Tenant screenings are one of the most important steps in managing a property. You can do every other step of the property management process right but if you put the wrong tenant in a home, it can be a disaster.
We look for good tenants for our owners. A good tenant is someone who can afford to pay the rent, will take care of the home and will leave the property in good condition when they vacate. Speaking frankly, some of this is difficult to identify through screening. We have developed a process over the years to screen tenants to identify the good and the bad.
Prior to showing potential tenants your home, our leasing agent will have a conversation with them to determine if they meet our basic criteria, sufficient income and credit. After the showing, if the tenant decides to rent the property, they are required to complete our application process. We require that all adults who will be occupying the home complete and pass the application process. The screening includes criminal, credit and residential history. If they have previously rented, we reach out to prior landlords to confirm the landlord would rent to the tenant again.
A note on credit scores: Credit scores cannot be taken at face value. Our interest is in the tenant’s likelihood to pay their rent. If their score does not meet our criteria but they meet in every other category, we will review the credit history to determine if there are extenuating factors such as medical bills or an old foreclosure or short sale, but not other housing related issues. If we can determine they are a low risk tenant, we may choose to proceed with the tenant. Evictions are a non-starter, previous evictions will be an immediate disqualification. All tenant screening is done in compliance with applicable Fair Housing Laws/Regulations.
Every owner of a rental property has two goals that are somewhat at odds. Number one, they want to maximize their rent. Number two, they want to minimize vacancy. Simple economics tells us that you have to find a balance between these two goals. Underprice your property and you will rent it quickly but leave money on the table and reduce cash flow. Over price your property and you may experience difficulty finding a tenant, which can become costly.
At Resolute Property Management, we want to help you find the balance between these two goals. Our team is constantly monitoring the market and tracking the various inputs that drive rents and marketing times. We monitor the marketing times and rents of all residential investment properties in our area.
We will provide you with a comprehensive market analysis that will show you comparable properties to yours, along with the amount those properties rented for and the number of days it took for them to get rented. We will also walk you through our pricing recommendation and pricing process, answering any questions you have related to the rental amount. The final decision is up to you.
The number one reason that tenants move from a property is not rent. It is because of the tenant’s dissatisfaction with the way their maintenance requests are handled. At Resolute Property Management, we recognize that tenant turnover is a huge expense for our clients so we have designed our tenant facing processes and systems in a manner that increases tenant retention.
Tenants make maintenance requests through our online tenant portal. The requests are instantly routed to our property management team. The PM team first reviews the request to determine if the issue is something the tenant should be able to address or something that we can troubleshoot with them. We cultivate a library of online tutorials and YouTube videos to help educate the tenants on problems they can address themselves. This video library helps renters troubleshoot minor maintenance issues, saving money for owners and aggravation for tenants.
If the issue cannot be addressed by the tenant, we either send the ticket to our handyman or to a contractor/partner. The handymen we work with are great at completing just about any service that does not require a licensed professional. However, if the issue requires a licensed professional, we assign the work order to one of our amazing contractor partners to complete.
We have implemented an online system that allows for collaboration between our property managers, the contractors and the tenants. Because this system allows for direct communication and scheduling between the tenant and the contractor, it reduces the amount of time it takes to receive, dispatch and complete a maintenance issue. Our innovative Tenant Response System leads to greater tenant satisfaction, keeping tenants happy and maximizing your ROI.
Once a repair or maintenance ticket has been completed, we send the tenant a Satisfaction Survey, which helps us monitor for any hiccups that may be occurring in our processes and enables us to maintain our high standards of excellence.
Resolute has worked with hundreds of contractors/vendors through the years. What we have learned through all of that is to maintain a strong contractor network requires almost constant nurturing, like a garden. We are always looking for new contractors to add to our network while at the same time monitoring the performance of our existing network to determine who needs to go.
The vendors we work with are contractors that have proven to be reliable in service and competitive in pricing. Any contractor who works with Resolute is required to provide proof of insurance and licensure in their trade, if the work requires a license. With the Tenant Satisfaction Survey, renters are asked to rate the contractor after completion of the service ticket; Resolute monitors these responses closely.
Our team has worked in residential property management for years. While we are not contractors, we do have the experience to keep a healthy skepticism of our contractors recommendations. This means that while we trust our contractors, we know that it is our job to protect our clients from unnecessary and costly repairs. If the contractors recommended course of action does not make sense to our property managers, they will discuss the recommendation with the contractor and look at alternative courses of action.
It is important to note that we are big advocates of making the right repair first, versus the wrong (cheaper) repair multiple times. We have seen time and again how choosing the cheapest path over the more complete repair can lead to repeated contractor calls, higher expense in the long run, and unhappy tenants.
Unfortunately, late rent and non-payment of rent are a fact of life when owning a rental property. No matter how effective your tenant screening process is, tenants sometimes don’t pay their rent (or pay it late). Our leases state that rent is due on the first with a 5 day grace period. On the 5th of the month, we prepare 3 day notices (the first step in the eviction process is to post a 3 day notice on the door). At the same time, our system automatically emails the tenants to remind them that their rent is due. On the 6th, we post the 3 day notices on the doors. Most of the time, the tenant will pay once they understand we are serious about pursuing an eviction. If the tenant has not paid after the 3 day notice has been posted, Resolute will engage the services of an attorney to evict the tenant.
