We get calls from prospective clients wanting to know how we do what we do. We are, at Far West Realty, of course, always glad to give them our “spiel.” You see, it all centers around the diagram above. We call it the “Rental Cycle of Life.” Far West Property Management in Prescott explains how we handle this.
One way or another, once we have a rental property in our inventory, it always begins with a thorough inspection of the property and its condition. We want to know it inside and out. If there are quirks, or peculiarities, we have to know. If there’s needed maintenance that has been deferred, or that the owner just doesn’t know about it’s doubly important that we are aware. That way, we have a known starting point and we are all on the same page. From there the inspections continue on a periodic basis.
Logically, these inspections can, and often do generate calls to owners and/or various vendors to see that things that need doing get done. That’s item 2 on the diagram: Maintenance. Not everyone appreciates the importance of doing maintenance when it’s needed. The value of a rental property, both as measured by its rental price point (cash flow), as well as its projected resale price at any given point in time, is always impacted for good or ill, by how well and how regularly it is maintained. So, here at Far West Property Management, we are alert, persistent and tenacious, in seeing that our owners’ investments are well maintained.
Once we have a well-maintained property ready for market, we then list it exclusively online. Our focus is on the major syndicated sites such as Trulia, Zillow, Hotpads and more. We also list our available units on Craigslist. All this exposure, almost invariably results in numerous phone calls and emails the very day the ads go up. For years now, we’ve not had any shortage of inquiries on any of our rental ads. What this means to us and our clients, is that we generally have multiple applicants on a given property within days, and can then proceed to select the very best-qualified tenants available.
And then, of course, the next cog in the wheel is our very thorough screening process. We use an experienced screening service to run full background checks on all applicants. And, we personally speak to previous landlords, too. We want to see what kind of tenant an applicant has been in the past. By the time we see the screening company’s results, and have spoken to previous landlords and other references on all the applicants, we usually have a pretty clear picture of who will be the best fit for the property and our clients. We strictly follow all fair housing guidelines in finding those with the best rental histories and best financial qualifications, and nearly always have the very best of tenants in all our rental properties. As a result, our clients’ properties are well cared for and their cash flow is timely and uninterrupted.
Once we’ve found the right applicant, we approve them as tenants, and then meet with them to review and sign a lease. Our leases are drafted on approved Arizona Association of REALTORS contract forms, that have been customized for the specific property and owners involved. As a result, all these documents have been carefully reviewed by AAR attorneys, drafted by experienced agents, and reviewed by me. I’ve been writing and reviewing contracts for almost 17 years now, and know my way around the process pretty well. The end result is that our clients’ interests are well protected, and all tenants are dealt with fairly and honestly. It really is a win-win.
Going forward, we manage each unit by keeping accurate and detailed records of all financial transactions pertaining to each property. Each month, we forward statements of account to each owner along with rental proceeds we have collected on their behalf, less any expenses that have been paid in that statement period. We field maintenance calls and deal with each one according to the instructions each owner has given us. Some like us to use our vendors whom we’ve vetted over many years in some cases, and found to be honorable men and women of integrity, who do quality work and are not afraid to stand behind it. Other owners like for us to use vendors that they have selected, or, sometimes even to do the work themselves. Whatever the preference is, the work gets well and timely done.
As noted above, we monitor each property to assure proper treatment and good condition, via periodic walk-through inspections. These are not just drive-by glances at the exterior of the properties, but actual walk-throughs where our managers go by appointment with the tenants, get out of their vehicles, and tour each unit, laying eyes on each room of every unit. We also communicate with tenants on an ongoing basis, to be sure their needs are being met, and that no maintenance is being ignored or overlooked. And so, we’ve arrived back at our starting point – the inspection.
This is the Rental Cycle of Life. It’s repetitive, life-preserving and necessary throughout the life of a rental investment property. And it works every time it’s conscientiously applied. The trick, is for the manager or landlord, to keep his or her “hands on the wheel” and to “steer.” Just like driving a car, if you keep your eye on the road, hands on the wheel and actively steer, you’ll likely end up at your intended destination. If you leave out any one of these three components, the result will almost certainly be unpleasant.
So, if you are an inexperienced driver, don’t know how to drive, or just don’t like to drive, give Dave a call at Far West Property Management in Prescott. You might be surprised at how easy he can make your Rental’s Cycle of Life, and how affordable that can be. ‘Till next time – Have a good trip! Call 928-772-9400.
For more on how we can help you manage your rental properties, contact us today!