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Q & A

How do you find a tenant?

As quickly as possible!

 
Empire-West

At Empire West Property Management we know that the key to a profitable and successful rental is found in minimizing vacancy. An empty unit doesn’t do anyone any good! One of the best ways to minimize vacancy is to make sure that LOTS of people know that you have a place available. Obviously, that means effective and attractive advertising of your vacant unit.

Let’s take a look at how we tackle this feat…

Major companies spend piles of money to make sure that their product is presented in the most appealing way. But, for the average rental owner, big piles of money aren’t readily available for marketing. Here is some more great news: you don’t need a big pile of money! Empire West Property Management has already paid the money for you. We have invested a lot of time, energy, and resources into making sure that our rentals stand out. Take a look at our state-of-the-art website, for example. It is very easy to navigate, gets information to people quickly, and looks fantastic! So has this effort paid off? Absolutely. We average thousands of visits to our site each month, and a large percentage of those visits are return visitors! That means that there are hundreds of people who return faithfully to our site to see what new properties we have available.

Anyone can run a free classified ad and probably be seen. But can anyone run custom ads with great graphics and beautiful photos? Not really. That is where we come in. Through our website’s custom publishing software, we are able to make sure that your rental unit shines. The best way to be picked out of a herd is to stand out in some way. We can make that happen!

Another indicator of our job performance is the vast number of referrals that we receive from local Realtors, current tenants, and owners. We make sure that we are the best at keeping clients and customers happy. That makes them want to tell others about our services and drives more traffic to us!


How do you screen prospective applicants?

 
Prospective-Tenants

Everyone is afraid that their tenant is going to trash the place, skip rent, and make the owner’s life miserable. Why? Because the most widely spread stories are the ones that include something going terribly wrong! The first step toward finding a cure for these situations is prevention. Let’s take a look at how we make sure that we are placing quality tenants that will take care of your property and pay on time.

Everyone benefits when we do a great job screening tenants.

Here is a snapshot of our screening process:

1.The screening begins the first time they call. Before we show your property to a prospective tenant, they have already been “pre-screened”, so to speak. We try to get information about why they are looking for a rental, where are they moving from, what their needs are, credit scores, gross income, etc…

2. Once the tenant has found a property that they would like to rent, they submit an application. This is a custom application crafted by Empire West Property Management, which has specific questions designed to abide by all applicable state and federal laws, yet still allows us to obtain needed information to determine if the tenant is qualified.

3. After receiving the application, Empire West Property Management goes through the following checklist:

  • Pull credit report, including score.
  • Verify income and assets
  • Contact current landlord
  • Contact previous landlord if possible.
  • Check eviction history
  • 4. At this point, we will have a good picture of the tenant’s qualifications.

    Based on the above information, Empire West Property Management will determine whether or not the application is approved. The following criteria must be met in order for us to accept an application:

    1. Income – Applicants must be able to prove income that meets our criteria for each property. Applicants must make between 2 ½ – 3 times the rent amount in gross income, depending on the rent amount.

    2. History – Applicants must all have at least 2 years rental history (which can include living with family or renting a room) and be reported by previous landlord(s) to have “taken good care of the property”.

    3. Applicants must not have an outstanding balance with a previous landlord.

    4. Applicants must not have a rental eviction on their record.


    How do you settle on Leasing Terms?

     
    Lease-agreement

    Everybody wants a deal! When you are leasing out your rental unit everything is negotiable. Most prospective tenants know this, and will want to negotiate for favorable terms. While there are those out there who take a price and a rental without haggling anything, you should at least be aware of a few things that people may try to swing a deal on. Let’s take a look!

    Below is a list of common items that prospective tenants may try to negotiate

  • Price
  • Length of Lease
  • Rent Increases
  • Pets
  • Painting
  • Utilities
  • Gardener
  • Pool Service
  • Appliances
  • Amount of deposit
  • Although this list is obviously not all inclusive, it can help to give you an idea of what types of things may come up in the negotiating process. We will try to establish the terms with you at the beginning; however, most properties will rent under slightly different terms than listed. In fact, bending a bit on the initial terms in order to make a deal can mean MORE money for you in the long run! That seems like an odd concept, but it has proven itself time and time again.


    What do you do after the tenant moves in?


