in reserve. That is always your money and will be returned to you once we no longer manage your home.

52. When can I expect my check?

No later than the 15th of the month. We have to allow time for checks to clear.

53. How common are evictions and how do you handle them?

We have NEVER had an eviction. EVER. Hard to believe but it’s true. Has a tenant ever had to leave before their lease is up? Of course. Tenants have lost jobs and had to move, had issues in their lives that require a change. But everyone wants their security deposit back. If you work with them you can get them out and get a new tenant in before it costs you, as the owner, money.

Evictions are a result of choosing the wrong tenant, poor communication with them and letting things go on too long. “I just need 2 weeks” is never acceptable from a tenant. Of course that doesn’t guaranty that an eviction won’t happen. We just try very hard to avoid it.

54. Can I do my own maintenance?

Yes.

55. If I need carpet, paint or other larger expenses, how is that handled?

We will arrange everything for you, arrange access and even pay the bills for you. Plus our preferred vendors are known for great prices and quality work. That is why we still work with them. We don’t make anything off of any vendor.

If you want multiple bids that require multiple trips for us, there may be a fee. Please call us and discuss your desires. That being said, it is almost unheard of for our vendors to be underbid.

56. How do I know that I am getting market rent?

Prior to marketing the home the first time, each time thereafter and prior to signing any lease extensions we will provide you with a thorough market analysis and advise.

57. Should I offer multi-year leases? How about short-term leases?

We generally don’t advise accepting multi-year leases. With rental rates rising you are losing money with that decision. Remember, we are specifically looking for tenant’s that display long term behavior. Those tenants will stay even if you raise the rent.

We don’t believe short term leases are desirable.

58. Should I offer a Home Warranty?

While Home Warranties aren't perfect, we have found that many owners save money by having a home warranty on the property. Like all warranties, a home warranty is supposed to protect against expensive, unforeseen repair bills and provide peace of mind. For a homeowner who doesn't have an emergency fund or who wants to protect their emergency fund, a home warranty can act as a buffer.