Choosing a Good Landlord Case Study #3
Choosing a good landlord is as important as finding a good tenant. The reason is clear. This property managers are supposed to be your eyes and ears because you are out of town or have too many properties to handle by yourself. This case does not reflect a good choice of landlords.
A woman from North Carolina called asking for help. She owns multiple properties in the Warner Robins and Kathleen areas. She lost contact with the property manager after multiple attempts to find out why the monthly rents from her properties had not been sent in two months. Her landlord assured her that the rents had been sent, but she had not received anything. It turned out that this homeowner had only received three months’ worth of rent in the last Six months. The homeowner was desperate to find some one that would help her figure out what was going on.
The homeowner gave us the address of the rental house in question. We stopped by to find a family still living in the house. The family spoke no English. After finding a friend who could speak Spanish, we went back and had a talk. Here is what we found:
– The family was illegal
– The tenant had been asking the Landlord to fix the A/C unit for months with no results. The unit was now leaking on the floor and causing rot.
– Repairs the landlord promised had been done were not completed.
– The landlord told the Homeowner that he replaced the stove with a new stove after the tenants complained about the old unit sparking and becoming a danger. The replacement stove was used also.
– The tenants proved they had been paying rent plus extra for the water bill that was in the landlord’s name. The homeowner was getting charged extra for grass cutting services. Neither cost half what was getting charged.
When choosing a good landlord to take care of your investment properties, make sure of what your getting. Ask the right questions and follow up. Here are some tips that will help you find the right property manager for you. Of course, if you have been burned by property managers before, you can always try our system of professional landlords on for size.
We don’t ask for reserve funds
We can sometimes cover some of the repair costs
We are ACH capable, so your rents get to you fast, But more of this later…
ANY landlord/property manager should have a list of references that you can contact. A landlords best critics are the clients they hold. Call the homeowners currently doing business with them and ask for their input.
Ask them who they use to repair these rental properties. The answer should be multiple. If the property manager says they have a specific person for repairs, plumbing, HVAC, that is a good indication the manager and the contractor have a side deal in place. A good landlord will shop around with the contractors they trust and know, but should always be shopping around to keep the prices low.
Any work being done should have pictures taken. We started our professional landlord business because we were tired of the contractors our property managers used were giving kickbacks to the management companies and work was not done right or not done at all. Ask for “before” and “after” pictures of any work to be done over a certain price. We ask for anything over $150.
Does the property manager offer periodic transaction reports? Any landlord worth the money will keep good records of each rental property. Part of the benefit of having investment rentals is tax breaks and of course the IRS LOVES good records.
Some landlords will have a management contract that states they get a percentage of the monthly rent. This is NOT what you want. A good landlord should only get paid when the homeowner gets paid. The agreement should say, “X percent of all rents COLLECTED”. If you’re not getting paid, why should they?
Many of our local Warner Robins, Kathleen and Bonaire civilian and military Patrons have loyalty to agents they have work with before. Good business deserves repeat business. We hope you will take this information and continue having a good relationship with the property manager you like. BUT, if your last experience was not great, we want your business. Ask us why professional landlords are Better Than Property Management.