     
    Moving-In

    After years in this industry, we have come to realize that a lot of what our clients are paying us for is, in a word…security. They want to make sure that someone is there 24/7 to handle everything that could go wrong.

    They don’t want to lose their anonymity by having a tenant know who they are, where they live, and how to get a hold of them. They know that people are much less likely to try to take advantage of a professional company than they are an individual owner. They want an expert to keep an eye on the day-to-day operations to make sure that their rental income flow is uninterrupted. They know that there is more to life than worrying about their rental property. We manage properties for owners that live all over the globe. They trust us to make sure that their investments are safe, and we work hard to honor that trust.

    Here is an inside look at the life of a property manager. Although this list represents only a fraction of the things that we handle day-to-day, it may help to show you what you can expect should you decide to manage your property yourself.

  • Collect rent
  • Collect late rent
  • Collect on bad checks
  • Serve late notices
  • Serve 3-day notices
  • Serve noise notices
  • Serve HOA violation notices
  • Arrange for repairs
  • Pay bills from rent proceeds
  • Increase rent
  • Renew leases
  • Re-lease properties
  • Perform move-in inspections
  • Perform move-out inspections
  • Assist in evictions

  • How are repairs handled?

     
    Tools

    This is one of the most important questions you can ask a potential property manager. This question plays a major role in the amount of your check each month!

    Because this issue is one that affects all of our clients and can be the difference between a cash-flow property and a property that is a drain on your bank account, we want to make sure we are doing this correctly. This is where we spend more time in our day-to-day to management of properties than anywhere else.

    We always try to respond to tenant’s maintenance requests, as quickly as possible. This keeps tenants in properties for longer. An unhappy tenant will move when the lease is up and vacancy is the enemy in the rental property game. We always hold our vendors accountable. If we send our vendor out and the repair doesn’t get fixed completely the first time, we always send them back out until the job is done correctly. Be assured that we work with a fine team of vendors who value our business and work hard to keep it.

    If you have your own team of vendors, or a preferred handyman that is no problem. Just let us know and we will “flag” your file to contact that person for any repairs. We want to customize our service to tailor fit your needs

    *In the event of an emergency repair (flooding, etc.) that is likely going to cost more than $250.00, we will repair the problem whether we can get a hold of you or not. Our objective is to protect your investment. If a tenant says they came home and the place is under water, we are going to act fast!


    What do you do if the tenant doesn’t pay?

     
    handing-over-money

    Obviously this is one of the most frequently asked questions, and for good reason! In fact, the fear of this situation is one of the top reasons that our clients tend to choose our full-service management.

    Our company considers rent payments to be late if we receive them after the 1st of the month. As a result, a list is generated to see who has not yet brought in rent for the month. Our late rent collection agent will then begin contacting the tenants to see when we can expect them to pay, what their reason was for being late, and generally get a feel for their intentions.

    The result of that call will determine the appropriate course of action. For example, if they were to say, “I am so sorry! I completely forgot and I will be there in ten minutes!” then the situation should be resolved quickly. If on the other hand they say something like, “Yeah…I know I haven’t paid…I don’t plan to pay…and by the way, I’m not moving either!” (obviously an extreme example), then a different approach will be necessary.

    Should a tenant refuse to pay, we start by serving them a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. In this case that means literally that they have three days to perform by paying the rent, or they have three days to quit living there! Once that three days is up, if the tenant still refuses to leave the rental unit, an eviction will become necessary. We always recommend the use of an eviction attorney because they know exactly what to do and when to do it. If you make one mistake during an eviction process, the judge can tell you to start all over from square one!


    What are my (the owner’s) responsiblities?

     
    Happy-Couple

    While most of the work load will be handled by Empire West Property Management, there are a few areas in which we may need your input!

    During the rental process, there are always going to be expenses that pop up. Rental units get old and need repair! Some items that can go out in a rental are items that can affect the lease itself. For example, if there is a repair that needs to be done that causes the home to become “uninhabitable” (by California’s standards…not yours or mine), then that is something that we must take care of quickly! Otherwise we risk losing the tenant, and therefore, rental income. We simply ask that you help us in this area by being prompt when we let you know about necessary “big ticket” repairs. A few examples of these legally sticky repairs include:

    • Plumbing

    • Air Conditioners and Heater

    • Water Heaters

    • Faulty Roofing

    The happier and safer we can keep your tenant, the less vacancy you will have, and the more money you will make!