Owner Frequently Asked Questions
Here you can find answers to some frequently asked questions about our services. We want you to have all the information you need, so you can make the right choice in a property management company.
What type of rental properties do you manage?
We specialize in the management of single-family homes.
What areas do you handle?
We serve the greater Contra Costa areas including Blackhawk, Danville, and San Ramon. Most of our rentals are located in Danville and San Ramon.
What professional organizations do you belong to?
We are members of the following organizations: California Apartment Association, and the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). Our broker, Walter M. Welti, has served the local chapter of NARPM as their President.
Why should I choose American Property Management?
APM has a reputation for providing “outstanding” service. We have been in the business of professional property management and leasing since 1984 and we have the experience and “know-how” to make your real estate investment a success. You can expect the very best management solutions when you hire us, and we will make every effort to earn your trust. There is no better choice for your investment and peace of mind.
Are you the least expensive company in town?
Probably not. It seems there is a new property management company starting out every day, trying to beat everyone else’s prices. Our management fees are very competitive and we certainly are not the most expensive. On the other hand, we charge a fair fee for a tremendous service. For example, we believe that resident selection is very high on the list of priorities. A poor resident can cost you thousands of dollars. We are experienced and committed to finding the best resident for you at a rent that will keep that resident. When ALL fees are considered, we are actually less expensive than most companies.
How long will it take to rent my property?
It is impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to find a qualified resident for your property. A number of factors are involved: the size, location and overall condition of the property, the asking price relative to that of comparable properties in your neighborhood, and the time of year. If a property is priced correctly, it will usually rent within 30 days. If a property does not rent within this length of time, it is generally a sign that the property is overpriced relative to its size and condition. The rental market does not care that you may have a negative cash flow, and it will punish with extended vacancy those owners who overprice their rental homes. When you hire us, we will look at the rental market in your particular area, survey the competing homes, and make sure your home is priced right so that it will be viewed favorably against the competition.
What will you do to market my property?
We employ aggressive state-of-the-art techniques to lease your rental quickly, and to the right residents. A large part of our strategy includes the Internet. Your rental appears on numerous websites, including our own website, Zillow, Trulia, HotPads, Zumper, Realtor.com, Lovely, Homes.com, SnapRent, RentalHunt, MyNewPlace, Apartments.com, RentalSource, RentFocus, Rentler, ClassifiedAds, Apartment List, and RentBits. To make your property more attractive, we also post photos and slideshows at no extra charge to you.
How do you qualify an applicant who wants to rent my property?
In general, we look at an applicant’s past behavior and assume their future behavior will be the same. An applicant must demonstrate a history of being a good, responsible resident or homeowner and must meet our income and credit requirements. We process all applications in-house and verify information on each application. We contact the applicant’s employer to confirm length of employment, status, and monthly income. An applicant must earn at least 3 times the monthly rent in gross income to qualify for a rental property. We personally talk to current and past landlords and ask detailed questions about the applicant’s performance. We cross-check landlord references with local property tax records to confirm that the landlord listed actually owns the property. The property tax record cross-check is what reveals most of the fraud attempts encounter by landlords. Our computer system has a direct connection to the Experian credit reporting service so we can immediately obtain a credit report. The credit report reveals the applicant’s current and past performance in meeting their financial obligations. It also tells us their monthly debt, credit score, and shows their previous addresses (which we compare to each address listed on the application). Nobody in Contra Costa County screens rental applicants as thoroughly as we do. For more detailed information, please browse our Qualification Requirements.
Why is good credit history so important to APM?
Over the years, we have found that residents with good credit history are generally more reliable than those who do not have good credit. A reliable resident will usually take better care of a property (in addition to paying rent on time). Our job is much easier when we have good residents who pay rent on time and take proper care of our properties.
What happens if the resident does not pay the rent?
If rent is not received in our office by the 5th of the month the resident is called immediately and a follow-up notice is sent to the resident. If we still do not receive the rent we will serve the resident with a three-day notice to pay or quit. In the event the resident still does not pay rent pursuant to the notice, legal action will begin. Evictions for nonpayment of rent in California are fast and certain when the steps are executed properly. Full evictions, when necessary, can usually be completed within 4 weeks.
Do you accept rental applicants with pets?