Prior to move-in, Resolute Property Management performs a thorough inspection of the property, documented with pictures to confirm the exact move-in condition of the property. This report is provided to the tenant and kept on file for the owner to review.
We review our expectations with the tenant to ensure they understand that they are agreeing to keep the property in the condition they receive it. Further, we collect a security deposit to ensure the tenant has skin in the game. Prior to the lease expiration date, we send the tenants a letter detailing what steps they need to take to maximize the likelihood they will receive their security deposit back. Once the tenant has moved out, Resolute reviews the condition of the property, in detail, again documenting it through an inspection and photos. Any items damaged beyond normal wear and tear will be repaired and funds withheld from the tenant’s deposit. If a tenant renews their lease, Resolute performs a lease renewal inspection to confirm the tenant is continuing to maintain the property.
Many tenants have pets. During the investor on-boarding process, we discuss with the owner their preferred pet policy. For those owners that allow pets, Resolute Property Management utilizes a service for pet screening (petscreening.com). The tenant is required to complete an application for their pet. The pet is screened by petscreening.com and those results will determine if the pet is approved. Additionally, if a tenant has a pet, they are required to pay a non-refundable pet fee to cover the potential damages their pet may cause. There is an important distinction between a pet fee and a pet deposit. A fee is a non-refundable payment, whereas a pet deposit implies the tenant may receive the money back. This fee is returned to the owner at the end of tenancy.
At Resolute Property Management, we understand that one of the most costly events for a landlord is a tenant turnover. There are a number of costs incurred when a tenant vacates a property, including repair costs and lost rent from the properties time on the market. While we take measures to protect you from these costs, from holding tenants accountable for the condition of the property, to aggressively marketing the property to reduce days on market, there will be some costs associated with a turnover.
With that in mind, Resolute Property Management has designed our tenant experience to increase the likelihood that our tenants will renew their leases rather than vacate at the end of their lease. This process starts prior to move-in, when we begin working with our investor clients to help them understand the importance of delivering a rent ready property. Also, prior to move-in, we perform a tenant orientation where we set appropriate expectations for the tenant and show them how to log into and use their tenant portal. We are fair with our tenants, if they make reasonable maintenance requests, we encourage our owners to approve those requests. While we understand the need to keep repair costs low, we also know that most tenants leave due to maintenance issues rather than rent amounts.
Prior to lease expiration, we reach out to the tenant to determine if they intend to renew their lease. If they do not intend to renew their lease, we discuss with them to determine if there is an issue we can address to encourage them to renew. If they intend to renew, we review the rental amounts in the area with the owner to determine if a rent increase is warranted. We encourage the owner to weigh the cost of a tenant turnover against the potential rent increase. In addition, we require a renewal inspection where a Resolute Property Management employee performs a thorough inspection of the property.
The first service we offer our investor clients is tenant placement. Included in this service is a comprehensive market analysis used to set market rent, property assessment including recommended repairs, meeting with the investor, marketing photos, broad marketing of the property across multiple platforms, receipt and response to all prospective tenant inquiries, showing the property to prospective tenants, collecting application information from applicants, reviewing application results, thorough move-in inspection, collection of advanced rents and deposits, lease documents, tenant orientation and move-in. For these services we earn the first month’s rent.
The next service we offer is property management. This includes managing all tenant relations, receiving, responding to and scheduling maintenance requests, collecting rent, following-up on late or unpaid rent, posting 3 day notice as needed, negotiating favorable rates with vendors, administering payment to all vendors, accounting for and reporting all funds, creating 1099s and all necessary tax documents at year-end. For these services we earn 10% of the rent collected each month.
When a tenant renews their lease, we perform a renewal inspection, prepare a new lease, review the lease with all parties, collect signatures. For this service we earn a $250 lease renewal fee.
At the time you hire Resolute Property Management, you will receive a detailed inspection report, including photos and property condition notes. Once you are onboard, you will receive access to the Resolute Property Management Owner Portal. You can access the owner portal any time and run reports as desired. In addition, each month when you receive your payment, you will receive an email with a link to your owner portal where a new statement will be available to you.
From there, you will hear from Resolute at a minimum twice a year during our owner check-ins. We like to touch base to see how things are going, determine if you have any questions you need answered, and just generally say hi.
Finally, the other time you may hear from Resolute is if a required repair or maintenance item exceeds our approval threshold. If this occurs, a representative from Resolute will communicate with you, letting you know the issue, what was done to try to address and the amount of the repair for your approval.
Absolutely!! Resolute Property Management works with many out of state (and some out of country) owners. Providing thorough inspections is a part of our every day management process, but to the degree you require a specific set of photos or inspections at a time other than our normal inspection schedule, we are happy to accommodate.
In addition to the ongoing inspections discussed above, we offer a product that will provide you with interior photos, a floor plan and a 360 degree tour that allows you to perform a virtual walkthrough from wherever you are. If you are interested in this service, contact firstname.lastname@example.org today.