Do I really need a Property Manager?
- Do you live further 30 miles from your rental property?
- Are you familiar with the laws that regulate landlord-tenant relationships?
- How about credit reporting laws, fair housing laws, lead based paint laws?
- How about laws that regulate military tenants and state and federal discrimination laws?
- How about local zoning laws, fire and building codes and your HOA covenants and declarations?
- Are you comfortable in contentious situations?
It is important to distance yourself from your tenants and take emotion out of a landlord/tenant relationship. That can be a difficult thing to do for owners who have an emotional connection with the home they are about to rent out. Having a knowledgable property manager will keep you out of legal trouble and ensure a stress-free, enjoyable time as a landlord.
Why should I hire Omyra Inc. instead of a big name company?
Wow. Good question. Some of the bigger property management companies handle nearly 2000 properties. It’s possible that you may feel lost in the system with an organization that big. We utilize the same systems and cutting edge technology, but because we have a smaller staff and manage fewer homes, you can count on a more personal level of service.
With us, you have a direct line to your broker – anytime. Our clients receive exceptional customer service at great rate – that’s an advantage of a smaller organization. Be sure to check out our clients’ opinions.
How do you handle maintenance requests?
Systematically. We follow a checklist. If the request is an emergency, we respond immediately. We have an emergency number that tenants can call anytime if they have a fire or a flood situation.
If the request is not an emergency, we typically respond within the next business day and a repair takes place within a few days. Obviously some situations are more urgent than others and we take that into account.
We talk with the tenant and try to diagnose the problem as accurately as possible by phone. Many times we can help the tenant solve the problem without dispatching a technician.
Most repairs that require actual work can be taken care of by our regular repair people. We rely on all purpose handyman type labor to save you money
Occasionally we have a major issue that requires building permits and contractors (usually an insurance company is involved.) Whatever the scope of the maintenance, we can handle it.
When we dispatch a maintenance technician to your property we will let you know. If the repair is minor, the technician will handle it on the spot. If the repair is more extensive, we will discuss it with you before proceeding. Once the repair is complete and we are invoiced, we will let you know the final cost and you will see that shortage the next time you receive a distribution.
Can you work with my Home Warranty Company?
We tried. We really did.
Omyra Inc. does not work with home warranty companies. The process is just too cumbersome. A very simple maintenance request that could have been completed in an hour the next business day was taking four business days.
Instead of a simple work order submission to one of our regular vendors, we had to contact the warranty company, wait on hold for 10-40 minutes, then contact the vendor assigned. Frequently the vendor would not call the tenants so we would have to make 3-4 more calls to set up the visit. And often the service fee was more than we would have paid the vendor.
Home warranties are overpriced insurance policies and they protect relatively low cost repairs. Take the premiums and put them in a savings account. Use the money in that account to handle repairs. We promise you will be better off in the long run.
If you insist on having a home warranty, we will be happy to recommend some other property managers in the area.
Can I do maintenance on my own property?
If you have a general contractor’s license – maybe. Otherwise, no.
This is one more thing we have tried and found it does not work for many reasons.
If this is important to you we will be happy to recommend some other property managers in the area.
Can I specify who does maintenance on my property?
No. If you have a great contractor or handyman, introduce us. We can always use more great vendors. If we start using your guy we will try to use him or her on your property. But no guarantees.
If this is important to you we will be happy to recommend some other property managers in the area.
What’s an escrow account?
An escrow account (also called a trust account) is a specifically designated account registered with the real estate commission where we, as your broker, hold funds that belong to you. The Georgia Real Estate Commission requires that your portion of the escrow account NEVER dip below zero. So what does that mean? When we set up your management services, you will deposit money in your escrow account as a maintenance fund. In most cases this is $300. If a maintenance item arises that will cost less than your escrow funds, we can order it and pay for it out of escrow. When we collect the next rent check, we re-establish the maintenance fund. If, however, the maintenance cost exceeds the funds in escrow, we will work with you to make satisfactory financial arrangements that comply with the law.
Shouldn’t We Leave Room for Negotiation when Setting the Rent Amount?
No. The psychology of renting a home is quite a bit different than the psychology of buying a home. Prospective tenants tend to look for homes in $200 rent windows. They frequently say “I am looking for something between $1000 and $1200. If you have priced your $1200 home at $1300 to allow for negotiation, you have missed the boat on these particular tenants.
Another problem with this strategy is that in a hot market, great prospects often come from sign calls. Recently we have had applications on a home prior to putting it into the listing service, just from sign calls. Sign calls come from passers-by, but lots of them come from neighbors with friends or relatives ready to move. When they hear your inflated price, you have lost them. They will never know that the price has been corrected a week or a month later.
Price your home based on what similar homes in the neighborhood or school district are being rented for. Don’t try to rationalize that you have nicer carpet or a fancier countertop. Time is money. Each day that your home sits empty is a day that you pay interest, taxes, insurance and utilities with no income to offset them. Over the course of a 12 month lease, the $50 you are holding out for adds up to $600. How many days does it take you to spend $600 on your empty house? Probably not that many!
If you are determined not to take less than your advertised price, then just hold firm. If your home is priced correctly, it will rent to good tenants without a reduction.
Is it OK for me to turn off the utilities?
No. Why would you want to do that? We know, we know. You are trying to keep your expenses down. Here’s the thing – the utilities in an empty house are not going to break you, but having them off will definitely affect the rentability of the home.
When prospective tenants go into your home, they are imagining themselves living there. In fact, if they bring their kids, the kids are going to almost always pick out their bedrooms. They do it in every house they look at. The adults imagine where the furniture will go. The chef imagines himself working in the kitchen. The reader mentally picks out a spot for solitude. If those mental images are pleasant, the application process begins.
If your utilities are off, the home is hot in the summertime. In July and August it is both hot and wet (We could hardly be the Best Atlanta Property Management Company and not know that!). In addition to the temperature, the lack of air flow through the home leaves it musty. Cobwebs that would be swept away by normal ventilation expand. Rooms that need artificial light look gloomy.
We cannot market your home unless all utilities are on.
Will I get to Approve or Disapprove my tenants?
To an extent, yes. Prior to renting your home we will discuss the application(s) with you and explain to you why we are planning to approve or disapprove an application.
If there are multiple applications we will help you select the best fit.
At the end of the day we almost always come to an agreement with our owners on who we should rent the property to.
We don’t want pets in our house. OK?
Not really. It is your house, so of course we will manage it in a way that satisfies you. If you are determined not to have pets, we will only rent to pet-free tenants, but well over half of our applicants have pets, so this strategy can greatly affect the vacancy time you experience.
Our experience has shown that responsible tenants are responsible with their pets. We are very particular in our selection process. We only rent to well qualified tenants. The result is that we rarely have any major pet damage.
We always charge tenants with pets a non-refundable pet fee. They pay this fee up front and it passes through to your bottom line. If the pets do any damage beyond normal wear and tear we will handle that damage with the security deposit.
We read the papers, too, and we know there are some horror stories, but we feel very comfortable saying that the advantages of allowing pets on a case by case basis FAR outweighs the disadvantages of not doing so.
Is it OK for the Owner to hold the Security deposit?
No. Georgia landlord-tenant law requires security deposits to be held in escrow accounts established for that purpose. Owners who own 10 or less rental units between themselves, their spouse and their children combined are excepted. The law goes on to say that the exception does not apply if you pay someone to manage your property for you, including collection of rent. The law further says that violation of this particular section removes the right of the landlord to withhold any part of the tenant’s security deposit. All the best Atlanta Property Management companies hold security deposits in escrow accounts and Omyra Inc. is no exception.