Owner's Frequently asked questions
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Q: Why use Total Property Solutions?
A: Total Property Solutions was founded in order to supply high-quality, cost effective and technologically advanced property management services to the discriminating owner. Our competition charges close to 20% per year (one month rent and 8 to 10% per year) on each property. They then supply very little benefit to the property owner except for collecting rent, their own fees and calling a plumber when necessary. We on the other hand use technology, commonsense and provide exceptional customer service at a reasonable price. At Total Property Solutions we know that protecting your property and keeping it rented is job one. We perform an extensive inspection of each property at the time you have engaged our services. We will tell you what items should be fixed and what small problems now could become larger problems in the future, possibly costing you more money and a loss of income down the road. We then re-inspect the property at least twice a year paying close attention to these small problems and making sure your tenants are treating your property with respect it deserves. This re-inspection is unusual in the property management industry but it gives us and our clients the peace of mind knowing that their property is in the best possible condition and will always be ready for a new tenant with little or no downtime. This not only will help preserve your property, but save you money in the long run.
Q: What happens when there is a problem with the property?
A: Problems are typically identified by Total Property Solutions during an inspection or from a communication from the tenant. We very often have success troubleshooting the problem over the phone with the tenant and can resolve the problem or at least identify it’s most probable cause right away. From there, we classify the urgency and send a repairman out accordingly. If it is estimated the problem can be resolved for less than $300.00 we will typically not notify the owner although the work order will be available for the owner to see on our secure website. Should the repair be more expensive, we would contact the owner to get approval for such repair. The exception being in the case of an emergency at which time we would still make every effort to contact the owner before initiating the repair, but would not delay the repair if the owner could not be reached.
Q: Are there start-up costs to managing my property?
A: Total Property Solutions can begin managing your property almost immediately. We would only need a signed management agreement and an initial deposit from you into your owner reserve account. Upon receipt of these, we would then perform a property inspection which would generate a condition report with any recommendations for repairs or maintenance. Your property would then be integrated into our online management system where you can see real time financial reports, property condition reports, photographs, tenant communications, and work orders.
Q: Who is responsible for insurance?
A: The owner of the property should always have a fire and liability insurance policy in place to cover losses to the property. If there is a mortgage on the property, the lender will usually require this as well. The owner should also consider a loss of rent rider which would reimburse him for any rental income he were to lose due to a property that was damaged and untenable. Tenants should also have a renter’s insurance policy which covers losses to the tenant’s personal property.
Q: Who takes care of the lawn?
A: In general the tenant is responsible for lawn care as well as maintaining plantings and shrubbery trimmed. Total Property Solutions does have contractors available to provide these services should the tenant not wish to do them himself.
Q: What are normal maintenance items for the Landlord?
A: Although the tenant is usually responsible for normal maintenance of perishable items, the landlord is responsible for ensuring that all fixtures and equipment is functioning. Annual maintenance programs to ensure that fixtures are working at peak efficiencies will tend to reduce repair costs and extend the life of your appliance. Typical services include annual furnace and air conditioning inspections and cleaning, Air conditioning coil cleaning and flushing hot water heaters.
Q: What are normal maintenance items for the tenant?
A: Generally, the tenant is responsible for maintaining those perishable items that require regular cleaning and replacement. Total Property Solutions prepares a specific list of items and frequencies with which they must be addressed and delivers this list to the tenant. Typical items would include regularly changing furnace filters, water filters, thermostat batteries, cycling the washers with sanitizer
Q: What is normal wear and tear?
A: The answer to this question is a bit subjective. When living in a home, one would expect occasional scratches, scuff marks, nail holes, loose knobs and traffic wear on the carpets. As a general rule, after a year’s occupancy if a painter can touch-up a room with little more than a brush in a half an hour or a handyman can address all items in an hour or two it is normal wear and tear. If the house must be completely repainted, items are damaged beyond repair or missing, or a contractor must be hired to make repairs, it is excessive damage.
Q: Should I allow pets, smoking, and children?
A: A pet and smoking policies are determined by the landlord. Typically, if a landlord decides to allow pets, an additional deposit could be collected. However, service animals are not considered pets under the law and cannot be excluded from a property, nor can an additional deposit be charged. Full details of our pet policy can be found in our owners packet. We typically recommend a limited smoking policy that permits the Tenants to smoke outside the home/unit. But it is the owners choice and we will implement whatever policy you prefer. Children, or family size, is a protected class under Fair Housing Laws. As such we cannot discriminate based on family structure or size.
Q: How are security deposits handled?
A: Security deposits are held by us in a trust account. When the tenant moves out, we retain that portion of the deposit necessary to pay for tenant damages and cleaning beyond normal wear and tear. Any balance is returned to the tenant with any accrued interest and within the time frame established by the Landlord Tenant Act.
Q: When can I expect my check and monthly reports?
A: If rent is paid on time your check will be mailed out or transferred into your account within five days of receipt. Through our web portal you can review and download a variety of different reports at any time by logging into your portal and printing it out. We can also forward monthly reports to you if you so request.
Q: What is your policy for property insurance
A: We ask that Total Property Solutions LLC. be added as an additional insured on the property’s landlord insurance policy. There is typically no extra charge for doing this.
Q: Do you offer properties for sale?
A: We have teamed many superior real estate agents who will sell your property and offer exceptional service to all of their clients.
Q: Do you offer fee discounts for multiple properties or larger buildings?
A: Yes, on a case by case basis we have flexible pricing to satisfy different clients with different needs.
Q: How do you screen tenants?
A: Tenant screening is an integral part of our service. We run each applicant through a 50-state database for credit, civil, and criminal complaints. We run a credit report verify income with pay stubs and other documentation to verify what is disclosed in the application.
Q: How often do you perform interior inspections?
A: We inspect each property at least 2 times a year examining condition of the property and possible problems in the future. You will receive a detailed inspection report along with photographs to insure that the property is being well maintained. Owners just need to log into their portal in our website to view the most recent and past inspections.
Q: I curently live in the house to be rented. Should I turn off the utilities before I leave
A: It is best to keep the utilities on and in your name to insure that there will be no damage because of frozen pipes or other similar problems. Leaving on the utilities is also necessary to show your property to prospective tenants.
Q: When you take over management, may we increase the rent on my current tenants?
A: Yes you may increase the rent under certain circumstances such as the tenant does not have a lease or if the initial term of the lease has expired, or the tenant is living at the property on a month-to-month agreement. Thirty to sixty days notice is required, depending on the terms of the lease.
Q: Can we limit tenants to only one pet or exclude certain breeds?
A: We will add all of your pet restrictions to your management agreement.
Q: I have a storage shed in the back yard. Do I have to empty it and provide it to the tenant?
A: We do not recommend withholding any portion of the property excluded from the rent and if the Items are of value it would be a shame for something to happen to them.
Q: Do I have to landscape or make other improvements?
A: It is not necessary to do anything you don’t want to. However, you will be able to command more rent by making improvements that most tenants will expect or appreciate. Remember that the tenants will want to enjoy the yard just as you enjoy yours. We can obtain free estimates for any work needed at the property and help you to have a house that will have a low vacancy rate and receive the highest rent the market will bare.
Q: What do you do to avoid evictions?
A: The most important action we do to prevent eviction is in our pre-qualification procedures. We do intensive background, criminal, civil and rental history checks. We check each and every application with investigative quality efficiency using the techniques and tools we have acquired over more than twenty years of processing applications. When a tenant has not paid rent on time, or has violated the lease in some other manner, we promptly take action and issue all required legal notices. We further maintain communication with the tenant and make every effort to resolve the violation in order to avoid judicial proceedings.