Frequently Asked Questions
What will my vacancy rent for?
We use and objective rent survey of properties currently on the market to determine the high and low rent in the neighborhood and the average. Place the property on the market at any price within that range. The higher the price selected over the average, the more likely the process will take longer to obtain a tenant. It is a fact that neither the owner nor the property manager determines the rental rate. The rental rate is determined by market demand.
How long will it take to rent my vacancy?
We strive to rent your property within 30 days of listing.
How do you screen for good tenants?
We require a detailed written application from each adult and photo identification. All applications are carefully screened for credit, rental and ownership references, and income. A credit check will reveal hidden addresses and slow pay history. If the credit history passes our requirements we will verify addresses lived at and talk to the owner about previous tenancies. Our access to tax records will allow us to verify ownership and a “reverse” phone directory will allow us to determine who owns the telephone numbers provided. We will also verify employment and income levels. No applicant will be approved until all questions are answered to our satisfaction. In some cases we may lower standards on a particular property in order to be realistic about getting the property rented in a reasonable time frame.
How is advertising handled?
We start the marketing process at the time we receive a 30 day notice from your resident or at the time we sign you up for management. Your property will appear on our vacancy list that is posted at our office as well as on our website. We will also place a sign on the property to attract drive by rental prospects. Approximately 1 out of 4 prospects come to us from signage at the property. We will also advertise your property online with one or more rental databases.
What should I do to my property in order to prepare for a new resident?
After prices, the most important controllable factor in renting a property is condition. The walls should be freshly painted (or appear freshly painted), carpets cleaned with no tears or loose areas, clean all appliances, thoroughly clean kitchen and bathrooms, and clean or replace blinds. Finally, the yard should be in good condition on all sides of the property. We are happy to inspect the property for you to help get the most out of your renovation dollars. Our company is full service and can provide all vendors needed to get your property “rent ready” quickly and at a great price.
How is maintenance handled?
Residents are instructed to call, email or write us with all repair requests. We will then compare the request to our history of maintenance on your property. We also keep on file your dollar limits for repairs as well as your contact information. Most callers need routine assistance and we are able to help them either by walking them through a simple procedure or by scheduling one of our technicians or vendors to assist in resolving the problem.
Who handles problems during the night, weekends or on holidays?
After business hours and on weekends the office phone is forwarded to the maintenance department on duty. This eliminates the tenants having to remember an additional number in case of emergency. We will then talk to the resident and determine the best course of action. Many times we can resolve the problem over the phone or by simply calling one of our on call technicians available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
What happens if the resident doesn’t pay rent?
If your resident does not pay rent as agreed, we will make contact with them as soon as possible after the rent due date. Our due date is normally the 5th of the month, but an already existing lease may be later. If we cannot get a satisfactory answer regarding when payment will be made, we will start a process known as an unlawful detainer. It may include a court trial, but it usually doesn’t. The resident may move at any time, we may obtain a court order to move the tenant with local law enforcement, or we may obtain a stipulated judgment where the resident is ordered to pay all monies owed, including future rents, or face eviction with another judgment. You are responsible for all legal fees, but will be reimbursed once fees are collected from the tenant.
What happens if the tenant bounces their rent check?
As soon as we determine a rent check has been returned for insufficient funds, we will process it and notify the resident that rent is now owes along with a processing and late fee. If necessary we will serve the tenants a Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. Most residents end up clearing the check, but it may delay your statement and funds.
Can you help me if I already have a resident?
Yes, we may have to continue using your lease until it concludes, or we may be able to sign your current resident onto our lease. In cases where the resident is behind in rent, we can take the necessary steps to either get them to pay or evict them if we cannot obtain payment. Many residents will suddenly find a way to pay the rent or move as soon as they hear we are in place to follow through with all collection issues.
Who pays for repairs after a resident moves out?
After the move out inspection, we will determine who is responsible to pay the bills to bring the property back to the condition it was in prior to the resident moving in. You are allowed by law to charge the residents deposit for rent, damages above normal wear and tear and cleaning. We will charge the resident for everything that they should be charged for. We will compare the move in condition to the current condition. We want you to know that we consider this an important time in the management cycle, and we will protect your interests. We can use the resident’s security deposit to pay for all or part of the bills. If the residents deposit doesn’t cover the costs, then you will be responsible for the balance. In that event, we will bill the resident and turn them over to collection if the amount due is not promptly paid.
Who holds the residents security deposit?
We hold the residents security deposit in our trust account until it is paid back to the resident or used for rent, cleaning or repairs upon move out.
When do I get reports and when do you send me money each month?
All rents are due on the first and considered late if received after the 5th of the month. Most owner checks are mailed on or before the 10th. We do email and mail all statements with copies of available invoices paid. We encourage all owners to receive their funds via ACH. This allows us to electronically send your funds directly to your bank. If your funds are sent via ACH, we will email your statement and your report the same day. Note: Weekends and holidays can delay owner proceed checks to the next business day.
What liabilities do I have and how can I protect myself?
As the owner of the property you could be held liable for known and some unknown conditions at the property. In most cases your fire/liability insurance policy will cover you adequately. You should discuss with your insurance company the amount of recommended limits for your situation. Our management agreement is with you, which is the same as most other management companies, has an indemnity clause that places basic liability for all acts on the owner. Insurance companies know this and most will willingly name the property manager as either additional insured or name the manager as an interested party to the policy at no additional cost. This is important to do as you want the insurance company to protect us both in the unlikely event of a lawsuit. In most cases, just acting with common sense and acting quickly will lessen the likelihood of a lawsuit.
Who actually handles my property and how do we communicate?
You will be assigned to an available property manager that knows the area your property is located in. You may meet with them to sign up your account or by appointment at any time. You will get a letter from our office giving you the managers contact information including phone number, office extension and email address. Email is the preferred method for all contact with our office.
What if the resident breaks the lease?
If the resident moves without notice we will take possession and contact you immediately. The remaining time on the lease will be billed to the resident as it comes due. If no funds are paid by the moved out resident, we will turn the amount owed over to collections.
How often do you check on my property?
During a vacancy we normally show your property 2-3 times per week. While rented, we schedule your property for annual inspections. This inspection is sometimes called a “leak check”, since we check for roof leaks, pipe leaks, and tub/shower leaks. We also photograph the property provide you with a written report of our findings. The inspection normally takes 1-2 hours which includes setting up the appointment, the inspection, writing the report, and sending it to you. We bill this inspection at our normal rate for maintenance. If you want additional inspections, they can be arranged. We also suggest you have a termite inspection performed at least every year to check for dry rot, leaks under the house or in the attic and for infestations.
Why should I use your company vs. another?
Hopefully you can see that Keystone Realty & Management is a great value for you and your property. We are an industry leader in technology making us convenient for renters and owners alike. We are also totally dedicated to property management and maintenance so we are not distracted by the sales market. We treat your property as if it is our own.
How long do we sign an agreement for?
Our property management agreements start with one year term and then become month to month. In some cases a longer term can be used by mutual agreement. Once the initial term is completed, the agreement can be cancelled with a 60 day notice.
Do you have references?
We are happy to provide two references upon request. Once we receive your request we will contact two active clients to get their permission to have you contact them.
Can the resident get my phone number and address if I use you?
Our office staff is trained to protect your confidentiality. We will not release any information about you to anyone without your approval. Be aware that anyone can access county tax records and if your address is on the tax roles, you may be contacted.
What does all of this cost?
Costs vary depending on the type of property you have. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All rates are subject to negotiation based on location and number of properties in your portfolio. Our rates are highly competitive within our industry.