No. We don’t allow pets into managed properties unless you direct us to do so, or unless not doing so is resulting in an unacceptable length of vacancy. Nothing good can result from allowing pets into your property.
How much security deposit do you charge the resident?
In general, we usually charge one month’s rent for a deposit, rounded up to the nearest hundred. This is equivalent to what most landlords charge in Contra Costa County.
Who holds the resident’s security deposit?
Effective July 1, 2010, we are holding the security deposits in our trust account for all new management accounts. When the resident vacates the premises, the deposit is paid back to the resident after we make appropriate deductions for rent, cleaning, and damages above normal wear and tear.
Will I know what is going on with my property?
Yes. We will communicate with you throughout our agreement and keep you aware of any issues that may arise. We will contact you at reasonable times to discuss repairs and notify you of the residents notice to move.
How often are inspections done at my property?
Before a new resident moves into your property, we will complete a detailed move-in checklist with the resident, which provides written documentation as to the condition of your property. Thereafter, each year we send a written notice to our property owners to recommend a safety and maintenance inspection. If approved by the owner, a home inspector is scheduled to inspect the property. During this inspection, the inspector will make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms work, test for plumbing leaks, check the caulk and grout in the bathrooms, inspect the furnace filters, examine the exterior painting, and complete an inspection report. Reports are mailed to you as they are completed. The inspector charges our owners around $120.00 for each inspection report.
How do you handle maintenance requests?
Residents may phone, fax, or email their requests to us, and they can request maintenance online at our website. After we receive a repair request, we may contact the resident and ask them questions, which will help us determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. If the resident has a legitimate problem, we will schedule the repair. Most repairs are scheduled within one business day. Comfort items such as air conditioning, no hot water or heat, receive the highest priority and are usually attended to the same or next business day. If we think a repair might exceed $300, we will call you and let you know what is happening, what we think should be done, and what the estimated cost might be.
Do you handle problems late at night and during weekends?
Yes. Residents can reach us 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to respond to emergencies. We will then talk with the resident to determine how to proceed. Many times we can solve the problem over the phone, saving you the cost of an emergency trip charge.
Does APM make any money on repairs?
No. We believe that it would be a conflict of interest for a property management company to have its own maintenance division to generate additional income, or to receive percentage fees based on the cost of maintenance and repairs. As a professional property manager, it’s our duty to obtain the best prices available on maintenance and repairs for our clients.
Will I save any money on repairs?
Yes. Our clients save big on maintenance and repairs, because we maintain a pool of qualified repair people who offer us very competitive prices, due to the large volume of business we can offer them. We also include copies of any invoices with your monthly statement.
When can I expect to receive my monthly statement?
Our easy-to-read owner statements, along with any invoice copies for repairs, are automatically delivered to your email inbox (usually by the 6th of the month). You receive all your monthly data in one simple PDF file attachment, saving you time and paper.
Can you deposit my rental proceeds into my checking account?
Yes. We use electronic ACH payments to securely deposit proceeds into your bank account each month, so you receive your proceeds even faster (usually by the 7th of the month). ACH transactions take one business day for funds to transfer. Accordingly, if the 7th falls on a weekend or bank holiday, then funds would normally transfer the next banking day.
Can you pay my monthly property bills for me?
Yes. We can pay your Mortgage, Insurance, Homeowners fees, etc. There must be sufficient cash flow from the property to cover such expenses and we will ask you to advance us any necessary funds for this purpose.
Does your management agreement give you exclusive right to sell my property?
No. Instead, we will refer you to a Realtor who we know that has a strong commitment to honesty, integrity and experience.
How much is your property management fee?
Our management fee is 6% of the monthly rent, with a $150 monthly minimum.
How much is the leasing fee?
Our leasing fee is one-half of one month’s rent, with a $1,500 minimum fee. We only charge this fee when we need to find a new tenant to rent the premises. We absorb all advertising and Internet marketing expenses.
How much is your lease renewal fee?
We don’t charge any lease renewal fees. Whenever we renew a lease, we always first obtain the owner’s permission and discuss the proposed terms of the lease renewal.
Are you licensed?
Yes. We are licensed by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE License #01272605).
Can you start managing my properties today?
Yes. We can start the process immediately. To set up a no-obligation consultation to discuss your property in detail, please Contact Us.
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